Archive for March, 2014

[By Bart Haggin] I am almost reluctant to to send this out because it oversimplifies wealth in the US and in the world.

The real power of the rich resides in families of the wealthy who OWN the country.  They do this with outright purchase or inheritance and by owning controlling interest in private or public corporations.  These are the people who really pull the strings.  Most of these billion ares are just campaign contributors and lobbyists for corporations that they have an interest in.  The real movers and shakers are, largely, out of the public arena.
Locally [here in Eastern Washington], think the Cowles foundation here in Spokane.
Oxfam International, a poverty fighting organization, made news at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year with its report that the world’s 85 richest people own assets with the same value as those owned by the poorer half of the world’s population, or 3.5 billion people (including children). Both groups have  $US 1.7 trillion. That’s $20 billion on average if you are in the first group, and $486 if you are in the second group.
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As a result, by the time Forbes published its 2014 Billionaires List in early March, it took only 67 of the richest peoples’ wealth to match the poorer half of the world. (For the purpose of this blog, I will put aside the conversation about the importance of income inequality versus impoverishment. This has recently been skewing strongly toward recognition of the importance of income distribution and its inequality, most recently with the publication of Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty.)(Forbes, March 25, 2014)
Valley Hospital Spokane Valley

Photo credit to Harvey Brown

It took long enough to happen.  However, after months of nurses and other medical workers performing their jobs without a contract, the management at Spokane Deaconess Hospital and Spokane Valley Hospital have given a bargaining date to employees. Nurses and other medical workers represented by SEIU local will be negotiating on workplace issues and other matters to agree on a new contract between their collective bargaining unit and Community Health Systems. The quality of patients care at Valley and Deaconess Hospitals and safe staffing levels will be a key part of the talks.

Nurses and other medical workers await a bargaining date for long-awaited contracts with the Deaconess Hospital, Spokane, Wa. and Valley Hospital, Spokane Valley, Wa. Their key demand for more staffing to improve patient health and safety goes unanswered by the hospitals’ for-profit owner Community Health Systems Inc. Read the rest of this entry