12 April 2017   Leave a comment

The Guardian an active slave market is developing in Libyais reporting that as migrants from West Africa become hostages to an almost complete governmental breakdown.  The slave trade has never been eradicated and it is particularly active for sexual slavery.  But the situation in Libya has deteriorated to the point where slaves are being bought and sold in public.  The deterioration of the political system in Libya can be traced to the overthrow of former dictator Gaddaffi in 2011, an outcome that US President Obama called the “worst mistake” of his presidency.

Income inequality has deepened in the US over the last forty years.  We unfortunately rationalize the income disparities by believing that the only victims of low incomes are the poor themselves.  But the truth is that everyone subsidizes low wages.  The example of Wal-Mart employees is instructive.  Wal-Mart wages are quite low and, in order to survive, many Wal-Mart employees need to receive public subsidies.  But by funding those subsidies, we are also subsidizing Wal-Mart.  According to USA Today:

“According to a 2014 report by Americans for Tax Fairness, Walmart receives an estimated $6.2 billion in subsidies every year, primarily from the Federal Government.

“The reason? The world’s largest retailer, infamous for its poor working conditions and unfair treatment of employees, pays its workers so little that thousands of Walmart employees are forced to rely on public assistance programs like food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing. Programs funded by American taxpayers.

“No matter the town or city, if you have a Walmart in your community, you are paying a Walmart Tax. In fact, a single Walmart Supercenter is estimated to cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.74 million per year in public assistance money.”

Poverty is a problem for everyone and it is a mistake to think that any one of us is insulated from the costs of poverty.

Journalists in North Korea have been told to prepare for an historic event on Sunday, 15 April.  Sunday is the annual “Day of the Sun” event which commemorates the 105th anniversary of the regime’s founder, Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of the current leader, Kim Jung-un.  No one knows what to expect, but the fear is that North Korea will test its sixth nuclear weapon or an intercontinental ballistic missile. Since US President Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi, all eyes are on China’s response to such a move.  In the absence of a Chinese move, then everyone will look to the US response as Trump indicated that if the Chinese don’t act, then the US will be willing to go it alone. 

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Posted April 12, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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