download--2-

Alternative Visions – Trump’s Speech: Pandering to Working Class Discontent – 07.22.16

Jack examines in detail Trump’s acceptance speech and its non-traditional Republican themes criticizing Free Trade, US national debt, NAFTA, China, offshoring, taxes, military spending-NATO, and related topics. Trade issues are paramount but represent pandering to working class discontent over the loss of jobs, wage income decline, and chronic US economic insecurity since 2000. Trump’s specific proposals for trade are dissected, including his claims to ‘tear up’ NAFTA, impose 35%-45% tariffs on Mexico and China, stop China currency manipulation, offshoring, anti-immigration wall, etc.—all of which represent pandering to working class discontent. Trumponomics = ‘Law and Order First’ economic recovery plan. How Trump is cleverly targeting disaffected working class voters in key swing states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida as key to an electoral victory in November. Jack predicts the election outcome will depend on who, Trump or Clinton, is able to turn in those states the white working class, un- and under-employed 20-something youth, Hispanic, and independents voting blocs in those key states. Who has the bigger base, and who (Trump or Hillary) can turn out more of that base in these key states will determine the outcome. Trump has the advantage currently in turnout, Jack concludes as Hispanics and disaffected youth may sit home during the election. Trump could win. Much will depend on the TV debates.

download (1)

Alternative Visions – Trump, Free Trade, and the Global Slowdown – 07.15.16

A centerpiece of Trump’s campaign, that is gaining support for him among white working class voters in key swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, is his attack on free trade treaties from NAFTA to TPP. Today’s show examines the conditions behind the current stagnation of global trade the past 18 months, growing wage stagnation and income inequality in the US, and increasing US voters’ associating of their loss of quality jobs and declining wages with free trade. Dr. Rasmus briefly reviews policies in China, Japan, Europe, and the slowing of world trade. How US economic elites—from the Business Roundtable and others— are becoming terrified of Trump’s successful manipulation of voter discontent with free trade. The elements of Trump’s position on trade are discussed, including ‘tearing up’ treaties, imposing tariffs on Mexico and China, charges of China as currency manipulator, tax policy incentives encouraging job offshoring, and US visa policies. Jack critiques Trump’s positions and concludes that Trump—like Obama before and Hillary now—is simply pandering to the discontent and will reverse his promises on trade if elected. Pandering to the trade issue, however, may just provide Trump enough votes to win key states’ electoral majorities.

images

Alternative Visions – Contagion – Brexit as ‘Bear-Stearns’ Financial Instability Event – 07.01.16

As Jack Rasmus predicted last week, the initial scenario for the Brexit vote is not an immediately global financial crash. The threat is more intermediate than short term. The analogy is not Brexit as a ‘Lehman Brothers’ event, the US bank collapse that ushered in the financial crash of 2008-09, but more similar to a ‘Bear Sterns’ event, the US bank that collapsed in the US early in 2008. Brexit is a warning shot fired across the bow of the global capitalist economy, not the precipitating event for another crash. Jack explains how global investors are waiting to see what happens next before dropping the other shoe. Jack reviews the likely intermediate effects of Brexit on global markets—currencies, bond rates, stocks, real investment, deflation, productivity, bank lending, consumption, and GDP. The relative effects of Brexit on economic regions are also covered: the UK, EU, US, China, EMEs. Recession in the UK will occur first, Jack explains. Europe will stagnate further. Japan’s recession will deepen, the US will enter recession in 2017 soon after the elections. China eventually will have to devaluate its currency with severe global consequences—i.e. the effects of Brexit on financial markets and real economies is just beginning. Political instability in the UK, in both conservative and labor parties is reviewed, with splits deepening in both. What Brexit also means for growing political instability for France, Spain, Netherlands, and Italy; how Brexit is penetrating the US election campaigns, as US elites and corporate push back on both candidates. Jack warns the weak spots of global capital today are Italy’s banks and Japan, where the most likely next ‘Bear Stearns’ event will emerge. Longer term, the UK currency and London as global financial center are finished as global players.

index

Alternative Visions – Brexit Revisited: The Economic and Political Fallout From the Vote – 06.24.16

