Category Archives: Economy

How Uncle Sam launders marijuana money

Thirty states and the District of Columbia currently have laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form. The herb has been shown to have significant therapeutic value for a wide range of medical conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma, lung disease, anxiety, muscle spasms, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, and arthritis pain. Continue reading

How one coal baron set an entire administration’s energy agenda

In a political system awash in money, it's Big Coal vs. democracy.

It’s common knowledge that our political system is awash with money. And that money, despite some flimsy legal barriers, comes with strings attached. Continue reading

When your bank fails, don’t walk . . . run!

So. the US economy is just fine. The post-recession 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation has cured all. Banks have lots of cash. Congress is your friend and that certain-to-pass Tax Cut and Jobs bill will finally allow you, your family and America to . . . MAGA. Continue reading

Student debt slavery II: Time to level the playing field

The lending business is heavily stacked against student borrowers. Bigger players can borrow for almost nothing, and if their investments don’t work out, they can put their corporate shells through bankruptcy and walk away. Not so with students. Their loan rates are high and if they cannot pay, their debts are not normally dischargeable in bankruptcy. Rather, the debts compound and can dog them for life, compromising not only their own futures but the economy itself. Continue reading

Student debt slavery: Bankrolling financiers on the backs of the young

Higher education has been financialized, transformed from a public service into a lucrative cash cow for private investors. Continue reading

Why making American corporations more competitive doesn’t help most Americans

Trump and congressional Republicans are engineering the largest corporate tax cut in history in order “to restore our competitive edge,” as Trump says. Continue reading

The economic implications of Trump’s trade & tax policies

Sudden changes in trade and tax policies, the likes of those considered by the Trump administration, could be very disruptive to macroeconomic equilibrium, especially if they result in a sudden burst of inflation and in rapid interest rate hikes. Indeed, raising taxes on imports, repatriating large corporate profits parked overseas and increasing the fiscal deficit, when the economy is running at close to full capacity, can result in both demand-led and supply-led inflation. This could come much faster than most people expect, if all these measures are implemented in the coming years. Continue reading

The public bank option—safer, local and half the cost

A UK study published on October 27, 2017 reported that the majority of politicians do not know where money comes from. Continue reading

Regulation is killing community banks–public banks can revive them

Crushing regulations are driving small banks to sell out to the megabanks, a consolidation process that appears to be intentional. Publicly-owned banks can help avoid that trend and keep credit flowing in local economies. Continue reading

How to wipe out Puerto Rico’s debt without hurting bondholders

During his visit to hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico, President Donald Trump shocked the bond market when he told Geraldo Rivera of Fox News that he was going to wipe out the island’s bond debt. Continue reading

Why the Republican tax plan is more failed trickle-down economics*

Trump and conservatives in Congress are planning a big tax cut for millionaires and billionaires. To justify it they’re using the oldest song in their playbook, claiming tax cuts on the rich will trickle down to working families in the form of stronger economic growth. Continue reading

How to fund a universal basic income without increasing taxes or inflation

In May 2017, a team of researchers at the University of Oxford published the results of a survey of the world’s best artificial intelligence experts, who predicted that there was a 50 percent chance of AI outperforming humans in all tasks within 45 years. All human jobs were expected to be automated in 120 years, with Asian respondents expecting these dates much sooner than North Americans. In theory, that means we could all retire and enjoy the promised age of universal leisure. But the immediate concern for most people is that they will be losing their jobs to machines. Continue reading

The US economy is failing

Do the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page editors read their own newspaper? Continue reading

Renegotiating NAFTA: Hold the cheers

Trump promised a “stronger and better” deal. The only equitable one is fair, not free, trade benefiting everyone, not business and large investors exclusively. Continue reading

Saving Illinois: Getting more bang for the state’s bucks

Illinois is insolvent, unable to pay its bills. According to Moody’s, the state has $15 billion in unpaid bills and $251 billion in unfunded liabilities. Of these, $119 billion are tied to shortfalls in the state’s pension program. On July 6, 2017, for the first time in two years, the state finally passed a budget, after lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto on raising taxes. But they used massive tax hikes to do it—a 32% increase in state income taxes and 33% increase in state corporate taxes—and still Illinois’ new budget generates only $5 billion, not nearly enough to cover its $15 billion deficit. Continue reading

Don’t trust business with education

Greasy politicians use education funds to enrich corporations—and themselves.

Betsy DeVos and her husband Dick are lucky: They inherited a big chunk of the multi-billion-dollar fortune that Dick’s dad Richard amassed through his shady Amway corporation. But what they’ve done with their Amway money is certainly not the American Way. Continue reading

‘1984’ at the grocery store

Amazon is buying Whole Foods, and that's bad news for humans.

