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Financial skeptic

The more things change in the USA casino capitalism the more they stay the same

Cruise to Frugality Island for stock holding  401K Lemmings

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“When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product
of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.”

John Maynard Keynes

"Life is a school of probabilities."

Walter Bagehot

Note: Some thoughts  on 2019  added on Jan 3, 2019.

Neoliberal economics (aka casino capitalism) function from one crash to another. Risk is pervasively underpriced under neoliberal system, resulting in bubbles small and large which hit the economy periodically. The problem are not strictly economical or political. They are ideological. Like a country which adopted a certain religion follows a certain path, The USA behaviour after adoption of neoliberalism somewhat correlate with the behaviour of alcoholic who decided to booze himself to death. The difference is that debt is used instead of booze.

Hypertrophied role of financial sector under neoliberalism introduces strong positive feedback look into the economic system making the whole system unstable. Any attempts to put some sand into the wheels in the form of increasing transaction costs or jailing some overzealous bankers or hedge fund managers are blocked by political power of financial oligarchy, which is the actual ruling class under neoliberalism for ordinary investor (who are dragged into stock market by his/her 401K) this in for a very bumpy ride. I managed to observe just two two financial crashed under liberalism (in 2000 and 2008) out of probably four (Savings and loan crisis was probably the first neoliberal crisis). The next crash is given, taking into account that hypertrophied role of financial sector did not changes neither after dot-com crisis of 200-2002 not after 2008 crisis (it is unclear when and if it ended; in any case it was long getting the name of "Great Recession").

Timing of the next crisis is anybody's guess but it might well be closer then we assume. As Mark Twain aptly observed: "A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes" ;-):

This morning that meant a stream of thoughts triggered by Paul Krugman’s most recent op-ed, particularly this:

Most of all, the vast riches being earned — or maybe that should be “earned” — in our bloated financial industry undermined our sense of reality and degraded our judgment.

Think of the way almost everyone important missed the warning signs of an impending crisis. How was that possible? How, for example, could Alan Greenspan have declared, just a few years ago, that “the financial system as a whole has become more resilient” — thanks to derivatives, no less? The answer, I believe, is that there’s an innate tendency on the part of even the elite to idolize men who are making a lot of money, and assume that they know what they’re doing.

As most 401K investors are brainwashing into being "over bullish", this page is strongly bearish in "perma-bear" fashion in order to serve as an antidote to "Barrons" style cheerleading. Funny, but this page is accessed mostly during periods of economic uncertainty. At least this was the case during the last two financial crisis(2000 and 2008). No so much during good times: the number of visits drops to below 1K a month.

Some thoughts  on 2019

It was clear that 2017 stock market run was detached from fundamentals. Mostly speculative run. And the current stock market decline could well happen three months aerler or three month later but it was in the cards. It is difficult to estimate the power of inertia in such speculative runs. Also layoffs and decline of the standard liming of workers and lower middle class still can continue to improve the balance sheet until "Yellow Vests" moment stops them.

Jobs created now are mostly "inferior" low paid or temp/contractor jobs and the numbers just mask the cruel reality of the USA job market.

Which in reality is dismal, especially for young and old workers. several more or less paid specialties disappeared in 2018 due to automation (cash office worker is one). automatic cashier is supermarkets are also now more visible.  So spontaneous cases of vandalism, killings of coworkers and other form of "action of desperation" (as well as the rate of death from opioids -- which is yet another form of the same) would not be too surprising in such an atmosphere. Even with the power of the current national security state. Trump is playing with fire trying to cut on food stamps and implementing some other action in this program of "national neoliberalism" which is in internal policy is almost undistinguishable from neofascism.  He risk facing "Macron situation" sooner or later.

In any case at some point Minsky moment should arrive for the stock market. I am not sure that the current decline is that start of such an event. It might be postponed further down the line for a year or two.  But it will eventually come.  We can only guess what form it might take, but with the current Apple troubles and valuations of tech sector I think it might take the form of something similar to dot-com bubble deflation No.2

I do not see Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft and other tech high flyers completely immune to the stock crash of 50% magnitude or more. For example, Google is overly dependent on advertising revenue which can grow only by strangulating small sites owners which use it as the advertizing platform (which it successfully implements fro several years now). But at some point owners might revolt and start dropping it for Microsoft or other platform.  Facebook might face a backlash, if people understand that selling data about them in the part of the business model, not an aberration.

One of the most unexplainable things that happened in 2018 was dramatic fall of oil prices in the Q4. This was quite surprising (and destructive) after the period of little or no capital investment in the new fields for three years or so.  Shale oil production increases in the USA are only possible if junk bonds can be produced along with it. Junks bonds that will never be paid. With the current debt load and prices below $50 most of the USA shale oil companies are zombies. Most if not all of thenm are losing money.  Only return of ~$70 oil prices can save them, if anything at all. WSJ touched this topic recently.

So this surprising fall of oil prices (from around $70 to around $43 WTI) looks connected to the speculations in the "paper oil" market.

Financialization allows for oil price to be completely detached from fundamentals for a year or even two (Saudis need over $80 I think to balance the budget, I think; this represents "fair price" as they are one of the three largest producers).

But you will never know this unless there are shortages at gas stations. The difference is covered by inflated statistics from IEA and similar agencies as well as "paper oil" -- future contracts which are settled in dollars.

This is the reality of "casino capitalism" ( aka neoliberalism ) with its rampant and destructive financialization.


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[Jul 06, 2020] It is July. By January 2021, the US economy will have suffered a structural collapse in multiple sectors. That is the economic consequence of the pandemic. Restaurants, shopping malls, bars, colleges, hotels, airlines, cruise lines -- easily 15% of the workforce will be unemployed and another 25% seriously underemployed.

Notable quotes:
"... I would submit that the legitimacy of the elite professional and managerial classes is being called into question, for want of performance or any sense of responsibility. The urban PMC are the core constituency of the establishment Democratic Party. The vestigial working class elements and the ideological Left are distant memories and oppressed minorities seeking social justice, mere props. ..."
"... The thing is, the political classes -- the millionaire media pundits, the politicians, the lobbyists, the generals, the journamalists, the manipulative political operatives and propagandists, the pious policy "experts", the highly paid executives and financial managers running monopolies into the ground and non-profits into irrelevance -- they have enacted their neo-liberal agenda and it doesn't work. ..."
"... This in a country that cannot manufacture PPE. Or win a war. Trump, in his fumbling way, might get the U.S. out of Afghanistan, but the NY Times -- who brought us WMD not that long ago -- reports the Russians are paying bounties on American soldiers killed. No report on the treatment of Julian Assange though. Boeing is going to get the 737 Max in the air real soon now. Citibank is borrowing at 0.03 from the Fed and lending to credit card users at 27% and may be insolvent. ..."
"... So, let us assume the Democrats, after nominating an elderly SOB who had a hand in the crime bill that gave the U.S. the highest incarceration rate in the world, the bankruptcy bill that saddled tens of millions with credit card and student debt that cannot be discharged, and every stupid war of the last nearly twenty years, will suddenly see the necessity of radical change. And, after making an alliance with conservative Republicans hostile to even Trump's fake populism in order to elect Biden, seeing the light on radical reform is so likely! So plausible. ..."
Jul 06, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

bruce wilder 07.06.20 at 4:11 am (45 )

mainstream Democrats recognize the need for radical change, and Biden will align with the mainstream position as he always has done

You said you would leave this, your third assumption, to comments, so here is my comment.

The U.S. is in the midst of a deep legitimacy crisis and contrary to popular belief among liberals, it is not Trump particularly whose legitimacy is being called into question. Oh, sure, there have been relentless attacks on him -- from partisan opponents and from much of mainstream media -- but like the "anti-racism" of the recent protests -- much of it is dissembling and distraction. Charges of colluding with Putin to win the 2016 election turned out to be fake news -- rather obviously so from the beginning -- but a big enough mob went down that path with no self-awareness. I am not saying Trump is not an egregiously bad President; he is. But, notice please, before you go assuming that mainstream Democrats are going wake up in 2021 wanting to govern in the real world , that they have not shown much inclination toward truth-telling or critical realism these last 20 years.

It is July. By January 2021, the U.S. economy will have suffered a structural collapse in multiple sectors. That is the economic consequence of the pandemic. Restaurants, shopping malls, bars, colleges, hotels, airlines, cruise lines -- easily 15% of the workforce will be unemployed and another 25% seriously underemployed.

Did I mention that the U.S. is undergoing a legitimacy crisis?? Whose legitimacy is being called into question?

I would submit that the legitimacy of the elite professional and managerial classes is being called into question, for want of performance or any sense of responsibility. The urban PMC are the core constituency of the establishment Democratic Party. The vestigial working class elements and the ideological Left are distant memories and oppressed minorities seeking social justice, mere props.

I would say the Party establishment is confident they can put the re-animated corpse of Biden into the White House. And look how gleefully they welcome Republican never-Trumpers into the clubhouse! If you were one of the fools and tools who thought Obama did not want Republicans to control Congress, you are getting another chance to see how the Obama Alumni Association works with the Lincoln Project, how happy they are to deliver the kind of policy that appeals to rich, old, suburban Republican women.

The thing is, the political classes -- the millionaire media pundits, the politicians, the lobbyists, the generals, the journamalists, the manipulative political operatives and propagandists, the pious policy "experts", the highly paid executives and financial managers running monopolies into the ground and non-profits into irrelevance -- they have enacted their neo-liberal agenda and it doesn't work.

We have just watched the once highly touted CDC completely botch the great Pandemic. They could not devise a test. They screwed up the rules on who could or should be tested. They lied early on about the need to wear masks. They staged a moral panic over a need for ventilators, when ventilators are a terrible therapeutic alternative. In the new Puritanism, they shut down public beaches but they watched passively as liberal heroes like Cuomo set off a holocaust by sending COVID-19 patients to nursing homes.

This in a country that cannot manufacture PPE. Or win a war. Trump, in his fumbling way, might get the U.S. out of Afghanistan, but the NY Times -- who brought us WMD not that long ago -- reports the Russians are paying bounties on American soldiers killed. No report on the treatment of Julian Assange though. Boeing is going to get the 737 Max in the air real soon now. Citibank is borrowing at 0.03 from the Fed and lending to credit card users at 27% and may be insolvent.

So, let us assume the Democrats, after nominating an elderly SOB who had a hand in the crime bill that gave the U.S. the highest incarceration rate in the world, the bankruptcy bill that saddled tens of millions with credit card and student debt that cannot be discharged, and every stupid war of the last nearly twenty years, will suddenly see the necessity of radical change. And, after making an alliance with conservative Republicans hostile to even Trump's fake populism in order to elect Biden, seeing the light on radical reform is so likely! So plausible.

And, what's the play? The carrot of bi-partisan cooperation coupled with the fearful stick of abolishing the filibuster someday somehow if they don't play nice. You do realize that only Republicans are allowed to manipulate the filibuster and only in ways that favor their agenda of, say, stacking the courts? And, the strategic vision? Reinforcing the Rube Goldberg contraption which is Obamacare? You do know Biden is on record as adamantly opposed to Medicare4all? And, that Medicaid is a need-based nightmare of controlled deprivation? In a country where public health is such a shambles that a pandemic is running out of control.

You can do better.

Hidari 07.06.20 at 9:59 am ( 51 )

'All the attention in this thread so far has been on the political dimension of uncertainty, but it seems to me the public health dimension is also crucial and quite up in the air. What will the trajectory of the virus look like in the US over the next several months? Will infections continue to explode out of control?'

Not just the public health, but the economic effects of the public health. As I pointed out in a previous thread, it's not difficult to work out why Trump looked like he was going to win in January: the stock market was booming, unemployment was low, crime was low, there were no new wars it's not a mystery.

People vote with their wallets.

If Trump someone manages to face down the neo-liberals in his own party and arrange for a gigantic stimulus bill (bigger than the last one) and keeps 'benefits' going past August, he is in with a shout. If he doesn't, and if the economy continues its path to free fall, he will lose.

People vote with their wallets. It is not difficult. You don't need to invoke Russia and etc. to work out why Trump won in 2016 (the impact of the Obama stimulus package, which was too small, hadn't et 'percolated through' to people's bank balances at that point). And, if Trump loses in 2020, the reasons will be self-evident and nothing to do with 'people seeing through him' or 'brave liberals averted a turn to fascism'. If he loses it will be because he screwed up on the 'good' economy.

People vote with their wallets.

[Jul 06, 2020] Prins- -We're Living In A Permanent Distortion- -

Jul 06, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Via Greg Hunter's USAWatchdog.com,

Three time best-selling book author Nomi Prins says long before the Covid 19 crisis, the global economy was faltering big time. The Fed stepped in with the start of massive money printing in late 2019 to save the day.

Prins explains, " We were already in crisis mode as I mentioned at the end of my last book going into 2019."

"What did we see at the end of 2019? We saw this pivot, and I call it phase two. . . . Central banks had pivoted to easing mode . . . . Come September, October, November and December, the Fed is producing repo operations. Those are short-term lending operations that are supposed to be the purview of the banks . . . . The Fed is not supposed to get involved, but it did. The Fed had all kinds of excuses. It said it was not QE, but it was. . . . The debt at the end of 2019 for the world was three times GDP. For every $3 borrowed, only $1 of economic activity occurred. That's what we started 2020 with. Throw a pandemic into that . . . and you have a long drawn out financial and economic crisis."

Now, the money printing has gone into overdrive to save the system from the virus crisis. The social and economic damage, according to Prins, is profound and not going away. Prins points out,

"We are not going to pay back this debt, and this is global. Nobody is even considering trying to pay back the debt that has been created. Let's think about why that debt has been created. It's not just because the economy slowed down. That's one reason and kind of an excuse. The reality is the Fed is on steroids, and other central banks are on steroids . . . throughout the world in a larger number and larger magnitude than in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008. This means all this new debt created is even cheaper than the debt created going into the 2008 crisis. So, more debt, created more cheaply, means less incentive to pay it back and more incentive to push it down the road and grow it. You've got this snowball of debt rolling down this high mountain, and it's rolling and growing and getting bigger. The mountain, which is the main street economy, is coming down as the snow ball is coming down, and the main street economy itself, that foundation, is really shaky. . . . How does this end? It ends with us, the foundation, which is the main street economy, by both that snowball of debt and the avalanche of the mountain. That's going to be a multi-decade problem. "

Prins says this next stage has a brand new name and explains,

" I call this a 'Permanent Distortion.' I have not used this term in prior books, but I am using it because . . . the disconnect between financial assets, equity markets and the real economy . . . has become massive ...

There is going to be this endless supply of artificial stimulation into the markets. . . . Former New York Fed President Bill Dudley said the Fed's balance sheet is going to $10 trillion. That's what I have been saying, and now he finally said it. That's not going away anytime soon. That's not being unwound anytime soon. That becomes permanent lift to financial assets . . . . In the wake of that, less real capital gets used for infrastructure, research and development, growth and retooling the economy and getting jobs into this new period."

Prins says gold prices are going to "follow the expansion of the Fed's balance sheet." It is that simple, and Prins predicts,

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

"As we saw in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, gold and silver will have the ability to go up quite substantially as the Fed's book increases in size, which we know it is going to do. We have been told that multiple times by many different words by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell."

In closing, Prins says, " We are continuing to drive up asset bubbles where we don't have the real economy to back it up..."

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"The more this 'Permanent Distortion' gets bigger, the more the likelihood the next crisis will happen... and it will be from a higher height. It will be from a larger bubble, a bigger snowball accelerating downward more quickly. I don't think we are out of this crisis. I think the markets are going to have a bumpy ride as the economy has a bumpier ride ."

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with three time best-selling author Nomi Prins.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/erwrulvyIqk

* * *

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Posa , 6 minutes ago

The Central Banks will buy up the debt and then liquidate it. Some currencies may be re-issued. Get over it. Not the end of the world.

hugin-o-munin , 20 minutes ago

I used to listen closely to what Nomi said before but now it is only more of the usual talk. The world is a very slow place and it takes a long time until new realizations spread but when they do there is little possibility to stop it. Right now the USD is dying as a world reserve currency. It is slow and strictly kept away as a talking point in media.

The US behaves and continues down a path that is only accelerating this process because it is not up to the US what happens to the USD, it is up to the rest of the world. This is a truth that no American wants to accept but it is a fact. The more aggressive and arrogant the US becomes the faster this will happen and a part of me thinks that is precisely the plan. It will not matter what either the Fed or Treasury does.

Nomi talks about price inflation hitting smaller and poorer nations right now but doesn't even come close to the fact that this is also happening in the US right now albeit much slower. Greg Hunter was too stuck on finding ways to praise Trump as usual to even push this question, if he even recognized it. The gospel from Wall Street and most certainly Goldman Sachs that the USD can never be questioned is all over this interview and which is why these 'former' truth tellers are just that - former.

algol_dog , 35 minutes ago

Futures at new highs tonight. This week will break S&P highs for the year. Amazing time ...

Motorhead , 40 minutes ago

We've been hearing the same old stuff for easily 10-15 years from Jim Willie, Eric King, Peter Schiff, various/numerous gold bugs. et al., ad nauseam. Yeah, one day, they might be right, but repeating the same mantra for over a decade, one is bound to be right eventually.

Balance-Sheet , 54 minutes ago

If it is permanent it is reality not a distortion and this is the point. The 1900s are long over and will not be returning nor will the 1800s be returning for that matter.

Will the National Debt ever be paid off? No and there was never any intention to do so.

The Fed is in charge and does not need to account to anyone other than Congress and its Banking and Budgeting committees therefore provides explanations it hopes people can understand though this might be ill advised in and of itself.

Will the Fed balance sheet go to 10T? It might but only if it seems necessary and that depends of future circumstances which in very fluid conditions cannot be forecast accurately especially when politicians snap the economy on and off again and again.

Do taxpayers have to pay back the Fed balance sheet? No.

Does the US Treasury or the Fed crowd out private investment making it less available or at higher interest rates. NO! and obviously not, right? Everyone can see that.

The Gold Standard is o-v-e-r and there are no practical limitations to the amount of dollars that can be authorized by Congress to the level deemed necessary.

Doesn't this mean the USG will issue unlimited e-dollars? No, anything can happen in a thought experiment of course but the target is to make sure that the supply of USD is just a little more than enough.

If a mistake is made can excess USD is issued can the excess be withdrawn? Yes, billions of dollars die every day anyway as loans mature and all UST issues like bonds that mature in Fed custody simply disappear automatically upon maturity. All of the 'dollars' and the bonds are electronic and are simply deleted electronically invisibly and with no PR issues.

Does Nomi Prins know this? Probably but, hey, she is trying to make a living here so must slightly overfulfill your existing expectations. That is just excellent marketing- you want the customer- that's you- to get a slightly heavy pour. :-)

indus creed , 58 minutes ago

Prins has co-hosted the TYT (The Young Turks) program on Youtube. In case you are wondering, TYT are deluded, woke supporters of AOC/The_Squad types.

[Jul 04, 2020] Low-Income American Households Suffer Inflation Shock From Virus

Notable quotes:
"... "In a period of protest and increasing anger about inequality, the differential inflation rate experienced by low- and high-income households is a concern," said Bloomberg Economics' Björn van Roye and Tom Orlik. ..."
Jul 04, 2020 | www.bloomberg.com

The coronavirus is inflicting a price shock on low income Americans that risks further driving up inequality.

In a study released this week, Bloomberg Economics estimated higher grocery and housing costs for lockdown necessities meant those households whose incomes are in the bottom 10% currently face inflation of 1.5% compared with 1.0% for the top 10% and the official 0.1% overall average recorded in May.

Recalculating Inflation

'Have nots' suffered disproportionately as virus changed buying patterns

https://www.bloomberg.com

Sources: Bloomberg Economics, BLS, https://opportunityinsights.org

Note: Inflation for the lowest (highest) 10% takes the alternative CPI basket for the lowest (highest) decile of household income before taxes from the 2018 Consumer Expenditure Survey

The explanation for the difference lies in how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed consumption patterns by forcing households to buy more food while spending less on transportation or recreational activities.

"In a period of protest and increasing anger about inequality, the differential inflation rate experienced by low- and high-income households is a concern," said Bloomberg Economics' Björn van Roye and Tom Orlik.

The suggestion the virus is less disinflationary than many economists believe poses a challenge for the Federal Reserve which is eyeing a slower inflation rate than that experienced by lower earners, who are instead facing a steady erosion of their purchasing power.

"Taken together with concerns about central banks bailing out investors ahead of firms and workers, and the benefits rich, asset-owning households gain from quantitative easing, it adds to the sense that central banks are unintentional contributors to the problem of inequality," van Roye and Orlik said.

[Jul 04, 2020] The Economic Consequences of the Pandemic by JOHN QUIGGIN

Notable quotes:
"... So called “Democrats”, especially Biden himself, and Biden entourage are sellouts to financial oligarchy. They represent defeated in 2016 wing of the US neoliberal elite — adherents to classic neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization. ..."
"... To expect them to attempt anything of value other the kicking the neoliberalism can down the road is extremely naive. ..."
Jul 04, 2020 | crookedtimber.org
J-D 07.04.20 at 7:59 am ( 2 )

The more you tie your analysis of economic consequences to the assumption of a Democratic victory in the Presidential election and a Democratic majority in the Senate, the more of it will be at risk of being rendered moot by the Republicans retaining either the Presidency or a Senate majority or both, but I guess you know that and are implicitly accepting the risk of having to do a lot of rewriting in that event (if the book is supposed to appear after the elections) or of the book rapidly losing value after the elections (if it’s supposed to appear earlier).

By the same logic, the more you tie your analysis of economic consequences to one particular the way the political strategic battle will play out following the election of a Democratic President and Congressional majority, the more of it will be at risk of being rendered moot by the Democrats pursuing a different strategy. Given the initial assumption of a Democratic President with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, I suggest you would do better with a short discussion at a very high level of generality about why

I’m assuming that the title is supposed to be a genuine indication of the main topic of the book and not a way of disguising a real topic of ‘What’s Going to Happen Next’ or ‘What Should Happen Next’, which would not be quite the same.

Lee A. Arnold 07.04.20 at 5:20 pm ( 12 )

If the Democrats take the White House and Congress they’ll have a very short window to get anything done. The plutocracy will react by weakening the dollar e.g. by moving small amounts into the euro, cryptocurrencies and/or even the renmimbi. Interest rates will rise, and this will frighten many (or most) of the Democrats into austerity measures to reduce the budget deficit.

Thus will arise the old propaganda refrain that Democrats don’t know what they are doing, and the resulting frustrations, and Fox News falsehoods, might prompt voters to return Congress to Republican control in the midterms.

Therefore the Democrats should adopt a strategy of getting a few irreversible things done at the very beginning by ditching the filibuster and passing some popular programs which might ALSO help the party against Republican propaganda in future elections. This can be done in healthcare, comprehensive immigration reform, infrastructure, and new constitutional amendments.

Amendment against executive misconduct: A. Executive branch inspectors general shall not be removed but by Congressional approval. B. Not complying with Congressional subpoenas is an impeachable offense. C. In the case of House impeachment, “executive privilege” is automatically voided. D. If a President is removed from office, all of his or her pardons are automatically voided and the miscreants returned to jail.

likbez 07.05.20 at 2:29 am

So called “Democrats”, especially Biden himself, and Biden entourage are sellouts to financial oligarchy. They represent defeated in 2016 wing of the US neoliberal elite — adherents to classic neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization.

To expect them to attempt anything of value other the kicking the neoliberalism can down the road is extremely naive.

In this sense Lee A. Arnold post ( 07.04.20 at 5:20 pm #12) is completely detached from reality.

[Jul 03, 2020] Is math unjust and grounded in discrimination ? Sometimes I wonder if the world is some kind of sitcom for aliens

Notable quotes:
"... This lady is sitting there lying trying to prove a point. I have been in enough arguments to kow when someone is just arguing to keep the discussion going ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.youtube.com

John Smith , 7 months ago

Crazy lady: Math is discriminatory!

Mia Light , 8 months ago (edited)

Sometimes I wonder if the world is some kind of sitcom for aliens.

Johnny West , 7 months ago

Comprehending mathematics requires IQ ! Not equality. Lord, this woman lives in a rabbit hole.

Ruttigorn Logsdon , 7 months ago

And son that's how America became a third world country over night!

L0nN13 , 8 months ago

The bottom line is, they want to take away any problem solving skills that might build character, because someone might get hurt! Victimhood culture run amuck.

Sal Pacheco , 8 months ago

Mathematics is the cornerstone of all forms of trade, communications, home economics and every other aspect of life. Truth is they're dumbing everyone down to control populations!

Oprah and Michael Jordan are black billionaires , 4 days ago

As a black American, this is so ignorant and offensive to me

Jewel Heart , 7 months ago

The brilliant NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson just proves what a load of bx this latest rubbish is.

Mach 1 , 2 years ago

I have Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering and I'm 62-years old. I have never once cared about the history of mathematics, other than a curiosity. Knowing the history of mathematics never helped me once to solve an ordinary second order differential equation.

Aric Lyles , 8 months ago

When a person lies while giving an interview they should be shocked or something. This lady is sitting there lying trying to prove a point. I have been in enough arguments to kow when someone is just arguing to keep the discussion going. She has already lost the argument deflected and differed responsibility when confronted with the legitimacy of the paper.

Go exercise healthy body makes a healthy mind not the other way around.

[Jul 03, 2020] The world s economy is in contraction. Although capital, what actual capital exists, will have to try and do something productive, it is confronted by this fact, that everything is facing contraction.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I agree that globalism is/will be heading into the dumpers, but I see no chance that US-based manufacturing is going to make any significant come-back. ..."
"... What market will there be for US-manufactured goods? US "consumers" are heavily in debt and facing continued downward pressures on income. ..."
"... There will certainly be, especially given the eye-opener of COVID-19, a big push to have medical (which includes associated tech) production capacities reinvigorated in the US. ..."
"... More "disposable" income goes toward medical expenditures. Less money goes toward creating export items; wealth creation only occurs through a positive increase in balance of trade. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, death, the US will likely continue, for the mid-term, to export weaponry; but, don't expect enough growth here to mean much (margins will drop as competition increases, so figure downward pressure on net export $$). ..."
"... the planet cannot comply with our economic model's dependency on perpetual growth: there can NOT be perpetual growth on a finite planet. US manufacturing requires, as it always has, export markets; requires ever-increasing exports: this is really true for all others. Higher standards of living in the US (and add in increasing medical costs which factor into cost of goods sold) means that the price of US-manufactured goods will be less affordable to peoples outside of the US. ..."
"... I'll also note that the notion of there being a cycle, a parabolic curve, in civilizations is well noted/documented in Sir John Glubb's The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival (you can find electronic bootlegged copies on the Internet)- HIGHLY recommended reading! ..."
"... All of this is pretty much reflected in Wall Street companies ramp-ups in stock-buy-backs. That's money that's NOT put in R&D or expansion. I'm pretty sure that the brains in all of this KNOW what the situation is: growth is never coming back. ..."
"... Make no mistake, what we're facing is NOT another recession or depression, it's not part of what we think as a downturn in the "business cycle," as though we'll "pull out of it," it's basically an end to the super-cycle ..."
"... We are at the peak (slightly past peak, but not far enough to realize it yet) and there is no returning. Per-capita income and energy consumption have peaked. There's not enough resources and not enough new demand (younger people, people that have wealth) to keep the perpetual growth machine going. ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Seer , Jul 3 2020 10:34 utc | 125

NemesisCalling @ 28

I agree that globalism is/will be heading into the dumpers, but I see no chance that US-based manufacturing is going to make any significant come-back.

The world's economy is in contraction. Although capital, what actual capital exists, will have to try and do something "productive," it is confronted by this fact, that everything is facing contraction. During times of contraction it's a game of acquisition rather than expanding capacity: the sum total is STILL contraction; and the contraction WILL be a reduction in excess, excess manufacturing and labor.

What market will there be for US-manufactured goods? US "consumers" are heavily in debt and facing continued downward pressures on income. China is self-sufficient (enough) other than energy (which can be acquired outside of US markets). Most every other country is in a position of declining wealth (per capita income levels peaked and in decline). And manufacturing continues to increase its automation (less workers means less consumers).

There will certainly be, especially given the eye-opener of COVID-19, a big push to have medical (which includes associated tech) production capacities reinvigorated in the US. One has to look at this in The Big Picture of what it means, and that's that the US population is aging (and in poor health).

More "disposable" income goes toward medical expenditures. Less money goes toward creating export items; wealth creation only occurs through a positive increase in balance of trade. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, death, the US will likely continue, for the mid-term, to export weaponry; but, don't expect enough growth here to mean much (margins will drop as competition increases, so figure downward pressure on net export $$).

Lastly, and it's the reason why global trade is being knocked down, is that the planet cannot comply with our economic model's dependency on perpetual growth: there can NOT be perpetual growth on a finite planet. US manufacturing requires, as it always has, export markets; requires ever-increasing exports: this is really true for all others. Higher standards of living in the US (and add in increasing medical costs which factor into cost of goods sold) means that the price of US-manufactured goods will be less affordable to peoples outside of the US.

And here too is the fact that other countries' populations are also aging. Years ago I dove into the demographics angle/assessment to find out that ALL countries ramp and age and that you can see countries' energy consumption rise and their their net trade balance swing negative- there's a direct correlation: go to the CIA's Factbook and look at demographics and energy and the graphs tell the story.

I'll also note that the notion of there being a cycle, a parabolic curve, in civilizations is well noted/documented in Sir John Glubb's The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival (you can find electronic bootlegged copies on the Internet)- HIGHLY recommended reading!

All of this is pretty much reflected in Wall Street companies ramp-ups in stock-buy-backs. That's money that's NOT put in R&D or expansion. I'm pretty sure that the brains in all of this KNOW what the situation is: growth is never coming back.

MANY years ago I stated that we will one day face "economies of scale in reverse." We NEVER considered that growth couldn't continue forever. There was never a though about what would happen with the reverse "of economies of scale."

Make no mistake, what we're facing is NOT another recession or depression, it's not part of what we think as a downturn in the "business cycle," as though we'll "pull out of it," it's basically an end to the super-cycle.

We will never be able to replicate the state of things as they are. We are at the peak (slightly past peak, but not far enough to realize it yet) and there is no returning. Per-capita income and energy consumption have peaked. There's not enough resources and not enough new demand (younger people, people that have wealth) to keep the perpetual growth machine going.

[Jul 01, 2020] The Sack Prof Priyamvada Gopal (the Cambridge Race Troll ) Petition is down

Cue bono? Not black people (actually she is an Indian, which until recently was a caste society). Is she a victim of "affirmative action" policy and occupies a position for which there are more worthy academically candidates. University is not sinecure, at least it should not be.
How good is she as an academic? Is she mentally stable?
The decision of Cambridge University to promote her after such an idiotic tweet creates several additional questions.
Jul 01, 2020 | www.reddit.com

https://www.change.org/p/cambridge-university-fire-cambridge-professor-for-racism

Petition against Prof Priyamvada Gopal now off line. Additionally I noticed earlier today that the comments given on the site voicing why they were signing had all been removed, but not on other petitions. As of yesterday evening these comments were peaceful, and not personal, just things like 'because it is racist' and 'do I even need to give a reason'?

The petition had nearly 25,000 signed supporters earlier today, and new signings were flooding in at over 1/sec when I checked.

In addition in an affront to common decency the University/College promoted her whilst they had stated earlier they were aware of the controversial nature of her tweets.

Her original tweet was deleted by Twitter as a breach of community guidelines. She also reports that, in spite of senselessly provoking people at a delicate time with racist tweets, that the extremely racist responses she got from some far right people was being looked at by the Police.

All in all this establishes a systematic problem. Being deliberately vague means you cannot use context as a defence, and the context of all her tweets shows some extreme patterns of thinking against certain groups that casts very considerable doubts on the validity of such a defense. Moreover, context hasn't been a defence when others have been prosecuted for far less. Nobody, including Cambridge academics, should be above the law.

To those people that think that what she said was justified because she was trying to defend BLM from supposed alternative movements, all she in fact did do was to achieve the opposite of that.

If one wishes to convey complex ideas a teacher of English in her position *must know* that this requires a long form medium to provide argumentation, and that Twitter is no such place to do it due to its character count. But taking in all the other comments she has made, its very clear the double standards and overall bias that really does amount to overt prejudice.

At the very least she is so contradictory, immature and incompetent as to make a mockery of her college and for that reason at minimum, she should lose her job. I'm sorry to say that as well.

But something about this whole episode feels like a jumping the shark moment. I don't think this is going away all that easily.

[Jul 01, 2020] The elites have two or three passports, own businesses overseas, own houses.

Jul 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

Jeff Stryker , says: June 30, 2020 at 5:59 pm GMT

@Rev. Spooner bout the Bill of Rights or the Constitution or community. Those are a joke to people whose money is made transnational.

The lumpens who have never traveled out of their state have no concept of geographic dimensions. They have never even left home. They think everyone is as patriotic as them and will fight and die for their country and their community.

I assure none of the elite care a whit. Penthouses look the same from Manhattan to Tokyo.

Ask the Boers in South Africa or Polish in Detroit who did not "sniff the wind" in time.

The guy who has a gun loaded in his pocket as an insurance policy has a plan and it does not end well for the person who hit him.

The elites have two or three passports, own businesses overseas, own houses.

[Jul 01, 2020] Today, a CEO would be embarrassed to admit he sacrificed profits to protect employees or a community

Jul 01, 2020 | www.amazon.com


J.L. Populist Top Contributor: Guitars

The Close Relationship Between the Rich and Politics.

5.0 out of 5 stars The Close Relationship Between the Rich and Politics. Reviewed in the United States on January 15, 2009 Verified Purchase In this large book Kevin Phillips takes the reader on a lesson of economics and politics. Much of the history in WEALTH AND DEMOCRACY is of the American variety. He does, however, examine Spain, Holland,and Britain and the commonality these past governments have with the current American political and economic scene. The biggest common thread is the shrinking of the middle class a/k/a stratification of wealth.

One of Mr. Phillips observations is that in the 1990s transnational corporations posted record earnings while hiring few Americans. Sometimes slashing employment to boost the bottom line.
Along that line he quotes Peter Cepelli, a professor at Wharton School of Business- "Today, a CEO would be embarrassed to admit he sacrificed profits to protect employees or a community."

He also describes the shifting of the tax burden from corporations to low and middle income individuals through FICA taxes.

His quote on page 242 sums up American politics of the 1890s- "For two or three decades, then, democracy was corrupted at its constitutional core. Control of the Senate secured not just that chamber but the federal courts, the U.S.Supreme Court, and the U.S. Army to the service of American industry and finance."

He demonstrates in this book that wealth has been a factor in the politics of the United States from the very start. Finance (banking) has had it's proponents like Hamilton and some presidents through time while it has also had it's opponents; most notably Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson.

The author takes a look at the worth of some former Cabinet members, Warren Harding's especially, although he wasn't the only president to tap the wealthy for his service.

Another interesting point that Mr. Phillips makes is that globalization can be, and has been in the past, reversed.

One of the curious inclusions in this book is found on page 71. It's an excerpt of a letter from FDR to Col. Edmund Mandell House. (House is a rather controversial, mysterious figure in American political history and the subject of conspiracy theories. He was a close adviser to Woodrow Wilson during his presidency). "The real truth... is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson- and I am not wholly excepting the Administration of W.W. The country is going through a repetition of Jackson's fight with the Bank of the United Sates- only on a bigger and broader basis."

The author also quotes such figures as John Kenneth Galbraith and Thorstein Veblen

The moral of WEALTH AND DEMOCRACY as I take it, is that our economic ills now are nothing more than a recurring pattern that has been experienced by various powerful governments in their heydays. Part of the problem is hubris or the belief that it can't happen again.
This is a large book and some sections are laborious to read, but the message of the book is comprehensible and detailed very well. It may just be the most detailed book on the subject of wealth and it's adverse affect on government, especially a democratic form of government.

[Jul 01, 2020] The Covid-BLM Diversion; -Shock Therapy- behind a smokescreen of hysteria and racial incitement by Mike Whitney

Jul 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

The imposition of the nationwide lockdowns required elite consensus. There's no way that a project of that magnitude could have been carried out absent the nearly universal support of establishment elites and their lackeys in the political class. There must have also been a fairly-detailed media strategy that excluded the voices of lockdown opponents while– at the same time– promoting an extremely dubious theory of universal quarantine that had no basis in science, no historical precedent, and no chance of preventing the long-term spread of the infection. All of this suggests that the lockdowns were not a spontaneous overreaction to a fairly-mild virus that kills roughly 1 in 500 mainly-older and infirm victims, but a comprehensive and thoroughly-vetted plan to impose "shock therapy" on the US economy in order to achieve the long-term strategic ambitions of ruling class elites. As one sardonic official opined, "Never let a crisis go to waste."

It was clear from the beginning, that the lockdowns were going to have a catastrophic effect on the economy, and so they have. As of today, 30 million people have lost their jobs, tens of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses have been shuttered, second quarter GDP has plunged to an eye watering -45.5 percent (Atlanta Fed), and the economy has experienced its greatest shock in history. Even so, pundits in the mainstream media, remain steadfast in their opposition to lifting the lockdowns or modifying the medical martial law edicts that have been arbitrarily imposed by mainly-liberal governors across the country. Why? Why would the so-called "experts throw their weight behind such a sketchy policy when they knew how much suffering it was going to cause for ordinary working people? And why has the media continued to attack countries like Sweden who merely settled on a more conventional approach instead of imposing a full-blown lockdown? Swedish leaders and epidemiologists were unaware that adopting their own policy would be seen as a sign of defiance by their global overlords, but it was. Elites have decided that there can be no challenge to their idiotic lockdown model which is why Sweden had to be punished, ridiculed, and dragged through the mud. The treatment of Sweden further underscores the fact that the lockdown policy (and the destruction of the US economy) was not a random and impulsive act, but one part of a broader plan to restructure the economy to better serve the interests of elites. That's what's really going on. The lockdowns are being used to "reset" the economy and impose a new social order.

But why would corporate mandarins agree to a plan that would shrink their earnings and eviscerate short-term profitability?

Why? Because of the the stock market, that's why. The recycling of earnings into financial assets has replaced product sales as the primary driver of profits. As you may have noticed, both the Fed and the US Treasury have taken unprecedented steps to ensure that stock prices will only go higher. To date, the Fed and Treasury have committed $8 trillion dollars to backstopping the weaker areas of the market in an effort to flood the market with liquidity. "Backstopping" is an innocuous-sounding term that analysts use to conceal what is really going on, which is, the Fed is "price fixing", buying up trillions of dollars of corporate debt, ETF's, MBS, and US Treasuries to keep prices artificially high in order to reward the investor class it secretly serves. This is why the corporations and Tech giants are not concerned about the vast devastation that has been inflicted on the economy. They'll still be raking hefty profits via the stock market while the real economy slips deeper into a long-term coma. Besides, when the lockdowns are finally lifted, these same corporations will see a surge of consolidation brought on by the destruction of so many Mom and Pop industries that couldn't survive the downturn. No doubt, the expansion of America's tenacious monopolies factored heavily into the calculation to blow up the economy. Meanwhile, the deepening slump will undoubtedly create a permanent underclass that will eagerly work for a pittance of what they earned before the crash. So, there you have it: Profitability, consolidation and cheap labor. Why wouldn't corporate bosses love the idea of crashing the economy? It's a win-win situation for them.

We should have seen this coming. It's been clear since the Russiagate fiasco that elites had settled on a more aggressive form of social control via nonstop disinformation presented as headline news based on spurious accusations from anonymous sources, none of who were were ever identified, and none of whose claims could ever be verified. The media continued this "breathless" saturation campaign without pause and without the slightest hesitation even after its central claims were exposed as lies. If you are a liberal who watches the liberal cable channels or reads the New York Times, you might still be unaware that the central claim that the emails were stolen from the DNC by Russia (or anyone else for that matter) has not only been disproved, but also, that Mueller, Comey, Clapper etc knew the story was false way back in 2017. Let that sink in for a minute. They all knew it was a lie after the cyber security team (Crowdstrike) that inspected the DNC computers testified that there was no evidence that the emails had been "exfiltrated". In other words, there was no proof the emails were stolen. There was no justification for the Mueller investigation because there was no evidence that the DNC emails had been hacked, downloaded or pilfered. The whole thing was a hoax from the get go.

There's no way to overstate the importance these recent findings, in fact, our understanding of Russiagate must be applied to the lockdowns, the Black Lives Matter protests and other psychological operations still in the making. What's critical to grasp is not simply that the allegations were based on false claims, (which they were) but that a large number of senior-level officials in law enforcement (FBI), intel agencies, media and the White House knew with absolute certainty that the claims were false (from 2017 and on) but continued to propagate fake stories, spy on members of the new administration and use whatever tools they had at their disposal to overthrow an elected president. The guilty parties in this ruse have never admitted their guilt nor have they changed their fictitious storyline which still routinely appears in the media to this day. What we can glean from this incident, is that there is a vast secret state operating within the government, media and the DNC, that does not accept our system of government, does not accept the results of elections and will lie, cheat and steal to achieve their nefarious objectives. . That's the lesson of Russiagate that has to be applied to both the lockdowns and the Black Lives Matter protests. They are just the next phase of the ongoing war on the American people.

The lockdowns are an Americanized version of the "Shock Doctrine", that is, the country has been thrust into a severe crisis that will result in the implementing of neoliberal economic policies such as privatization, deregulation and cuts to social services. Already many of the liberal governors have driven their states into bankruptcy ensuring that budgets will have to be slashed, more jobs will be lost, funding for education and vital infrastructure will shrink, and assistance to the poor and needy will be sharply reduced. Shutting down the US economy, will create a catastrophe unlike anything we have ever seen in the United States. US Treasuries will likely loose their risk-free status while the dollar's as days as the "world's reserve currency" are probably numbered. That "exorbitant privilege" is based on confidence, and confidence in US leadership is at its lowest point in history.

It's not surprising that the Black Lives Matter protests took place at the same time as the lockdowns. The looting, rioting and desecration of statues provided the perfect one-two punch for those who see some tactical advantage in intensifying public anxiety by exacerbating racial tensions and splitting the country into two warring camps. Divide and conquer remains the modus operandi of imperialists everywhere. That same rule applies here. Here's more background from an article at the Off-Guardian:

"It is no coincidence that another Soros funded activism group Black Lives Matter has diverted the spotlight away from the lockdown's broader impact on the fundamental human rights of billions of people, using the reliable methods of divide and rule, to highlight the plight of specific strata's of society, and not all.

It's worth pointing out that BLM's activity spikes every four years . Always prior to the elections in the US, as African Americans make up an important social segment of Democrat votes. The same Democrats who play both sides like any smart gambler would. The Clintons, for example, are investors into BLM"s partner, the anti-fascist ANTIFA. While Hilary Clinton's mentor (and best friend) was former KKK leader Robert Byrd.

BLM is a massively hyped, TV-made, politicized event, that panders to the populist and escapist appetite of the people. Blinding them from their true call to arms in defense of the universal rights of everyone . Cashing in on the youths pent-up aggression . And weaponising the tiger locked in a rattled cage for 3-months, and unleashed by puppet masters as the mob

As a general rule of thumb, it is safe to assume that if a social movement has the backing of big industry, big philanthropy or big politics, then its ideals run contrary to citizen empowerment." (" The Co-opting of Activism by the State ", Off-Guardian)

Black Lives Matter protests provide another significant diversion from the massive destruction of the US economy. This basic plan has been used effectively many times in the past, most notably in the year following the invasion of Iraq. Some readers will remember how Iraqis militants fought US occupation forces following the invasion in 2003. The escalating violence and rising death-toll created a public relations nightmare for the Bush team that finally settled on a plan for crushing the resistance by arming and training Shia death squads. But the Bushies wanted to confuse the public about what they were really up to, so they concocted a narrative about a "sectarian war" that was intended to divert attention from the attacks on American soldiers.

In order to make the narrative more believable, US intel agents devised a plan to blow up the Shia's most sacred religious site, the Golden Dome Mosque of Samarra, and blame it on Sunni extremists. The incident was then used to convince the American people that what was taking place in Iraq was not a war over foreign occupation, but a bitter sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shia in which the US was just an impartial referee. The killing of George Floyd has been used in much the same way as the implosion of the mosque. It creates a credible narrative for a massive and coordinated protests that have less to do with racial injustice than they do with diverting attention from the destruction of the economy and sowing division among the American people. This is a classic example of how elites use myth and media to conceal their trouble-making and escape any accountability for their actions.

Check out this excerpt from a paper by Carlo Caduff, an academic at King's College London, in a journal called Medical Anthropology Quarterly. It's entitled "What Went Wrong: Corona and the World After the Full Stop":

" Across the world, the pandemic unleashed authoritarian longings in democratic societies allowing governments to seize the opportunity, create states of exception and push political agendas. Commentators have presented the pandemic as a chance for the West to learn authoritarianism from the East. This pandemic risks teaching people to love power and call for its meticulous application . As a result of the unforeseeable social, political and economic consequences of today's sweeping measures, governments across the world have launched record "stimulus" bills costing trillions of dollars, pounds, pesos, rand and rupees . The trillions that governments are spending now as "stimulus" packages surpass even those of the 2008 financial crisis and will need to be paid for somehow. . .. If austerity policies of the past are at the root of the current crisis with overwhelmed healthcare systems in some countries, the rapidly rising public debt is creating the perfect conditions for more austerity in the future. The pandemic response will have major implications for the public funding of education, welfare, social security, environment and health in the future." ( Lockdownskeptics.org )

This is precisely right. The country has been deliberately plunged into another Great Depression with the clear intention of imposing harsh austerity measures that will eviscerate Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and any other social safteynet programs that benefit ordinary working people, retirees, or anyone else for that matter. None of it is random, spontaneous or spur-of-the-moment policymaking. It's all drawn from a centuries-old Imperial Playbook that's being used by scheming elites to implement their final plan for America: Tear down the statues, destroy the icons and symbols, rewrite the history, crush the populist resistance, create a permanent underclass that will work for pennies on the dollar, pit one group against the other by inciting racial hatred, political polarization and fratricidal warfare, promote the vandals who burn and loot our cities, attack anyone who speaks the truth, and offer unlimited support to the party that has aligned itself with the corrupt Intel agencies, the traitorous media, the sinister deep state, and the tyrannical elites who are determined to control the all the levers of state power and crush anyone who gets in their way.

[Jul 01, 2020] Elites may have to contend with a real economy which becomes so bad it affects the fictitious economy of equities bonds. An economy that no amount of Fed injections can save. And in trying to save it, maybe the Fed will finally injure the dollar to the point where is effectively loses it reserve status.

Jul 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

animalogic , says: June 30, 2020 at 10:04 am GMT

I think there's a lot to what Mike says. However, if we accept his premise we must also accept dangers of that premise.
Essentially, Mike is saying that Elites have used Covid & BLM etc shenanigans to advance a political/economic purpose: ie that the Fed/Treasury will blast huge chunks of liquidity to them via buying up any equities & bonds however dubious or junk they are. Secondary benefits include across the board austerity & working people desperate enough to almost sell themselves into slavery.

Elites have therefore bet BIG. Big returns but a potential for big losses Elites may have to contend with a real economy which becomes so bad it affects the fictitious economy of equities & bonds. An economy that no amount of Fed injections can save. And in trying to save it, maybe the Fed will finally injure the dollar to the point where is effectively loses it reserve status.

Dangerous times.

[Jun 28, 2020] The COVID-Crisis Could Bring A New Era Of Decline For American Core Cities by Ryan McMaken

Jun 26, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

Manufacturing company 7-Sigma made headlines when it decided to leave Minneapolis as a result of the company's plant being burned by rioters. "They don't care about my business," 7-Sigma owner Kris Wyrobek old the Star-Tribune . After more than 30 years in the city, the company isn't staying, nor are any of the company's fifty jobs. But the costs of being victimized in protests is just one of many reasons homeowners and businesses may be realizing life and business in central cities has lost its luster. The ongoing threat of more business lockdowns, more riots, higher taxes, and failing schools may induce many Americans to flee, once again, to the suburbs as their parents or grandparents did.

This goes well beyond the fear of the disease many journalists have assumed is behind the observed beginnings of an exodus from cities. Yes, many in the upper classes have fled the cities for their mountain homes and yachts for "health reasons." But these people are relatively few in number and their thinking quixotic. They can afford to drop everything and leave cities overnight.

But the larger impacts are likely to be felt as middle class homeowners and business owners conclude they'd simply rather avoid the edicts and neglect of mayors and city councils in central cities who thinking nothing of issuing job-destroying "stay-at-home" orders while allowing rioters and vandals free rein.

The real cost to cities is likely to emerge over time. It will come in the form of families and shop owners who decide it's best to move their businesses ten miles down the road to a neighboring city that will actually do something about rioters. It will come in the form of families which decide their next home will be just a little bit farther from the urban dictator-mayors who have the heaviest hands in enforcing lockdowns and business closures. It will come in the form of potential new business owners and homeowners will be decide to never purchase property to start a business in central cities in the first place.

The Decline of Cities at Mid-Century

We may be seeing something reminiscent what happened in America's large central cities during the 1970s and 1980s. Many Americans concluded these cities had become unlivable and crime infested. Many concluded these were places that were quite inhospitable to doing business. So they left. (Forced busing for "integration" purposes was a factor as well.)

In some cases, there were dramatic events that illustrated the trend. The late sixties in New York saw several strikes by city workers. Transit and sanitation in the city became a disaster. The 1977 blackout in New York City ended in widespread riots that induced many businesses to pack up and never return. Many households followed.

But for the most part, cities saw an exodus that took many years and slowly hollowed out the finances and tax revenues of big cities. Areas of Detroit fell into ruin. By the mid seventies, New York City was lurching from one fiscal crisis to another.

"Nearly half of large cities lost cities shrank by at least 10 percent" during the 1970s, according to the Kansas City Fed :

St. Louis, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Detroit each shrank by more than 20 percent. Vast stretches of urban land were left virtually deserted.

More than half of large cities lost population from 1950 to 1980.

There were other factors at work as well, of course. The central cities were often hit the hardest as the old Rust Belt went into decline after the region was destroyed by labor unions and city and state laws that made business in the region inefficient and uncompetitive. Business owners and workers who possessed any real ambition or entrepreneurial spirit had good reason to leave the region altogether.

City centers, built on an old manufacturing-based working class never recovered.

The situation today is a bit different. During the 1990s, core cities began to recover from their mid-century decline and many officials and intellectuals in these areas began cultivating the so-called " creative class " (also known as the " bohemian bourgeoisie ") with the idea that young artists, engineers, architects, and tech workers might be convinced to move into city centers and and revitalize local urban economies. It appears to have worked in many cases.

But in 2020 America the hey day of the new techno-city may be over.

Civil Unrest

The case of the Sigma-7 closure in Minneapolis is just the most famous case of central cities' hostility to businesses within their borders. We're not hearing about the many small less-notable businesses that won't re-open in the wake of riots. In other cities, such as Chicago, city officials are now begging retailers to not leave the city.

Meanwhile, a number of small businesses now within the "CHOP" zone in Seattle is suing the city for abandoning businesses to the whims of the leftist mob.

As reported by the local NBC affiliate, local businesses have been threatened and harassed by the bosses of the "Capitol Hill Occupation Protest" (CHOP) zone in the city. The city government, the plaintiffs have concluded, essentially have abandoned these businesses to the new "government":

The City's decision has subjected businesses, employees, and residents of that neighborhood to extensive property damage, public safety dangers, and an inability to use and access their properties.

Minneapolis and Seattle aren't the only cities the prospect of continued civil unrest. with forty million new unemployment filings in recent months, the US faces a worrisome period of highly elevated unemployment. Many of the worst-affected workers will be lower-income populations living in core cities. This won't help the prospect of a speedy return to placid city environments.

Regime Uncertainty

As government experts and media pundits emphasize growth in reported COVID-19 cases, the prospect of renewed lockdowns now looms, as well. This is a threat at the state level and in many suburban local governments. But experience strongly suggests that those political jurisdictions controled by political leftists are likely to embrace the longest and harshest lockdowns. In many states, such as Texas and Colorado and California and Pennsylvania, local governments in big cities embraced lockdowns more enthusiastically than the surrounding regions and at the state capitols. "Regime uncertainty" -- uncertainty about what business-killing regulations a government might embrace next -- appears to be greater in central cities.

Business owners are likely to remember this. In the medium- and long-term, business owners and potential business owners will gravitate to those areas where the threat of harsh lockdowns is smaller.

The Rise of the "Work-at-Home" Trend

If the work-at-home trend persists, core cities will have lost one of their main draws: namely, the prospect of a shorter commute for those who can afford a home close-in to the employment centers. Even if daily commutes are just reduced -- say, to a three-days-per-week schedule -- the commute-time cost of a home in the suburbs falls dramatically. Without the need to sit in traffic five days per week, more expensive city homes and the congrestion and crime of city centers becomes far less attractive.

Declining Tax Revenue and Urban Blight

On top of it all will come big cuts to city budgets as COVID lockdowns decimated tax revenues . All cities and states will be impacted , but if the most productive taxpayers move out of the core cities, it is these areas that will feel the brunt of revenue shortfalls. In other words, a shift of productivity toward the suburbs and small cities will hollow out big city budgets and school district budgets as well. This will only encourage businesses and families to stay away in even larger numbers. Families will seek to avoid school districts and decline, and employers won't want to become part of a shrinking tax base where tax increases are frequently eyed by politicians as a way out.

The Beginnings of a Trend?

All of this will take time to play out. Yes, we've started to see those with means leave big cities already. The New York Times has reported on numerous former residents of New York City who have left for the surrounding regions. The Times asks "is New York City worth it anymore?" and points out "the pandemic send young New Yorkers packing."

Meanwhile, some real estate agents report a "mad rush" of wealthy buyers to get out of the city center and into the wealthy suburbs of San Francisco. These are just the early movers. The exiles of more modest means will come later. Not surprisingly, the median rent in San Francisco for a one-bedroom apartment dropped 9.2 percent in May, compared year-over-year.

But these remains a small percentage of the overall population. Most homeowners, families, and business owners need time to move their businesses, sell their properties, and be convinced it's time to move on.

None of this should be interpreted, however, as a trend away from metropolitan areas overall. There appears to be little risk that large numbers of Americans will be quitting metro areas for rural villages and towns. Some will. But most will notice that metro areas still have most of the jobs, most of the cultural institutions, and most of the health care services. What can't be said is that core cities have a monopoly on these resources. In recent decades, suburbs and small cities have increasingly become places that host a wide variety of sports teams, museums, convention centers, hospitals, and more. Metro areas are still a good place to be. But old core cities? Not so much.

[Jun 28, 2020] Deutsche Lufthansa Deal Shows How Bailouts Should Be Done

History will repeat itself as the grand experiment of bloated private finance capitalist theft unravels and so it is worth reviewing how this transformation was achieved and to avoid old errors and uninformed blunders.
Jun 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Deutsche Lufthansa Deal Shows How Bailouts Should Be Done karlof1 , Jun 26 2020 18:47 utc | 5

The corona pandemic has brought many companies to the brink of bankruptcy. Some can and should be saved by the government.