Jack discusses the consequences and likely developments from the historic vote yesterday for the UK to leave the European Union. The deep origins of the Brexit vote are first discussed, including rising discontent with neoliberal policies of free trade by working classes, small businesses, and local producers everywhere, the overlay of fiscal austerity policies compressing incomes, and the almost total reliance in advanced economies on central bank monetary policies that boost financial asset incomes and corporate profits (and capital gains of investors and the rich) since 2009. How UK prime minister Cameron struck a ‘Faustian’ bargain in 2015 to win the election and now had to repay the ‘devil’ with the Brexit vote he thought he could control, but did not. The consequences of the vote for UK politics in the near term, and for forces—political and economic—behind the potential break up of the EU itself. Political party realignments underway everywhere, including EU and US. Implications for US November elections. Jack concludes with an assessment and economic predictions for the UK and EU economies, for currency volatility worldwide, stock and bond markets, real estate prices, and global commodity prices. Impact on the US dollar, interest rates, FED policies, and US recession for 2017. Severe results for emerging markets, especially Latin America (markets, capital flight, recessions) and for China’s Yuan eventual currency devaluation.

index

Alternative Visions – Is There a Global Supernova Bond Bubble About to Explode? – 06.10.16

Jack discusses the global bond market conditions today, many times the size of the world’s stock markets and far more important. Bond guru, Bill Gross, this week forewarned of a ‘supernova’ explosion coming in global bond markets as a consequence of the $10 trillion (and growing) in government bond negative interest rates (not counting corporate bonds). Is there a ‘bubble’ in global bonds? Will it bust? When and Where? Jack agrees with Gross and explains why there is—located so far in Europe and Japan but spreading to the US and taking off in corporate bonds as well. How the bond bubble is the consequence of central banks’ (US, UK, Europe, Japan) monetary policies since 2008. How tens of trillions of dollars in money injections by the central banks—in quantitative easing and zero rate programs—have done little for stimulating real investment, jobs, incomes and consumption—and instead have pumped up global stock and other financial markets. The bond bubble as the latest consequence. Jack predicts why central banks’ NIRP policies fail to boost real investment and real growth, but are already having negative consequences for retirees’ and workers’ wage incomes, growing financial instability, and the slowing real economy. Central banks’ monetary policies have failed miserably. What’s next? Talk of ‘helicopter money’, ‘guaranteed income’, and bank ‘bail ins’ after the next bust. Jack warns of likely major global stock market correction coming soon—in the wake of likely Brexit, NIRP, global oil prices again falling, and US economic slowdown and predicts a US recession for 2017. NEXT WEEK: ‘Will There Be a BREXIT?’

index

Alternative Visions – US Jobs Growth Plummets & Global Economy Slows – 06.03.16

Jack reviews today’s just released jobs numbers confirming his prior prediction jobs growth would slow in wake of US GDP slowdown last quarter. Plus an overview of US economy and a prediction of recession in early 2017. In the second half of the show, a review of latest developments in global economy–with commentary on how the IMF outmaneuvered the Syriza government in Greece again, the likelihood of UK ‘Brexit’ from the EU, $10 trillion in negative interest rates and more than $10 trillion in global non-performing bank loans, the recent G7 meeting in Japan and prime minister Abe’s warning of another ‘Lehman event’ on the horizon, the European Central Bank’s recent decision to now buy corporation bonds, like Japan, China’s rotating financial asset bubbles, eventual currency devaluation, capital flight, corporate bankruptcies, and out of control private sector debt acceleration. (see jackrasmus.com blog for recent articles, ‘Is US Economy Heading for Another Recession?’ and ‘How the IMF outmaneuvered Syriza—Again’)

index

Alternative Visions – French Workers Protests Rising. Will There Be A General Strike? – 05.20.16

Jack Rasmus interviews Alan Benjamin, eyewitness to developing events in France, where workers and students are protesting and striking against government attempts to impose by edict changes in France’s labor code that will allow corporations to fire and lay off workers more easily, undermine unions and collective bargaining, and privatize broad sectors of the French economy. Traveling to France on numerous occasions in recent months, and just returning from a week ago, Benjamin describes the growing opposition in France to the so-called ‘labor market reforms’ imposed by Presidential edict by the Hollande government there. Growing one day, rolling strikes, and spreading student-worker protests across the country are resulting in growing government violence against the protestors. Discussions are intensifying within France’s labor union federations to consider a general strike to get the government to back off of its proposed labor ‘reforms’. A recent country-wide poll in France shows 78% opposed to the reforms, as the government declares it will not back down. Jack explains how ‘labor market reform’ in France and Europe today is a reflection of similar changes in jobs occurring globally—including shift to part time, temp, contract work, offshoring and relocation of full time employment to emerging markets, shift to low pay/no benefits service work, and emerging trends like ‘gig’ economy, no pay internships, and privatization of social benefits.

