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. The participants explain how TPP will destroy jobs, lower wages, undermine environmental conditions, weaken human rights, and further limit democratic rights in the USA that are already being limited. Jack explains how TPP represents the early stage in the formation of a global Corporate Government system, preventing elected US representatives from proposing legislation in the future that contradicts the TPP deal terms in any way, as well setting up an alternative global corporate judicial system that takes precedence over US courts. Why TPP has become the #1 priority of US multinational corporations since last November’s midterm US elections, and why corporations see it as a ‘now this year or never’ objective and key to the Corporate America agenda in 2015. Jack discusses as well the strategic role of TPP in the USA’s plans to ‘pivot’ to Asia to contain China. Failure to pass TPP means deep problems for the political and military side of the ‘pivot’. Emmelle and Kail describe today’s pending grass roots protests, rallies, and other actions against TPP, and explain what listeners can, and should, do today to protest as a critical ‘fast track’ legislation that is pending in Congress this coming week.
Listeners are encouraged for more information on where and how to participate in the fight against the TPP, to go to:
or telephone 1-855-712-8441
Emmelle Israel is field Communications Representative for the western region of the AFL-CIO. Kali Gochmanofsky is the Southern California regional organizer for CitizensTrade mobilizing against the TPP.
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: www.laborfightback.org/conference/ Gordon explains the objectives of the conference, where leading local union and community leaders from across the country are gathering to develop a plan of action for forthcoming labor-community struggles this summer—from the Carolinas’ fight against police violence with the People’s Organization for Progress, to union fightbacks against Koch brothers-financed right to work legislation in Ohio-Wisconsin, to support for the fight to stop the TPP and ‘fast track’, to defend against current efforts in Congress to make seniors pay more for Medicare, and other attacks on union workers benefits. Gordon explains the 3 objectives of the LFN and conference: 1. To get unions and community organizations to launch a ‘national mobilization’ in the streets to stop the attacks, to get local union and community leaders to initiate real independent political action (of the two parties) and run candidates outside the Democratic party, and to forge closer organizational ties between labor and social movements (like opposition to police brutality) now beginning to emerge nationwide. Rasmus and Gordon discuss at length the recent status of developments like the ‘fast tracking’ of TPP free trade negotiations, the new emerging Koch-brothers funded right to work anti-union offensives forthcoming after Wisconsin and Indiana, cuts in Medicare in the pipeline in Washington, the bankruptcy of the two party system. Jack offers his view and explanation why Hillary Clinton’s coming Sunday, April 12, announcement that she’ll run for president will be followed by her attempt to co-opt Elizabeth Warren’s program, as she (Hillary) continues to gather tens of millions in campaign contributions from bankers and big businesses. Jack explains why, in the end, national union leaders will support her, with further disastrous long term results of unions and workers in the US.
Dr. Jack Rasmus turns the focus of today’s show from the global economy to the USA economy specifically. Is the USA economy ‘exceptional’, i.e. growing robustly while the rest of the global economy slows or stagnates? Rasmus explains that assumption of US Economic Exceptionalism is a myth. The myth is based on US GDP growth last summer 2014 of 4-5% in GDP terms and the creation of more than 200,000 jobs a month throughout last year. Rasmus looks at the data and economic forces behind the two arguments of exceptionalism—2014 GDP and jobs—to show the arguments were based on temporary factors which have already come to an end: GDP growth in fourth quarter 2014 already fell to 2.2%, and Rasmus predicts it will decline to well less than 1% GDP when first quarter 2015 GDP numbers are reported in May. Today’s latest jobs report for March is also a return to a sub-par 126,000 jobs created, when forecasts by economists were for 248,000. Rasmus explains that 2014 temporary economic effects from manufacturing exports, government defense spending before elections, another business false inventory buildup, the shale industrial boom, and household retail and auto sales have dissipated in the past three months, with the result of the US economy returning to its longer term, below average, long term growth trajectory of 2% or less in GDP terms for the rest of 2015—i.e. more of the ‘stop-go’ scenario that has been the US case the past six years. First quarter GDP data, and lagging job data to come, will show US recovery has once again failed to ‘take off’. A scenario basicallyl no different than that for Japan and Europe (and now emerging markets that are sliding into recessions as well). The USA economy is simply continuing to ‘stagnate’ at a 1%-1.7% long term growth level, while Europe and Japan stagnate and a lower growth level, Rasmus argues. There’s nothing at all ‘exceptional’ going on going on with this US economic scenario; just more of the same that has been occurring for six years—and not unlike the stop-go in Europe and Japan.
