Category Archives: Economy

The 7 biggest failures of Trumponomics

Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress keep crowing about the economy, when in reality Trumponomics has been a disaster. Continue reading

The gig is up

Uber just filed its first quarterly report as a publicly traded company. Although it lost $1bn, investors may still do well because the losses appear to be declining. Continue reading

The bankers’ ‘power revolution’: How the government got shackled by debt

The U.S. federal debt has more than doubled since the 2008 financial crisis, shooting up from $9.4 trillion in mid-2008 to over $22 trillion in April 2019. The debt is never paid off. The government just keeps paying the interest on it, and interest rates are rising. Continue reading

Trump’s trade war has probably permanently damaged America’s tech leadership position

On May 15, US president Donald Trump issued an “Executive Order on Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain.” Continue reading

Trump’s ‘trade war’ is a war on you

“It’s not China that pays tariffs,” Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace pointed out on May 12. “It’s the American importers, the American companies that pay what, in effect, is a tax increase and oftentimes passes it on to U.S. consumers.” Continue reading

The next state-owned bank—California or Washington?

As public banking gains momentum across the country, policymakers in California and Washington state are vying to form the nation’s second state-owned bank, following in the footsteps of the highly successful Bank of North Dakota, founded in 1919. The race is close, with state bank bills now passing their first round of hearings in both states’ senates. Continue reading

Why is the Fed paying so much interest to banks?

When Mary Poppins was made into a movie in 1964, Mr. Banks’ advice to his son was sound. Banks were then paying more than 5% interest on deposits, enough to double young Michael’s investment every 14 years. Continue reading

Media blackout as Israel’s largest banks pay over $1 billion in fines for US tax evasion schemes

Similar revelations about other banks and offshore tax-evasion schemes—such as those contained in the Panama Papers—led to global protests and even the resignations of some world leaders.

WASHINGTON—Israel’s three largest banks—Hapoalim Bank, Leumi Bank and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank—have all been ordered to pay record fines, which collectively are set to total over $1 billion, to the U.S. government after the banks were found to have actively colluded with thousands of wealthy Americans in massive tax-evasion schemes. Continue reading

Monetary policy takes center stage: MMT, QE or public banks?

As alarm bells sound over the advancing destruction of the environment, a variety of Green New Deal proposals have appeared in the US and Europe, along with some interesting academic debates about how to fund them. Monetary policy, normally relegated to obscure academic tomes and bureaucratic meetings behind closed doors, has suddenly taken center stage. Continue reading

Why unions matter to you

As I travel around the country, I tell people: if you have a job, join a union. And if you don’t have a union, start one. Continue reading

Is neoliberalism killing Russia?

Putin’s approval rating is high, but it has declined over the past year. The decline is mainly related to domestic policy. Apparently, the public perceives recent Kremlin economic policy as a continuation of the disastrous policies that Washington imposed on Russia in the 1990s when Russia was loaded up with foreign debt while state assets were privatized and plundered by oligarchs sponsored by the West who “cashed out” by selling the assets to foreigners. Continue reading

QE forever: The Fed’s dramatic about-face

“Quantitative easing” was supposed to be an emergency measure. The Federal Reserve “eased” shrinkage in the money supply due to the 2008-09 credit crisis by pumping out trillions of dollars in new bank reserves. After the crisis, the presumption was that the Fed would “normalize” conditions by sopping up the excess reserves through “quantitative tightening” (QT)—raising interest rates and selling the securities it had bought with new reserves back into the market. Continue reading

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