Dr. Jack Rasmus continues his discussion and critique of the fundamental errors of analysis shared by the two wings of contemporary academic economics: the ‘Retro Classicalists’ and ‘Hybrid Keynesians’, focusing on their fetish attachment to money supply, interest rates, and their inadequate shared, misunderstanding of the relationships between money and credit, real and financial asset investment, and the growing role of Finance Capital in the 21stcentury global capitalist economy. Dr. Rasmus then takes on what he calls the ‘Neo-Marxist’ wing of contemporary Marxist economic analysis, explaining how and why their fixation on the idea of a ‘Falling Rate of Profit’ in real production leads to wrong conclusions that are not even shared by Marx himself. The neo-marxist notion that falling profits (not supported in fact) are why capitalists have been turning toward finance is shown as logically incorrect, as well as not supportable by either definitions of profits or global data on profits. Rasmus argues the central concept in Marx is not falling rate of profit, but capital accumulation—that is investment—and that Marx himself began to explore, but did not complete, his analysis of the proper role of finance in capitalist investment and capital accumulation.
Jack Rasmus invites guests, Steve Early and Arun Gupta, to discuss ‘What Strategy for Union Labor in America’. Dr. Rasmus notes how union membership is now in freefall despite tens of millions of workers wanting to have a union today, how collective bargaining is in retreat now on the benefits as well as wages front, and how Labor’s political and industrial strategies of the past two decades have both produced little positive result. Dr. Rasmus and guests discuss how US Labor’s political strategy of ever closer ties to the Democratic Party has resulted in virtually no gains for workers the past 6 years despite billions of dollars of union contributions to the party. And how Labor’s industrial-bargaining strategy, focused on maintaining health and pension benefits in lieu of wage increases, is now being ripped apart as well by legislated health care and pension changes. With political-industrial strategies of the last two decades now in disarray, what are the alternatives for forging new strategies for organized labor in America? Jack and guests discuss what it means to say labor should embark on a path of more ‘independent political action’ and/or initiate new forms of industrial and bargaining, while reducing its reliance on the Democratic party and its primary focus on maintenance of benefits bargaining.
Dr. Jack Rasmus and guest, Dr. Margaret Flowers, provide a progressive critique of Obamacare and its growing problems of implementation and coverage. Dr. Rasmus explains how, and why, Obamacare will continue to unravel in 2014-15 and potentially implode, in whole or part, by 2016. Rasmus explains in detail how Obamacare has delayed and exempted businesses from participation in the program; why business penalties for failure to participate are in sufficient; why subsidies for individuals to participate are inadequate and won’t work; why enrollment will continue to seriously lag projections by wide margins in 2014; why the Act is the death-knell for union negotiation health plans; how businesses and health insurance corporations area increasingly ‘gameing’ the system. Rasmus explains how the Act is really a scheme for ‘moving the money around’, from those who now have coverage to those who don’t—where the money is moved first through the health insurance companies that skim off excess profits in the process—and how Obamacare should be understood as the extension of prior attempts to privatize health care via George W. Bush’s Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) in the past decade and Bill Clinton’s ‘Managed Health Care’ before that.
Rasmus and Margaret Flowers explain how ‘Medicare for All’ is the only real alternative that will work, showing how its initial enrollment process, benefit coverage, and costs have been, and continue to be, far superior to the Obamacare-Bushcare-Clintoncare market privatization approaches. Rasmus forewarns that as Obamacare continues to unravel the real fight will begin over ‘Medicare for All’ vs. total privatization of health care via ‘Vouchers for Some’ that conservatives are now preparing in the wings once again.
Jack Rasmus discusses the ‘Great American Tax Shift’, shows how the Corporate Tax has been steadily declining for decades as a percent of federal revenues, percent of national income, and percent of corporate profits; why the Corporate Tax ‘effective rate’ is now 12%, not the official 35%; why corporations today pay state taxes of barely 2%, instead of official 5-10% rates, and only 2% on foreign earnings instead of 15-28%—for a total global real tax payment of 16%–not the 45%-50% corporate apologists claim. Jack explains how all this results in Corporate America now sitting on more than $10 trillion in cash and how that translates into income inequality trends and a global economy that is unable to fully recover from recession. Various myths about corporate taxes are also refuted (i.e. tax cuts create jobs, US corps have highest taxes in the world, corporations pay double taxes, etc.). And new corporate tax cut measures pending now in Congress in the Tax Code overhaul bill are explained.
