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Thoroughly Modern Bob – Coming to a Legislature Near You!

Paul Hatfield
PERSPECTIVE-Thoroughly Modern Millie was a Tony Award winner. State Senator Bob Hertzberg is rolling out his own sequel. The only problem is the production cost. Actually, the real problem is we will be the ones bankrolling it if Bob gets the green light. It is the most expensive tax scam concocted, more than California HSR. I’m talking…

Elite Girls School Has Brentwood Up in Arms … Over Traffic

John Schwada
INSIDE LA-Hairdresser Mikell Powell is walking her two dogs in Brentwood along Sunset Boulevard just across the street from the Archer School for Girls (photo left). “I’m opposed to anything that would make driving on Sunset here anymore hellish than it already is,” Powell says as her dogs tug on their leashes. No question: there’s a 1.2 mile…

Homeless LA: Safe Havens, Not Sidewalks

Mike Bonin
WHO WE ARE-In recent years, Los Angeles has seen more progress in combating homelessness than it ever has – yet the problem is still getting worse. Since 2011, the region has housed more than 23,000 people – a record number even by national standards. Yet homelessness is on the rise. Encampments are proliferating in our neighborhoods throughout…

Can LA Afford Another Olympics?

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Boston bailed on hosting the 2024 Olympics when Mayor Martin Walsh refused to sign a host city contract with the United States Olympic Committee (“USOC”) that would have put Beantown (and possibly the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) on the hook for any cost overruns associated with this 17 day extravaganza. But Walsh’s refusal to…

The Petty Hypocrisy of Mandatory Ethics Training

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-As a member of a neighborhood council board, I am required by state law to do 2 hours of ethics training every 2 years. Elected officials such as members of the City Council are also required to take this training. The curious thing about our California ethics rules is that they prohibit the small stuff while looking the other way…

Los Angeles: Brown lives Matter!

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-According to the Los Angeles Times, over the last five years in LA County, coroner's data show that Latinos, who make up about half of the county's population, also represent about half the people killed by police. Of the 23 people fatally shot by law enforcement in the county this year, 14 were Latino. The Times raises an…

Grading the LA Times: Mike Feuer’s B+ Leaves Something Out

Noel Weiss
OTHER VOICES-Reading the LA Times’ Report Card grade of B+ for City Attorney Mike Feuer, it was good to see at least a 'hat-tip' to the issue of whether the City Attorney really is the “attorney for the people.” But their conclusion seems to be that he is not, and I believe that is wrong. Exactly who does the City Attorney represent? Certainly, he…

Beverly Hills Pounds Final Nail in Bike Lanes Coffin

Mark Elliot
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-If you expected that Beverly Hills might install bicycle lanes on our segment of Santa Monica Boulevard when reconstructing it next year, you will be sorely disappointed to know that City Council just pounded the final nail into the bike lanes coffin. City Council split on the Blue Ribbon Committee recommendation to expand…

Helter Skelter, Murder and the Looming Race War

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA-In one of our last conversations before his death earlier this year, author and prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi lamented that while he had successfully imprisoned Charles Manson, he feared he had only made a dent in the threat of an apocalyptic race war that the mass murderer had hoped to ignite. “Madness and mad men,” said Bugliosi,…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.





You’re gonna cry! Kids sing to teacher with cancer

Scarrrry! The Flying Gun

Kid Stuff! Full of chuckles


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We're Becoming a Nation of Servants

OTHER WORDS - Fire fighter, basketball player, lion tamer, teacher, nurse: Ask little kids what they want to be when they grow up, and you'll get all sorts of answers. But you'll never hear this one. You'll never hear youngsters say they want to devote their careers to serving rich people.
 
Today's youth might want to reconsider. They're facing an American economy where serving rich people increasingly seems to offer the best future with real opportunity. We're well on the way to becoming a full-fledged "servant economy," as the economist Jeff Faux puts it. 
 
We've had "servant economies" in the world before. At times, people even rushed toward servant status. In the early industrial age, jobs in mines and factories would be dangerous and pay next to nothing. Domestic work for rich families could seem, by comparison, a relatively safe haven.
 
But that calculus changed as workers organized and won the right to bargain for a greater share of the wealth they were creating. Over the first half of the 20th century, America's super-rich lost their dominance, and fewer and fewer Americans worked as servants for them.
 
This state of affairs didn't last long. Since the late 1970s we've witnessed an assault on the building blocks of greater equality — strong unions, progressive taxes, regulatory limits on business behavior — that has hollowed out the American middle class.
 
Good manufacturing jobs have largely disappeared, outsourced away. Most Americans no longer make things. They provide services.
 
We could, of course, have a robust "service" economy, if we built that economy on providing quality services to all Americans. But providing these quality services, in everything from education to transportation, would take significant public investment — and significant tax revenue from America's rich.
 
A half-century ago, we did collect significant tax revenue from America's wealthy. No longer. Tax cuts have minimized that revenue and left public services chronically underfunded. That leaves young people today, Faux notes in his new book The Servant Economy, with a stark choice.
 
Young people can either become engineers and programmers and spend their careers in "pitiless competition with people all over the world" just as smart and trained but "willing to work for much less." Or they can join the servant economy and "service those few at the top who have successfully joined the global elite."
 
In this new "servant economy," we're not talking just nannies and chauffeurs. We're talking, as journalist Camilla Long notes, "pilots, publicists, art dealers, and bodyguards" — a "newer, brighter phalanx of personal helpers."
 
Want to see the world? In the new servant economy, you can become a "jewelry curator" and voyage to foreign lands to pick up gems for wealthy clients.
 
Want to face daily challenges? You can become a concierge and hire an elephant for a wealthy patron's wedding reception.
 
Or, if you lean traditional, you can always shell out $12,000 for a course that will certify you as a manservant in good standing with the Guild of Professional English Butlers.
 
A butler can annually pull in over $100,000. But serving the rich can be far more lucrative than that. Interior decorator Michael Smith pulled in an $800,000 fee for his work on a Wall Street CEO's office. John Blackburn, an architect in Washington, DC, specializes in designing horse barns for wealthy equestrians. His fee can run up to $300,000 per barn.
 
But we have a basic problem here. We have a limited pool of super-rich people who can afford to commission horse barns and hire elephants.
 
As of this past summer, calculates the Credit Suisse Research Institute, only 38,000 Americans had fortunes over $50 million. The entire world has only about 3 million people worth at least $5 million.
Even if those 3 million gave gainful "servant economy" employment to 100 people each, we would still have another 4 billion folks on the outside of the "servant economy" looking in.
 
The "servant economy" can only be a dead end. We need to change course.
 
(Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the weekly Institute for Policy Studies newsletter on excess and inequality. This column was provided to CityWatch by OtherWords.org a project of The Institute for Policy Studies.) -cw
 
 
 
 
 
 
CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 88
Pub: Nov 2, 2012
 
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