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Alternative Visions -Potholes Emerging in the US Economy? -05.19.17

Last week the US stock market experienced a major hiccup as it now appears the US economy is softening in areas and the ‘Trump Trade’ may not materialize. Dr. Rasmus explores the soft spots in the US economy in US policy, business spending, household consumption, trade and government spending. Consumer and Corporate debt data released by the NY Federal Reserve …

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Alternative Visions – How Macron and Trump Economic Policies Are Similar – 05.12.17

Dr. Rasmus reviews early policy directions of newly elected French President, Emmanuel Macron, that focus on anti-labor reform, business tax cuts, and privatization and how that set of policy priorities is similar in many ways to Trump’s.  How recent reports on unemployment in Europe show jobless rates at 18% (not 9.5%) while the US rate is really 9%-12% and not …

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Alternative Visions – Is the US Economy Deteriorating? + Is Trump Really President? – 05.05.17

Jack Rasmus looks at some contrarian negative indicators that the US economy is stumbling: reports show productivity and fixed investment are nearly stagnant. Bank loans in 2017 are growing less than 3% compared to 10% in 2014-16, retail sales are negative last two months, the worst since 2010. Auto sales are declining three months in a row, worst since 2008. …

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Alternative Visions – Eyewitness Report on the Elections in France + US GDP Report – 04.28.17

The show welcomes back guest, Alan Benjamin, an eyewitness to the recent elections in France last week, to discuss what’s going on in France. Will the right wing, Le Pen party, win in the runoff election coming up in a couple of weeks, or will the candidate backed by the French business and political elite, Macron, win?  What are progressives …

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Alternative Visions – 8 Disturbing Economic Reports + Taming Trump Revisited – 04.14.17

As the euphoria of the false promise of Trump policies stimulating US economic growth continue to fade, host Dr. Jack Rasmus reviews several economic reports indicating not much has changed for the US and global economies since Trump’s election.  Jack reviews the IMF’s report on productivity that continues to slow (US productivity now less than 0.5% annual growth compared to …

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Alternative Visions – Background to Coming Trump-Republican Tax Cuts – 03.31.17

Big tax cuts for rich and corporations are the next big policy offensive around the corner. Jack provides an historical review of tax cuts for rich and corporations in the US over the past century. Major tax reform proposals are summarized since the passage of the corporate and personal income tax in 1913 through Nixon in 1971. Details of the …

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Alternative Visions – Will the ‘Trump Trade’ Fade? – 03.24.17

The US stock markets are recognized by a growing number of analysts as approaching, or already in, bubble territory. Yet stocks have ratcheted up another 15%-20% since Trump won the election. The run-up is sometimes called the ‘Trump Trade’. Investors have been ploughing in even more anticipating another stage of corporate profits subsidization by Trump and Republican fiscal policies—Trump proposed $6.2 trillion in tax cuts, deregulation (Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, EPA, Mergers & Acquisitions encouragement, etc.), shifting hundreds of billions $ from social programs to defense spending, and $1 trillion in Trump proposed infrastructure spending. Jack explains how expectations of the policy shift to fiscal from central bank, monetary policies from 2008-2016, is now the new strategy for subsidizing corporate profits and investor further wealth gains. Central bank monetary policy had run its course and began to develop contradictions. Fiscal policy—tax cuts, deregulation, infrastructure and defense spending—is the new strategy. US stocks surged in anticipation of the new profit opportunities. But signs Trump may not deliver have stopped investors in their tracks this past week. Failure to deliver policy may result in a major stock pullback in 2017. Jack cites various sources that the current stock market bubble has peaked.

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Alternative Visions – The Federal Reserve Hikes Interest Rates—What’s Behind the Decision – 03.17.17

The Fed raised interest rates again this past week. Jack explains it has little to do with it having reached its inflation or employment targets, but represents the major policy shift underway by US economic elites. From Fed low interest policy for eight years subsidizing stock, bond and financial assets—and thereby corporate and investor profits and incomes of the wealthiest 1%–the shift now underway is to subsidize profits and incomes of the 1% by cutting taxes, deregulation, and moderate infrastructure spending. Sustained low Fed rates were beginning to cause more instability in financial markets after 8 years. They played their part in boosting profits and incomes; now another policy ‘mix’ is emerging. Jack shows how Fed 2% inflation and job targets are phony justifications for Fed low rate policy continuation; how and why long term rates which the Fed doesn’t control will continue to rise, and what the global responses and effects in Europe, Japan and China will be to the new Fed direction. Will the Fed be used by the US economic elite to check Trump? Possibly.

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Alternative Visions – Deconstructing the Republican House/Paul Ryan Obamacare Repeal Bill – 03.10.17

Jack Rasmus dissects the Republican/Ryan proposal of this past week to repeal and replace the Obamacare Act. The proposal is first and foremost a $500 billion a year tax cut for corporations and the wealthiest 1%, as they no longer have to contribute anything to the plan. Other provisions of the proposals are described, including the freeze and dismantling of the Medicaid elements, the end of all mandates, the sliding scale of in come for credits, etc. This is a tax cut bill and a further privatization bill, and should be viewed as the first of a sequence of medical related bills that will make everyone ‘pay more for less’. Next target: Medicare. Rasmus reviews the plusses and minuses of the Obama ACA, and why it was doomed from the start due to inability to control health cost increases. The show concludes with an analysis of the origins of escalating health costs since the 1990s, which have their roots in health insurance companies’ and drug companies’ drive to buy out competitors and Wall St.’s penetration of these companies to require more profitability in exchange for loans to buy up their competitors. The trend for a quarter century has been increasing privatization and rationing of health care costs and services. And it’s about to become worse. (Next week: The Federal Reserve’s next interest rate hike next week and its impact)

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Alternative Visions – Trump in Historical Perspective: From Nixon to Breitbart – 03.03.17

In today’s show, Jack puts Trump strategy and policies in historical perspective, showing how his proposed programs are rooted in policies initially proposed by Nixon and Reagan. Trump represents the latest in a series of corporate-radical right initiatives to restructure economic and political relationships periodically with US foreign competitors and to contain domestic challenges.  Nixon’s NEP program of 1971, and …