Wall Street analysts tell us that Amazon’s $14 billion buyout of Whole Foods isn’t only a win-win for both of them, but also for consumers, for Amazon intends to lower the organic grocer’s prices. Continue reading

Our obsolescent economy

A friend of mine from India tells a story about driving an old Volkswagen beetle from California to Virginia during his first year in the United States. In a freak ice storm in Texas he skidded off the road, leaving his car with a cracked windshield and badly dented doors and fenders. When he reached Virginia he took the car to a body shop for a repair estimate. The proprietor took one look at it and said, “it’s totaled.” My Indian friend was bewildered: “How can it be totaled? I just drove it from Texas!” Continue reading

Sovereign debt jubilee, Japanese-style

Let’s face it. There is no way the US government is ever going to pay back a $20 trillion federal debt. The taxpayers will just continue to pay interest on it, year after year. Continue reading

Democracy is a front for central bank rule

Several years ago when the Federal Reserve had its Fed funds rate at zero to 25 basis points (one-quarter of one percent—0.25%), there was a great deal of talk, somehow presented as urgent, whether the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates. Continue reading

Dear Mr. President, be careful what you wish for: higher interest rates will kill the recovery

Responding to earlier presidential pressure, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates this week for the third time since November, from a fed funds target of 1% to 1.25%. But as noted in The Guardian in a March 2017 article, titled “Trump Is Set to Win the Battle on Interest Rates, but US Economy Will Pay the Price”: “An increase in the base rate, however small, will tighten the screw on younger voters and some of the poorest communities who voted for him and rely on credit to get by. Continue reading

Without Glass-Steagall America will fail

For 66 years the Glass-Steagall Act reduced the risks in the banking system. Eight years after the act was repealed, the banking system blew up, threatening the international economy. US taxpayers were forced to come up with $750 billion dollars, a sum much larger than the Pentagon’s budget, in order to bail out the banks. This huge sum was insufficient to do the job. The Federal Reserve had to step in and expand its balance sheet by $4 trillion in order to protect the solvency of banks declared “too big to fail.” Continue reading

Donald Trump & Andrew Cuomo are brothers in reactor disaster

Donald Trump and New York governor Andrew Cuomo have joined forces in destroying our economy and environment. Continue reading

If China can fund infrastructure with its own credit, so can we

May 15–19 has been designated “National Infrastructure Week” by the US Chambers of Commerce, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and over 150 affiliates. Their message: “It’s time to rebuild.” Ever since ASCE began issuing its “National Infrastructure Report Card” in 1998, the nation has gotten a dismal grade of D or D+. In the meantime, the estimated cost of fixing its infrastructure has gone up from $1.3 trillion to $4.6 trillion. Continue reading

Deep State, shallow politics, dumb economics

Evidence that this home of the master race of self-chosen people was the world’s greatest democracy even before Trump

In 1965, the USA had 780,000 people in prison, jail, on parole or on probation. Continue reading

Trump’s banksters and the rollback of Dodd-Frank

Donald Trump has ordered a rollback of regulations over Wall Street, including the Dodd-Frank Act, passed in 2010 to prevent another too-big-to-fail banking crisis. Continue reading

The truth about Trumponomics

When Donald Trump spoke at Boeing’s factory in North Charleston, South Carolina—unveiling Boeing’s new 787 “Dreamliner”—he congratulated Boeing for building the plane “right here in the great state of South Carolina.“ Continue reading

Trump administration considering ‘back-door way’ to cut Social Security

‘If Trump proposes this Trojan horse, it would be the newest shot in the ongoing Republican war against Social Security'

President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a promise not to cut Social Security, is reportedly considering a plan to eliminate much of the payroll tax that funds the critical safety net program. Continue reading

What a state-owned bank can do for New Jersey

Phil Murphy, the leading Democratic candidate for governor of New Jersey, has made a state-owned bank a centerpiece of his campaign. He says the New Jersey bank would “take money out of Wall Street and put it to work for New Jersey—creating jobs and growing the economy [by] using state deposits to finance local investments . . . and . . . support billions of dollars of critical investments in infrastructure, small businesses, and student loans—saving our residents money and returning all profits to the taxpayers.” Continue reading

More fake news From Washington—this time it is about employment

The US government continues to lie about everything, not just Russia, Syria, Iran, and China. The US government is incapable of telling the truth about something as straightforward as employment. According to the government, March produced only 98,000 new payroll jobs, an insufficient amount to reduce unemployment, but the unemployment rate fell from 4.7 to 4.5 percent. Continue reading

Freedom Rider: Liberals expose themselves

George W. Bush vowed not to criticize Barack Obama. “He deserves my silence.” He added for good measure, “I love my country more than I love politics. I think it is essential that he be helped in office.” If anyone needed additional proof that Obama was a servant of the ruling classes Bush certainly provided it. Continue reading

Why Trumponomics fails

When Donald Trump gave a speech last Friday at Boeing’s factory in North Charleston, South Carolina—unveiling Boeing’s new 787 “Dreamliner”—he congratulated Boeing for building the plane “right here” in South Carolina. Continue reading