Jack Rasmus and Alternative Visions show returns to air with new shows. A two part show re-launches Alternative Visions today. In the first part, Jack interviews long time progressive activist, writer, journalist and educator, Michael Albert, of the ‘Z Collective’ to explain the new radical political online school being launched starting next week, called ‘Z School’. Z school is a new addition to the ‘Z’ media network consisting of ‘Z magazine’, ‘Znet’ global blog, and the recently established journalist reporting by Z writers for South America’s new tv network, ‘teleSUR’. Albert explains how Z School works, providing online practical, progressive, political education classes by long-term seasoned activists from around the world for interested participants. Low cost, lower cost, and no cost classes are available. If interested, more information on Z school, to start in April, is available by going to: https://zcomm.org/zschool/moodle . In the second half of today’s show, Jack discusses examples of growing inter-capitalist competition globally, now beginning to assume new, more aggressive forms as US, European, Japan, and OPEC countries and capitalists are now beginning to embrace more aggressive forms of competition with each other, as the slowing global economy forces them into ‘beggar their (capitalist) neighbors’ in an ever-desperate seeking of fading economic growth.
Jack Rasmus provides updates on the continuing negative effects of the Eurozone QE announced last month, the Greek Debt-Troika negotiations over the past week, and details on last week’s announced IMF-Ukraine bailout #2. In the first half hour, Jack describes how the Eurozone QE is intensifying currency wars and forcing other Euro countries into introducing negative interest rates, which will have major negative economic effects. Then an update on how the Greeks are succeeding to push the Troika closer to their (Greek) bargaining position, to provide them bridge loans and renegotiate the debt based on an ending of austerity. In the second half of the hour, Jack provides details on the 2nd IMF bailout deal for Ukraine also just announced this past week. How the bailout package has risen from $17.1 last April 2014 now to $40 billion—now approaching Jack’s forecast last April that Ukraine would need a minimum of $50 billion. Jack’s 2014 forecast of a collapse of Ukraine’s GDP of 10%, of its currency, and other indicators are now also realized. The second IMF bailout will not stop the decline of the Ukraine economy either, Jack argues. The show concludes with an analysis of the ‘Grand Strategies’ of the USA, Germany-France, and Russia with regard to the Ukraine, the conflict over which has always been a proxy for a larger strategic fight between the USA and Russia, over the future of Europe it self and which way Europe will orient economically in the decades ahead.
‘Jack Rasmus provides a recount of negotiations between Greece’s Syriza party and new government with northern Euro bankers, the ECB, and Euro Commission in Brussels during the past week. What’s at stake for the Troika (ECB, IMF, and European Commission) in the current negotiations and why they are playing ‘hard ball’ during the first week of negotations. Greek president, Tsipras and Greek finance minister, Yani Varoufakis’, tours of European capitals last week and the outcome of their meetings is discussed. Tsipras’ modest successes talking to France and Italy politicians, Renzi and Holland. Varoufakis’ less than productive meetings with European Central Bank chair, Mario Draghi, on Feb. 4, and German finance minister, Wolfgang Schauebel on Feb. 5. Draghi’s refusal to continue providing ECB loans to Greek banks as a punishment for Greek refusal to simply extend the bailout program as is with austerity past Feb. 28. Schaubel’s refusal to agree to any changes. Syriza’s strategy: lift austerity first and discuss debt over next several months; Troika strategy: continue austerity first, agree tp extend bailout, and then discuss changes—maybe. Potential for a run on Greek private banks if Greece’s central bank runs out of money to lend its banks. That will mean Greek exit, and unleash many unknowns for Greece, the Euro and Eurozone future. (Read Dr. Rasmus latest published article on the topic on the PRN website). Next week: the ‘Dud’ (part 3 of ‘The Bomb, the Fuse, and the Dud’ series). What’s the Dud? Tune in and find out on Feb. 14’s show.
