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Alternative Visions – Europe’s Central Bank Expands Its QE in Response to Japan’s – 03.11.16

Last month the Bank of Japan (BoJ) expanded its QE program and negative interest rates (NIRP) in a desperate attempt to reboost its stock market and Yen exchange rate. This past week the European Central Bank (ECB)went a step further, as both the ECB and BoJ continue to engage in ‘dueling QEs’ that are intensifying global currency wars and slowing global trade. ECB chairman, Mario Draghi, lowered the Eurozone’s negative rate on government bonds another notch, now to -0.4%. Reportedly half of all government bonds in Europe now trade at negative rates. In addition, the ECB raised its monthly buying amount from $66 billion to $88 billion, and now will buy corporate bonds as well. The move subsidizes Euro corporations, lowering their costs of borrowing and insurance (CDS) on bonds, a move to offload the $1.5 trillion in corporate non-performing loans in Europe. Jack Rasmus explains why this won’t have any effect on the Eurozone real economy but will temporary boost stocks and currency. Jack also reviews why global oil prices have risen recently to $40 a barrel, Japan’s official return to recession after doctoring GDP numbers last 3Q2015, China’s latest ‘mini-stimulus’, the US deepening control of Ukraine’s economy, and the significance of the ‘Socialist’ government in France new attack on eliminating the 35 hr. workweek, where 90% of all jobs created in 2015 were part time and temp, and the mass protests now emerging there. Jack concludes with brief introduction to his forthcoming May 2016 book, ‘Looting Greece: The Emergence of a New Imperialism’, and his next book out October 2016 entitled, ‘Central Bankers on the Ropes’, both from Clarity Press. (see his blog, jackrasmus.com and Clarity Press for more information).

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Alternative Visions – Presidential Legacies: the True Records of Reagan and Clinton – 03.04.16

Republican and Democrat presidential candidates sing the praises of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, promising to return to their ‘golden years’ if elected and ‘make America great again’. In today’s show we look at the real record and legacies of Reagan and Clinton: how the 1% got filthier rich under both, how wages and benefits for workers stagnated or fell, how pensions and health care coverage and costs collapsed and rose, how jobs were off shored, reduced by free trade, how part time and temp job creation became rampant, how budget and trade deficits soared, how social security costs were shifted to workers, and other ‘great accomplishments’ were recorded. How Clinton policies were continuation of Reagan’s. How the 1% went from 39% of all income gains to 45% (and today to 97%). The show concludes with some comments on what might happen to the Trump and Clinton nominations and the great uncertainties for the two party system possible this election cycle.

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Alternative Visions – Rent Price Gouging and Grass Roots Resistance – 02.26.16

Jack welcomes local community organizers, Maria Marroquin, director of the Worker Day Center in Mt. View, California, and Gayle McLaughlin, former mayor and now city councilperson in Richmond, California, to explain the grass roots efforts underway in their cities today to resist and rollback skyrocketing rent prices. With apartment rents having risen 25%-30% the past two years, and wages either frozen or falling for working and middle class families, more are being displaced and forced to move out of their homes—often evicted unfairly and arbitrarily by apartment chain property owners owned by hedge funds and other big finance Wall St. organizations. Maria describes the efforts in progress in her city to unite forces to resist unjust evictions and stabilize rents by passing city ordnances giving renters some basic rights. Gayle describes how the Richmond Progressive Alliance in her city challenged and won majority seats on the city council and passed rent ordnances and how the California Apartment Association—the big business lobbying arm for multi-unit apartment owners—temporarily blocked the ordnance. Gayle describes the organizing underway today for an even better rent ordnance coming up this November. Jack offers suggestions how the various fragmented efforts need to unite and ‘march on Sacramento’ to force statewide rights for renters and stop the rent price gouging that is now out of control, much like pharmaceutical drugs and education price gouging.

For more information about events underway and planned in Richmond, go to: gayle@definingourdestin.net or richmondprogressivealliance.net website. For events in Mt. View go to mtviewtenantscoalition.org. Find out how successful resistance to rent gouging is done.