Lufthansa, the 94 years old Germany airline, just made a deal with the German government that shows how this should be done.


bigger

Yesterday the shareholders of Lufthansa voted to accept the government bailout:

Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) shareholders on Thursday backed a 9 billion euro ($10 billion) government bailout, securing the future of Germany's flagship airline after it was brought to the brink of collapse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan, backed by 98% of the shareholder capital that cast a vote at the online meeting, will see Berlin take a 20% stake in Lufthansa and two board seats.

Shares in the company, which employs around 138,000 people, closed 7.1% higher, having risen strongly earlier after top shareholder Heinz Hermann Thiele dropped objections to the deal.

Also on Thursday, European Union regulators approved Lufthansa's 6 billion euro recapitalisation, part of the bailout deal, subject to a ban on dividends, share buybacks and some acquisitions until state support is repaid .

The deal structuring is interesting and quite favorable for the government.

The government bought newly issued Lufthansa shares for a total of $300 million which will give it 20% of the ownership of the company. These shares were valued at a quarter of their current value. The government will additionally provide €5.7 billion in 'silent capital'. That is a loan structured as a form of preferred shares that are entitled to a preferred dividend. This will have to be paid back before other shareholders will again get dividends. Lufthansa has a right to pay back the silent capital. But the 20% of the ownership via shares will stay with the government until it decides to sell it.

An additional 3 billion euro credit line is provided by a government owned bank.

This is a much better deal for the taxpayer than in the U.S. where the airlines which were bailed out only had to provide stock warrants which allow the government to buy some shares if it chooses to.

The Lufthansa deal prevents the bankruptcy of the company and a potentially unfriendly foreign takeover. Lufthansa was quite profitable before the onset of the coronavirus crisis. It is a good airline and it is now likely to survive. In a few years it will again make profits.

Seeking Alpha has more technical details of the deal and says that the current Lufthansa share price is too high :

Currently, the share price is about €10.4, which corresponds to a very generous valuation of about 4 times estimated book value. It is also way higher than the €2.56 per share the German government paid. This discount of more than 75% suggests shares of Deutsche Lufthansa are way overvalued.

The share price may currently be overvalued and may well sink. But without the bailout deal the shares would have been worthless.

There is also a deal that will keep most of Lufthansa's employees in their jobs :

[T]ough decisions lie ahead, with Lufthansa working on a restructuring plan in which up to 22,000 jobs could be at risk - although CEO Carsten Spohr told Bild newspaper that hours and wages could be reduced by a fifth instead of axing a fifth of jobs .

This sounds like a company wide introduction of a four day work week though with only 80% of the former full pay.

The cabin crew union has already agreed to such a deal and the pilot and ground worker unions will likely also do so. There currently ain't many airline jobs available elsewhere so for most of the employees this is a better deal than a potential long term unemployment.

I really like how this has turned out. A good company has been saved. The government has set the right conditions and it may even profit from the deal. The shareholders have taken a large haircut but will not lose all of their money. The employees will keep their jobs but with a reduced time and pay.

It would have been better if all this had not been necessary. But in the current situation it is the best that can be done.

All parties have taken a "we are all in the same boat" attitude to make this happen.

This should be an example for those bailout deals that will still have to be made.

---
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Posted by b on June 26, 2020 at 18:13 UTC | Permalink Yes, a Galaxy of difference between the cash giveaways called bailouts by the Outlaw US Empire and the partial nationalization of the airline that gains something for the German public in exchange for the infusion of capital. I expect to see more of this sort of activity as the EU begins to overthrow Neoliberalism.


Et Tu , Jun 26 2020 18:31 utc | 2

No comment on the shocking US corporate theft. Actually, here's one: that country is looking worse than the USSR in the late 80's and the Marie Antoinette class will have to offer much more than cake to avoid a revolution...

However, a quick look at Lufthansa's figures for 2019 on Wikipedia reveals:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lufthansa

Revenue Increase €36.42 billion (2019
Operating income Decrease €2.0 billion (2019
Net income Decrease €1.21 billion (2019
Total assets Increase €42.66 billion (2019
Total equity Increase €10.15 billion (2019

So the German Gov't paid 10 billion for a 20% stake in a company that yielded only a 3-4 % net profit at 100% of its total equity value. Never mind share valuations... can someone explain how that is actually a good deal for the German Govt please? Perhaps i am just giving the numbers a simplified look. Perhaps, given the immense power of private equity these days, everything has become relative.

MegaMicro , Jun 26 2020 19:20 utc | 9
Better deal ?

--------------------------------
Lufthansa CEO compensation

"According to our data, Deutsche Lufthansa AG ...
... and paid its CEO total annual compensation worth
€4.4m over the year to December 2018"

--------------------------------

Did our carsten spohr CEO:
take a cut, help the TEAM effort, fall on the sword ?

