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Alternative Visions – Verizon Workers’ Strike and How Corporations Are Destroying US Jobs – 04.15.16

Jack Rasmus discusses the strike of 36,000 communication workers that began this week at Verizon Communications and how it reflects the radical destruction by corporations of decent jobs in the US that has been occurring since the 1990s. Jack calculates 52 million of the total 157 million jobs in the US labor force today are some form of ‘contingent’ or so-called ‘alternative work’ arrangements, paying substandard wages and few if any benefits. The Verizon strike represents worker-union efforts to stop corporate conversion of full time regular jobs to ‘contingent,’ outsourced, contract work. Jack discusses a recent Princeton Univ. study that shows temp and independent contract jobs have risen by 9.4 million just since 2005—i.e. more than the total increase in new jobs (9.1m) over the same period. Full time contingent jobs now total 23.6m, according to the Princeton study. Add to that 26 m more in part time contingent employment, plus another 8.2m unemployed and more than 60 million US workers now earn less than full time wages and virtually no benefits. And more if the ‘Uberization’ of work underway is considered. Median earnings for the 50m barely exceed $30k a year. Jack explains this is at the core of the growing working class discontent in the US that is fueling both the Trump and the Sanders candidacies. Jack speculates on the possibility of a 4-way race for the presidency in this year’s elections. The show concludes with a review of the global economy, including the IMF’s recent lowered forecast, China’s recent GDP stats, and Jack revisiting his prior forecast the US economy would again stagnant and approach zero GDP growth for the first quarter 2016 in stats out in a couple of weeks.

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Alternative Visions – Panama Papers’ Revelations & What’s Happening in Europe (French protests, Dutch voters, Brexit-Grexit, German Economy) – 04.08.16

Jack discusses this past week’s revelations out of Panama of the massive tax sheltering, avoidance and fraud by the US and global economic elites. The economic tax ‘wikileaks’ revelations show global politicians deeply implicated, including Iceland, UK, Argentina prime ministers. Jack refers listeners back to his 2006 ‘War at Home’ book and the ‘Great American Tax Shift’ and writings ever since on this topic, available at his blog, jackrasmus.com and website, www.kyklosproductions.com/articles/html. Where the US, Euro, Russian, China 1% hide their money in 27 global ‘jurisdictions’, estimated conservatively at $11 trillion today. Phone Congress ‘repatriation’ tax proposals of 2005 and 2016 are explained, recent inversion deals, and how and why US corporations hold more than $2T offshore today. In the second half of the show, Jack reviews growing events in Europe, with French workers and students staging massive protests against ‘labor law reforms’, Dutch voters rejecting inclusion of Ukraine into the EU, why odds favor a UK (Brexit) from the Eurozone this June, why a Greek ‘Grexit’ may follow as the IMF threatens to renege on last August’s Greek bailout, and new evidence of a Germany economic slowdown. (For further analysis of Europe, see except of Jack’s chapter 6, ‘Europe’s Chronic Stagnation’, from his 2016 book, ‘Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy’, posted on his kyklosproductions website above).

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Alternative Visions – The Right Wing Offensive in South America: An Eyewitness Report – 04.01.16

Jack Rasmus welcomes Pablo Vivanco, political commentator in Quito, Ecuador to provide a latest update on the right wing economic and political forces in ascendance in South America, focusing on the latest developments in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. As the economic crisis deepens throughout the region due to forces beyond the control of progressive governments in the region—i.e. falling oil and commodity prices, collapsing currencies, capital flight, slowing global economy—right wing forces (with assistance of US government and elite) have launched in the past year an intense attack throughout South America to reverse the tide of progressive governments that came to power since 2000. Vivanco describes the strategies and tactics, economic and political, currently being employed by the nascent Right Wing Offensive, including efforts to depose recently duly elected governments in Venezuela and Brazil and the launching of intense austerity measures, shutting down of independent media, mass layoffs, while rewarding of global bankers and investors by the new right wing government of billionaire, Mauricio Macri, in Argentina. New popular movements of resistance are described by Vivanco, as are efforts of the new right wing forces and governments to stifle independent journalists and media outlets throughout the region.

Pablo Vivanco is currently Director of the English Division of Telesur Media in Latin America, a consortium of progressive Latin American countries. A former radio host of ‘Voces Latinas’, he is a long time activist in movements for progressive change in Latin America, living and working in Quito. For timely reports in English on daily Latin American political events, go to: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/index.html

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Alternative Visions – Krugman and Neoliberal Economist Attacks on Sanders’ Programs – 03.25.16

Dr. Jack Rasmus explains how his version of a Financial Transaction Tax on stocks, bonds, derivatives, and currencies could raise far more than sufficient revenues to pay for a single payer-national health care program and still leave hundreds of billions to expand social security Medicare and other programs. In the second half of the show, Rasmus shows how a single payer system would save $1.2 trillion a year out of the current health care cost of $3 trillion today. Based on a tax study done in Europe in 2013, Rasmus shows a US financial tax of 5% on stocks & bond trades, a 1% tax on derivatives sold in the US, and 1% on non-government US currency sales raises $3.89 trillion a year, or about twice the revenues needed for a comparative single payer system. Rasmus then reviews and debunks the debates by neoliberal economists like Paul Krugman, and Clinton’s ‘gang of four’ economists, who have been attacking Sanders’ proposals for a financial tax and single payer health care. In the first half of the show, reviewing recent events in the global economy Rasmus addresses the fallout from the European Central Bank’s recent decision to expand its quantitative easing and negative interest rate programs and why they will fail; the growing default risk in the US energy junk bond markets; the preliminary agreements by Russia, Saudi Arabia and others to freeze oil prices; China’s continuing desperate moves to deal with the massive bad corporate debt problem; French retreats on introducing labor market reforms in response to mass demonstrations: the doubling in average prescription drug prices in the US: and why millennials (age 25-34) in the US now earn take home pay today in 2016 less than they did in 1984.

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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.