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Alternative Visions – Central Banks Running Amuck – 12.18.15

Jack reviews the state of the US and global economy, focusing on US interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and its consequence for the US and global economies. In the review of this week’s economic events, the arrest of Pharma CEO Skrelli, what’s going on with Argentina and the resurgence of Neoliberalism in South America, and the US Congress’s passing of another $650 billion in tax cuts for corporations and the rich are also addressed. Next show: Jack continues review of his latest book, ‘Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy’, now available from his blog, jackrasmus.com, discussing why economists and their theorists continue to get the global economic picture wrong.

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Alternative Visions – Growing ‘System Fragility’ in the Global Economy, Part 1: The Dead Cat Bounce Recover – 12.11.15

Jack takes a look at the key economic developments of the past week, and then provides the first of a several part analysis this month of the global economy explaining why it is becoming more unstable, both financially and economically—i.e. more ‘systemically fragile’. The analysis of the global economy is based on his just released new book, ‘Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy’ by Clarity Press. (see Jack’s blog, jackrasmus.com, where and how to order). Part 1 on today’s show identifies nine major anomalies that have appeared in the global economy today that mainstream economists can’t or don’t answer—which the new book attempts to explain. Jack reviews chapters 1 and 2, on the topic of the ‘dead cat bounce’ temporary recovery that began 2010-2013 in China and emerging market economies, which has been in decline once again since 2014. Stagnation in Europe and Japan, slow growth in the US, and ‘hard landings’ coming in China and emerging markets are now the prospect, after the ‘dead cat’ global economy has had its bounce. The ‘week in review’ commentary on the show addresses the renewed global oil price decline, junk bond fund defaults, China’s Yuan as global currency, Japan’s falsified GDP revisions, Yahoo’s effort to avoid paying $10 billion in US taxes, and the US Senate’s posturing about pharmaceutical drug company price rip-offs.

Listeners interested in enrolling in an online 8-week course starting in January on Jack’s new book, provided by the progressive-left ‘World Institute for Social Change’ (WISC) ‘Z School’, should check out the WISC website at:https://zcomm.org/zschool/moodle/ for more information. Free copies of the first two chapters of the book are available at the site.

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Alternative Visions – Global Currency Wars & Devaluations Poised to Accelerate in 2016 – 12.04.15

Jack Rasmus looks at yesterday’s decision by the European Central Bank to make token changes to its QE policies, Japan’s central bank rumors of more QE, and the US Federal Reserve’s imminent raising of interest rates later this month. Why the ECB did not go ‘all in’ to expand its QE? Reasons: waiting on US Fed to move first, weaken German opposition to a later big QE boost, and ‘holding its powder’ for possible worse deflation and EU economy in 2016. Japan waiting on both US and Europe. Meanwhile, US Fed caves in to political moves by Congress attacking it. Conclusion: more QE in 2016, more currency devaluation, more pain in emerging markets and slowing of US exports and manufacturing, and China need to devaluate further next year. Recent economic news of importance is reviewed: oil price glut to continue despite Vienna OPEC meeting; China’s Yuan approved by IMF as global currency, and Brazil’s economy now tipping over into depression. Jack concludes with latest review of US economic performance: manufacturing and exports contracting, business inventories excess and spending, US residential housing growth now spent and flattening, poor Xmas retail sales emerging, auto sales based on debt reaching peak, savings from gasoline price declines diverting to rents, education and health care price increases, and now service sector growth slowing rapidly. Next Week show theme: ‘Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy, Part 1’, as Jack reviews conclusions of his just published book.

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

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’.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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Alternative Visions – Transpacific Partnership Free Trade Analysis – 10.09.15

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.

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

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.’