~4,400,000 EUR = carsten's take

Perhaps carsten provide the example to take a 90% cut of ~3,960,000 EUR, leaving him with a "paltry"
~~~440,000 EUR ( ~10 x average_German_salary )

@~~~44,000 EUR salary, then employee cost = ~80,000 EUR

cost-of-employee-in-germany-calculator

49.5 = ( 3.96 Mega EUR ) / ( 80 k EUR )

therefore carsten alone, by taking a pay cut
can save the jobs of
~49.5 average Germans
and still earn ~10x more than average German employee.

PS: i'll do it for 440 k EUR

( there are studies showing that CEOs have almost no impact )

TG , Jun 26 2020 19:39 utc | 11
Granted, the Lufthansa deal is far less toxic than the corporate bailouts we have seen in the United States, which are really just theft, and encouraging financially sloppy behavior and effectively subsidizing stock-buy back programs and other financial engineering rubbish.

But I am still skeptical that it's all THAT good a deal. I mean, don't forget, if a company goes bankrupt its assets don't go up in smoke. It goes into receivership, the stockholders lose money, and the management that steered the company onto the rocks get fired, and replaced with hopefully better managers. The planes are still there, the employees are still working, etc. Granted that a government has a vested interest in not letting it get chopped up and dispersed, there is no need to preserve either stockholders or current management to keep the airline functioning.

The essence of capitalism is that people who make bad investments should lose money.

TG , Jun 26 2020 19:39 utc | 11
Granted, the Lufthansa deal is far less toxic than the corporate bailouts we have seen in the United States, which are really just theft, and encouraging financially sloppy behavior and effectively subsidizing stock-buy back programs and other financial engineering rubbish.

But I am still skeptical that it's all THAT good a deal. I mean, don't forget, if a company goes bankrupt its assets don't go up in smoke. It goes into receivership, the stockholders lose money, and the management that steered the company onto the rocks get fired, and replaced with hopefully better managers. The planes are still there, the employees are still working, etc. Granted that a government has a vested interest in not letting it get chopped up and dispersed, there is no need to preserve either stockholders or current management to keep the airline functioning.

The essence of capitalism is that people who make bad investments should lose money.

Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 26 2020 20:35 utc | 15
QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce took home A$23.9m in 2018.
In March 2020 he offered to work for free for the rest of the year ...
the Financial Year ...
which ends June 30, 2020.
BG13 , Jun 26 2020 20:39 utc | 16
If somebody still calls this "market economy" the normal way would be: bankruptcy, first are served the employees, second the creditors. Shareholders lose, risk doesn't pay off all the time (except you own the government). The trade mark "Lufthansa" would be part of the insolvency estate, as well as all the planes. Used planes would be very cheap following the market rule of high offer vs. low demand. Personal is available as well. Good conditions for creating a new airline ... What exactly is the reason to throw billions of Euros into this? The gouvernement could for a part of this money create a national state owned carrier out of the insolvency estate.
psychohistorian , Jun 26 2020 20:56 utc | 17
The roadway to hell is paved with the best of intentions.

If a government is going to subsidize the transportation industry in its country to the benefit of the most public, why start with airlines that serve the top few of the public.

Is this deal better than what is happening in the US? It is too soon to tell but I think it is quite possible that the shift to fast train increases and airlines are reduced to more intercontinental.

Without this action being done within a larger context of nationalization (partial or otherwise) of segments of core economic sectors, I question its efficacy. Where is the public discussion about bigger picture futures for countries?....crickets!!!

A.L. , Jun 26 2020 21:08 utc | 18
A similar deal as Lufthansa was done between the Hong Kong government and its flag carrier Cathay Pacific. Even though Cathay's employees were some of the most vocal and organisers of strikes and various anti-government protests and riots.

talking about biting the hand that feeds it....

vk , Jun 26 2020 21:14 utc | 19
And, to top it off, this bail out violates one of the most sacred moral principles of capitalism/liberalism: the risk is the onus of the entrepreneur by definition; that's what justifies his absorption of the entire lucre if it pans out.

The worker gave up his freedom of enterprise in exchange for the security and constancy ("fixity") of the wage. Therefore it is his right within the capitalist moral code that he/she be weathered from risk taken by his/her entrepreneur. Those Lufhansa workers should've never have come to the point of taking a 20% cut in their salaries to cover for their bosses' risks. Pandemics are natural disasters, and, for natural disasters, the capitalist system has the insurance industry - which was created exactly for situations like these (as is well historically documented).

Curious fact: in the 2008 meltdown, the USG had to bail out the world's biggest insurance company - AIG - because it flat out went bust (too many of its clients went bankrupt at the same time). Ironies of ironies - or, as I like to say, the farce of the "self-regulating" myth of the "free market".

BraveNewWorld , Jun 26 2020 21:30 utc | 20
Yup, all around the world this is where the real fleecing of the poor and middle class will happen. Take ungodly sums of money from the poor and give it to the rich and then the rich can use loop holes not to pay it back. Any poor person not paying their taxes will go to jail. Any CEO who finds a loop hole to not pay back will be obscenely rewarded. Welcome to the real world Neo.
arby , Jun 27 2020 0:43 utc | 39
Whatever happened to Austerity?
A User , Jun 27 2020 1:05 utc | 40
Similar to the model the Clark government came up with on Air NZ after the idiot private shareholders nearly destroyed the airline in the noughties. Except the government insisted on a complete takeover, then during the Natz term in office the shareholding by government has been reduced to 52%. Everyone else was meant to be kiwi shareholder for such a 'strategic' asset but of course the right left plenty of loopholes and the foreign ownership increased dramatically.
The reason governments even neolib ones move to protect national airlines is simple. They are needed in times of disaster or war to be used for emergency transport but the big one is the way that landing rights were allocated back in the old days still holds largely. Losing an airline to an overseas buyer can mean the destruction of the reciprocal basis upon which international landing rights are allocated, if one allows their national carrier to be bought by an external airline hell can be wrought with tourism.

Lufthansa may have 80 slots a week for landing in NY then departing. Emirates buys into Lufthansa, get controlling stake, then then decides that all the NY slots be routed through Dubai, then Germany loses access for tourists from amerika to Germany. Emirates hooks up the new slots with the China timetable establishing new big route and Lufthansa goes down the gurgler.
This stuff is common because slots at major airports are very hard to come by, no nation state wants to lose them.

Bob , Jun 27 2020 1:07 utc | 41
I dont wish to go deep in the numbers. But im sure the german government is not as corrupt as usa in bailouts. Thats why its citzens still trust in its governing. Here in good o usa no one trust government or even each other
Deimetri , Jun 27 2020 1:14 utc | 42
So, please, get off your high horse.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 26 2020 23:40 utc | 34

??

Choosing winners/losers has worked out so well in the case of Amtrak to name one example, pointing this out is riding a high horse?

But as you say, it has always been this way, it will always be this way, so we should just ignore the fraud and incompetence that .gov bailout encourage and be a happy little debt slaves..-got it,good point /sarc

Deimetri , Jun 27 2020 1:34 utc | 43
For more see:

https://mises.org/wire/never-ending-story-bailouts-moral-hazard-and-low-economic-growth

A User , Jun 27 2020 1:36 utc | 44
The so called market purists who believe that capitalism is some thing sacred which must be left free of interference from the people who use it pay for it and depend upon it always miss the basic point especially if they are amerikan where high levels of selfish corruption have endured for centuries. Not all administrations are that dissolute, the trick of separating citizens from their government is advanced in amerika so far that most see government as separate entity from citizens, whereas in Germany where standards are decaying they have not decayed to the point that no one trusts all politicians all the time.

Therefore government ownership can be seen as citizen participation which is vital at a time like this because the effects of a national airline failing extend well beyond a few wealthy shareholders losing some wealth.
In the case of Air NZ the board was sacked, most senior execs were shown the door without abnormal compensation & the shareholders were bought out at close to current market valuation, they got pennies for their greedy investment.
I do not know the structure of the Lufthansa buyin but the fact that shareholders resisted indicates that they don't feel as though they are going to do well from the deal.Perhaps they had buyers for Lufthansa's international landing slots already lined up on the side and hoped to make big bucks on that - screw German workers, small businesses dependent on tourism or the public faced with uncertain travel routes.

Antonym , Jun 27 2020 2:00 utc | 45
Lufthansa might have been viable before Covid19 but their stock was and is over valued. US companies like Boeing and banks were zombies in August 2019 and got their first financial IVs already then: Evidence Suggests U.S. Financial Crisis Started on August 14, 2019

One difference is the brand of the fiat notes (money): while Germany has the Euro - fairly ok -, the US has the magic dollar, the world's trade and finance medium, so they can print them almost scot-free.

The German central government deal with Lufthansa is indeed better than the self payment of the privatized FED to its owner banks and friends for all Germans. Democratic governments are openly elected every 4-5 years by the public; not so the FED directors.

vk , Jun 27 2020 2:41 utc | 47
@ Posted by: A User | Jun 27 2020 1:36 utc | 44

The problem is that Germany is a capitalist State. That's not how a capitalist State should work. This is a sign worse things are yet to come (decline). Take for example the human body: you can feel the signs of old age, and you know they mean permanent decline, not the beginning of something new. There is no alchemy in the real world.

I didn't propose Lufthansa to go down: I proposed for Lufthansa management to go down. Chop some upper-management heads off and you get your solvency back. EUR 18 billion is nothing for a company of that size: I'm sure if they gave up one year of their profits would already be more than enough to cover for the hole.

Unless, of course, the hole is bigger than the officially declared.

The management of a company is not the company: the soul of a company is its infrastructure, its organization and its workers - specially its highly specialized workers (the ones with the "know-how"). The first hydroelectric dam of the USSR was built with American engineers - not American management or American money. You don't have to have a bunch of executives to build civilization and wealth; it is the worker who is the soul of civilization and progress.

As I said: if Lufthansa was in such a good shape and only needed mere EUR 18 billion, there would be a line of private banks offering the loan with generously low interest (as it would be an automatic win for the bank, no matter how low the "return on capital"; and wins are rare in today's world, so you can't be too picky). Either it did resort to the government because it could (a show of strength to the German people) or its finances are not so great as the owner of this blog state they are. I hope, for the general welfare of the German people, that it was just a show of strength, because if it is dire finances, then those EUR 18 billion are just the amuse-buche.

P.S.: Governments owning some share of the key national companies is common practice in the First World nations. In France, if I'm not mistaken, there's a Law where the government must be the owner of at least 16% of the shares of every "strategic" companies. The UK frequently nationalizes bankrupt companies it deems strategic - only to re-privatize them later, when they are profitable again (the Thatcher method). If State ownership of shares was equal to socialism, we would've been living in a socialist world many decades ago.

[Jun 28, 2020] David Stockman On What Could Happen If The Fed Loses Control

Jun 27, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Via InternationalMan.com,

International Man : Recently, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank's money printing is designed to help average Americans, and not Wall Street.

What's your take on this?

David Stockman : Yes, and if dogs could whistle, the world would be a chorus!

The truth is, in an economy encumbered with nearly $78 trillion of debt already -- including $16.2 trillion on households, $16.8 trillion on business, $23 trillion on governments -- the last thing we need is even lower interest rates and even bigger incentives to take on debt and leverage.

In fact, in a debt-saturated system, the Fed's massive bond purchases never transmit anything outside the canyons of Wall Street. This money-printing madness only drives bond prices higher and cap rates lower -- meaning relentless and systematic inflation of financial assets' prices.

As a practical matter, of course, the bottom 90% don't own enough stock or even inflated government and corporate bonds to shake a stick at. Instead, what meager savings they have accumulated languish in bank deposits, CDs or money market funds earning exactly what the Fed has decreed -- nothing!

So, when Powell says he's only trying to help the average American, you have to wonder whether he is just stupid or the greatest lying fraud yet to occupy the big chair at the Fed.

Then again, it doesn't really matter why.

The Fed is now a completely rogue institution that is a clear and present danger to the future of prosperity and liberty in America. The tragedy is that the clueless speculators on Wall Street and politicians in Washington don't even get the joke.

International Man : So far, the Fed has been able to successfully manipulate interest rates to historic lows.

What are some catalysts that could cause the Fed to lose control and interest rates to spike?

David Stockman : They are chasing their tail, faster and faster. The more they expand their balance sheet, thereby injecting into the bond pits a massive artificial bid for governments, corporates, munis, commercial paper and junk, the lower the yields go, and the demand for more debt becomes greater.

Needless to say, when incomes drastically shrink due to the folly of Lockdown Nation, debt should be liquidated, not massively increased. So, the Fed and its fellow-traveling global central banks are setting up our Humpty-Dumpty economy for a very great fall.

That is to say, what will cause the central banks to lose control is the greatest wave of debt defaults in recorded history. On that score, the Fed just issued its Flow of Funds data for Q1, and it leaves nothing to the imagination. Total public and private debt on the US economy now stands at $77.6 trillion, or 3.5X GDP, and we'll be lucky to post at $21 trillion for the full year of 2020 GDP.

Recall that we supposedly got a wakeup call back in 2008, when the economy plunged into financial crisis and the worst recession since the 1930s; way too much debt was widely identified as the fall guy. But back then, total debt outstanding was just $52.6 trillion, meaning that during the last decade of purported recovery, the US economy actually took on $25 trillion of new debt -- a 48% increase.

Moreover, big-spending politicians were not the only culprit. That's because when the central banks drastically falsify interest rates to sub-economic levels, everyone is incentivized to borrow hand-over-fist. And, most often, it's for unproductive purposes, such as more transfer payments in the government sector and more financial engineering among the C-suites.

On the eve of the Great Recession, for example, total business debt (corporate and non-corporate) stood at $10.1 trillion and has subsequently soared to $16.8 trillion. That $6.7 trillion gain represents fully 98% of the $6.85 trillion increase in nominal GDP during the same period.

This orgy of borrowing also means that business debt over the past 13 years has grown by 66.5% -- far more than the 46.7% expansion of nominal GDP. Accordingly, the business debt burden on GDP has now gone off the charts, and at 78% of GDP, is more than double the pre-1970 level:

Business Debt as Percent of GDP:

Stated differently, chronic financial repression and clubbing of interest rates by the central bank have amounted to a slow-motion burial of the business sector in debt; debt that in recent decades has been overwhelmingly allocated to shrinking the equity base of business enterprises, thereby cycling wealth from the productive economy to the rent-capturing precincts of Wall Street.

Indeed, the Fed's cheap credit never really leaves the canyons of Wall Street, where it fulsomely rewards carry-traders and risk asset speculators because zero cost money is always and everywhere the mother's milk of leveraged speculation.

It also causes corporate C-suites to become maniacally obsessed with goosing their stock options via financial engineering gambits like stock buybacks, leveraged recaps and wildly over-priced M&A deals as a substitute for organic growth. Yet these maneuvers merely supplant equity and financial resilience with debt and financial fragility.

So when business bankruptcies soar to unprecedented levels in the month ahead as the economy reels from the folly of Lockdown Nation, the financial fragility part will become crystal clear.

But it also needs to be recalled that even as the interest rate clubbers at the Fed fostered a massive explosion of business debt after the 2008 financial crisis, it did not translate into any growth in productive investment at all.

In fact, real business CapEx minus current capital consumption (depreciation and amortization charged to current period production) is today barely a tad higher than it was 20 years ago on the eve of the dotcom bust.

In short, the Fed has fostered a zombie economy, and it is the collapse of the zombies that will eventually take it down.

International Man : The Fed has printed more money in recent months than it has for its entire history. The government is spending as if trillion is the new billion .

What is going on here?

David Stockman : Here's an eye-opener to put this madness in perspective. Annual federal outlays posted at $3.896 trillion in 2014 and were the product of 225 years of relentless expansion by the Leviathan on the Potomac.

But it now appears quite certain that the annual deficit in FY 2020 will actually be larger than the total spending level that took more than two centuries to achieve.

That's right. Owing to the mushrooming coast-to-coast soup lines hastily erected by Washington in response to the collapse of jobs, incomes and business cash flows brought on by Lockdown Nation and the evaporation of tax revenues, Uncle Sam will borrow more this year than the total spending just six years ago.

Stated differently, back in the day, we struggled to keep total federal spending during 1981 under $700 billion. By contrast, the Donald has borrowed nearly 4X that in the last 90 days!

So, yes, perhaps Trump's one truthful boast is that he is indeed the king of debt.

Needless to say, there is nothing remotely rational, plausible or sustainable about an FY 2020 budget that's going to end up with revenue south of $3 trillion and spending north of $7 trillion.

That's not even banana republic league profligacy; it's just sheer stupidity and madness, bespeaking a bipartisan duopoly in Washington that has had its collective brains turned into sawdust by the relentless, egregious money pumping of the central banks.

For want of doubt, just consider what has happened since March 11 on the eve of the Lockdown Nation's commencement.

Of course, you can't blame the Donald alone for this insanity; he's been enabled by two of the greatest crackpots to hold high economic policy positions in American history -- Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Fed Chairman Jay Powell.

As it has happened, we have closely observed every combination of Fed chairman and US treasury secretary since 1970, when we headed off for our first job in the Imperial City, eager to better the world and our own prospects, too.

So, we can say without reservation that the current duo is the worst combo of spineless, principle-free empty suits to plague the nation during the last half-century. And it's not a close call -- even against a ship of fools, which include John B. Connally, G. William Miller, Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson Jr., Timothy Geithner and Janet Yellen, among considerable others.

After all, if the Treasury Secretary and Fed Chairman are utterly clueless about the grave dangers of the fiscal and monetary bacchanalia now rampant in the imperial city, how in the world will it stop except in some fiery collapse?

* * *

Unfortunately there's little any individual can practically do to change the trajectory of this trend in motion. The best you can and should do is to stay informed so that you can protect yourself in the best way possible. That's precisely why New York Times bestselling author Doug Casey just released an urgent new report on how to survive and thrive an economic collapse. Click here download the free PDF now .

[Jun 28, 2020] Restaurant Of The Future - KFC Unveils Automated Store With Robots And Food Lockers

Jun 28, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

"Restaurant Of The Future" - KFC Unveils Automated Store With Robots And Food Lockers by Tyler Durden Fri, 06/26/2020 - 22:05 Fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has debuted the "restaurant of the future," one where automation dominates the storefront, and little to no interaction is seen between customers and employees, reported NBC News .

After the chicken is fried and sides are prepped by humans, the order is placed on a conveyor belt and travels to the front of the store. A robotic arm waits for the order to arrive, then grabs it off the conveyor belt and places it into a secured food locker.

KFC Moscow robotic-arm takes the order off the conveyor belt

Customers use their credit/debit cards and or the facial recognition system on the food locker to retrieve their order.

KFC Moscow food locker

A KFC representative told NBC News that the new store is located in Moscow and was built months before the virus outbreak. The representative said the contactless store is the future of frontend fast-food restaurants because it's more sanitary.

KFC Moscow storefront

Disbanding human cashiers and order preppers at the front of a fast-food store will be the next big trend in the industry through 2030. Making these restaurants contactless between customers and employees will lower the probabilities of transmitting the virus.

Automating the frontend of a fast-food restaurant will come at a tremendous cost, that is, significant job loss . Nationwide (as of 2018), there were around 3.8 million employed at fast-food restaurants. Automation and artificial intelligence are set displace millions of jobs in the years ahead.

As for the new automated KFC restaurant in Moscow, well, it's a glimpse of what is coming to America - this will lead to the widespread job loss that will force politicians to unveil universal basic income .

[Jun 26, 2020] The Depression Dominoes Are Toppling

Notable quotes:
"... The lockdown would have been survivable if the economy hadn't been over-indebted, over-leveraged, burdened by insanely high costs, stripmined by greedy monopolies, dependent on stock market fraud, destabilized by extreme inequality, corrupted by political pay-to-play and addicted to speculation. ..."
"... The top 5% technocrat/managerial class have done very well for themselves in the speculative run-up of destabilizing inequality, and since they run the narrative machines, we're swamped with happy stories about the economy, all of which boil down to this absurd fantasy: since I'm doing so well, everyone else must be doing well, too. ..."
"... Zombie corporations are rushing to borrow billions of dollars (thanks to the Federal Reserve) but increasing their debt is only doing more of what created their fragility in the first place . ..."
Jun 25, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Once you allow your economy to become dependent on extremes of debt, leverage, inequality, legalized looting, monopoly, pay-to-play politics and speculative asset bubbles, a depression is inevitable.

The pandemic lockdown will be blamed for the Greater Depression, but the lockdown only toppled all the dominoes that were already lined up. The lockdown would have been survivable if the economy hadn't been over-indebted, over-leveraged, burdened by insanely high costs, stripmined by greedy monopolies, dependent on stock market fraud, destabilized by extreme inequality, corrupted by political pay-to-play and addicted to speculation.

The apologists always blame depressions on central banks not printing money fast enough, while overlooking the real drivers: debt, high costs and dependence on speculative bubbles. As noted here many times, revenues and income can quickly slide lower, but debt must be serviced regardless of revenues and income.

Once debt payments dominate expenses, any wobble in revenues / income / cash flow triggers default.

Regarding unbearably high costs that only go higher, year after year: as noted here many times, Sickcare Will Bankrupt the Nation all by itself , never mind soaring higher education / student loan debt serfdom, skyrocketing rents, junk fees, taxes, etc.

U.S. Lifestyle + "Healthcare" = Bankruptcy (June 19, 2008)

How Healthcare Is Dooming the U.S. Economy (Three Charts) (May 2015)

The truth is the cost of living is unaffordable but we can't even acknowledge this obvious fact because even acknowledging it would threaten the entire house of cards. So instead we play-act as if we believe the bogus "inflation is dead" narratives.

The top 5% technocrat/managerial class have done very well for themselves in the speculative run-up of destabilizing inequality, and since they run the narrative machines, we're swamped with happy stories about the economy, all of which boil down to this absurd fantasy: since I'm doing so well, everyone else must be doing well, too.

Since the top 5% own the lion's share of the nation's productive assets--stocks, bonds, business equity, investment real estate, etc.-- the enormous asset bubbles have greatly boosted their wealth and income. This has enabled the wealthy to service their debt or pay it off. The bottom 95% aren't quite so well-placed to survive a decline in income.

Everyone who was barely keeping their head above water in making their debt payments is already in default or will soon be in default. Since the banks and shadow-banking lenders have gorged on the profits skimmed by loaning huge sums to marginal borrowers, now that these marginal borrowers are defaulting en masse the banks and lenders are about to be crushed by one wave of catastrophic losses after another.

Student loans--already in mass default. Credit cards--the wave is rolling in as we speak. Auto loans--looking like Waimea Bay on a big day. Mortgages--better not to look.

Corporate debt has exploded to unprecedented levels, and this is what will break the financial system. Zombie corporations are rushing to borrow billions of dollars (thanks to the Federal Reserve) but increasing their debt is only doing more of what created their fragility in the first place .

Being able to borrow more to service your old debts is not solvency, it's merely the semblance of solvency. We're in the eye of the hurricane right now, as everyone holds their breath and hopes some sort of magic will make all the debt that has to be serviced every month vanish.

It's worth recalling that every dollar of debt is someone else's asset and the source of their income. So when the defaults and bankruptcies sweep through the financial system, they'll obliterate all the "wealth" of those holding bundled student and auto loan securities, mortgage backed securities, corporate bonds, and destroy the income streams these trillions in debt generated.

All the linked fragilities and dependencies of our economy are like lines of dominoes: one default topples the entire line of dominoes of debt, leverage, derivatives, counterparty risk, credit default swaps and most devastating of all, any certainty that borrowers won't default in the future.

If banks and lenders can't lend with a high degree of certainty, lending dries up and profits collapse, along with the consumer spending that was enabled by the borrowing.

Despite their high incomes and net worth, some consequential percentage of top 5% households bringing in $300,000 a year are one layoff away from default: never mind their pristine 830 credit score; that was last month. Next month,next quarter, next year--all bets are off.

Once you allow your economy to become dependent on extremes of debt, leverage, inequality, legalized looting , monopoly, pay-to-play politics and speculative asset bubbles, a depression is inevitable. The only question is "when," and that's been answered, though nobody wants to hear it: 2020 and beyond.

It didn't have to end this way. If our leadership / Power Elites had acted to reduce all these painfully obvious speculative extremes, dependencies and fragilities and made even modest efforts to limit the exploitation of predatory parasites that generated unprecedented inequality and corruption over the past 12 years, the economy would have been much less brittle / fragile.

Unfortunately, the pandemic chart I composed on February 2, 2020 is still playing out, increasing uncertainty.

What's the price of systemic fragility and uncertainty? I fear it will be steeper than we're prepared to pay.

* * *

My recent books:

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World ($13)
(Kindle $6.95, print $11.95) Read the first section for free (PDF) .

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 (Kindle), $12 (print), $13.08 ( audiobook ): Read the first section for free (PDF) .

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).

* * *

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com .

[Jun 26, 2020] Wealthy Americans Flock To Turks Caicos During Pandemic

Real estate does not show a signs of collapse, line after2008 crisis.
Jun 26, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
mad rush " of people leaving the San Francisco Bay Area for rural communities, for Marin County, Napa wine country, and south to Monterey's Carmel Valley.

Despite a plunge in existing home sales in May - Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors' chief economist, confirmed the outbound trend of migration from cities to suburbs :

"Relatively better performance of single-family homes in relation to multifamily condominium properties clearly suggests migration from the city centers to the suburbs," Yun said.

" After witnessing several consecutive years of urban revival, the new trend looks to be in the suburbs as more companies allow greater flexibility to work from home ."

And second-home buyers surged...

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14% of homes in May, up from 10% in April 2020 and from 13% in May 2019. All-cash sales accounted for 17% of transactions in May, up from 15% in April 2020 and down from 19% in May 2019.

Readers now know that wealthy folks aren't just fleeing cities for rural communities - these folks are leaving the country for the Caribbean as America implodes from within.

[Jun 23, 2020] What America's Economic Troubles Mean for November's Presidential Election (And Trump) The National Interest

Notable quotes:
"... The fitness of U.S. employers was unsteady as well. The 2010s saw C-suites skeletonize their companies by spending profits on stock buybacks rather than CapEx, never mind setting funds aside for a rainy day. As a result, many firms–large and small–are long overdue for restructuring or liquidation, a Darwinian process that could hamper economic growth for years, possibly even a decade. ..."
Jun 23, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

Even to an inveterate bull-like Cramer, it is obvious that the post-coronavirus American economy is as brittle as Faberge eggs.

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Such economic fragility could mean that November's presidential election may not be the game-changer many assume it will be. What is becoming clearer by the day is that the virus is more of an accelerant than a prime mover, an added layer of malodorous excrement on a dung heap already piercing the nostrils. Long before social-distancing went into effect pension systems were teetering, rents and mortgages were unaffordable, real unemployment was higher than the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, industrial production was anemic, and inflation dwarfed Consumer Price Index (food and energy is excluded). Worse, the most reliable consumers in the U.S. economy heretofore have been Baby Boomers, now the most susceptible demographic to the virus.

The fitness of U.S. employers was unsteady as well. The 2010s saw C-suites skeletonize their companies by spending profits on stock buybacks rather than CapEx, never mind setting funds aside for a rainy day. As a result, many firms–large and small–are long overdue for restructuring or liquidation, a Darwinian process that could hamper economic growth for years, possibly even a decade.

Against these headwinds, the next administration is facing monstrous storms ahead. Contrary to the soothsayers of "V" shaped recoveries, the prospects for a robust rebound are fading by the month. All this is to say that it might not matter who wins in November as much as previously thought. If Biden wins his chances at stimulating economic recovery, then soothing Washington's dysfunctional rancor, and speedily recalibrating U.S. trade vis-à-vis China et al in a deglobalizing world are slim to none. A seasoned Trump second term might fair better but whoever is elected president will experience far less freedom of maneuver as economic turbulence resets the policy agenda.

Trump's struggles might be encouraging to the soporific septuagenarian Joe Biden whose political fortunes appear ascendant, at least for the moment. As the Trump administration scrambles to suppress the coronavirus brush fire and more incendiary economic conflagrations spread democrats are foaming at the mouth. However, while the situation may oust a wobbly Trump the economic woes of the country are severe enough to bury the Democratic Party the way the Great Depression slaughtered the Republicans.

... ... ...

In a sense, elections are often lagging indicators that the unrealized ambitions of bungled administrations allow presidential winners to right the ship by riding the swing of public sentiment from trough to peak. For the next U.S. president, however, it may be a trough-to-trough tenure. Hundreds of billions in federal funds may have saved the economy in 2008 but this time around the economic crisis is far deeper and Washington's tools are far more limited despite Jerome Powell's optimism. Urologist Try This if You Have Enlarged Prostate (Watch) Newhealthylife How Dogs Cry For Help: 3 Warning Signs Your Dog Is Crying For Help Dr. Marty Toxic Enzyme Reveals Root Cause of Hair Loss and How to Fix It Today Revital Hair "They Almost Killed Me" Why Tommy Chong Doesn't Trust CBD Tommy Chong T

On these points, it seems to me that history does not rhyme as much as clarify. It appears as though U.S. politics is headed for a permutation, a fundamental restructuring that will change how Americans are governed every bit as much as it reshapes the economy. Thomas Kuhn's classic The Structure of Scientific Revolutions reminds us that "crisis often proliferates new discoveries," ones that often result in "paradigm destruction." Regardless of who is elected in November, it is very likely the next president is fated to defend a besieged paradigm, a twentieth-century government that lacks the policy tools, financial resources and transmission mechanisms required to solve twenty-first-century economic puzzles.

As the election fast approaches Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chairman Jerome Powell–the dynamic duo of the wryly dubbed "Feasury"–are pulling out all the stops to mitigate economic fallout. Many sectors are begging for federal help as are municipalities who fear that recovery without federal money is doubtful. At their request, trillions more in relief are likely on their way. The question is: will there be any ammunition left for the next president, whoever he is, to govern effectively?

Cameron Macgregor is an entrepreneur, blogger and writer. He is the CEO of Ad Actum, a Global Free Speech Alliance.

[Jun 23, 2020] Meet BlackRock, the New Great Vampire Squid by Ellen Brown

Jun 23, 2020 | www.unz.com

Exchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following specific indices such as the S&P 500, the benchmark index of America's largest corporations and the index in which most people invest. Today the fast-growing ETF sector controls nearly half of all investments in US stocks, and it is highly concentrated. The sector is dominated by just three giant American asset managers – BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street, the "Big Three" – with BlackRock the clear global leader. By 2017, the Big Three together had become the largest shareholder in almost 90% of S&P 500 firms, including Apple, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, General Electric and Coca-Cola. BlackRock also owns major interests in nearly every mega-bank and in major media.

In March 2020, based on its expertise with the Maiden Lane facilities and its sophisticated Aladdin risk-monitoring software, BlackRock got the job of dispensing Federal Reserve funds through eleven "special purpose vehicles" authorized under the CARES Act. Like the Maiden Lane facilities, these vehicles were designed to allow the Fed, which is legally limited to purchasing safe federally-guaranteed assets, to finance the purchase of riskier assets in the market.

Blackrock Bails Itself Out

The national lockdown left states, cities and local businesses in desperate need of federal government aid. But according to David Dayen in The American Prospect , as of May 30 (the Fed's last monthly report), the only purchases made under the Fed's new BlackRock-administered SPVs were ETFs, mainly owned by BlackRock itself. Between May 14 and May 20, about $1.58 billion in ETFs were bought through the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF), of which $746 million or about 47% came from BlackRock ETFs. The Fed continued to buy more ETFs after May 20, and investors piled in behind, resulting in huge inflows into BlackRock's corporate bond ETFs.

In fact, these ETFs needed a bailout; and BlackRock used its very favorable position with the government to get one. The complicated mechanisms and risks underlying ETFs are explained in an April 3 article by business law professor Ryan Clements, who begins his post:

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) are at the heart of the COVID-19 financial crisis . Over forty percent of the trading volume during the mid-March selloff was in ETFs .

The ETFs were trading well below the value of their underlying bonds, which were dropping like a rock . Some ETFs were failing altogether. The problem was something critics had long warned of: while ETFs are very liquid, trading on demand like stocks, the assets that make up their portfolios are not. When the market drops and investors flee, the ETFs can have trouble coming up with the funds to settle up without trading at a deep discount; and that is what was happening in March.

According to a May 3 article in The National , "The sector was ultimately saved by the US Federal Reserve's pledge on March 23 to buy investment-grade credit and certain ETFs. This provided the liquidity needed to rescue bonds that had been floundering in a market with no buyers."

Prof. Clements states that if the Fed had not stepped in, "a 'doom loop' could have materialized where continued selling pressure in the ETF market exacerbated a fire-sale in the underlying [bonds], and again vice-versa, in a procyclical pile-on with devastating consequences." He observes:

There's an unsettling form of market alchemy that takes place when illiquid, over-the-counter bonds are transformed into instantly liquid ETFs. ETF "liquidity transformation" is now being supported by the government, just like liquidity transformation in mortgage backed securities and shadow banking was supported in 2008.

Working for Whom?

BlackRock got a bailout with no debate in Congress, no "penalty" interest rate of the sort imposed on states and cities borrowing in the Fed's Municipal Liquidity Facility, no complicated paperwork or waiting in line for scarce Small Business Administration loans, no strings attached. It just quietly bailed itself out.

It might be argued that this bailout was good and necessary, since the market was saved from a disastrous "doom loop," and so were the pension funds and the savings of millions of investors. Although BlackRock has a controlling interest in all the major corporations in the S&P 500, it professes not to "own" the funds. It just acts as a kind of "custodian" for its investors -- or so it claims. But BlackRock and the other Big 3 ETFs vote the corporations' shares; so from the point of view of management, they are the owners. And as observed in a 2017 article from the University of Amsterdam titled " These Three Firms Own Corporate America ," they vote 90% of the time in favor of management. That means they tend to vote against shareholder initiatives, against labor, and against the public interest. BlackRock is not actually working for us, although we the American people have now become its largest client base.

In a 2018 review titled " Blackrock – The Company That Owns the World ", a multinational research group called Investigate Europe concluded that BlackRock "undermines competition through owning shares in competing companies, blurs boundaries between private capital and government affairs by working closely with regulators, and advocates for privatization of pension schemes in order to channel savings capital into its own funds."

Daniela Gabor, Professor of Macroeconomics at the University of Western England in Bristol, concluded after following a number of regulatory debates in Brussels that it was no longer the banks that wielded the financial power; it was the asset managers. She said :

We are often told that a manager is there to invest our money for our old age. But it's much more than that. In my opinion, BlackRock reflects the renunciation of the welfare state. Its rise in power goes hand-in-hand with ongoing structural changes; in finance, but also in the nature of the social contract that unites the citizen and the state.

That these structural changes are planned and deliberate is evident in BlackRock's August 2019 white paper laying out an economic reset that has now been implemented with BlackRock at the helm.

Public policy is made today in ways that favor the stock market, which is considered the barometer of the economy, although it has little to do with the strength of the real, productive economy. Giant pension and other investment funds largely control the stock market, and the asset managers control the funds. That effectively puts BlackRock, the largest and most influential asset manager, in the driver's seat in controlling the economy.

As Peter Ewart notes in a May 14 article on BlackRock titled "Foxes in the Henhouse," today the economic system "is not classical capitalism but rather state monopoly capitalism, where giant enterprises are regularly backstopped with public funds and the boundaries between the state and the financial oligarchy are virtually non-existent."

If the corporate oligarchs are too big and strategically important to be broken up under the antitrust laws, rather than bailing them out they should be nationalized and put directly into the service of the public. At the very least, BlackRock should be regulated as a too-big-to-fail Systemically Important Financial Institution. Better yet would be to regulate it as a public utility. No private, unelected entity should have the power over the economy that BlackRock has, without a legally enforceable fiduciary duty to wield it in the public interest.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, chair of the Public Banking Institute , and author of thirteen books including Web of Debt , The Public Bank Solution , and Banking on the People: Democratizing Money in the Digital Age . She also co-hosts a radio program on PRN.FM called " It's Our Money ." Her 300+ blog articles are posted at EllenBrown.com .


Ad70titusrevenge , says: Show Comment June 22, 2020 at 12:46 am GMT

Wonder who runs BlackRock?
Mustapha Mond , says: Show Comment June 22, 2020 at 4:00 am GMT
To paraphrase a famous line from The Who's, "Won't Get Fooled Again":

Meet the new Squid, same as the old Squid

Ultrafart the Brave , says: Website Show Comment June 22, 2020 at 4:26 am GMT
@jadan

The rich do not understand the concept of "public interest" or "public utility".

Of course they do. They just don't care for it.

Pft , says: Show Comment
Nepemnr , says: Website Show Comment June 22, 2020 at 6:47 am GMT
Those for whom the American economy is a cash cow & a play thing would quite simply never allow nationalization.
Desert Fox , says: Show Comment June 22, 2020 at 1:43 pm GMT
The covid-19 scam was created to bailout wallstreet
Brian O'Brien , says: Website Show Comment June 22, 2020 at 2:16 pm GMT
@jadan I believe Ellen Brown has long called for nationalization of the Fed.

She has been a tireless advocate for state banks and for public control of the money supply, and a leading critic of the private control of the issuance of money through debt.

The Federal Reserve Act was created in conspiracy and its passage was a great crime against the American people.

"You gotta hand it to the conspiracy theorists, because, in fact, there was a conspiracy," Roger Lowenstein told Ky Ryssdall during an interview on NPR about Lowenstein's book "America's Bank."

The men who wrote the Federal Reserve Act even wore disguises and snuck off in the night to a Victorian mansion on the ominously named Jekyll Island where they did their dirty work:

http://thetyrannyofthefederalreserve.blogspot.com/2015/11/lowenstein-and-ghost-of-andrew-jackson.html

Mike321 , says: Show Comment June 22, 2020 at 3:39 pm GMT
@Anonymous Read "Web of Debt" by Helen Brown. I may be a dumb Alabama hic, but I think she went after the Fed in that book .Just sayin'.

[Jun 22, 2020] The neoliberal MSM has found a shiny new object called "Juneteenth" but the catastrophe for 30 million unemployed workers is steady getting worse.

Jun 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trailer Trash , Jun 20 2020 3:13 utc | 87

> Americans have trouble deciding what's fake and what's not
> until reality personally bites them on the ass.
> Posted by: jadan | Jun 20 2020 2:00 utc | 79

They know the economic devastation is real. There are 50,000 unpaid unemployment claims -- just in Kentucky. The establishment press has found a shiny new object called "Juneteenth" but the catastrophe for 30 million unemployed workers is steady getting worse.

For the county I live in, out of 72,000 people, ten got sick and one died, for the past six months. Meanwhile, about 350 people die every six months from all causes (about 1%). So no one here knows anyone sick or dead from the virus, but the crisis, including getting food, is everywhere.

[Jun 21, 2020] Eliminating Talent By Force by Rod Dreher

Highly recommended!
De Blasio policies are directed against middle class. Upper class uses private schools anyway and as such is exempt from his experiments.
Notable quotes:
"... there's an essay on socialism by Igor Shafarevich. In it, he quotes Marx saying that communism aims to "eliminate talent by force." Equality must be achieved above all things. ..."
"... Mayor Bill de Blasio's School Diversity Advisory Group has recommended that the city eliminated gifted and talented programs for elementary schools, and stop using academic criteria for admission to middle schools. Why? Diversity, of course. ..."
"... You can have excellence, or you can have equality, but you can't have both. ..."
"... This criterion for racism is non-sensical...admission based on merit cannot be racist, because it is based on merit and not race! Need I say that if based on the latter, then it would be some form of racism.... ..."
"... The opposite of "equality" isn't inequality, but difference. And everyone really knows there is no blank slate. Children have a genetic heritage which combines with environment factors in creating intelligence and success. ..."
"... Acknowledging "difference" is true celebration of life and its varieties. And some people are smarter than others. ..."
Aug 28, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The Equalizer: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio ( Morning Joe screenshot ) In that same book I quoted in an earlier post , From Under The Rubble (which you can read online for free by following the link), there's an essay on socialism by Igor Shafarevich. In it, he quotes Marx saying that communism aims to "eliminate talent by force." Equality must be achieved above all things.

Reading the Shafarevich, I thought of the removal and/or relocation of photographs of white males from medical schools, on ideological grounds ( I wrote about it here on Monday. ) It won't stop there. That's just the first step. They begin by removing the images of certain figures, and will eventually get around to removing people like them from the schools, all in the name of equality.

Something like this might be about to happen in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio's School Diversity Advisory Group has recommended that the city eliminated gifted and talented programs for elementary schools, and stop using academic criteria for admission to middle schools. Why? Diversity, of course. Too many of the kids who get into the better schools and programs are white and Asian, not enough are black and Hispanic, according to progressive dogma. Christine Rosen writes:

All the city's selective schools are already open to anyone regardless of race. But because the majority of students who gain admission to schools that screen applicants are white and Asian, the panel reasoned, merit-based admissions procedures must be racist. Indeed, the advisory panel describes merit-based testing and other screening procedures used in New York City's public schools as "exclusionary admissions practices," not because they found any evidence of racial bias in the screening procedures but simply because the outcome of screening does not perfectly reflect the demographic make-up of the city. According to the New York Times , the panel argued that a screening system based on academic ability "is not equitable, even if it is effective for some."

The Progressive Caucus of the city council agrees. In a letter to the diversity panel, it urged "caps on the allowable concentrations of high-achieving and low-achieving students in the same schools." New York City schools chancellor Richard Carranza, who would implement the panel's recommendations if the mayor approves them, already thinks too many students are labeled "gifted."

In other words, the progressives' answer to the problem of racial gaps in educational achievement is a Harrison Bergeron-like downward social leveling that would ensure that excellence and competition are eliminated in favor of mediocrity and "diversity." Since more than half of the city's public school students can't pass the state math and English exams, and only 28 percent of the city's black students passed the math exam (compared to 67 percent of white students and 74 percent of Asian-American students), the leveling effect will likely be significant.

Punishing excellence by demanding that everyone conform to the lowest common denominator is a recipe for educational failure and societal stagnation. By this logic, schools will eventually have to eliminate grades and other forms of ranking, since outcomes will never match progressives' diversity requirements.

This is identity politics in action. It will punish, or eliminate, talent by force. It's the old socialist claim -- that hierarchy is always and everywhere the result of injustice -- applied to racial politics.

Here's how The New York Times describes the situation:

For years, New York City has essentially maintained two parallel public school systems.

A group of selective schools and programs geared to students labeled gifted and talented is filled mostly with white and Asian children. The rest of the system is open to all students and is predominantly black and Hispanic.

Now, a high-level panel appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio is recommending that the city do away with most of these selective programs in an effort to desegregate the system, which has 1.1 million students and is by far the largest in the country.

More:

The panel's report, obtained by The New York Times, amounts to a repudiation of former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's education agenda, which reoriented the system toward school choice for families, including more gifted and screened schools, to combat decades of low performance.

Some of those policies deepened inequality even as student achievement rose . Mr. de Blasio has been sharply critical of his predecessor's philosophy on education, but must now decide whether to dismantle some of the structures that Mr. Bloomberg helped to build.

You can have excellence, or you can have equality, but you can't have both. De Blasio seems to be aiming for equality by denying the concept of "good schools":

Though Mr. de Blasio has vowed to create a school system where the idea of "good schools" and "bad schools" becomes obsolete, dozens of schools are extremely low-performing, and many more are struggling.

As the city has tried for decades to improve its underperforming schools, it has long relied on accelerated academic offerings and screened schools, including the specialized high schools, to entice white families to stay in public schools.

But at the same time, white, Asian and middle-class families have sometimes exacerbated segregation by avoiding neighborhood schools , and instead choosing gifted programs or other selective schools. In gentrifying neighborhoods, some white parents have rallied for more gifted classes, which has in some cases led to segregated classrooms within diverse schools .

Progressives don't allow one to ask why white, Asian, and middle-class families are avoiding those schools, or that gifted classes lead to segregated classrooms within diverse schools. The progressive mind can only imagine that these outcomes are racist, and therefore must be eliminated so New York City can build a pedagogical heaven on earth.

One more note:

Still, the so-called School Diversity Advisory Group acknowledged that the city would have to take pains to prevent middle-class families from fleeing the system.

If those students decamp to private schools or to the suburbs, "it will become even more difficult to create high-quality integrated schools," in New York, the report said. The panel wrote that "high-achievement students deserve to be challenged," but in different ways.

Right. Here's a link to the full School Diversity Advisory Group report.

The panel blamed the failure of G&T programs in schools serving poor neighborhoods on economic privilege:

The reforms of the early 2000s brought over 20 new G&T programs meant to cater to underserved communities, in further hopes of expanded enrichment opportunities for a more diverse group of children. Three years later, most of these new programs were unable to fill a single spot in their incoming classes, because the majority of students in these neighborhoods and districts were low-income and not able to invest in equitable test-prep resources. Since the mid-2000s the number of G&T programs has nearly halved, with most surviving offerings operating in affluent white neighborhoods.

There's no doubt that well-off parents have the resources to help their children prepare for tests. But the panel does not consider the role of culture -- within the family, and the students' communities -- in affecting the outcomes. It's widely known that Asian families put a premium on education, and that that means Asian kids generally study more and work harder to achieve. Why should they be punished for that?

NYC is a left-wing town, as we all know, but it's also the case that middle-class progressives get real protective of their own children, and may find some rationale to fight this proposal, at the expense of their own stated principles. But perhaps not. Because left-wing identity politics demonizes achievement by people of the "wrong" ethnicity, it might not be possible to fight this -- not if the price of resisting it is bearing the cost of being publicly condemned as racist.

It's down to the Asians to lead the resistance, if there is any resistance at all.

UPDATE: Reader Another Dave comments:

I live in NYC and have kids in the public school system. Asians are already pushing back hard, and have attended several public forums en masse to jeer at and heckle Carranza, and openly call him a bigot, which he clearly is.

Both DiBlasio and Carranza are loathsome midwits, and deserve whatever vitriol is directed at them.

The NYPost has covered most of this in detail, but a number of Asian community groups have formed activist committees, and are making as much noise as humanly possible, and then some.

I could go into much greater detail about my own experiences with the public school system here on the UES, but it would take up too much space and potentially bore everyone.

I socialize with several people, all of the black and Latin, who have worked in education in NYC for decades, and have had whatever remained of their progressive rose colored glasses shattered by dealing directly with poor black and Hispanic communities. Suffice it to say, poor black and Hispanic communities, outside of some individual exceptions, simply don't place a premium on scholastic excellence and academic rigor.

Again, there are exceptions, and there are certainly students with parents from Africa or the Caribbean who do not fit into this category, but generally speaking, no matter what the racial ideologues and the woke activists say, poor and working class blacks and Hispanics just don't have the same regard for academic achievement. The parents will tell you to your face that they do, and then you see how they raise their kids and how they approach homework and test prep, and it just doesn't compare to what Asian and white parents do with and for their kids. It's two different worlds.

Black and Hispanic parents obviously love their kids, and do what they think is right, but they simply lack the same degree of focus and stick-to-it-iveness, and yes, even intellectual horsepower, that Asian and white parents have.

This is an important story, because it reveals just how far racial activists intend on going to achieve parity. They will detonate the entire system to do so, and this doesn't really bother them in the least. To them, the disparities prove the system is not just broken, but evil, and must be overturned. Asian and white excellence is a continual slap in the face, and it cannot be allowed to stand, no matter the consequences.

The mayor, his attack dog Carranza, and all of the racist black and Hispanic activists have a deep, emotional commitment to their utopian vision, and reason will not be allowed to prevail, up to and including chasing the highest performing whites and Asians right out of the entire system and into private education.

This is a microcosm of a larger societal drama, and all of Rod's self deceptive liberal commenters would do well to acquaint themselves with the details, because this is where our entire society is headed if we don't put the brakes on.


David J. White 2 hours ago

I suspect that more and more wealthy parents of high-achieving students will simply move out of New York, unless their brains have been rotted by Wokeness.
Rod Dreher Moderator Matt in VA 2 hours ago
I'm talking about only in NYC will the Asians be able to effectively lead the resistance, because they can't be accused of racism. If you read the links I posted, you'll find that 70 percent of the population of NYC schools are black and Hispanic. White people can (and should) fight to preserve the schools where their kids attend, but political reality on the ground in NYC indicates that the resistance will have a better chance of resisting if it is led by Asians, given their immunity to the usual progressive racial demagoguery. Mind you, I know some Asians buy into this demagoguery, but I'm betting most ordinary ones in NYC don't. I could be wrong.
Matthew Rod Dreher an hour ago
Essentially the Asian community will be fighting the same battle as those now fighting to see just how explicitly Harvard discriminates against Asians when it comes to their admissions policy. And in that case it certainly is not a unified front. Many of those Asian students have no desire to be put front and center in this ideological battle. There have been a few different essays about the Harvard admissions challenge that specifically quoted Asian students as not wanting to wade into the political mess, or they simply agreed with and supported Harvards P.C. admissions policy. It is a lot easier to just accept your admission into top tier school 2 or 3 on your list and move on.
Sheldon2 an hour ago • edited
Well-to-do white families will opt for private school. The ones who will suffer under the new arrangement will be those who can't afford private school or a move to the suburbs: middle- and lower-class white families with bright kids who will now get a lowest-common-denominator education.

No one would argue with efforts to address the inequality in resources devoted to poorer kids and neighborhoods, and to provide struggling families with additional support. But attempting to overcome inequality by eliminating gifted and talented programs is a deeply stupid, immoral, counterproductive, and ultimately fanatical form of social engineering. As an aside, good luck trying to win re-election, Mr. de Blasio.

Manualman an hour ago
If I read correctly on this elsewhere, the mayor doesn't control the high schools so can't implement this there. But the logic would apply. Consider these as predictions of where this is going:
1. Honors and AP classes have been found to be excessively populated by white and Asian kids, so we are going to discontinue them and place kids in classes randomly from now on to assure diversity and prevent racism.
2. An extensive evaluation of the graduates of Columbia University has shown that the upper 10% of every graduating class remains consistently over-represented in white and Asian populations. In spite of repeated warnings, the university has failed to end it's clearly racist policies, so will be shut down immediately. We have a variety of very good community colleges whose diversity scores are better, so they are obviously better schools anyways.
You get the idea. If we can contain this madness to enclaves like New York, they will destroy themselves in a generation or two and sane people can move in and take over. Anybody who has ever spent time in a classroom knows that the worst kid sets the tone and culture for the rest. The only way to let the best kids flourish is to protect them from the kids who want only to tear down and destroy. Race has nothing to do with that, but culture sure does.
Mike an hour ago
As a kid who loved his gifted/talented classes,I believe in their worthiness. For me there was nothing worse than being in a class bored silly and one should be challenged in school, otherwise what's the point? Rather than drastically change the standards, why not invest in resources for the test prep? Would that not increase the number of minority students qualifying?
ludwig an hour ago • edited
"majority of students who gain admission to schools that screen applicants are white and Asian, the panel reasoned, merit-based admissions procedures must be racist"

This criterion for racism is non-sensical...admission based on merit cannot be racist, because it is based on merit and not race! Need I say that if based on the latter, then it would be some form of racism....

next, from rod, "In it, he quotes Marx saying that communism aims to "eliminate talent by force." Equality must be achieved above all things."

but what about the oft-quoted and here-paraphrased marxian quote, "each to his ability, each to his interest". seems to contradict 'eliminating talent by force'?

Gaius1Gracchus 44 minutes ago
The opposite of "equality" isn't inequality, but difference. And everyone really knows there is no blank slate. Children have a genetic heritage which combines with environment factors in creating intelligence and success.

Not everyone can be a great artist. Even with all the resources in the world, an untalented would be artist (myself, for example) will never be good.

Likewise most all the best long distance runners are from a single tribe in Kenya.

Acknowledging "difference" is true celebration of life and its varieties. And some people are smarter than others.

The smartest boy in my elementary school class stopped taking difficult classes in middle school. He didn't take a single honors or AP class. He still got a high SAT score and went to a University of California school (I can't remember if it was Berkeley or another one) and failed out after one year. He moved home and has been a pothead bum for 30 years.

Talent gurantees nothing, but gives opportunities. Social status and such also give opportunities.

It almost seems like the attempt to close the NYC elite public schools is really an effort to shut down a way up for lower and middle class families. The rich largely skip the elite schools because there is too much competition and their kids will not succeed. They want to limit real meritocracy and really just want their credentialism to continue.

This is just more class warfare by the rich against those beneath them.

Another Dave 38 minutes ago
I live in NYC and have kids in the public school system. Asians are already pushing back hard, and have attended several public forums en masse to jeer at and heckle Carranza, and openly call him a bigot, which he clearly is.

Both DiBlasio and Carranza are loathsome midwits, and deserve whatever vitriol is directed at them. The NYPost has covered most of this in detail, but a number of Asian community groups have formed activist committees, and are making as much noise as humanly possible, and then some.

I could go into much greater detail about my own experiences with the public school system here on the UES, but it would take up too much space and potentially bore everyone.

I socialize with several people, all of the black and Latin, who have worked in education in NYC for decades, and have had whatever remained of their progressive rose colored glasses shattered by dealing directly with poor black and Hispanic communities. Suffice it to say, poor black and Hispanic communities, outside of some individual exceptions, simply don't place a premium on scholastic excellence and academic rigor.

Again, there are exceptions, and there are certainly students with parents from Africa or the Caribbean who do not fit into this category, but generally speaking, no matter what the racial ideologues and the woke activists say, poor and working class blacks and Hispanics just don't have the same regard for academic achievement. The parents will tell you to your face that they do, and then you see how they raise their kids and how they approach homework and test prep, and it just doesn't compare to what Asian and white parents do with and for their kids. It's two different worlds.

Black and Hispanic parents obviously love their kids, and do what they think is right, but they simply lack the same degree of focus and stick-to-it-iveness, and yes, even intellectual horsepower, that Asian and white parents have.

This is an important story, because it reveals just how far racial activists intend on going to achieve parity. They will detonate the entire system to do so, and this doesn't really bother them in the least. To them, the disparities prove the system is not just broken, but evil, and must be overturned. Asian and white excellence is a continual slap in the face, and it cannot be allowed to stand, no matter the consequences.

The mayor, his attack dog Carranza, and all of the racist black and Hispanic activists have a deep, emotional commitment to their utopian vision, and reason will not be allowed to prevail, up to and including chasing the highest performing whites and Asians right out of the entire system and into private education.

This is a microcosm of a larger societal drama, and all of Rod's self deceptive liberal commenters would do well to acquaint themselves with the details, because this is where our entire society is headed if we don't put the brakes on.

William harrington 28 minutes ago
Well, progressives have used antiquated ideologies for over a century to try to solve the social problems they see. Can't figure out how to improve failing schools/ Scream racism and eliminate schools that aren't failing. Then the problem disappears from view. This is the same thing we see with gun control; can't figure out why more and more people are choosing to commit mass murder? Blame the tool, not the tool user. This way the tools passing laws can get votes and look like they are doing something, but we haven't solved the underlying problem, why do more and more people want to commit mass murder. I suppose the problem is that progressiveness has become a religion with an inferior anthropology that has little to offer in the way of guidance for self examination or examination of society.

Identitarianism is a dualistic system of understanding the world that has no capacity to analyze the actual complexities of human individuals or society. Progressive identitarians have no choice but to seek simplistic solutions that will exacerbate the actual problems because their system is unable to express the actual problems.

[Jun 21, 2020] A Tidal Wave of Bankruptcies Is Coming

Jun 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

BRADLEY L MAYER , , June 18, 2020 at 6:49 pm

Today's NYT backs up Yves virtually verbatim:

A Tidal Wave of Bankruptcies Is Coming

By Mary Williams Walsh

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/18/business/corporate-bankruptcy-coronavirus.html

Almost any passage is quotable, but this caught my eye:

"Expect "a Covid-19 cliff" in the next 30 to 60 days, he said."

It's only a question now of reorg or liquidation bankruptcy.

[Jun 21, 2020] 'I used to push for working class kids to go to university, but no longer they are toxic institutions of prejudice' -- RT Op-ed

Jun 21, 2020 | www.rt.com

'I used to push for working class kids to go to university, but no longer: they are toxic institutions of prejudice' Dr Lisa McKenzie Dr Lisa McKenzie Dr Lisa McKenzie is a working-class academic. She grew up in a coal-mining town in Nottinghamshire and became politicized through the 1984 miners' strike with her family. At 31, she went to the University of Nottingham and did an undergraduate degree in sociology. Dr McKenzie lectures in sociology at the University of Durham and is the author of 'Getting By: Estates, Class and Culture in Austerity Britain.' She's a political activist, writer and thinker. Follow her on Twitter @redrumlisa . Dr Lisa McKenzie is a working-class academic. She grew up in a coal-mining town in Nottinghamshire and became politicized through the 1984 miners' strike with her family. At 31, she went to the University of Nottingham and did an undergraduate degree in sociology. Dr McKenzie lectures in sociology at the University of Durham and is the author of 'Getting By: Estates, Class and Culture in Austerity Britain.' She's a political activist, writer and thinker. Follow her on Twitter @redrumlisa . 21 Jun, 2020 07:11 Get short URL 'I used to push for working class kids to go to university, but no longer: they are toxic institutions of prejudice' © Getty Images / Joe Sohm / Visions of America/ Universal Images Group Follow RT on RT I've spent the last 20 years of my life working with and supporting working class people to get into higher education. Today I'm wondering whether I've been right to do so. I remember my first day at University. I was 31 and had gone to Nottingham University, part of the so-called elite Russell Group, from an access course for mature students. I had no idea what I was walking into. I didn't know anyone who had been to university, and had spent the years since I left school working mainly on piece work in a factory making women's tights.

I'd never ever been on the campus, even though I only lived only two miles away. I went to that university out of ignorance. I thought that wanting to study sociology was enough – I'd read a book about St Ann's, the part of Nottingham where I lived, authored by two researchers who had worked at the university. The book was called Poverty: The Forgotten Englishman and was based on research about poverty in Nottingham during the 1960s. It was written the year I was born, and I recognised my community in it; I wanted to study sociology, because I wanted to represent and fight for that community.

Read more Removing Rhodes statue would be a total whitewash of both British and African history Removing Rhodes statue would be a total whitewash of both British and African history

On that first day, two things happened. During the initial welcome speech, the vice chancellor welcomed all of the students to Nottingham and told them to enjoy the city and the university, but warned them that there were some areas of the town to avoid, that were not so welcoming – "Don't go to St Ann's," he said. Which, as it was where I lived and the reason why I was at the university, was going to be more than a little difficult for me. I remember being devastated and not feeling welcome at all.

Later that day, I sat in my first lecture. It was about women and work and the lecturer talked about how choice for working class women was never a "real choice" and that the idea of "choice" meant different things to different groups of people. I sat there and a wave of relief poured over me – not because I had learned something new, but because what I had suspected all of my life was being validated: that surely my poor status in life couldn't entirely be my own fault.

I realised from that day forwards that we working class people – whether we are black, white, men, women, transgender or no gender, Muslim, Christian or atheist – had something in common. Being working class meant you were individually held responsible for what you think is your failure. I later found out that the way the structure of our society is built is that working class people suffer unfair disadvantages, while the middle class benefit from equally unfair advantages.

Twenty years on from that first day at university, I've learned so much more about how society is structured and I have tried in any and every way to support other working class people to get into university so they, too, can have that knowledge that it's not their fault.

However, along that long route from student to lecturer, from no qualifications to a PhD, I have had some incredible experiences and students, but also some soul-destroying, awful experiences.

Also on rt.com Yes, the George Floyd video is distressing. But allowing 'traumatized' students who've seen it to get better exam grades is a joke

One university I worked at refused to let young working class people from my estate, who were part of a community football club, use the university's sports' pitches as they were concerned they would come back "at night" , presumably to rob, or steal or worse. I was heartbroken. I knew those kids and felt so ashamed that I had thought that this would be ok, and they had been so excited about going onto the posh, manicured football pitches.

Read more As a UC Berkeley professor and a person of color, I REFUSE TO SERVE the Democratic party and #BLM – and so should you As a UC Berkeley professor and a person of color, I REFUSE TO SERVE the Democratic party and #BLM – and so should you

Over the last twenty years, I have met and had emails and messages from hundreds of working class students and lecturers who have thanked me for speaking about working class experience at university.

But they also told me their own harrowing stories, such as being asked about "their poverty" in seminars, about sitting in lectures as professors have accused their communities - the places where they and their families live - as being dangerous/racist/stupid/violent/ignorant/criminal; take your pick, it's all been said. The prejudices that working class students, workers or lecturers suffer at these middle- and upper-class institutions are legion. And they only dare speak openly about it when they are together.

When I think about all of these instances of symbolic violence, of being passed over, and of having your work scrutinised in a way that I know is not done to the middle class in higher education... When I think about the awful and depressing conversations I've had to have with working class students who have sought me out to talk about how difficult it is to for them to sit in those lectures, to have their accents constantly commented on, to be asked "what school they went to" , and who don't understand the sly smirks and looks they get when they give the answer

When I think about those things I realise just how tired I am, and I have to ask myself: am I really doing the right thing by encouraging other working class people to put themselves through this toxic, anti-working class environment? I'm sad to conclude that I am probably not.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

[Jun 21, 2020] Ivy league universities and low cost state colleges will be OK, while private colleges in the middle are screwed

Notable quotes:
"... State universities have a much larger enrollment (the California State system has 23 campuses with an average of 22K students each) and the elites have featherbedded the Ivies, so both will survive, even if the former have some belt-tightening. ..."
Jun 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

grhabyt , , June 18, 2020 at 7:35 pm

Professor/Administrator in California State University here. I'm on the campus team trying to respond and thus reading everything current in Higher Ed on this. The conclusion is that high end and low end will be OK, but private colleges in the middle are screwed.
Students go to college for four reasons:

a) signalling;
b) networking;
c) skills acquisition; and
d) parties

With instruction online, b) and d) disappear. The elite universities can coast because of a) and endowments, the lower cost state universities like mine are seeing enrollment *increase* because, in a recession, many students on the line about attending college choose c) over unemployment. And as our tuition is only $7K ($12K for out-of-state/international), plenty of the cash-strapped middle class will dial down to us.

But expensive, tuition-driven (eg little endowment) private colleges are going to be hit very hard if they can't offer the whole traditional in-person experience. Most of these have announced that they will be meeting in-person, but the unspoken assumption is that they are lying to their prospective students, and will pull the football away at the last minute.

The media will dwell on "the death of higher education" at length, because these were the colleges that many of them went to.

But the reality is that their share of the pie is relatively small. State universities have a much larger enrollment (the California State system has 23 campuses with an average of 22K students each) and the elites have featherbedded the Ivies, so both will survive, even if the former have some belt-tightening.

Democrita , , June 19, 2020 at 7:16 am

To label 'd' partying is unfair. D is being with their peers, building their first independent relationships, falling in love.

Mine will be a soph in UC system, and is processing the announcement from the school yesterday that only some students will have classes, the rest will be online. They all read that to mean STEM majors will get the in person experience.

