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Dr. Jack Rasmus explains the notion of ideology in mainstream economics and how it works to create false arguments like ‘business tax cuts create jobs’, ‘free trade lifts all boats’, ‘markets are efficient’, ‘inflation is always caused by too much money chasing too few goods’, recessions are caused by external shocks to a stable (equilibrium) economic system, interest rates determine investment, a global savings glut caused the housing bust and crisis of 2008, ‘central banks are independent of the banks’, and one’s ‘income is determined by one’s productivity’.  Rasmus defines ideology as ‘purposeful falsification of original ideas’ on behalf of the interests of those who benefit from the falsification, and describes language manipulation techniques of how this is done, like inversion of propositions, reversal of cause-effect, converting correlations to causation, inserting contradictory elements, deleting original elements of the idea, etc.  The latest version of tax cuts create jobs, by economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin is explain, as is the US Dept. of Commerce’s recent report on incomes and poverty results and its interpretation by NY Times columnist, David Brooks. (Check out Dr. Rasmus’s blog, jackrasmus.com, or his website, www.kyklosproductions.com, later today for re-posting of his prior essay, ‘Applications of Ideology in Economic Policy’, for further explanation).

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Jack Rasmus interviews Gayle McLaughlin, founding organizer of the successful grass roots independent political action movement in Richmond, California, former mayor of Richmond and current city council member. McLaughlin explains how the Richmond Political Alliance, RPA, has been able to take over city government despite intense opposition from oil giant, Chevron Corp., that previously ran the city. How the RPA’s strategy and tactics enabled real political action, outside the two wings of the corporate party of America (aka Democrats and Republicans), to become successful. Gayle describes the progressive improvements the RPA has achieved, how it started, its organizational innovations and direct community ties and how electoral action and direct action tactics were melded successfully.   McLaughlin and the RPA are now undertaking efforts to extend progressive politics to the state level with her candidacy for Lt. Governor of California.  For more information about her Lt. Governor campaign, go to her website http://www.GayleforCalifornia.org . For how the RPA became a successful grass roots movement, its strategy, organization structure and tactics, see http://www.RichmondProgressiveAlliance.net.  And for local San Francisco bay area residents, check out her campaign’s next meeting at 747 Lobos St., Richmond, Calif., this Sunday, September 10 at 2-5pm. (For a full  history of the RPA from origin to present, Dr. Rasmus also recommends reading RPA member, Steve Early’s book, Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of An American City, Beacon Press, 2017. )

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 Dr. Rasmus takes stock of the condition of the US working class today. Discussed are the true condition of jobs and employment and how official government statistics underestimate contingent jobs, discouraged and missing labor force jobs, how labor force participation fails to account for millions, how government surveys of jobs underestimates, and how ‘hidden unemployment’ means jobless today is still 15-20 million. Working class wage stagnation the past decade, 2007 to 2017, is estimated with effects of contingent labor, gig labor, free trade, capital substitution, de-unionization, and privatization of healthcare and pension benefits; how workers real wages are less than reported due to housing-medical-education cost inflation, shifting tax burdens, and rising debt interest payments. The show concludes with discussion of new employer offensives against unions, focusing on open shop (right to work) Koch brothers offensives and new initiatives to outlaw agency shop and dues check off provisions in union contracts. Acknowledging the dismal scenario, Rasmus concludes that instead of stepping up defense of unions and workers’ interests, the Democratic party continues to retreat further into the morass of identity politics.

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The Fed and other central bank leaders gathering at Jackson Hole Wyoming today express concern for financial instability. Fed chair, Janet Yellen, warns of the Trump administration’s current fast tracking of financial deregulation, driven by the Goldman Sachs-driven US Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin. Dr. Rasmus explains how shadow bankers, like Goldman Sachs, now have almost complete dominance over Trump economic policy, with former Goldman Sachers Mnuchin at the Treasury, Bill Dudley in charge of the NY Fed, and Gary Cohn aschair of Trump’s Economic Council (and soon to replace Janet Yellen next February as head of the Fed). Rasmus explains how the Fed and other major central banks have provided bankers and investors $25 trillion in free money since 2008, but have still not bailed out the banking system leaving a residue of financial problems.  More than $15 trillion in non-performing bank loans still exist, not counting trillions more added to corporate bond debt, 3 trillion more in US consumer loans, and $12 trillion more in US government debt just since 2008. Globally, the capitalist system has added more than $50 trillion in debt above its 2008 levels. Where did the $25 trillion go is explained. Why the Fed and other central banks can’t (and won’t) raise interest rates without precipitating another financial crisis. How a new global finance capital elite now control the central banks and economic policies of the governments of the advanced capitalist countries.

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 Alternative Visions radio welcomes guest, Pablo Vivanco, of Telesur Media in Latin America to explain what’s really going on in Venezuela as the Trump administration raises the spectre of possible military intervention in the democratic revolution in that country.  Dr. Rasmus describes the measures by which US elites and its deep state since the 1950s typically engineer an overthrow of governments, by wrecking first the economy of the country (precipitating recessions, inflation, food-medical shortages,etc.), funding political opposition parties and groups, then taking over government institutions, generating domestic unrest and conflict, and ultimately counterrevolution regime change.  Rasmus argues the US since 2015 has been ‘pivoting’ from the middle east to Latin America, as well as to Asia. Venezuela is now at the point of the US regime change spear in the western hemisphere. Journalist Pablo Vivanco is interviewed at length and explains what’s going on today with the recent election of a new Constituent Assembly in Venezuela and what it aims to accomplish as it blunts counter-revolution and regime change efforts by US and domestic business interests in Venezuela. The popular support for the Constituent Assembly, structured on grass roots organizations, is described by Vivanco and where event may be next leading.