Alan Benjamin is a delegate of the San Francisco Labor Council and member of the OPEIU, who works in Europe and the US. He is also a member of the US ‘Labor Fightback Network’ of unionists in the US. More information on events in France is available at www.laborfightbacknetwork.org and at www.socialistorganizer.org.

index

Alternative Visions – Communications Workers’ Historic Strike Against Verizon to Save Jobs – 05.13.16

Jack Rasmus welcomes CWA Local 1400 president and union bargaining committee member, Don Trementozzi, to report the facts about the current Verizon strike, now in its fifth week, by 40,000 CWA union members, from New England to Virginia. Don explains the main issue, and union demand ,to save 20,000 union call center workers’ jobs that Verizon wants to offshore from the US to the Philippines and elsewhere, where the company pays workers only $1.78/hr., despite having made $18.6 billion in profits last year. Violence by replacement-scab workers hired by the company in the US and in the Philippines are described by Trementozzi. Jack notes the recent Pew Study showing incomes of middle class US workers now falling in 203 of 226 regions in the US, and how the ‘triple onslaught’ by companies—job offshoring, creating tens of millions of part time-temp-contract low pay jobs, and now the ‘gig’ economy—has been devastating US jobs and middle class incomes, that have been declining the past six years as companies like Verizon have been distributing $5 trillion in dividends and stock buybacks to their wealthy investors since 2010. Trementozzi describes the growing support for the strikers throughout the northeast and internationally, in this historic strike to save jobs and call a halt to the ‘triple onslaught’ destroying US middle class incomes.

Guest: Don Trementozzi is president of CWA local 1400 in New England and a member of the union’s regional bargaining committee. For more information about the strike and negotiations go to www.cwa.org or to www.cwalocal1400.org websites.

index

Alternative Visions – Latest US Jobs and Wage Numbers—How Reliable Are They? – 05.06.16

Jack comments on today’s US job creation numbers for April, which show a significant decline in new jobs created, to 160,000, compared to previous months. Some problems with how jobs are calculated are explained, including how new business creations, missing labor force, and the US labor department surveys often fail to account for jobs accurately or timely changes. Recent wage gains articles in the mainstream press are then challenged as well. Jack explains the differences in wages as a share of national income, total compensation, average hourly earnings, and average hourly wages all have their limits as indications of how American workers are actually doing in terms of take home pay after inflation. Economic Policy Institute studies show median worker real earnings in the US have been declining every year since 2010. Gains in wages have been skewed to the top 10%, pulling up ‘averages’ which are not an accurate indicator of wage income declines for the US working class. The show concludes with a review of global economic developments, including growing splits among economic elites in Europe and in Japan, as their economies continue to languish despite QE and negative rates. And how China continues to struggle with bringing its shadow banks and speculators under control.

images

Alternative Visions – IMF vs. Greece Again, China & US GDP, and the Fed as Cause of Income Inequality – 04.22.16

Jack comments on the recent Wikileaks revelations of secret IMF plans to impose still more austerity on Greece before this summer. Jack revisits his predictions of last summer 2015 that the Greek debt crisis would reappear in 2016 along with the UK exit from the EU and renewed talk of a Greece exit as well—both of which now appear on the agenda. The Troika’s origins of the Greek Debt and why a new kind of financial imperialism is now emerging. Fractures between segments of Europe’s financial-economic elites continue to grow. Jack discusses what’s wrong with US job and GDP numbers, and why China GDP stats are about half of the official GDP rates. Why US central bank, FED, policy of no interest rate hike benefits US multinational companies at the expense of tens of millions of US households and small businesses. Jack concludes with explaining why global oil prices will again fall, China’s mini-stimulus will again fade, and why Japan and Europe will slip further into QE and NIRP (negative interest rates) in coming months.