He and his friends are all deciding whether they will bother or take a term or two off -- because zoom school sucks. Or, as he put it, "why would we pay $20,000 for me to rent an apartment in Santa Cruz and attend Phoenix University?" Universities may find students not willing to waste resources on distance learning. Especially if there's no job at the end of the rainbow.

BUT if he skips a term, what to do in that time? Jobs hard to come by and risky.

I feel for the kids. Unlike that family blogger Joe Biden.

Re small biz and recovery: my employer got some PPP money, although the impact has not hit our magazine in a big way. Yet.

But we, like other business-niche publishers, made a good bit of money from conferences and such live events. Partly, it's direct earnings, but there are other ways live events fueled our biz. I believe Institutional Investor had basically ditched publishing for the conference business. We hadnt gone that far (we weren't that good at it).

Also, the boss is drooling over the idea that he can ditch the monthly rent for our manhattan offices. Our ship is so tight that I do not worry about getting laid off, only that the entire enterprise could go under. So far that's not happening, but past performance etc.

Yves Smith Post author , , June 19, 2020 at 1:04 am

I'm not as certain as you are that big name unis will not suffer too. I think this is them believing their own PR.

Harvard is already trying to get employees to take early retirement. And in a long interview, Larry Summers went on in a long Business Insider interview about how universities (clearly including Harvard) should close down entire operations that were losing money. He advocated that Harvard should largely abandon live instruction and instead should become a MOOC, since it could easily get 20 million students.

[Jun 20, 2020] Angry Bear " Weekly Indicators for June 15 19 at Seeking Alpha

Jun 20, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

Comments (1)

  1. likbez , June 20, 2020 10:42 pm

    With this "improvement" we hopefully might see the collapse of some of the most reckless hedge funds the next year, or earlier. Adding to them a couple of private equity sharks would be an icing on the cake, but this scum tends to be pretty resilient. They are masters of offloading losses on public.

    Disconnect between the stock market casino and the status of the USA manufacturing is real and it can't last forever. The FIRE sector which dominates the USA GDP is parasitic in nature, and parasite usually weakens the host to the point of collapse.

    Moreover, Covid19 serves as a powerful catalyst for further degrading the neoliberal globalization even in areas that are not connected with the role of China.

    As Herbert Stein put it on a different subject, but which now is fully applicable to the neoliberal globalization:

    If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.

    Per table 1 in https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R45090.pdf , real wages for USA men at the 50% percentile level are down -5.1% over the 1979 to 2018 time frame. Now we can probably talk about over 10%.

    That's another sign that the USA financial casino might eventually go the way of Trump's Taj Mahal.

    And many middle class lemmings who are completely indoctrinated into neoliberalism and connected with it deification of markets might be mercilessly fleeced. Especially those who recklessly play with the stock market having zero understanding of the economics, and relying on some crazy "chartist" recommendations :-)

    Or who stupidly preserved overweighed stocks allocation in the 401K plans after retirement. That might includes some "Vanguard loving" folk, who posts here.

[Jun 20, 2020] Colleges will have a lot of trouble this fall

Another issue with all types of education is that lots of students, especially foreign students, depend very heavily on restarats temp jobs and casual hospitality work.
Jun 20, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

4. Colleges will have a lot of trouble this fall . First, they are losing nearly all their full-freight-paying Chinese students, between concern over US Covid-19 risks, Administration hostility, and travel restrictions. That alone is a big blow.

On top of that, some are planning to reopen but MIT's announcement yesterday, that it will not allow all students to return to campus, probably represents a new normal. Well-placed MIT alumni read the university's decision as driven significantly by a desire to protect faculty and staff; I hear from sources with contacts at other universities that administrators that they see no way to put kids in dorms without running unacceptably high Covid risks.

Remember, even though kids almost never die of Covid-19, but there is a risk of serious damage. 1/2 the asymptomatic cases on the Diamond Princess now show abnormal lungs. And remember those cruises have half the people on board as crew, and the crew skews young. College is a lot less appealing if you don't stay in a dorm.

Just as diminished activity in central business districts has negative knock-on effects to nearby business, so to do hollowed-out colleges and universities have for their communities, as described in more depth in a recent Bloomberg story .

Krystyn Podgajski , June 18, 2020 at 7:52 am

The coming college semester is a big question mark. The influx of students is entangled with real estate, shopping and the biggest in my town, restaurants and bars. Not to mention the college sports season which supported so many AirBnB's here.

They are starting the year early here (UNC Chapel Hill) and ending it early as well, on Thanksgiving! And up to 1000 new students will be learning from home instead of coming to campus.

Vastydeep , June 18, 2020 at 11:30 am

Big question mark -- MIT's president Reif yesterday noted that

"At least for the fall, we can only bring some of our undergraduates back to campus." and "Everything that can be taught effectively online will be taught online."

Courses are comparatively easy, but labs, research, and sports look doubtful if/when case counts start marching up again.

[Jun 19, 2020] "What's being protected? The social order that feeds the wealthy at the expense of the working poor. "

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Racism, especially directed toward blacks, along with “identity wedge,” is a perfect tool for disarming poor white, and suppressing their struggle for a better standard of living, which considerably dropped under neoliberalism. ..."
"... In other words, by providing poor whites with a stratum of the population that has even lower social status, neoliberals manage to co-opt them to support the policies which economically ate detrimental to their standard of living as well as to suppress the protest against the redistribution of wealth up and dismantling of the New Deal capitalist social protection network. ..."
"... This is a pretty sophisticated, pretty evil scheme if you ask me. In a way, “Floydgate” can be viewed as a variation on the same theme. A very dirty game indeed, when the issue of provision of meaningful jobs for working poor, social equality, and social protection for low-income workers of any color is replaced with a real but of secondary importance issue of police violence against blacks. ..."
"... without a contract at all ..."
Jun 19, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

flora, June 19, 2020 at 1:36 am

Thanks for this post.

"What's being protected? The social order that feeds the wealthy at the expense of the working poor. " -- Neuberger

In the aftermath of these movements, the police increasingly presented themselves as a thin blue line protecting civilization, by which they meant bourgeois civilization, from the disorder of the working class. -- Mitrani

I think this ties in, if only indirectly, with the way so many peaceful recent protests seemed to turn violent after the police showed up. It's possible I suppose the police want to create disorder to frighten not only the protestors with immediate harm but also frighten the bourgeois about the threate of a "dangerous mob". Historically violent protests created a political backlash that usually benefited political conservatives and the wealthy owners. (The current protests may be different in this regard. The violence seems to have

John Anthony La Pietra, June 19, 2020 at 2:20 am

Sorry, but the title sent my mind back to the days of old -- of old Daley, that is, and his immortal quote from 1968: "Gentlemen, let's get the thing straight, once and for all. The policeman isn't there to create disorder; the policeman is there to preserve disorder."

Adam1, June 19, 2020 at 7:39 am

LOL!!! great quote. Talk about saying it the way it is.

It kind of goes along with, "Police violence is focused overwhelmingly on men lowest on the socio-economic ladder: in rural areas outside the South, predominately white men; in the Southwest, disproportionately Hispanic men; in mid-size and major cities, disproportionately black men. Significantly, in the rural South, where the population is racially mixed, white men and black men are killed by police at nearly identical rates."

I bang my head on the table sometimes because poor white men and poor men of color are so often placed at odds when they increasingly face (mostly) the same problems. God forbid someone tried to unite them, there might really be some pearl clutching then.

run75441, June 19, 2020 at 8:23 am

Great response! I am sure you have more to add to this. A while back, I was researching the issues you state in your last paragraph. Was about ten pages into it and had to stop as I was drawn out of state and country. From my research.

While not as overt in the 20th century, the distinction of black slave versus poor white man has kept the class system alive and well in the US in the development of a discriminatory informal caste system. This distraction of a class level lower than the poorest of the white has kept them from concentrating on the disproportionate, and growing, distribution of wealth and income in the US. For the lower class, an allowed luxury, a place in the hierarchy and a sure form of self esteem insurance.

Sennett and Cobb (1972) observed that class distinction sets up a contest between upper and lower class with the lower social class always losing and promulgating a perception amongst themselves the educated and upper classes are in a position to judge and draw a conclusion of them being less than equal. The hidden injury is in the regard to the person perceiving himself as a piece of the woodwork or seen as a function such as "George the Porter." It was not the status or material wealth causing the harsh feelings; but, the feeling of being treated less than equal, having little status, and the resulting shame. The answer for many was violence.

James Gilligan wrote "Violence; Reflections on A National Epidemic." He worked as a prison psychiatrist and talked with many of the inmates of the issues of inequality and feeling less than those around them. His finding are in his book which is not a long read and adds to the discussion.

A little John Adams for you.

" The poor man's conscience is clear . . . he does not feel guilty and has no reason to . . . yet, he is ashamed. Mankind takes no notice of him. He rambles unheeded.

In the midst of a crowd; at a church; in the market . . . he is in as much obscurity as he would be in a garret or a cellar.

He is not disapproved, censured, or reproached; he is not seen . . . To be wholly overlooked, and to know it, are intolerable ."

likbez , June 19, 2020 at 3:18 pm

That’s a very important observation.

Racism, especially directed toward blacks, along with “identity wedge,” is a perfect tool for disarming poor white, and suppressing their struggle for a better standard of living, which considerably dropped under neoliberalism.

In other words, by providing poor whites with a stratum of the population that has even lower social status, neoliberals manage to co-opt them to support the policies which economically ate detrimental to their standard of living as well as to suppress the protest against the redistribution of wealth up and dismantling of the New Deal capitalist social protection network.

This is a pretty sophisticated, pretty evil scheme if you ask me. In a way, “Floydgate” can be viewed as a variation on the same theme. A very dirty game indeed, when the issue of provision of meaningful jobs for working poor, social equality, and social protection for low-income workers of any color is replaced with a real but of secondary importance issue of police violence against blacks.

This is another way to explain “What’s the matter with Kansas” effect.

Carla , June 19, 2020 at 12:39 pm

MLK Jr. tried, and look what happened to him once he really got some traction. If the Rev. William Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign picks up steam, I’m afraid the same thing will happen to him.

I wish it were only pearl-clutching that the money power would resort to, but that’s not the way it works.

km , June 19, 2020 at 11:56 am

In most countries, the police are there solely to protect the Haves from the Have-Nots. In fact, when the average frustrated citizen has trouble, the last people he would consider turning to are the police.

This is why in the Third World, the only job of lower social standing than “policeman” is “police informer”.

cripes , June 19, 2020 at 3:35 am

The anti-rascist identity of the recent protests rests on a much larger base of class warfare waged over the past 40 years against the entire population led by a determined oligarchy and enforced by their political, media and militarized police retainers. This same oligarchy, with a despicable zeal and revolting media-orchestrated campaign–co-branding the movement with it’s usual corporate perpetrators– distorts escalating carceral and economic violence solely through a lens of racial conflict and their time-tested toothless reforms. A few unlucky “peace officers” may have to TOFTT until the furor recedes, can’t be helped.

Crowding out debt relief, single payer health, living wages, affordable housing and actual justice reform from the debate that would benefit African Americans more than any other demographic is the goal.

The handful of Emperors far prefer kabuki theater and random ritual Seppuku than facing the rage of millions of staring down the barrel of zero income, debt, bankruptcy, evictions and dispossession. The Praetorians will follow the money as always.

I suppose we’ll get some boulevards re-named and a paid Juneteenth holiday to compensate for the destruction 100+ years of labor rights struggle, so there’s that..

Boatwright , June 19, 2020 at 7:51 am

Homestead, Ludlow, Haymarket, Matewan — the list is long……

Working men and women asking for justice gunned down by the cops. There will always be men ready to murder on command as long as the orders come from the rich and powerful. We are at a moment in history folks were some of us, today mostly people of color, are willing to put their lives on the line. It’s an ongoing struggle.

MichaelSF , June 19, 2020 at 12:18 pm

Jay Gould, a U.S. robber baron, is supposed to have claimed that he could hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Gould

rob , June 19, 2020 at 7:58 am

So how can a tier of society(the police)…. be what a society needs…?
When as this story and many others show how and why the police were formed…. to break heads.
When they have been “the tool” of the elite…forever.
when so many of them are such dishonest,immoral ,wanna be fascists.
and the main direction of the US is towards a police state and fascists running the show…. both republican and democrat. With technology being the boot on the neck of the people… and the police are there to take it to the streets.
Can those elusive “good apples” turn the whole rotten barrel into sweet smelling apple pie? That is a big ask.
Or should the structure be liquidated, sell their army toys. fill the ranks with people who are not pathological liars and abusers and /or racists; of one sort or another. Get rid of the mentality of overcompensation by uber machismo. and make them watch the andy griffith show. They ought to learn that they can be respected if they are good people, and that they are not respected because they seek respect through fear and intimidation.
Is that idiot cry of theirs, .. the whole yelling at you; demanding absolute obedience to arbitrary ,assinine orders, really working to get them respect… or is it just something they get off on?
When the police are shown to be bad, they strike by work slowdown, or letting a little chaos loose themselves. So the people know they need them… So any reform of the police will go through the police not doing their jobs…. but then something like better communities may result. less people being busted and harassed , or pulled over for the sake of a quota…. may just show we don’t need so much policing anyway. And then if the new social workers brigade starts intervening in peoples with issues when they are young and in school … maybe fewer will be in the system. Couple that with the police not throwing their family in jail for nothing, and forcing them to pay fines for breaking stupid laws. The system will have less of a load, and the new , better cops without attitudes will be able to handle their communities in a way that works for everyone. Making them a net positive, as opposed to now where they are a net negative.
Also,

The drug war is over.
The cops have only done the bidding of the organized criminal elements who make their bread and butter because of prohibition.
our representatives can legally smoke pot , and grow it in their windowboxes in the capital dc., but people in many places are still living in fear of police using possession of some substance,as a pretext to take all their stuff,throw them in jail.
but besides the cops, there are the prosecutors…. they earn their salaries by stealing it from poor people through fines for things that ought to be legal. This is one way to drain money from poor communities, causing people to go steal from others in society to pay their court costs.
and who is gonna come and bust down your door… when you can’t pay a fine and choose to pay rent and buy your kids food instead…. the cops. just doing their jobs..
Evil is the banality of business as usual

Tom Stone , June 19, 2020 at 8:20 am

The late Kevin R C O’Brien noted that in every case where the Police had been ordered to “Round up the usual suspects” they have done so, and delivered them where ordered.
It did not matter who the “Usual suspects” were, or to what fate they were to be delivered.
They are the King’s men and they do the King’s bidding.

The Rev Kev , June 19, 2020 at 10:10 am

To have a reasonable discussion, I think that it should be recognized that modern police are but one leg of a triad. The first of course is the police who appear to seem themselves as not part of a community but as enforcers in that community. To swipe an idea from Mao, the police should move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea. Not be a patrolling shark that attacks who they want at will knowing that there will be no repercussions against them. When you get to the point that you have police arresting children in school for infractions of school discipline – giving them a police record – you know that things have gotten out of hand.

The next leg is the courts which of course includes prosecutors. It is my understanding that prosecutors are elected to office in the US and so have incentives to appear to be tough on crime”” . They seem to operate more like ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ from what I have read. When they tell some kid that he has a choice of 1,000 years in prison on trumped up charges or pleads guilty to a smaller offence, you know that that is not justice at work. Judges too operate in their own world and will always take the word of a policeman as a witness.

And the third leg is the prisons which operate as sweatshops for corporate America. It is in the interest of the police and the courts to fill up the prisons to overflowing. Anybody remember the Pennsylvania “kids for cash” scandal where kids lives were being ruined with criminal records that were bogus so that some people could make a profit? And what sort of prison system is it where a private contractor can build a prison without a contract at all , knowing that the government (California in this case) will nonetheless fill it up for a good profit.

In short, in sorting out police doctrine and methods like is happening now, it should be recognized that they are actually only the face of a set of problems.

MLTPB , June 19, 2020 at 11:00 am

How did ancient states police?

Perhaps Wiki is a starting point of this journey…

Per Its entry, Police, in ancient Greece, policing was done by public owned slaves.

In Rome, the army, initially.

In China, prefects…leading to a level of government called prefectures .

Pookah Harvey , June 19, 2020 at 10:54 am

I spent some time in the Silver Valley of northern Idaho. This area was the hot bed of labor unrest during the 1890’s. Federal troops controlled the area 3 separate times,1892, 1894 and 1899. Twice miners hijacked trains loaded them with dynamite and drove them to mining company stamping mills that they then blew up. Dozens of deaths in shoot outs. The entire male population was herded up and placed in concentration camps for weeks. The end result was the assassination of the Governor in 1905.
Interestingly this history has been completely expunged. There is a mining museum in the town which doesn’t mention a word on these events. Even nationwide there seems to be a complete erasure of what real labor unrest can look like..

rob , June 19, 2020 at 11:58 am

Yeah, labor unrest does get swept under the rug.
Howard zinn had examples in his works “the peoples history of the United States”
The pictched battles in upstate new york with the Van Rennselear’s in the 1840’s breaking up rennselearwyk…. the million acre estate of theirs . it was a rent strike.
people remembering , we have been here before doesn’t help the case of the establishment… so they try to not let it happen.
We get experts telling us…. well, this is all new… we need experts… to tell you… what to think.
It is like watching the footage from the past 100 years on film of blacks marching for their rights… and being told.. reform is coming.. the more things change, the more things stay the same. decade after decade.century after century…
time to start figuring this out people.
so, the enemy is us….
now what?

Carolinian , June 19, 2020 at 11:01 am

Doubtless the facts presented above are correct, but shouldn’t one point out that the 21st century is quite different from the 19th and therefore analogizing the current situation to what went on before is quite facile? For example it’s no longer necessary for the police to put down strikes because strike actions barely still exist. In our current US the working class has diminished greatly while the middle class has expanded. We are a much richer country overall with a lot more people–not just those one percenters–concerned about crime. Whatever one thinks of the police, politically an attempt to go back to the 18th century isn’t going to fly.

MLTPB , June 19, 2020 at 11:15 am

Perhaps we are more likely to argue among ourselves, when genetic fallacy is possibly in play.

Pookah Harvey , June 19, 2020 at 11:37 am

” the 21st century is quite different from the 19th ”
From the Guardian

“How Starbucks, Target, Google and Microsoft quietly fund police through private donations”

More than 25 large corporations in the past three years have contributed funding to private police foundations, new report says.

These foundations receive millions of dollars a year from private and corporate donors, according to the report, and are able to use the funds to purchase equipment and weapons with little public input. The analysis notes, for example, how the Los Angeles police department in 2007 used foundation funding to purchase surveillance software from controversial technology firm Palantir. Buying the technology with private foundation funding rather than its public budget allowed the department to bypass requirements to hold public meetings and gain approval from the city council.

The Houston police foundation has purchased for the local police department a variety of equipment, including Swat equipment, sound equipment and dogs for the K-9 unit, according to the report. The Philadelphia police foundation purchased for its police force long guns, drones and ballistic helmets, and the Atlanta police foundation helped fund a major surveillance network of over 12,000 cameras.

In addition to weaponry, foundation funding can also go toward specialized training and support programs that complement the department’s policing strategies, according to one police foundation.

“Not a lot of people are aware of this public-private partnership where corporations and wealthy donors are able to siphon money into police forces with little to no oversight,” said Gin Armstrong, a senior research analyst at LittleSis.

Maybe it is just me, but things don’t seem to be all that different.

Bob , June 19, 2020 at 11:40 am

If we made America Great Again we could go back to the 18th century.

rob , June 19, 2020 at 12:11 pm

While it is true, this is a new century.
knowing how the present came to be, is entirely necessary to be able to attempt any move forward.
The likelihood of making the same old mistakes is almost certain, if one doesn’t try to use the past as a reference.
And considering the effect of propaganda and revisionism in the formation of peoples opinions, we do need ” learning against learning” to borrow a Jesuit strategy against the reformation, but this time it should embrace reality, rather than sow falsehoods.
But I do agree,
We have never been here before, and now is a great time to reset everything. With all due respect to “getting it right” or at least “better”.
and knowing the false fables of righteousness, is what people need to know, before they go about “burning down the house”.

Carolinian , June 19, 2020 at 12:42 pm

You know it’s not as though white people aren’t also afraid of the police. Alfred Hitchcock said he was deathly afraid of police and that paranoia informed many of his movies. Woody Allen has a funny scene in Annie Hall where he is pulled over by a cop and is comically flustered. White people also get shot and killed by the police as the rightwingers are constantly pointing out.

And thousands of people in the streets tell us that police reform is necessary. But the country is not going to get rid of them and replace police with social workers so why even talk about it? I’d say the above is interesting….not terribly relevant.

Mattski , June 19, 2020 at 11:37 am

Straight-up fact: The police weren’t created to preserve and protect. They were created to maintain order, over certain subjected classes and races of people, including–for many white people, too–many of our ancestors, too.*

And the question that arises from this: Are we willing to the subjects in a police state? Are we willing to continue to let our Black and brown brothers and sisters be subjected BY such a police state, and to half-wittingly be party TO it?

Or do we want to exercise AGENCY over “our” government(s), and decide–anew–how we go out our vast, vast array of social ills.

Obviously, armed police officers with an average of six months training–almost all from the white underclass–are a pretty f*cking blunt instrument to bring to bear.

On our own heads. On those who we and history have consigned to second-class citizenship.
Warning: this is a revolutionary situation. We should embrace it.

*Acceding to white supremacy, becoming “white” and often joining that police order, if you were poor, was the road out of such subjectivity. My grandfather’s father, for example, was said to have fled a failed revolution in Bohemia to come here. Look back through history, you will find plenty of reason to feel solidarity, too. Race alone cannot divide us if we are intent on the lessons of that history.

Susan the other , June 19, 2020 at 1:16 pm

It’s a good argument for keeping business small and evenly distributed. Promote the distribution of small enterprises all around the countryside and it’ll be a preventative against mergers and monopolies and giant corporations. Legislate for small business everywhere. When mega corporations turn into godzilla they are no longer efficient. They just tweak the statistics to imply that they are making such a profit that that means they are efficient. Maybe their robots are. Maybe their security forces are. But rapacious capitalism is almost comical, if not pathetic, when there is nothing left to rape. Which is where we now find ourselves. They’ve been allowed to evolve into private monopolies and have sucked the life out of the rest of the economy because they provide no employment, no training, no health care, no responsible maintenance for themselves; they set up tax havens, etc. And they produce way too much crap. We need far less consumption to save the planet. If we need monopolies to create equal distribution let them be state-owned monopolies. States do a good job. I’m thinking here of the State owned liquor stores in Utah. Even tho’ it’d be nice to buy wine in the grocery store, the state does a good job of supplying booze at a good price. (They are in the process now of setting up marijuana stores. Yes, Utah.) And they hire lotsa people. And they generate a nice tax revenue. I think medical care should be the same way – but on a national scale. This way we don’t need to bludgeon the poor. Until we can turn things around, we need to give the poor a state owned and controlled place to live – commonly thought of as a house. We’re gonna need to do food stamps too. If we must put up with private enterprise at the expense of public welfare, just so that we keep a certain optimism toward “free enterprise” and keep it nurtured because: sometimes a great notion, then let’s restrict it from becoming a plague. But let’s not kill capitalism just because it almost killed society. Let’s remake it. As it is now it’s just dragging itself around like a cave troll. It is no longer fit for purpose.

K teh , June 19, 2020 at 2:48 pm

Protect and serve MMT to the 10%. And no, the answer can not be give MMT to everyone and complain about automation replacing the population. Also, slavery is not a white issue; it’s a control issue, going back to Africa, which is once again being pumped with debt.

Looking at how the term redneck was twisted to serve it’s current function is revealing. Fear, insecurity, control. Educate your own.

[Jun 19, 2020] Nixon-Trump vs. the Strategy of Tension by Pepe Escobar

Notable quotes:
"... Alastair Crooke has masterfully shown how the geoeconomic game, as Trump sees it, is above all to preserve the power of the U.S. dollar ..."
"... Russiagate, now totally debunked , has unfolded in effect as a running coup: a color non-revolution metastasizing into Ukrainegate and the impeachment fiasco. In this poorly scripted and evidence-free morality play with shades of Watergate, Trump was cast by the Democrats as Nixon. ..."
"... Black Lives Matter, the organization and its ramifications, is essentially being instrumentalized by selected corporate interests to accelerate their own priority: to crush the U.S. working classes into a state of perpetual anomie, as a new automated economy rises. ..."
"... What's fascinating is how this current strategy of tension scenario is being developed as a classic CIA/NED playbook color revolution. An undisputed, genuine grievance -- over police brutality and systemic racism -- has been completely manipulated, showered with lavish funds, infiltrated, and even weaponized against "the regime". ..."
"... in yet another priceless historical irony, "Assad must go" metastasized into "Trump must go". ..."
"... the majority of the population is considered expendable. It helps that the instrumentalized are playing their part to perfection, totally legitimized by mainstream media . No one will hear lavishly funded Black Lives Matter addressing the real heart of the matter: the reset of the predatory Restored Neoliberalism project, barely purged of its veneer of Hybrid Neofascism. The blueprint is the Great Reset to be launched by the World Economic Forum in January 2021. ..."
"... It will be fascinating to watch how Trump deals with this "Summer of Love" remake of Maidan transposed to the Seattle commune ..."
Jun 19, 2020 | www.unz.com

Nixon 68 is back with a vengeance, with President Trump placing himself as the guarantor/enforcer of Law & Order.

That slogan guaranteed Nixon's election, and was coined by Kevin Phillips, then an expert in "ethnic voting patterns" .

Philips makes for a very interesting case. In 1999, he became the author of a seminal book: The Cousins' Wars: Religion, Politics, and the Triumph of Anglo-America, where he tracks how a "small Tudor kingdom" ended up establishing global hegemony.

The division of the English-speaking community into two great powers -- "one aristocratic, 'chosen' and imperial; and one democratic, 'chosen' and manifest destiny-driven", as Philips correctly establishes -- was accomplished by, what else, a war triptych: the English Civil War, the American revolution and the U.S. Civil War.

Now, we may be at the threshold of a fourth war -- with unpredictable and unforeseen consequences.

As it stands, what we have is a do-or-die clash of models: MAGA against an exclusivist Fed/Wall Street/Silicon Valley-controlled system.

MAGA -- which is a rehash of the American dream -- simply cannot happen when society is viciously polarized; vast sectors of the middle class are being completely erased; and mass immigration is coming from the Global South.

In contrast, the Fed as a Wall Street hedge fund meets Silicon Valley model, a supremely elitist 0.001% concoction, has ample margins to thrive.

The model is based on even more rigid corporate monopoly; the preeminence of capital markets, where a Wall Street boom is guaranteed by government debt-buybacks of its own debt; and life itself regulated by algorithms and Big Data.

This is the Brave New World dreamed by the techno-financial Masters of the Universe.

Trump's MAGA woes have been compounded by a shoddy geopolitical move in tandem with Law and Order: his re-election campaign will be under the sign of "China, China, China." When in trouble, blame a foreign enemy.

That comes from serially failed opportunist Steve Bannon and his Chinese billionaire sidekick Guo Wengui, or Miles Guo. Here they are in Statue of Liberty mode announcing their no holds barred infowar campaign to demonize the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to Kingdom Come and "free the Chinese people".

Bannon's preferred talking point is that if his infowar fails, there will be "kinetic war". That is nonsense. Beijing's priorities are elsewhere. Only a few neo-conned Dr. Strangeloves would envisage "kinetic war"- as in a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Chinese territory.

Alastair Crooke has masterfully shown how the geoeconomic game, as Trump sees it, is above all to preserve the power of the U.S. dollar : "His particular concern would be to see a Europe that was umbilically linked to the financial and technological heavyweight that is China. This, in itself, effectively would presage a different world financial governance."

But then there's The Leopard syndrome: "If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change". Enter Covid-19 as a particle accelerator, used by the Masters of the Universe to tweak "things" a bit so they not only stay as they are but the Master grip on the world tightens.

The problem is Covid-19 behaves as a set of -- uncontrollable -- free electrons. That means nobody, even the Masters of the Universe, is able to really weigh the full consequences of a runaway, compounded financial/social crisis.

Deconstructing Nixon-Trump

Russiagate, now totally debunked , has unfolded in effect as a running coup: a color non-revolution metastasizing into Ukrainegate and the impeachment fiasco. In this poorly scripted and evidence-free morality play with shades of Watergate, Trump was cast by the Democrats as Nixon.

Big mistake. Watergate had nothing to do with a Hollywood-celebrated couple of daring reporters. Watergate represented the industrial-military-security-media complex going after Nixon. Deep Throat and other sources came from inside the Deep State. And it was not by accident that they were steering the Washington Post -- which, among other roles, plays the part of CIA mouthpiece to perfection.

Trump is a completely different matter. The Deep State keeps him under control. One just needs to look at the record: more funds for the Pentagon, $1 trillion in brand new nuclear weapons, perennial sanctions on Russia, non-stop threats to Russia's western borders, (failed) efforts to derail Nord Stream 2. And this is only a partial list.

So, from a Deep State point of view, the geopolitical front -- containment of Russia-China -- is assured. Domestically, it's much more complicated.

As much as Black Lives Matter does not threaten the system even remotely like the Black Panthers in the 60s, Trump believes his own Law & Order, like Nixon, will once again prevail. The key will be to attract the white women suburban vote. Republican pollsters are extremely optimistic and even talking about a "landslide".

Yet the behavior of an extra crucial vector must be understood: what corporate America wants.

When we look at who's supporting Black Lives Matter -- and Antifa -- we find, among others, Adidas, Amazon, Airbnb, American Express, Bank of America, BMW, Burger King, Citigroup, Coca Cola, DHL, Disney, eBay, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, IBM, Mastercard, McDonald's, Microsoft, Netflix, Nike, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Sony, Starbucks, Twitter, Verizon, WalMart, Warner Brothers and YouTube.

This who's who would suggest a completely isolated Trump. But then we have to look at what really matters; the class war dynamics in what is in fact a caste system , as Laurence Brahm argues.

Black Lives Matter, the organization and its ramifications, is essentially being instrumentalized by selected corporate interests to accelerate their own priority: to crush the U.S. working classes into a state of perpetual anomie, as a new automated economy rises.

That may always happen under Trump. But it will be faster without Trump. What's fascinating is how this current strategy of tension scenario is being developed as a classic CIA/NED playbook color revolution. An undisputed, genuine grievance -- over police brutality and systemic racism -- has been completely manipulated, showered with lavish funds, infiltrated, and even weaponized against "the regime".

Just to control Trump is not enough for the Deep State -- due to the maximum instability and unreliability of his Demented Narcissus persona. Thus, in yet another priceless historical irony, "Assad must go" metastasized into "Trump must go".

The cadaver in the basement

One must never lose track of the fundamental objectives of those who firmly control that assembly of bought and paid for patsies in Capitol Hill: to always privilege Divide and Rule -- on class, race, identity politics.

After all, the majority of the population is considered expendable. It helps that the instrumentalized are playing their part to perfection, totally legitimized by mainstream media . No one will hear lavishly funded Black Lives Matter addressing the real heart of the matter: the reset of the predatory Restored Neoliberalism project, barely purged of its veneer of Hybrid Neofascism. The blueprint is the Great Reset to be launched by the World Economic Forum in January 2021.

It will be fascinating to watch how Trump deals with this "Summer of Love" remake of Maidan transposed to the Seattle commune . The hint from Team Trump circles is that he will do nothing: a coalition of white supremacists and motorcycle gangs might take care of the "problem" on the Fourth of July.

None of this sweetens the fact that Trump is at the heart of a crossfire hurricane: his disastrous response to Covid-19; the upcoming, devastating effects of the New Great Depression; and his intimations pointing to what could turn into martial law.

Still, the legendary Hollywood maxim -- "no one knows anything" -- rules. Even running with a semi-cadaver in a basement, the Democrats may win in November just by doing nothing. Yet Teflon Trump should never be underestimated. The Deep State may even realize he's more useful than they think.

Curmudgeon , says: Show Comment June 18, 2020 at 11:28 pm GMT

An undisputed, genuine grievance – over police brutality and systemic racism…

Even Candace Owens understands that police are more likely to be killed or injured by “suspects” than the “suspects” are to be killed or injured by police. The militarization of police departments is a genuine grievance. The relatively few acts of actual police brutality out of millions of contacts in a year is not.

If there is “systemic racism”, it is systemic against White males.

There is no genuine systemic racism other than non-specific word games. Is there systemic racism in China? How about Japan?

Societies are a racial construct. They are built for the people/drivers that “invented” the society. Why would a Chinese or Japanese care about what a German or Nigerian thought should be done for their society?

[Jun 19, 2020] Trump administration move could add significant risks to retirement accounts

Notable quotes:
"... "By the Department of Labor's own admission, these are investments that are more complex, more opaque, less liquid, more difficult to value, with often higher costs than the investments that are traditionally offered through retirement plans," Roper said in an interview with Yahoo Finance. ..."
Jun 19, 2020 | finance.yahoo.com

Managers of 401(k) plans now have the ability invest in private equity. In other words, your 401(k ) could soon take stakes in private companies.

The goal, according to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia is to allow investors to "gain access to alternative investments" and "ensure that ordinary people investing for retirement have the opportunities they need for a secure retirement ." The Department of Labor laid things out in a letter that says putting 401(k) money into private-equity funds would not "violate the fiduciary's duties" of certain retirement plan sponsors.

But some experts see a big downside.

Barbara Roper, the Director of Investor Protection at the Consumer Federation of America, said the "significant risks" associated with private equity investments haven't been adequately addressed.

"By the Department of Labor's own admission, these are investments that are more complex, more opaque, less liquid, more difficult to value, with often higher costs than the investments that are traditionally offered through retirement plans," Roper said in an interview with Yahoo Finance.

You 'could do much, much worse'

The DOL letter means that a 401(k) manager could now decide to invest in private-equity funds that previously were not accessible. These funds traditionally have been reserved for the wealthiest traders and institutional investors. They typically come with higher risk since private companies are not required to disclose nearly the same about of data with the SEC as public companies do.

The new rule could be tempting for average savers who may now have a roundabout way to get a piece of a company – like SpaceX or AirBnB – that's still private. The American Investment Council, which represents the private equity industry, has lauded the change , saying it will strengthen Americans' retirement security.

One thing that remains up in the air is how quickly the managers of the big retirement plans will embrace their new options. Companies like Vanguard and Fidelity have not yet offered comment on the new guidelines. Another outstanding question is whether these plans would list private-equity funds among the options for savers to choose from, or whether private equity would simply be mixed into existing funds.

Alexis Leondis, an opinion columnist for Bloomberg, recently asked if the move is worth the risks. “Many plan sponsors don't have the sophistication or background in alternatives to fully understand the complicated structures of many private equity funds," she wrote.

Roper said that “the dispersion of returns in the private-equity fund space is huge, much broader than it is in the public markets.” And while the returns for over-performing private equity funds can, indeed, beat the public markets, “if you get in a below average fund, you could do much, much worse," she said.

An example of a big downside in private equity fund is SoftBank’s Vision fund. That fund recently announced losses of $24 billion after failed investments in WeWork and OneWeb.

According to a 2018 study by the Stanford Center on Longevity, about half of American workers are saving money through a retirement plan at work. Access to and participation in 401(k)s is much lower among younger workers. A report from the National Institute on Retirement Security found that two-thirds of working millennials have nothing saved for retirement.

A second rule change, over financial advice

A second change is coming soon and is expected to relax restrictions on the advice financial professionals give about their retirement investments.

The change, passed by the SEC last year with a compliance deadline of June 30, says brokers must act “in the best interest of the retail customer at the time the recommendation is made, without placing your financial or other interest ahead of the retail customer’s interests.”

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton has said that the change is part of "raising the standard of conduct for broker-dealers," while he has discussed in interviews how the best interest standard is different than a fiduciary standard.

According to the Consumer Federation of America, the move could lead to an understanding that investment advisers are not true fiduciaries. A fiduciary is someone legally obligated to act in the best financial interests of the clients they are advising.

Roper says that this potential new rule gives broker-dealers and investment advisers “virtually unlimited ability to act as advisers, while simultaneously failing to regulate them accordingly.” They can now “mislead their customers into believing they are getting trusted, best interest advice when they are actually getting investing recommendations biased by toxic conflicts of interest,” she said.

Roper appeared as part of Yahoo Finance’s ongoing partnership with the Funding our Future campaign, a group of organizations advocating for increased retirement security for Americans.

Consumer Federation of America is an association of non-profit consumer organizations. More than 250 groups – from local agencies like the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs to private groups across the country – participate in the federation.

All of these changes may not be noticed by certain savers who are often encouraged to take a “set it and forget it” approach to their retirement. If their 401(k) provider does end up getting involved in private equity, advocates like Roper say that "the promise of improved performance is not necessarily met by the reality."

Ben Werschkul is a producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.

[Jun 18, 2020] Meritocracy Legitimizes, Deepens Existing Inequality

Exclusive access to the elite universities is the key for reproducing the "new aristocracy"
Notable quotes:
"... Meritocracy is supposed to function best when an insecure 'middle class' constantly strives to secure, preserve and augment their income, status and other privileges by maximizing returns to their exclusive education. But access to elite education – that enables a few of modest circumstances to climb the social ladder – waxes and wanes. ..."
"... Most middle class families cannot afford the privileged education that wealth can buy, while most ordinary, government financed and run schools have fallen further behind exclusive elite schools, including some funded with public money. In recent decades, the resources gap between better and poorer public schools has also been growing. ..."
"... Elite universities and private schools still provide training and socialization, mainly to children of the wealthy, privileged and connected. Huge endowments, obscure admissions policies and tax exemption allow elite US private universities to spend much more than publicly funded institutions. ..."
"... technological and social changes have transformed the labour force and economies greatly increasing economic returns to the cognitive, ascriptive and other attributes as well as credentials of 'the best' institutions, especially universities and professional guilds, which effectively remain exclusive and elitist. ..."
"... Welcome to cosmetic meritocracy to go along with your cosmetic democracy. And in America, you can have as much of either you can afford to buy ..."
"... I think several high cost colleges like U.C.Berkeley are replacing the SAT and ACT tests with the important Bank Balance test. (joke!) ..."
"... School maybe, but then admission to University was absolutely done on merit. at least where I grew up, in Romania, the admissions were based on multiple written exams, were completely anonymized, and there were two independent markers. If the grading of the two markers diverged by more than one point, another one was brought to check. ..."
"... I would argue that a real education is one that liberates the student to become a free citizen, to become someone who can think for herself or himself. ..."
Jun 18, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. Meritocracy is a pet topic, or perhaps more accurately, a pet peeve. This 2007 Conference Board Review article explains why meritocracy is unattainable , so the whole idea was always problematic.

Chinese mandarins, who won their positions via performance on the imperial examination, are an early, if not the first, example of a meritocratic system. Napoleon standardized education throughout France with the explicit goal of making it possible for poor but bright boys to be identified and further schooled to become bureaucrats.

This article includes issues regularly discussed in comments, such as how higher education has come to be mainly about credentialing. It provides a high-level, accessible discussion of how whatever value the idea of meritocracy had in theory, it has become perverted in practice.

By Jomo Kwame Sundaram, a former economics professor, who was United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, and received the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. Originally published at the Inter Press Service

How often have you heard someone lamenting or even condemning inequality in society, concluding with an appeal to meritocracy? We like to think that if only the deserving, the smart ones, those we deem competent or capable, often meaning the ones who are more like us, were in charge, things would be better, or just fine.

Meritocracy's Appeal

Since the 1960s, many institutions, the world over, have embraced the notion of meritocracy. With post-Cold War neoliberal ideologies enabling growing wealth concentration, the rich, the privileged and their apologists invoke variants of 'meritocracy' to legitimize economic inequality.

Instead, corporations and other social institutions, which used to be run by hereditary elites, increasingly recruit and promote on the bases of qualifications, ability, competence and performance. Meritocracy is thus supposed to democratize and level society.

Ironically, British sociologist Michael Young pejoratively coined the term meritocracy in his 1958 dystopian satire, The Rise of the Meritocracy. With his intended criticism rejected as no longer relevant, the term is now used in the English language without the negative connotations Young intended.

It has been uncritically embraced by supporters of a social philosophy of meritocracy in which influence is supposedly distributed according to the intellectual ability and achievement of individuals.

Many appreciate meritocracy's two core virtues. First, the meritocratic elite is presumed to be more capable and effective as their status, income and wealth are due to their ability, rather than their family connections.

Second, 'opening up' the elite supposedly on the bases of individual capacities and capabilities is believed to be consistent with and complementary to 'fair competition'. They may claim the moral high ground by invoking 'equality of opportunity', but are usually careful to stress that 'equality of outcome' is to be eschewed at all cost.

As Yale Law School Professor Daniel Markovits argues in The Meritocracy Trap, unlike the hereditary elites preceding them, meritocratic elites must often work long and hard, e.g., in medicine, finance or consulting, to enhance their own privileges, and to pass them on to their children, siblings and other close relatives, friends and allies.

Gaming Meritocracy

Meritocracy is supposed to function best when an insecure 'middle class' constantly strives to secure, preserve and augment their income, status and other privileges by maximizing returns to their exclusive education. But access to elite education – that enables a few of modest circumstances to climb the social ladder – waxes and wanes.

Most middle class families cannot afford the privileged education that wealth can buy, while most ordinary, government financed and run schools have fallen further behind exclusive elite schools, including some funded with public money. In recent decades, the resources gap between better and poorer public schools has also been growing.

Elite universities and private schools still provide training and socialization, mainly to children of the wealthy, privileged and connected. Huge endowments, obscure admissions policies and tax exemption allow elite US private universities to spend much more than publicly funded institutions.

Meanwhile, technological and social changes have transformed the labour force and economies greatly increasing economic returns to the cognitive, ascriptive and other attributes as well as credentials of 'the best' institutions, especially universities and professional guilds, which effectively remain exclusive and elitist.

As 'meritocrats' captured growing shares of the education pies, the purported value of 'schooling' increased, legitimized by the bogus notion of 'human capital'. While meritocracy transformed elites over time, it has also increasingly inhibited, not promoted social mobility.

A Different Elite

Thus, although meritocrats like to see themselves as the antithesis of the old 'aristocratic' elite, rather than 'democratize' society through greater inclusion, meritocracy may even increase inequality and further polarize society, albeit differently.

While the old 'aristocratic' elite was often unable to ensure their own children were well educated, competent and excellent, meritocrats – who have often achieved their status and privileges with education and related credentials – have often increased their significance.

Hence, a meritocratic system – seemingly open to inclusion, ostensibly based on ability – has become the new means for exclusion, which Chicago University Professor Raghuram Rajan attributes to the digital revolution.

Meritocrats have increased the significance of schooling, with credential attainment legitimizing growing pay inequality, as they secure even better education for thus own children, thus recreating and perpetuating inequalities.

Recent public doubts about, and opposition to rising executive remuneration, MBA education, professional guild cartels and labour remuneration disparities reflect the growing delegitimization of ostensibly meritocratic hierarchies and inequalities.

High Moral Ground

To add insult to injury, meritocratic ideology suggests that those excluded are undeserving, if not contemptible. With progressive options lacking middle class and elite support, those marginalized have increasingly turned to 'ethno-populism' and other 'communal' appeals in this age of identity politics.

Unsurprisingly, their opposition to educational and economic inequalities and marginalization is typically pitted against the ethnic 'Other' – real, imagined or 'constructed' – typically seen as 'foreign', even if domestic, as the 'alien within'.

Markovits argues that meritocracy undermines not only itself, but also democratic and egalitarian ideals. He insists that meritocracy also hurts the new 'meritocratic' and 'technocratic' elite, hoping to recruit them to the anti-meritocracy cause, perhaps reflecting his appreciation of the need to build broad inclusive coalitions to bring about social transformation.

"Progressives inflame middle-class resentment, and trigger elite resistance while demagogues and charlatans monopolize and exploit meritocracy's discontents. Meritocratic inequality therefore induces not only deep discontent but also widespread pessimism, verging on despair."

Reducing Inequality Possible

In the US and elsewhere, tax policy, other incentives and even Covid-19 will encourage replacing mid-skilled workers with automation and highly skilled professionals, e.g., facilitated by the growing use of artificial intelligence applications.

One alternative is to reform labour market as well as tax policies and regulations to promote more skilled, 'middle-class' employment. Those introducing new technologies would then be motivated to enable more productive, higher income, middle-class employment.

A more open, inclusive and broader educational system would also provide the workforce needed for such technologies. Thus, the transitions from school to work, which have tended to increase inequality, can be transformed to reduce inequality.

Rather than de-skill workers to be paid less in order to become more profitable, 'up-skilling' workers to be more productive can also be profitable. For example, an Indian cardio-thoracic hospital has trained nurses for many routine medical procedures, allowing specialist doctors to focus on tasks really requiring their expertise.

At relatively lower cost, using workers who are not fully trained doctors, but are paid and treated better, can cost-effectively deliver important healthcare services at lower cost at scale. Such innovations would strengthen the middle class, rather than undermine and erode it.


Sound of the Suburbs , June 18, 2020 at 5:02 am

New Labour talked about a meritocracy. A classless society where anyone could get to the top through their own hard work, drive and ambition. In a meritocracy those at the top do get their on their own merit and deserve their rewards.

In a meritocracy those at the bottom are there through their own lack of effort and others shouldn't feel responsible for them

But what happened? We adopted meritocratic ideas, but never created a meritocracy.

What does a meritocracy look like?

1) In a meritocracy everyone succeeds on their own merit. This is obvious, but to succeed on your own merit, we need to do away the traditional mechanisms that socially stratify society due to wealth flowing down the generations. Anything that comes from your parents has nothing to do with your own effort.

2) There is no un-earned wealth or power, e.g inheritance, trust funds, hereditary titles. In a meritocracy we need equal opportunity for all. We can't have the current two tier education system with its fast track of private schools for people with wealthy parents.
3) There is a uniform schools system for everyone with no private schools.

New Labour's meritocratic vision won a landslide victory in 1997, they just never followed through to actually create that meritocratic society where everyone has equal opportunity. All we got were the meritocratic ideas.

Those at the top got there on a playing field tilted in their favour, but they swan around thinking they got to the top in a meritocracy.
The poor suffer the legacy of New Labour's meritocratic ideas with people thinking we live in a meritocracy and the poor are poor through their own lack of effort.

This is the worst of both worlds, meritocratic ideas without a meritocracy.

Sound of the Suburbs , June 18, 2020 at 5:09 am

In a proper meritocracy you wouldn't be able to use your money to ensure your children succeeded. (Even someone like Boris can become Prime Minister, if you can afford the 30k a year fees for Eton. Look at Trump, inherited wealth personified.)

When you can't guarantee your own children's success, you are going to be a lot more concerned with the well being of those lower down the scale as that is where your own children might end up.

eg , June 18, 2020 at 5:32 am

Welcome to cosmetic meritocracy to go along with your cosmetic democracy. And in America, you can have as much of either you can afford to buy

Adam Eran , June 18, 2020 at 1:14 pm

+1000! Exactly. My favorite example (from NC?) is schools. By de-funding education (55% reduction in funding for higher education since 1972), public policy has made even public universities dependent on tuition (gosh! I wonder why it's been rising) or student loans (double gosh!) for an ever-growing portion of their budgets. Professors can't flunk the incompetent with impunity, then, since it might impair the financial viability of the institution that employs them.

A sensible society understands enhancing its human capital has merit in and of itself, so directs resources to it beyond what tuition students can pay.

Meanwhile, no study validates merit pay for teachers, charter schools, and testing as ways to improve educational outcomes. What does correlate with those outcomes? Answer: childhood poverty rates.

GM , June 18, 2020 at 5:36 am

This is a lot of BS when examined outside the unquestionable assumptions of the US situation.

In the US you have locally funded and geographically segregated schools, which in a rational world should be an absolute scandal that is a topic of constant discussion until the situation gets fixed. Instead people are taking it for granted as they only way things could be.

Well, if you are only allowed to go to the school in your neighborhood, which in turn is funded by whatever the tax base is the immediate vicinity, then of course a system based on educational achievement will very quickly cement existing inequalities into inherited class differences.

A problem with a very simple solution -- fund public schools at the federal level and fund them equally, and also ban all private schools.

That is what the USSR did back in the days, and it did in fact achieve very high level of social equality and mobility. It works. All that is needed is to properly identify the problem and work toward addressing it.

Going after the idea that those who are best educated should be the ones doing the decision making in society is not going to solve the problem and will in fact hurt society in the long run.

Then there is the problem of wealth inequality, which is in fact a separate one from that of status. There is no reason why social status has to be so tightly correlated with wealth. It has not been at many times and in many places throughout history.

And we are once again fighting the wrong battle if we go after "meritocracy" instead of the more concrete mechanismS that create wealth inequality.

Again, in the USSR there was no wealth inequality because the system redistributed very effectively and prevented accumulation of excess wealth by individuals. And before someone screams "but that was communism", we only have to go back to the situation in the 1950s in the US when you had a 90% top income tax rate and the various loopholes that exist now for hiding wealth derived from the wonders of financialization did not exist.

vlade , June 18, 2020 at 6:02 am

"That is what the USSR did back in the days, and it did in fact achieve very high level of social equality and mobility. It works. "

Except that there still were better and worse schools (for various reasons), and party members were better able to place their kids. Not to mention, that being a party member meant a better post-school placement of your kids int he first place, and goign to the uni w/o party membership in family as pretty hard.

And re the wealth distribution – hahahahah. Again, if you were a high-placed party official (which was not based on meritocracy, but on massive political infighting), you did not have to worry about "official" wealth. Because a lot of "state" assets were yours to use as you wished (depending on where in the hierarchy you were).

So you had your 90% of non-communist party members (in mid 80s, party membership was about 10% of populatin), then your 10% of party members, of which you had your 1% and 0.01% respectively.

Duh.

Franklin , June 18, 2020 at 1:27 pm

How does affirmative action affect meritocracy?

For every kid from the ghetto placed in a technical school, after lowering admission requirements, one fewer high testing child is placed.

U.C. Berkeley is no longer requiring SATs because they are "racist".

The affect of this is to elevate the status of the very privileged even higher and to create strife and infighting among the middle class and lower middle class.

flora , June 18, 2020 at 3:42 pm

I think several high cost colleges like U.C.Berkeley are replacing the SAT and ACT tests with the important Bank Balance test. (joke!)

flora , June 18, 2020 at 3:53 pm

more seriously: some rich people learned how to game the SAT and ACT test results. There was a huge scandal about this last year.

https://variety.com/2019/tv/news/lori-loughlin-felicity-huffman-college-admissions-scam-1203161229/

Left in Wisconsin , June 18, 2020 at 4:10 pm

It's not at all clear that affirmative action is at odds with merit, though it is clearly at odds with the credentialing (grade point averages, and all the resume padding) that one sees on the resumes of the PMG progeny. My neck of the academic woods is full of PMC grinders who don't really have much to offer and could use way more people with real life experience.

Which gets to the real problem with meritocracy: it is only concerned with ranking/allocation of of jobs, not the overall structure of the job market. If good jobs were less rare, there would be less infighting about who got to fill them, more social mixing, and we would all have an easier time dispatching the "meritocrats" who don't contribute.

Alex , June 18, 2020 at 7:08 am

The education system in the USSR was definitely meritocratic. There were 'special' schools with advanced curriculum (I studied in one) and you needed to pass exams to get into one. Likewise the admission to universities was also based on examinations and the alumni of these elite schools and universities were overrepresented in the Soviet and then Russian elite

GM , June 18, 2020 at 7:24 am

Yes, and it was based entirely on examinations. None of the "we ask for SAT but mostly decide based on subjective crtiria" BS that results in 75% of the undergraduate slots at the likes of Harvard going to children of alumni and the wealthy (which is mostly the same thing) BS, but a clear cutoff based on exam scores alone. I myself have passed through that exact same system too, so I know very well its virtues (and deficiencies too).

Perhaps even more importantly, kindergartens and primary schools provided as equal educational opportunities as possible. There were no private schools so when the time to pass those exams came, everyone was on as equal footing as possible, they had gone through the same classes together. Unfortunately, there was an exception -- the offspring of high party officials could bypass these barriers, which was deeply unfair and caused quite a bit of resentment, but other than that it was a true meritocracy.

Yes, it was still not a system in which where you were born played no role. The children of university professors will on average be academically far ahead of the children of agricultural workers, just by virtue of the environment they grew up in. There is no way around that other than taking kids away from their parents and raising them communally.

But it is important that everyone has the opportunity to rise through the ranks and that starts from the bottom of the educational pyramid.

We are stubbornly avoiding having that discussion though, instead we talk about how we should be giving preferential treatment to women and minorities when they are in their 20s and applying for jobs and positions. It is almost as if the latter serves the purposes of preventing us from talking about the former

vlade , June 18, 2020 at 8:25 am

That's not true. Party members had access to special schools for their own kids. Often these schools weren't "officially" special, but very often in a district there was a school that got more funding, first pick of teachers etc. and party members had preferential acceptance to those. As I say, it often might not have been an official party line (although I believe there were some schoold reserved for party member kids), but was a common local party office practice.

I say this as someone who went through the system and actually had the advantage (which I did not understand until I was much older) as a grandson of an important party functionary and anti-nazi hero. It even managed to beat the fact that my uncle (from the other side of the family) emigrated to the US, which was often a fatal hit to anyone's college/uni dreams in the rest of the family.

Kouros , June 18, 2020 at 3:34 pm

School maybe, but then admission to University was absolutely done on merit. at least where I grew up, in Romania, the admissions were based on multiple written exams, were completely anonymized, and there were two independent markers. If the grading of the two markers diverged by more than one point, another one was brought to check.

I know children of really big party wigs that couldn't get into university under these circumstances

vlade , June 18, 2020 at 8:09 am

Or you needed to be a kid of a high-enough placed party hack, although in most cases, they didn't bother to put their kids there, as they could get them a job they wanted w/o the school. I _know_ (because I have seen it first hand numerous times) that who the parents were and who they knew played an important role.

That all said, the school system was way less about credentials than the US one. And also, because hard-science schools were not seen as a way to a (guaranteed large) career advancement, the people who went there were most people who really wanted to do it, not taking it as a soft option.

The career advancement path were the various "economic" schools, as that with a right set of connections would more or less guarantee a very cushy top job.

Kurtismayfield , June 18, 2020 at 9:41 am

This country doesn't value home grown STEM graduates.. if it did it wouldn't be undercutting them with H1-B's. So you would have to start there and show kids that getting into STEM is seen as equally valuable as getting an MBA.

Ian Ollmann , June 18, 2020 at 9:19 pm

Why should we value home grown workers if it is a meritocracy?

Jesper , June 18, 2020 at 5:42 am

IP-laws are the source of some/much of current inequality, those IP-laws are most definitely a political choice and they most definitely are not automatically benefitting the meritocratic. Sometimes they do, often they don't.

But as always this is seen as the 'cure':

Rather than de-skill workers to be paid less in order to become more profitable, 'up-skilling' workers to be more productive can also be profitable.

More training, more education .. The de-skilling is done to jobs which might, but does not have to, lead to de-skilling of workers. The stage is set to reduce the work-load and share the work, the de-skilled work is designed to make workers easily replaceable so the 'skill-shortage' stopping a reduction of the hours worked is not as valid of an excuse as it was 40 years ago.

The author does acknowledge the role that governments and legislation has but for some reason reducing the hours worked by an individual and sharing the work is not seen as a valid option. But then again this kind of futurists believe that in the future then there will not be enough resources to house and feed the retired. Another view might be that in the future there will be enough resources to house and feed the retired but those resources might, due to political choices , be spent on luxury for the few leaving homelessness and starvation for the rest.

The Rev Kev , June 18, 2020 at 10:57 am

McDonalds was a pioneer at the movement for de-skilling workers. When they first opened up you actually had people at the back peeling bag after bag of potatoes. Eventually they were able to replace the potatoes with bags of frozen fries which took no skill at all to use. They actually spent a huge amount of effort at de-skilling work there so that workers could be easily replaced and had no skills that they could bargain higher wages for.

stefan , June 18, 2020 at 6:38 am

I would argue that a real education is one that liberates the student to become a free citizen, to become someone who can think for herself or himself. This is what used to be called a liberal arts education. Vocational training may certainly be important, but ought not be confused with education. Vocational training is perhaps best left to the institutions that actually will employ the individual. An education in liberal arts prepares the student to learn how to learn. But we are not the employees of society. We are citizens.

juliania , June 18, 2020 at 1:08 pm

Indeed, stefan, that is entirely the point, and ought to be the goal. Society is only as good as the quality of education given to all its members, not just the elite. This country has forgotten how important education is to the stability of the state, education from the first steps in public schools, so that when time comes to go on with that education at more sophisticated levels, all minds (all minds!) whatever the parents' station in life, have the ability to go where their talents take them. We know how to do this; it's not rocket science!!

I say we know how to do this. But it is clear – this country is not doing it. And it is not doing it on purpose.

That is something to be out on the streets protesting against. One of the many, many things.

Ian Ollmann , June 18, 2020 at 9:13 pm

Maybe, but if you could tell in advance which kids are going to need it, it would be a lot cheaper and waste less of people's time to do advanced degrees for only the best and brightest. For most people, hitting the workforce at the tender young age of 31, for example, has a certain reproductive cost, not to mention lost income. It isn't for everyone.

Also, in my experience, education just gets your foot in the door. Once you get there, it is quite likely you are the worst guy on the factory floor (for some definition of factory) -- the greenhorn -- and whether or not you do well will eventually boil down to quality of work or maybe management potential. In this regard, some will shine and other will not, and at the end of the day, in a meritocracy those are the ones that will do well. In this environment, at least in most fields, the advance degree is quickly forgotten in the absence of law enforcing strict hierarchy (e.g. medicine).

This is as it should be.

Adam Eran , June 18, 2020 at 1:17 pm

In Rome, "liberal arts" were the courses forbidden to slaves.

anon50 , June 18, 2020 at 7:11 am

Ancient Israel had a meritocracy in that those (including women, e.g. Deborah) who had exceptional ability were looked to as Judges.

Yet, every Hebrew family owned a roughly-equal-in-value plot of land they could not permanently lose regardless of their merit (Leviticus 25).

So, per the Bible, meritocracy definitely has its limits and does NOT legitimize, for example, inequality in land ownership.

Adam Eran , June 18, 2020 at 1:18 pm

I'll add that orthodox Christianity does not endorse "salvation by works" (i.e. meritocracy). The orthodox position is "salvation by grace [i.e. gift]" A wise man once told me "Christianity is just Judaism for gentiles"

Amfortas the hippie , June 18, 2020 at 7:29 am

I discovered the idea/Ideal of a Liberal Education around fifth grade. That's what I wanted, due to the influence of Jefferson, Emerson, Whitman and Nietzsche(yes, i was rather strange as a child).
But as the Schooling continued, I was continually frustrated by the all but hidden fact that this was not what American Education was for,lol.
This frustration extended all the way into the college experience I got accepted(with a GED, no less) to Oberlin, Brown, etc but was told we didn't have the money so a state school it was which turned out to be a High School with ashtrays..and an indelible focus on "Getting a Job".
Registrar actually laughed when I said i wanted to major in Philosophy ""what good is that?"
35 or so years later, and I got my Liberal Education, on my own .and it's had zero(if not a negative) effect on my work-life.
we've raised up a generation or 3 of technicians and micromanagers and ladder-climbers who don't have the smash to Think, except in very narrow terms. A favorite trope-like example: "Biology"= "specialisation", not just in Beetles or even a specific Family of Beetles but on a specific Species of Beetle with little regard for the world that Beetle is embedded in.(I knew a guy like this. knew all about June Bugs)
While i understand the utility of specialisation, this laser focus has negated the ability for so many to "Think Outside the Box" or to obtain a broader perspective of our complex world.
State College, for me, was all about "Networking" and learning how to kiss ass and say "Yes Sir" .not about becoming a Citizen let alone a Better Human
I hated it,lol.
It took a long time to be able to articulate it and that articulation is still wanting.
But the critique of "actually existing Meritocracy" is a good place to begin.
It's not really "Meritocratic", at all.
Just another justification for privilege and inequality and the status quo(world without end).

Paul Kleinman , June 18, 2020 at 4:07 pm

I don't think specialization = narrow mindedness. A long time ago at the university I made the progression from philosophy to anthropology to genetics/cell biology and of course my graduate thesis answered a very specific question (about the extracellular effects on collagen synthesis.) It is a fact that that rapidly growing knowledge requires people to specialize in deeply understanding parts of that knowlege. But I have never stopped reading philosophy (existential), Dostoevsky's novels, along with political reading. Specialization is not the reason for people's horizons to be so narrow. It's the societal shift toward disregarding anything that cannot be immediately monetized. It's also the disregard for teaching all students the tools for critical thinking.

Amfortas the hippie , June 18, 2020 at 7:38 pm

I stated that specialisation is necessary it just feels like(30 years on, mind you) that there was a narrowness that was encouraged. The opposite of a "Liberal Education", where one expands and learns to Think.
I'm also biased, because i went to two community colleges, and a state school that was famous for Criminal Justice, and for being neighbors to a bunch of prisons,lol.
I'm certainly glad, for instance, that there are people who specialise in Grasshoppers, cancer meds and soil biota.
But we long ago stopped encouraging big picture broadness .and i think that lack is rather acute, at the moment.
My Da Vincian Renaissance tendencies were quite actively discouraged, over my entire primary and secondary school experience to the point that i hated school from 3rd grade on(a remarkable achievement, in retrospect). I had, therefore, high hopes for college which were similarly dashed, due to the sort of ineffable culture of the place.
again, i admit that all this may be merely a function of place and time .as well as of my own anomalousness and expectations.
I might feel differently if i had been allowed to go to some of the real colleges i managed to get accepted to(but, Amor Fati, and all,lol would i be me without all that BS?)

jake , June 18, 2020 at 8:09 am

Forget sham meritocracy. What's the value of *actual* meritocracy, when the underlying activity -- say, investment banking -- is worthless or injurious?

Are prisons repositories of merit, because they hold the most active and determined of criminals?

CH , June 18, 2020 at 8:11 am

Running through an endless gauntlet of test-taking in order to have something approaching a stable, non-precarious life does not sound like a very pleasant society either, even if it is sufficiently "meritocratic." Neither does constantly chasing credentials. You get all these wasteful arms races. This was the type of society that the Hunger Games depicted: a never-ending, unremitting competition, with the stakes being just the ability to ensure one's basic survival. It sounds awful, even for the "winners".

MT_Bill , June 18, 2020 at 9:17 am

Life on this planet is a never-ending, unremitting competition, with the stakes being just the ability to ensure one's genes survival.

This is true across a spectrum of geographic and temporal scales. The plants in the yard? And endless evolutionary game of attracting pollinators at the expense of others while simultaneously engaging in chemical warfare with their neighbors.

The trap is the thought that we should be able to do better. I think the Romans probably showed the limit of what was possible, everything else has just been a remake with different stage props.

