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Alternative Visions – Will the ‘Trump Trade’ Fade? – 03.24.17

The US stock markets are recognized by a growing number of analysts as approaching, or already in, bubble territory. Yet stocks have ratcheted up another 15%-20% since Trump won the election. The run-up is sometimes called the ‘Trump Trade’. Investors have been ploughing in even more anticipating another stage of corporate profits subsidization by Trump and Republican fiscal policies—Trump proposed $6.2 trillion in tax cuts, deregulation (Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, EPA, Mergers & Acquisitions encouragement, etc.), shifting hundreds of billions $ from social programs to defense spending, and $1 trillion in Trump proposed infrastructure spending. Jack explains how expectations of the policy shift to fiscal from central bank, monetary policies from 2008-2016, is now the new strategy for subsidizing corporate profits and investor further wealth gains. Central bank monetary policy had run its course and began to develop contradictions. Fiscal policy—tax cuts, deregulation, infrastructure and defense spending—is the new strategy. US stocks surged in anticipation of the new profit opportunities. But signs Trump may not deliver have stopped investors in their tracks this past week. Failure to deliver policy may result in a major stock pullback in 2017. Jack cites various sources that the current stock market bubble has peaked.

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It’s Our Money – Folks in the Field – 03.22.17

Anthropologist Margaret Mead is famously quoted as giving credit for most social and cultural change to small groups of individuals who pioneer new priorities and establish new systems. That certainly describes many individuals around the country who are working on the American public banking frontier with multi-year commitments of time, talent and energy, going through the hoops, chicanes, reversals and exhilarations required for creating entirely new banking institutions dedicated to democratizing control of public money for public benefit. We talk with several of these pioneers about their motivations, process, challenges and concerns – snapshots of 21st Century American democracy – as the movement for public banking picks up speed from coast to coast.

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Alternative Visions – The Federal Reserve Hikes Interest Rates—What’s Behind the Decision – 03.17.17

The Fed raised interest rates again this past week. Jack explains it has little to do with it having reached its inflation or employment targets, but represents the major policy shift underway by US economic elites. From Fed low interest policy for eight years subsidizing stock, bond and financial assets—and thereby corporate and investor profits and incomes of the wealthiest 1%–the shift now underway is to subsidize profits and incomes of the 1% by cutting taxes, deregulation, and moderate infrastructure spending. Sustained low Fed rates were beginning to cause more instability in financial markets after 8 years. They played their part in boosting profits and incomes; now another policy ‘mix’ is emerging. Jack shows how Fed 2% inflation and job targets are phony justifications for Fed low rate policy continuation; how and why long term rates which the Fed doesn’t control will continue to rise, and what the global responses and effects in Europe, Japan and China will be to the new Fed direction. Will the Fed be used by the US economic elite to check Trump? Possibly.

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Trends This Week – Markets on the rise? – 02.15.17

Markets and small business optimism continue to climb under President Trump, aided by deregulation, tax deals, and stimulus programs. While markets and employment have grown, real wages have hardly made gains, spelling out a spike in mortgage and subprime auto loan delinquencies. Added to the number of populist parties wanting out of the Eurozone, turmoil is looming over the commodity and equity markets, further pushing the prices of safe-haven assets such as gold.

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Craig Torres and Saleha Mohsin – Mnuchin Backs Fed Independence and Signals Reform Isn’t Priority

U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin isn’t jumping on the Republican bandwagon to audit the Fed. In written questions by senators following his confirmation hearing on Thursday, Mnuchin was asked about his thoughts on “politicizing decisions made by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the benefits of an independent central bank.” Mnuchin’s answer was crafted carefully. “The Federal Reserve …

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Alternative Visions – Key Economic Events Past Week Before Trump Inauguration – 01.20.17

Jack Rasmus reviews the key economic events, US and global, in the run-up to the Trump inauguration: China President Xi warning of trade war with US, the European Central Bank’s continuation of its QE policy, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, May, signals a ‘hard Brexit’, Trump cabinet nominees tell Congress what they want to hear (and not what they intend …

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Prashant Gopal – Wall Street, America’s New Landlord, Kicks Tenants to the Curb

On a chilly December afternoon in Atlanta, a judge told Reiton Allen that he had seven days to leave his house or the marshals would kick his belongings to the curb. In the packed courtroom, the truck driver, his beard flecked with gray, stood up, cast his eyes downward and clutched his black baseball cap. The 44-year-old father of two …