Daily Digest - September 26: Watch Out for Default

Sep 26, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Default Notes (NYT)

Paul Krugman is concerned by the seeming non-response from markets to the possibility of a government default in mid-October. Shouldn't big business be worrying about the possibility of another recession, cuts to Federal spending, and a plunging dollar?

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Default Notes (NYT)

Paul Krugman is concerned by the seeming non-response from markets to the possibility of a government default in mid-October. Shouldn't big business be worrying about the possibility of another recession, cuts to Federal spending, and a plunging dollar?

You Really Ought to Be More Terrified of the Debt Ceiling (The Atlantic)

Derek Thompson points out that while a shutdown would have predictable effects, we have no idea what will happen if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling. It's unclear if there's even a way for the government to prioritize payments in such a situation.

How One Stroke of the Pen Could Lift Wages for Millions (MSNBC)

Ned Resnikoff presents two possible executive orders that would raise the low wages of two million federally contracted workers. Many of these workers in DC are striking again, this time rallying outside the White House.

Thousands of Grocery Workers Vote on Strike Authorization (The Nation)

Allison Kilkenny reports on a United Food and Commercial Workers vote this week that could lead to strikes if contract negotiations with major grocery chains break down. The biggest concern is health insurance for part-time workers who are union members.

Some Public Companies are Divulging More Details About Their Political Contributions (WaPo)

Dina ElBoghdady reports that due to mounting pressure from shareholders and threats of lawsuits, some large publicly traded companies are starting to disclose more of their political donations. The SEC is deciding whether to step in and mandate such disclosures.

Insight: Wal-Mart 'Made in America' drive follows suppliers' lead (Reuters)

Jessica Wohl and James B. Kelleher argue that for all the stars-and-stripes PR, Walmart's decision to buy more American-made goods is all business. U.S. made products have lower shipping costs and no tariffs, which improves the mega-retailer's bottom line.

SEC Wins Big Fine From JPMorgan but Execs Skate Free (ProPublica)

Jesse Eisinger argues that even though JPMorgan is paying a large settlement for its wrongdoing in the London Whale case, the public still loses. Unless the Volcker Rule is written with serious disclosure requirements, executives will continue to be in the clear.

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Daily Digest - September 24: The Financial Reform Slowdown

Sep 24, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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How Washington Caved to Wall Street (TIME)

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How Washington Caved to Wall Street (TIME)

Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz argues that Wall Street lobbyists have managed to essentially halt financial reform in the U.S. Banks and the administration are working side-by-side to convince Americans that the financial sector is working safely, but that's just not true.

Shutdown vs. Default: The Relative Impact (NYT)

Annie Lowrey compares the possible impending results of government inaction. There's already a plan in place for a shutdown, which would keep things orderly; with no plans for public default, the impact would be messier and far more expensive.

The Day after Shutdown (TAP)

Jonathan Bernstein explains how the bargaining table changes if we hit a government shutdown on September 30. He thinks that if it comes to that, the Democrats will come out on top - but the far right will maintain that they could have won if the GOP had just held out longer.

The House Republicans’ Dangerous New Constitutional Doctrine: Repealing Laws by De-Funding Them (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich points out the unconstitutionality of the current Republican strategy. The Affordable Care Act passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law; if the GOP wants to repeal it, they need to pass a repeal, not refuse to fund it.

How Walmart Got Government Support, Despite Union Pleas (Salon)

Josh Eidelson reports that unions used every connection they had to try to stop White House events promoting Walmart, to no avail. Hiring veterans doesn't make Walmart a good employer, and selling healthy food doesn't make it good for communities.

The Idiocy of Crowds (Reuters)

Felix Salmon argues that under new laws that allow for equity crowdfunding, which just went into effect, start-ups that failed to get investors in traditional ways will seek "dumb money" that doesn't know better. He sees a future full of lawsuits.

Does the Fed Have a Communication Problem, Or Do Markets Have a Listening Problem? (WaPo)

Neil Irwin suggests that monetary policy is communications, and today we get more information from the Fed then ever before. That view of the inner workings of the Fed means that markets are more aware of how difficult it is to make long-term plans.

New on Next New Deal

The Next Real Fight for Obamacare Will Be in 2014

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch argues that leading up to the 2014 elections, Democrats must organize the beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act to be its spokespeople. Those stories will sell Obamacare - and Democrats - to the voters.

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Why New York is Home to So Many of the Working Poor, in Graphs

Sep 16, 2013Nell Abernathy

The Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative is trying to understand how New York got so unequal. And we're looking for solutions.

The Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative is trying to understand how New York got so unequal. And we're looking for solutions.

So what is behind this big shift toward income inequality in New York? Income trends in the city represent an amplified version of our national problems: low-wage jobs without benefits are replacing middle-wage jobs that could support families. Nationwide, middle-wage jobs constituted 60 percent of the jobs lost during the Great Recession and only 22 percent of those regained during recovery, according to analysis from Roosevelt Institute’s Annette Bernhardt at NELP. Meanwhile, low-wage jobs made up only 21 percent of recession job losses and 58 percent of jobs gained since.

The national trend started well before the Great Recession.

And in New York, it’s been the same, but worse. A 2012 report from the Federal Reserve found that middle-income jobs comprised 67 percent of employment in downstate New York in the 1980s, but by 2010, that number fell to 55.8 percent.

Top that off with the fact that for the last decade, wages have risen for the top 5 percent and stagnated or fallen for middle- and low-income workers, and you begin to see the currents driving our inequality crisis.

Why is this happening? Technology? Wall Street? Policy? Education?

We’ll explore those questions and potential solutions at our upcoming panel, "Inequality in New York: The Next Mayor’s Challenge."

Nell Abernathy is the Program Manager for the Roosevelt Institute's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

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The 2 Train Travels Between New York's "Two Cities"

Sep 13, 2013Nell Abernathy

New York City is as starkly divided along economic lines as it is connected by its famous subway lines.  The Roosevelt Institute is looking for solutions.

New York City is as starkly divided along economic lines as it is connected by its famous subway lines.  The Roosevelt Institute is looking for solutions.

Another fun/depressing/informative infographic on New York City’s stunning wealth divide: Back in April, before the election was heating up, the good people at The New Yorker plotted the diverging extremes in median income of New York neighborhoods along the subway lines. It turns out you can actually ride the 2 train from prosperity to poverty.

The neighborhood surrounding the 2 train Chambers Street stop in Tribeca  has a median income of $205,192 and is among the city's wealthiest.

Fourteen miles further north, around the East 180th Street stop in the Bronx, median income is $13,750. For those who think income is irrelevant as long as you can access the American dream, opportunities aren't so great up there, either.

 Come learn about solutions from the experts at our September 24 event, "Inequality in New York: the Next Mayor’s Challenge."

Nell Abernathy is the Program Manager for the Roosevelt Institute's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

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Three Graphs That Show Why Inequality Matters in the New York City Mayoral Race

Sep 11, 2013Nell Abernathy

The New York City primary results show that the issue of rising inequality is striking a chord with voters. Here's why.

The results are in and two (or three) candidates are one step closer to Gracie Mansion. What we know for certain is that along with winning international attention and prime seats at Yankee Stadium, New York’s next mayor will inherit a city that is more unequal in terms of income than any other major city in America.

The increasing polarization of wealth in New York has been a hot topic and served as the campaign centerpiece for one of yesterday’s big winners, Bill de Blasio. We are trying to resist pointing out that experts like our own Jeff Madrick were talking about this problem even before the drum circles of Zuccotti Park, but we’re happy that the city’s Sierra Leone-like inequality is at last making headlines.

Because we know that we can do better, and we hope our next mayor will at least try, the Roosevelt Institute’s Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative is taking a look back at some of the most compelling charts and graphs to surface on the long road to Election Day.

From James Parrott, at the Fiscal Policy Institute, who will be a panelist at our upcoming forum on inequality:

The top 1 percent are capturing a growing portion of the nation’s economy, and nowhere is that trend more pronounced than in New York.

The top 1 percent, in fact, pay less than their fair share of the tax burden:

Meanwhile, the poverty rate in New York City continues to rise: 

We will be back tomorrow with more infographics. To learn more about potential solutions to our growing wealth gap, join us for our panel discussion on Tuesday, September 24:

Inequality in New York: The Next Mayor’s Challenge

September 24, 2013

6:00 p.m. cocktail reception

6:30 – 8:00 p.m. panel discussion

Roosevelt House, Public Policy Institute at Hunter College

49 East 65th Street

New York, NY 10065

Nell Abernathy is the Program Manager for the Roosevelt Institute's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

The New York City primary results show that the issue of rising inequality is striking a chord with voters. Here's why.

The results are in and two (or three) candidates are one step closer to Gracie Mansion. What we know for certain is that along with winning international attention and prime seats at Yankee Stadium, New York’s next mayor will inherit a city that is more unequal in terms of income than any other major city in America.

