Alternative Visions

With Dr. Jack Rasmus
Alternative Visions: will focus on today’s continuing crisis in the U.S. and global economies, interviewing guests with fresh new ideas explaining not only how we got in today’s mess but, more importantly, what might be done differently from policies and programs in the past to get out of it.

Alternative Visions – TPP Part 2: The New Corporate Government & Other Chapters – 11.20.15

November 20, 2015

Dr. Jack Rasmus looks in depth at Chapters 27-28 of the TPP and how they set up a new global corporate government. Why the TPP violates Article III of the US Constitution and how its signing on October 4 in Atlanta represents the ‘founding convention’ of a new form of global corporate government. Jack explains the new ‘legislative-executive’ body of the TPP ‘Commission’ and the new tribunal courts system and the danger they represent to existing representative government in the US and the 12 member countries. Jack critiques the claim of TPP supporters that it is a ‘living agreement’, asking if this means every time the TPP is changed as new countries join will the TPP have to be ‘ratified’ each time? If not, then corporations and bureaucrats running the Commission and Courts will change the TPP as they like. Other chapters are reviewed on trade in goods, investment, intellectual property, financial services, labor and environment. Jack challenges Obama’s claim that 18,000 tariff cuts will mean more exports and jobs for US workers, noting TPP provides no control over currency devaluations which will more than offset tariff reductions. TPP is about ensuring money and investment flows by US banks, IT, and services companies without limit. It protects big Pharma companies and removes opposition to US produced GMO products by big US Agribusiness. TPP means: more profit and sales for them and fewer jobs, lower wages, and destruction of representative Democracy for the rest. Jack announces a new format for future shows: The first half of the show will identify critical global and US economic developments of the preceding week, followed by comments on the economic proposals and programs of US presidential candidates. The second half of the show will focus on interviews or presentations on a major feature of the US or global economy. Next week’s feature: ‘Why the Global Economy is Slowing and why the IMF, World Bank, and Central Banks Keep Under-Forecasting the Trend’.

Alternative Visions – Analyzing the TPP Agreement Terms & Conditions, Part 1 – 11.13.15

November 13, 2015

Jack Rasmus undertakes the first of a two part deep examination of the terms and conditions of the actual TPP agreement recently concluded. The origins and true functions of free trade agreements is explained, beginning with the 1944 Bretton Woods international monetary system, the IMF, and World Bank established by the US, the role of trade in US global dominance to the 1970s, the restructuring of trade and money flows in the 1970s, and the advent of Neoliberalism in the 1980s under Reagan and Thatcher. How free trade became the international lynchpin of US neoliberal policies, beginning in the 1980s and expanding ever since under both Democrat and Republican administrations. Obama as the biggest advocate of Free Trade thus far is explained. Jack then begins a section by section analysis of the 30 chapters of the TPP, with an overview of provisions associated with ‘goods’ trade, investment, financial services, intellectual property and Pharmaceuticals, and the Disputes Settlement/Corporate Global Courts system section that will undermine domestic democracy and sovereignty and lead to a new drive for global corporate supra-political institutions. In Part 2 next week, further details of the 30 chapters, and reactions by labor, environmental advocates, food safety groups, and others will be reviewed—as well as reports by organizers of the Nov. 18 national US protests against the TPP.

Alternative Visions – Dissecting US 3rd Quarter GDP Numbers Today – 10.30.15

October 30, 2015

Jack Rasmus looks beneath the surface of today’s announced preliminary figures for third quarter 2015 GDP, which slowed sharply at 1.5% from the previous quarter’s 3.9% official growth rate. Jack predicts the US economy is headed, once again, in early 2016 for another ‘relapse’ with US GDP collapsing to zero or near zero growth—for the fifth time of a single quarter collapse since 2011. The US economy is on a ‘stop-go’ trajectory of periodic single quarter ‘relapses’ followed by short, shallow recoveries. Jack notes a similar process globally has been occurring in Europe and Japan, where ‘recessions’ instead of ‘relapses’ occur. 3rd Quarter US data show problems in business spending on inventories, business structures and equipment investment. Problems in US manufacturing and exports continue and will worsen, he argues, and housing growth will remain tepid based on high end residences and apartments. Jack challenges claims by media and economists that US consumer spending will continue to prop up the US economy, citing recent negative wage growth, deflating prices, and rising household debt. Look for 4th quarter growth no better than third, then a ‘relapse’ in 2016 as the likely trajectory. In the second half of the show, Rasmus discusses how US multinational corporations like Apple, Google, Starbucks and others manipulate global tax loopholes, how Wall St. manipulates the pharmaceutical companies, and how US consumers pay for pharma-bank profits and multinational corps taxes. Why politicians in office, and running, will do nothing about it—and pass even more tax cuts for US corporations after 2016 elections.