We've spent 2000 years or so basically knocking around the limits of what humanity is capable of achieving in terms of societal structure. Lots of technological advances made and to be discovered, but the parallel attempts on the societal side seem to end up being inherently unstable.

m sam , June 18, 2020 at 1:02 pm

I can't see how the plants in your backyard are a good model for any society. We do not need to savagely compete by starving our neighbors, for instance, to get food or shelter. Any scarcity of the basic necessities of life are pretty much induced.

Competition is instead over quality of life, social status, and most importantly, who gets to decide. It is here where so-called meritocracy is supposed to be an "objective" measure (but really, that there can be an objective measure of merit is where the idea fails, and proves itself to be a Utopian value that really only the successful "meritocrats" can embrace).

I think the real trap is in thinking we can't do any better (and your thought that we haven't progressed farther than the Romans is telling). And in in the age of falling life expectancy, incomes (for the bottom 90%), and social mobility, I would go so far as to say such an idea forecloses on the reality that shared progress has actually happened.

Off The Street , June 18, 2020 at 10:50 am

Crab-in-a-bucket scenario: other crabs prevent that venturesome one from escaping.

Meritocracy, current version scenario: escaped arthropods act as guards to let in only their own preferred candidates.

The latter has been in use at any number of companies, where the wrong kind of applicant just isn't acknowledged. No need to write down any rules, as those unspoken ones will do just fine. That can lead to a type of in-breeding with associated dysfunctions, and relies heavily upon the upstream provider filtering mechanisms, such as they are. Game those mechanisms in various ways and see the results populate, or pollute, the downstream pools.

rob , June 18, 2020 at 8:31 am

in the US our "meritocracy" is akin to the old saying;
"those who win in a rigged game too long ,get stupid"

We are stuck as a society because so many of the positions of authority are filled by people , who may be "smart" in some sense . but are really just stupid.
Whatever the dynamic that enables a certain type of mindset and worldview, to rise within the power structures , as they are is utterly insane and a serious flaw in the system.
the evidence of this is look who will be "running the free world" . today, and after the next election all choices point to zero.
Look at our form of capitalism . we allow banks to create our money out of nothing . then they can fund wall street speculation and corporate behemoths who dictate the playing field(through control of the political class) all business must play on. and so the lives and fortunes of the people and the planet and all of its life forms must endure.
the question of how stupid are we .. pretty damn stupid.

km , June 18, 2020 at 10:46 am

We can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of capitalism all day long – but we don't have capitalism – we have crony capitalism.

We can discuss whether or not meritocracy is a good thing – but our "meritocracy" is in fact massively rigged.

That said, a society has got to have some way to select leaders. If it doesn't select based on some kind of merit, what's the alternative? Accident of birth? Random lottery? Footraces?

CuriosityConcern , June 18, 2020 at 8:11 pm

Actually, I think random lottery of a group of citizens would be much better than a president. Make the group big enough that a citizen has a good chance of assuming office at least once in their average lifespan. Renumeration should be median of income. A democratic executive body.
This would probably make the US more agreement capable.

Polar Socialist , June 18, 2020 at 8:56 am

Having worked in academia for 25+ years (and counting), I really can't agree with equating the capability and/or competence with level of education. Just doesn't happen.

We have a rule of thumb: the more PhDs are involved in a project the more confused and messier it'll be for us to sort out and make to work. If professors are involved, even we can't sort it out.

Of course there are exceptions: some people can retain their common sense and competence regardless of higher education. They just don't tend to climb very high in the academic meritocracy.

Arizona Slim , June 18, 2020 at 3:38 pm

My father, who had a PhD, was fond of saying that a PhD was no substitute for common sense.

shinola , June 18, 2020 at 10:00 am

With the emphasis on "elite" education, I think the article is describing credentialism which is not exactly the same as actual meritocracy.

Meritocratic hierarchies have their own built-in problems – those of us of a certain age may recall "The Peter Principle."

Carolinian , June 18, 2020 at 2:11 pm

Yes but for purposes of this discussion they are the same thing since TPTP have decided that in our complicated society with so many millions of citizens credentials are a the way to separate "the wheat from the chaff." There was a time when you had a lot more self made men (and they were men) but our ossified economic system now makes that less likely. A country where individualism was once the hallmark has been turned–elite division–into a homogenized, fearful "safe space."

For the rest of us there is at least the internet where individualism can still thrive. They are trying to stamp that out.

Tom , June 18, 2020 at 10:17 am

You should have a look at the role of the meritocracy in Singapore. its amazing!

Bufeng , June 18, 2020 at 1:26 pm

We have similar problems with meritocracy as the rest of the world. "Ownership" of public housing is 80+% of citizen households, but the figure in our top school is nearer 50% (the other 50% live in private housing – they are not homeless!): https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/can-a-taxi-driver-or-hawkers-son-still-make-it-to-raffles-institution

There are many legacy "socialist era" policies (free basic education, subsidised basic healthcare, high ownership of public housing, well-functioning utilities and public transport and public services that in spite of being ostensibly privatized are actually owned by a state-owned enterprise – Temasek Holdings) that still keep things from becoming too nasty. But we've been heading the same direction as you all.

Red , June 18, 2020 at 9:35 pm

That's because despite being semi authoritarian Singapore couldn't resist marketisation. Doesn't make any sense to include market value of land in the price of public houses if the government owns that land and you essentially rent it from them. Or the recent electricity market privatisation. Just gets to show you that democratic or authoritarian, governments are out of ideas.

David , June 18, 2020 at 10:17 am

OK, but then the alternative is . not very obvious.
I think in fact that the problems people have with meritocracy are more to do with the "cracy" than the "merit" part of the term. After all, there are only three possible ways of choosing people to fill positions and run organisations. The first is patronage, favouritism, family and wealth, which has been the rule for most of human history, and was the only way to make career in Europe until relatively recently. You might accidentally get a person of ability appointed to an important job, but you obviously couldn't guarantee it. The second is selection by lot, which worked OK in Athens for certain jobs, but is hard to generalise. The only other option is competitive selection by merit, depending on the qualities needed for the job, and for promotion. All modern states have ultimately gone for the third option.

When people say that they don't approve of meritocracy, then, they don't usually mean that they want a return to the days when government positions were in the personal gift of Ministers. They mean one of two things. First, that selection by merit doesn't always work well or fairly, because the selection criteria can in practice favour candidates from wealthier or more educated backgrounds, second that meritocracies can themselves become hereditary, selecting people like themselves, just as patronage systems used to do. It's also true that success in one field can generate a sense of individual and collective arrogance and a belief that you are qualified to do anything. All of these are very valid criticisms (and all can be addressed to some extent) but none of them is an argument against the principle of merit-based selection. It's also important to remember that "merit" here really means just "most suited"; It's not a value judgement or the equivalent of the keys to a selective club.

Left in Wisconsin , June 18, 2020 at 4:49 pm

Yes, this is the key problem. But I would suggest two other possibilities that also exist: A) wide acceptance to entry-level positions, lots of training/assessment and promotions from within, and promotion by seniority (above a threshold of competence) – a scheme which has ups and downs and is probably not a good fit anymore for a world in which long term employment with one employer is not the norm; and B) democratic control with promotion determined from below (by those to be managed) rather than above. All the evidence suggests that good management is a function of getting the best out of your subordinates (true leadership), not all the fact BS around star performers.

The big problem with merit is that many jobs have no suitable pre-employment or even current employment merit indicators (think of K-12 teaching, where test scores are used to judge reading and math teachers but there are no comparable measures for teachers of any other discipline), and the ones that are used can be gamed, and so merit becomes conflated with credentials or test scores, which have limited real-world applicability. Another example: in the old days, you could become a lawyer through "apprenticeship," which allowed lots of talented people to become lawyers without the gatekeeping of law schools. It is impossible to argue that the profession is now better with than it was in those days.

Left in Wisconsin , June 18, 2020 at 4:57 pm

"fake," not "fact"

anon in so cal , June 18, 2020 at 10:27 am

Anyone familiar with the notorious Kingsley Davis and Wilbur Moore stratification theory? The theory attempted to legitimize economic and political stratification (i.e. inequality) in modern societies by using quasi-Parsonian notions of meritocracy. There are standard rebuttals to the Davis-Moore theory and this article sounds as though it has attempted to regurgitate some of those rebuttals.

anon50 , June 18, 2020 at 12:58 pm

Also, however much merit one has, that should not allow her/him to steal from the lessor-so via the use of what is, due to government privilege, the PUBLIC'S credit but for private gain.

In other words, those with merit should not have to steal from the poor, should they? Kinda of diminishes their triumph, doesn't it? Knowing their success is built on oppression?

Dave in Austin , June 18, 2020 at 2:18 pm

NFL wide receivers; NBA centers; MIT physics PHDs; University of Texas Petroleum Engineering grads.

"Meritocracy legitimizes, deepens inequality"

"Meritocracy" based on gatekeeping (lawyers, civil service rules that say "must have a a BA"; 7 years to become a physical therapist) these are, in my opinion , bad. I want to measure outputs not inputs. And that means those hardworking, always dependable high school girls who always turn in perfect homework (an input unconnected to knowledge) may have a high class rank but I'll take the kid with the bad attitude, bad clothing and lousy social skills who gets in the 98% percentile in the SAT Math exam (an output) every time (unless I'm hiring people to be TV weathermen and weather girls- I like cute too).

What would happen in the NFL if we demanded a masters degree in wide receiver studies from a state accredited university? Fewer blacks; fewer drug bust and girl friends beaten up and fewer amazing catches.

Ian Ollmann , June 18, 2020 at 8:59 pm

Some of this rings with class warfare hogwash. I am very far from a conservative, but even I must resort to that old saw in this case. Anyone who has worked in the same field or company for 20 years will eventually come to realize that in time at the workplace the academic degree is like so much kindling used to start a bonfire, and what really matters in the long run is the contribution you make in your chosen field over that time. This can hardly be lost on a bunch of academics nurturing their own career over decades so I must only conclude that such an edgy interpretation is intended to make waves. Degrees don't matter for sh__ once leadership figures out you don't know what you are doing. The best shine no matter how much muck you throw on them.

Where education matters is getting your foot in the door in the first place. If you can't manage that, then you may be a really great auto mechanic, rising to the top of your field, but failing to really make the same splash as you might have from being a mechanical engineer or chemist. Nonetheless, in almost any industry there is a need for smart competent people to help make sure the endeavor doesn't go off the rails and those will do well. Maybe they can afford to send their kids, who may be smart too probably, on to a better school.

It isn't about justifying inequality. It is about getting the best people in the right places to produce he best outcomes. Consult your Napoleon. When good outcomes are needed, and we aren't just writing papers, good people are essential.

Henry , June 18, 2020 at 10:18 pm

It depends what those meritocrats are doing. MBA s are a good example. Plus nothing original and creative comes out of a culture that prioritises corporate career building over other aspects of human beings. That's why you see the children of these meritocrats are so shallow and boring.

[Jun 18, 2020] Cornell Law Prof Says There's a Coordinated Effort To Have Him Fired After He Criticized Black Lives Matter

Highly recommended!
This is a typical hunt on dissidents
Jun 12, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Recall, it was just days ago that we pointed out Cornell professor and friend of Zero Hedge Dave Collum was publicly shamed by Cornell for daring to express the "wrong" opinion about current events on social media. Now, there's a second Cornell professor coming under fire for his critique of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson has challenged any student or faculty member to a public debate about the Black Lives Matter movement after he says liberals on campus have launched a "coordinated effort" to have him fired from his job. At least 15 emails from alumni have been sent to the dean, demanding that action be taken, according to Fox News .

"There is an effort underway to get me fired at Cornell Law School, where I've worked since November 2007, or if not fired, at least denounced publicly by the school," Jacobson wrote on Thursday . "I condemn in the strongest terms any insinuation that I am racist."

Jacobson founded the website Legal Insurrection and says he's had an "awkward relationship" with the university for years as a result. The recent outrage comes as a result of two posts he recently made on his site:

"Those posts accurately detail the history of how the Black Lives Matters Movement started, and the agenda of the founders which is playing out in the cultural purge and rioting taking place now," Jacobson said.

Jacobson (Source: Jacobson's Blog, Legal Insurrection )

He recently wrote on his blog: "Living as a conservative on a liberal campus is like being the mouse waiting for the cat to pounce. For over 12 years, the Cornell cat did not pounce. Though there were frequent and aggressive attempts by outsiders to get me fired, including threats and harassment, it always came from off campus."

"Not until now, to the best of my knowledge, has there been an effort from inside the Cornell community to get me fired," he says.

"The effort appears coordinated, as some of the emails were in a template form. All of the emails as of Monday were from graduates within the past 10 years," he continued. Jacobson's "clinical faculty colleagues, apparently in consultation with the Black Law Students Association" drafted and published a letter denouncing 'commentators, some of them attached to Ivy League Institutions, who are leading a smear campaign against Black Lives Matter.'"

Cornell responded , backhandedly defending the Professor's right to his own opinion:

"...the Law School's commitment to academic freedom does not constitute endorsement or approval of individual faculty speech. But to take disciplinary action against him for the views he has expressed would fatally pit our values against one another in ways that would corrode our ability to operate as an academic institution."

"This is not just about me. It's about the intellectual freedom and vibrancy of Cornell and other higher education institutions, and the society at large. Open inquiry and debate are core features of a vibrant intellectual community," he stated.

"I challenge a representative of those student groups and a faculty member of their choosing to a public debate at the law school regarding the Black Lives Matter Movement, so that I can present my argument and confront the false allegations in real-time rather than having to respond to baseless community email blasts."

"I condemn in the strongest terms any insinuation that I am racist, and I greatly resent any attempt to leverage meritless accusations in hopes of causing me reputational harm. While such efforts might succeed in scaring others in a similar position, I will not be intimidated," Jacobson concluded.

[Jun 16, 2020] The American elites wanted and, after the revolution got, the power to enrich themselves. Hence the birth of lobbyists simultaneous with the birth of the American nation state. IMO the constitution was about as meaningful to the leaders of the revolution as campaign promises are to contemporary politicians

Notable quotes:
"... The objective of the elites was to wrest control of resources eg land and/or timber plus so-called royal warrants that controlled who was allowed to produce, sell export products to who, grab allocation out of the control of the mobs of greedy royal favorites, then into the hands of the new American elites. ..."
"... The bagmen & courtiers grew fat at the expense of the colonists and generally the bagman, who also spied on the locals for obvious reasons, would go back to England once he had made his stash. ..."
"... The American elites wanted and, after the revolution got, the power to control economic development for themselves.Hence the birth of lobbyists simultaneous with the birth of the American nation state. ..."
"... IMO the constitution was about as meaningful to the leaders of the revolution as campaign promises are to contemporary politicians.That is, something to be used as self protection without ever implementing. ..."
Jun 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

A User , Jun 16 2020 3:36 utc | 87

I'm always amused, nah that is a little harsh - dumbfounded is more reasonable, when Americans express dismay that 'their' constitution is not being adhered to by the elites.

The minutiae of American political history hasn't greatly concerned me after a superficial study at high school, when I realized that the political structure is corrupt and was designed to facilitate corruption.

The seeming caring & sharing soundbites pushed out by the 'framers' scum such as Thomas Jefferson was purely for show, an attempt to gather the cannon fodder to one side. This was simple as the colonial media had been harping on about 'taxation without representation' for decades.

It wasn't just taxes, in fact for the American based elites that was likely the least of it. The objective of the elites was to wrest control of resources eg land and/or timber plus so-called royal warrants that controlled who was allowed to produce, sell export products to who, grab allocation out of the control of the mobs of greedy royal favorites, then into the hands of the new American elites.

A well placed courtier would put a bagman into the regional center of a particular colony (each colony becoming a 'state' post revolution), so that if someone wanted to, I dunno, say export huge quantities of cotton, the courtier would charge that 'colonial' for getting the initial warrant, then take a hefty % of the return on the product - all collected by the on-site bagman then divvied up.

The bagmen & courtiers grew fat at the expense of the colonists and generally the bagman, who also spied on the locals for obvious reasons, would go back to England once he had made his stash.

The system was ponderous inaccurate & very expensive. Something had to be done, but selling revolutionary change to the masses on the basis of the need to enrich the already wealthy was not likely to be a winner. Consequently the high faulting blather.

The American elites wanted and, after the revolution got, the power to control economic development for themselves.Hence the birth of lobbyists simultaneous with the birth of the American nation state.

IMO the constitution was about as meaningful to the leaders of the revolution as campaign promises are to contemporary politicians.That is, something to be used as self protection without ever implementing.

[Jun 16, 2020] "That's why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." by George Carlin

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Old saying: A Recession is when your neighbor loses their Job. A Depression is when you lose your Job. ..."
"... A lot of mega wealthy people are cheats. They get insider info, they don't pay people and do all they can to provide the least amount of value possible while tricking suckers into buying their crap. Don't even get me started on trust fund brats who come out of the womb thinking they are Warren buffet level genius in business. ..."
"... There's a documentary about Wal-Mart that has the best title ever: The High Cost of Low Cost ..."
"... Globalism killed the American dream. We can buy cheap goods made somewhere else if we have a job here that pays us enough money. ..."
Jun 16, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Dave C , 4 days ago

"That's why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." -George Carlin

Robert Schupp , 4 days ago

You can't just move to American cities to pursue opportunity; even the high wages paid in New York are rendered unhelpful because the cost of housing is so high.


Dingo Jones
, 3 days ago

@JOHN GAGLIANO Cost of living is ridiculous too.

Dirtysparkles , 4 days ago

Our country has become the American Nightmare

Jean-Pierre S , 4 days ago

Martin Luther King, Jr. was vilified and ultimately murdered when he was helping organize a Poor People's Campaign. Racial justice means economic justice.

John Sanders , 3 days ago

Old saying: A Recession is when your neighbor loses their Job. A Depression is when you lose your Job.

Adriano de Jesus , 4 days ago

A lot of mega wealthy people are cheats. They get insider info, they don't pay people and do all they can to provide the least amount of value possible while tricking suckers into buying their crap. Don't even get me started on trust fund brats who come out of the womb thinking they are Warren buffet level genius in business.

Ammon Weser , 4 days ago

There's a documentary about Wal-Mart that has the best title ever: The High Cost of Low Cost

crazyman8472 , 4 days ago

Night Owl: "What the hell happened to us? What happened to the American Dream?"

Comedian: "What happened to the American Dream? It came true! You're looking at it."

-- Watchmen

David Tidwell , 4 days ago

Nailed it. As a millennial, I'm sick of being told to just "deal with it" when the cards have always been stacked against me. Am I surviving? Yes. Am I thriving? No.

D dicin , 4 days ago

When the reserve status of the American dollar goes away, then it will become apparent how poor the US really is. You cannot maintain a country without retention of the ability to manufacture the articles you use on a daily basis. The military budget and all the jobs it brings will have to shrink catastrophically.

farber2 , 4 days ago

American trance. The billionaires hypnotized people with this lie.

Michael D , 4 days ago (edited)

...and sometimes you CAN'T afford to move. You can't find a decent job. You certainly can't build a meaningful savings. You can't find an apartment. And if you have kids? That makes it even harder. I've been trying to move for years, but the conditions have to be perfect to do it responsibly. The American Dream died for me once I realized that no matter the choices I made, my four years of college, my years of saving and working hard....I do NOT have upward mobility. For me, the American Dream is dead. I've been finding a new dream. The human dream.

B Sim , 3 days ago

This is a very truncated view. You need to expand your thinking. WHY has the system been so overtly corrupted? It's globalism that has pushed all this economic pressure on the millennials and the middle class. It was the elites, working with corrupt politicians, that rigged the game so the law benefited them.

This is all reversible. History shows that capitalism can be properly regulated in a way that benefits all. The answer to the problem is to bring back those rules, not implement socialism.

Trump has:

The result? before COVID hit the average American worker saw the first inflation adjusted wage increase in over 30 years!

This is why the fake news and hollywood continue to propagandize the masses into hating Trump.

Trump is implementing economic policies good for the people and bad for the elites

Sound Author , 3 days ago

The dream was never alive in the first place. It was always bullshit.

Julia Galaudet , 4 days ago

Maybe it's time for a maximum wage.

Scott Clark , 4 days ago

Private equity strips the country for years! It's the AMERICAN DREAM!!!

Siri Erieott , 4 days ago

A dream for 1%, a nightmare for 99%.

andrew kubiak , 4 days ago

Globalism killed the American dream. We can buy cheap goods made somewhere else if we have a job here that pays us enough money.

[Jun 16, 2020] Krystal Ball: The American dream is dead, good riddance

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Debt-free is the new American dream ..."
Jun 12, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Krystal Ball exposes the delusion of the American dream.

About Rising: Rising is a weekday morning show with bipartisan hosts that breaks the mold of morning TV by taking viewers inside the halls of Washington power like never before. The show leans into the day's political cycle with cutting edge analysis from DC insiders who can predict what is going to happen.

It also sets the day's political agenda by breaking exclusive news with a team of scoop-driven reporters and demanding answers during interviews with the country's most important political newsmakers.

Owen Cousino , 4 days ago

Debt-free is the new American dream

poppaDehorn , 4 days ago

Got my degree just as the great recession hit. Couldn't find real work for 3 years, not using my degree... But it was work. now after 8 years, im laid off. I did everything "right". do good in school, go to college, get a job...

I've never been fired in my life. its always, "Your contract is up" "Sorry we cant afford to keep you", "You can make more money collecting! but we'll give a recommendation if you find anything."

Now I'm back where i started... only now I have new house and a family to support... no pressure.

[Jun 16, 2020] Isn't that how it was always done throughout history? The rich control the less-rich who control the less-rich - using his matryoshka example

Jun 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard Steven Hack , Jun 16 2020 1:11 utc | 73

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 15 2020 17:36 utc | 24

This happened prior to Crooke writing his current article

Just read that piece. I was fascinated to see him referencing an article by "Walrus" over at SST (which was a particularly BS article in my view.) However, he referenced the concept of Walrus' article about a "billionaire network" controlling everything by corrupting people over 40.

My reaction to that is: Isn't that how it was always done throughout history? The rich control the less-rich who control the less-rich - using his matryoshka example.

His main thesis is that younger ideologist are setting up a more serious divide in US society than the old "Liberal vs Conservative" or "North vs South" division, and that this is putting pressure on the "billionaires network."

I'm not sure how to regard that concept yet. On the one hand, I know that the old "young vs old" dynamic is always at work - and generally irrelevant since it is the old that controls the money and the military power. OTOH, there is a new phenomenon in the last decades, starting with the availability of networks, and then growing with the availability of affordable personal computers, and now exploding with the presence of the Internet. That phenomenon is hacking. And it is the youth that control that technology.

I referenced the "cyberpunk" sci-fi genre a few threads back. If one is familiar with the hacker community and the infosec profession, ne if struck by the massive disparity between the capabilities of the attackers and that of the defenders of networks. No matter what the defenders do, there is no stopping an adversary which has motivation, resources and time. The defender has to always be right, the attacker only has to be right once.

This translates to the current situation socially - but only to a limited degree. Hackers are a particular breed intellectually and emotionally. Their attitudes and abilities do not translate to the rest of people their age. Their political and social attitudes *may*, to some degree, depending on the hacker.

But most hackers have a decidedly anti-authoritarian, if not libertarian, or dare I say anarchist, attitude. They can join with others, but that tends to be at arm's length. So I don't see the majority of them empowering a "youth collectivism" or whatever one wants to call the general social and political attitude of the young today.

I *do* see them being willing to take on political and social power. That was the entire reference point of the cyberpunk genre: technically proficient iconoclasts marginalized as criminals taking on (and frequently losing) TPTB depicted as corporations and the state.

I see the rise of hacking as a direct threat to the "billionaires network" (if such a thing actually exists as a coordinated entity.) The only question is whether the hackers have a coherent view of their potential. I suspect they don't, much like the "Woke" (see below). But they could - and if they did, they'd be very dangerous since there is no real way to stop them, and their numbers are growing worldwide as more Third World societies develop middle classes that can afford to own computers while still not providing an adequate economy for their people (places like India, Malaysia and Indonesia.)

"One aspect he apparently overlooks is the very poor understanding of history and contemporary events exhibited on all sides--the "woke" are asleep as they know nothing of Anti-Federalism or of the Class-based rationale related to the genesis of Police, although they seem to be aware of the social control goals of that Genesis in both North and South as we examined last week."

Agreed. That's my problem with the "Woke" - they're even more ignorant than their parents were, even if they're more socially conscious. They believe things that aren't correct just as much as their parents did - they just believe different incorrect things.

"The Class War is also sidelined despite the reality of it being the most important factor in the equation--The .1% being the genuine looters..."

Agreed.

"IMO, there's no discernable ideological direction aside from some basic demands related to policing and the racism connected to it because those in the streets lack the tools to articulate a complete vision--something that's very difficult to do when you don't know where you've actually been and the happenings over the past 75 years that have shaped the current landscape"

Indeed. One has to burrow rather deeply into first principles to formulate a coherent philosophy - and I don't see anyone doing that. I had nine years in a Federal prison to re-orient myself and I benefited from having a previous forty years of exposure to concepts outside the mainstream "left vs right" dichotomy. I doubt many of these people on the streets have a clue as to what should be done either on their personal level or a social level.

[Jun 16, 2020] Trump Just Fulfilled His Billionaire Pal s Dream by David Sirota

Highly recommended!
Jun 16, 2020 | jacobinmag.com

Trump just changed the rules to let Wall Street's most predatory industry get its hands on hundreds of billions of dollars of ordinary workers' retirement savings. Now his friends in private equity are celebrating.

If politics is the art of the sleight of hand, then Donald Trump is one of the deftest magicians of all time -- a master of creating mesmerizing spectacles, while his minions quietly rob everything in sight. This David Copperfield routine has become so mundane we are practically numb to it, but the trick Trump just pulled off for his billionaire pals was something particularly special -- it could end up being one of the single biggest financial heists in history.

As news cycles were consumed by Trump deliberately inflaming social unrest and threatening a domestic military invasion , the president's political appointees were approving a regulatory change that could transfer hundreds of billions of dollars of Americans' retirement savings to private equity firms. Those are the Gordon Gekko–run outlets that have become famous for fleecing investors , laying off workers , gutting local economies , strip-mining media outlets and creating public health and environmental disasters -- all while minting Wall Street billionaires.

The Trump administration's new directive came just a few months after private equity billionaire Stephen Schwarzman -- who had been pushing for the change -- poured $3 million into a super PAC backing Trump's reelection bid.

"A Windfall of $435 Billion"

To the casual onlooker, the information letter from the Employee Benefits Security Administration reads like every other impenetrable passage of stereo instructions that fills the Federal Register -- but this was no routine piece of paperwork. The guidance to Switzerland-based investment firm Partners Group effectively changed the enforcement of federal law protecting workers' retirement savings.

While long-standing worker-protection regulations have prevented 401(k) plans from investing in high-risk private equity firms, the letter now permits corporations to funnel that money to those firms, which charge notoriously giant fees.

Trump's administration argued that workers should feel fortunate and thankful that the administration will now let employers turn their savings over to private equity barons.

"This information letter will help Americans saving for retirement gain access to alternative investments that often provide strong returns," labor secretary Eugene Scalia said in a statement announcing the new policy. "The letter helps level the playing field for ordinary investors and is another step by the department to ensure that ordinary people investing for retirement have the opportunities they need for a secure retirement."

Scalia previously represented Wall Street banks and investment firms at the law firm Gibson Dunn, including Goldman Sachs, which has been working to raise more money for its private equity funds .

In practice, private equity firms will now be allowed to access -- and skim fees off of -- the $9 trillion in 100 million workers' 401(k) plans and IRAs.

"If just 5 percent of the money in these retirement funds were available to private equity, it would be a windfall of $435 billion -- real money even to private equity millionaires and billionaires," wrote Eileen Appelbaum of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

"A Huge Opportunity for the Firm"

From the beginning, Trump's White House has been operating as a de facto subsidiary of the private equity industry : his reelection campaign is being bankrolled by private equity donors; his commerce secretary is a private equity kingpin ; his SEC chairman was a Wall Street lawyer at a firm that represents private equity clients ; his first National Economic Council was the president of a private equity giant ; and his top outside adviser is Schwarzman, the CEO of the world's largest private equity firm , Blackstone.

The Labor Department letter is the result of all that private equity influence -- and at a particularly opportune time. The industry -- including Partners Group -- has recently been fretting about a decline in fees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter offers the potential for a bailout for the industry, paid for by millions of workers' retirement savings.

That said, this is not some temporary relief during a fleeting crisis -- this is the culmination of a long-term campaign by Schwarzman. Six days after Trump was inaugurated, the Blackstone chief said that he had been dreaming of a president who would change the law to let his firm make bank off workers' 401(k) savings.

"In life you have to have a dream," Schwarzman told analysts in January 2017 , days after Trump's inauguration. "One of the dreams is our desire and the market's need to have more access at retail to alternative asset products . . . A lot of people are not allowed to put those into retirement vehicles and other types. And one of the interesting issues when you have a new government is whether they want to continue that type of prohibition or not. Because what it's doing is denying people sort of a better retirement, and if there's a change in that area that becomes a huge opportunity for the firm."

In the ensuing years, Schwarzman and other private equity moguls continued to deliver cash to Trump's national Republican Party while the industry pushed for the changes in law that would allow them to raid 401(k) savings.

"This Wealth Transfer Might Be One of The Largest in the History of Modern Finance"

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ROYuupoGarQ?feature=oembed

Like Shelley Levene's smarmy real-estate sales pitch in Glengarry Glen Ross , Schwarzman's argument is that private equity offers ordinary Americans terrific untapped investment upside. In his telling, workers have been unfairly deprived of these opportunities under the old laws -- and not surprisingly, both the Trump Labor Department and some of the business press have credulously echoed that line.

"Everyday investors may soon be able to get a piece of private equity action," effused the lede of the New York Times ' report on the Labor Department letter, as if this is a sweet get-rich-quick opportunity for the average working man.

But only days after the change, a landmark study was released, telling the real story of private equity.

The report by University of Oxford professor Ludovic Phalippou shows that in the last fifteen years, private equity firms generally have not provided better returns to investors than low-fee stock index funds. In the process, a handful of private equity firms and their executives have raked in roughly $230 billion in fees from investors like public pension funds and university endowments.

"This wealth transfer might be one of the largest in the history of modern finance: from a few hundred million pension scheme members to a few thousand people working in private equity," Phalippou concludes.

Politicians have enabled this redistribution.

In Washington, federal lawmakers have preserved a tax loophole that allows private equity moguls to classify their winnings as capital gains rather than income, thereby paying far lower tax rates than ordinary workers.

Meanwhile, in states and cities, local officials have continued to direct more and more of government workers' pension savings to politically connected private equity firms. Those officials have been hoping that private equity investments would produce outsize returns that might forestall tax hikes necessary to raise revenue and fund the pension benefits promised to public-sector workers. But overall, those returns were not significantly better than the stock market, and they came with giant fees.

In its letter, the Trump administration actually acknowledged some of these pitfalls of private equity investments, noting that they involve "more complex, and typically, higher fees." But that wasn't enough to stop the Labor Department from shoving millions of unwitting workers and retirees into private equity's maw just a few years after Blackstone and other major private equity firms were sanctioned by regulators for fleecing investors.

The Quest for Dumb Money

The private equity industry is hardly short on cash -- the industry was sitting on roughly $1.5 trillion of undeployed capital at the end of 2019. The reason the Labor Department letter is so important to the industry is because 401(k)s and IRAs represent a particular kind of capital that private equity firms love -- so-called "dumb money."

Unlike a share of publicly traded stock whose price is the same for all investors, a private equity investment's fees can vary widely from investor to investor. Private equity firms are therefore always eager to find investors willing to accept the highest possible fees. "Dumb money" refers to such investors -- entities like pension funds, 401(k) plans, and university endowments that are pools of other people's money directed by officials with no personal skin in the investment decisions.

Wall Street sees these funds as "dumb" -- and particularly lucrative -- because the officials negotiating on retirees' or universities' behalf may not drive as hard a bargain on fees and terms as, say, an individual billionaire or an insurance company trying to protect its cash reserves.

This wiggle room with dumb money can be enormously lucrative for private equity firms: a recent study by Stanford and Harvard researchers found that had public pensions all received the same private equity fee rates, they "would have earned nearly $45 billion more on their investments."

In other words: that is $45 billion of earnings that could have gone to retirees, but instead went to private equity firms and other wealthy investors because pension fund managers didn't secure better fees and terms.

That part about "other unobserved investors" is key -- private equity firms explicitly say in their SEC filings that they can and will offer different investors different fees and terms on the exact same investments. It is a situation that has caused some retirees to wonder whether their dumb money is being used to pad the profits of smarter, politically connected investors who negotiate better terms in the same private equity investments.

Now that Trump's Labor Department has opened the floodgates, a lot more money could end up flowing into these opaque deals, enriching private equity executives and their friends -- while leaving workers' meager retirement savings even further depleted.

End Mark

David Sirota is editor-at-large at Jacobin . He edits the Too Much Information newsletter and previously served as a senior adviser and speechwriter on Bernie Sanders's 2020 presidential campaign. You can subscribe to David Sirota's newsletter "Too Much Information" here . Andrew Perez contributed research to this story.

Further Reading

[Jun 16, 2020] History is often more complex that we think and textbooks often present one-sided story

I doubt that the opinion below is right, but it creates certain concerns about treatment of Great Britain behaviour in India as cruel and ruthless colonialism, at least on initial stages. One interesting nuance that British brutality was almost matched by several other players during this period.
Jun 16, 2020 | www.unz.com

Malla , says: Show Comment June 13, 2020 at 4:24 pm GMT

@karel

asymmetry of the relationship between India, or its various provinces, to be more accurate, and the GB.

Agreed but the Europeans wanted a way to the Indies (East Indies – a territorial description in those days which included South Asia and South East Asia all the way to Indonesia.) Indeed it was Indonesia which was the first prize (spices) which the Dutch got. India was the second best price, some spices yes but most importantly garments. And they Western Europeans (Portuguese, Spanish, French, Dutch, British, Danish [very small players]) wanted a way to the Indies to beat the monopoly of this trade by the Muslims and Venice. And when Constantinople fell to the Turks, this desire to find an alternative route increased further. I did not ask the Turks to conquer Constantinople. The whole colonial Empire chapter of mankind started thanks to the actions of the Turks.

a bit of eastern civilization to the savage people of these dismal islands.

Savage people? Abu Taleb Khan's book on British Society gives the opposite picture.

The eastern devil had also a little chance to gang up with the worst segments of the British ruling class to suck even more blood from its indigenous slaves. Had he made it, then Nawab Siraj Ud Daulah would have been awarded by haveing a nice statue of him erected in every major town of GB.

The East India Company itself stamped out all such corrupt practices with time. That is why Robert Clive was sent for a second time.

The British came to India to trade. But rivalry with other European powers especially the French led to the conquest of India. The earliest conquest of Indian regions of India by the English was primarily because of rivalry with France. It was originally France which started interfering in Indian affairs forcing the British to do the same in response out of fear of losing trade rights in India. Before that the English policy was to not interfere in local affairs much but just concentrate on trade. India for a while (especially) South India was going more French than British. However French ambitions depended on one person Joseph François Dupleix, a Napoleonic type figure of whom Empire builders are made of. However the French East India Company Directors lambasted Dupleix to not waste energy on conquests and empire buildings but concentrate on trade.

Must add that many Indian powers like Hyder Ali of Mysore were friends of Dupleix, unlike the French East India Company directors, the local powers were not complaining about his actions.

And how can we forget the Maratha Empire. It were the Maratha raids which would give the best help to the conquest and expansion of the British Empire in India. Marathas raided and decimated Bengal. They looted it out by their heavy taxation of Chouth (1/4th taxation i.e. 25% of the conquered/raided ) as well as killed many. So heavy were the impact of these Maratha raids, that the fierce Rajput Kings themselves voluntarily signed an alliance with the British East Indian Company for protection. Travancore Kingdom in South India signed a similar treaty with the English to save them from Tipu Sultan's invasions. Also must add that Nawab Shiraj Ud Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal crushed the Borgees, Maratha raiders who would raid and kill and rape and loot Bengal. One must add that a Peshwa (Prime Minister of the Royal Maratha Bhosle Family but defacto rulers) of the Marathas tried to stop all this raiding but before he could take any action in Bengal he had to return to Pune (the capital of the Peshwas and Maratha power center).

And what about Nader Shah the brave Sultan of Iran. Nadir Shah looted out of India multiple times of what the British East India Company earned in India till the mutiny. During the course of one day (March 22) 20,000 to 30,000 Indians were brutally killed by Iranian troops and as many as 10,000 women and children were taken as slaves, forcing Indian Mughal Emperor Mohammad Shah to beg Nader Shah for mercy.

In response, Iranian Emperor Nader Shah agreed to withdraw, but Indian Emperor Mohammad Shah paid the consequence in handing over the keys of his royal treasury, and losing even the fabled Peacock Throne to the Iranian emperor. The Peacock Throne, thereafter, served as a symbol of Iranian imperial might. It is estimated that Nader took away with him treasures worth as much as seven hundred million rupees. Among a trove of other fabulous jewels, Nader also looted the Koh-i-Noor (meaning "Mountain of Light" in Persian) and Darya-ye Noor (meaning "Sea of Light") diamonds. The Iranian troops left Delhi at the beginning of May 1739, but before they left, he ceded back to Muhammad Shah all territories to the east of the Indus which he had overrun. The booty they had collected was loaded on 700 elephants, 4,000 camels, and 12,000 horses.

I let us not even start about Ahmed Shah Abdali, the Lord of the Afghans who had his own lootings in India. The British East India Company got peanuts compared to the above two Empires. LOL.

You think Iranian Emperor Nadir Shah, would feel guilty about slavery? LOL. Imagine a bunch of pussyboy leftist SJWs & anti fa thugs going to manly Nadir Shah's court and calling him evul because he enslaved people. Nadir Shah would roar with laughter so hard, the SJWs/anti-fas would collectively pee in their pants. He would probably keep the male SJWs & anti fas as nautch boys and females would be forced into his harem or distributed to his courtiers.

Malla , says: Show Comment June 13, 2020 at 5:06 pm GMT
@Anon

British empire wasn't run by Indian merchants.

It was run by White British 'gentlemen.'

British Empire had its own Jew lobby just like how Jews control America today.

But the people whos topped that evil trade were all British Protestant missionaries. No Indian Baniya or Parsi or Bengali cared about the Chinese dying. Do you really think the typical Indian baniya trader would give a rats ass about the deaths of chinkis (East Asians) or Goras (Whites) or Kalus (Blacks)? They would not Giva a f ** k. The Jews definitely did not care about Chinese dying. It were evul Whitey Anglos who led a campaign to stop this trade.

The opium trade faced intense enmity from the later British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. As a member of Parliament, Gladstone called it "most infamous and atrocious" referring to the opium trade between China and British India in particular . Gladstone was fiercely against both of the Opium Wars and ardently opposed to the British trade in opium to China. He lambasted it as "Palmerston's Opium War" and said that he felt "in dread of the judgments of God upon England for our national iniquity towards China" in May 1840. Gladstone criticized it as "a war more unjust in its origin, a war more calculated in its progress to cover this country with permanent disgrace,".

In the 1890s, the effects of opium use were still largely undocumented by science. Protestant missionaries in China compiled data to demonstrate the harm of the drug, which they had observed. They were outraged that the British Royal Commission on Opium visited India but not China. They created the Anti-Opium League in China among their colleagues in every mission station, for which the American missionary Hampden Coit DuBose served as the first president. This organization was instrumental in gathering data from Western-trained medical doctors in China, most of whom were missionaries. They published their data and conclusions in 1899 as Opinions of Over 100 Physicians on the Use of Opium in China. The survey included doctors in private practices, particularly in Shanghai and Hong Kong, as well as Chinese who had been trained in medical schools in Western countries.

In England, the home director of the China Inland Mission, Benjamin Broomhall, was an active opponent of the opium trade; he wrote two books to promote banning opium smoking: Truth about Opium Smoking and The Chinese Opium Smoker. In 1888 Broomhall formed and became secretary of the "Christian Union for the Severance of the British Empire with the Opium Traffic" and editor of its periodical, National Righteousness. He lobbied the British Parliament to stop the opium trade. He and James Laidlaw Maxwell appealed to the London Missionary Conference of 1888 and the Edinburgh Missionary Conference of 1910 to condemn the trade. As he lay dying, the government signed an agreement to end the opium trade within two years.

Malla , says: Show Comment June 13, 2020 at 10:13 pm GMT
@Anon

A lot of those Jewish and Indian traders brought valuable goods to Britain,

The valuable goods were brought to Britain by the East India Company itself.

Indians made a lot of money, it's because they were better traders than British.

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/chinas-opium-war-was-completely-indian-enterprise-not-british-indian-author-amitav-ghosh-628177

China's Opium War Was 'Completely Indian Enterprise', not British: Indian Author Amitav Ghosh

At this juncture he found that the first opium war in China was an Indian undertaking. " The first opium war (was) planned in India, it was financed by Indian money, it was fought with Indian soldiers. But it has all completely vanished from our historical memory ," Ghosh, whose third book of Ibis series 'Flood of Fire' is all about migration in the 1830s, told IANS.

" The putting together of the expeditionary force took place in India. The British naval ships for the expedition were accompanied by 50 supply ships, all provided for by Parsi merchants in Bombay (now Mumbai). From top to bottom, it was a completely Indian enterprise; all the wherewithal for it came from India," he added.

http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31808&articlexml=SPOILS-OF-WAR-History-of-capitalism-is-written-27112016018050

What role did India Inc play in the opium trade war?

They [Indian companies] played a pioneering part. In large parts, the opium war was financed by Indian money – by old Bombay money. Many of t he big Indian families made their money in opium. This is equally true about America.

Many American companies and families have made their money in opium -President Franklin Roo sevelt's family, t he C a l v i n Coolidge family, Forbes family from where you get the current secretary of state, John Kerry, even institutions like Yale and Brown. Singapore and Hong Kong wouldn't exist today without opium.Essentially opium was the most important commodity of the 19th century.

Are companies hesitant to acknowledge their past connections to opium?

Very hesitant . Jardine Matheson was one of the most important opium trading companies in the 19th century. Their closest partner was Sir Jamsetji Jeejeebhoy, who built half of Bombay. To this day, Jardine Matheson does not like this connection mentioned. In fact, they've been known to threaten journalists. Similarly, people who've been trying to work with papers of various Indian companies find it very difficult to access documents. Let me just say it tactfully that several companies don't like this to be spoken of in public.

Would it have been difficult for companies to hide their past if there was social media at that time?

The opium war was a very modern war. It was sold to the British government by merchants. They collected money and sent William Jardine to London to bribe politicians into starting this war. It's a collusion between the State and the private sector, which benefited not only from the policies of the opium trade, but also from the whole war being sub-contracted to them, in terms of provisions, supply ships etc. It was the template of the Iraq war. First, you pick up something, drum it up by publishing some articles about it, the people will get worked up, then you start the war. You keep hidden what is actually happening.

Malla , says: Show Comment June 13, 2020 at 10:15 pm GMT
@Malla

But the people whos topped that evil trade were all British Protestant missionaries.

Sorry dangerous typo.
It is
But the people who stopped that evil trade were all British (& American) Protestant missionaries.

[Jun 16, 2020] The so called History Websites I used to read are 50% BS, and so are their Professors that are writing them.

Jun 16, 2020 | www.unz.com

GMC , says: Show Comment June 14, 2020 at 8:02 am GMT

There is one War that is being waged on the populace of the world , especially in the West, and it's the War on Knowledge, Truths and Common Sense. Ask a previous forged history question to a person who has read extensively Alternate Websites like Unz Rev. , ICH, the Late Robt. Parry etc. and then ask someone who hasn't – and the war on knowledge, truth is quite visible. When the Author shows his history lessons from the British Educational system, { the same as the American ones } with regards to the India history, the Brits are always in the right . But real knowledge and truth are just the opposite. The so called History Websites I used to read are 50% BS, and so are their Professors that are writing for them.

[Jun 16, 2020] There's never been any reality in 20th Century US history, at least since WWII ended.

Jun 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard Steven Hack , Jun 16 2020 1:44 utc | 79

Posted by: vk | Jun 15 2020 22:29 utc | 58

I can't explain, but you can certainly feel in the air that the October Revolution and the USSR still haunt the American people - from Alabama to California; from North Dakota to New York.

I think that, deep down, every American knows they are a capitalist empire - it's "popular wisdom", as they say.

Agreed. You had to have lived from 1949 to now, i.e., the Cold War. *Everyone* in that period remembers certain things: the Kennedy assassination, Khrushchev pounding his shoe in the UN, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin Airlift, the Vietnam War (and the opposition to it). Maybe not clearly, but they remember it was in their history.

Most people under 50 only remember things from the 1970's on. Economically, things only started going bad in the 1970's with the oil crisis, the Nixon corruption, then the '80s, '90s. Then 9/11 and the bogus "War on Terrorism" takes over for the last twenty years.

The conflict between the Soviet Empire and the US Empire pretty much controls how the US perception was created. The media had a hand in it, too. In the '50s everything was "Ozzie and Harriet" (does anyone even remember that show existed?) In the '60s it was "Father Knows Best." In the '70s it was Archie Bunker - the first sign of a change. In the '80s it was "Cheers". In the '90s it was "middle class black" shows like "Fresh Prince". You can see the progression just from Google searching "TV icons" of each period.

There's never been any reality in 20th Century US history, at least since WWII ended.

[Jun 14, 2020] Podcast- Pandemic Profiteering - How Billionaires Are Looting American Taxpayers by Mnar Muhawesh Mnar Muhawesh

Notable quotes:
"... MintPress News ..."
"... This program is 100 percent listener supported! You can join the hundreds of financial sponsors who make this show possible by becoming a member on our Patreon page . ..."
Jun 09, 2020 | www.mintpressnews.com

In this episode, we are joined by MintPress News senior staff writer, Alan MacLeod . MacLeod covers everything from socioeconomic inequality, the oligarch class in Western nations, U.S. foreign policy in the Global South, and press freedom. He is also the author of " Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. "

https://www.buzzsprout.com/284746/4086824-podcast-pandemic-profiteering-how-billionaires-are-looting-american-taxpayers

Since April, he has uncovered how COVID-19 came to be a boon for the ultra-wealthy , reporting that America's billionaires, including Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Michael Bloomberg and others, accrued more wealth in the first three weeks of the lockdown than they made in total prior to 1980. Billionaire wealth surged by $484 billion in just three months, while a record 40 million Americans filed for unemployment.

This economic phenomenon, the largest radical transfer of wealth out of the hands of taxpayers and into the hands of billionaires, was the largest taxpayer bailout of the wealthy in American history.

As MacLeod reported,

In the last 30 years, U.S. billionaire wealth soared by over 1100 percent while median household wealth increased by barely five percent. In 1990, the total wealth held by America's billionaire class was $240 billion; today that number stands at $2.95 trillion. Thus, America's billionaires accrued more wealth in just the past three weeks than they made in total prior to 1980."

While the pandemic and subsequent lockdown turned the world upside down for working-class people, forcing upon them school closures, long lines at the grocery store, empty shelves, panic buying, record unemployment, and miles-long bread lines, little media attention was given to the Billionaires buying islands and land where they could enjoy life in first-class bunkers built to withstand a nuclear war.

If anything, the coronavirus has lifted the veil to expose the growing inequality in the United States, an unfortunate reality in the world's richest country.

Macleod leaves us with a salient statistic, explaining that while Amazon owner Jeff Bezos makes $1 million every three minutes, "Amazon staff, directly employed by Bezos, also risk their lives for measly pay. One-third of all Amazon workers in Arizona, for example, are enrolled in the food stamps program, their wages so low that they cannot afford to pay for food."

Alan MacLeod joins MintCast to explain all of this and how the coming economic crash that is expected to contract the economy by 40 percent will only advance the interests of America's ultra-wealthy and increase their wealth even further.

America already faces a reality in which less than one thousand billionaires influence policies that ensure more tax obligations for the working class to the benefit of ultra-wealthy oligarchs. Corporate media ensures this reality by presenting billionaires in a positive light, often as philanthropists who run charitable organizations. Yet, in reality, they are little more than big fish eating off of the hard work of the working class.

This program is 100 percent listener supported! You can join the hundreds of financial sponsors who make this show possible by becoming a member on our Patreon page .

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes , Spotify and SoundCloud . Please leave us a review and share this segmen t.

Mnar Muhawesh is founder, CEO and editor in chief of MintPress News, and is also a regular speaker on responsible journalism, sexism, neoconservativism within the media and journalism start-ups.

MintPress News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

[Jun 14, 2020] Anonymous Berkeley Professor Shreds BLM Injustice Narrative With Damning Facts And Logic

Highly recommended!
A strange mixture of Black nationalism with Black Bolshevism is a very interesting and pretty alarming phenomenon. It proved to be a pretty toxic mix. But it is far from being new. We saw how the Eugène Pottier famous song International lines "We have been naught we shall be all." and "Servile masses arise, arise." unfolded before under Stalinism in Soviet Russia.
We also saw Lysenkoism in Academia before, and it was not a pretty picture. Some Russian/Soviet scientists such as Academician Vavilov paid with their life for the sin of not being politically correct. From this letter it is clear that the some departments already reached the stage tragically close to that situation.
Lysenkoism was "politically correct" (a term invented by Lenin) because it was consistent with the broader Marxist doctrine. Marxists wanted to believe that heredity had a limited role even among humans, and that human characteristics changed by living under socialism would be inherited by subsequent generations of humans. Thus would be created the selfless new Soviet man
"Lysenko was consequently embraced and lionized by the Soviet media propaganda machine. Scientists who promoted Lysenkoism with faked data and destroyed counterevidence were favored with government funding and official recognition and award. Lysenko and his followers and media acolytes responded to critics by impugning their motives, and denouncing them as bourgeois fascists resisting the advance of the new modern Marxism." The Disgraceful Episode Of Lysenkoism Brings Us Global Warming Theory
Notable quotes:
"... In the extended links and resources you provided, I could not find a single instance of substantial counter-argument or alternative narrative to explain the under-representation of black individuals in academia or their over-representation in the criminal justice system. ..."
"... any cogent objections to this thesis have been raised by sober voices, including from within the black community itself, such as Thomas Sowell and Wilfred Reilly. These people are not racists or 'Uncle Toms'. They are intelligent scholars who reject a narrative that strips black people of agency and systematically externalizes the problems of the black community onto outsiders . Their view is entirely absent from the departmental and UCB-wide communiques. ..."
"... The claim that the difficulties that the black community faces are entirely causally explained by exogenous factors in the form of white systemic racism, white supremacy, and other forms of white discrimination remains a problematic hypothesis that should be vigorously challenged by historians ..."
"... Would we characterize criminal justice as a systemically misandrist conspiracy against innocent American men? I hope you see that this type of reasoning is flawed, and requires a significant suspension of our rational faculties. Black people are not incarcerated at higher rates than their involvement in violent crime would predict . This fact has been demonstrated multiple times across multiple jurisdictions in multiple countries. ..."
"... If we claim that the criminal justice system is white-supremacist, why is it that Asian Americans, Indian Americans, and Nigerian Americans are incarcerated at vastly lower rates than white Americans? ..."
"... Increasingly, we are being called upon to comply and subscribe to BLM's problematic view of history , and the department is being presented as unified on the matter. In particular, ethnic minorities are being aggressively marshaled into a single position. Any apparent unity is surely a function of the fact that dissent could almost certainly lead to expulsion or cancellation for those of us in a precarious position , which is no small number. ..."
"... The vast majority of violence visited on the black community is committed by black people . There are virtually no marches for these invisible victims, no public silences, no heartfelt letters from the UC regents, deans, and departmental heads. The message is clear: Black lives only matter when whites take them. Black violence is expected and insoluble, while white violence requires explanation and demands solution. Please look into your hearts and see how monstrously bigoted this formulation truly is. ..."
"... The claim that black intraracial violence is the product of redlining, slavery, and other injustices is a largely historical claim. It is for historians, therefore, to explain why Japanese internment or the massacre of European Jewry hasn't led to equivalent rates of dysfunction and low SES performance among Japanese and Jewish Americans respectively. ..."
"... Arab Americans have been viciously demonized since 9/11, as have Chinese Americans more recently. However, both groups outperform white Americans on nearly all SES indices - as do Nigerian Americans , who incidentally have black skin. It is for historians to point out and discuss these anomalies. However, no real discussion is possible in the current climate at our department . The explanation is provided to us, disagreement with it is racist, and the job of historians is to further explore additional ways in which the explanation is additionally correct. This is a mockery of the historical profession. ..."
"... Donating to BLM today is to indirectly donate to Joe Biden's 2020 campaign. This is grotesque given the fact that the American cities with the worst rates of black-on-black violence and police-on-black violence are overwhelmingly Democrat-run. Minneapolis itself has been entirely in the hands of Democrats for over five decades ; the 'systemic racism' there was built by successive Democrat administrations. ..."
"... The total alliance of major corporations involved in human exploitation with BLM should be a warning flag to us, and yet this damning evidence goes unnoticed, purposefully ignored, or perversely celebrated. We are the useful idiots of the wealthiest classes , carrying water for Jeff Bezos and other actual, real, modern-day slavers. Starbucks, an organisation using literal black slaves in its coffee plantation suppliers, is in favor of BLM. Sony, an organisation using cobalt mined by yet more literal black slaves, many of whom are children, is in favor of BLM. And so, apparently, are we. The absence of counter-narrative enables this obscenity. Fiat lux, indeed. ..."
"... MLK would likely be called an Uncle Tom if he spoke on our campus today . We are training leaders who intend, explicitly, to destroy one of the only truly successful ethnically diverse societies in modern history. As the PRC, an ethnonationalist and aggressively racially chauvinist national polity with null immigration and no concept of jus solis increasingly presents itself as the global political alternative to the US, I ask you: Is this wise? Are we really doing the right thing? ..."
Jun 12, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Dear profs X, Y, Z

I am one of your colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley. I have met you both personally but do not know you closely, and am contacting you anonymously, with apologies. I am worried that writing this email publicly might lead to me losing my job, and likely all future jobs in my field.

In your recent departmental emails you mentioned our pledge to diversity, but I am increasingly alarmed by the absence of diversity of opinion on the topic of the recent protests and our community response to them.

In the extended links and resources you provided, I could not find a single instance of substantial counter-argument or alternative narrative to explain the under-representation of black individuals in academia or their over-representation in the criminal justice system. The explanation provided in your documentation, to the near exclusion of all others, is univariate: the problems of the black community are caused by whites, or, when whites are not physically present, by the infiltration of white supremacy and white systemic racism into American brains, souls, and institutions.

Many cogent objections to this thesis have been raised by sober voices, including from within the black community itself, such as Thomas Sowell and Wilfred Reilly. These people are not racists or 'Uncle Toms'. They are intelligent scholars who reject a narrative that strips black people of agency and systematically externalizes the problems of the black community onto outsiders . Their view is entirely absent from the departmental and UCB-wide communiques.

The claim that the difficulties that the black community faces are entirely causally explained by exogenous factors in the form of white systemic racism, white supremacy, and other forms of white discrimination remains a problematic hypothesis that should be vigorously challenged by historians . Instead, it is being treated as an axiomatic and actionable truth without serious consideration of its profound flaws, or its worrying implication of total black impotence. This hypothesis is transforming our institution and our culture, without any space for dissent outside of a tightly policed, narrow discourse.

A counternarrative exists. If you have time, please consider examining some of the documents I attach at the end of this email. Overwhelmingly, the reasoning provided by BLM and allies is either primarily anecdotal (as in the case with the bulk of Ta-Nehisi Coates' undeniably moving article) or it is transparently motivated. As an example of the latter problem, consider the proportion of black incarcerated Americans. This proportion is often used to characterize the criminal justice system as anti-black. However, if we use the precise same methodology, we would have to conclude that the criminal justice system is even more anti-male than it is anti-black .

Would we characterize criminal justice as a systemically misandrist conspiracy against innocent American men? I hope you see that this type of reasoning is flawed, and requires a significant suspension of our rational faculties. Black people are not incarcerated at higher rates than their involvement in violent crime would predict . This fact has been demonstrated multiple times across multiple jurisdictions in multiple countries.

And yet, I see my department uncritically reproducing a narrative that diminishes black agency in favor of a white-centric explanation that appeals to the department's apparent desire to shoulder the 'white man's burden' and to promote a narrative of white guilt .

If we claim that the criminal justice system is white-supremacist, why is it that Asian Americans, Indian Americans, and Nigerian Americans are incarcerated at vastly lower rates than white Americans? This is a funny sort of white supremacy. Even Jewish Americans are incarcerated less than gentile whites. I think it's fair to say that your average white supremacist disapproves of Jews. And yet, these alleged white supremacists incarcerate gentiles at vastly higher rates than Jews. None of this is addressed in your literature. None of this is explained, beyond hand-waving and ad hominems. "Those are racist dogwhistles". "The model minority myth is white supremacist". "Only fascists talk about black-on-black crime", ad nauseam.

These types of statements do not amount to counterarguments: they are simply arbitrary offensive classifications, intended to silence and oppress discourse . Any serious historian will recognize these for the silencing orthodoxy tactics they are , common to suppressive regimes, doctrines, and religions throughout time and space. They are intended to crush real diversity and permanently exile the culture of robust criticism from our department.

Increasingly, we are being called upon to comply and subscribe to BLM's problematic view of history , and the department is being presented as unified on the matter. In particular, ethnic minorities are being aggressively marshaled into a single position. Any apparent unity is surely a function of the fact that dissent could almost certainly lead to expulsion or cancellation for those of us in a precarious position , which is no small number.

I personally don't dare speak out against the BLM narrative , and with this barrage of alleged unity being mass-produced by the administration, tenured professoriat, the UC administration, corporate America, and the media, the punishment for dissent is a clear danger at a time of widespread economic vulnerability. I am certain that if my name were attached to this email, I would lose my job and all future jobs, even though I believe in and can justify every word I type.

The vast majority of violence visited on the black community is committed by black people . There are virtually no marches for these invisible victims, no public silences, no heartfelt letters from the UC regents, deans, and departmental heads. The message is clear: Black lives only matter when whites take them. Black violence is expected and insoluble, while white violence requires explanation and demands solution. Please look into your hearts and see how monstrously bigoted this formulation truly is.

No discussion is permitted for nonblack victims of black violence, who proportionally outnumber black victims of nonblack violence. This is especially bitter in the Bay Area, where Asian victimization by black assailants has reached epidemic proportions, to the point that the SF police chief has advised Asians to stop hanging good-luck charms on their doors, as this attracts the attention of (overwhelmingly black) home invaders . Home invaders like George Floyd . For this actual, lived, physically experienced reality of violence in the USA, there are no marches, no tearful emails from departmental heads, no support from McDonald's and Wal-Mart. For the History department, our silence is not a mere abrogation of our duty to shed light on the truth: it is a rejection of it.

The claim that black intraracial violence is the product of redlining, slavery, and other injustices is a largely historical claim. It is for historians, therefore, to explain why Japanese internment or the massacre of European Jewry hasn't led to equivalent rates of dysfunction and low SES performance among Japanese and Jewish Americans respectively.

Arab Americans have been viciously demonized since 9/11, as have Chinese Americans more recently. However, both groups outperform white Americans on nearly all SES indices - as do Nigerian Americans , who incidentally have black skin. It is for historians to point out and discuss these anomalies. However, no real discussion is possible in the current climate at our department . The explanation is provided to us, disagreement with it is racist, and the job of historians is to further explore additional ways in which the explanation is additionally correct. This is a mockery of the historical profession.

Most troublingly, our department appears to have been entirely captured by the interests of the Democratic National Convention, and the Democratic Party more broadly. To explain what I mean, consider what happens if you choose to donate to Black Lives Matter, an organization UCB History has explicitly promoted in its recent mailers. All donations to the official BLM website are immediately redirected to ActBlue Charities , an organization primarily concerned with bankrolling election campaigns for Democrat candidates. Donating to BLM today is to indirectly donate to Joe Biden's 2020 campaign. This is grotesque given the fact that the American cities with the worst rates of black-on-black violence and police-on-black violence are overwhelmingly Democrat-run. Minneapolis itself has been entirely in the hands of Democrats for over five decades ; the 'systemic racism' there was built by successive Democrat administrations.

The patronizing and condescending attitudes of Democrat leaders towards the black community, exemplified by nearly every Biden statement on the black race, all but guarantee a perpetual state of misery, resentment, poverty, and the attendant grievance politics which are simultaneously annihilating American political discourse and black lives. And yet, donating to BLM is bankrolling the election campaigns of men like Mayor Frey, who saw their cities devolve into violence . This is a grotesque capture of a good-faith movement for necessary police reform, and of our department, by a political party. Even worse, there are virtually no avenues for dissent in academic circles . I refuse to serve the Party, and so should you.

The total alliance of major corporations involved in human exploitation with BLM should be a warning flag to us, and yet this damning evidence goes unnoticed, purposefully ignored, or perversely celebrated. We are the useful idiots of the wealthiest classes , carrying water for Jeff Bezos and other actual, real, modern-day slavers. Starbucks, an organisation using literal black slaves in its coffee plantation suppliers, is in favor of BLM. Sony, an organisation using cobalt mined by yet more literal black slaves, many of whom are children, is in favor of BLM. And so, apparently, are we. The absence of counter-narrative enables this obscenity. Fiat lux, indeed.

There also exists a large constituency of what can only be called 'race hustlers': hucksters of all colors who benefit from stoking the fires of racial conflict to secure administrative jobs, charity management positions, academic jobs and advancement, or personal political entrepreneurship.

Given the direction our history department appears to be taking far from any commitment to truth , we can regard ourselves as a formative training institution for this brand of snake-oil salespeople. Their activities are corrosive, demolishing any hope at harmonious racial coexistence in our nation and colonizing our political and institutional life. Many of their voices are unironically segregationist.

MLK would likely be called an Uncle Tom if he spoke on our campus today . We are training leaders who intend, explicitly, to destroy one of the only truly successful ethnically diverse societies in modern history. As the PRC, an ethnonationalist and aggressively racially chauvinist national polity with null immigration and no concept of jus solis increasingly presents itself as the global political alternative to the US, I ask you: Is this wise? Are we really doing the right thing?

As a final point, our university and department has made multiple statements celebrating and eulogizing George Floyd. Floyd was a multiple felon who once held a pregnant black woman at gunpoint. He broke into her home with a gang of men and pointed a gun at her pregnant stomach. He terrorized the women in his community. He sired and abandoned multiple children , playing no part in their support or upbringing, failing one of the most basic tests of decency for a human being. He was a drug-addict and sometime drug-dealer, a swindler who preyed upon his honest and hard-working neighbors .