Jack Rasmus continues the three part series (last week: the ECB’s QE ‘Bomb’), this week focusing on last week’s election of Greece’s Syriza party, which has promised the Euro ‘Troika’ (IMF, ECB, European Commission-SFSF Fund) forgive at least a third of Greece current 317 billion Euro debt. How is it that Greece ended up with 317b of debt? Why is 270b of that (85%) in hands of the public entities, i.e. the Troika, and only 15% held by private investors? How did Germany, Holland, and northern Euro banks benefit the most from creating the debt? And why have they been insisting on continued austerity, and therefore depression, in Greece? Jack explains how the origins of Greece’s debt lie in policies that followed the creation of the Euro currency union in 1999 and how that union specifically benefited the northern Europe economies at the expense of Greece and the rest of the Eurozone periphery. The arrangements, Jack explains, constitute Eurozone’s version of Neoliberalism, a now failing caricature of the USA created global neoliberal policy answer to the crisis of the 1970s. The USA’s ‘twin deficits’ and global money capital circular flow neoliberal solution after 1980 was replicated in Europe on a smaller scale after 1999, but Eurozone neoliberalism began to fail after 2010, as Germany and northern Europe abandoned providing capital to Greece and the Eurozone periphery in favor of focusing on China and emerging markets after 2010. The residue left is unsustainable debt levels in Greece and elsewhere and the prospect of never ending austerity that ensures decades more of a debt driven depression in Greece. The current negotiating positions of the northern Troika and banks vs. Greece’s new Syriza government are explained, and possible scenarios in coming weeks. Meanwhile the ‘fuse’ is lite in Greece for the Euro economy, as a 10 billion euro payment comes due in 90 days. Which side will ‘blink’? How will the standoff be resolved? Listen this week’s show for some possibilities to come. (Next week, part 3: ‘the Dud’)
Jack Rasmus discusses yesterday’s big announcement of a massive $1.5 trillion Quantitative Easing (QE) money injection program by the European Central Bank, and its consequences for the Eurozone and global economy. After nearly $9 trillion in total QEs by US, UK, Japan and now the Eurozone, the global economy continues to slowly drift into recession and deflation. Claims by central banks and politicians that QEs are about growing the economy, lowering unemployment or raising inflation to a stable 2% are debunked as empirically false. QEs are about bailing out financial institutions and the new finance capital elite and then ballooning their balance sheets well beyond bailout as well. Jack explains the several flaws and consequences of QE: it doesn’t result in lending for real investment, leads to financial speculation and bubbles, accelerates incomes of super wealthy (via stock buybacks, dividend payouts, etc.), raises global private debt by business, reduces incomes of middle classes, sets off competitive devaluations and currency wars, leads to real goods deflation and financial asset market inflation (stocks, junk bonds, forex, etc.), and accelerates global income inequality trends. Jack explains the connections between QE and fiscal austerity policies. And represents a growing desperation by financial capital elites and their institutions to ensure growing incomes for themselves by artificial means (free money) and at the direct expense of incomes of the rest of society. The linkage of QE and ‘labor market reforms’ (attacks on wages) are noted.
(Next week’s show: Part 2 ‘the fuse’, the coming elections in Greece and ascendancy of the left party, Syriza. Will it mean the beginning of the end of neoliberalism and a fight back against QE, free money, and austerity?)
Jack Rasmus surveys the most critical trends today in the global economy that continue to reveal a fragile condition, reflective in recessions in Europe, Japan, Russia-Ukraine, and a growing number of emerging market economies as of year-end 2014. A short list of trends discussed include a long run slowdown in the rate of growth of ‘real’ investment globally; a drift toward deflation in goods and services prices; a sharp rise in private sector debt—especially corporate debt and in particular corporate junk bond debt; the continued expansion of shadow banks and their ultra high net worth finance capital elite who keep financial asset bubbles brewing worldwide by diverting investment from real goods and services and therefore real jobs, wages, and consumer income growth; a shift toward a greater proportion of part time and temp workers as share of the total work force; wage stagnation and continued rise in income inequality worldwide, as capital incomes continue to accelerate while wages stagnate. Jack also gives a preliminary analysis of the USA’s 3rd quarter 2014 reported 5% GDP rise, explaining how the surge was due to temporary factors that have already begun to disappear in 2015, ensuring the USA’s return to its 5 year long ‘stop-go’ scenario.
Jack Rasmus discusses China’s efforts since 2010 to tame its foreign ‘shadow banks’ that have been playing a central role in creating financial bubbles in its residential housing, local infrastructure, and (Yuan) currency markets in recent years. Jack explains how China--unlike the USA, Europe and Japan—rapidly recovered from the 2008-09 global crash and recession by introducing a 15% of GDP fiscal stimulus focused on direct government investment. China’s GDP quickly surged in the 10-14% range 2010-13, while the USA, Europe and Japan relied primarily on monetary policies plus fiscal austerity and their recoveries lagged. However, China’s 2009 stimulus measures also included massive monetary injections, both by China’s central bank and even more via liquidity in-flows as China opened its doors to western banking, including shadow banks. Shadow bank liquidity in particular flowed in local housing, construction markets and China’s currency markets, creating financial asset bubbles in all three. To check the growing bubbles, and to try to tame the shadow banks, China shifted policies in early 2013 to reduce direct government spending and to have its central bank retract money supply. The result was a slowing of China’s real economy in 2013. China reversed and followed later in 2013 with a mini-fiscal and monetary stimulus to try to restore growth, that did little for real growth but stimulated shadow banks and bubbles further. Similar policies in early 2014 did little to stimulate the real economy, but did tame residential housing and currency bubbles somewhat. China continues today to struggle to tame its shadow banks and bubbles while experiencing slower real growth. Since 2010 shadow banks have pumped more than 20 trillion Yuan--$3.5 trillion--into China. China today experiences the slowest growth in 24 years, a virtually flat manufacturing sector and a probable less than 7% GDP growth in 2015. Jack explains how China’s struggle with shadow banks, its global capitalist speculators, and the financial asset bubbles they create represents a major contraction in global capitalism in the 21st century, and a continuation of other economies’ similar, even less successful, efforts to tame shadow bankers and their financial bubbles in the 1980s, 1990s, in southern Europe since 2010, and currently in Argentina, Venezuela, and Ukraine.