The increasing polarization of wealth in New York has been a hot topic and served as the campaign centerpiece for one of yesterday’s big winners, Bill de Blasio. We are trying to resist pointing out that experts like our own Jeff Madrick were talking about this problem even before the drum circles of Zuccotti Park, but we’re happy that the city’s Sierra Leone-like inequality is at last making headlines.

Because we know that we can do better, and we hope our next mayor will at least try, the Roosevelt Institute’s Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative is taking a look back at some of the most compelling charts and graphs to surface on the long road to Election Day.

From James Parrott, at the Fiscal Policy Institute, who will be a panelist at our upcoming forum on inequality:

The top 1 percent are capturing a growing portion of the nation’s economy, and nowhere is that trend more pronounced than in New York.

The top 1 percent, in fact, pay less than their fair share of the tax burden:

Meanwhile, the poverty rate in New York City continues to rise: 

We will be back tomorrow with more infographics. To learn more about potential solutions to our growing wealth gap, join us for our panel discussion on Tuesday, September 24:

Inequality in New York: The Next Mayor’s Challenge



September 24, 2013



6:00 p.m. cocktail reception



6:30 – 8:00 p.m. panel discussion



Roosevelt House, Public Policy Institute at Hunter College



49 East 65th Street



New York, NY 10065

Nell Abernathy is the Program Manager for the Roosevelt Institute's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

 

New York City skyline image via Shutterstock.com

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Policy Note: Will Crowdfunding Kickstart an Investment Revolution?

Sep 5, 2013

Download the policy note (PDF) by Georgia Levenson Keohane

In a new policy note, Roosevelt Institute Fellow Georgia Levenson Keohane examines the policy and political implications of peer-to-peer financing. In recent years, crowdfunding has emerged as a financing model that allows smaller funders to invest in projects and organizations in their early stages – particularly those that would otherwise struggle to obtain capital. Peer-to-peer funding experiments first emerged in the nonprofit sector, but have since expanded to the realms of for-profit investment and political activism.

Download the policy note (PDF) by Georgia Levenson Keohane

In a new policy note, Roosevelt Institute Fellow Georgia Levenson Keohane examines the policy and political implications of peer-to-peer financing. In recent years, crowdfunding has emerged as a financing model that allows smaller funders to invest in projects and organizations in their early stages – particularly those that would otherwise struggle to obtain capital. Peer-to-peer funding experiments first emerged in the nonprofit sector, but have since expanded to the realms of for-profit investment and political activism. The proliferation of crowdfunding models and uses requires a nuanced policy response, one that balances the imperative to support the growth of small businesses and new jobs with safeguards for investor protection.

Read the policy note: "Will Crowdfunding Kickstart an Investment Revolution?" by Roosevelt Institute Fellow Georgia Levenson Keohane.

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Daily Digest - August 19: Inequality Has No Solo Solutions

Aug 19, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Conservatives Don’t Get That Some Problems are Public, and It’s Hurting Them (WaPo)

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Conservatives Don’t Get That Some Problems are Public, and It’s Hurting Them (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal sees a cognitive dissonance when conservatives try to argue that economic issues are all private problems to be fixed on the individual level. Inequality is a public problem, and public problems call for a guiding hand from government.

Who's Really Running the GOP? (Melissa Harris-Perry)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren compares current Republican strategies to the end of reconstruction. In states where the GOP controls the governor's mansion and the state house, there are disturbing similarities in voting restrictions.

Most of U.S. Is Wired, but Millions Aren’t Plugged In (NYT)

Edward Wyatt reports on the struggle to get the last 20 percent of Americans connected to the Internet. Some of the disconnected wish they weren't, but thanks to the near-monopoly control of broadband by cable companies, access is expensive.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford argues against big telecommunications' claims that Americans have the broadband access they need.

The AFL-CIO Is Exploring New Investments in Alt-Labor and Texas Organizing (The Nation)

Josh Eidelson examines the union federation's relationships with non-union organized labor. Funding is a challenge, because union members often prefer for money to stay within the unions, even if they aren't the best option to organize a particular space.

3 Questions for Larry Summers About the Fed (The Atlantic)

Matthew O'Brien wonders how Summers would respond to questions about interest rates, target inflation, and bubbles. When most of our knowledge of the potential Fed Chair's views on monetary policy come from 1991, it would be nice if we could get some answers.

Bye-Bye Refi? (On the Economy)

Jared Bernstein looks at one side effect of higher interest rates that is already appearing: a reduction in mortgage refinancing applications. He's concerned by that drop because refis serve as stimulus when they reduce a household's monthly mortgage payment.