And yet, the regents of UC and the historians of the UCB History department are celebrating this violent criminal, elevating his name to virtual sainthood . A man who hurt women. A man who hurt black women. With the full collaboration of the UCB history department, corporate America, most mainstream media outlets, and some of the wealthiest and most privileged opinion-shaping elites of the USA, he has become a culture hero, buried in a golden casket, his (recognized) family showered with gifts and praise . Americans are being socially pressured into kneeling for this violent, abusive misogynist . A generation of black men are being coerced into identifying with George Floyd, the absolute worst specimen of our race and species.

I'm ashamed of my department. I would say that I'm ashamed of both of you, but perhaps you agree with me, and are simply afraid, as I am, of the backlash of speaking the truth. It's hard to know what kneeling means, when you have to kneel to keep your job.

It shouldn't affect the strength of my argument above, but for the record, I write as a person of color . My family have been personally victimized by men like Floyd. We are aware of the condescending depredations of the Democrat party against our race. The humiliating assumption that we are too stupid to do STEM , that we need special help and lower requirements to get ahead in life, is richly familiar to us. I sometimes wonder if it wouldn't be easier to deal with open fascists, who at least would be straightforward in calling me a subhuman, and who are unlikely to share my race.

The ever-present soft bigotry of low expectations and the permanent claim that the solutions to the plight of my people rest exclusively on the goodwill of whites rather than on our own hard work is psychologically devastating . No other group in America is systematically demoralized in this way by its alleged allies. A whole generation of black children are being taught that only by begging and weeping and screaming will they get handouts from guilt-ridden whites.

No message will more surely devastate their futures, especially if whites run out of guilt, or indeed if America runs out of whites. If this had been done to Japanese Americans, or Jewish Americans, or Chinese Americans, then Chinatown and Japantown would surely be no different to the roughest parts of Baltimore and East St. Louis today. The History department of UCB is now an integral institutional promulgator of a destructive and denigrating fallacy about the black race.

I hope you appreciate the frustration behind this message. I do not support BLM. I do not support the Democrat grievance agenda and the Party's uncontested capture of our department. I do not support the Party co-opting my race, as Biden recently did in his disturbing interview, claiming that voting Democrat and being black are isomorphic. I condemn the manner of George Floyd's death and join you in calling for greater police accountability and police reform. However, I will not pretend that George Floyd was anything other than a violent misogynist, a brutal man who met a predictably brutal end .

I also want to protect the practice of history. Cleo is no grovelling handmaiden to politicians and corporations. Like us, she is free. play_arrow

LEEPERMAX , 12 seconds ago

Donations to Black Lives Matter are funneled through a Democratic fundraising group ...

seryanhoj , 36 seconds ago

This guy is not playing by the rules of US political discourse. His sins are:

1). Using real facts

2). Making logical deductions from the facts

3) Making assertions not in line with the script from his party, social group or race.

There is no future for such a man. We are in a time which prefers hysteria , lies and epic partisanship

simpson seers , 36 minutes ago

white muricans aren't racist, they kill equally....

https://www.fort-russ.com/2020/01/u-s-regime-has-killed-20-30-million-people-since-world-war-ii/

https://www.fort-russ.com/2020/02/former-american-drone-operator-us-military-worse-than-nazis/

Aubiekong , 36 minutes ago

Blacks will always be poor and fucked in life when 75% of black infants are born to single most likely welfare dependent mothers... And the more amount of welfare monies spent to combat poverty the worse this problem will grow...

taketheredpill , 37 minutes ago

Anonymous....

1) Is he really a Professor at Berkeley?

2) Is he really a Professor anywhere?

3) Is he really Black?

4) Is he really a He?

LEEPERMAX , 44 minutes ago

BLM is an international organization. They solicit tax free charitable donations via ActBlue. ActBlue then funnels billions of dollars to DNC campaigns. This is a violation of campaign finance law and allows foreign influence in American elections.

CRM114 , 44 minutes ago

I've pointed this out before:

In 2015, after the Freddie Gray death Officers were hung out to dry by the Mayor of Baltimore (yes, her, the Chair of the DNC in 2016), active policing in Baltimore basically stopped. They just count the bodies now. The clearance rate for homicides has dropped to, well, we don't know because the Police refuse to say, but it appears to be under 15%. The homicide rate jumped 50% almost immediately and has stayed there. 95% of homicides are black on black.

The Baltimore Sun keeps excellent records, so you can check this all for yourself.

Looking at killings by cops; if we take the worst case and exclude all the ones where the victim was armed and independent witnesses state fired first, and assume all the others were cop murders, then there's about 1 cop murder every 3 years, which means that since has now stopped and the homicide rate's gone up...

For every black man now not murdered by a cop, 400 more black men are murdered by other black men.

taketheredpill , 46 minutes ago

"As an example of the latter problem, consider the proportion of black incarcerated Americans. This proportion is often used to characterize the criminal justice system as anti-black. However, if we use the precise same methodology, we would have to conclude that the criminal justice system is even more anti-male than it is anti-black ."

It is the RATIO of UNARMED BLACK MALES KILLED to UNARMED WHITE MALES KILLED in RELATION TO % OF POPULATION. RATIO.

RATIO. UNARMED.

BLACK % POPULATION 13% BLACK % UNARMED MEN KILLED 37%

WHITE % POPULATION 74% BLACK % UNARMED MEN KILLED 45%

Is there a trend of MORE Black people being killed by police?

No. But there is an underlying difference in the numbers that is bad.

>>>>> As of 2018, Unarmed Blacks made up 36% of all people UNARMED killed by police. But black people make up 13% of the (unarmed) population.

UNARMED KILLINGS BY POLICE

UNARMED KILLINGS BY POLICE

YEAR Black Hispanic White

2015 36 19 31

2016 18 9 20

2017 19 12 24

2018(Apr) 7 1 10

2019 15 11 25

YEAR Black Hispanic White

2015 42% 22% 36%

2016 38% 19% 43%

2017 35% 22% 44%

2018(Apr) 39% 6% 56%

2019 29% 22% 49%

AVG 37% 18% 45%

% POPN 13% 16% 72%

ARMED > 18 YRS OLD TOY WEAPON

Black Hispanic White

2019 5 3 11

26% 16% 58%

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/fatal-police-shootings-of-unarmed-people-have-significantly-declined-experts-say/2018/05/03/d5eab374-4349-11e8-8569-26fda6b404c7_story.html

radical-extremist , 47 minutes ago

There's a massive Silent Majority of Americans , including black Americans, that are fed up with this absurd nonsense.

While there's a Vocal Minority of Americans : including Democrats, the media, corporations and race hustlers, that wish to continue to promulgate a FALSE NARRATIVE into perpetuity...because it's a lucrative industry.

Gaius Konstantine , 57 minutes ago

A short while ago I had an ex friend get into it with me about how Europeans (whites), were the most destructive race on the planet, responsible for all the world's evil. I pointed out to him that Genghis Khan, an Asian, slaughtered millions at a time when technology made this a remarkable feat. I reminded him the Japanese gleefully killed millions in China and that the American Indian Empires ran 24/7 human sacrifices with some also practicing cannibalism. His poor libtard brain couldn't handle the fact that evil is a human trait, not restricted to a particular race and we parted (good riddance)

But along with evil, there is accomplishment. Europeans created Empires and pursued science, The Asians also participated in these pursuits and even the Aztec and Inca built marvelous cities and massive states spanning vast stretches of territory. The only race that accomplished little save entering the stone age is the Africans. Are we supposed to give them a participation trophy to make them feel better? Is this feeling of inferiority what is truly behind their constant rage?

Police in the US have been militarized for a long time now and kill many more unarmed whites than they do blacks, where is the outrage? I'm getting the feeling that this isn't really about George, just an excuse to do what savages do.

lwilland1012 , 1 hour ago

"Truth is treason in an empire of lies."

George Orwell

You know that the reason he is anonymous is that Berkley would strip him of his teaching credentials and there would be multiple attempts on his life...

Ignatius , 1 hour ago

" The vast majority of violence visited on the black community is committed by black people . There are virtually no marches for these invisible victims, no public silences, no heartfelt letters from the UC regents, deans, and departmental heads. The message is clear: Black lives only matter when whites take them. Black violence is expected and insoluble, while white violence requires explanation and demands solution. Please look into your hearts and see how monstrously bigoted this formulation truly is."

PhD thesis, right there. ..

Templar X , 1 hour ago

Ex-fed who trained Buffalo cops says shoved activist 'got away lightly'

By Craig McCarthy

June 12, 2020 | 12:31pm

A former fed who trained the police in Buffalo believes the elderly protester who was hospitalized after a cop pushed him to the ground "got away lightly" and "took a dive," according to a report.

The retired FBI agent, Gary DiLaura, told The Sun he thinks there's no chance Buffalo officers will be convicted of assault over the now-viral video showing the longtime peace activist Martin Gugino fall and left bleeding on the ground.

" I can't believe that they didn't deck him. If that would have been a 40-year-old guy going up there, I guarantee you they'd have been all over him, " DiLaura said.

" He absolutely got away lightly. He got a light push and in my humble opinion, he took a dive and the dive backfired because he hit his head. Maybe it'll knock a little bit of sense into him, " added the former fed, who trained Buffalo police on firearms and defensive tactics, according to the report...

https://nypost.com/2020/06/12/ex-fed-who-trained-buffalo-cops-elderly-activist-got-away-lightly/

NanoRap , 17 minutes ago

It's a great brainwashing process, which goes very slow[ly] and is divided [into] four basic stages. The first one [is] demoralization ; it takes from 15-20 years to demoralize a nation. Why that many years? Because this is the minimum number of years which [is required] to educate one generation of students in the country of your enemy, exposed to the ideology of the enemy. In other words, Marxist-Leninist ideology is being pumped into the soft heads of at least three generations of American students, without being challenged, or counter-balanced by the basic values of Americanism (American patriotism).

The result? The result you can see. Most of the people who graduated in the sixties (drop-outs or half-baked intellectuals) are now occupying the positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media, [and the] educational system. You are stuck with them. You cannot get rid of them. T hey are contaminated; they are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli in a certain pattern. You cannot change their mind[s], even if you expose them to authentic information, even if you prove that white is white and black is black, you still cannot change the basic perception and the logic of behavior. In other words, these people... the process of demoralization is complete and irreversible. To [rid] society of these people, you need another twenty or fifteen years to educate a new generation of patriotically-minded and common sense people, who would be acting in favor and in the interests of United States society.

Yuri Bezmenov

American Psycho , 16 minutes ago

This article was one of the most articulate and succinct rebuttals to the BLM political power grab. I too have been calling these "allies" useful idiots and I am happy to hear this professor doing the same. Bravo professor!

[Jun 14, 2020] Extracts from Kunstler's "Nemesis Rising!" concerning pedophile Jeffrey Epstein

Jun 14, 2020 | www.serendipity.li

And now there is the Epstein matter, which threatens not only former president Bill Clinton, but a cosmos of political, financial, and entertainment "stars" in countless ugly incidents that involve a kind of personal corruption that has no political context but says an awful lot about the obliteration of moral and ethical boundaries by the people who ended up running things in this fretful moment of US history.

[Jun 13, 2020] Already-Broke Colleges Being Bullied Into Hosting Costly White Privilege Workshops Amid Virus Crisis

Jun 13, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Already many families are opting out of sending their recent high school graduates off to college as a potential second wave COVID-19 crisis looms. Many students are no doubt thinking it's a good time for a 'gap year' .

This is a trend likely to only grow, especially given the degree to which universities stop actually educating in Literature, History, Science, Business, Math, and the Classics - and instead focus on dubious and highly elastic concepts like "privilege" and "systemic racism".

[Jun 12, 2020] PE-Owned Hospitals Paid Owners Millions and Got Low Care Ratings by Lauren Coleman-Lochner and Jeremy Hill

Private equity is essential a mafia style business: they aid to blled thier victim dry.
Notable quotes:
"... By the end of 2018, available cash was so tight that Prospect got a $41 million infusion from Leonard Green and members of its management, according to Moody's. The ratings firm downgraded Prospect deeper into junk last year at B3, citing "shareholder-friendly policies" and the higher leverage resulting from the $457 million dividend. ..."
"... Meanwhile, care quality ratings for seven of the 10 Prospect hospitals evaluated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, have declined since 2016, according to HMP Metrics, a health-care facility analytics service. CMS ranks facilities from 1 to 5 stars, with 5 being the best. ..."
"... Most Prospect hospitals sit at the bottom rungs of quality assessments, according to the agency's hospital comparison database. Nine have a two-star rating or below, placing them in the lowest 30% of rated hospitals, according to CMS data. Just one Prospect-owned hospital -- Roger Williams Medical Center in Rhode Island -- earned a three-star rating. ..."
"... "Private equity owners, seeking high returns, may be even more willing to cut costs in crucial ways than even other for-profit health care companies," she said in an interview. ..."
Jun 12, 2020 | www.bloomberg.com

[Jun 12, 2020] Germany Sees Work From Home as Chance for Greener, Better Life

Jun 12, 2020 | www.bloomberg.com

Roughly a third of Germans expect fewer business trips and more video conferences in the years following the outbreak of the coronavirus, according to a study published on Thursday. Explore dynamic updates of the earth's key data points Open the Data Dash Close

While that's slightly less than in the rest of the world, Germany's environment minister sees an opportunity to improve the climate and the quality of life by commuting less.

"Nobody wants life to remain like it was during the pandemic," said Svenja Schulze, who presented the study carried out by Ernst & Young and the Wuppertal Institut think tank. "But we should keep some of the new routines."

About a quarter of employees worked at home at least part of the time during the pandemic, according to the paper. Internet traffic related to video conferences rose 120% in a sample measurement at a digital crosspoint in Frankfurt, the research showed.

According to the authors of the study, passenger traffic could be reduced long-term by around 8% if home office and remote access are promoted.

[Jun 12, 2020] How Do We Fight The Woke Militants

Jun 12, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

UPDATE.3: From a professor in the comments section:

I am a full professor in the humanities at a major private university. Everyone on this blog would likely recognize my name if I published it here.

I've decided that at this point my life–I am in my late 50s–that proactively fighting is just not worth it for me. Over a decade ago I suffered a severe depressive episode after a student at my school sought to destroy me online by publishing, without my permission, a kindly penned private note to her. (It involved a "woke" topic. But I'll just leave it at that). In any event, it seemed like hell for about two weeks, suffering night terrors, severe insomnia, excruciating brain zaps in the middle of the night, etc. I could have turned her into the provost's office for violating the university's honor code. But I knew if I did that I would create my own Streisand effect. Thus, I thought to myself, just suffer for a little while and it will go away. It did. But the episode changed me immensely.

So, with BLM and its insane sycophantic Jonestown-like disciples, I will not go out of my way to cause trouble, such as asking my university president difficult questions, boycotting the school's required diversity training, and so forth. However, I will not lie, and I will not confess things I do not believe. That, of course, may be enough to attract negative attention from "the Woman." (Take note: it's not "the Man" anymore). So be it. I have a nice chunk of change in savings, retirement, and investments, and I am confident that I can find work at lower ranked institutions that would be more than happy to hire me. So for me, it's not a question of money or finding work. It's the emotional toll. I want to continue writing, doing first rate scholarship, and try as best I can to contribute to my discipline.

As far as my students go, I will continue to teach in a "Benedict Option" way, trying the best I can to "strengthen the things that remain" (Rev. 3) and pass on to them the best that has been thought, believed, and lived in Western Civilisation. My experience has been that students are hungry for such direction, but you have to present it to them in a way what meets them where they are at. You cannot presuppose anything. For this reason, I have found creative ways to introduce them to ancient and modern ideas that do not directly address contemporary concerns. As they say, I try to find "the thin edge of the wedge" and pound away, using self-deprecating humor, personal anecdotes, and a sense of joy in my teaching. (Don't ever, I mean ever, underestimate the attractiveness and power of exhibiting love for one's students). This results in them letting their guard down. (We used to call it in the old days "being open minded." Back then "being closed minded" was considered disgraceful. Now it's an essential qualification for employment at the New York Times. Go figure). On the other hand, I will not compromise in my lectures or acquiesce to altering my curricular plan to meet the non-academic demands of the Office of Diversity and Equity (if such demands in fact arise, though they have not yet). I realize that I can not avoid them forever, that at some point they will likely try to force me to confess my allegiance to their bizarre Uncivil Religion. At that point, I will be among my blessed predecessors, including Socrates, Jesus, St. Peter, St. Paul, and Dante. What an honor.

SB 7 hours ago

One weapon in the arsenal of progressives has been, for generations, popular media. (How many were encouraged by Lennon's "Heaven" to leave the faith? How many people did U2 get to join amnesty International?)

I wonder whether it might not be useful to assemble a catalog of art/media that (a) is universally acknowledged as genuinely good, decent, and true, and (b) tends to undermine some of the worst excesses of the woke.

These should be works that do not in any obvious way present themselves as "conservative" or even as proposing what you would call specific policy positions; instead, they would model resistance to the sort of compulsory conformity that we are dreading.

I'll start the list:

A Man for All Seasons (1966 film), specifically for Thomas More's thoughts concerning silence and the freedom of conscience.

L RNY 7 hours ago
The militants have chosen the most sympathetic states, governors and mayors for these protests, riots, arson, assault, etc and most recently urban takeovers but success against pacifist mayors and governors breads hubris and conceit and over confidence. Eventually they are going to try this in a less sympathetic state and the national guard or the military will be called in to secure the areas possibly with real bullets and with a totality of securing Baghdad or Kabul. The domestic terrorism laws and treason laws will be dusted off and applied to those arrested.

[Jun 11, 2020] The silver lining in the dark cloud: the COVID Crisis Canceled Many Graduation Speeches. Thank Goodness...

Jun 11, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

As with allmost everything that occurs as a university, the purpose of the commencement speech is not to provide a service to the students, but to make the institution's faculty and staff feel important...

...It should be noted that most students who attend commencement ceremonies couldn't care less who the celebrity speaker is. Most of them are there because they like the ritualistic aspects of it, and virtually no one remembers what is said at commencement speeches in any case.

The fact that most students (i.e., paying customers) just want to "feel graduated" by going to these ceremonies should be a tip to the faculty that speakers should be non-controversial. But, because these administrators want attention and influence, they often insist on bringing in controversial political figures and causing even more grief for their customers, as if four years of over-priced classes and social conditioning wasn't enough.

The fact colleges and universities couldn't care less about the people who pay the bills was reinforced all the more this year when most universities shut down as a result of the COVID-19 panic. Most higher education institutions insisted on charging students full price even though "college" was reduced to series of Zoom meetings and online assignments. Obviously, that's not what most students paid for. College administrators, of course, were adamant that the students keep paying through the nose for services not rendered

...

Fortunately, some of the more intelligent university trustees have already done away with it altogether. Cep notes:

As Jason Song of The Los Angeles Times noticed, current Washington and Lee President Kenneth Ruscio explained in 2009: "The wise and fiscally prudent Board determined that in future years our graduates and families should rest easy knowing that if they had to endure a worthless Commencement address, it would at least be inexpensive," meaning the president gives the only speech.


Tennessee Patriot , 4 minutes ago

Best example I ever heard of describing a graduation ceremony:

Imagine you are sitting there in the hot sun, wrapped in a shower curtain, listening to someone read a NYC Phone book for 3 hours.

I had to do that for HS, two Bachelor's Degrees, a Masters, two daughters & two out of 7 Grandbabies.

No thanks. Highly overrated ********. If it was up to me, they can mail it to me and lets go straight to the party afterwards.

Handful of Dust , 1 hour ago

" I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."

Joe Biden, referring to the Kenyan at the beginning of the 2008 Democratic primary campaign, Jan. 31, 2007.

"He's like magic. Some day they'll be calling him The Magic *****!"

Yen Cross , 1 hour ago

The longer these kids are away from their indoctrination camps, the better.

Bear , 1 hour ago

"As many colleges struggle with tight budgets" ... what a crook, they have so much money they can pay their professors 250,000 to toe the line and they a support staff of thousands ... America's most corrup institution (after the FED)

[Jun 11, 2020] There's a Crisis in US Capitalism but how it will unfold is completely unclear by Richard D. Wolff

Looks like there are some elements of systemic crisis of neoliberalism in the current situation. a revived Cold War (against Russia and China) is a desperate attempt to find a scapegoat and switch attention of population from the subservience of both Party to Wall Street and MIC. To the "Full spectrum Dominance" doctrine which ensure record levels of military spending, sealing money from working class and lower middle class. At the same time top 20% of population still support neoliberalism so the current riots will pass like Occupy Wall Street movement.
Notable quotes:
"... Today's mass unemployment also threatens those still employed, the remaining 120 million members of the U.S. labor force. ..."
"... the predictable results of mass joblessness in the U.S. are deepening social divisions, renewed racism, social protests, and government repression (often violent). ..."
"... By thereby blocking, if only temporarily, a powerful emerging opposition, Democratic Party leaders deterred mass opposition to bailouts, unemployment, minimal COVID-19 testing, and all the government's other failures. They just want to win the November 2020 election. Biden's vague "return to normal" promises are offered as soothing antidotes to the Trump/GOP's crisis-wracked, fear-mongering divisiveness. Trump plunges ahead with a radically pro-capitalist agenda coupled with reactionary cultural and political warfare against civil rights and liberties. ..."
"... Global isolation accompanies the U.S.'s declining economic and political footprints. Its technological supremacy is increasingly challenged globally and especially in and by China. ..."
"... Further China-bashing -- pursued by both major parties -- will only slow global economic growth just when many circumstances converge to make that the least desirable future. Record-breaking levels of government, corporate and household debt make the U.S. economy exceptionally vulnerable to future shocks and cyclical downturns. ..."
"... No "return to normal" after the combined systemic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and capitalist depression is likely. ..."
"... Richard D. Wolff, Professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, in New York. Wolff's weekly show, "Economic Update," is syndicated by more than 100 radio stations and goes to 55 million TV receivers via Free Speech TV. His two recent books with Democracy at Work are Understanding Marxism and Understanding Socialism, both available at democracyatwork.info. This article was produced by Economy for All , a project of the Independent Media Institute. ..."
"... democracy needs an alternative! ..."
"... In a rather simplistic understanding of these issues, I too have often wondered about this endless "growth" goal. How can we have long-term a system, whose inner logic requires constant growth to remain 'viable' – on a planet with finite resources? A collision of the two seems inevitable at some point. Am I missing something? ..."
"... Economic growth and human population growth have been disasters for much of the animal/plant world (insects, large mammals, forests, oceans). ..."
"... Human focused economists seem to ignore this vitally important earth inhabiting non-human constituency in the quest for the, always assumed necessary, headline economic growth. ..."
Jun 10, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
June 10, 2020 Capitalism has always had business cycles. The capitalist enterprises that produce goods and services are distinctively organized around the conflicted relationship of employer and employees and the competitive relationship of markets. These central relationships of capitalism together generate cyclical instability. Wherever capitalism became a society's economic system over the last three centuries, business cycles recurred every four to seven years. Capitalism has mechanisms to survive its cycles, but they are painful, especially when employers fire employees. Widespread pain (unemployment, bankruptcies, disrupted public finances, etc.) brought the label "crisis" to capitalism's cyclical downturns. Only on special occasions, and rarely, did the cyclical crises in capitalism become crises of capitalism as a system. That has usually required other non-economic problems (political, cultural, and/or natural) to reach crescendo peaks around the same time as a cyclical economic downturn. Today is a time of crisis both in and of U.S. capitalism.

U.S. economic policy now focuses on what is already the worst business cycle downturn since the 1929 crash. As data accumulate, it may well prove to be the worst in global capitalism's entire history. Forty million jobless U.S. workers find incomes lost, savings disappearing and over-indebted family finances worsening.

Today's mass unemployment also threatens those still employed, the remaining 120 million members of the U.S. labor force. Mass unemployment always invites employers to cut wages, benefits and working conditions. If any of their employees quit, many among the millions of unemployed will accept those abandoned jobs. Knowing that, most employees accept their employers' cuts. Employers will justify them as required by "the pandemic" or by what they say are its effects on their profits.

Led by Trump and the Republicans and tolerated by the Democrats' leaders, U.S. employers are intensifying class war against workers. That is what mass joblessness accomplishes. On one hand, Washington bails out employers with trillions of dollars. On the other, Washington enables (by funding) a mass joblessness that directly undermines the entire working class. Germany and France, for example, could not allow such joblessness because of their labor movements' and socialist parties' social influences. In sharp contrast, the predictable results of mass joblessness in the U.S. are deepening social divisions, renewed racism, social protests, and government repression (often violent).

... ... ...

By thereby blocking, if only temporarily, a powerful emerging opposition, Democratic Party leaders deterred mass opposition to bailouts, unemployment, minimal COVID-19 testing, and all the government's other failures. They just want to win the November 2020 election. Biden's vague "return to normal" promises are offered as soothing antidotes to the Trump/GOP's crisis-wracked, fear-mongering divisiveness. Trump plunges ahead with a radically pro-capitalist agenda coupled with reactionary cultural and political warfare against civil rights and liberties.

It is the old GOP strategy but a much more extreme version. The Democrats counter with reactionary responses: a revived Cold War (against Russia and/or China) and a domestic safety less shredded than what the GOP plans. Culture wars are perhaps the only realm where Democrats sense some votes in not caving further to right-wing pressures.

Alternating Democratic and Republican governments produced today's impasse. Global isolation accompanies the U.S.'s declining economic and political footprints. Its technological supremacy is increasingly challenged globally and especially in and by China. Efforts to break that challenge have not succeeded and will not likely do better in the future. Further China-bashing -- pursued by both major parties -- will only slow global economic growth just when many circumstances converge to make that the least desirable future. Record-breaking levels of government, corporate and household debt make the U.S. economy exceptionally vulnerable to future shocks and cyclical downturns.

The U.S. population below 40 years of age struggles increasingly with unsustainable debts. The jobs and incomes it faces have already undermined access to the "American Dream" they were promised as children. Nor have they much hope for the future as today's pandemic-cum-crash imposes more hardships on them. That protests surge, provoked further by government repression, should surprise no one.

Repeated polls where half the young "prefer socialism over capitalism" reflect growing antipathy to their deteriorating capitalist reality. In the Cold War-shaped U.S. school system since the late 1940s, socialism's substantive theories and practices were not seriously taught. Debates among socialists over how socialism was changing or should change remain largely unknown. Today's growing interests in critiques of capitalism and in socialism's varieties reflect young peoples' rejection of Cold War taboos as well as a capitalism that has failed them.

No "return to normal" after the combined systemic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and capitalist depression is likely. Many want no such return because they believe that that normal led to both the pandemic and the economic crash. They also believe that the managers of that old normal -- corporate CEOs in both their private and governmental positions -- should face tough public scrutiny and opposition because of where that normal led and where it will likely lead again.

Those managers are not solving the problems they helped to create: utterly inadequate testing for the virus, bigger-than-ever bailouts for the biggest banks and corporations, mass unemployment, and deepening wealth and income inequalities.

Why then keep those managers in power? We should not expect different results from them now than when conditions were "normal."

Of course protests flared up in and around African American communities. Beyond their long history of suffering social and employment discrimination and police oppression, it is important to remember that those communities suffered worst in the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Their unemployment then shot up, they lost homes disproportionately to foreclosures, etc. They have died from the coronavirus significantly more than white communities. Because of disproportionate reliance on low-paid service sector jobs, they have once again suffered disproportionately in 2020's crash of U.S. capitalism. When a president then blatantly panders to white supremacy and white supremacists, while making and repeating racist comments, the ingredients are in place to provoke protests. However useful for Trump/GOP electoral campaigns, social protests and oppressive police responses add sharp social conflicts to the already disastrous combination of viral pandemic and economic crash.

Trump is a product and sign of U.S. capitalism's exhaustion. The long, cozy governmental alternation between GOP and Democrats after the trauma of the 1930s Great Depression had achieved its purpose. It had undone FDR's redistribution of wealth from the top to the middle and the bottom. It had "fixed" that problem by reversing the redistribution of wealth and income. The ideological cover for that "fix" was bipartisan demonization of domestic socialism combined with bipartisan pursuit of Cold War with the USSR. The major GOP vs. Democratic Party dispute concerned the modes and extents of governmental support for private capitalism (as in Keynes vs. Friedman, etc.). That minor squabble got raised to the status of "the major issue" for politicians, journalists, and academics to debate because they caved to the taboo on debates over capitalism vs. socialism.

Capitalism has so extremely redistributed wealth and income to the top 1 percent, so mired the vast majority in overwork and excess debt, and so extinguished "good jobs" (via relocating them abroad and automation) that the system itself draws ever-deeper disaffection, criticism, and opposition. At first, deepening social divisions expressed the system's disintegration. Now open street protests take the U.S. a step closer to a full-on crisis of the system.

Trump subordinated the old managers of capitalism by politically threatening them with aroused, angry small businesses and middle-income workers. Trump promises the latter a return to what they had before the upwards redistribution of wealth hurt them. He tells the old managers that he and his base alone can secure their social positions atop an upwardly redistributed contemporary capitalism. They will save the old managers from Bernie, "progressivism" and "socialism." The Democratic Party's old, "centrist" leadership offers weak, partial opposition, hoping Trump goes too far and implodes the GOP.

In the wake of the pandemic and the massive unemployment used to "manage" it, wages and benefits will take major hits in the months and years ahead. Wealth will be further redistributed upward. Social divisions will deepen and so will social protests. This crisis in capitalism is also a crisis of capitalism.

Richard D. Wolff, Professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, in New York. Wolff's weekly show, "Economic Update," is syndicated by more than 100 radio stations and goes to 55 million TV receivers via Free Speech TV. His two recent books with Democracy at Work are Understanding Marxism and Understanding Socialism, both available at democracyatwork.info. This article was produced by Economy for All , a project of the Independent Media Institute.


Louis Fyne , June 10, 2020 at 10:28 am

(IMO) things could've been righted in 2009-2010, when US capitalism had two wheels over the precipice and the political will was there for systemic change.

instead the system floored the accelerator and the bus is off the cliff

If only Democrats, Pelosi and Bide were around to do something then! (sarc)

Rolf , June 10, 2020 at 2:22 pm

+2 The good ship America, capsized, can right itself and escape what seems to be inevitable submergence by reversing regressive policies embraced by both political parties since the Reagan "revolution". But both parties also seemed doomed to irrelevance, because both have, as Wolff describes, just played musical chairs over four decades. Little surprise that the only growing political affiliation is "Independent": democracy needs an alternative! Even BEFORE COVID-19, those under 40 could not find sustainable employment, and those over 40 were jettisoned as too expensive to maintain. Meanwhile the mainstream media supply a steady diet of trivia and misinformation, gushing over stock market rebounds or growth in Jeff Bezos' literal mountain of wealth, while a realistic 25% of the work force (including those in the darling "gig" economy) don't have a job or a paycheck, and can't make the rent. Unbelievable. And a disgrace in any country with the means to correct it.

The political response to this virus and the ensuing economic collapse is but one preview to our future: we should study it, and hard. A vaccine may take a few years to put in place, but there is no "vaccine" against profound environmental shifts on the horizon, broadly labeled climate change. A response that avoids enormous human suffering requires planning and transformations on space and time scales unlike anything we have faced heretofore. The bad news: these shifts are already manifest and likely irreversible. The good news: a response will require everyone's labor, creativity, and collaboration. This means planning, cooperation, and work , much of which can't be automated easily. These are political and economic transformations in which we will have no choice, if we are to survive.

John Steinbach , June 10, 2020 at 4:48 pm

Emphasizing that there will be radical reduction in energy/resource use in the near future, either planned or unplanned. The Club of Rome models appear to be still spot on.

ChrisFromGeorgia , June 10, 2020 at 10:32 am

Good article that makes many valid points. One I disagree with though is:

will only slow global economic growth just when many circumstances converge to make that the least desirable future

Why is growth always the goal? Given the looming climate change catastrophe, economic growth is the enemy. We must figure out how to live in a zero-growth (i.e. balanced) economy or we will kill off the human race. A lot of the tensions we see are because it is no longer possible to "grow" the economy in a way that benefits all segments of society. Energy and GDP are related. As we run out of the former the latter must adjust.

Olga , June 10, 2020 at 11:46 am

In a rather simplistic understanding of these issues, I too have often wondered about this endless "growth" goal. How can we have long-term a system, whose inner logic requires constant growth to remain 'viable' – on a planet with finite resources? A collision of the two seems inevitable at some point. Am I missing something?

John Wright , June 10, 2020 at 12:40 pm

You are not missing something.

Economic growth and human population growth have been disasters for much of the animal/plant world (insects, large mammals, forests, oceans).

Human focused economists seem to ignore this vitally important earth inhabiting non-human constituency in the quest for the, always assumed necessary, headline economic growth.

As we follow in the path of our already distressed animal/plant kingdom, achieving a "balanced" economy without a great deal of human distress seems unlikely to this reader .

[Jun 11, 2020] History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce: The replay on the new level of slogans Viva proletarian science. Down with Bourgeoisie lackeys in academia

Politicized science makes a strong comeback.
Notable quotes:
"... Who is Amy Siskind going to call to arrest Tucker Carlson and bring him to a tribunal? The defunded police? ..."
Jun 11, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Look at what's happening to Harald Uhlig, a prominent University of Chicago economist, who posted:

Harald Uhlig @haralduhlig

Too bad, but # blacklivesmatter per its core organization @ Blklivesmatter just torpedoed itself, with its full-fledged support of # defundthepolice : "We call for a national defunding of police." Suuuure. They knew this is non-starter, and tried a sensible Orwell 1984 of saying,

603 11:43 PM - Jun 8, 2020 Twitter Ads info and privacy

281 people are talking about this

Uhlig now faces a social media campaign, led by a prominent University of Michigan economist, to get him booted as editor of the Journal of Political Economy . Here is another leader of the professional lynch mob:

Max Auffhammer @auffhammer

I am calling for the resignation of Harald Uhlig ( @ haralduhlig ) as the editor of the Journal of Political Economy. If you would like to add your name to this call, it is posted at https:// forms.gle/9uiJVqCAXBDBg6 8N9 . It will be delivered by end of day 6/10 (tomorrow).

Letter calling for the resignation of Harald Uhlig as Editor of the Journal of Political Economy

To: The editors of the Journal of Political Economy and President of The University of Chicago Press We, the undersigned, call for the resignation of Harald Uhlig, the Bruce Allen and Barbara...

docs.google.com
413 5:34 PM - Jun 9, 2020 Twitter Ads info and privacy

216 people are talking about this

These are academics.


Jack 19 hours ago

Amy Siskind sounds like a Pol Pot in waiting.

Civis Romanus Sum 19 hours ago

There has been a rash of firings of editors this week. One interesting thing - judging by the publications listed and by the cringing, groveling apologies given by these editors, they are liberals who are being eaten by up-and-coming radicals. It's like the liberals had no idea what hit them.

Wilfred 18 hours ago

I used to worry the future would be like "1984". Then the Soviet Union fell, things seemed OK tor awhile. After 9/11, I worried the future would be like "Khartoum". But now, it looks like it is going to be a weird combination of "Invasion of the Body-Snatchers" and "Planet of the Apes".

Seoulite 18 hours ago

Now seeing reports on Twitter that the Seattle Autonomous Zone now has its first warlord. America truly is a diverse place. You have hippie communes, religious sects, semi-autonomous Indian reservations, a gerontocracy in Washington, and now your very own Africa style fiefdom complete with warlord.

I really am sorry. This must be so depressing to watch as an American.

RBH 18 hours ago • edited

Arizona State journalism school retracts offer to new dean because of an "insensitive" tweets and comments - by insensitive we mean, not sufficiently zealous and not hip to the full-spectrum wokeness. Online student petitions follow, and you know the rest of the story.

This is madness. The true late stages of a revolution where they start eating their own.

https://www.azcentral.com/s...

SatirevFlesti 18 hours ago

Those tweets above (and countless others like them) just demonstrate the absolute intellectual and moral rot that now reigns in academia. I saw one yesterday by an attorney for a prominent activist organization who said he couldn't understand why the Constitution isn't interpreted as "requiring" the demolition of the Robert E. Lee statue in Virginia, and others like it. I'm having a harder time understanding how he ever graduated from an accredited law school.

Forget "defund the police," perhaps "defund universities" would be the best place to start healing what ails contemporary culture. The rot started there, not only with the "anti-racist" (as opposed to "mere" non-racism) cant, it with gender ideology (Judith Butler), Cultural Marxism, etc. When "pc" first became a common term in the early '90s I thought it passing fad. We now see the result of the decades long radical march through the institutions bearing fruit, and it's more strange and rotten fruit than ever.

Raskolnik 17 hours ago

Woke leftists are the people who believe in the myth of aggregate Black intellectual parity with Whites and Asians the least. That's why they constantly do absolutely everything in their power to juke the statistics, like allowing Black students to not have to take exams, which is really just an extension of this same principle at work in "affirmative action."

lohengrin 17 hours ago • edited

The French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Great Leap Forward, the Khmer Rouge--100,000,000 people were murdered in the name of extreme egalitarianism across the 20th century. When leftism gets out of control, tragedy happens.

I have no idea why you believe hard totalitarian methods aren't coming. I'm not sure what the answer is. We can expect no help from the Republican party. That much is certain. A disturbing number of people have not yet awoken from their dogmatic slumber.

Mr. Karamazov 17 hours ago

People are going to have to stand up to these bullies. If you back down they will just beat you up again tomorrow.

Fyodor D 16 hours ago

Who is Amy Siskind going to call to arrest Tucker Carlson and bring him to a tribunal? The defunded police?

It seems to me that the left has gone about this bassackwards. First you ashcan the Second Amendment, THEN you take away their First Amendment Rights. You most certainly do not go around silencing people with political correctness, then go around announcing your intention to kulak an entire group of very well-armed people. But that's just my opinion...

Rod, I disagree that a "soft totalitarianism" is what awaits us if these barbarians are allowed to run around unopposed. The notion of human rights is a product of the religion they despise, so I see no reason why they would respect this ideal when dealing with vile white wreckers of the multi-cultural utopia they have envisioned.

[Jun 10, 2020] World Bank is predicting that between 70-100m people will driven back below poverty line

Jun 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Jun 10 2020 21:30 utc | 34

Economic news:

World Bank is predicting that between 70-100m people will driven back below poverty line

WB's "poverty line" is just USD 1.90 per day. It was only USD 1.00 until some four years ago, and is outdated.

In reality, if you really take inflation into account, there are much more people living below the real poverty line in the capitalist world.

And no V-shaped recovery for the capitalist world either:

Returning to normal? Hardly, according to OECD projections

World Bank's global forecasts are out:

WB: 5.2 percent contraction in global GDP in 2020

I noticed there are a lot of people here that still have faith in capitalism. The problem is only with the demented variation found in the USA, they say; the European model is the way to go, they say...

Well, this is Germany:

German exports fell 24% in April compared to March; -31% annualized (April 2019) - worst since 1950

Germany's industrial production slumped by 17.9 percent month-over-month in April 2020

As a bonus: Japan's machinery orders fell 52.8% in May (another record).

--//--

It's official: USA is - finally (after 12 years cooking the books and printing trillions of Dollars) - in a recession:

NBER: US economy is in recession and has been since February

Bonus news:

Here's the true graphic of the "V-shaped recovery" of the CNBC post some days ago - pay attention to the yellow circle!:

Stock markets rocketed back to all-time highs as the US reported that its unemployment rate had dropped to 13.3 percent in May 2020

[Jun 09, 2020] Galbraith 'Disillusion' Is America's One Big Growth Sector Right Now

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Moreover, people do distinguish between needs and wants. Americans need to eat, but they mostly don't need to eat out. They don't need to travel. Restaurant owners and airlines therefore have two problems: they can't cover costs while their capacity is limited for public-health reasons, and demand would be down even if the coronavirus disappeared. This explains why many businesses are not reopening even though they legally can. Others are reopening, but fear they cannot hold out for long. And the many millions of workers in America's vast services sector are realizing that their jobs are simply not essential. ..."
"... America's economic plight is structural. It is not simply the consequence of Trump's incompetence or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's poor political strategy. It reflects systemic changes over 50 years that have created an economy based on global demand for advanced goods, consumer demand for frills, and ever-growing household and business debts. This economy was in many ways prosperous, and it provided jobs and incomes to many millions. Yet it was a house of cards, and COVID-19 has blown it down. ..."
Jun 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

In the 1960s, the US had a balanced economy that produced goods for both businesses and households, at all levels of technology, with a fairly small (and tightly regulated) financial sector. It produced largely for itself, importing mainly commodities.

Today, the US produces for the world, mainly advanced investment goods and services, in sectors such as aerospace, information technology, arms, oilfield services, and finance. And it imports far more consumer goods, such as clothing, electronics, cars, and car parts, than it did a half-century ago.

And whereas cars, televisions, and household appliances drove US consumer demand in the 1960s, a much larger share of domestic spending today goes (or went) to restaurants, bars, hotels, resorts, gyms, salons, coffee shops, and tattoo parlors, as well as college tuition and doctor's visits. Tens of millions of Americans work in these sectors.

Finally, American household spending in the 1960s was powered by rising wages and growing home equity. But wages have been largely stagnant since at least 2000, and spending increases since 2010 were powered by rising personal and corporate debts. House values are now stagnant at best, and will likely fall in the months ahead.

Mainstream economics pays little attention to such structural questions. Instead, it assumes that business investment responds mostly to the consumer, whose spending is dictated equally by income and desire. The distinction between "essential" and "superfluous" does not exist. Debt burdens are largely ignored.

But demand for many US-made capital goods now depends on global conditions. Orders for new aircraft will not recover while half of all existing planes are grounded. At current prices, the global oil industry is not drilling new wells. Even at home, though existing construction projects may be completed, plans for new office towers or retail outlets won't be launched soon. And as people commute less, cars will last longer, so demand for them (and gasoline) will suffer.

Faced with radical uncertainty, US consumers will save more and spend less. Even if the government replaces their lost incomes for a time, people know that stimulus is short term. What they do not know is when the next job offer – or layoff – will come along.

Moreover, people do distinguish between needs and wants. Americans need to eat, but they mostly don't need to eat out. They don't need to travel. Restaurant owners and airlines therefore have two problems: they can't cover costs while their capacity is limited for public-health reasons, and demand would be down even if the coronavirus disappeared. This explains why many businesses are not reopening even though they legally can. Others are reopening, but fear they cannot hold out for long. And the many millions of workers in America's vast services sector are realizing that their jobs are simply not essential.

Meanwhile, US household debts – rent, mortgage, and utility arrears, as well as interest on education and car loans – have continued to mount. True, stimulus checks have helped: defaults have so far been modest, and many landlords have been accommodating. But as people face long periods with lower incomes, they will continue to hoard funds to ensure that they can repay their fixed debts. As if all this were not enough, falling sales- and income-tax revenues are prompting US state and local governments to cut spending, compounding the loss of jobs and incomes.

America's economic plight is structural. It is not simply the consequence of Trump's incompetence or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's poor political strategy. It reflects systemic changes over 50 years that have created an economy based on global demand for advanced goods, consumer demand for frills, and ever-growing household and business debts. This economy was in many ways prosperous, and it provided jobs and incomes to many millions. Yet it was a house of cards, and COVID-19 has blown it down.

"Reopen America" is therefore an economic and political fantasy. Incumbent politicians crave a cheery growth rebound, and the depth of the collapse makes possible some attractive short-term numbers. But taking them seriously will merely set the stage for a new round of disillusion. As nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality show, disillusion is America's one big growth sector right now.

[Jun 09, 2020] This is worse the circus: Mitt Romney, a private equty shark the specilaty of whom is to fleece poor marched with BLM

Notable quotes:
"... How much of this is virtue signalling by Mitt Romney and others of the elite? Is he willing to disgorge himself of the the hundreds of millions he took from Americans through his company Bain? ..."
Jun 09, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

>

Victor_the_thinker engineerscotty 21 hours ago

These far right social conservatives lost yesterday and they don't even realize it. Mitt Romney marched with BLM. Mitt is no radical on social issues (he certainly is on. Taxes on the rich) you won't convince a single one of these hard right wing people that systemic racism is real, even when you give examples like the North Carolina Republican Party disenfranchising blacks "with surgical precision" or the direct evidence of the commenter Dukeboy who states he is a retired police officer and is obviously a white supremacists. But you don't need to convince them of anything. This is the same group who would have been against the civil rights protests in the '60's. They aren't needed to create a massive change.

The hubris to think that your feelings of guilt would be meaningful to black people is off the charts.
"My local school has been underfunded for generations due to the property tax funding system and redlining but Karen feels bad about it so all is right with the world!"-Said no black person ever.

joeo 17 hours ago

How much of this is virtue signalling by Mitt Romney and others of the elite? Is he willing to disgorge himself of the the hundreds of millions he took from Americans through his company Bain?

Moonbeam joeo 15 hours ago • edited

How much? 100% of it. Romney is a vicious corporate raider who has destroyed countless jobs and by extension, lives. How many suicides have followed in the wake of Bain's corporate takeovers? When Romney lived in Belmont, MA, he and his wife petitioned the town to not allow ambulances to go down their street with sirens on. Seriously.

[Jun 08, 2020] The Systemic Collapse Of The US Society Has Begun by the Saker

In many way this is just a wishful thinking. Saker's hyperbolic rhetoric is just cheap propaganda and does not help to decifer the issues the USA faces!
Looks like Clinton wing of Dems is willing to burn their own house to get rid of Trump. "If I had to guess, I'd say it's the neoliberal, CIA-Obama faction vs. the Trump-Military faction, (Pompeo et al)" But why? Why Obamagate is picking up steam? Looks Barry CIA Obama is still a player. Is he also a reason we have senile Biden is the candidate for President on the Dem side? Are we seeing the power of a CIA community organizer, color-revolutionary pulling strings across multiple strata of society?
The current riots create pressure of Trump and attempt are made to use them as the third act of anti-Trump revolution but this clearly is nor a civil war. Like other protests before it (Civil rights marches, anti-Vietnam and Iraq wars, Occupy) little to no substantive changes have been introduced insofar as reining in of the war machine, the pursuit of social and economic justice (universal free education and health care, equal employment and housing opportunities, scaling down of the MIC and the Prison Industrial Complex, degrade Israel and Saudi lobbies, etc.
Jun 08, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
  1. Racism or "White privilege"
  2. Police violence
  3. Social alienation and despair
  4. Poverty
  5. Trump
  6. The liberals pouring fuel on social fires
  7. The infighting of the US elites/deep state

They are not about any of these because they encompass all of these issues, and more.

It is important to always keep in mind the distinction between the concepts of " cause " and "pretext". And while it is true that all the factors listed above are real (at least to some degree, and without looking at the distinction between cause and effect), none of them are the true cause of what we are witnessing. At most, the above are pretexts, triggers if you want, but the real cause of what is taking place today is the systemic collapse of the US society.

The next thing which we must also keep in mind is that evidence of correlation is not evidence of causality . Take, for example, this article from CNN entitled "US black-white inequality in 6 stark charts" which completely conflates the two concepts and which includes the following sentence (stress added) " Those disparities exist because of a long history of policies that excluded and exploited black Americans, said Valerie Wilson, director of the program on race, ethnicity and the economy at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning group. " The word "because" clearly point to a causality, yet absolutely nothing in the article or data support this. The US media is chock-full of such conflations of correlation and causality, yet it is rarely denounced.

For a society, any society, to function a number of factors that make up the social contract need to be present. The exact list that make up these factors will depend on each individual country, but they would typically include some kind of social consensus, the acceptance by most people of the legitimacy of the government and its institutions, often a unifying ideology or, at least, common values, the presence of a stable middle-class, the reasonable hope for a functioning "social life", educational institutions etc. Finally, and cynically, it always helps the ruling elites if they can provide enough circuses (TV) and bread (food) to most citizens. This is even true of so-called authoritarian/totalitarian societies which, contrary to the liberal myth, typically do enjoy the support of a large segment of the population (if only because these regimes are often more capable of providing for the basic needs of society).

Right now, I would argue that the US government has almost completely lost its ability to deliver any of those factors, or act to repair the broken social contract. In fact, what we can observe is the exact opposite: the US society is highly divided, as is the US ruling class (which is even more important). Not only that, but ever since the election of Trump, all the vociferous Trump-haters have been undermining the legitimacy not only of Trump himself, but of the political system which made his election possible. I have been saying that for years: by saying "not my President" the Trump-haters have de-legitimized not only Trump personally, but also de-legitimized the Executive branch as such.

This is an absolutely amazing phenomenon: while for almost four years Trump has been destroying the US Empire externally, Trump-haters spent the same four years destroying the US from the inside! If we look past the (largely fictional) differences between the Republicrats and the Demolicans we can see that they operate like a demolition tag-team of sorts and while they hate each other with a passion, they both contribute to bringing down both the Empire and the United States. For anybody who has studied dialectics this would be very predictable but, alas, dialectics are not taught anymore, hence the stunned "deer in the headlights" look on the faces of most people today.

Finally, it is pretty clear that for all its disclaimers about supporting only the "peaceful protestors" and its condemnation of the "out of town looters", most of the US media (as well as the alt media) is completely unable to give a moral/ethical evaluation of what is taking place. What I mean by this is the following:

  1. obwandiyag says: Show Comment June 4, 2020 at 11:22 pm GMT Cops don't protect nothing but rich people's money. You been watching too much TV.

    And this ain't nothing. Nothing. Not compared to 1967-68.

    But you young people don't know nothing. Especially about history. So, no surprise there.

  1. Si1ver1ock says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 3:14 am GMT • 100 Words If I had to guess, I'd say it's the neoliberal, CIA-Obama faction vs the Trump-Military faction, (Pompeo et al)

    This came to a head just as Obama-gate was picking up steam. Obama is still a player. He is the reason we have Biden for President on the Dem side, for example.

    My guess is that you are seeing the power of a CIA community organizer, color-revolutionary, Jedi psyop master, pulling strings across multiple strata of society.

    Trump and Obama don't like each other for some reason.

  1. Just another serf says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 4:35 am GMT • 200 Words

    The Systemic Collapse of the US Society Has Begun

    Begun? It's been in process for many decades. It might have begun in the early 20th century. What's new here? Focusing on recent times, jobs disappeared in the 70's. Inflation exploded at the same time. Negro antagonism began in the 60's. Replacement of the white population accelerated in 1965 and continued relentlessly to the current moment.

    We are seeing the looting phase of the business known as the United States of America. Refer to an informative scene from the movie Goodfellas. The criminals got control of a business, looted it into bankruptcy and burned the place down. Except in this case there are no Italians involved. And you know who replaces them in our real life experience.

  1. Espinoza says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 6:44 am GMT It's controlled demolition. First unjustified lockdown. Then unjustified race riots. The deep state is intent on destroying Trump.

    If US is divided into mutually hostile territories, guess where the majority will go. That is right. They will go to white dominated areas as they do now to white dominated neighborhoods.

    Can no one stop the deep state?

  1. Brewer says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 7:17 am GMT • 100 Words Seen it all before. How short do memories have to be to forget Kent State, Rodney King, the Civil Rights protests of the sixties, Harlem riot of 1964, the Watts riot of 1965 et al ?

    America is and will remain a deeply disturbed society given that their entire philosophy, lifestyle and Politics is based on consumerism. Winners (no matter how unethical) are heroes, losers (no matter how unjustly) are despised.

    America will bump and grind on through bankruptcy, both morally and economically. It is the Judaic way.

    Simple fact is that most Americans are ignorant of History and are therefore condemned to go on repeating the past.

[Jun 08, 2020] Why do the empires or at least very successful countries collapse? The answer is actually very simple. Because the elites of such successful entities lose touch with reality.

Jun 08, 2020 | www.unz.com

Cyrano , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 2:53 am GMT

Why (Oh, why) do the empires – or at least very successful countries collapse? The answer is actually very simple. Because the elites of such successful entities lose touch with reality.

The elites in every country, even the worst s ** tholes on the planet earth are always going to be OK, better than the ordinary citizens – that's the whole point of being an elite – to avoid the suffering of the common people.

And because there is no mechanism to increase the suffering of the elites in tandem with the suffering of the ordinary population – when the times are tough – the elites fail to respond to the difficulties that ordinary citizens face.

The elites start living in a fantasy world where they believe that as long as they are OK, the country is OK. But the elites are going to be OK right up to the moment the country collapses, so that's not an accurate measure of how the country is doing. The country can be in the doldrums and the elites will still be OK.

That disconnect from reality is what prevents them to undertake measures that will alleviate the plight of the majority of the population.

To make the things even worse, the elites of the enlightened west (that's how you call countries that are struck by lightning) seems to have found a way to progressively increase the benefits for themselves proportionately to the decrease of good fortunes coming the way of the common citizens, thus further removing any incentive to act on behalf of the majority of the population and further increasing the chasm that separates the haves from the have nots.

animalogic , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 8:01 am GMT
@Cyrano Really good comment Cyrano.
1.
"Because the elites of such successful entities lose touch with reality."
2.
Elites have "found a way to progressively increase the benefits for themselves proportionately to the decrease of good fortunes coming the way of the common citizens, thus further removing any incentive to act on behalf of the majority of the population and further increasing the chasm that separates the haves from the have nots."
In fact, the wealthier Elites become, the greater the chasm between them & the 99.9% becomes, the more desperate Elites come to feel about their situation. Call it subconscious guilt or conscious fear & insecurity but the richer & more powerful they feel, the more they demand -- more .
The idea that they could at least fore-stall problems by a few reforms that would cost them little (ie, a "people's QE") is unthinkable. "If we give 'em an inch, they'll demand a mile"
Such acts of sensible benevolence are felt to be demeaning & dangerous.
And further, they've spent 40 years restructuring society & economy to serve their interests, any reform now, however trivial, could undermine that structure. Reform itself is an act of self contradiction to a class that has never missed a chance to take-take-take for 40 years.
US Elites are not a tree that can bend in the wind. They are completely rigid. Only events of god-almighty significance will break them.
The current shenanigans will not do that. But, given rates of unemployment, & contraction of GDP, given the distinct possibility of vast future immiseration, current events may be the first breathe of a god almighty wind set to blow the whole shithouse down.
Unfortunately, current events are politically vacuous & offer no sign of real political conscious.
Lack of political direction can only lead to anarchy -- & anarchy is just as likely to strengthen the Elite hand as anything else.
St-Germain , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 11:18 am GMT

Irrespective of whether either faction will succeed in instrumentalizing the riots, what we are seeing today is a systemic collapse of the US society.

Amen. The collapse is systemic , it is social , and it has been gathering momentum for decades. Thank you, Saker, for pointing that out. It's about time someone above the battle invested serious thought in what's really going on in the hearts, minds and streets. Your analysis is head and shoulders above the rabble-rousing we get from parochial home-grown U.S. pundits, who deal only in labelling their personal heroes or villains du jour (Blacks, Cops, White Supremacists, Jews, Climate Change, Empire, Bat viruses, Trump, and so forth).

Those who agree with Saker's brilliant analysis and seek a deeper understanding of mechanism at work may want to consult Joseph A. Tainter's The Collapse of Complex Societies (Cambridge 1988). He invokes archaeological case studies to prove that what we are seeing is actually a function of the law of diminishing returns (which is way broader than economics). Complexity advances to a point at which the rulers' latest fixes for arising problems do more harm than good since all these separate "solutions" invariably have an unforeseen systemic effect.

At that point a system's traditional cheer-leading investment to engender social esprit and voluntary compliance for a common good is no longer credible and the ruling elite is then forced to resort to raw repression of dissent, which is much more costly than just benign propaganda. All key institutions collapse not in isolation but systemically, and chunks of a fragmenting society must spall off in order to save themselves from ruin. The inevitable systemic collapse runs its course.

Current History , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 11:53 am GMT
@Cyrano Excellent post Cyrano:

"And because there is no mechanism to increase the suffering of the elites in tandem with the suffering of the ordinary population – when the times are tough – the elites fail to respond to the difficulties that ordinary citizens face."

As you said: That's what makes them an elite.

"The elites start living in a fantasy world where they believe that as long as they are OK, the country is OK. But the elites are going to be OK right up to the moment the country collapses, so that's not an accurate measure of how the country is doing."

And when America finally does collapse, and their "fantasy world" ends, they'll fly off in their private jet to one of their homes in New Zealand, Australia, or Switzerland.

Simpleguest , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 12:55 pm GMT
@Cyrano

The elites start living in a fantasy world where they believe that as long as they are OK, the country is OK. But the elites are going to be OK right up to the moment the country collapses, so that's not an accurate measure of how the country is doing. The country can be in the doldrums and the elites will still be OK.
That disconnect from reality is what prevents them to undertake measures that will alleviate the plight of the majority of the population.

I beg to differ a bit. This is true only as far elites are of capitalist and/or aristocratic kind. You probably draw your conclusions from the French and Russian revolutions.

However, I would argue that political elites in the former communist countries did try to reform the system for the benefit of the citizens and, after seeing their efforts fail, had the integrity to step down peacefully. The only possible exception being China where reforms were fruitfull.

Unironically, one could argue that communist elites, having no personal wealth and stakes, remained honest and true to their essential creed of serving the greater common good. When the deep crisis of socialism in 1980s seemed to require that they step down and contries abandon socialist order, they indeed steped down in the interest of the common good as it was perceived at the time.

Now we see that we may have to reconsider the whole "fall of communism" thing again, but, this theme is, off course, tangential to this article's topic.

[Jun 06, 2020] What I find amazing is that no side in the USA even blinked when the Congress authorized spending USD 10 trillion to keep the system afloat. It's like if this never happened, or like if it was a normal thing

Jun 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Jun 5 2020 20:02 utc | 20

What I find amazing is that no side in the USA even blinked when the Congress authorized spending USD 10 trillion to keep the system afloat. It's like if this never happened, or like if it was a normal thing.

This is money fetishism at its maximum level.

[Jun 06, 2020] Peter Thiel calls for top universities to lose non-profit status

There are no longer non-profit. They are for-profits disguised as non-profits. How else you can explain salaries of top bureaucrats?
Jul 31, 2019 | video.foxnews.com

Billionaire and Facebook board member Peter Thiel on his fight against Ivy League schools receiving tax exempt status.

[Jun 04, 2020] The Gig Economy: WTF? Precarity and Work under Neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
"The gig economy is just a way for corporations to cut the cost of employees, by turning them into subcontractors. They blur the line between employee and subcontractors by having tight rules like an employer, and since most people have a employee mentality, the company nurtures the idea that they somehow are more like employees, then they get mostly good workers, working hard for very little compensation. The Gig economy is just another sign of our failing way of life."
Notable quotes:
"... The gig economy would be great if we lived in a society where health care is free, food is cheap, housing is common, and nobody suffers from economic Issues Which is not what we are living in ..."
"... Neo-liberals - we support freedom and stuff. Removes mask Is actually corporation lapdogs. ..."
Jun 04, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Unlike most developments in the employment market, the Gig Economy has received a great deal of press attention and established itself firmly as a point of reference in the popular consciousness. In recent years, increasing numbers of people have turned to services such as Uber, Lyft, Deliveroo, Just Eat, TaskRabbit and Fiverr as either a side hustle or their main source of income.

Following on from my video on neoliberalism and neoliberal capitalism, in today's episode of What the Theory?, we look deeper into how the gig economy (or sharing economy) works and what differentiates it from the rest of the economy. We ask whether the gig economy is truly an opportunity for those wanting a more flexible work arrangement or whether it is simply a means for multinational corporations to circumvent hard-won workers rights and labour laws.

Finally, we also consider whether there might be some historical precedents to the sharing economy in the early industrial period and look at some of the challenges facing those attempting to organise Deliveroo riders, Uber drivers and other gig economy workers into trade unions in order to negotiate for better rates of pay and conditions.

If you'd like to support my channel then please do check out my Patreon page at http://patreon.com/tomnicholas


Simple Things , 5 months ago

Unregulated capitalism? You mean like child labor and passing the hat when a worker dies in an accident? They don't want workers. They want people who are desperate.

Tom Nicholas , 5 months ago

Well, how far it all goes is something that remains to be seen. I don't think we'll get as far as child labour but the curation of dependence is something that's definitely in progress.

memeoverlord 2010 , 5 months ago

They don't want people who are desperate, they want slaves.

Tyler Potts , 4 months ago

Tom Nicholas but if they could they would have kids gigging. The gig economy is a scam, I'd rather pay more for an Uber and have unionized drivers.

Tyler Potts , 4 months ago

Daxton Lyon except the majority of entrepreneurs and business owners didn't come Into their business ownership via merit. You are forgetting that most of these people are born into a situation where they have access to capital, access to legal services and education. Sure there are a minority of people who make it from nothing but that number is diminishingly small.

John Jourdan , 3 months ago

I notice not one of you mentioned immigrants. lol

EYTPS , 2 months ago

Daxton Lyon "You don't like the gig? Do something else." Too bad the economy is currently setup to where around half of individuals are limited to gig and don't have the resources and money to do anything else.

EYTPS , 2 months ago

Daxton Lyon "If any of you did, your panzy responses regarding corporate greed would be squashed!" No, they wouldn't, but keep performing those red herrings and hasty, extremely-worshipping generalizations about entrepreneurship to distract from the point; I'm sure they'll catch on.

Justin Goretoy , 5 months ago

Neoliberalism is the religious belief that markets are magical and will regulate themselves.

User Name , 4 months ago

The gig economy would be great if we lived in a society where health care is free, food is cheap, housing is common, and nobody suffers from economic Issues Which is not what we are living in

memeoverlord 2010 , 5 months ago

Neo-liberals - we support freedom and stuff. Removes mask Is actually corporation lapdogs.

[Jun 04, 2020] When recruiters or job ads say "flexible working hours" all I hear is "you must be flexible to work whatever hours we give you"

Jun 04, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Suadela , 4 months ago

When recruiters or job ads say "flexible working hours" all I hear is "you must be flexible to work whatever hours we give you"

[Jun 04, 2020] The stock market is BOOMING! Truly a remarkable recovery. It's almost as if the travails of the last three months never happened.

Jun 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

snow_watcher , Jun 3 2020 20:13 utc | 36

The stock market is BOOMING! Truly a remarkable recovery. It's almost as if the travails of the last three months never happened. Everyone is happy and right back to where they were financially. The future is so bright we gotta wear shades. Celebration time, come on! DOW 35K by EOY2020!

The government is underwriting a booming stock market!

And no infrastructure related jobs program in sight even though it's been on the table for more than a decade. Apparently the US infrastructure is just fine thank you. But the MIC and intelligence community need more money.

The Democrats are complicit in this fiasco. Biden, LOL, weak.

As already noted by some commentators, the recent protests have almost as much to do with a rapidly collapsing economy with horrible prospects of recovery for millions of people, as with racism. There's a lot of resentment, unease and fear out there. Racism is only one trigger for the ongoing unrest. There's also an element of blowing off some steam after the COVID restrictions.

COVID is still a major issue BTW! But it seems as if the cost for herd immunity has now been factored in and rationalized away and people are going to accept the sacrifices of tens of thousands more dead and handicapped by after effects. Amazing how quickly COVID is becoming a non-issue. The administration has very effectively sidestepped the problem, aided and abetted by the media.

Any meager gains in employee pay and benefits eked out over the last 10 years as low unemployment ("Thank god for all the crappy jobs, I have three of them!") finally pressured some improvement, have been decimated. One step forward, ten back. Watch the Job Quality Index (JQI).

https://www.jobqualityindex.com/

Not only have millions lost their livelihoods but also their crappy healthcare insurance.

The wealth divide is exploding as billionaires are reaping huge government largesse, much of it tax free.

With millions of people remaining unemployed or under-employed over an extended period of time and as the government begins to remove financial aid for the poorest, as homelessness explodes, as people get sick and have no insurance, as personal debt balloons, etc. these recent protests might look like playground tiffs.

It's remarkable to me that the stock market, even if decoupled from the real economy, is this sanguine over future prospects.

Something seems very wrong with this picture. When the youngsters realize how much of their future has been mortgaged to prop all this up, watch out.

