Category Archives: Economy

High healthcare expenses: The leading cause of US consumer bankruptcies

The US is the only developed nation without some form of universal coverage. The world’s richest nation doesn’t give a hoot about its ordinary people, serving its privileged class exclusively. Continue reading

To ensure dignity for ‘most vulnerable’ among us, Bernie Sanders introduces bill to expand Social Security

‘Expanding Social Security as this legislation does is a solution to our looming retirement income crisis and to growing inequality between the wealthy and everyone else.’

In an effort to strengthen one of the nation’s most popular programs as the GOP pushes for cuts, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and several congressional Democrats on Wednesday introduced the Social Security Expansion Act to ensure that seniors can retire in dignity and “everyone with a disability can live with the security they need.” Continue reading

Public workers’ trump

Air traffic controllers hold the trump card (pardon the expression) in upcoming negotiations between Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over border security. Continue reading

The financial secret behind Germany’s green energy revolution

The most profitable and efficient way for national and local governments to finance public infrastructure and development is with their own banks

The “Green New Deal” endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D.-N.Y., and more than 40 other House members has been criticized as imposing a too-heavy burden on the rich and upper-middle-class taxpayers who will have to pay for it. However, taxing the rich is not what the Green New Deal resolution proposes. It says funding would come primarily from certain public agencies, including the U.S. Federal Reserve and “a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks.” Continue reading

The fall of Davos Man

The annual confab of the captains of global industry, finance, and wealth is underway in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum. Continue reading

The latest job report is another fiction

There were not 312,000 new jobs created in December. Continue reading

Universal Basic Income is easier than it looks

Calls for a Universal Basic Income have been increasing, most recently as part of the Green New Deal introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and supported in the last month by at least 40 members of Congress. A Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a monthly payment to all adults with no strings attached, similar to Social Security. Critics say the Green New Deal asks too much of the rich and upper-middle-class taxpayers who will have to pay for it, but taxing the rich is not what the resolution proposes. It says funding would primarily come from the federal government, “using a combination of the Federal Reserve, a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks,” and other vehicles. Continue reading

This radical plan to fund the ‘Green New Deal’ just might work

With what Naomi Klein calls “galloping momentum,” the “Green New Deal” promoted by newly-elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) appears to be forging a political pathway for solving all of the ills of society and the planet in one fell swoop. It would give a House Select Committee “a mandate that connects the dots between energy, transportation, housing, as well as healthcare, living wages, a jobs guarantee” and more. But to critics even on the left it is just political theater, since “everyone knows” a program of that scope cannot be funded without a massive redistribution of wealth and slashing of other programs (notably the military), which is not politically feasible. Continue reading

China tariffs are a regressive tax on Americans, and risk a recession

“I am a Tariff Man,” Trump tweeted last week. “When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. . . . We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN.” Continue reading

Trump takes on General Motors (and guess who wins?

Donald Trump’s “America first” economic nationalism is finally crashing into the reality of America’s shareholder-first global capitalism. Continue reading

The next crash

Sorry to deliver the news, but it’s time to worry about the next crash. Continue reading

Trump’s war on the Fed

October was a brutal month for the stock market. After the Fed’s eighth interest rate hike on September 26, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 2,000 points and the NASDAQ had its worst month in nearly 10 years. Continue reading

One more time: ‘Payroll taxes’ are not taxes!

Anybody should have known the Trumpies significantly lowering federal income taxes for elite rich civilians would increase the budget deficit, as would significantly increasing military expenditures for poor soldiers, sailors, and airmen, and their staff, and their fat cat civilian corporate suppliers. Continue reading

The truth about the Trump economy

I keep hearing that although Trump is a scoundrel or worse, at least he’s presiding over a great economy. Continue reading

Breaking with Wall Street: L.A. takes it to the voters

“Wall Street owns the country.” That was the opening line of a fiery speech by populist leader Mary Ellen Lease in 1890. Franklin Roosevelt said it again in a letter to Colonel House in 1933, and Sen. Dick Durbin was still saying it in 2009. “The banks—hard to believe in a time when we’re facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created—are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill,” Durbin said in an interview. “And they frankly own the place.” Continue reading

NAFTA 2.0 is another bad deal

US free trade deals are profoundly unfair. They facilitate offshoring of jobs to China and other low-wage countries. Continue reading

