Asset-Price Inflation and Rent Seeking

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A Total-Returns Profile of Economic Polarization in America Michael Hudson Based on work with Dirk Bezemer, with charts by Howard Reed Polarization in America, 23 September 2019 “More than half of all Americans feel pressure and strain, according to the April 2019 Global Emotions Report published by Gallup. Most (55%) Americans recall feeling stressed much of the day in 2018. That’s more than in all but three countries globally. Nearly half of Americans felt worried (45%) and more than a fifth (22%) felt angry. ‘Even as their economy roared, more Americas were stressed, angry and worried last year than they have been at many points during the last decade,’ Julie Ray, a Gallup editor, wrote in the summary report.” USA Today, April 26, 2019 “For me the relevant issue isn't what I report on the bottom ...

Break up the Dem Party

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Why we need to abolish the Democratic National Committee, even if that means breaking up the Democratic Party Thursday’s debate on Walt Disney’s ABC channel is shaping up as yet another shameless charade. The pretense is that we are to select who the Democratic presidential candidate will be. But most Americans, as the Irish say, vote with their backsides, belonging to the informal but dominant party of non-voters who choose not to be sucked into legitimizing the bad choices put before them. But the limited airing of their personalities reflects the fact that most Americans, as the Irish say, vote with their backsides, belonging to the informal but dominant party of non-voters who choose not to be sucked into legitimizing the bad choices put before them. The debate is being presented as ...

A Travesty of Protectionism

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Trump’s series of threats this week was a one-two punch. First, he threatened to impose national security tariffs on steel and aluminum, primarily against Canada and Mexico (along with Korea and Japan). Then, he suggested an alternative: He would exempt these countries IF they agree to certain U.S. demands. But these demands make so little economic sense that they should be viewed as an exercise in what academia used to call power politics. Or in Trump’s world, Us versus Them, a zero-sum game in which he has to show that America wins, they lose. It won’t work. Trump’s diplomatic ploy with Mexico is to say that he’ll be willing to exempt them from the steel and aluminum tariffs if they ...

Putin: The empty veil of ‘democracy’

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As published on Counterpunch. In his Orwellian September 28, 2015 speech to the United Nations, President Obama said that if democracy had existed in Syria, there never would have been a revolt against Assad. By that, he meant ISIL. Where there is democracy, he said, there is no violence or revolution. This was his threat to promote revolution, coups and violence against any country not deemed a “democracy.” In making this hardly-veiled threat, he redefined the word in the vocabulary of international politics. Democracy is the CIA’s overthrow of Mossedegh in Iran to install the Shah. Democracy is the overthrow of Afghanistan’s secular government by the Taliban against Russia. Democracy is the Ukrainian coup behind Yats and Poroshenko. Democracy is Pinochet. It is “our bastards,” as Lyndon Johnson said, with regard to ...

Obama Wins for whom?

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As published in Counterpunch The Democrats could not have won so handily without the Citizens United ruling. That is what enabled the Koch Brothers to spend their billions to support right-wing candidates that barked and growled like sheep dogs to give voters little civilized option but to vote for “the lesser evil.” This will be President Obama’s epitaph for future historians. Orchestrating the election like a World Wrestling Federation melodrama, the Tea Party’s sponsors threw billions of dollars into the campaign to cast the President’s party in the role of “good cop” against stereotyped opponents attacking women’s rights, Hispanics and nearly every other hyphenated-American interest group. In Connecticut, Senate candidate Linda McMahon spent a reported $97 million (including her earlier ego ...

Debt Ceiling Set For Progressive Repealing

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Mr. Obama’s scare tactics to get Democrats to vote for his Republican Wall Street plan The Wall Street bailout melodrama should be viewed as a dress rehearsal for today’s debt-ceiling non-crisis. You know that the debt kerfuffle is as melodramatically staged as a World Wrestling Federation exhibition when Mr. Obama makes the blatantly empty threat that if Congress does not “tackle the tough challenges of entitlement and tax reform,” there won’t be money to pay Social Security checks next month. In his debt speech last night (July 25), he threatened that if “we default, we would not have enough money to pay all of our bills – bills that include monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses.” This is not remotely ...

Wall Street's Euthanasia of Industry

Michael interviewed on Guns N Butter with Bonnie Faulkner Listen here Transcription “When I was in Norway one of the Norwegian politicians sat next to me at a dinner and said, “You know, there’s one good thing that President Obama has done that we never anticipated in Europe. He’s shown the Europeans that we can never depend upon America again. There’s no president, no matter how good he sounds, no matter what he promises, we’re never again going to believe the patter talk of an American President. Mr. Obama has cured us. He has turned out to be our nightmare. Our problem is what to do about the American people that don’t realize this nightmare that they’ve created, this smooth-talking American Tony Blair in the White House.” ...

Greece now, US soon

Geithner says, wait a minute, American banks have made huge billion-dollar–maybe, for all we know, a trillion-dollar bet that the Greeks will repay. They’ve made derivative plays, they’ve made cross-party insurance, and American banks would lose money. Now, if there’s a choice between American banks losing $1 and Europe going into neo-feudalism for a generation, Geithner will support the $1.

Obama's Bushism

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I almost feel naïve for being so angry at President Obama’s betrayal of his campaign promises regarding taxes. I had never harbored much hope that he actually intended to enact the reforms that his supporters expected – not after he appointed the most right-wing of the Clintonomics gang, Larry Summers, then Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke and other Bush neoliberals. But there is something so unfair and wrong that I could not prevent myself from waking up early Tuesday morning to think through the consequences of President Obama’s sellout in the years to come. Contrary to his pretense of saving the economy, his action will intensify debt deflation and financial depression, paving the way for a long-term tax shift off wealth onto labor. In achieving a giveaway that Democrats never would have ...