Dr. Jack Rasmus discusses the facts and key trends involving US corporate taxes, the role of corporate taxes in forthcoming US tax code overhaul legislation moving through Congress, and the strategic nature of plans to cut corporate taxes from 35% to 28% by the ‘Committee of 29′ in Congress seeking a new deficit cutting deal . Rasmus explains the true picture of corporate taxation in America–i.e. real effective corporate tax rates and trends, share of corporate taxes as percent of government revenues, corporate taxation as percent of corporate profits, offshore shifting of $2 trillion of corporate profits to avoid US taxation, what US corporations actually pay to governments overseas, and other key trends in corporate taxation. Multinational corporate loopholes like ‘Irish Double’, ‘Dutch Sandwich’, ‘Check the Box’, ‘Looking Through Rule’, and other tax avoidance means are explained. (Watch ‘Part 2′ of this discussion next week on Alternative Visions, when the US corporate tax ‘Race to the Bottom between US states, and the similar broader ‘Race to the Bottom’ between nation states, are both explained).
Dr. Jack Rasmus provides an update on last week’s interim ‘Government Shutdown-Debt Ceiling Extension’ deal in Washington and explains the real role and strategy of the Teaparty faction in recent months and going forward to the 2014 elections. With the Teaparty no longer the driving force, now the real negotiations begin (again) between Obama/Congressional Democrats and Congressional Republicans, returning to the ‘well orchestrated dance 2.0’ laid out this past summer before the Teaparty’s intervention. Rasmus predicts there will be a government funding deal by the next January 2014 budget deadline, and there will be no repeated debt ceiling crisis on February 7, 2014. The coming Obama-Republican deal will now include major cuts to social security and medicare, and possibly more tax cuts for corporate America as well. In addition, the $500 billion in proposed sequester defense spending cuts will be further restored in the coming deal, and that restoration has in fact already begun. (For a 35 min. video presentation on “Why Social Security and Medicare Are Not in Crisis”, download Jack’s presentation at: http://www.kyklosproductions.com/videos.html
Dr. Jack Rasmus focuses on the latest debt ceiling-government shutdown negotiations in Washington, and his prediction of the past weeks that a deal would be reached. That deal appears will occur today, October 16, 2013—at least the first phase. The real negotiations now begin, Rasmus predicts, involving trading off major spending cuts targeting social security and medicare—plus more corporate tax cuts in the pending ‘Tax Code Overhaul’ bill moving through the US House—for a still longer term debt ceiling and government budget agreement that will all occur early next year. Dr. Rasmus explains how Obamacare was never a real issue in the negotiations, and how the real strategy was deficit cuts for debt ceiling. Also explained is how the current settlement is a repeat of the August 2011 debt ceiling 1.0 agreement, cutting spending by $1 trillion, and the 2012 fiscal cliff settlement cutting spending by another $1.2 trillion (the sequester) along with $4 trillion in permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts. It represents what Dr. Rasmus calls the ‘Well Orchestrated Dance’ (2.0) between the two wings of the ruling capitalist party. (see Dr. Rasmus’s blog, jackrasmus.com, for prior articles on the fiscal cliff of December 2012 and debt ceiling 1.0 deal of August 2011).
Dr. Jack Rasmus and guest, Dr. Margaret Flowers, discuss the strategic significance of Obamacare as leverage by conservatives to extract further spending concessions from social security, Medicare, and Medicaid from the Obama administration. Rasmus explains in depth the Republican-Teapublican joint strategy behind provoking a dual government shutdown and crisis involving the debt ceiling extension. Rasmus explains where and how the already slowing US and global economies will be significantly impacted by the debt ceiling crisis and that the current crisis is but a dress rehearsal for a bigger confrontation a year from now before the 2014 midterm elections. Rasmus and Flowers explore how the Obamacare Act is a convenient lynchpin for the strategy now unfolding. Both examine the major faults of the Obamacare law, the current roll out among states, and how its shortcomings and failures play into the Republican-radical right strategy to cut entitlements today and win election in 2014 in Congress.:
Dr. Margaret Flowers is a physician and advocate for Medicare for All, the Secretary of Health for the ‘Green Shadow Cabinet’, co-host of the Washington DC radio show, ‘Clearing the Fog’, a journalist, and past activist in the Occupy Washington DC movement.
Dr. Jack Rasmus provides his analysis on the current government shutdown and the repeat of the debt ceiling crisis coming by mid-October and their possible negative impacts on the economy. Rasmus then considers the ‘other policy crisis’–i.e. the US Federal Reserve’s QE and zero interest rate monetary policies. He explains why US monetary policy has also entered a crisis stage in recent months–i.e. proving increasingly ineffective at stimulating the real economy while simultaneously generating financial bubbles. QE and austerity policies elsewhere in the world are discussed, with similar counterproductive effects on the real economy. Rasmus concludes the US and global economy is now entering a period of growing ineffectiveness of traditional fiscal-monetary policies generating a sustained economic recovery, at a time during which the US and global economies continue to slow or stagnate long term.