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Alternative Visions – The Billionaires Behind The US Presidential Election – 02.19.16

In today’s show host, Jack Rasmus , focuses on who is providing the big money behind US presidential candidates—Rubio, Cruz, Bush, Clinton, and Trump. The names of the big right wing donors behind the Republicans candidates are noted, where they’ve made their billions and how much they’ve contributed. How the Clinton’s have amassed more than $110 million in assets since 2001, including more than $100million in speaking fees. Hillary’s billionaire contributors. The legal corruption of the US election system is explained, including ‘dark money’ from 501 (c) groups that hide their contributors. (see his blog, jackrasmus.com, for a more detailed analysis of ‘billionaires behind the US election’). Jack then digresses to comment on the recent death this past week of the right wing ideologue, Supreme Court justice, Antonin Scalia, whose legacy includes advancing the corruption of the US electoral system from Citizens United case to restricting voting rights, and limits on civil liberties of minorities. At the ‘top of the show’ Jack reviews the major economic developments of the past week, including actions by central banks in the Eurozone, Japan and China; prospects for a ‘deal’ on global oil prices between Russia and Saudi Arabia; and the negotiations in Brussels in progress between the UK’s prime minister, David Cameron, and the European Union on the coming June 2016 UK election to decide whether to ‘exit’ the EU or not. Jack concludes the show with a review of his late 2015 predictions of the ‘fault lines’ in the global financial system in China, Europe, Emerging Markets, and the US, which now appear to be emerging as predicted. (see his blog, jackrasmus.com, for a free chapter from his book, ‘Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy’, on why China will likely be the locus of the next financial crisis).

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Alternative Visions – Central Banks, Negative Rates, and the Growing Fragile Global Economy – 02.12.16

Jack reviews US Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen’s, testimony to Congress this past week. Her overestimation of the health of the US economy and underestimation of the crisis in the global economy are noted, and special attention given to her statement that ‘negative interest rates’ are being prepared for in the US. The logic behind the $6 trillion in negative rates to date in Europe and Japan is debunked. And the negative consequences for the global economy from negative rates are explained. Central banks have gone too far, too long and are now trapped by their own policies, making the global economy worse by the day. Jack reviews evidence of the banking system beginning to crack in Europe (key banks there in trouble) and provides a summary of the ‘global financial fault lines’ from chapter 11 of his recent book, ‘Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy’, and his take on the most vulnerable financial markets. Also addressed is why the US working class is orienting toward Trump (45-54 age group) and Sanders (18-34) with serious implications for the Democrat and Republican establishments.

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Alternative Visions – The ‘R’ Word and the US Economy—Recession or Relapse? – 02.05.16

Jack reviews indicators for the US economy for January and addresses the growing commentary on whether the US will enter recession this year. His prediction: ‘Relapse’ (a one quarter stagnation or contraction) is definitely likely, followed by a boost in government spending in the election year this summer. Recession on the agenda in 2017 for certain, if not sooner. Jack also reviews the major economic events of the past week, including the Iowa caucuses and Sanders’ capture of 87% of the youth (18-34 years) vote. The breakup of the Obama coalition and why Hillary should be very worried. Jack’s latest article, ‘The $10 Trillion Tax Giveaway’ (see his blog, jackrasmus.com) is reviewed, showing how politicians from Bill Clinton to Obama have given more than $10 trillion in tax cuts to investors and corporations, and how each of the Republican candidates are proposing another $10 trillion. Other events of the past week are discussed: Europe’s coming further QE, China’s $5 trillion in nonperforming bank loans, Ukraine minister resigns, and Martin Skrelli and big Pharma rip offs continue. Evidence of US economy softening in services PMI, jobs, manufacturing PMI, housing, states’ spending, business inventory de-stocking, and consumer spending slowing is reviewed.

