Category Archives: Money

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

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

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

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

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

Blackstone, BlackRock or a public bank?

California needs over $700 billion in infrastructure during the next decade. Where will this money come from? The $1.5 trillion infrastructure initiative unveiled by President Trump in February 2018 includes only $200 billion in federal funding, and less than that after factoring in the billions in tax cuts in infrastructure-related projects. The rest is to come from cities, states, private investors and public-private partnerships (PPPs) one. And since city and state coffers are depleted, that chiefly means private investors and PPPs, which have a shady history at best. Continue reading

Fox in the hen house: Why interest rates are rising

On March 31, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate for the sixth time in 3 years and signaled its intention to raise rates twice more in 2018, aiming for a fed funds target of 3.5% by 2020. LIBOR (the London Interbank Offered Rate) has risen even faster than the fed funds rate, up to 2.3% from just 0.3% 2–1/2 years ago. LIBOR is set in London by private agreement of the biggest banks, and the interest on $3.5 trillion globally is linked to it, including $1.2 trillion in consumer mortgages. 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

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

‘We’ll look at everything’: More thoughts on Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan

The Trump agenda, it seems, is not set in stone. The president-elect has a range of advisors with as many ideas. Steven Mnuchin, his nominee for Treasury secretary, said in November that “we’ll take a look at everything,” even the possibility of extending the maturity of the federal debt with 50-year or 100-year bonds to take advantage of unusually low interest rates. Continue reading

Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan

Lincoln had a bolder solution

In Donald Trump’s victory speech after the presidential election, he vowed, “We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.” Continue reading

Central Bank Digital Currencies: A revolution in banking?

Several central banks, including the Bank of England, the People’s Bank of China, the Bank of Canada and the Federal Reserve, are exploring the concept of issuing their own digital currencies, using the blockchain technology developed for Bitcoin. Skeptical commentators suspect that their primary goal is to eliminate cash, setting us up for negative interest rates (we pay the bank to hold our deposits rather than the reverse). Continue reading

Can Jill carry Bernie’s baton?

A look at the Green candidate’s radical funding solution

Bernie Sanders supporters are flocking to Jill Stein, the presumptive Green Party presidential candidate, with donations to her campaign exploding nearly 1000% after he endorsed Hillary Clinton. Stein salutes Sanders for the progressive populist movement he began and says it is up to her to carry the baton. Can she do it? Critics say her radical policies will not hold up to scrutiny. But supporters say they are just the medicine the economy needs. Continue reading

Japan’s “helicopter money” play: Road to hyperinflation or cure for debt deflation?

Fifteen years after embarking on its largely ineffective quantitative easing program, Japan appears poised to try the form recommended by Ben Bernanke in his notorious “helicopter money” speech in 2002. The Japanese test case could finally resolve a longstanding dispute between monetarists and money reformers over the economic effects of government-issued money. Continue reading

Brexit and the derivatives time bomb

Sovereign debt—the debt of national governments—has ballooned from $80 trillion to $100 trillion just since 2008. Squeezed governments have been driven to radical austerity measures, privatizing public assets, slashing public services, and downsizing work forces in a futile attempt to balance national budgets. But the debt overhang just continues to grow. Continue reading

‘Print the money’: Trump’s ‘reckless’ proposal echoes Franklin and Lincoln

“Print the money” has been called crazy talk, but it may be the only sane solution to a $19 trillion federal debt that has doubled in the last 10 years. The solution of Abraham Lincoln and the American colonists can still work today. Continue reading

Panama Papers offer more evidence that free trade isn’t really free

As much as President Clinton and President Obama like to talk about ‘free trade’ deals, the truth is that the working class ends up paying.