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Daily Digest - July 26: The Trouble with Summers's Silence

Jul 26, 2013Tim Price

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Should Obama pick Larry Summers to head the Fed? (Politico)

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Should Obama pick Larry Summers to head the Fed? (Politico)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal writes that while Ben Bernanke led the Fed through a crisis, his successor will need to build consensus and establish the central bank's new normal. That's a problem given that Summers hasn't said a word about the biggest debates he'll have to settle.

Even as economy rebounds, income inequality festers (MoneyWatch)

Charles Wilbanks notes that most American remain deeply dissatisfied with an economy in which workers at the bottom see their wages fall while those at the top are making money hand over fist. And to add insult to injury, taxpayers are forced to subsidize their bosses' raises.

The day the right lost the economic argument (Salon)

Michael Lind argues that President Obama's Knox College speech offered a strong and broadly appealing summary of progressive economic theory focused on manufacturing, innovation, infrastructure, and education, while the House Republicans' alternative plan offered nothing in particular.

Some Democrats Look to Push Party Away from Center (NYT)

Jonathan Martin writes that as Democrats contemplate their future post-Obama, many are advocating for a populist approach to economic policy, financial reform, and rising inequality rather than the murky middle ground that the party's leaders have settled for since the '90s.

White House hardens stance on budget cuts ahead of showdown with Republicans (WaPo)

Zachary Goldfarb and Paul Kane report that the Obama administration may force a government shutdown come September if Republicans in Congress refuse to undo sequestration and continue to demand deeper cuts to a budget they've already carved to the bone.

Congress to Fed: End Too-Big-to-Fail Already! (MoJo)

Erika Eichelberger notes that Dodd-Frank requires the Fed to implement rules to scale back its emergency lending powers, but three years since the law was passed, the central bank still just says it's working on it. Things like this don't happen overnight. Or even over 1,095 nights.

Why 17 liberal senators voted against the student loan "deal" (MSNBC)

Suzy Khimm writes that while the Senate finally passed legislation to address the doubling of federal student loan interest rates, progressives weren't willing to swallow a compromise that lowered students' rates now while guaranteeing they'll have to pay even more in the future.

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Why the Right Doesn’t Really Want Euro-Style Reproductive Health Care

Jul 24, 2013Andrea Flynn

U.S. conservatives want Europe's abortion restrictions, but they oppose the generous systems and legal exceptions that support women's health.

U.S. conservatives want Europe's abortion restrictions, but they oppose the generous systems and legal exceptions that support women's health.

Earlier this month, Texas lawmakers witnessed and participated in passionate debates about one of the nation's most sweeping pieces of anti-choice legislation. That legislation, known as SB1, was initially delayed by Wendy Davis's now-famous filibuster and was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry last week during a second special legislative session. It bans abortions after 20 weeks, places cumbersome restrictions on abortion clinics and physicians, and threatens to close all but five of the state’s 42 abortion clinics. Throughout the many days of hearings anti-choice activists relied on religious, scientific, and political evidence to argue that the new Texas law is just and sensible.

Many of those arguments are tenuous at best, but it is the continued reference to European abortion laws that most represent a convenient cherry-picking of facts to support the rollback of women’s rights. Many European countries do indeed regulate abortion with gestational limits, but what SB1 supporters conveniently ignore is that those laws are entrenched in progressive public health systems that provide quality, affordable (sometimes free) health care to all individuals and prioritize the sexual and reproductive health of their citizens. Most SB1 advocates would scoff at the very programs and policies that are credited with Europe’s low unintended pregnancy and abortion rates.

Members of the media have also seized on European policies to argue that Texas lawmakers are acting in the best interest of women. Soon after the passage of SB1, Bill O’Reilly argued that “most countries in the world have a 20-week threshold,” and Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, wrote, “It’s not just that Wendy Davis is out of step in Texas; she would be out of step in Belgium and France, where abortion is banned after 12 weeks.”

It’s hard to imagine any other scenario in which O’Reilly and Lowry, and most conservative politicians and activists, would hold up European social policies as a beacon for U.S. policy. After all, the cornerstones of Europe’s women’s health programs are the very programs that conservatives have long threatened would destroy the moral fabric of American society. One cannot compare the abortion policies of Europe and the United States without looking at the broader social policies that shape women’s health.

