Tag Archives | Economy

Mort Zuckerman Slams United States

usnewsworldrMort Zuckerman, the Canadian-born American magazine editor, newspaper publisher, and real estate billionaire, uses his stuttering weekly news mag, U.S. News & World Report, to deliver an obituary for the U.S. economy. Generally speaking, when capitalist fanboys like Zuckerman say there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark, it’s wise to take them seriously:

The modern world has for centuries been dominated economically, intellectually, and physically by the civilization that arose in Western Europe in the wake of the Renaissance and Reformation and spread across the Atlantic.

Will that one day be seen as a passing phenomenon doomed to ascend ever upward and then slowly fizzle out like a firework?

It is nearly a century since that gloomy German mathematician and philosopher Oswald Spengler published his 1918 classic The Decline of the West. His arguments were complex, but basically he suggested that the future of the West was not as limitless as his peers imagined after the ghastly World War I.

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China And Russia Quit The American Dollar


Photo: Ria Novosti

Via The China Daily:

St. Petersburg, Russia – China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday.

Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies.

“About trade settlement, we have decided to use our own currencies,” Putin said at a joint news conference with Wen in St. Petersburg.

The two countries were accustomed to using other currencies, especially the dollar, for bilateral trade. Since the financial crisis, however, high-ranking officials on both sides began to explore other possibilities.

[Continues at The China Daily]

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Should Republicans Consider Hedging Their Bets On Paul ‘Speedy’ Ryan?

Rep. Paul Ryan

Rep. Paul Ryan

disinformation’s readers come through yet again. Responses to my last blogpost were extremely varied and thought provoking, with some well-reasoned and others less so.  The persistence of themes played out in some of the latter so impressed me that it well pleases me to once again examine the big ol’ “Fail” written all over Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) endorsement of the Laffer Curve, especially its implications for ‘The Velocity of Money’.

Remember ‘The Velocity of Money’?  That’s the basic economic concept introduced in our post about the hypothetical castration of Goldman Sachs.  It’s a thumbnail measure of how efficiently an economy employs its capital—the more often a single dollar is spent during a given year, the higher the rate of employment.  Any number of other theoretical implications can be drawn from that;  the higher the rate of employment, the greater economic, social and political equality, the higher the rate of technological innovation, etc., etc.… Read the rest

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Mall Fever: Will Christmas Shopping Revive The Economy This Year As It Hasn’t In Years Past?

Funny how, back in 1929, we had a black Thursday and then a Black Friday as the market crashed, plunging the country into a depression. Now we have every retailer in every mall in America on their knees praying for a prosperous black Friday the day after Thanksgiving.

The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Photo: Wdwic Pictures (CC)

The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Photo: Wdwic Pictures (CC)

If you read this argument before, it’s because I have been making it since 2007, year in and year out.  That’s on account of the reality that our economy is driven more by consumption than production, and most consuming takes place during the holidays.

So once again we are being asked to join a global ritual even if we are broke.

Get in gear people, and get your wallets back to the mall: do your duty for Santa and Wall Street. It will be difficult for the economic recovery to make much headway without a pick-up in consumer spending as it accounts for two-thirds of the economy.… Read the rest

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Britain Deals Trump Card To Rescue Economy: A Royal Wedding

RoyalMugThe question all the gossip mags are asking about Prince William’s Royal Wedding is why now? The Prince just said “The timing is right now, we are both very, very happy,” but cynics among us think it could just be a last gasp attempt to prevent Britain from slipping into a 1970s-style economic malaise. The news certainly has British retailers excited according to Reuters:

The marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton next year could give a 620 million pound ($985 million) boost to the British economy, retail researchers Verdict said on Wednesday.

The forecast came as Asda, Britain’s second-biggest supermarket group, said it was already selling a 5 pound mug to commemorate the engagement of the heir to the British throne to his long-term girlfriend, announced on Tuesday.

Verdict estimated the engagement could be worth 12-18 million pounds in merchandise sales, while sales of wedding-related products could top 26 million pounds.