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 Host Jack Rasmus interviews guest members of the Labor Fightback Network and their recent conference held in Cleveland. The Network is an organization of local union activists, elected officers, and select union representatives attempting to return the US union movement to a tradition of independent political action, progressive economic demands like ‘Medicare for All/Single Payer’, and labor community alliances. Jack interviews Alan Benjamin, a member of the LFN steering committee, on the program of the organization. A lively discussion follows on the need to resurrect the labor movement in the US, now at a nadir, and restore it to the role it once had.  Discussion ranged from new forms of independent political action occurring, movements for $15 minimum wage, single payer, efforts to draft Bernie Sanders as a candidate for a Peoples Party, the accelerating rise of membership in the Democratic Socialists of America, DSA, grass roots electoral efforts like the Richmond Alliance, and others.  Rasmus argues union resurrection in US history were always associated with new organizational forms—from the Knights of Labor to the AFofL to the industrial union CIO—and today a new organizational form of struggle will be required once again, not just the traditional union structure that remains. Benjamin differs and sees a resurrection and lead by the union movement itself. Both agree new resistance from below, led by young workers, is beginning to occur. (For more information on the Labor Fightback Network and its program, go to the website, http://laborfightback.org.

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 Multi-trillion dollar corporate and investor tax cuts by December have moved to the top of the Republican Congress-Trump legislative agenda. Dr. Rasmus puts the proposals in historical context, describing the corporate-investor tax cuts from Reagan through Clinton and GW Bush to Obama and now Trump. From the $750 billion Reagan bill in 1981-82 to Bush’s $3.7 trillion to Bush-Obama $480 billion in 2008-09 to Obama’s $1.245 trillion in 2010-12 and Obama’s continuation of the Bush tax cuts in 2013 for another decade that cost $5 trillion.  Corporate-investor tax cutting as an essential element of Neoliberal economic policy since 1978. How Congress alternates between nominal tax rate reduction and token tax loophole reduction, then raises nominal tax rates and expands tax loopholes.  How for 40 years the share of total taxes paid by corporations and wealthy household investors has declined, while the share of taxes for working and middle class has accelerated. The key elements of the Trump-Ryan tax proposals to date are reviewed.

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Dr. Rasmus initially comments on the continuing slowdown of prices and the Federal Reserve’s 9 year long phony targeting of 2% inflation.  Rasmus reviews his just published article in the European Financial Review, “The Limits of Central Banks’ Emerging Policy Shift” (available on his blog, jackrasmus.com) and what’s next after the Fed’s Jackson Hole gathering in late August. Next a comment on the Scaramucci appointment by Trump and the further deepening of Goldman Sachs influence over US policies, and evidence of a stock bubble growing in the US. Most of the show then focuses on data and reports debunking the official hype that wages are rising in the US: how Moody’s data since 2014 shows only 0.5% average wage increases, reports that show nearly half US households lack 3 months savings to pay bills and 57%-81% households of color have no savings at all, and how a recent report by MIT economists, “Fall of Labor Share and the Rise of Superstar Firms”, how productivity gains and super profits  by Tech and other companies aren’t being shared with workers. The show concludes with a critique of the Democratic Party’s just released “Better Deal” appeal to working class and middle class households introduced last week, with its great gaps on single payer, trade, jobs, and tax cuts proposals.

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Dr. Rasmus explains how the global capitalist economy crossed a kind of economic rubicon with the 2008-09 global crash and has not been able to restore itself to pre-crisis trends.  With 2008, the growth in global trade as a percent of global GDP hit a wall, stagnated after, and is now declining as a percent of global GDP which itself has been slowing.  Rasmus explains further how total investment has been shifting from real investment to financial asset markets, reflecting the continuing post-2008 financialization trend globally. Another post-2008 development noted is that central banks worldwide have had to step in to subsidize banks and the system since 2008 at a cost of $15 to $20 trillion.  Another trend is household real incomes and global productivity. How new corporate practices since 1980 have simultaneously driven down wages are noted.  Studies show 80% of household incomes in the US have stagnated or declined since 2008; 75% in Europe; and 70% in all advanced economies, according to McKinsey reports. Meanwhile, productivity has collapsed from long term 2% per year average to only 0.4% in US by 2014 and lower still. Rasmus raises the question: have ‘neoliberal’ policies—at the heart of which are free trade, central bank subsidization of capital, wage compression, and global financialization—thus now approach a limit?

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Dr. Rasmus explains how the advanced capitalist economies—US, UK, Europe, Japan—have made monetary policy and their central banks the ‘only game in town’ since 2008, and provided more than $20 trillion in virtually free money to their capitalist banking systems, in effect creating a permanent subsidization of the banks since 2008. Now the Fed and other central banks are attempting to reduce the free money a little by raising interest rates and selling off their $15 trillion plus balance sheets of accumulated prior bank bailouts. Rasmus argues that having continued too long with too low rates (8 years), central banks now face a ‘grand contradiction’: they cannot raise rates or sell off very much without precipitating another crisis. He predicts a 2% federal funds rate and 3% 10 year Treasury bond rate are likely the limits. That means central banks’ solution to the last crisis, and the permanent subsidization of the banks since 2008, has created the conditions for the next crisis. Rasmus explains how and why this permanent subsidization of the banks regime has come about, including the takeover of the central banks, and their governments’ economic institutions, by the big banks themselves. Goldman Sachs now runs US economic policy from the Treasury to the Fed (and Cohn will soon replace Yellen). Rasmus challenges Yellen’s view that falling US prices are ‘transitory’ and will soon rise, and the US economy is strong, despite collapsing bank lending, government tax revenues, and stagnant prices and real wages.

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