I also expect the very heavy militarized responses to civil unrest to continue and amplify. Protests will not be tolerated and a significant portion of the US citizenry will fully support the harsh crackdowns in the name of law and order. The retired 401K set for example. To be a protester will take guts and fortitude.

Well, at least we can look forward to the November election to fix all of this.

[Jun 04, 2020] The case of the USA is that its financialization process has been running for so long that its already existing infrastructure is crumbling

Jun 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Jun 3 2020 18:17 utc | 6

You cannot print money into infrastructure. That's money fetishism.

The Marshall Plan would be only USD 100 billion in today's values. It wasn't about the money: the Marshall Plan worked because, in 1946, the USA was the financial center of the world and had an excess industrial capacity large enough to rebuild a much smaller place (Western Europe). USDs flowed into Western Europe, which could only buy American goods and equipment - which the Americans had to sell. American resources then flowed to Western Europe, which in turn flowed back to the USA in USDs. That the USD was backed by gold at the time had nothing to do with this process, but it may have accelerated the universalization of the USD.

The USA (I'm here including all of its provinces: European Peninsula, Latin America, SE-Asia, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia) is a capitalist society, which means it plans its economy according to the social profit rate. The social profit rate is determined by the national average of profit rates among all the individual capitals in said country. That means economy is always planned by the private, not the public, sector. The White House is impotent here.

Profit rate self-regulates based on the different degrees of organic composition of capital (OCC) of each country/region. To simplify, the tendency is this: value flows from the countries with lesser OCCs to countries with higher OCCs. Taking the European Union as an example, we have that Germany (the country with the higher OCC) will have large and chronic trade surpluses with the rest.

However, the higher the OCC, the lower is the profit rate. As OCC gets to a certain critical level, profit rates begin to plummet, and structural crisis of capitalism occur. In order to stop this process, "financialization" begins.

The case of the USA is that its financialization process has been running for so long that its already existing infrastructure is crumbling. However, the fact that it is crumbling is just the symptom, not the cause. The real cause is that the USA begun to financialize first because it reached an extremely high OCC first.

At first, the USA didn't rebuild its infrastructure simply because it is not profitable. Now, it doesn't do it for the simple fact it can't: with much pain, it managed to bring astronauts beck to the ISS; the infrastructural abyss is now at more than USD 1.1 trn and widening. By now it would have to import a lot of material and expertise from other countries if it really wanted to rebuild and update its infrastructure. Industry lost so much importance in the US economy that, last year, American industry fell to a record level (due to the trade war against China) and the US GDP actually rose - due to the financial sector and services sector compensating for the loss.

The most extreme case of a First World country turning into a mere financial hub is the UK: its trade deficit already is at a gargantuan -14%, and its budget only doesn't collapse because its huge financial hub in London covers that up to more than 7% (i.e. halves).


450.org , Jun 3 2020 18:41 utc | 10

Financial hub? Call it what it is. A laundromat for dirty money and ill-gotten gains. Problem is, or problem for those who aren't the extractive wealthy elite which is most of us, more and more money is dirty money and ill-gotten gains even if it is "made" legally. The most recent multi-trillion dollar handout, looting and pillaging actually, to the wealthy extractive elite as part of the so-called "stimulus package" was perfectly legal but dirty money and ill-gotten gains nonetheless.

The stock market is not only a depravity indicator and an indicator of wealth disparity, it's also a massive laundromat for legal and illegal ill-gotten gains. I would venture that at least 30% of the stock market is comprised of black market illegal money being laundered at any given time.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/41/4d/c4/414dc453fd61072db52fe5064b1484ab.jpg

karlof1 , Jun 3 2020 19:09 utc | 13
Erelis @5--

FIRE is a term used my Michael Hudson and other likeminded political-economists. He uses it so often it's hard to provide the initial instance. However, Hudson did write two books about how the FIRE sector gained its dominance, Killing the Host & J is for Junk Economics . It this video interview from 2017 , Hudson explains to Max Keiser about the latter book and how it relates to the just completed election, which begins at the 12:45 mark. That website also links to all previous Keiser Reports where I hope to find the specific interview that discusses the FIRE sector. This one does too, but it's not the specific topic discussed. I guarantee you'll learn a lot from the 10.5 minute interview!

Red Ryder , Jun 3 2020 19:14 utc | 15

Petri Krohn wants redistribution of wealth. Let's look at the idea.

The opposing viewpoint says wealth is not a pie. Wealth comes from growth, innovation, creativity. It is many pies.

Of course, you can't bake your own pie without capital. So, how do we redistribute capital?

You can get it from the government via the banks, if they are 'ordered' to grant loans. They aren't. So, you can't get it from government or banks.

You can take it from the already wealthy. Taxes is the historic way to take wealth from the wealthy. But the tax schedule no longer takes significant amounts from the wealthy. And Congress is corrupted by the wealthy so that route is closed also. There will be no major new taxes on the wealthy.

How can we redistribute wealth, then?

Simplest way is Development Zones with no taxes for a 5-10 years. Investors will pour money in from around the world. New businesses can be started, innovation can be nourished and people can prosper.

Use the system to expand the base of participation and do it in the zones of poverty and redevelopment where the poor and disadvantaged are.

China does this. It works. Other nations do it. They call them FTZ (free trade zones). Russia has some.

Trump was going to do this with his original Infrastructure program. The Dems stopped it. Won't allow any progress.

But, this is the way to go. You raise people out of poverty, your increase their options and income, you grow their region, and lots of new pies are baked.

/div> @Red Ryder , Jun 3 2020 19:14 utc | 15
@Red Ryder | Jun 3 2020 19:14 utc | 15
Trisha , Jun 3 2020 19:56 utc | 30

And who, exactly, is going to do the hard labor required of these infrastructure projects?

Certainly none of the horribly obese Americans I see waddling around, nor many of the young folks stuck with their snouts into soma social media. Most of the youngsters I know have zero clue about working with tools, doing a job right, working hard for not much pay, etc. Males of color living in ghettos while their baby-mommas live off welfare? Hardly.

And where are people going to get the training needed? The Polytechnic Science trade school in the city I grew up in - San Francisco - was torn down long ago. Few in the trades can afford to live in San Francisco any more, even if they could get a job.

Maybe folks like my father who wielded a shovel building roads during the WPA and hated it so much he joined the Army. In other words, hardworking immigrants, or first generation born of immigrants with little education (my dad).

dh-mtl , Jun 3 2020 22:10 utc | 51
Posted by: Red Ryder | Jun 3 2020 19:14 utc | 15 says: 'How can we redistribute wealth, then?'

An economy's wealth is what it produces. The U.S. produces a lot less then it consumes, so it is in debt, and half of its population is poor.

The financial elites, who run the U.S. have gotten wealthy, not by producing something of value, but by strip mining the financial assets of the rest of the population.

If you want to produce wealth, and distribute it properly:

1. Get rid of the U.S.$ as the world's reserve currency. This will allow U.S.$ to be radically devalued.

2. With a devalued dollar, the U.S. will be forced into domestic production (i.e. real wealth creation). Good paying jobs, producing real things, is a very effective way of properly distributing wealth.

3. Carry out a massive infrastructure program to rebuild the U.S.' worn-out infrastructure. The infrastructure itselr, as well as the good paying jobs associated with creating it, is an effective way to distribute wealth.

4. Provide basic health-care and education (including university) to all. This is again a very effective way of distributing wealth, while at the same time supplying a work force capable of carrying out high value added jobs necessary for a goods producing economy.

5. Break-up or regulate the cartels. Profit margins and executive salaries have radically expanded in recent years. This is a sign of lack of competition. Wherever there is inadequate competition the economic actors need to be regulated or broken up. Lower prices, resulting from a normalization of profits and exagerated salary disparities, is another excellent way to distribute wealth.

6. Reduce military expenditures. Most of the military expenditures, beyond what is really needed for defense, are nothing but waste, and at the same time a transfer of wealth from the masses to the military industrial complex.

7. Pay for government sponsored health-care, education and infrastructure with a significant increase in taxes on the wealthy.

8. The massive devaluation of the dollar, combined with infrastructure spending and re-industrialization will no doubt cause significant inflation, at least in the short term. Inflation will reduce both the value of financial assets and debt, again representing a redistribution of wealth from the elites to the indebted masses.


Using the GINI index as a gauge ( https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/2015/demo/gini-index-of-money-income-and-equivalence-adjusted-income--1967.html), Income inequality increased substantially over the past 40 years, from a GINI coefficient of 0.36, moderate, to 0.46, extreme. This change happened as a result of deliberate economic policies designed to enable the transfer of wealth from the masses to the elites. To reverse this mal-distribution of wealth, the policies that led to this need to be reversed as well.

And don't expect the Democrats to do it. They are fully in the pocket of the 'Globalists' who have been the principle beneficiaries of this massive transfer of wealth since 1980.

vk , Jun 3 2020 22:17 utc | 53
@ Posted by: Winni Puu | Jun 3 2020 21:33 utc | 47

The problem with large infrastructure projects is that they do not only get old through physical degeneration, but also through moral degeneration (i.e. they get outdated).

The USA had USD 1.1 trn in old infrastructure (mainly from the 50s-60s) which need repair. However, if the USG spends those USD 1.1 trn, the American people will just be getting what existed before - there's no technological advantage here. So, while the USA spends USD 1.1 trn on 50s technology, China will be spending the same on state-of-the-art, therefore getting a military advantage (because better infrastructure attracts more wealth, both in the form of foreign investment and in the form of rising productivity of labor).

Also, when you do this large-scale technological leap, it just can't be any kind of innovation: it has to be a revolutionary technology, which both greatly increases labor productivity and is future proof (i.e. can last at least 50 years, ideally at least 100 years).

So, this is not just your average bean-counting. When a given national government is so far behind in infrastructure, it has a though decision to make: fix what already exists (with minor and gradual improvements) or do you go all-in with a revolutionary technology to try to do a "great leap"? And that's just the technocratic side of the problem - in capitalism you have the factor that it is the social profit rate that decides what's built and what isn't, by how much and when.

Baron , Jun 3 2020 22:31 utc | 54
The boss of Amazon Jeff Bezos is 65 this year, is worth over a trillion dollars, assuming he lives up the age of 90, converts the assets into cash, does absolutely nothing except spending the money, he has $3 655 347 to run through each hour 24/7 for the rest of his life. If one assumes he has to sleep, eat, go to the bathroom which cuts the number of spending hours (say) by half, he must go through over seven million dollars each and every hour until he drops dead.

This is obscene, it exceeds his needs by such a margin that one cannot but wonder at the sanity of a society that cannot be bothered to address it. This is not to call for income to be distributed equitably, that would destroy the only mechanism that past evidence shows is the driving force for improving living standards for all, but for such distribution to be sane, nothing more nothing else, sanity should inform the creation of laws governing income distribution on every society, including the Republic's. Any such sane arrangements should include the distribution of both income and accumulated wealth, the major disparity in today's society isn't only in income distribution, but even more so in wealth ownership.


[Jun 04, 2020] Where Are the Job Programs It Needs

Jun 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

The U.S. has a service economy. Some 70% of its gross domestic product is generated by personal consumption. The emergency measures taken to slow down the covid-19 pandemic decreased consumption by a huge margin. The GDPNow model by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta shows the slump :

The growth rate of real gross domestic product (GDP) is a key indicator of economic activity, but the official estimate is released with a delay. Our GDPNow forecasting model provides a "nowcast" of the official estimate prior to its release by estimating GDP growth using a methodology similar to the one used by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
...
Latest estimate: -52.8 percent -- June 1, 2020

The GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the second quarter of 2020 is -52.8 percent on June 1, down from -51.2 percent on May 29.


Source: GDPnow via The Big Picture - bigger

The GDPnow model gives a snapshot of GDP on any given day. It is not the GDP for the year, which will be down much less, but just a moment in time.

With the lockdowns loosening the GDP will certainly increase again. But a haircut missed due to the lockdown will not result in a desire to get two haircuts. The meals not eaten in a restaurant during the last two month will not be made up by additional meals eaten after the reopening. The losses are for real.

With the end of the lockdown half of the 40 million currently unemployed will likely soon be back to work. The jobs of the other 20 million will not come back for a long time. The travel and hospitality sectors will be most effected. People who do not make money can not spend any.

The unemployed and the economy will not be impressed by Trump's current fake 'law and order' show or by his pandering to Evangelicals.

If Trump is as smart as he claims to be he will ask Congress for a huge amount of money to be spend on infrastructure programs over the next three years. That money should be shared for projects on the national, state and local level. There are plenty of bridges, roads and rails that need repairs or replacements.

But Trump isn't as smart as he claims and the people around him, as well as Trump himself, are from the FIRE economy - the F inance, Insurance, and Real Estate sectors. Such people do not value the real economy where real stuff is made and used.

The stock market, on which Trump is fixated, has long ceased to be a reflection of the real economy. Propping it up again and again, as the Fed and the Treasury do, may well enrich Trump's friends, but it does nothing for the voters he needs to get reelected.

Does he not understand that?

And why, by the way, ain't the Democrats out in front demanding that more be done to create new jobs? They seem to have totally vanished from the scene.

Posted by b on June 3, 2020 at 17:35 UTC | Permalink


David Park , Jun 3 2020 17:50 utc | 1

"And why, by the way, ain't the Democrats out in front demanding that more be done to create new jobs?"

Don't say ain't or your mother will faint.
Your father will fall in a bucket of paint.
Your sister will cry. Your brother will die.
Your dog will call the FBI.

Nathan Mulcahy , Jun 3 2020 17:52 utc | 2
"And why, by the way, ain't the Democrats out in front demanding that more be done to create new jobs? "

Because the Dems are NOT an opposition party. The entire mess we are in, is a bipartisan project accomplished over several decades. Although Trump is in the limelight right now, he is actually a symptom of a much larger underlying disease, caused by both parties.

karlof1 , Jun 3 2020 17:59 utc | 3
Trump's behavior reveals his beliefs/values. His actions are what need to be watched, not the manifold gibberish he tweets & utters.
450.org , Jun 3 2020 17:59 utc | 4
I don't think the Dems want to win. Nobody wants the next four years. Hell, nobody wants the next eight years or twelve or sixteen. Except the criminally insane autocrats.

Not that I think the Dems in control of the executive and legislative branches would change the course of events. The collapse is in full swing. It's a steam roller at this point. A freight train. An avalanche. There's no more blood to squeeze from the rocks. Game over. Except it and manage the decline as humanely and constructively and equitably as possible or else let chaos reign and lead which is an existential gambit for sure but one the extractive elites appear to have chosen.

Erelis , Jun 3 2020 18:16 utc | 5
The individual states need to realize they are on their own. Trump and Congressional gopers and dems have abandoned them in favor of working full time for FIRE (very new and revealing term for me) and various other elite interests. Each state will need to form various alliances with other states to develop proverbial out of the box solutions including developing independent import and trade agreements with China and the EU among others.
vk , Jun 3 2020 18:17 utc | 6
You cannot print money into infrastructure. That's money fetishism.

The Marshall Plan would be only USD 100 billion in today's values. It wasn't about the money: the Marshall Plan worked because, in 1946, the USA was the financial center of the world and had an excess industrial capacity large enough to rebuild a much smaller place (Western Europe). USDs flowed into Western Europe, which could only buy American goods and equipment - which the Americans had to sell. American resources then flowed to Western Europe, which in turn flowed back to the USA in USDs. That the USD was backed by gold at the time had nothing to do with this process, but it may have accelerated the universalization of the USD.

The USA (I'm here including all of its provinces: European Peninsula, Latin America, SE-Asia, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia) is a capitalist society, which means it plans its economy according to the social profit rate. The social profit rate is determined by the national average of profit rates among all the individual capitals in said country. That means economy is always planned by the private, not the public, sector. The White House is impotent here.

Profit rate self-regulates based on the different degrees of organic composition of capital (OCC) of each country/region. To simplify, the tendency is this: value flows from the countries with lesser OCCs to countries with higher OCCs. Taking the European Union as an example, we have that Germany (the country with the higher OCC) will have large and chronic trade surpluses with the rest.

However, the higher the OCC, the lower is the profit rate. As OCC gets to a certain critical level, profit rates begin to plummet, and structural crisis of capitalism occur. In order to stop this process, "financialization" begins.

The case of the USA is that its financialization process has been running for so long that its already existing infrastructure is crumbling. However, the fact that it is crumbling is just the symptom, not the cause. The real cause is that the USA begun to financialize first because it reached an extremely high OCC first.

At first, the USA didn't rebuild its infrastructure simply because it is not profitable. Now, it doesn't do it for the simple fact it can't: with much pain, it managed to bring astronauts beck to the ISS; the infrastructural abyss is now at more than USD 1.1 trn and widening. By now it would have to import a lot of material and expertise from other countries if it really wanted to rebuild and update its infrastructure. Industry lost so much importance in the US economy that, last year, American industry fell to a record level (due to the trade war against China) and the US GDP actually rose - due to the financial sector and services sector compensating for the loss.

The most extreme case of a First World country turning into a mere financial hub is the UK: its trade deficit already is at a gargantuan -14%, and its budget only doesn't collapse because its huge financial hub in London covers that up to more than 7% (i.e. halves).

Caliman , Jun 3 2020 18:26 utc | 7
While I agree with spending on infrastructure projects like we did during the great depression and more, it should be noted that this is not going to save the service economy. Very few people actually work in construction and allied trades directly. So while in normal times, this kind of spending would be a huge shot in the arm because these folks would then spend in the service economy, coronafear will reduce the effect considerably.

We have destroyed our economy and reduced our civil liberties, perhaps irrevocably, for a virus that kills less than 1% of the population and almost all of whose victims are the elderly and ill, usually both. As recently as a hundred years ago, humanity used to be faced with diseases like smallpox, various plagues, and assorted bacteriological diseases that would routinely kill 30-70% of the population ... and we kept on. What has happened to us?

Petri Krohn , Jun 3 2020 18:27 utc | 8
IT IS NOT ABOUT RACISM

What is the aim of " Revolution 2020 ?" Is this all just part of Hillary's presidential campaign? Or Michelle Obama's?

Star Tribune of Minneapolis is asking for Michelle Obama to stand for Vice President / President in Waiting:

A democracy in crisis needs Michelle Obama

If she joined the ticket as former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate, our broken land might mend.

We collectively must implore a reluctant Michelle Obama to make herself available to join Joe Biden's ticket as the Democratic Party's vice presidential nominee. Let me explain why.

On top of a global pandemic, our cities now are facing massive unrest, violence and destruction, and threats to the social order, arising from yet another series of horrific killings of unarmed African-American men and women by the police -- and all built upon decades of racial injustice and inequality.

No, it is not about racism. Electing a Black president will not save America. The real issue is the economic system. America needs a major redistribution of wealth.

Mark2 , Jun 3 2020 18:30 utc | 9
Does he not understand that ? Yes he does, all to well. Becouse they planned it that way, when they deliberately released the corona virus germ warfare weapon!
As I wrote here 3 months ago 'they won't need so many strawberry pickers becouse ther won't be so many to eat strawberry's! Think about it. Agend 21. Starts 2020.

The democrats are all part of this genocide.

How long has it taken to recruit train and equip the storm troopers on the streets of America right now.
America will regret what it voted for /wished for.

450.org , Jun 3 2020 18:41 utc | 10
Financial hub? Call it what it is. A laundromat for dirty money and ill-gotten gains. Problem is, or problem for those who aren't the extractive wealthy elite which is most of us, more and more money is dirty money and ill-gotten gains even if it is "made" legally. The most recent multi-trillion dollar handout, looting and pillaging actually, to the wealthy extractive elite as part of the so-called "stimulus package" was perfectly legal but dirty money and ill-gotten gains nonetheless.

The stock market is not only a depravity indicator and an indicator of wealth disparity, it's also a massive laundromat for legal and illegal ill-gotten gains. I would venture that at least 30% of the stock market is comprised of black market illegal money being laundered at any given time.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/41/4d/c4/414dc453fd61072db52fe5064b1484ab.jpg

Skeletor , Jun 3 2020 18:45 utc | 11
If Trump is as smart as he claims to be he will...

He doesn't need to be smart per se.

He just needs to be **smarter** than Joe Biden.

Just like he was smarter than Hillary + all the legacy media in 2016 to such an extent that to deny they had been outsmarted... #Russiagate was born lol

The irony is that Biden is a lowlife who inflames hatred and reinforces divisions while holding up a moral shield. He has always chosen expedient lies over the truth to get elected. Support for him shows a desperate hate of Trump.

Good luck to all and sundry.

Exhilarating times!!!

Kadath , Jun 3 2020 18:47 utc | 12
The Soviet Union collapsed because the Soviet Economic-Political Elite discovered that they could make more money and have more power by breaking the Union apart to devour the public utilities. The US Economic-Political elite have now made a similar decision. But whereas the Soviet Union had hard assets that could be privatised for profit, the US has public expenses that will be eliminated in order to free up resources for more financialization. The US elite will break apart the US as a nation state in order to harvest public pension funds, social security will be privatised and public debt will explode as the government (through the Federal Reserve) will guarantee stock market prices - get ready for DOW 50,000 in the next 5 years and a 40 trillion national debt, also get ready for collapse of the US as a functioning state the day after that.
karlof1 , Jun 3 2020 19:09 utc | 13
Erelis @5--

FIRE is a term used my Michael Hudson and other likeminded political-economists. He uses it so often it's hard to provide the initial instance. However, Hudson did write two books about how the FIRE sector gained its dominance, Killing the Host & J is for Junk Economics . It this video interview from 2017 , Hudson explains to Max Keiser about the latter book and how it relates to the just completed election, which begins at the 12:45 mark. That website also links to all previous Keiser Reports where I hope to find the specific interview that discusses the FIRE sector. This one does too, but it's not the specific topic discussed. I guarantee you'll learn a lot from the 10.5 minute interview!

jayc , Jun 3 2020 19:09 utc | 14
There is some evidence that "cooler heads" are exerting a "veto" influence on the Trump admin, but who exactly they are is not apparent. But so far this year the US was on the brink of a) attacking Iran with Air Force and missiles. b) dropping nuclear option on China through withdrawal of HK privileges, sanctioning CPC officials, and cancelling thousands of student visas. and c) ordering the military into the streets to "dominate" the protesters. All of these events seemed a sure thing until they suddenly didn't in fact occur.

I expect some kind of "unity ticket" will be offered to the American people for November and some degree of mild reforms initiated to help the vast majority get by.

Progressive Democrats had their best opportunity since the 1960s handed to them in the wake of Trumps's election, and most of them effectively squandered it by allowing their energy to be diverted into the Russiagate/impeachment nothing-burger box.

Red Ryder , Jun 3 2020 19:14 utc | 15
Petri Krohn wants redistribution of wealth. Let's look at the idea.

The opposing viewpoint says wealth is not a pie. Wealth comes from growth, innovation, creativity. It is many pies.

Of course, you can't bake your own pie without capital. So, how do we redistribute capital?

You can get it from the government via the banks, if they are 'ordered' to grant loans. They aren't. So, you can't get it from government or banks.

You can take it from the already wealthy. Taxes is the historic way to take wealth from the wealthy. But the tax schedule no longer takes significant amounts from the wealthy. And Congress is corrupted by the wealthy so that route is closed also. There will be no major new taxes on the wealthy.

How can we redistribute wealth, then?

Simplest way is Development Zones with no taxes for a 5-10 years. Investors will pour money in from around the world. New businesses can be started, innovation can be nourished and people can prosper.

Use the system to expand the base of participation and do it in the zones of poverty and redevelopment where the poor and disadvantaged are.

China does this. It works. Other nations do it. They call them FTZ (free trade zones). Russia has some.

Trump was going to do this with his original Infrastructure program. The Dems stopped it. Won't allow any progress.

But, this is the way to go. You raise people out of poverty, your increase their options and income, you grow their region, and lots of new pies are baked.

JC , Jun 3 2020 19:14 utc | 16
I love America. Revolution of our times five demands not one less. The chicken comes home to riots.
JC , Jun 3 2020 19:14 utc | 17
I love America. Revolution of our times five demands not one less. The chicken comes home to riots.
karlof1 , Jun 3 2020 19:21 utc | 18
Kadath @12--

The 1% made their decision to milk all the wealth long before the USSR's implosion. The regeneration of the Rentier Class began in Europe after the 1848 Revolutions and took hold of power during the latter half of the Victorian Age of the British Empire. Hudson explains how the erasure of Classical Economists from college curricula began after WW1 and connects it to the privatization of the Treasury via the Fed in 1913. The demise of Simon Patten and his school of thought was replaced by what became known as the Chicago School. Its first attempt to gain all the wealth was destroyed by the Ponzi Scheme it engineered during the 1920s. Forced underground from 1929-1945, it emerged from WW2 very strong since its manipulation of the university educational system still held, and the Cold War was contrived in part to make the Chicago School THE paramount economic thought center with Harvard as a close second. There's more to the story, but that'll suffice for now.

Christian J Chuba , Jun 3 2020 19:21 utc | 19
'V' Shaped Recovery already underway

At least this is what the brave people on FOX are saying. The ones who feel very secure in their jobs. Just a few weeks ago the talking points were ... 'Democrats are traitors because they are scared that the economic boom is going to start just before the election'.

Consumer driven economy cannot rebound w/terrorized consumers

These people really believe that all you need is another capital gains tax cut and everything will go back to normal. Don't any of these people think about the permanent trauma on the rest of us? Sure, once Fauci gives us the call clear, I'm taking the last of my savings and going to Disneyland and going to go to restaurants. Heck no. I'm terrified. Consumers even the most profligate ones are going to permanently change their behavior. BTW if you are really cynical, many will become more cautious and some just might break down and become drug addicts. I don't see a happy medium here.

No 'V' shaped recovery today.

[Jun 03, 2020] RussiaGate for neoliberal Dems and MSM honchos is the way to avoid the necessity to look into the camera and say, I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming. ..."
"... Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian , Mar 30, 2019 7:51:28 PM | link

Here is an insightful read on Trump's (s)election and Russiagate that I think is not OT

Taibbi: On Russiagate and Our Refusal to Face Why Trump Won

The take away quote

" Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming.

Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump ."

As a peedupon all I can see is that the elite seem to be fighting amongst themselves or (IMO) providing cover for ongoing elite power/control efforts. It might not be about private/public finance in a bigger picture but I can't see anything else that makes sense

[Jun 02, 2020] As elections come and go, it is simply about one group of elites replacing the other. The intertwined interests between the two groups are much greater than those between the victorious one and the electorate who vote for them

Notable quotes:
"... The media would sensationalize any act of violence involving white on black and brown. They ignored all the violence of black and brown on white. This uneven media reporting was based on their desire to reinforce the mantra of "white people are evil racists, black and brown people are victims and good." ..."
"... Because it would paint themselves as supporters of "social justice" they created a false version of reality where everything bad in society was because of white people being racist. Never mind the actual causes of societal discontent being the exploitation by the elite. Because the media is the elite they don't want you to hate them. So they created a false victimizer they could blame for all the problems of society. ..."
Jun 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 1 2020 17:58 utc | 26

This one better pierces the veil:

"Partisan politics has created severe divisions in society. Such divisions restrict and disturb people's thinking. People's support for a particular party is only a matter of stance, which provides a shelter to politicians who violate people's interests.

"As elections come and go, it is simply about one group of elites replacing the other. The intertwined interests between the two groups are much greater than those between the victorious one and the electorate who vote for them.

"To cover such deception, the key agenda in the US is either a partisan fight or a conflict with foreign countries. The severe racial discrimination and wealth disparities are marginalized topics."

I wonder if the writer would like to see his conclusion proven wrong:

"Judging from the superficial comments and statements from US politicians on the protests, the outsiders can easily draw the conclusion that solving problems is not on the minds of the country, and elites are just fearlessly waiting for this wave of demonstrations to die out."

In order to solve problems, one must know their components and roots, and that demands honesty in making the assessment. Looking back at the assessments of Cornel West and the producers of the Four Horsemen documentary, the main culprit is the broken political system/failed social experiment, which are essentially one in the same as the flawed system produced the failure. Most of us have determined that changing the system via the system will never work because the system has empowered a Class that has no intentions on allowing its power to be diminished, and that Class is currently using the system to further impoverish and enslave the citizenry into Debt Peonage while increasing its own power. The #1 problem is removing the Financial Parasite Class from power. Yes, at the moment that seems as difficult as destroying the Death Star's reactor before it blows up Yavin 4, but the stakes involved are every bit as high as those portrayed in Lucas's Star Wars , as the Evil of the Empire and that of the Parasite Class are the same Evil.


H.Schmatz , Jun 1 2020 18:09 utc | 27

What political demand could one possibly make by now, and of whom would you make it? Reform is impossible, and there's no legitimate authority left (if there ever was in the first place).

Posted by: Russ | Jun 1 2020 17:49 utc | 23

Indeed, apart from the shock of witnessing one of them murderd in plain daylight as if he were a vermin, I think that the people, especially young, reacted that anarchic way because they really see no future. They see how their country functions at steering wheel blows especially through the pandemic, preview they will e in the need soon, even that they will be murdered without contemeplation,and go out there to grab whatever they could...

We forget that they are under Trump regime and Trump has supported always their foes, witnessing such assassination in plain daylight, without any officila doing nothing, not even charging the obvious culprits was felt by tese people as if the hunting season on nigers and lefties" had been declared. No other way yo ucan explain the sudden union of such ammount of black and white young people. Thye felt all targets of the ops or of Trump´s white supreamcist militias after four years of being dgreaded as subhumans. In fact, were not for the riots to turn so violent, I fear carnages of all these peoples would have started.

The people, brainwashed or not, at least when they are young, still conserve some survival instincts and some common sense too.

vk , Jun 1 2020 18:27 utc | 31
@ Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 1 2020 17:58 utc | 26

Yes, the republican model of organization is naturally unstable and doomed to collapse. Everybody knows what happened to the Roman Republic: tendency to polarization, civil war and collapse.

However, the reverse is also true: when the economy is flying high, every political system works. Everybody is happy when there's wealth for everybody.

The present problem, therefore, is inherent to the capitalist system, not with the republican system per se.

Kali , Jun 1 2020 18:52 utc | 35
A Story: How The Chickens Came Home To Roost

The media and politicians have repeated a mantra for years n order to gain power by exploiting social and racial faultlines. They didn't want to deal with the actual cause of societal discontent which is their own support of an exploitative economic system which disempowers and pushed down everyone but the 1%. So they invented a false cause of discontent in order to appear as saviors who are bringing a message of Hope and Change

White people are racist. White people are inherently evil and greedy. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Black and Brown people are good, Black and Brown people are victims of the racist greedy evil white people.

White people are racist. White people are inherently evil and greedy. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Black and Brown people are good, Black and Brown people are victims of the racist greedy evil white people.

After enough time has gone by, we have a generation of young people of all colors who believe the above mantra with all their heart because of hearing that mantra every day in the media, in schools, in movies, from leaders. The media knowing that, would then look for ways to exploit their hatred of "white racism against black and brown people."

The media would sensationalize any act of violence involving white on black and brown. They ignored all the violence of black and brown on white. This uneven media reporting was based on their desire to reinforce the mantra of "white people are evil racists, black and brown people are victims and good."

Because it would paint themselves as supporters of "social justice" they created a false version of reality where everything bad in society was because of white people being racist. Never mind the actual causes of societal discontent being the exploitation by the elite. Because the media is the elite they don't want you to hate them. So they created a false victimizer they could blame for all the problems of society.

Because violence from black and brown on white was never reported by the media except in local news, people only heard from the national narrative of white violence of black and brown because people don't pay attention to local news. They grew up believing the police only abused black and brown people, they grew up believing that random street violence was only from white people against black and brown. None of which is true.

This was bound to end up with a generation of people who believed the false narrative where America is a nation where black and brown people are always the victims, and white people are always the victimizers. And as you can see in the riots, the rioters are almost all under 30. A generation has grown up being brainwashed by the mantra:

White people are racist. White people are inherently evil and greedy. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Black and Brown people are good, Black and Brown people are victims of the racist greedy evil white people.

That is why so many people are perfectly fine with the violence and looting based on a few recent incidents of white on black violence. During the same time period there was plenty of black on black violence, plenty of brown on brown violence, and plenty of black and brown on white violence. But the national media never highlights any violence but white on black and brown. That is what has led to the new normal where any violence involving white on black or brown will be blown up WAY out of proportion to the reality of violence in America. Which is an equal opportunity game. A generation of people has grown up to believe that white racism is the cause of all the problems.

Meanwhile the elites sit in their yachts and laugh. The rabble are busy fighting over race when the real issue is ignored. The media has done their job admirably. Their job is to deflect rage from the elite to racism. From wealthy exploitation of the commons, to racism. As long as the underclasses are busy blaming racism then the politicians, business leaders, and media are satisfied because they are the actual ones to blame. They are the enemy. They blame racism for all the problems as a way to hide that truth of their own culpability for the problems in society. THEIR OWN GREED AND CONTEMPT FOR THE UNDERCLASS.

[Jun 02, 2020] Don't understand the protests? What you're seeing is people pushed to the edge

Jun 02, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

  1. anne , May 31, 2020 4:48 pm

    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-05-30/dont-understand-the-protests-what-youre-seeing-is-people-pushed-to-the-edge

    May 30, 2020

    Don't understand the protests? What you're seeing is people pushed to the edge
    By KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR – Los Angeles Times

    What was your first reaction when you saw the video of the white cop kneeling on George Floyd's neck while Floyd croaked, "I can't breathe"?

    If you're white, you probably muttered a horrified, "Oh, my God" while shaking your head at the cruel injustice. If you're black, you probably leapt to your feet, cursed, maybe threw something (certainly wanted to throw something), while shouting, "Not @#$%! again!" Then you remember the two white vigilantes accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through their neighborhood in February, and how if it wasn't for that video emerging a few weeks ago, they would have gotten away with it. And how those Minneapolis cops claimed Floyd was resisting arrest but a store's video showed he wasn't. And how the cop on Floyd's neck wasn't an enraged redneck stereotype, but a sworn officer who looked calm and entitled and devoid of pity: the banality of evil incarnate.

    Maybe you also are thinking about the Karen in Central Park who called 911 claiming the black man who asked her to put a leash on her dog was threatening her. Or the black Yale University grad student napping in the common room of her dorm who was reported by a white student. Because you realize it's not just a supposed "black criminal" who is targeted, it's the whole spectrum of black faces from Yonkers to Yale.

    You start to wonder if it should be all black people who wear body cams, not the cops.

    What do you see when you see angry black protesters amassing outside police stations with raised fists? If you're white, you may be thinking, "They certainly aren't social distancing." Then you notice the black faces looting Target and you think, "Well, that just hurts their cause." Then you see the police station on fire and you wag a finger saying, "That's putting the cause backward."

    You're not wrong -- but you're not right, either. The black community is used to the institutional racism inherent in education, the justice system and jobs. And even though we do all the conventional things to raise public and political awareness -- write articulate and insightful pieces in the Atlantic, explain the continued devastation on CNN, support candidates who promise change -- the needle hardly budges.

    But COVID-19 has been slamming the consequences of all that home as we die at a significantly higher rate than whites, are the first to lose our jobs, and watch helplessly as Republicans try to keep us from voting .

Bert Schlitz , May 31, 2020 7:14 pm

The protests are self centered crap blacks do year after year. Considering 370 whites over 100 Latinos were killed by cops, many as bad as that guy in minnie. Blacks have a Trumptard mentality. We have a ecological disaster, a economic disaster and pandemic(when th they are spreading). Yet let's whine about one bad cop related homicide.

This may begin the breakup of the Democratic party and the blacks. The differences are just to large.

Kaleberg , May 31, 2020 9:40 pm

It's rather sad that it takes a massive civil disturbance to get the authorities to arrest a man videotaped killing another. You'd think that would just happen as a matter of course, but that's how it works in this country.

Denis Drew , June 1, 2020 10:17 am

THE WAY BACK -- THE ONLY WAY BACK -- BOTH ECONOMICALLY AND POLITICALLY (pardon me if I take up a lot of space -- almost everyone else has said most of what they want to say)

EITC shifts only 2% of income while 40% of American workers earn less that what we think the minimum wage should be -- $15/hr.
http://fortune.com/2015/04/13/who-makes-15-per-hour/

The minimum wage itself should only mark the highest wage that we presume firms with highest labor costs can pay* -- like fast food with 25% labor costs. Lower labor cost businesses -- e.g., retail like Walgreens and Target with 10-15% labor costs can potentially pay north of $20/hr; Walmart with 7% labor costs, $25/hr!

That kind of income can only be squeezed out of the consumer market (meaning out of the consumer) by labor union bargaining.

Raise fast food wages from $10/hr to $15/hr and prices go up only a doable 12.5%. Raise Walgreens, Target from $10/hr to $20/hr and prices there only go up a piddling 6.25%. Keeping the math easy here -- I know that Walgreens and Target pay more to start but that only reinforces my argument about how much labor income is being left on the (missing) bargaining table.

Hook up Walmart with 7% labor costs with the Teamsters Union and the wage and benefit sky might be the limit! Don't forget (everybody seems to) that as more income shifts to lower wage workers, more demand starts to come from lower wage workers -- reinforcing their job security as they spend more proportionately at lower wage firms (does not work for low wage employees of high end restaurants -- the exception that actually proves the rule).

Add in sector wide labor agreements and watch Germany appear on this side of the Atlantic overnight.
* * * * * *

If Republicans held the House in the last (115th) Congress they would have passed HR2723-Employee Rights Act -- mandating new union recertification/decertification paper ballots in any bargaining unit that has had experienced "turnover, expansion, or alteration by merger of unit represented employees exceeding 50 percent of the bargaining unit" by the date of the enactment -- and for all time from thereafter. Trump would have signed it and virtually every union in the country would have experienced mandated recert/decert votes in every bargaining unit.
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2723/text

Democrats can make the most obvious point about what was lacking in the Republican bill by pretending to be for a cert/recert bill that mandates union ballots only at places where there is no union now. Republicans jumping up and down can scream the point for us that there is no reason to have ballots in non union places and not in unionized workplaces -- and vice versa.
* * * * * *

Biggest problem advocating the vastly attractive and all healing proposal of federally mandated cert/recert/decert elections seems to be that nobody will discuss it as long as nobody else discusses it -- some kind of innate social behavior I think, from deep in our (pea sized) midbrains. How else can you explain the perfect pitch's neglect. I suspect that if I waved a $100 bill in front of a bunch of progressives and offered it to the first one would say the words out loud: "Regularly scheduled union elections are the only way to restore shared prosperity and political fairness to America", that I might not get one taker. FWIW.

Another big problem when I try to talk to workers about this on the street -- just to get a reaction -- is that more than half have no idea in the world what unions are all about. Those who do understand, think the idea so sensible they often think action must be pending.

Here is Andrew Strom's take:
https://onlabor.org/why-not-hold-union-representation-elections-on-a-regular-schedule/

[see just below for last link -- can't lay more than three at a time :-)]

Denis Drew , June 1, 2020 10:17 am

*1968 federal minimum was $12/hr – indicating that consumer support was there at half today's per capita income.
https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=1.60&year1=196801&year2=202001

rick shapiro , June 1, 2020 10:46 am

econ101 should tell you that the eitc is a subsidy to the corporations that hire droves of low-paid workers, with meagre spillover to the workers themselves. More effective and persistent improvements to social justice would come from significant increases to the minimum wage, societal support to unionization, and other efforts to increase the threshold of what is considered by society to be the bare minimum of compensation for work.
The concomitant decline in the value of the dollar and the terms of trade would be small compared to the reduction in inequality.

Bernard , June 1, 2020 5:21 pm

such a third world country as America , riots are the only way to get heard for some. the Elite have been looting us blind for decades, the Covid bail outs to Corporations by the Elites in DC as the latest installment of Capitalist theft know as Business as Usual.
it's all about the money.
sick,sick country praising capitalism over everything else.
the comfortable white people are afraid of losing what they have. Divide and Conquer is the Republican and now Democratic way they run America.

to the rich go the spoils. the rest, well. screw them .

the Lee Atwater idea to use coded language when St. Reagan implemented the destruction of America society, coincided with St. Thatcher's destruction of England.

the White elites post Civil War in the South knew how to divide the poor whites and the poor blacks.

that is how we got to where we are now.

Did you see any of the bankers go to jail for the 2008 ripoff?
not one and they got bonuses for their "deeds."

America, such a nation of Grifters, Thieves and Scam artist. like Pelosi , McConnel and all the people in DC and the Business men who sold out our country and the American people for "small change".

God forbid Corporations should ever have to pay for the damage they have done to America and its" people. My RIGHT to Greed trumps your right to clean air, water, safe neighborhoods, says Capitalism!

the Rich get richer and the poor get poorer, Everybody Knows!!!

But let's not focus on things lest some uncomfortable truths.

and wonder why riots happen, Not at All!

[Jun 01, 2020] It didn't happen overnight

Jun 01, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

Dan Crawford | May 31, 2020 9:12 am

US/Global Economics by Ken Melvin

3 rd World

--

It didn't happen overnight.

The nightly news, when talking about the effect of the pandemic on the populace in, say, Southeast Asian, African, South American, countries, invariably refer to the tenuous hold on life of their working poor; they don't really have a job. Each day they rise and go forth looking for work that pays enough that they and their family can continue to subsist. It is, in some countries, a long-standing problem.

Sound too familiar? Sometime in the late 80s (??) Americans began to see day labors line up at Home Depot and Lowe's lots in numbers not seen since The Great Depression. Manufacturing Corporations began subbing out their work to sub-contractors, otherwise known as employees without benefits; Construction Contractors subbed out construction work to these employees without benefits; Engineering Firms subbed out engineering to these employees without benefits; Landscapers' workers were now sub-contractors/independent contractors; Here, in the SF Bay Area, time and again, we saw vans loads of undocumented Hispanics under a 'Labor Contractor' come in from the Central Valley to build condos; the white Contractor for the project didn't have a single employee; none of the workers got a W-2. Recall watching, sometime in the 90s (??), a familiar, well dressed, rotund guest from Wall Street, on the PBS News Hour, forcefully proclaiming to the TV audience:

American workers are going to have to learn to compete with the Chinese; Civil Service employees, factory employees, are all going to have to work for less

All this subcontracting, independent contractors, was a scam, a scam meant to circumvent paying going wages and benefits, to enhance profit margins; a scam that transferred more wealth to the top. Meanwhile back at The Ranch, after the H1B Immigration Act of 1990, Microsoft could hire programmers from India for one-half the cost of a citizen programmer. Half of Bill Gates' fortune was resultant these labor savings; the other half was made off those not US Citizens. Taking a cue, Banks, Bio-Techs, some City and State Governments began subcontracting out their programming to H1Bs. Often, the subcontractors/labor contractors (often themselves immigrants) providing the programmers, held the programmers' passports/visas for security.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, friends of Bush/Cheney made fortunes on clean up contracts they subbed out for next to nothing; the independent/subcontractor scam was now officially governmentally sanctioned.

By about 2000 we began to hear the term gig-workers applied to these employees without benefits. Uber appeared in 2007 to be followed by Lift. Both are scams based on paying less than prevailing wages, on not providing worker benefits,

These days, the nightly news, when talking about the effect of the pandemic on the populace in America, shows footage of Food Banks in California with lines 2! miles long. Many of those waiting in these lines didn't have a real job before; they were gig-workers; they can't apply for Unemployment Benefits. It is estimated that 1.6 million American workers (1% of the workforce) are gig-workers; they don't have a real job. That 1% is in addition to the 16 million American workers (10% of the workforce) that are independent contractors. Of the more than 40 million currently unemployed Americans, some 17 million are either gig-workers or subcontractors/independent contractors. All of these are scams meant to transfer more wealth to the top. All of these are scams with American Workers the victims; scams, in a race to the bottom.


Denis Drew , May 31, 2020 10:51 am

Ken,

Read this by the SEIU counsel Andrew Strom -- and tell me what you think:
https://onlabor.org/why-not-hold-union-representation-elections-on-a-regular-schedule/

Democrats in the so called battle ground states would clean up at the polls with this. Why do you think those states strayed? It was because Obama and Hillary had no idea what they really needed. Voters had no idea what they SPECIFICALLY needed either -- UNIONS! They had been deunionized so thoroughly for so long that they THEMSELVES no long knew what they were missing (frogs in the slowly boiling pot).

In 1988 Jesse Jackson took the Democratic primary in Michigan with 54% against Dukakis and Gephardt. Obama beat Wall Street Romney and red-white-and-blue McCain in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan. But nobody told these voters -- because nobody seems to remember -- what they really needed. These voter just knew by 2016 that Democrats had not what they needed and looked elsewhere -- anywhere else!

Strom presents an easy as can be, on-step-back treatment that should go down oh, so smoothly and sweetly. What do you think?

  • Matthew young , May 31, 2020 10:51 am

    Not overnight, but a few days in 1972 when Nixon fouled the defaults and none of us knew how badly at the time.

    Reseting prices takes a long time, it is not magic and Nixon had fouled the precious metals market, overnight. That and all the commodities market needed a restructure to adapt to our new regime.

    Our way out was to export price instability to Asia. My suggestion this time is to think through the math a bit before we all suddenly freak and do another over nighter. Think about how one might spread the partial default over a 15 year period.

    All of us, stuck with 40 years of flat earth economic planning without a clue. Now we have a year at best to nail down the Lucas criteria and get a default done with some science behind it.

    I doubt it. I figure we will all go to monetary meetup with our insurance contracts ready to be confirmed. That is impossible and Trump will be stuck doing a volatile, overnight partial default, like Nixon.,

  • EMichael , May 31, 2020 12:02 pm

    Dennis,

    The states you mentioned have overwhelmingly voted Rep for the last 3 decades in their state races. One of them has instituted right to work laws, and the other two have come very close to doing the same.

    The white working class cares nothing about unions at all. They have been voting against them for decades. It's why union rights and membership has deteriorated for 5 decades.

    run75441 , May 31, 2020 12:32 pm

    EM:

    Notably, I had posted the 2016 presidential election numbers numbers for MI, PA, and WI which resulted in an "anyone but Trump or Clinton vote" and gave th election to Trump. The "anyone but Trump or Clinton vote" resulted in a historical high for the "others" category and was anywhere from 3 to 6 times higher than previously experienced in other presidential elections. It also resulted in those three states casting Electoral votes for a Republican presidential candidate since 1992 – MI, 1988 – PA, and 1988 – WI. While this does defeat your comment above on those states voting Republican, it does not take away from your other comment on Sarandon. People punished themselves with Trump in spite of every obvious clue he demonstrated of being a loon. In this case the white working class voted against themselves for Trump and those of Sarandon's ilk helped them along by voting for "others."

  • EMichael , May 31, 2020 12:45 pm

    Run, I stated in "state elections".

    Y'know one other thing I have seen in MI voting is that the amount of people who voted did not cast a voted for President also was the highest ever. Thinking these are the same people like Sarandon. It was close to 90,000 in MI.

    "87,810: Number of voters this election who cast a ballot but did not cast a vote for president. That compares to 49,840 undervotes for president in 2012.

    5 percent: Proportion of voters who opted for a third-party candidate in this election, compared to 1 percent in 2012."

    https://www.mlive.com/politics/2016/11/michigans_presidential_electio.html

    run75441 , May 31, 2020 1:58 pm

    EM:

    I am going to put the numbers out here for Presidential Election 2012 and 2016. It is easier to look at them and the percentages.

    Michigan Presidential Vote 2012 and 2016

    In this site, you can look year to year on the vote. US Election Atlas

  • ken melvin , May 31, 2020 1:04 pm

    Denis

    Thanks for your comment and the link. Wow! Where to start, huh?

    SEIU was a player from the get go, but I don't want to go there just now.

    Before Reagan, there was the first rust belt move to the non-union south. Why was the south so anti-union? I think this stuff is engendered from infancy and most of us are incapable of thinking anew when it comes to stuff our parents 'taught' us. MLK was the best thing that ever happened to the dirt-road poor south, yet they hated him and they hated the very unions that might have lifted them up. They did seem to take pleasure in the yanks' loss of jobs.

    I think the Reagan era was prelude to what is going on now, i.e., going backward while yelling whee look at me go. No doubt, Reagan turned union members against their own unions. But, the genesis of demise probably lay with automation and the early offshoring to Mexico. By Reagan, the car plants were losing jobs to Toyota and Honda and automation. By 1990, car plants that had previously employed 5,000, now automated, produced more cars employing only 1200. At the time, much of the nation's wealth was still derived from car production.

    Skipping forward a bit, the democrats blew it for years with all their talk about the 'middle-class' without realizing it was the 'disappearing middle-class'. They ignored the poor working-class vote and lost election after election.

    I've come to not like the term labor, think it affords capital an undeserved status, though much diminished, I think thought all workers would be better off in a union. Otherwise, as we are witnessing, there is no parity between workers and wealth; we are in a race to the bottom with the wealth increasingly go to the top.

  • ken melvin , May 31, 2020 1:15 pm

    Matthew – thanks for your comment

    I think that we are into a transition (about 45 yrs into) as great as the industrial revolution. We, as probably those poor souls of the 18th and 19th centuries did, are floundering, unable to come to terms with what is going on.

    I also think that those such as the Kochs have a good grasp of what is going on and are moving to protect themselves and their class.

  • ken melvin , May 31, 2020 1:21 pm

    EMichael, thanks for the comment

    Are you implying that the politicians are way behind the curve? If so, I think that you are right.

    Let me share what I was thinking last night about thinking:

    Descartes' problem was that he desperately wanted to make philosophy work within the framework of his religion, Catholicism. Paul Krugman desperately wants to make economics all work within the Holy Duality of Capitalism and Free Markets. Even Joe Stiglitz can't step out of this text. All things being possible, it is possible that either could come up with a solution to today's economic problems that would fit within the Two; but the odds are not good. Better to think anew.

    We see politicians try and try to find solutions for today's problems from within their own dogmas/ideologies. Even if they can't, they persist, they still try to impose these dogmas/ideologies in the desperate hope they might work if only applied to a greater degree. How else explain any belief that markets could anticipate and respond to pandemics? That markets could best respond to housing demand?

  • anne , May 31, 2020 1:48 pm

    Ken Melvin,

    Interesting and fine writing.

  • anne , May 31, 2020 1:49 pm

    https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1267060950026326018

    Paul Krugman @paulkrugman

    Glad to see Noah Smith highlighting this all-too-relevant work by the late Alberto Alesina 1/

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-05-30/racism-is-the-biggest-reason-u-s-safety-net-is-so-weak

    Racism Is the Biggest Reason the U.S. Safety Net Is So Weak
    Harvard economist Alberto Alesina, who died last week, found that ethnic divisions made the country less effective at providing public goods.

    7:50 AM · May 31, 2020

    The Alesina/Glaeser/Sacerdote paper on why America doesn't have a European-style welfare state -- racism -- had a big impact on my own thinking 2/

    https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/glaeser/files/why_doesnt_the_u.s._have_a_european-style_welfare_state.pdf

    For a long time anyone who pointed out that the modern GOP is basically a party that serves plutocratic ends by weaponizing white racism was treated as "shrill" and partisan. Can we now admit the obvious? 3/

  • EMichael , May 31, 2020 1:53 pm

    Ken,

    Half the politicians are behind the curve. When George Wallace showed the GOP how to win elections (Don't ever get outniggerred) the Dem Party failed to see and react to it. Then the Kochs of the world stepped in with the John Birch society (fromerly the KKK) and started playing race against class, which resulted in the white working class supporting anti-labor pols and legislation.

    The election of Obama caused the racists to go totally off the reservation with the Tea Party (formerly the KKK and the John Birch Society) and lead us to where we are now.

    Of course, the corporate world followed the blueprint.

    Way past time for the Dem Party to start attacking on a constant basis the racist GOP. And also to start appealing more to workers, though the 2016 platform certainly did that to a large degree, and the 2020 platform looks to be mush more supportive of labor than ever.

    "It's a detailed and aggressive agenda that includes doubling the minimum wage and tripling funding for schools with low-income students. He is proposing the most sweeping overhaul of immigration policy in a generation, the biggest pro-union push in three generations, and the most ambitious environmental agenda of all time.

    If Democrats take back the Senate in the fall, Biden could make his agenda happen. A primary is about airing disagreements, but legislating is about building consensus. The Democratic Party largely agrees on a suite of big policy changes that would improve the lives of millions of Americans in meaningful ways. Biden has detailed, considered plans to put much of this agenda in place. But getting these plans done will be driven much more by the outcome of the congressional elections than his questioned ambition.

    A big minimum wage increase

    Biden's commitment to raising the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 to $15 an hour is one of the least talked-about plans at stake in the 2020 election.

    In the 2016 cycle when Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders disagreed about raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, the debate was the subject of extensive coverage. By the 2020 cycle, all the major Democratic candidates were on board, so it didn't come up much. But it's significant that this is no longer controversial in Democratic Party circles. If the party is broadly comfortable with the wage hike as a matter of both politics and substance, Democrats in Congress are likely to make it happen if it's at all possible.
    Noji Olaigbe, left, from the Fight for $15 minimum wage movement, speaks during a McDonald's workers' strike in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on May 23, 2019. David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

    The $15-an-hour minimum wage increase is also a signature issue for Biden. He endorsed New York's version of it in the fall of 2015, back when he was vice president and his boss Barack Obama was pushing a smaller federal raise.

    A big minimum wage hike polls well, it aligns with Biden's thematic emphasis on "the dignity of work," and it's a topic on which he's genuinely been a leader. It reflects his political sensibilities, which are moderate but in a decidedly more populist mode than Obama's technocratic one.

    Biden has a big Plan A to support organized labor, and a Plan B that's still consequential and considerably more plausible politically.

    Beyond a general disposition to be a good coalition partner to organized labor, the centerpiece of his union agenda is support for the PRO Act, which passed the House of Representatives earlier this year.

    That bill, were it to become law, would be the biggest victory for unions and collective bargaining since the end of World War II -- overriding state "right to work" laws, barring mandatory anti-union briefings from management during organizing campaigns, imposing much more meaningful financial penalties on companies that illegally fire workers for pro-union activity, and allowing organizing through a streamlined card check process. Separately, Biden and House Democrats have lined up behind a Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act that would bolster public sector workers' collective bargaining rights. "

    https://www.vox.com/2020/5/26/21257648/joe-biden-climate-economy-tax-plans

    One of the big issues here is Biden not committing to killing the filibuster, in addition to Dem Senators not in agreement either. That would be a disaster for any legislation.

    Makes sense not to run on ending the filibuster now, as there is a chance trump can win and teh GOP keeps the Senate. But if the opposite happens and Biden wins and Dems take the Senate, they will have to pivot quickly to getting rid of the filibuster. Apply any and all possible pressure to those Dem Senators who do not agree with that. Threaten them with losing committee posts; primary opponents; the kitchen sink.

    Yes, it poses a risk in the event the Reps get a trifecta again, but it is time to flood progressive legislation into law, and getting rid of the filibuster is the only way.

    And if they can hit the trifecta and bring this platform to fruition, they won't have to worry about a GOP trifecta for a long, long time. Possibly forever.

  • anne , May 31, 2020 1:56 pm

    https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/glaeser/files/why_doesnt_the_u.s._have_a_european-style_welfare_state.pdf

    September, 2001

    Why Doesn't the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?
    By Alberto Alesina, Edward Glaeser and Bruce Sacerdote

    Abstract

    European countries are much more generous to the poor relative to the US level of generosity. Economic models suggest that redistribution is a function of the variance and skewness of the pre-tax income distribution, the volatility of income (perhaps because of trade shocks), the social costs of taxation and the expected income mobility of the median voter. None of these factors appear to explain the differences between the US and Europe. Instead, the differences appear to be the result of racial heterogeneity in the US and American political institutions. Racial animosity in the US makes redistribution to the poor, who are disproportionately black, unappealing to many voters. American political institutions limited the growth of a socialist party, and more generally limited the political power of the poor.

  • rick shapiro , May 31, 2020 2:07 pm

    This dynamic is not limited to low-skill jobs. I have seen it at work in electronics engineering. When I was a sprat, job shoppers got an hourly wage nearly twice that of their company peers, because they had no benefits or long-term employment. Today, job shoppers are actually paid less than company engineers; and the companies are outsourcing ever more of their staffing to the brokers.
    Without labor market frictions, the iron law of wages drives wages to starvation levels. As sophisticated uberization software eliminates the frictions that have protected middle class wages in the recent past, we will all need to enlist unionization and government wage standards to protect us.

  • ken melvin , May 31, 2020 2:29 pm

    Rick

    The big engineering offices of the 70s were decimated and worse by the mid-90s; mostly by the advent of computers w/ software. One engineer could now do the work of 10 and didn't need any draftsman.

  • rick shapiro , May 31, 2020 2:40 pm

    I was speaking of engineers with equal skill in the same office. Many at GE Avionics were laid off, and came back as lower paid contract empoyees.

  • ken melvin , May 31, 2020 2:46 pm

    Rick

    Die biden

  • ken melvin , May 31, 2020 2:52 pm

    beiden

    The both

  • ken melvin , May 31, 2020 3:05 pm

    EMichael

    Minimum wage, the row about the $600, all such things endanger the indentured servant economic model so favored in the south. Keep them poor and hungry and they will work for next to nothing. 'Still they persist.' On PBS, a black woman cooking for a restaurant said that she was being paid less than $4/hr.

  • anne , May 31, 2020 4:48 pm

    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-05-30/dont-understand-the-protests-what-youre-seeing-is-people-pushed-to-the-edge

    May 30, 2020

    Don't understand the protests? What you're seeing is people pushed to the edge
    By KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR – Los Angeles Times

    What was your first reaction when you saw the video of the white cop kneeling on George Floyd's neck while Floyd croaked, "I can't breathe"?

    If you're white, you probably muttered a horrified, "Oh, my God" while shaking your head at the cruel injustice. If you're black, you probably leapt to your feet, cursed, maybe threw something (certainly wanted to throw something), while shouting, "Not @#$%! again!" Then you remember the two white vigilantes accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through their neighborhood in February, and how if it wasn't for that video emerging a few weeks ago, they would have gotten away with it. And how those Minneapolis cops claimed Floyd was resisting arrest but a store's video showed he wasn't. And how the cop on Floyd's neck wasn't an enraged redneck stereotype, but a sworn officer who looked calm and entitled and devoid of pity: the banality of evil incarnate.

    Maybe you also are thinking about the Karen in Central Park who called 911 claiming the black man who asked her to put a leash on her dog was threatening her. Or the black Yale University grad student napping in the common room of her dorm who was reported by a white student. Because you realize it's not just a supposed "black criminal" who is targeted, it's the whole spectrum of black faces from Yonkers to Yale.

    You start to wonder if it should be all black people who wear body cams, not the cops.

    What do you see when you see angry black protesters amassing outside police stations with raised fists? If you're white, you may be thinking, "They certainly aren't social distancing." Then you notice the black faces looting Target and you think, "Well, that just hurts their cause." Then you see the police station on fire and you wag a finger saying, "That's putting the cause backward."

    You're not wrong -- but you're not right, either. The black community is used to the institutional racism inherent in education, the justice system and jobs. And even though we do all the conventional things to raise public and political awareness -- write articulate and insightful pieces in the Atlantic, explain the continued devastation on CNN, support candidates who promise change -- the needle hardly budges.

    But COVID-19 has been slamming the consequences of all that home as we die at a significantly higher rate than whites, are the first to lose our jobs, and watch helplessly as Republicans try to keep us from voting .

    run75441 , May 31, 2020 9:39 pm

    anne:

    If you rcomments are not appearing they are going to spam, Just let me know and I will fish them out of spam. Just approved 4 of yours.

  • Bert Schlitz , May 31, 2020 7:14 pm

    The protests are self centered crap blacks do year after year. Considering 370 whites over 100 Latinos were killed by cops, many as bad as that guy in minnie. Blacks have a Trumptard mentality. We have a ecological disaster, a economic disaster and pandemic(when th they are spreading). Yet let's whine about one bad cop related homicide.

    This may begin the breakup of the Democratic party and the blacks. The differences are just to large.

  • Kaleberg , May 31, 2020 9:40 pm

    It's rather sad that it takes a massive civil disturbance to get the authorities to arrest a man videotaped killing another. You'd think that would just happen as a matter of course, but that's how it works in this country. Post Comment Leave a Reply Cancel reply

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    Featured Stories Coronavirus dashboard: updating the 52 Petri Dishes of democracy

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    [May 31, 2020] Russiagate is a clash between the old-guard/money represented currently by Trump and allied with him anti-globalist nationalists, and, on the other side, garden-variety globalists and neolibs including the new-money represented by big-tech billionaires, investment banks, private equity, CIA, the State Department and a part of MIC as well as the dominant in Democratic party Clinton wing

    Notable quotes:
    "... What is happening now is the exact same thing as Hong Kong. In any given instance of mass revolt, you have two warring factions, usually funded at the top by diametrically opposed elites. ..."
    "... In Hong Kong, it is pro-western, old-guard/money versus Chinese new-guard. ..."
    "... Look at the degree of organization (or lack thereof) which was able to politically assassinate Gen. Flynn! You had the dem establishment and billionaires like the Clintons, Obama-faction sycophants all the way up to the top. ..."
    May 31, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    NemesisCalling , May 31 2020 17:45 utc | 26

    @ vk 23

    You are completely wrong, of course. What is happening now is the exact same thing as Hong Kong. In any given instance of mass revolt, you have two warring factions, usually funded at the top by diametrically opposed elites.

    In Hong Kong, it is pro-western, old-guard/money versus Chinese new-guard. In America, we have the old-guard/money represented currently by the DJT-phenomenon, meaning Anti-globalist nationalists, and, on the other side, you have new-money internationalists and neolibs represented by billionaires, big-tech, the democratic party and garden-variety globalists.

    Look at the degree of organization (or lack thereof) which was able to politically assassinate Gen. Flynn! You had the dem establishment and billionaires like the Clintons, Obama-faction sycophants all the way up to the top.

    You think that this event is entirely grassroots? Give me a f*cking break, vk. You are such a blatantly obvious Chinese shill, no doubt probably employed by globalist entities, that the fact you are unable to employ an effective and probable analysis on these current "protests" reaffirm to me exactly what you are and what you stand for.


    Blue Dotterel , May 31 2020 17:55 utc | 27

    @NemesisCalling | May 31 2020 17:45 utc | 26

    You could also have the same oligarchs funding both sides in a divide and conquer strategy. This is a common strategy that has been used in Turkey among others in the runup to the 1980 coup. It was also used by the US and Israel in their funding of both sides in the Iran/Iraq war in the 80s.

    In the former it was used to ramp up violence to justify a military coup. That is very probable here, except that martial law might be the objective. Similar to the Iran/Iraq, the stoking of violence between liberals and conservatives may simply be to wear them out for when the economy truly tanks to justify in the minds of the sheeple a greater oppression of demonstrations in future.

    Abe , May 31 2020 18:05 utc | 30
    US is becoming like Israel even more. Considering same people rule both countries, and same people train cops in both of them, is it surprising 99%-ers in US are becoming treated like Palestinians?

    [May 31, 2020] The Phillips Curve is a farce, neoclassical theory is a fraud

    May 31, 2020 | japantimes.co.jp
    Japan's low official jobless rate conceals deeper pain in its labor market: think tank estimates real rate is more than 11%

    Capitalism always prevails: everything else is either a prop up or an obstacle. An obstacle is expected to be either ignored or destroyed. In this context, there's only so much Asian hive mind culture (fascism) can do.

    Oh, and wages are also at historical lows. The Phillips Curve is a farce, neoclassical theory is a fraud

    [May 30, 2020] The Feds response to the coronavirus, the connection between monetary and fiscal policy and how it affects the social situation.

    May 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    financial matters , May 30 2020 10:46 utc | 195

    Nathan Tankus continues his series on the Feds response to the coronavirus. This one I think is interesting because he makes explicit the connection between monetary and fiscal policy and how it affects the social situation.

    The Federal Reserve's Coronavirus Crisis Actions, Explained (Part 7)
    Riots, Municipalities and Monetary Policy