Alternative Visions – Europe Ups ‘Ante’ In Global ‘QE Currency Devaluation’ Game – 10.23.15

October 26, 2015

Jack reviews the most recent threat by Europe’s central bank to expand its ‘quantitative easing’ program in order to gain share of a slowing global trade pie. As the global economy slows and competition for exports intensifies from China to US to Japan to Europe, the European Central Bank announces plans to expand its $1.1 trillion free money program for bankers and investors. Jack explores the possible consequences of the likely decision: Japan will no doubt follow with further expansion of its own QE program to defend its share of global exports. The US federal reserve, its central bank, will be less likely to raise interest rates in turn—as US exports and manufacturing are already close to stagnating, and reducing US GDP. Simultaneously, China announces its sixth cut in interest rates. Major sectors of the global economy and intensifying competition over a shrinking global economy. Jack also updates recent Alternative Visions shows on the TPP, Big Pharmaceutical companies’ price gouging, and the Chrysler-Auto Workers recent negotiations. With TPP almost a done deal, now corporate America, Jack predicts, will focus on its second big objective: corporate tax cuts. How US multinational tech and pharma companies play the global tax avoidance game is explained.

Alternative Visions – Chrysler Auto Workers Fight To Resurrect Union Bargaining and Their Union – 10.16.15

October 16, 2015

Jack Rasmus welcomes long time UAW auto worker rank and file activist, Gregg Shotwell, to discuss the current negotiations between UAW and Chrysler Fiat. Gregg explains why the first proposed contract was rejected 2 to 1 by auto workers, and the issues remaining with the pending re-vote on a second proposal. Gregg explains the importance of the fight to end two tier second class worker citizenship in Auto, where 45% of the workers at Chrysler today are temp and receive half pay without retirement or health benefits. Key issues are discussed, including ending two tier, getting a raise after 10 years without any, demands for overtime pay after 8 hrs work, ending alternative work scheduling, preventing management from passing costs for the health care tax (Obamacare) onto workers, and other issues in the first rejected contract recommended by UAE ‘concession caucus’ leaders. Gregg explains how Chrysler was bought by Fiat without paying anything, and how managers, salaried workers and stockholders have gotten big payoffs the past decade while workers have been frozen in pay and benefits, despite Chrysler sitting on a $4 billion cash hoard and Chrysler workers have taken a 24% pay cut since 2007. The second contract proposal about to come up for another vote is discussed by Gregg. Both Jack and Gregg discuss the potential significance of the Chrysler contract for reversing trends that have devastated auto and other workers in the US and decimated US unions and collective bargaining. As Shotwell explains succinctly: US workers everywhere have been “working longer, harder and for less money”, not just in auto. Can Chrysler workers begin a ‘march back’ for US workers? Listen to the discussion by long time rank and filer, Shotwell, with decades and deep roots in the UAW.

Alternative Visions – Transpacific Partnership Free Trade Analysis – 10.09.15

October 9, 2015

Jack takes a look at the leaks concerning provisions of the TPP trade agreement signed this past week. Why the TPP will mean loss of jobs with little or no job creation in the US in return. Why it means reduction in wages will continue. The phony statements by Obama and pundits about its effects, and the verbal maneuverings by Clinton and Republicans. Jack explains how China is not the currency manipulator, but Japan and now the other Asian members of TPP. Special focus on the treaty’s effects on pharmaceutical and health, autos, agriculture, manufacturing, Boeing Corp., and other sectors in the US. Negotiation maneuvers between the US, Australia, Japan and others. Why a vote next year, during election cycle, is more likely to pass rather than less likely. Why Congress will talk the talk, but then pass it. How TPP and free trade is really about US corporations’ foreign direct investment and less about goods exchanges between countries. Jack concludes explaining that the global trade recession now beginning will result in currency declines accelerating in the other countries that will more than offset the tariff cuts. The net result will be no gains for the US and big losses as a result of currency manipulation by other members of the treaty.

Alternative Visions – ‘Three Official Reports Point to Global Economic Trouble’ – 10.02.15

October 5, 2015

A review of three just released reports that indicate the US and global economy is in much worst shape than the hype flowing from political and business media sources. Today’s US jobs report showed a sharp reduction in the rate of private sector job growth in the US economy for the past three months, as labor force and wage growth continue to stagnate as well. Jack explains why the official data is even worse than reported. A second report by the World Trade Organization indicates global trade is retreating fast, growing much less than global GDP which is itself slowing fast. According to estimates, global trade may have even contracted in the first half of 2015. Jack explains how a global recession in trade and industrial production (manufacturing, mining, utility output) may have already begun, with global services eventually to follow. Conditions in Europe, Japan, China, and the ‘perfect storm’ accelerating in Emerging Markets from latin America to Asia to Africa are reviewed. Next week’s IMF report on the growing crisis in the global economy, centered on emerging markets and China, is previewed. In the context of these developments, Jack explains how his new, forthcoming book, ‘Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy’, by Clarity Press, due out in November provides a theoretical and empirical explanation of the conditions and where the economy is headed, and how the book is different fundamentally from analyses provided by both mainstream economists or Marxist economists.’

