Big Fish, Little Fish

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US 2015 budget anti pension law, January 2, 2015. On the Senate’s last day in session in December, it approved the government’s $1.1 trillion budget for coming fiscal year. Few people realize how radical the new U.S. budget law was. Budget laws are supposed to decide simply what to fund and what to cut. A budget is not supposed to make new law, or to rewrite the law. But that is what happened, and it was radical. Wall Street’s representatives in Congress – the Democratic leadership as well as Republicans – took the opportunity to create an artificial crisis. The press called this “holding the government hostage.” The House – backed by the Senate – said that it would shut the government ...

The Koch Brothers’ Governors

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Butlers Selling the Public’s Silver…. A Dress Rehearsal for Hillary? by Jeffrey Sommers & Michael Hudson The Koch Brothers are the closest thing the United States has to Russia’s oligarchs. They fuse ownership of the economy and state, using the latter to enrich themselves while making private gains through the public’s losses. Their idea of a “market economy” is to buy government officials and the assets they privatize at giveaway prices. The top three butlers at the Koch’s nouveau riche ‘Downton Abbey’ are Governors Sam Brownback of Kansas, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, and Chris Christie of New Jersey. All three ran elections based on the anti-Keynesian oxymoron of promoting job creation by balancing budgets with regressive tax plans. All declared that cutting taxes (chiefly on ...

Backfired!

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U.S. New Cold War policy has backfired – and created its worst nightmare 1. The world’s geopolitics, major trade patterns and military alliances have changed radically in the past month. Russia has re-oriented its gas and oil trade, and also its trade in military technology, away from Europe toward Eurasia. The result is the opposite of America’s hope for the past half-century of dividing and conquering Eurasia: setting Russia against China, isolating Iran, and preventing India, the Near East and other Asian countries from joining together to create an alternative to the U.S. dollar area. American sanctions and New Cold War policy has driven these Asian countries together in association with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as an alternative to NATO, and ...

Think Tank Memories

Think Tanks Blow Public Opinion: Prof Michael Hudson on the most influential US think tanks by Renegadeeconomists on Mixcloud Subscribe to the weekly Renegade Economists podcast Transcript Renegade Economists October 1, 2014: DOUBLETHINK TANKS, TAR SANDS, WATER & IMPERIALISM. Karl Fitzgerald: This week on the Renegade Economists we’re joined by Professor Michael Hudson, the author of The Bubble & Beyond, Super Imperialism, and a host of other books. You can read his work at www.Michael-Hudson.com. Certainly our favourite guest here on the Renegade Economists and Michael, today we’re going to have a look at the role of think tanks in sculpting the American mind and the public policy that flows from that. What’s your take on the role of think tanks in American ...

Piketty vs. the Classical Economic Reformers

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As published in the Real World Economics Review #69 - Special issue on Piketty’s Capital Thomas Piketty has done a great service in collating the data of many countries to quantify the ebb and flow of their distribution of wealth and income. For hundreds of pages and tables, his measurements confirm what most people sense without needing statistical proof. Across the globe the top 1% have increased their share of wealth and income to the steepest extreme since the Gilded Age of the late 19th and early 20th century. The Federal Reserve’s 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances shows that economic polarization has accelerated since the 2008 crash. The 0.1% of Americans have pulled even further ahead of the rest of the 1%, ...

EU Fracking Wedge

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An interview with Radio Voice of Russia, World Service on Ukrainian sovereignty in the face of IMF loans, the push for fracking by US interests and how corruption lurks in the background. Is this Ukrainian pressure part of an EU fracking wedge on behalf of certain interests? According to this perspective, food sovereignty is a relict of past times. Play This

Losing Credibility: The IMF’s New Cold War Loan to Ukraine

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By Michael Hudson In April 2014, fresh from riots in Maidan Square and the February 22 coup, and less than a month before the May 2 massacre in Odessa, the IMF approved a $17 billion loan program to Ukraine’s junta. Normal IMF practice is to lend only up to twice a country’s quote in one year. This was eight times as high. Four months later, on August 29, just as Kiev began losing its attempt at ethnic cleansing against the eastern Donbas region, the IMF signed off on the first loan ever to a side engaged in a civil war, not to mention rife with insider capital flight and a collapsing balance of payments. Based on fictitiously trouble-free projections of the ability ...

The New Cold War’s Ukraine Gambit

Michael Hudson The following article is from a new book, Flashpoint in Ukraine, edited by Stephen Lendman. It is currently available from Clarity Press as an e-book, and soon to be printed. Finance in today’s world has become war by non-military means. Its object is the same as that of military conquest: appropriation of land and basic infrastructure, and the rents that can be extracted as tribute. In today’s world this is taken mainly in the form of debt service and privatization. That is how neoliberalism works, subduing economies by indebting their governments and using unpayably high debts as a lever to pry away the public domain at distress prices. It is what today’s New Cold War is all about. Backed by ...

Stockholm Syndrome in the Baltics

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Latvia’s Neoliberal War Against Labor and Industry Published in The Contradictions of Austerity: The socio-economic costs of the neoliberal Baltic model Edited by Jeffrey Sommers & Charles Woolfson This article examines how neoliberal policymakers trained in the United States captured Latvia’s economic policy to impose pro-rentier, pro-bank, anti-labor tax and financial policies. Latvia’s national interests were subordinated to those of the banks, which were mainly Swedish. These banks made real estate loans far in excess of Latvians’ ability to pay, and also lent recklessly to Latvia’s private capital market prior to the autumn 2008 economic crash.  Latvians suffered a ‘Stockholm Syndrome,’ imposing austerity and internal devaluation policies that pauperized the economy while identifying their national interest with Swedish economic views and banking ...

Russia, Crimea and the Consequences of NATO Policy

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Ukrainian Hangovers AS first published on Counterpunch by JEFFREY SOMMERS and MICHAEL HUDSON Russia’s incursion (invasion if you prefer) into Crimea, with prospects for movement into Eastern Ukraine, is the culmination of US/NATO policy since 1991. The unraveling of the USSR and its Soviet bloc (the Warsaw Pact) dismantled the largest empire in modern history. Even more striking, it was the most peaceful dissolution of a major empire in history. The fact that an empire stretching over a dozen time zones that included hundreds of ethnic groups with concrete historical and contemporary grievances with each other broke up without a bloodbath is nothing short of a miraculous – and a reflection of the destruction of spirit and even of economic understanding that marked the ...