The three big lessons we didn’t learn from the economic crisis

Ten years ago, after making piles of money gambling with other people’s money, Wall Street nearly imploded, and the outgoing George W. Bush and incoming Obama administrations bailed out the bankers. Continue reading

Central banks have gone rogue, putting us all at risk

Central bankers are now aggressively playing the stock market. To say they are buying up the planet may be an exaggeration, but they could. They can create money at will, and they have declared their “independence” from government. They have become rogue players in a game of their own. Continue reading

More jobs fictions

According to Friday’s payroll jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy created 200,000 new jobs in August. These jobs, assuming that they exist, are reported to be in low paid domestic service jobs such as transporting and selling goods, ambulatory health care services, and waiting tables and mixing drinks. There are none in manufacturing or in the “high tech clean fingernail” jobs that neoliberal economists promised the American work force in exchange for letting the industrial and manufacturing jobs go to Asia. Continue reading

The economy is supposed to be great, so why are workers miserable?

Quantity is on one thing, but quality is what really matters when it comes to jobs

It’s practically unanimous: Nine out of 10 establishment economists agree that America’s solid job growth and the low unemployment rate truly make ours “The Land of Opportunity.” Continue reading

The next crash

September 15 will mark the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and near meltdown of Wall Street, followed by the Great Recession. Continue reading

Our economy is more concentrated than ever

Just four tech superpowers raked in half of this year’s stock price gains by the 500 largest corporations.

America’s political history has been written in the fierce narrative of war. Not our country’s many military clashes with foreign nations, but our own unending war for democracy in the United States. Continue reading

How China’s mobile ecosystems are making banks obsolete

Giant Chinese tech companies have bypassed credit cards and banks to create their own low-cost digital payment systems.

The US credit card system siphons off excessive amounts of money from merchants, who must raise their prices to cover this charge. In a typical $100 credit card purchase, only $97.25 goes to the seller. The rest goes to banks and processors. But who can compete with Visa and MasterCard? Continue reading

How Trump’s war on regulation is trickle-down economics

When Trump’s not blaming foreigners for everything that ails America, he’s blaming regulations. Continue reading

Trump and the art of the no deal

Donald Trump promised to be America’s dealmaker-in-chief, touting his “extraordinary” ability to negotiate. But so far, Trump has shown he can’t make a deal. Continue reading

Americans live in a world of lies

The US government and the presstitutes that serve it continue to lie to us about everything. Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics told us that the unemployment rate was 3.9%. How can this be when the BLS also reports that the labor force participation rate has declined for a decade throughout the length of the alleged economic recovery and there is no upward pressure on wages from full employment. When jobs are plentiful, people enter the labor force to take advantage of the work opportunities. This raises the labor force participation rate. When employment is full—which is what a 3.9% unemployment rate means—wages are bid up as employers compete for scarce labor. Full employment with no wage pressure and no rise in the labor force participation rate is impossible. Continue reading

Trump takes on the Fed

The president has criticized Federal Reserve policy for undermining his attempts to build the economy. To make the central bank serve the needs of the economy, it needs to be transformed into a public utility. Continue reading

The City of London and Grand Theft Ethiopia

For decades now, going back to when Bob Geldoff handed over millions in cash to Meles Zenawi during “We Are the World” circa 1983-4 supposedly for food aid for the victims of what was then the Great Ethiopian Famine, the City of London has been at the heart of Grand Theft Ethiopia, grand theft Africa really. Continue reading

A public bank for Los Angeles?

City council puts it to the voters

California legislators exploring the public bank option may be breaking not just from Wall Street but from the Federal Reserve. Continue reading

What Big Meat doesn’t want you to know about slaughterhouses

It has happened at slaughterhouses run by Smithfield Foods, Swift and Agriprocessors. Continue reading

When it comes to the economy, Trump keeps two sets of books

The May jobs numbers were good last week—so swell, in fact, that our putative president couldn’t resist hinting about them in an early morning tweet last Friday morning, a major breach of confidentiality and protocol that instantly affected Treasury yields—basically, the interest rate at which the government borrows money. Continue reading

Is Donald Trump a new Herbert Hoover with his policy of isolationism and protectionism?

American president Donald Trump seems intent to isolate the U.S. economy from neighboring economies, and even from the world economy, and thus to break with three quarters of a century of closer economic cooperation between countries, established after World War II. There is a clear danger that the international economic system could become structurally unsettled for years to come, which does not mean that such a system is not in need of reform. Continue reading