FDL Book Salon Welcomes Mark Blyth, Austerity: History of a Dangerous Idea

By: Sunday August 18, 2013 1:59 pm

By now, it’s been thoroughly proven by events that austerity policies backfire. Cut public spending in a deep downturn, and you only worsen the slump. Europe is the more extreme version of the proof, but even the United States, which is technically out of recession, faces a needlessly slow recovery. We’ve reduced deficits by slashing spending, raising taxes, and making sequester deals, but the supposed reward in the form of restored business confidence never arrives. Austerity, as Mark Blyth writes, neither restores growth not reduces the debt ratio, because slow growth (and in some cases negative growth) makes the debt loom that much larger.

A Glimpse Inside the Private Prison Industry’s Influence in Florida

By: Friday June 29, 2012 1:32 pm

Florida’s leadership is among the most aggressive in the nation in trying to bring private prisons to the state. The governor, speaker of the house, former speaker of the house, and a host of Republicans in the legislature repeatedly attempted to force through what would have been the largest wholesale privatization of prisons in US history.

Florida’s Private Prisons CorruptionFest 2012

By: Wednesday February 8, 2012 11:15 am

Florida continue to push to privatize its prison system, and the entire effort is being greased by millions of dollars flowing to lobbyists and Florida legislators, not to mention the Governor. Efforts to force advocates to justify claims of savings are failing, bought off by even more money from those who profit from private prisons.

Florida’s Politicians (But Not Its Residents) Love Private Prisons

By: Wednesday December 14, 2011 10:45 am

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz represents Southwest Ranches, Florida, which has been at the epicenter of a debate over a proposed immigration detention facility. Residents of the town have consistently demonstrated their opposition to the facility, which they feel was designed and planned without much public knowledge of the proceedings.

Florida’s Private Prison Mess

By: Thursday August 18, 2011 2:08 pm

Florida is embarking upon the largest prison privatization plan in history. No state has ever undertaken such an ambitious expansion of their private prison system, and for good reason; private prisons consistently fail to live up to contractual obligations, don’t save money, and provide less efficient services than government-run prisons.

Private Prisons: Pay to Play

By: Thursday July 28, 2011 4:00 pm

Two interesting pieces here regarding the influence the private prison industry wield in its political affiliations and activities. Most of the reason the industry has been so successful in securing contracts despite decades of failing to perform is the cozy relationship it has cultivated with state and federal officials who control the disbursement of public funds and criminal justice sentencing. They cultivate these relationships through donating to individual politicians and various campaigns they embark upon, but also through hiring professional lobbyists to promote their will while the legislature is in session.

Burying the Money

By: Tuesday July 12, 2011 5:15 pm

This is almost too easy. The GEO Group, a huge, multi-billion dollar corporation, also has a political action committee so that they can essentially donate twice in every political campaign they want to be a part of (it’s called GEOPAC). But apparently, all those billions of dollars couldn’t buy them lawyers that could understand the difference between state and federal laws.

Already Changing Their Tune

By: Tuesday July 5, 2011 4:39 pm

Well that didn’t take long at all. Ohio, with its anti-union, pro-corporate governor John Kasich, is planning on selling 5 state prisons to private companies who won’t perform to the same standards as the state or save money. But the administration was convinced they offered some sort of cost-savings (despite a plethora of research to the contrary), and initially said the state would earn $200 million from the sale of the prisons. But it turns out they now only expect to earn about $50 million, 1/4 of what the originally thought they’d get.

We Should Never Privatize Public Safety

By: Sunday May 22, 2011 12:30 pm

Florida’s legislature just passed a budget that will privatize the correctional services of 18 counties, basically 20% of its prison population. Though the decision has been criticized by both side of the aisle (the quote I used for the title comes from a Republican legislator, Mike Fasano), and despite the fact that private prisons in Florida, as elsewhere, have a long history of abuse and failure to perform up to contract, the deal went through.

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Upcoming FDL Book Salons

Saturday, April 19, 2014
2:00 pm Pacific
Poison Candy: The Murderous Madam: Inside Dalia Dippolito’s Plot to Kill
Chat with Mark Ebner about his new book. Hosted by Beth Karas.

Sunday, April 20, 2014
2:00 pm Pacific
The Gulf of Tonkin Events – Fifty Years Later: A Footnote to the History of the Vietnam War
Chat with John White about his new book. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize winner Deborah J. Nelson.

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