You might wonder what the connection is between a friendly game of golf last summer in Martha’s Vineyard and the Panama Papers. Read on. Continue reading

The war on savings: The Panama Papers, bail-ins, and the push to go cashless

The bombshell publication of the “Panama Papers,” leaked from a Panama law firm specializing in shell companies, has triggered both outrage and skepticism. In an April 3 article, titled “Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak,” UK blogger Craig Murray writes that the whistleblower no doubt had good intentions; but he made the mistake of leaking his 11.5 million documents to the corporate-controlled Western media, which released only those few documents incriminating opponents of Western financial interests. Continue reading

Inside the black hole of negative interest rates

Many nations that experimented with the Fed’s economic recovery plan are now going beyond the outer limits into the twilight zone of negative interest rates. Some of these nations continued to skirt in and out of the edfge of recession throughout their years of economic stimulus; so, now they’ve powered their programs into hyperdrive to see if they can escape the gravity of their circumstances. Their situation appears desperate and hopeless. Continue reading

U.S. banks ready for negative interest rates?

The test run proved that negative interest rates can push savers into minus territory. Public outrage, while registered is not heard by the central bankers. The reasoning that commercial banks will start making loans because of the cost of sitting on deposits is pure fantasy thinking. Continue reading

Both parties agree: Selling out is worth it

The lobbying industry, despite a small decline in revenue, is still the fastest way to make big bucks in Washington.

Pity poor Washington. No doubt breaking the hearts of elected and appointed government officials, their staffs and hangers-on, the Open Secrets blog at the Center for Responsive Politics reports that the “influence industry appears to be contracting, and the trend continued in 2015.” Continue reading

A crisis worse than ISIS? Bail-Ins begin

While the mainstream media focus on ISIS extremists, a threat that has gone virtually unreported is that your life savings could be wiped out in a massive derivatives collapse. Bank bail-ins have begun in Europe, and the infrastructure is in place in the US. Poverty also kills. Continue reading

Hang onto your wallets: Negative interest, the war on cash, and the $10 trillion bail-in

Remember those old ads showing a senior couple lounging on a warm beach, captioned “Let your money work for you”? Or the scene in Mary Poppins where young Michael is being advised to put his tuppence in the bank, so that it can compound into “all manner of private enterprise,” including “bonds, chattels, dividends, shares, shipyards, amalgamations . . .”? Continue reading

How Obama could beat the debt ceiling and go out a hero

On November 3, the US government will again run out of money due to a debt ceiling artificially imposed by Congress. This is the third time in four years that a radical faction has taken the country to the brink of default to extort concessions that are at best only marginally related to the budget. Continue reading

Time for the nuclear option: Raining money on Main Street

Predictions are that we will soon be seeing the “nuclear option”—central bank-created money injected directly into the real economy. All other options having failed, governments will be reduced to issuing money outright to cover budget deficits. So warns a September 18 article on ZeroHedge, titled “It Begins: Australia’s Largest Investment Bank Just Said ‘Helicopter Money’ Is 12-18 Months Away.” Continue reading

Near zero percent US federal funds rate since December 2008

Low rates benefit investors at the expense of savers, retirees and pensioners without paychecks needing income especially harmed. At near zero percent for nearly seven years, virtually none is forthcoming for most people. Continue reading

Quantitative easing for people: The UK Labour front-runner’s controversial proposal

Dark horse candidate Jeremy Corbyn, who is currently leading in the polls for UK Labour Party leader, has included in his platform “quantitative easing for people.” Continue reading

Massive movement of cash from Fed prior to 9/11

CHICAGO, Il—Although the 9/11 Commission and Federal Bureau of Investigation claimed they thoroughly investigated suspicious “put options” placed against the shares of United and American Airlines, as well as Swiss Re and Munich Re prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, they failed to investigate another set of suspicious financial transactions prior to 9/11. Continue reading

How America became an oligarchy

According to a new study from Princeton University, American democracy no longer exists. Using data from over 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page concluded that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of—or even against—the will of the majority of voters. America’s political system has transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where power is wielded by wealthy elites. Continue reading