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Alternative Visions – Global Economy Continues to Unravel As US GDP Slows to 0.7% – 01.29.16

More indicators show growing instability in the global economy, as US economy now appears to be slowing rapidly as well. Jack disassembles US 4th quarter 2015 initial GDP numbers, showing durable goods falling at the fastest rate since 1992, as business spending and inventories and exports continue to pose a problem into 2016. Jack predicts yet another ‘economic relapse’—the fifth in as many years—on the horizon for the US for 2016. Elsewhere, global instability continues to rise: Japan announces surprise negative interest rates, pre-empting Europe’s soon announcement of another QE expansion—which will intensify global currency wars further. China capital flight reaches $1 trillion, and Jack predicts inevitable Yuan devaluation coming. Italian banks in big trouble with more than $350 billion in non-performing bank loans (Europe more than $1.5 trillion). Why economists are confused about the correlation of stock price and oil price collapse occurring now. Jack’s view of unreliability of China stats confirmed by sacking of its statistics director this week, Wan Baoan. Japan stats with resignation of Akira Amani as well. Jack reviews billionaire speculator, George Soros’, predictions at interview at Davos last week, confirming China ‘hard landing’ underway and threat of spreading deflation, which Jack predicted in his book, ‘Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy’.

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Alternative Visions – World Economic Forum Big Bankers Getting Worried – 01.22.16

Jack Rasmus comments on the worried commentary about the global economy today coming out of this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The annual meeting of the big capitalists globally is producing a stream of concerned remarks on China, global oil, and drift toward deflation—all topics Rasmus focuses on in the release of his new book, ‘Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy’ , by Clarity Press. (see his blog, jackrasmus.com for sample chapters). Jack then reviews on the show important economic events and news of the past week, including Eurozone Chairman, Mario Draghi’s, pledge to expand QE in March, growing problems in European banks’ loans, capital flight from China and emerging markets, the admitting by the US business press that low oil prices are having no effect on the US economy and early reports that fourth quarter US GDP is coming in at only 0.6% growth according to the Fed and there’s a 50-50 chance of US recession this year.

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Alternative Visions – China Unwinding Stock Bubble and Its Contagion Effects – 01.15.16

Jack Rasmus continues analysis of China’s unwinding stock bubble and explains how it is connected to China currency devaluation, slowing real economy, and currency speculators in Hong Kong markets. How currency devaluation exacerbates stock decline and vice versa and how real economic slowing in China, now no more than 5% GDP annual growth, interacts with the other forces. China’s revolving bubbles, from property markets to entrusted loans and WMPS, to stock markets is explained. China’s $1trillion capital flight in 2015 and government policy makers spending of $500 billion to prop up stocks and currencies. How China’s massive credit-debt and liquidity buildup since 2009 is behind it all. And behind that the rise of shadow banks and the new global finance capital elite. Jack concludes with exploration of possible contagion effects from China’s continuing bubble unwind—on US corporate profits, stock investor contagion, on emerging market economies, and the parallel bubble deflation in global oil prices that continues. Jack concludes the global economy is moving faster now toward another financial crisis and global recession, which will be precipitated, he predicts, by China and then centered in emerging market economies. US and other advanced economies are far less prepared or able to contain the next crisis. (For deeper analysis, see Jack’s chapter 6 on China in his new book, ‘Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy’, January 2016, available from his blog at jackrasmus.com and on Amazon.)

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Alternative Visions – China’s Financial Crisis Erupts While US ‘Pivots’ to Destabilize South America – 01.08.16

Jack Rasmus takes a look at this past week’s major event in the collapse of the China stock market, as well as the resurgence of Neoliberal policies in South America and the US pivot to that continent and destabilization of economies in Venezuela, Brazil and Argentine now underway. What’s behind the most recent stock decline in China? Jack explains its relationship to the slowing real economy there, and the pressure to devalue its currency, the Yuan, that is growing. Devaluation coming in China is reflected in investors attempting to take their money and run, thus the stock decline now underway. China government efforts to slow it via ‘circuit breakers’ is not working as well as before. The real economy-currency-stock nexus will continue. How this all has contagion effects on the rest of the global economy is explained. Jack then looks at the US ‘pivot’ to South America, and specifically how the US destabilizes economies by wrecking its currency. Global oil and commodity crash, slowing China, and US interest rate hikes are all having major negative effects on South American economies. In this scenario, the US is now attempting to exacerbate Venezuela’s currency collapse even further, while attacking it politically and legally. Venezuela is a model of how the US destabilizes a country’s currency and therefore economy, as a prelude to re-establishing more friendly Neoliberal governments and policies.