Both Belgium and France have mandatory sexuality education beginning in elementary school (in France parents are prohibited from removing their children from the program). France passed a bill earlier this year that allows women to be fully reimbursed for the cost of their abortion and guarantees girls ages 15 to 18 free birth control. Emergency contraception in both countries is easily accessible over the counter, and in Belgium the cost of the drug is reimbursed for young people and those with a prescription. Both countries limit abortion to the first trimester but also make exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and fetal impairment, to preserve woman’s physical or mental health, and for social or economic reasons. None of these exceptions are included in the new Texas law, and I’d guess it would be a cold day in hell before the likes of O’Reilly and Lowry advocate for more expansive health policies or for including such exceptions in abortion laws.  

But it would be wise if they did. This availability of preventative care contributes to the overall health and wellness of women in Europe and enables them to make free and fully informed decisions about their bodies over the course of their lifetimes. The demonization and lack of progressive sexual health policies in Texas, and in the United States more broadly, drives high rates of unintended pregnancy, teen pregnancy, maternal mortality, sexually transmitted infections, and abortion. 

Unfortunately, Texas couldn’t be further from France or Belgium when it comes to the care it provides to women and families before, during, and after delivery, as I’ve written about before. The Texas teen birth rate is nearly nine times higher than that of France and nearly 10 times higher than that of Belgium. Nearly 90 percent of all teens in France and Belgium reported using birth control at their last sexual intercourse, compared with only 53 percent in Texas. The infant mortality rate in Texas is twice that of Belgium and France. The poverty rate among women in Texas is a third higher than that of women in Belgium and France, and the poverty rate among Texas children is 1.5 times higher. Less than 60 percent of Texas women receive prenatal care, while quality care before, during, and after pregnancy is available to nearly all women throughout Europe.  

None of those hard facts were compelling enough to amend – let alone negate – the new law. It seems impossible these days to find a common ground between anti- and pro-choice individuals, but if conservatives wanted to have a conversation about enacting European-style sexual and reproductive health policies in the United States, that just might be something that could bring everyone to the same table. The more likely scenario is that once conservatives have plucked out the facts that help advance their anti-choice cause, they will promptly return to tarring and feathering Europe’s socialized health system.

Andrea Flynn is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. She researches and writes about access to reproductive health care in the United States and globally. She is on Twitter at @dreaflynn.

 

Woman and doctor banner image via Shutterstock.com

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Daily Digest - July 22: CEO Pay Problems Aren't Just in Dollars

Jul 21, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Fixing A Hole: How the Tax Code for Executive Pay Distorts Economic Incentives and Burdens Taxpayers (Roosevelt Institute)

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Fixing A Hole: How the Tax Code for Executive Pay Distorts Economic Incentives and Burdens Taxpayers (Roosevelt Institute)

Roosevelt Institute Director of Research Susan Holmberg and Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Senior Fellow in Economic Development Lydia Austin analyze the ways the performance pay loophole harms taxpayers, companies, and the economy.

If Dodd-Frank Doesn’t Work, Here are Four Things That Could (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal outlines some ideas that were rejected during the debates over Dodd-Frank. He suggests that if aspects of Dodd-Frank aren't working, we should remember these proposals, which favored strong lines over regulatory micromanagement.

Coming Home for the Recession (TAP)

Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline Fellow Nona Willis Aronowitz continues her series on Millennials and the new economy, this time focusing on young women of color for whom the recession has enforced traditional living patterns, because living with family is cheaper.

Detroit, and the Bankruptcy of America’s Social Contract (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich suggests that Detroit's bankruptcy is an indication of the problems that come from increased class segregation. By fleeing to the suburbs, Detroit's middle and upper classes untied themselves from the needs of the city.

In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters (NYT)

David Leonhardt reports on a new study that looks at income mobility across regional lines. One of the most interesting findings is that mixed income neighborhoods, where many classes live together, are a strong indication of better income mobility for children.

Deception in Counting the Unemployed (The Atlantic)

Steve Clemons looks at the work of Leo Hindery, Jr., a former CEO who has fought for better deals for workers for many years. Hindery's focus is on "real unemployment," and he claims the government's use of the U-3 numbers obscures the facts facing workers.

Mapping the Sequester's Impact on Low-Income Housing (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann discusses the ways that sequestration is affecting the people who rely on Section 8 housing vouchers. He maps out story after story of cuts that the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says will lead to a rise in homelessness.

A Shuffle of Aluminum, but to Banks, Pure Gold (NYT)

David Kocieniewski explains how banks have started buying physical commodity trading assets, like aluminum, to gain market intelligence for that commodity. This translates to miniscule increases in the cost of products, and billions in profits to the banks.

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