12 May 2016   Leave a comment

The Pew Research Center has released its latest findings which indicate that the American middle class is shrinking in many of the metropolitan areas of the US.  The report finds that “[f]rom 2000 to 2014 the share of adults living in middle-income households fell in 203 of the 229 U.S. metropolitan areas” and “The shrinking of the middle class at the national level, to the point where it may no longer be the economic majority in the U.S.”  This economic data goes a long way to explain the popularity of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in the current presidential cycle.  In the Financial Times, Roger Altman writes that:

“This economic pressure is not temporary either, because the trends undermining incomes — technology and globalisation — are in their early stages and still accelerating. All the talk from Mr Trump and Mr Sanders about building border walls and killing trade agreements misses the point. Such steps would have no discernible impact on these powerful trends. What is needed are bolder income support policies to cushion workers against them.

How weak are incomes? Today’s real median household income is $53,600, down nearly 7.5 per cent from the peak seen 20 years ago. And real median wages per hour have fallen 4 per cent since the financial crisis.”

US Middle Class

The Treaty of Sèvres (10 August 1920) was an attempt by the allied powers to divide up the Ottoman Empire after World War I.  Few talk about the treaty today because it was superseded when Turkey repudiated the treaty and declared its independence which was ratified in the Treaty of Lausanne (1923).  But other parts of the Treaty were maintained in other treaties such as the Sykes-Picot Treaty.  The significance of the treaty is that it represents a colonial failure as Britain and France tried to redraw the map, only to fail because of the opposition of the Turks and the Kurds.  Interestingly, the Kurds were granted nominal independence in the Treaty of Sèvres but they rejected their own “state” because it was under British control.

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The Brazilian Senate has decided to move forward in the impeachment process of President Dilma Rousseff.  Impeachment is a singular process:  it is not necessarily a legal trial since there really are no set procedures for the process (no “due” process); it is not supposed to be a political trial since simple political disagreement is not grounds for impeachment (otherwise, there would be no need for “votes” or “elections”).  It is historically a messy process and that is precisely what Brazil is facing.  Such degree of certainty augurs ill for the Brazilian economy and the Olympics.

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Posted May 13, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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