    https://nathantankus.substack.com/p/the-federal-reserves-coronavirus-468

    ""It feels a little silly to be publishing a technical series on the Federal Reserve's crisis response while the United States burns from another round of police murdering Black people. On one level, what's happening has very little to do with the intricacies of central banking. On another level, they are intimately related. Our macroeconomic policy mix is centered around monetary policy and our fiscal safety net has been increasingly ripped apart. Since fiscal policy is a much more flexible tool that can be targeted to specific sectors and groups while replacing and increasing income and wealth, it is the best tool for dealing with discrete social problems and making sure that no one is left behind. The last major challenge to our economic policy mix came in the 1970s when Coretta Scott King co-founded the Full Employment Action Council to advocate for a legally enforceable right to a job. . As Coretta said:

    When Martin Luther_King, Jr., left us in 1968, he was leading the struggle for jobs and income for every American. Martin Luther King, Jr., understood that the right to sit at a lunch counter is no right at all when you are without a job to pay for the lunch. He knew that the right to_attend a college is no right at all without a job to finance the education. And the right to live in a decent neighborhood is no right at all Without a job to pay the mortgage or rent. Many of the gains of the last two decades are threatened by the disastrous levels of joblessness among mmonty Americans. I fear that the civil rights legislation we struggled for, and some died for, is about to be repealed by the harsh reality of high unemployment and persistent poverty. [...]

    In my view, it's important to contextualize monetary policy in this way as these political issues are inseparable from the technical questions of macroeconomic stabilization. Trying to analyze the technical details of monetary policy without this context is at its core an analytical error. People live or die, and uprise or not, based on the macroeconomic and social policy a society pursues. I write about and advocate shifting to a fiscal policy centered macroeconomic policy framework where financial regulation plays a subordinate distributional, and demand restriction, role because I think that framework is the only that's up to the task of responding to climate change and the deprivation that's leading to civil unrest.

    That framework may seem unrealistic and far away, but social instability tends to make the seemingly unrealistic possible. The New Deal was unimaginable in the years before it happened- and so was reconstruction

    The big announcement from this month, which is mainly a negative one, is the update to the Municipal Liquidity Facility which made it far more restrictive than many had anticipated. It feels like a painful irony that I'm writing about this just as a major metropolitan area erupted. With that said, it's time to dig into the minutiae ...

    [May 30, 2020] Trump kicking out all China PHD students

    May 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Susan , May 29 2020 17:51 utc | 60

    I just can't imagine the stupidity of Trump kicking out all the PHD students!
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/05/29/chin-m29.html

    [May 29, 2020] Trump's Tax Cuts Get an "F" for enriching the Globalist Elite by Michael Cuenco

    Highly recommended!
    Notable quotes:
    "... Instead of reining in the "globalist elites" he so vociferously ran against or those corporations "who have no loyalty to America," his one legislative achievement has been to award them a massive tax cut. Through it, he has maintained their favorite mix of low revenue intake and high deficits which gives Republicans a pretext to "starve the beast" and induce fiscal anorexia. ..."
    "... Trump ran as a populist firebrand -- a fusion of Huey Long and Ross Perot -- and while he never abandoned that style, he has governed for the most part as a milquetoast free market Republican in perfect tandem with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, one whose solution to everything is more tax cuts and deregulation: a kind of turbo-charged "high-energy Jeb." ..."
    "... With the outbreak of COVID-19, many on the reformist right are hoping for the emergence of the President Trump they thought they were promised, a leader just as ready to break out of the donor-enforced "small government" straitjacket while in power as he was during the campaign. ..."
    "... The heightened rhetoric against China will continue -- the one thing Trump is good at -- but it is unlikely to be matched with the required policy ..."
    "... If neoliberalism excused inequality at home by extolling the equalization of incomes across the globe (millions of Chinese raised from poverty, while millions of American workers fall back into it!), the new position must shift emphasis back to ensuring a more equitable domestic distribution of wealth and opportunity across all classes and communities in this country. ..."
    "... It is worth pondering what might have happened if the administration had gone the other way and followed the last piece of policy advice given by Steve Bannon before his ouster in August 2017. Bannon suggested raising the top marginal income tax rate to 44 percent while "arguing that it would actually hit left-wing millionaires in Silicon Valley, on Wall Street, and in Hollywood." ..."
    "... It might well have put Trump on the path to becoming what Daniel Patrick Moynihan once proposed as a model for Richard Nixon when he gifted the 37th president a biography of Disraeli, namely a Tory Republican who could outsmart the left by crafting broad popular coalitions based on a blending of patriotic cultural conservatism with class-conscious economic and social policy. ..."
    "... Then and even more so now, the idea resonates: a Reuters/Ipsos poll from January found that 64 percent of Americans support a wealth tax, a majority of Republicans included. Poll after poll has reaffirmed this. It seems as if there is right-wing populist support for taxing the rich more. ..."
    "... There is one more thing to be said about the significance of taxing the rich. Up until very recently, there has been a prevailing tendency among the reformist right (with some important exceptions) to couch criticism of the elites primarily or even exclusively in cultural terms. There seems to have been a polite hesitation at taking the cultural critique to its logical economic conclusions. It is easy to excoriate the excesses of elite identity politics, the "woke" part of woke capitalism; it's something all conservatives -- and indeed growing numbers of liberals and socialists -- agree on. Fish in a barrel. ..."
    "... But to challenge the capitalism part, i.e. free market orthodoxy, not in a secondary or tertiary way, but head on and in specific policy terms as Lofgren and a few others have done, would involve confronting difficult truths, namely that the biggest beneficiaries of tax cuts and Reaganite economic policy in general, which most conservatives enthusiastically promoted for four decades, are the selfsame decadent coastal elites they claim to oppose. It is they who more than anyone else thrive on financialized globalization, arbitrage and offshoring. ..."
    "... In other words, it amounts to an honest recognition of the complicity of conservatism in the mess we're in, which is perhaps a psychological bridge too far for too many on the right, reformist or not. (Trigger Warning!) This separation of culture and economics has led to the farce of a self-styled nationalist president lining the pockets of his nominal enemies, the globalist ruling class. ..."
    "... A conservative call to tax the rich would signal that the right is ready to end this charade and chart a course toward a more patriotic, public-spirited and yes, proudly hyphenated capitalism. ..."
    "... Michael Cuenco is a writer on politics and policy. He has also written for American Affairs. ..."
    May 26, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

    They also left worker wages stagnant and increased the deficit. Where is our more nationalist economic policy?

    Much has been written about the disappointment of certain segments of the right in the apparent capitulation of Donald Trump to the agenda of the conservative establishment.

    Instead of reining in the "globalist elites" he so vociferously ran against or those corporations "who have no loyalty to America," his one legislative achievement has been to award them a massive tax cut. Through it, he has maintained their favorite mix of low revenue intake and high deficits which gives Republicans a pretext to "starve the beast" and induce fiscal anorexia.

    The president has granted them as well their ideal labor market through an ingenious formula: double down on mostly symbolic raids (as opposed to systemic solutions like Mandatory E-Verify) and ramp up the rhetoric about "shithole countries" to distract the media, but keep the supply of cheap, exploitable low-skill labor (legal and illegal) intact for the business lobby.

    Trump ran as a populist firebrand -- a fusion of Huey Long and Ross Perot -- and while he never abandoned that style, he has governed for the most part as a milquetoast free market Republican in perfect tandem with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, one whose solution to everything is more tax cuts and deregulation: a kind of turbo-charged "high-energy Jeb."

    With the outbreak of COVID-19, many on the reformist right are hoping for the emergence of the President Trump they thought they were promised, a leader just as ready to break out of the donor-enforced "small government" straitjacket while in power as he was during the campaign.

    Despite signs of progress, what's more likely is a return to business as usual. Already the GOP's impulse for austerity and parsimony is proving to be stronger than any willingness to think and act outside the box.

    The heightened rhetoric against China will continue -- the one thing Trump is good at -- but it is unlikely to be matched with the required policy, such as a long-term plan to reshore U.S. industry (that doesn't just rely on blindly giving corporations the benefit of the doubt). At this point, we already know where the president's priorities lie when given a choice between the advancement of America's workers or continued labor arbitrage and carte blanche corporate handouts.

    Lest they be engulfed by it like everyone else, the reformist right should ask: is there any way to stand athwart the supply-side swamp yelling Stop?

    Many of these conservatives lament the Trump tax cut not just because it was a disaster that failed to spark reinvestment, left wages stagnant, needlessly blew up the deficit and served as a slush fund for stock buybacks, but more fundamentally because it betrayed the overwhelming intellectual inertia and lack of imagination that characterizes conservative policymaking.

    More than in any other issue then, a distinct position on taxes would make the new conservatism truly worth distinguishing from the old: tax cuts were after all the defining policy dogma of the neoliberal Reagan era.

    If neoliberalism excused inequality at home by extolling the equalization of incomes across the globe (millions of Chinese raised from poverty, while millions of American workers fall back into it!), the new position must shift emphasis back to ensuring a more equitable domestic distribution of wealth and opportunity across all classes and communities in this country.

    A reformulation of fiscal policy along populist economic nationalist lines can help with that.

    It is worth pondering what might have happened if the administration had gone the other way and followed the last piece of policy advice given by Steve Bannon before his ouster in August 2017. Bannon suggested raising the top marginal income tax rate to 44 percent while "arguing that it would actually hit left-wing millionaires in Silicon Valley, on Wall Street, and in Hollywood."

    Such a move would have been nothing short of revolutionary: it would have been a faithful and full-blown expression of the populist economic nationalism Trump ran on; it would have presented a genuine material threat to the elite ruling class of both parties, and likely would have pre-empted the shock value of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposing a 70 percent top marginal rate.

    It might well have put Trump on the path to becoming what Daniel Patrick Moynihan once proposed as a model for Richard Nixon when he gifted the 37th president a biography of Disraeli, namely a Tory Republican who could outsmart the left by crafting broad popular coalitions based on a blending of patriotic cultural conservatism with class-conscious economic and social policy.

    Not that Trump would have needed to go back to Nixon or Disraeli for instruction on the matter. In 1999, long before Elizabeth Warren came along on the national scene, a presidential candidate eyeing the Reform Party nomination contemplated the imposition of a 14.25 percent wealth tax on America's richest citizens in order to pay off the national debt: his name was Donald Trump.

    What ever happened to that guy? The Trump of 1999 was onto something. Maybe this could be a way to deal with our post-pandemic deficits.

    Then and even more so now, the idea resonates: a Reuters/Ipsos poll from January found that 64 percent of Americans support a wealth tax, a majority of Republicans included. Poll after poll has reaffirmed this. It seems as if there is right-wing populist support for taxing the rich more.

    To the common refrain, "the rich are just going to find ways to shelter their income or relocate it offshore," I have written elsewhere about the concrete policy measures countries can and have taken to clip the wings of mobile global capital and prevent such an outcome.

    I have written as well about how taxing the rich and tightening the screws on tax enforcement have implications that go beyond the merely redistributive approach to fiscal policy conventionally favored by the left; about how it can be a form of leverage against an unaccountable investor class used to shopping at home and abroad for the most opaque assets in which to hoard vast amounts of essentially idle capital.

    A deft administration would use aggressive fiscal policy as an inducement for this irresponsible class to make things right by reinvesting in such priorities as the wages and well-being of workers, the vitality of communities, the strength of strategic industries and the productivity of the real economy – or else Uncle Sam will tax their wealth and do it for them.

    It would also be an assertion of national sovereignty against globalization's command for countries to stay "competitive" by immiserating their citizens with ever-lower taxes on capital holders and ever more loose and "flexible" labor markets in a never-ending race to the bottom.

    Mike Lofgren has penned a marvelous essay in these pages about the virtual secession of the rich from the American nation, "with their prehensile greed, their asocial cultural values, and their absence of civic responsibility."

    What better way to remind them that they are still citizens of a country and members of a society -- and not just floating streams of deracinated capital -- than by making them perform that most basic of civic duties, paying one's fair share and contributing to the commonweal? America need not revert to the 70-90 percent top marginal rates of the bolshevik administrations of Truman, Eisenhower or Kennedy, but proposals for modest moves in that direction would be welcome.

    There is one more thing to be said about the significance of taxing the rich. Up until very recently, there has been a prevailing tendency among the reformist right (with some important exceptions) to couch criticism of the elites primarily or even exclusively in cultural terms. There seems to have been a polite hesitation at taking the cultural critique to its logical economic conclusions. It is easy to excoriate the excesses of elite identity politics, the "woke" part of woke capitalism; it's something all conservatives -- and indeed growing numbers of liberals and socialists -- agree on. Fish in a barrel.

    But to challenge the capitalism part, i.e. free market orthodoxy, not in a secondary or tertiary way, but head on and in specific policy terms as Lofgren and a few others have done, would involve confronting difficult truths, namely that the biggest beneficiaries of tax cuts and Reaganite economic policy in general, which most conservatives enthusiastically promoted for four decades, are the selfsame decadent coastal elites they claim to oppose. It is they who more than anyone else thrive on financialized globalization, arbitrage and offshoring.

    In other words, it amounts to an honest recognition of the complicity of conservatism in the mess we're in, which is perhaps a psychological bridge too far for too many on the right, reformist or not. (Trigger Warning!) This separation of culture and economics has led to the farce of a self-styled nationalist president lining the pockets of his nominal enemies, the globalist ruling class.

    Already, the White House is proposing yet another gigantic corporate tax cut. Using the exact same discredited logic as the last one, senior economic advisor Larry Kudlow wants Americans to trust him when he says that halving the already lowered 2017 rate to 10.5 percent will encourage these eminently reasonable multinationals to reinvest. There he goes again.

    A conservative call to tax the rich would signal that the right is ready to end this charade and chart a course toward a more patriotic, public-spirited and yes, proudly hyphenated capitalism.

    Michael Cuenco is a writer on politics and policy. He has also written for American Affairs.


    Kent 3 days ago

    "America need not revert to the 70-90 percent top marginal rates of the bolshevik administrations of Truman, Eisenhower or Kennedy, but proposals for modest moves in that direction would be welcome."

    Those tax rates were offset by direct investment in the US economy. So if I invested in the stock market, I'd get a 90% tax rate because that doesn't produce actual wealth. On the other hand, if I invested in building factories that created thousands of jobs for American citizens, my tax rate may fall to 0%. And those policies created a fantastic economy that we oldsters remember as the golden age. That wasn't bolshevism, it was competitive capitalism. What we have today is libertarianism. And as long as conservatives are going to let the libertarian boogey-man's nose under the tent, we are going to have this ugly, bifurcated economy. Your choice. Man up.

    Winston Nevis Kent 3 days ago • edited
    You ever tell hear of sarcasm, bud? I think that's what the author was going for. Don't think he was trying to say that Ike and Truman were Bolsheviks but was rather making fun of libertarians who hyperbolically associate high tax rates with socialism and Soviet Communism...
    K squared Winston Nevis 3 days ago
    Plenty of goldwater's supporters in 1964 called President Eisenhower a communist
    GAguilar K squared 2 days ago
    Particularly the John Birchers, including my parents!
    SKPeterson Kent 3 days ago • edited
    We absolutely do not have libertarianism operating in this country today. There is simply no evidence that there is any sort of libertarian economic or political system in place. Oh sure, you'll whine "but globalism without actually defining what globalism is, or what is wrong about precisely, but just that it's somehow wrong and that libertarians are to blame for it. There's a good word for such an argument: bullshit.
    We have an economy that is extraordinarily dominated by the state via mandates, regulations, and monetary interference that is most decidedly not libertarian in any way whatsoever. The current system though does create and perpetuate a system of rent-seeking cronies who conform rather nicely to the descriptions of said actors by Buchanan and Tullock. The problems of the modern economy are the result of state interference, not its absence, and Cuenco's sorry policy prescriptions do nothing to minimize the state but instead just create a different set of rent-seeking cronies for which the wealth and incomes of the nation are to be expropriated.
    marku52 SKPeterson 3 days ago
    O dear, No True Scotsman....
    SKPeterson marku52 2 days ago
    If you can point to how the current situation is in any way "libertarian" without creating your own perfect little lazy straw man definition then by all means do so. Until then your retort is without
    substance (you see a no true Scotsman reply doesn't work if the facts are in the favor of the person supposedly making such an argument. Here you fail to establish why what I said is such a case; saying it doesn't make it so). When Kent makes some throwaway comment that we're somehow living in some sort of libertarian era he's full of it, you know it, and all you can do is provide some weak "no true Scotsman" defense? Come on and man up, stop appealing to artificial complaints of fallacious argumentation, and give me an actual solid argument with evidence beyond "this is so libertarian" that we're living in some libertarian golden age that's driving the oppression of the masses.
    cka2nd SKPeterson 3 days ago
    Busted unions, contracting out and privatization, deregulation of vast swaths of the economy since the late 1970's (Jimmy Carter has gotten kudos from libertarian writers for his de-regulatory efforts), lowered tax rates, especially on financial speculation and concentrated wealth, a blind eye or shrugged shoulder to anti-trust law and corporate consolidation. Yeah, nothing to see here, no partial victories for the libertarian wings of the ruling class or the GOP, at all. The Koch Brothers accomplished nothing, absolutely nothing, since David was the Libertarian Party's nominee for Vice President in 1980; all that money gone to waste. Sure.
    SKPeterson cka2nd 2 days ago
    So, now some sort of "partial victory" means we're living in some sort of libertarian era? And what exactly was so wonderful about all the things you listed being perpetuated? So, union "busting" is terrible, but union corruption was a great part of our national solidarity and should have been protected? Deregulation of vast swathes of the economy? You mean the elimination of government controlled cartels in the form of trucking and airlines? You mean the sorts of things that have enabled the working class folks you supposedly favor to travel to places that were previously out of reach for them and only accessible to the rich for their vacations? Yes, that's truly terrible. Again, you're on the side of the little guy, right? Lowered taxes? Are you seriously going to argue that the traditional conservative position has been for high tax rates? What are taxes placed upon? People and property. What do conservatives want to protect? People and property. So... arguing for higher taxes or saying that low taxes are bad or even especially, libertarian, is really going off the rails. That's just bad reasoning. And regarding financialization, those weren't especially libertarian in their enacting, but rather flow directly out of the consequences of the modern Progressive implementation of neo-Keynesian monetary and fiscal policy. Suffice it to say, I don't think you'll find too many arguments from libertarians that the policies encouraging financialization were good or followed libertarian economic policy prescriptions. Moreover, they led entirely to the repulsive "too big to fail" situation and if there's one thing that libertarians hold to is that there is no such thing (or shouldn't be) as "too big to fail." The objection to anti-trust law is that it was regularly abused and actually created government-protected firms that harmed consumers. If you think anti-trust laws are good things and should be supported by conservatives then by all means encourage Joe Biden to have Elizabeth Warren as his vice-presidential running mate and go vote Democrat this fall.
    Blood Alcohol SKPeterson 3 days ago
    "The problems of the modern economy are the result of state interference, not its absence". That's because the "state interference" is working as proxy for the interests of vulture capitalist.

    What we have today is vulture capitalism as opposed to free enterprise capitalism.

    DUNK Blood Alcohol 2 days ago • edited
    You could also call it "crony capitalism" or "inverted totalitarianism".

    Chris Hedges: "Sheldon Wolin and Inverted Totalitarianism" (November 2, 2015)

    GAguilar DUNK 2 days ago
    Princeton professor Sheldon Wolin's excellent book is entitled, "Democracy Incorporated."

    He lays out how we're living in a totalitarian, capitalist surveillance state, as if that's not already obvious to most people around here.

    SKPeterson Blood Alcohol 2 days ago
    Exactly. The existence of a vulture capitalist or crony capitalist economy, which we have in many sectors, is evidence that "libertarianism" is nothing more than a convenient totem to invoke as a rationale for complaint against the outcomes of the existing crony capitalist state of affairs. My contention is that Cuenco, et al are simply advocating for a replacement of the cronies and vultures.
    1701 3 days ago
    A very similar article(but probably coming at it from a slightly different angle) wouldn't look out of place in a socialist publication.
    The culture war really is a pointless waste of time that keeps working class people from working towards a common solution to shared problems.
    bumbershoot 3 days ago
    Trump wants to "keep the supply of cheap, exploitable low-skill labor (legal and illegal) intact for the business lobby."

    Well of course he does -- otherwise how would he staff Mar-A-Lago and other Trump Organization businesses?

    SKPeterson 3 days ago
    I used to think that conservatism was about protecting private property and not, like Cuenco, in coming up with ever more excuses for expropriating it.
    Kent SKPeterson 3 days ago
    No, that's libertarianism (or more properly propertarianism). Conservatism is first and foremost about responsibility to God, community, family and self. Property is only of value in its utility towards a means.
    GAguilar Kent 2 days ago • edited
    As I see it, here are examples of how "conservatives" have actually practiced their "responsibility to God, community, family and self":

    The genocide of Native Americans
    The slavery and murder of blacks

    Their opposition to child labor laws, to womens' suffrage, etc.
    Their support of Jim Crow laws
    Their opposition to ending slavery and opposition to desegregation
    Opposition to Civil Liberties Laws

    Willingness to block, or curtail, voting rights.

    Hyping the "imminent threat" of an ever more powerful communist menace bearing
    down on us from the late 40s to the "unanticipated" collapse of the
    USSR in '91. All of which was little more than endless "threat inflation" used
    by our defense industry-corporate kleptocrats to justify monstrous increases
    in deficits that have been "invested" in our meddlesome, murderous militarism all around the world, with the torture and deaths of millions from S. E. Asia, to Indonesia, to Latin America, to the Middle East, to Africa, etc.

    Violations of privacy rights (conservative hero J. Edgar Hoover's illegal domestic surveillance and acts of domestic terrorism, "justified" by
    his loopy paranoia about commies on every corner and under every bed.)

    Toppling of democracies to install totalitarian despots in Iran
    ("Ike" '53), Guatemala (Ike, again, '54), Chile (Nixon '73), Brazil (LBJ, '64) and many, many more countries.

    Strong support of the Vietnam War, the wars in Laos and Cambodia, and the Iraq War, which, according to conservative W. Bush, God had inspired.

    The myriad "dirty wars" we've fought around the world, and not only in Latin America.

    With a few, notable exceptions, conservatives have routinely been on the wrong side of these issues. For the most part, it has been the left, particularly the "hard left," that has gotten it right.

    AdmBenson SKPeterson 2 days ago
    "conservatism was about protecting private property"

    You're conflating conservatism and libertarianism. Conservatives realize they are citizens of a country. Libertarians wish they weren't.

    SKPeterson AdmBenson 2 days ago
    So conservatism should be entirely about taking people's property "for the good of the country"? That the purpose of a country is to loot the people? That the people exist for the government and not the government for the people? Seems Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk would like to have a word with you Adm.

    To quote Kirk as just one example of your fundamental error:

    Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked . [Apparently, Adm. you dispute Kirk's assertion and accuse him thereby of conflating libertarianism and conservatism. Yes, I know Kirk was a hater of the idea of patriotism, but he was such a raging libertarian what else could he do?] Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all. Upon the foundation of private property, great civilizations are built. The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth. Economic levelling [this is the outcome of Cuenco's policy prescriptions by the way] , conservatives maintain, is not economic progress. Getting and spending are not the chief aims of human existence; but a sound economic basis for the person, the family, and the commonwealth is much to be desired.

    So, either "Mr. Conservative" Russell Kirk wasn't really a conservative but a man who horribly conflated libertarianism and conservatism, or we can say that Kirk was a conservative and that he recognized the protection of private property as crucial in minimizing the control and reach of the Leviathan state. If the latter holds, then maybe what we've established is that AdmBenson isn't particularly conservative.

    Winston Nevis SKPeterson 2 days ago • edited
    "The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth." This status quo has produced precisely the opposite of this. Wealth, assets, capital has been captured by the elite. The pitchforks are coming. See this CBO chart: View Hide
    AdmBenson SKPeterson 2 days ago
    Conservatives accept taxes as a part of citizenship. Since taxes can't be avoided, a conservative insists on democratic representation and has a general desire to get maximum bang for their taxpayer buck.

    Libertarians, on the other hand, see everything through the lens of an individual's property rights. Taxes and regulation are infringements on those rights, so a libertarian is always at war with their own government. They're not interested in bang for their taxpayer buck, they just want the government to go away. I can't fault people for believing this way, but I can point out that it is severely faulty as the operating philosophy beyond anything but a small community.

    As for me not being particularly conservative, ya got me. It really depends on time of day and the level of sunspot activity.

    SKPeterson AdmBenson 2 days ago
    Sunspots, eh? And here I thought it was your reliance on tinfoil.
    AdmBenson SKPeterson 2 days ago
    The tinfoil and the mask were scaring people. The tinfoil had to go, but that's had side effects.
    SKPeterson AdmBenson 2 days ago
    I should have put the /s on my reply, but your response did give me a good chuckle. Besides, for that finger pointing at you, there were three more pointing back at me.
    JMWB 3 days ago
    And somehow people continually fall for the Trickle Down economic theory. George HW Bush was correct when he called this VooDoo economics. Fiscal irresponsibility at it's finest.
    Victor_the_thinker JMWB 3 days ago
    Nah people don't fall for it, republicans do. The rest of us know this stuff doesn't work. We didn't need an additional datapoint to realize that. The Tax Cuts and Jobs act was the single most unpopular piece of legislation to ever pass since polling began. It never had support outside of the Republican Party which is why it's never had majority support.

    https://news.gallup.com/pol...

    Blood Alcohol JMWB 3 days ago
    John Kenneth Galbraith called Trickle Down "economics", "Oats and Horse Economics". If you feed the horse a lot of oats, eventually some be left on the road...
    Nelson 3 days ago
    The leader of Republicans isn't Trump. It's Mitch McConnell.
    J Villain Nelson 3 days ago
    Mitch is fully owned by Trump as is every republican that holds office except Romney. Mitch can't go to the bathroom with out asking Trumps permission.
    Nelson J Villain 3 days ago
    Mitch is owned by corporations and he likes it that way. He basically says as much whenever campaign finance reform pops up and he defends the status quo.
    aha! Nelson 2 hours ago
    Yep. The guy who declared war on the Tea Party. The guy who changed his tune entirely about China when he married into the family of a shipping magnate.
    SeekingTruth 3 days ago
    I'm eagerly awaiting a GOP plan for economic restructuring. I've been waiting for decade(s). Surely there is someone in the entire body of think tanks, congressional staffers, and political class that can propose a genuine and comprehensive plan for how to rebalance production, education, and technology for the better of ALL Americans. Surely...
    Tradcon SeekingTruth 3 days ago
    American Affairs (the policy journal this author writes for) and The American Compass are both very good.
    cka2nd SeekingTruth 3 days ago
    I honestly wonder if Jack Kemp might have had a "Road to Damascus" conversion away from his pseudo-libertarian and supply side economic convictions if he had lived through the decade after the Great Recession. Probably not, given his political and economic activity up until his death.
    Barry_II 3 days ago
    "They also left worker wages stagnant and increased the deficit. Where is our more nationalist economic policy?"

    In your dreams, just like those many large projects which Trump drove into bankruptcy.

    Right alongside the money owed to the many people he's stiffed.

    Name 3 days ago
    So after 30 years or more of " globalism" , the GOP is adopting Bernie Sanderism?
    Johnny Larue Name 3 days ago
    Uh, no.
    Name Johnny Larue 2 days ago
    Uh, it seems so. Did you even read?
    TheSnark 3 days ago • edited
    Trump pushed the tax cut because it saves him at least $20 million each year in taxes, probably closer to $50 million. That's the only reason he does anything, because he benefits personally.
    kouroi 3 days ago
    Thank you very much for posting the link to the wonderful essay by Mike Lofgren. Written 8 years ago it feels even more actual than then. I have bookmarked it for future reference.

    Looking at the US it always comes to my mind the way Rome and then Byzantium fell: a total erosion of the tax-base the rich refused to pay anything to the imperial coffers, and then some of the rich had land bigger than some modern countries... And then the barbarians came...

    Kent kouroi 3 days ago
    And, by then, the population welcomed the barbarians.
    kouroi Kent 3 days ago
    Likely true, with some exceptions... The Huns - and on that one I keep wondering if there isn't a whiff of "Yellow Peril" smell in all that outcry...
    Ray Woodcock kouroi 2 days ago • edited
    Lofgren: "What I mean by secession is a withdrawal into enclaves, an internal immigration, whereby the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot."

    That was in 2012, but that was what struck me about my well-to-do classmates when I transferred from Cal State Long Beach to Columbia University in 1977 . Suddenly I was among people who saw America, American laws, and a shared sense of civic responsibility as quaint, bothersome, rather tangential to the project of promoting oneself and/or one's special interest.

    kouroi Ray Woodcock 2 days ago
    Cold, eh mate? Reptiles, lizards...?
    Adriana Pena 3 days ago
    Did you ever hope that Trump would do what you wanted? You are adorable
    sam 3 days ago
    The only way that factories would come back is when Americans start buying made in America. We can't wait for ANY government to bring those factories and jobs ( and technology) . Only people voting with their pocketbooks can do it.
    J Villain 3 days ago
    Still waiting for the day the first American asks "What have WE done wrong?" Rather than just following in Trumps step and playing the victim card every step of the way and wondering why nothing gets better.
    Blood Alcohol J Villain 3 days ago
    nuffsaid. The blood is on everyone's hands.

    [May 28, 2020] Protestors Criticized For Looting Businesses Without Forming Private Equity Firm First

    Highly recommended!
    Notable quotes:
    "... "I understand that people are angry, but they shouldn't just endanger businesses without even a thought to enriching themselves through leveraged buyouts and across-the-board terminations..." ..."
    May 28, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

    "I understand that people are angry, but they shouldn't just endanger businesses without even a thought to enriching themselves through leveraged buyouts and across-the-board terminations..."

    "Look, we all have the right to protest, but that doesn't mean you can just rush in and destroy any business without gathering a group of clandestine investors to purchase it at a severely reduced price and slowly bleed it to death," said Facebook commenter Amy Mulrain, echoing the sentiments of detractors nationwide who blasted the demonstrators for not hiring a consultant group to take stock of a struggling company's assets before plundering.

    " I understand that people are angry, but they shouldn't just endanger businesses without even a thought to enriching themselves through leveraged buyouts and across-the-board terminations.

    It's disgusting to put workers at risk by looting. You do it by chipping away at their health benefits and eventually laying them off. There's a right way and wrong way to do this. "

    At press time, critics recommended that protestors hold law enforcement accountable by simply purchasing the Minneapolis police department from taxpayers.

    Source: The Onion

    [May 28, 2020] US Lawmakers Propose Total Ban On STEM Visas For Chinese Students

    May 28, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

    US Lawmakers Propose Total Ban On STEM Visas For Chinese Students by Tyler Durden Thu, 05/28/2020 - 10:45 As the White House prepares to eject Chinese graduate students with ties to the PLA, three US lawmakers are taking things a step further - proposing a bill which would ban mainland Chinese students from studying STEM subjects in the United States .

    Chinese and other international students wave flags at 2018 Columbia University commencement ceremony.

    Two senators and one House member said on Wednesday that the Secure Campus Act would bar Chinese nationals from obtaining visas for graduate or postgraduate studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students from Taiwan and Hong Kong would be exempt , according to SCMP .

    "The Chinese Communist Party has long used American universities to conduct espionage on the United States," said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK), one of the bill's sponsors, adding "What's worse is that their efforts exploit gaps in current law. It's time for that to end."

    "The Secure Campus Act will protect our national security and maintain the integrity of the American research enterprise."

    The proposed legislation comes as diplomatic relations have fractured between the world's two largest economies. The fissures started to show during a trade war that has been rumbling on for almost two years and have only widened amid accusations about the handling of the Covid-19 disease outbreak , and the treatment of ethnic minority groups in China.

    Hong Kong is the latest flashpoint after Beijing drew up a national security law that Washington says tramples on the city's mini-constitution. The US threatened retaliation over the move. -SCMP

    The bill will also tackle China's efforts to recruit talent overseas through their Thousand Talents Program , an operation launched in 2008 by the CCP which seeks out international experts in scientific research, innovation and entrepreneurship. It proposes that participants in China's recruitment of foreigners be made to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) , and would prohibit Chinese nationals and those participating in China-sponsored programs from receiving federal grants or working on federally funded R&D in STEM fields .

    Any university, research institute or laboratory receiving federal funding would be required to attest that they are not knowingly employing participants in China's recruitment programs - a list of which the US Secretary of State would publish.

    US law enforcement and educational agencies have raised red flags about undisclosed ties between federally funded researchers and foreign governments. A crackdown has included indictments and dismissals.

    In January, Charles Lieber, 60, chairman of the chemistry and chemical biology department at Harvard University, was arrested and charged for lying about his involvement in the Thousand Talents Programme . -SCMP

    Meanwhile, earlier this month a professor at the University of Arkansas who received millions of dollars in research grants, including $500,000 from NASA, was arrested and charged with one count of wire fraud.

    According to the FBI, Ang failed to disclose that he was getting paid by a Chinese university and Chinese companies in violation of university policy. He is accused of making false statements while failing to disclose his extensive ties to China as a member of the "Thousand Talents Scholars" program.

    63-year-old Simon Saw-Teong Ang is the director of the school's High Density Electronics Center, which received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense (DOD) and NASA. Since 2013, Ang has been the primary investigator or co-investigator on US government-funded grants totaling over $5 million, according to the Washington Examiner .

    In November, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations chaired by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) released a 109-page bipartisan report which concluded that foreign nations "seek to exploit America's openness to advance their own national interests," the most ambitious of which "has been China," according to the Examiner . According to the report, Chinese academics involved in their so-called 'Thousand Talents' program have been exploiting access to US research labs .

    Backlash

    According to SCMP , members of the US scientific community see the US as unfairly targeting Chinese colleagues , and that the campaigns will discourage talented individuals from pursuing studies at US universities.

    "While we must be vigilant to safeguard research, we must also ensure that the US remains a desirable and welcoming destination for researchers from around the world," wrote members of 60 groups - including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Federation of American Scientists, in a 2019 letter to science policy officials.

    The US lawmakers' proposal follows China's March decision to revoke the press credentials for US journalists from three major US newspapers - declaring five US media outlets to be foreign government proxies. In February, the Trump administration labeled five Chinese state media groups as "foreign missions" (via SCMP ).

    [May 28, 2020] What Are the Three Concurrent Crises of the Coronavirus Depression

    May 28, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    What Are the Three Concurrent Crises of the Coronavirus Depression? Posted on May 27, 2020 by Yves Smith Yves here. Like many of those who are taking this crisis (or crises) seriously, Nathan Tankus has proposed launching new government programs as a way to tackle specific problems created by the crisis. While this is eminently logical as well as sound, don't expect anything like that to happen. As political economist Tom Ferguson pointed out in a presentation we discuss today, the US and most other advanced economies are taking a neoliberal approach, channeling money and aid through existing institutions (too often private).

    By Nathan Tankus. Originally publishes at Notes on the Crises

    In the first month of this newsletter, I wrote a lot of more big picture pieces about the nature of our current crisis. The last major piece I wrote on this topic was "How to Pay for the Pandemic War" . My view hasn't changed much but it's always worth reiterating and restating in new ways what our major problems are in order to conceptualize how to deal with them. One way to think about this crisis is it's really three interrelated crises happening all at once. An Interesting way to frame these crises is to differentiate them by the economists who focused on their unique problems. We will take them in turn.

    The Keynes Crisis

    This crisis, and its association with Keynes, is the most obvious and straightforward. John Maynard Keynes is renowned as an economic theorist who showed in his book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money that there are no automatic processes operating in the private sector to return economies to full employment and, in fact, they can sustain large degrees of unemployment for significant periods of time. He referred to this as an "unemployment equilibrium". While the book itself actually spends very little time on government spending, the obvious conclusion of his work was that government spending had the power to increase incomes and employment and thus could deal with shortages of demand. This lesson, hard learned and easily forgotten, remains as relevant today as when it was first taught during the Great Depression. It remained relevant a decade ago during the Great Financial Crisis. We have a grievous lack of demand today, especially for labor.

    The most obvious and straightforward way to increase demand is through government spending and grants. It can be hard for analysts to really focus on this aspect of the crisis because it is relatively analytically uninteresting. What needs to happen is painfully clear to everyone but Donald Trump, congressional leadership and the most ideological economists. The only analytically interesting point regarding the nature of this crisis as a demand crisis is that despite the disruption to production, the demand effects are much more important and foundational. Notwithstanding the difficulty that intellectually solved problems have for holding the attention of analysts, this point needs to be pressed again and again. We have a demand problem. The most persistent and problematic effects of a collapse in demand is the social and skill effects on workers. Thus, a policy to increase demand should focus on direct employment of labor. This problem needs to be responded to and the answer for how much to spend is "Whatever It Takes" .

    The Minsky Crisis

    The Minsky Crisis is related to, but distinct from, the Keynes crisis. Hyman Minsky was a mid-to-late 20th century economist who built his work on top of Keynes and a number of other economists who were quickly ejected from mainstream conversation. His work grounded concerns about overall demand, and the demand for labor, in balance sheets and cash flows between economic actors. He focused his gaze on the causes of financial crises which he correctly saw as distinct from demand problems. What's important about his work now is that it teaches us that the most urgent problem of the sudden utter and complete collapse of payments which has happened in the past few months is the corresponding collapse in cash flows and the threat of a wave of defaults and bankruptcies. Especially as the production of services can't be safely restarted (and certainly not at its previous level), the immediate cash flow problem can't be solved by increasing demand.

    As a result, businesses must be given direct grants from the federal government. The Small Business Association's Payroll Protection Program is meant to do that. As I've discussed at length however , it has a number of problems. My alternative proposal is an emergency basic income for all businesses . Dealing with the cash flow problem in this matter can also help to relieve the Keynes crisis by maintaining and/or increasing the business demand for labor. In addition to the business cash flow problem, there is also the cash flow problem of households. Providing them with direct cash payments is critical, as is extending the supplementary unemployment insurance. In this respect, it's encouraging that the Treasury is now providing unbanked and underbanked people access to their 1200 payments with debit cards . Hopefully this will be expanded and improved upon in the weeks and months to come. Of course, state and local governments also need basic incomes and the safety net needs to be further nationalized. There is no reason that the monetary burden of unemployment insurance should be placed on state governments.

    The Means Crisis

    The economist that this type of crisis is named after may be the most obscure one on this list. Gardiner Means was one of the most important economists within the New Deal. First at the Agricultural Adjustment Administration within the Agriculture department, then in other positions throughout the government, he theorized both the causes of the Great Depression and ways of remedying it using monetary policy, fiscal policy- and planning . One of his most notable positions was with the National Resources Planning Board. He rejected the idea that there was a "price mechanism" that allocated physical resources to different uses which functioned in the American economy. Instead, he argued that prices were "administered" by industrial businesses, especially the largest corporations. Instead of prices allocating resources, it was the direct resource and spending decisions of businesses and governments which directed them. The Means Crisis is thus the crisis of the physical allocation of resources between different uses. To respond to it, we need to bring back the notion of resource planning and the regulation of supply chains. The idea of resource planning has been severely out of fashion for decades but it's hard to imagine it not making a comeback because of the Coronavirus Depression. If it somehow doesn't revive in this crisis, the Climate crisis will surely revive it.

    What his work teaches us is we can't rely on prices to reallocate resources. Existing prices and existing patterns of production and consumption can be sustained relatively easily by private action. However, profit-seeking businesses are bad at reallocating resources in response to crises. The uncertainty of how long the crisis will last and whether the costs of retooling plants and restructuring supply chains can be recouped discourages bold action. It is often perceived to be cheaper to simply leave productive resources unused than go through such expenses and uncertainties. Even farms are letting crops rot and euthanizing animals rather than trying to find ways to reorganize their supply chains. What Means work teaches us is that the government should step into this breach. It should be directly physically reallocating resources and organizing production through hiring workers and guaranteeing private producers markets. Resources left unplanned, are predictably unorganized. Private Sector planning works at dealing with medium and long term resource questions but struggles to move quickly and effectively in times of crisis.

    Conclusion

    One key ingredient in the policy mix which responds to this crisis should be an "Emergency Responder Corps". As it happens, Representative Tlaib has made just such a proposal . Such a labor force could help respond to all three crises at once. It could be mobilized to facilitate the reallocation of resources, especially their delivery directly to those who need it most. It would provide many households who are now facing unemployment with an income- and thus a cash flow. This wouldn't be a cure-all- we still need the suite of policy programs I described above. This crisis can be managed far better than it is currently being managed. It is impossible to avoid pain- both medical and economic- at this late date. However, we can relieve the worst symptoms and put our economy on the road to permanent resource planning so that we don't ever have to be caught as unprepared ever again. These three concurrent crises have lessons we badly need to learn in order to deal with the next crisis- the Climate crisis.

    In case you missed it (it seemed to miss most people's mailbox), here's a round-up of the Second Month Anniversary of this Newsletter Yesterday . If you are impressed by seeing the interviews, prominent citations and praise Nathan Tankus' writing has gotten, please consider supporting that writing by taking a paid subscription here .


    VietnamVet , May 27, 2020 at 5:09 am

    The future has taken a hard turn towards the cliff. The Coronavirus Pandemic has turned the exceptional nation into a pariah state. The governments of USA, Brazil, UK, Spain, Italy, Sweden, France, Germany and Russia have been proven to be incapable of protecting their populations. Corporations and/or oligarchs corrupted them. They simply serve to funnel money to the 99%. The pandemic also shows that the failed states are incapable of addressing other existential threats; climate change, living with the earth's limited resources or the thousands of nuclear armed ICBMs. When the globe's tribute money stops flowing west, the worldwide unpaid mercenaries will stop fighting. The problem is that in the global chaos, the red button could be pushed and the earth irradiated.

    JBird4049 , May 27, 2020 at 5:32 am

    Yes, our current governments are incompetent, but I would suggest willfully blind as even governments on the gold standard could provide free food or large building programs; it is not about being able to deal with the crises, but choosing not to as people like Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, and Mitch McConnell have access to the same, or better, information as any of us do; they just chose to ignore the screaming and game the crises for their own and their patrons' benefit. The Treasury and the Fed both are saying in their opaque statements that direct stimulus is needed. Our political leadership chooses to ignore the near certainty of a second wave of infections, likely more virulent, and the even greater probability of the economic collapse of the United States with all the likely riots, deaths, and possible uprisings.

    Bsoder , May 27, 2020 at 6:48 am

    "These three concurrent crises have lessons we badly need to learn in order to deal with the next crisis- the Climate crisis.'' NeedIng to learn, I suppose is ok, needing to act, now, would be preferred. Not knowing how to solve a problem is not ness are in solving it, it is done all the time in physics. It can be made complicated, to what I keep saying is the outcome we are going to get: a much simpler set of living arrangements with reality. I do a lot things on any given day, but I haven't stopped modeling 'reality' using systems theory, since 2006. It always puts me on edge when economists quote other economists and various theories of economics to explain reality. No offense, but all that leads to is some analysis, on iffy data leading to maybe action, but action very limited to the status quo, the cannon, and whatever's in the codex. I do think it was very well written and as far as economics all in the relearn of possibility. People being reasonable and all, which they ain't. The problem, let's call in an 'extinction level event' (really events) is that it needs to be ameliorated, because 'stopping', is long past.

    Tomonthebeach , May 27, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    Alas, as Tankus points out, we do not need to learn lessons.

    The Trump government quite intentionally chose to ignore the problem because the fallout would allow them to achieve their neolib agendas behind the curtain of natural disaster. Just like 9/11, COVID-19 enables further erosion of civil liberties. It will/has suspended inconvenient banking and finance rules, etc.

    While it will not restore jobs that were headed for obsolescence anyway, WS will restore the NYSE numbers in time for the November election (barring a pandemic resurgence YTB).

    Tony Wright , May 27, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    I think "barring a pandemic resurgence" is an unrealistically optimistic assumption, especially given the following:
    Social pressure to relax shutdowns, especially in the US,
    Lack of Covid19 herd immunity (which has to be well into the majority to be effective),
    Likely absence of effective vaccines,
    Likely absence of treatments better than marginally effective,
    Early anecdotal evidence that even naturally acquired Covid19 antibodies may not confer lasting protection from reinfection,
    Likely Covid19 viral mutations (very much a known unknown),
    Widespread worldwide Government incompetence, incapacity and uncoordination regarding Covid19 management strategies,
    "Cat herding" problems in most countries.
    Having said that Powell and Mnuchin are likely to throw every financial kitchen sink that they can print, con, beg, borrow or steal at financial markets in a herculean effort to protect their dear leader's electoral prospects for November.
    More "interesting times" ahead I think.

    casino implosion , May 27, 2020 at 6:04 am

    The solutions discussed here in dry technocratic terms would be a revolutionary change in power, wealth and expectations. They won't be happening unless things get much worse for the decision makers.

    Stephen The Tech Critic , May 27, 2020 at 6:32 am

    I think this is an excellent break-down, and it's interesting to me that all three of these seem to be weighing substantially on our present situation.

    However, I see too much short-term optimism here. As best as I can tell, our elites have gone completely mad and may be irredeemable at this point. I mean this for real. A huge swath of elites and PMCs too believe that robots that can do all the *essential work* are *just around the corner* -- that the elimination of the working class in less than a decade is baked-in. TINA.

    Roubini wrote the other day that if our cold war with China escalates, the re-shoring of manufacturing would leave out workers because it'd all be done with automation. He's wrong though. The re-shoring won't happen because all the capital investment will be in apps, software, and robots, like Elon Musk's "alien dreadnought" concept. He *believes* this crap. So do seemingly many Democrats who appear to be trying to legislate the working class out of existence while offering a $4000 "coding school" credit as a consolation prize.

    So I would add that there is a fourth economic crisis, which is the economic suicide pact. Elites see Coronavirus as their comet Hale Bopp. They think they can see the robots (aliens? alien robots?) waving at them from the sky. All they have to do is take the plunge -- commit economic suicide -- in order to ascend to a higher state of existence. I think we can name this mad cult the Exit Cult, after planet Exit in Bruno Latour's "A Fictional Planetarium". The Exit doesn't have to be as literal as launching into space or to Mars. For the Silicon Valley true believers, it's as much about *transcendence* from a lower/lesser version of human to a "more advanced" form.

    My policy solution for this 4th economic crisis? I think we should fund (whatever it takes) construction of a very large rocket ship, big enough for all the elites to board to make their Exit. Ahh yes, the ship will be pretty crowded, but we can promise them their own private bunker-like dwelling on Mars when they get there. Convince them all to get on-board, and then launch away! I wonder what the economic multiplier on *that* would be.

    Musicismath , May 27, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Reminds me of this cheerful ditty from FEELS: Post Earth .

    GramSci , May 27, 2020 at 7:28 am

    Seems to me that a $30/hr minimum wage and a 20 hr work week would go a long way toward righting the ship.

    Jesper , May 27, 2020 at 7:44 am

    +1

    cripes , May 27, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    "Seems to me that a $30/hr minimum wage and a 20 hr work week would go a long way toward righting the ship."

    The Germans have long done this in economic crashes, insuring low unemployment, partial subsidy of wages, less work hours and guaranteeing return to place of employment.

    Can't have stability here though, it would reduce the desperation, poverty, foreclosures, evictions and the capture of all assets and incomes to the pathological hoarders.

    Amfortas the hippie , May 27, 2020 at 7:55 am

    the third one ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gardiner_Means ) interests me the most.
    Ive considered myself a Doomer since the Second Invasion of Iraq sent me looking for the unstated reasons.
    From peak oil to peak pretty much everything, I went through the stages of grief and finally accepted that This Can't Last ..and that it sure looks like Decline and Fall, to me.
    so i started thinking about how to prepare for this, and learned that it does indeed "Take a Village" but this presented it's own difficulty: namely that unless the crisis/crises is/are evident, and more than obvious, people will stick to what they know.
    Intellectual Theorising just isn't enough to justify even small disruptions to habit and routine.
    So even out here in my little petri dish of a county it's difficult to do anything that is a clear break from Normal like a farmer's market(we have one,finally i have yet to attend(busy or painful) hear tell it's rather bourgeois ) or some kind of functional public transportation(regional and sporadic and authoritarianly unpleasant more and more people walking last 10 years).
    But in the midst of a crisis, it's really too late
    That the idea of planning ahead outside of Market is regarded as either silly, dangerous or a necessary evil to be handled and passed by, is a testament to how far we've come in the last 40 or so years .rather, how well we've been remade.
    Since my Doomer Awakening(lol), I've tried to become an Appendix backupdrive of the alimentary microbiome a library filled with classics, and a working giant garden that relies on fewer and fewer inputs, with the seed saving and general 1850 AD knowledge base that I figured might be useful.
    but it won't be enough.
    it takes time and resources and effort to switch gears so rapidly(20 years) as well as the will and perceived need for doing so.
    we've, instead, been trained to be practically the polar opposite: a shoegazing mob of hyperindividuals myopically grasping at crumbs and stubble.

    Jeremy Grimm , May 27, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    The writing I see on the wall in big red capital letters: "We near an End".

    I believe there is only so much any individual or group or community can do for now. I believe the highest and best actions we can take are to save as much knowledge as possible and make sure it will survive to the next TWO generations. I am not sure the next generation will be able to do much more than survive and help their children survive. To their children will fall the task of rebuilding, reshaping, and reimagining a more Human Society. Knowledge will be the most vital tool catalyzing that process.

    I believe your library and your stored and taught ways are a highest and best use of the time we have remaining. However, if you can, you should add knowledge up to circa 1980 to the knowledge up to 1850. The classics are worth saving but I believe they will be less valuable than technical monographs, texbooks, and the patent literatures. Wisdom, if lost, can be relearned. I fear much of our technical knowledge and Science once lost may be lost forever.

    Before retirement I worked as an 'engineer' -- a remarkably flexible work category. My schooling, training, and work experiences burden me with a particular regard for technology, Mathematics, and Science -- that 10,000 readings of "Little Home on the Prairie" could never expunge from my soul.

    Amfortas the hippie , May 27, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    between 2002 and 2009, when the printer finally died, i printed out gobs of material ATTRA, and all manner of diy and hacks for real life and big sand filters with biofilm and just a whole lotsa stuff.
    it's in boxes with mothballs and bar-bait.
    this in addition to my sort of haphazard collection of textbooks and manuals and the whole Foxfire series.
    I worry about acidic paper, and silverfish and whatever else eats paper.
    the Library is a funky broken down old trailer house.
    there's only so much one can do.

    Jeremy Girmm , May 27, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    We each do what we can. No one could ask more than that.

    The Rev Kev , May 27, 2020 at 8:52 am

    I too, was struck by that Gardiner Means. No invisible hand of the market for that boy. It is all really about businesses, especially the largest corporations, doing the actual deciding. That is why so many economies have been decimated. They are run by people who only think in terms of this financial quarter's targets and any bonuses up for grabs. Means has lots of interesting thoughts and if you go to the Wikipedia page on his 1932 book "The Modern Corporation and Private Property", you see the following-

    'Berle and Means argued that the structure of corporate law in the United States in the 1930s enforced the separation of ownership and control because the corporate person formally owns a corporate entity even while shareholders own shares in the corporate entity and elect corporate directors who control the company's activities. Compared to the notion of personal private property, say as one's laptop or bicycle, the functioning of modern company law "has destroyed the unity that we commonly call property". This occurred for a number of reasons, foremost being the dispersal of shareholding ownership in big corporations: the typical shareholder is uninterested in the day-to-day affairs of the company, yet thousands of people like him or her make up the majority of owners throughout the economy. The result is that those who are directly interested in day-to-day affairs, the management and the directors, have the ability to manage the resources of companies to their own advantage without effective shareholder scrutiny. '

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Modern_Corporation_and_Private_Property

    Geof , May 27, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    This article about the Beer Game suggests that the problem may be more fundamental:

    The Beer Game is an in-person supply chain simulator, where players play in teams of four roles: beer retailer, wholesaler, distributor, and manufacturer. The goal is to minimize costs, with the team who has the lowest costs winning. . . . a single, one-time persistent bump-up in customer demand plunges the system into wild boom-bust oscillations. Consistently. Consistently. Always.

    Players communicate only via the market. The system always goes haywire – and stays haywire – in response to shock.

    Though having just finished Yanis Varoufakis's excellent Adults in the Room I have little faith in the capacity of contemporary technocrats to plan effectively. The antagonists in the book can be divided into two categories: scoundrels and cowards. The cowards are utterly unreliable (Varoufakis considers some of the most reliable people are former "company men" who turned coat). But even the scoundrels cannot be relied upon because the complexity of the institutions and the cowardice of the people within them drains their ability to act:

    The cynic would say that Dr Schäuble was playing a larger game . . . Grexit to him was an instrument with which to pursue his vision of a smaller, more disciplined Eurozone, with the troika firmly entrenched in Paris. The cynic would be almost right. Except it would not be the whole story. As I departed that day, I was not leaving behind me a Machiavellian dictator; I was leaving behind a sunken heart, a man ostensibly more powerful than almost anyone in Europe who nevertheless felt utterly powerless to do what he knew was right. As the great tragedians have taught us, nothing causes greater wretchedness than the combination of supreme authority and wholesale powerlessness.

    aleph_0 , May 27, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    Fantastic link. I usually think that game theory is a solution looking for a problem, but that discussion of the Beer Game and fragility of supply chains was great.

    Jeremy Grimm , May 27, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    I first became aware of Gardiner Means through listening to a web-lecture: William Waller: Thorstein Veblen, Business Enterprise, and the Financial Crisis (July 06, 2012). [https://archive.org/details/WilliamWallerThorsteinVeblenBusinessEnterpriseAndTheFinancialCrisis]
    On first hearings of this lecture I noted: Veblen has no theory of markets ~minute 9:00 -- prices? Gardiner Means memo on where do Industrial prices come from.

    Veblen when asked why he claimed to be an economist but never wrote about markets had quipped "I would write about Markets, but I have never seen one outside of economics texts." [Extremely LOOSE paraphrase]. Near here I recall a reference to Gardiner Means 1935 essay "Industrial Prices and their Relative Inflexibility", published by the US Government Printing Office. Strange after searching for almost an hour for a copy of this document -- which inspired many economics research papers -- I was unable to locate an online copy of the essay [my bad -- even Google Scholar indicated "NOT AVAILABLE" -- strangely?].

    Susan the other , May 27, 2020 at 11:31 am

    Interesting. Spotlighting our powers of denial. Never heard of Gardiner Means. More on him please.

    Mel , May 27, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    I've been citing John Kenneth Galbraith's New Industrial State for the notion of large-scale private sector economic planning. Time to dig that book out and look at Galbraith's bibliography.

    Jeremy Grimm , May 27, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Please post any references you find that terminate in downloadable papers or books by Gardiner Means. I tried to find a copy of his paper "Industrial Prices and their Relative Inflexibility" published by the US Govt. Printing Office 1935 but I couldn't find any web copies.

    The Depression is long enough ago and recent enough to serve as an interesting model for the selective permanence of information.

    Jeremy Grimm , May 27, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Nathan Tankus has very neatly described the triple threats of Corona and thereby described some of the avenues for making use of the Corona crisis by those less interested in the Public Good than their own good. I have found similar clarity in his other posts.

    [May 27, 2020] The general election scenario that Democrats are dreading

    Notable quotes:
    "... "Consumption and hiring started to tick up "in gross terms, not in net terms," Furman said, describing the phenomenon as a "partial rebound." The bounce back "can be very very fast, because people go back to their original job, they get called back from furlough, you put the lights back on in your business. Given how many people were furloughed and how many businesses were closed you can get a big jump out of that. ..."
    "... IMO Trump now realizes that he was snookered by the medical equivalent of the Holy Office. Our Auto da Fe has been impressive and nearly fatal but not quite. Trump's statement that he will never shut the economy down again indicates to me that the "scales have fallen" from his eyes. ..."
    "... One thing to note are all the diffusion indexes will show large upticks, because of the base effects. U6 will likely be more stubborn. ..."
    May 27, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

    "... he believes, the way to think about the current economic drop-off, at least in the first two phases, is more like what happens to a thriving economy during and after a natural disaster: a quick and steep decline in economic activity followed by a quick and steep rebound.

    The Covid-19 recession started with a sudden shuttering of many businesses, a nationwide decline in consumption, and massive increase in unemployment. But starting around April 15, when economic reopening started to spread but the overall numbers still looked grim, Furman noticed some data that pointed to the kind of recovery that economists often see after a hurricane or industry-wide catastrophe like the Gulf of Mexico oil spill." politico

    ******

    "Consumption and hiring started to tick up "in gross terms, not in net terms," Furman said, describing the phenomenon as a "partial rebound." The bounce back "can be very very fast, because people go back to their original job, they get called back from furlough, you put the lights back on in your business. Given how many people were furloughed and how many businesses were closed you can get a big jump out of that. It will look like a V."" politico

    --------------

    Well, pilgrims, there you have it. If Politico thinks so, it must be so. Do I think the Democratic Party grandees are deliberately suppressing the economy as long as they can and bitching and whining as the GOP tries to crank up the machine? Yes, I do. Is that criminal? Should it be criminal? IMO it should be but to prevent the disintegration of the Great Republic, we must not treat it as such.

    IMO Trump now realizes that he was snookered by the medical equivalent of the Holy Office. Our Auto da Fe has been impressive and nearly fatal but not quite. Trump's statement that he will never shut the economy down again indicates to me that the "scales have fallen" from his eyes.

    Are his attempts too little and too late? That could be. Or, maybe not.

    The brawny beast that is America is gathering itself up, and looking once again at what CAN BE, not at what is forbidden us by the Globalist nitwits who would destroy us and make us into building blocks for their utopia. pl

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/26/2020-election-democrats-281470

    What I don't understand is how prolonging the lockdown of reliably blue states like my own WA furthers the Democrat election strategy -- assuming it is what you suggest.

    It seems to me that when people in those states feel the totalitarian pinch on their own livelihood, they might be more inclined to vote against the party that's doing it to them, tipping the state into the purple or even red column.

    Same goes for the battleground states. Seems like a surefire way to throw the election, not win it.

    Can someone explain how this is supposed to work?!?


    Jack , 26 May 2020 at 01:10 PM

    Sir,

    One thing to note are all the diffusion indexes will show large upticks, because of the base effects. U6 will likely be more stubborn.

    The best comparisons will be unit volumes relative to prior to lockdown. For example, number of flights or gas consumption prior to and after lockdown ends.

    One indicator that I track is used car prices. It is starting a nice uptick particularly for full size trucks. With all the incentives and financing options I would bet we'll see growth in even new truck volumes .

    On the flip side, IMO, the increased debt and the trillions that the Fed printed up for Wall St will constrain growth in the medium term.

    walrus , 26 May 2020 at 01:52 PM
    Col. Lang,

    With respect, I don't agree with your view of what has happened from an economic and medical sense although I agree with your view of the political machinations of the democrats.

    I said when all this started that the economy would bounce back quickly. I still believe it will. I also believe that the lockdown was necessary, but now it is thought possible to open up because the medical system and logistics have now caught up with the pandemic. The lockdowns bought us time.

    Fauci, Birx and Co. were talking of easing up three weeks ago at one of President Trumps press conferences, I watched most of them live. I don't see the medicos as malevolent globalists or anything other than public health officials doing their jobs under great pressure and public scrutiny. I don't think they have drunk any of the numerous glasses of kool aid that were proffered. They appear to me to have stuck stubbornly to the science.

    We too are easing lockdown rules - allegedly in "a controlled and measured manner" but that is actually BS. Everyone is sick of being cooped up and can't wait. We too have one State leader - a leftist "democrat" that is dragging their feet in Queensland for political reasons, our equivalent of Florida. Their borders are currently closed - when they reopen there will be an absolute avalanche of tourists heading North, us included, to get some warm weather, that will provide a huge economic spike.

    Let's hope we can get vaccines moving PDQ.

    LondonBob , 26 May 2020 at 02:25 PM
    Problem is things were frothy before covid, financial markets were well overextended, the deficit was out of control, oil won't come back anytime soon. In many ways Trump is a lucky general, gets to blame the slowdown on the virus and any faltering in the recovery on Dem governors.
    Eric Newhill , 26 May 2020 at 03:10 PM
    Here is a link to a poll that suggests the globalists have screwed up again (see bottom 1/3 of the link). A large % of Americans polled say they will now avoid products made in China and would be willing to pay more for the same product if it's made in the USA. They also think that trade restrictions and tariffs are a good idea. Basically, they like the Trumpian model. China Joe and his boy Hunter are going to be perceived as being on the wrong side of this issue by Trump.

    https://fticommunications.com/covid-19/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/FTI-Shifting-Expectations-II-Topline-Results.pdf

    turcopolier , 26 May 2020 at 03:21 PM
    walrus

    you are right. We do not agree. IMO the country wide shutdown was never necessary. What was needed was a strategy of protection for the vulnerable. The rest could have taken care of themselves with anti-flu like treatment while therapies and vaccines were developed.

    turcopolier , 26 May 2020 at 03:23 PM
    Corkyagain

    Yes. In their contempt for those they think "deplorable, they f----d up.

    turcopolier , 26 May 2020 at 03:26 PM
    LondonBob

    The Democrats deserve it and BTW I don't agree with any of the negatives you state with regard to the pre-COVID state of things. You just don't like Trump. Neither do I

    turcopolier , 26 May 2020 at 03:32 PM
    LondonBob

    Lucky is better than skillful. But I disagree about trump. He is a lot more than just lucky.

    AK , 26 May 2020 at 03:45 PM
    CorkyAgain,

    It is the strategy (poorly conceived) of people whose ideology blinds them to extant reality, and who think they can mold that reality to their whims through sheer fervency of their belief in their moral superiority to other, "lesser types." I can't think of a single historical example where such a strategy has worked out, but there you have it. Then again, according to them, history also fits into that concept of "malleable reality" as they see it. They are the makers of history in their own estimation, rather than part of and subject to it. This is why the Left has never been able to grapple with, and is often outright hostile to, the notion of unforeseen consequences.

    BillWade , 26 May 2020 at 03:56 PM
    This past weekend our hotel parking lots were pretty full, this is normally a slow time in SW Florida. It's likely restaurants will be allowed 100% capacity seating with bars opening this coming Monday.

    Reasonable people who want a real economy in the USA should all be voting for President Trump. If he wins, and I think he will, we're going to have a real boom as smart EU money moves into USA equities, particularly the NASDAQ.

    Vegetius , 26 May 2020 at 04:49 PM
    Trump is the Charlie Brown of American political history.

    How many more footballs will he make a go at before (and after) November?

    Fred , 26 May 2020 at 05:37 PM
    LondonBob,

    " blame the slowdown on the virus "
    Not gonna happen. He's going to blame the Democrats who issued all those EO declaring who was essential and who was "seperate but equal". He'll blame China, rightfully so, for spreading this as far and wide in the West as possible; he'll blame the academics and professional "resistance" within and without the government for their incompetence and intransigence.

    Corky,

    "Seems like a surefire way to throw the election, not win it."
    it doesn't matter who votes, it only matters now who counts them. Thus the statewide mailings of ballots to maximize ballot harvesting. At the v