Alternative Visions – ‘US Fed Reverses Course on Rate Hikes? + ‘How Big Pharma is Killing Us’ – 09.25.15

September 25, 2015

Jack reviews briefly the apparent flip-flop by Janet Yellen, chair of the US central bank, in her talk on September 24, as she shifted course from last week’s Fed meeting, and signaled that a US interest rate hike will almost certainly come in December. How the Fed is now caught between its emerging, contradictory role as central bank for the US as well as for the global economy. Jack challenges Yellen’s view that US prices, now at 0.5%, will eventually rise as oil prices reverse and increase again and as the labor market in the US improves—and explains why this is not likely to happen soon. In the second half of the show, big Pharmaceutical companies are the topic. Jack explains how Wall St. and shadow bankers increasingly run Pharma and have turned it into a speculative investing center where drug price manipulation and gouging is increasingly the norm causing astronomically price hikes for life-saving drugs, with the result of killing of countless more Americans denied unaffordable drugs. How Wall St. has turned the industry, from what should be a public good, into a $500 billion speculative profits center with 20% annual rates of return, into a prime source of mergers and acquisitions profits for banks, and into a major tax avoidance (thru global tax ‘inversions’) industry that gets $100 billion in government R&D subsidies. Jack reviews in detail the latest scandal to hit the press this past week, with Turing Corp.’s 5000% increase for a pill to treat toxoplasmosis that prevents infections in pregnancies, cancer, and AIDs patients. Similar price manipulations delivering ‘rentier’ profits by Rodelis Corp., Valeant Corp., Alexion and Gilead Corps are reviewed. How the disease of finance capital is spreading throughout the US economy as bankers and corporate America continue to ‘kill’ Americans in the name of excess profits.

Alternative Visions – ‘Corporate Cash Piles $15.3 Trillion; US FED Keeps Free Money Flowing’ – 09.18.15

September 18, 2015

Jack Rasmus discusses the US Federal Reserve’s decision to keep interest rates near zero and keep free money to banks and speculators flowing. Jack explains how free money from the FED keeps financial asset bubbles in stocks, junk bonds, forex, derivatives and the like going, and feeds ever growing profits from financial assets. Who were the forces and lobbyists behind the FED decision? What did they have to gain? How the FED decision will soon result in central banks in Japan and Europe expanding their own ‘QE’ programs further, intensifying global currency wars and slowing global trade. How global finance capital has become addicted to the free money from the FED and other central banks and is unable to wean themselves off of it. What it means for the coming next recession. In the second half of the show Jack reveals how cash on US, Europe and Japan corporate balance sheets still exceeds $7.3 trillion—after corporations have distributed to shareholders since 2009 more than $8 trillion in stock buybacks, dividend payouts, and private equity firm profit sharing distributions to partners. Jack explains how corporations in the three regions, north America, Europe and Japan, accumulated the $15.3 trillion—i.e. from free money, legislated tax cuts, and cuts to worker’s wages and benefits.

Alternative Visions – “Is the ‘Labor for Bernie’ Campaign Catching Fire?’ – 09.11.15

September 14, 2015

Jack Rasmus interviews Rand Wilson, a lead organizing for ‘Labor For Bernie Sanders’ campaign on the east coast. Rand describes the latest events to build union support for the Sanders campaign, currently being organized by the core 7500 public endorsers who comprise the ‘Labor for Bernie’ group. A conference call last week by the group included 26,000 supporters, according to Rand, who called in to listen to Sanders explain why he’s the best pro-labor candidate in the upcoming 2016 election. Already receiving significant support from white supporters nationwide in his round of speaking tours, Sanders may now be receiving notable support from at least certain segments of the unions, including Nurses, Postal, and Transport workers. Rand describes what’s going on currently in union circles to build support and endorsements for Sanders, how Sanders’ positions differ from Hillary Clinton’s, and how Sanders, unlike Clinton, refuses to take corporate money. Also unlike Clinton, Rand explains, Sanders wants to build a grass roots movement, a ‘political revolution’ in Sanders’ own words, from the bottom up. Jack raises the question whether this grass roots movement and ‘revolution’ is just a ‘Sanders election’ effort, or whether it is viewed by the ‘Labor for Bernie’ group and its organizers as the start of something longer term, beyond the upcoming Democratic party primaries, that intends to unify not only local unions but other single issue community based protest movements.” Listeners interested in finding out more about the ‘Labor for Bernie’ organization and efforts, go to and to the Sanders website for his positions on workers rights Rand Wilson is a member of SEIU 888 representing higher education workers, and has a long union activist history working for the Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers, SEIU, Teamsters, Jobs for Justice organizing, and the AFLCIO campaign to defend against the Bush attacks on Social Security in the previous decade.
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