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August 2, 2018, 12:40 PM ET
Ron DeSantis has been hesitant about direct attacks on Donald Trump, his primary competitor in the GOP race for the 2024 nomination, but on Saturday he criticized Trump for congratulating "murderous dictator" Kim Jung Un.
A reporter asked DeSantis what he makes of Trump congratulating the North Korean leader for North Korea's appointment to the World Health Organization. The Florida Governor said, "I was surprised to see that."
"I think, one, Kim Jung Un is a murderous dictator. They just imprisoned for life a family, including an infant, which is just outrageous," the governor said. "And then, the World Health Organization is a bankrupt organization."
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DeSantis further noted that the U.S. should be leaving the WHO, and not celebrating its recognition of Un.
"Like, Kim Jung Un is bad, but then joining that? We need to be getting out of that and rejecting the WHO lockdown treaty, and not congratulating about being involved" in it, DeSantis said Saturday to the reporter from Fox.
Dexter Barry succumbed to cardiac arrest just three days after his release from a Florida jail, and his family believes his death could have been prevented had the jail staff adhered to his cry for help, NPR reports.
Per NPR, Barry's death, "which was first reported by The Tributary, has sparked major questions about the quality of health care overseen by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office."
In addition to the late 54-year-old's family, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Florida also told NPR, "Dexter Barry's disturbing, preventable death from medical neglect highlights a major flaw in how America treats its carceral system. We urge state officials to investigate Mr. Barry's killing and pursue justice for his loved ones."
Florida pathologist Dr. Jose SuarezHoyos, "who conducted a private autopsy of Barry on behalf of Barry's family, told NPR," the 54-year-old "died from cardiac arrest that was caused by an acute rejection of the heart."
In body camera footage obtained by NPR, in his cry for help, Barry said, "I take rejection medicine for my heart transplant. I can't miss those doses."
After experiencing a near-stroke in 2008, Barry waited for a new heart for 12 years, and even moved to Florida to increase his chances of getting the procedure, King said. Barry was determined to receive the treatment because he wanted to watch his son's children grow up, as well as see King have a child of her own. In 2020, the opportunity to possibly live a longer, healthier life came true.
Janelle King, Barry's daughter said, "The officer, the judge, the jail, the nurses, the medical team, nobody did their job. As a result, my father who waited 12 years for a transplant is not here."
Andrew Bonderud, the Barry family's attorney told NPR the family will "file a lawsuit against the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office soon," adding, "There were so many people who could have prevented Dexter Barry's death. It seems to me that one phone call to the right person from the right person would've made a difference."
Okay, the House has passed the debt-ceiling deal, and the Senate will follow suit. So the economic crisis is over. Right?
Not quite, because another and more serious economic crisis is brewing: While the Fed continues to raise interest rates to counter inflation by slowing the economy, big corporations continue to raise prices. Greedflation is stalking the economy.
The latest data shows that the average company in the S&P 500 stock index increased its net profit margin from the end of last year. Wall Street analysts forecast that profit margins will keep expanding in the second half of this year.
The Fed has raised borrowing costs at 10 consecutive meetings, increasing its benchmark rate to over 5 percent. Yet inflation has barely slowed. Why? Because the Fed’s rate hikes barely affect big corporations that continue to raise prices to fatten their profits.
I want to emphasize that it’s their profit margins that continue to increase. Corporations aren’t raising prices to cover increased costs. The Producer Price Index dropped 2.3 percent for the 12 months through April. The prices of oil, transportation, food ingredients, and raw materials continue to drop as the shocks stemming from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine fade. Wage gains still lag behind price increases. Wages and salaries in the Employment Cost Index, a broader measure of worker compensation, have been trending downward for a year.
No, big corporations are raising prices because they can — because they have enough monopoly power to do so. With just a handful of companies dominating each market, it’s easy to implicitly agree they’ll all raise their prices.
They’re not plowing those profits back into investments that would make the economy more productive. They continue to sink them into stock buybacks, which reward executives and big investors but do nothing for the economy.
(By the way, corporate economists argue that businesses couldn’t be padding their profits; if they could, they would have done it before the inflation of the last two years. But businesses have been using the cover of inflation to justify price increases, so consumers accept them. According to Paul Donovan, chief economist at UBS Global Wealth Management, businesses “are confident that they can convince consumers that it isn’t their fault, and it won’t damage their brand.”)
Inflation is not being propelled by an overheated economy. It’s being propelled by overheated profits. So it makes no sense to fight inflation by trying to slow the economy with high interest rates. In fact, this strategy is dangerous — especially now that Congress and the administration are on the verge of reducing anticipated federal spending by about $55 billion next year and another $81 billion in 2025. This one-two punch will take the wind out of the job market but not out of corporate monopolies.
The good news is that even the establishment media is finally catching on. In just the past few weeks, both The Wall Street Journaland The New York Times have featured lead stories highlighting inflation driven in large part by corporations raising their prices to fatten their profits.
This opens space for shifting the burden of fighting inflation from workers and consumers to corporations.
As I’ve suggested before, instead of relying on the Fed to “tame” inflation via fewer jobs and lower wages, Democratic lawmakers and the Biden administration should seek legislation that puts more of the onus of fighting inflation on big corporations. Such legislation would:
If Republicans won’t go along, Biden and the Democrats should make this a major campaign issue for 2024.
They should ask the public: Do you want more jobs and higher wages, or do you want large corporations making fatter profits by raising prices?
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