The Organization Question in US Progressive Politics By: Jack Rasmus

Déjà vu All Over Again

So now the cycle has begun again. As the great American philosopher, Yogi Berra, once said: “It’s déjà vu all over again.” Among union leaders, leaders of various ethnic organizations, church leaders, liberal academics, and all the rest that consider themselves “progressives,” one today hears the same refrain: Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachusetts, is our preferred candidate. If Hillary implodes before November 2016 national elections, we have Elizabeth Warren in the wings. Hillary may be the only one who can win against a Republican. But Elizabeth will keep Hillary honest and ensure she, Hillary, adopts appropriate progressive positions during the 18 month campaign that lies ahead. Push the Democratic Party to the left and Hillary will have to follow.

And this year we are especially fortunate, progressives add. Now we have an even more progressive candidate, left of Warren, waiting to step up as well—the Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, who also announced his candidacy for president in recent weeks. If Warren pushes the party left, then Sanders, just outside the party (actually always with one foot in it) can pull her still further left. And who knows, if Hillary falters, Sanders might actually push Warren to finally enter the race, providing her ‘left cover’ for her candidacy, as they say.


Alternative Visions – Brexit, Grexit, and Just ‘Bad’ Economics – 05.16.15

In the first half hour of the show, Jack Rasmus takes on the professional economics forecasting establishment and their continual missed prognostications about the condition and direction of the US economy. Reviewing the most recent US economic data for March and April, revisions of US first quarter 2015 GDP estimates in late May show the US economy performed worse in the January-March period than the 0.2% GDP initial estimated growth rate. Jack discusses how new data on business inventories, trade, and retail sales will show a -0.5% or even worse in first quarter US GDP. Data for March and April already show a continuing soft trend, with US retail sales flat, and sales of autos and big ticket items collapsing.

US Economy Collapses Again – 4th Time in 4 years By: Jack Rasmus

Data released last week by the U.S. government showed the U.S. economy came to a near halt in the first three months of 2015, falling to nearly zero – i.e. a mere 0.2 percent annual growth rate for the January-March quarter. The collapse was the fourth time that the U.S. economy in the past four years either came to a virtual halt or actually declined. Four times in four years it has stalled out. So what’s going on?

In 2011, the U.S. economy collapsed to 0.1 percent in terms of annual growth rate. At the end of 2012, to a mere 0.2 percent initial decline. In early 2014, it actually declined by -2.2 percent.

And now in 2015, it is essentially flat once again at 0.2 percent. The numbers are actually even worse, if one discounts the redefinitions of GDP that were made by the US in 2013, counting new categories as contributing to growth, like R&D spending, that for decades were not considered contributors to growth – in effect creating economic growth by statistical manipulation. Those highly questionable 2013 definitional additions to growth added around US$500 billion a year to U.S. growth estimates, or about 0.3 percent of U.S. GDP. Back those redefinitions out, and the U.S. experienced negative GDP four times in the last four years. We get -0.2 percent in 2011, 0 percent in 2012, -2.5 percent in 2014 and -0.1 percent earlier this year.

It is therefore arguable that the U.S. has also experienced at least one mild ‘double dip’ recession, and perhaps two, since 2010.


Alternative Visions – Is the Global Economy Becoming More Fragile? – 05.09.15

Jack Rasmus updates last week’s show on the decline in US GDP with new data for trade, productivity and jobs, and reviews events of the global economy in Europe, China and elsewhere including the Euro and global bond market sell off of the past week. A preview of his new book, ‘Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy’ due later this summer, is offered, describing the 9 key trends in the global economy today that represent the ‘dead cat bounce’ recovery: slowing real investment, drift toward deflation, explosion of central bank liquidity and credit, rising global corporate debt, the shift to speculative financial asset investing, the restructuring of financial and labor markets in the 21st century, and why central bank monetary policy and government fiscal policies are failing to generate a sustained real recovery of the global economy. How it is all resulting in rising global income inequality in turn.

Alternative Visions – US Economy Stalls Again-4th Time in 4 years! – 05.01.15

Dr. Jack Rasmus analyzes US 1st Quarter GDP numbers, where US economic growth flattened out to a mere 0.2%–the fourth such collapse in the US economy in as many years. Is it due to the weather, as some argue? Is there something wrong with US statistics, showing four collapses since 2009 all occurring in the winter? Or are there real economic explanations for why the US economy periodically surges in the summer then stalls out in the winter, as it has since 2011? Will this winter 2015’s stall be followed by another ‘temporary surge’ in growth this summer?


Alternative Visions – National Day of Action against Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Deal – 04.17.15

Jack Rasmus welcomes grass roots organizers, Emmelle Israel of the AFL-CIO and Kali Gochmanofsky of Citizenstrade, who are helping to organize opposition to the pending passage in Congress of ‘fast track’ and the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement. Emmelle and Kali describe what’s going on with today’s (Saturday April 18) national day of actions against the free trade agreement and where listeners can go to participate today, Saturday, April 18, and in days to follow.

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Alternative Visions – US ‘Labor Fightback Network’ Organizing Conference (May 15-17) – 04.11.15

Jack Rasmus interviews long time union representative, Jerry Gordon, and co-organizer of the upcoming Labor Fightback Network conference, to be held May 15-17, at Rutgers, New Brunswick, New Jersey. (For information on the conference, go to:  Gordon explains the objectives of the conference, where leading local union and community leaders from across the country are gathering to develop a …