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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.

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Alternative Visions – US GDP for January-March Collapse—5th Time in 5 Years – 04.29.16

Dr. Jack Rasmus dissects the latest report on US economic growth for first quarter 2016, showing a mere 0.5% annual GDP growth rate. The collapse confirms his prediction of early January 2016, and confirms the US economy remains on a ‘stop-go’ trajectory, having again slipped into a ‘stall speed’ that raises risks of US sliding into recession. Rasmus explains the longer term trends behind the 0.5%, and why the US 0.5% annual growth rate, when compared to the previous quarter, is an even lower 0.1% GDP or less. Averaging over 8+ years, the US economy has grown only 10.1%, or barely 1%, or even less per year after adjustments. Jack explains how the US and other countries have been redefining GDP to help the appearance of growth—including China, India and Europe as well as US. The more fundamental trends behind 1st quarter US GDP are then reviewed–including business investment, industrial production, exports, consumption, and prices, all of which suggest the US economy nearing the brink of another recession. Why the US economy keeps ‘relapsing’ periodically since 2009 is discussed, as well as the likely impact of the 1st quarter US slowdown on other global economies and markets. (For more information, listeners should read Jack’s recent Telesur media article on US GDP posted on the PRN network website—‘Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?’)

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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 – 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.