Charlie’s month-end reading list

5 books with an apple on top

Hello, Ramparts readers! We’re back with some fascinating (to us…at least!) articles circulating here at Fort Pitt.

The first piece is by Liz Alderman of The New York Times, titled “Greek bureaucracy, not just austerity, is an economic drag.” Greece is going through tough times, and while reversing so called “austerity” sounds like a solution, it may not be enough to restore economic vitality. “Greece is never going to move forward unless this new government tackles the dysfunction, bureaucracy and uncertainty that we have failed to address since the crisis,” says Yannis Stamatiou, a business owner who argues that Greece’s economic problems run much deeper than austerity.

The next piece, “Five years into recovery, Dow companies squeeze workers as investors thrive,” is a Yahoo Finance piece by Michael Santoli. While cash-rich corporate America enjoys booming profits and buoyant stock prices, many Dow companies are implementing staff reductions. A chart reveals that the 30 Dow companies have barely increased hiring, while profits have surged. Since the recovery began in 2009, most of the benefits have flowed to investors rather than workers.

In this same vein, Patrick O’Hare of Briefing.com, shares a piece entitled “The big picture,” in which he examines recent trends in average hourly earnings. Wages took an encouraging jump in January, with a gain of .5 percent, yielding a year-over-year rise of 2.2 percent. Briefing.com’s chief economist, Jeffrey Rosen, speculates that the gain in wages may be due to a one-time boost in the minimum wage, and greater growth in sectors that employ large numbers of minimum wage workers.

Finally, “The Swiss franc and the tragedy of the euro,” is a Q&A session from the Mises Institute website, featuring  libertarian author Philipp Bagus. Bagus expounds on recent monetary developments in Switzerland and the European Monetary Union. The Swiss central bank recently unpegged the franc from the Euro, resulting in historic levels of volatility. Bagus says that pegging the Swiss franc to the Euro in the first place was a huge and costly mistake.