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Do Tax Cuts for the Richest 2% Help or Hurt You? Read the Surprising Answer Here

Kudos once again to the fine team and readership at disinformation. Their comments continue to be extremely thought provoking. This article, chart and supporting calculation in the attached workbook are in resonse to their many insightful questions about inept Republican tax and economic policies.

Read The Surprising Answer Here
I get pissed when some dipwad tries to pull a fast one on me, as should we all.  The responsible conduct of business requires a level of trust that is decisively undermined when we’re lied to.  And while there is a time and place for everything, the place for bullshit is the weekend pintfest at a local pub, not in debates about income tax policy.  That’s why the fundamental dishonesty of Republican’t talking points has me so fired up.

The specific steaming pile that currently has me cheesed off is EGTRRA.  No, it’s not some type of horrible fat-free egg substitute; it’s the ironically named Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.  The bit that’s currently in play right now is the Republican hijacking of economic recovery effots in order to renew tax cuts for the country’s fattest 2%.  And that just can’t be allowed to happen.  ‘Cause not only will it not result in any improvement in the real economy, it’s been proven to actually steal from the middle class to benefit the uber-rich.

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Now That The Elections Are Over, What Kind of Economy Did Americans Vote For?

Photo: Chris Phan (Clipdude) (CC)

Photo: Chris Phan (Clipdude) (CC)

The Election is over. The Dems were thumped. They lost the House, even if they still have the Senate by a hair.  Barney Frank will be back but not Alan Grayson or Russ Feingold. WSWS offered the key reason: “intractable and deepening economic crisis and the evident inability of the Obama administration to develop any policies to overcome it.”

Is that crisis likely to go away after an emboldened army of the righteous (and well-financed claque of  self-styled “economically responsible” free market boosters) won more nominal power?

Will the deficits disappear?

Will the government shrink to what to what was in the era of the “founders?”

Will the economy breathe a sign of relief and bounce back?

Unlikely on all counts!

What that means is that the dire problems we face will likely get worse, as the Republicans try to stop any and all government intervention, focused as they are, for political purposes and ideological convictions, on being deficit busters.… Read the rest

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It’s Dark As A Dungeon Deep Down In The Mine

Report from the Epicenter of Fraudclosures: Can There be A Rescue of US Workers Facing Foreclosure & Unemployment?

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA: In all of the economic issues we are dealing with, there is always a “back story, a deeper context” that is usually missing, “disappeared” like those Allende supporters in Chile in the 1970s who wanted to empower workers, not just rescue them when they get buried in a deep hole.

Most deeper issues go uncovered. Luis Campos, Director of the School of Anthropology at Chile’s Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, points out, “more buried than the miners themselves, the demands and the rights of the indigenous population continue to be flouted and unrecognized in our country.”

Many unsafe mines worldwide are still at risk from China to Zambia.

Who woulda thunk—certainly not the 1300 “journalists” on the scene–that this mine disaster had its origins in the era when Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger helped snuff out an emerging popular democracy in the name of protecting what West Palm Beach-based writer and former economic “hit man,” John Perkins, calls the corporatocracy.… Read the rest

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Democrats Actually SHRANK Spending & the Deficit

Despite a lot of intentional misinformation put out by the GOP and their propaganda ministry at Fox or partisan radio shows like Rush Limbaugh, it seems the actual numbers say something completely different about the nature of the economy. On the subject of both the deficit and government spending, they are similarly incorrect/deluded in part because they listen to a relentless droning of rightwing media nearly exclusively.

The actual RAW DATA from the non-partisan OMB communicates something completely different however.

Per AFP via Raw Story:

  • The U.S. deficit actually SHRANK 9% in the last fiscal year, down 122 billion dollars over the previous year.
  • Democrats also brought down the cost of the financial “rescue” of the banks by $240 billion.
  • 2010 marked the largest DECLINE in government spending since 1984.
  • And thanks to cutting corporate loopholes, revenue increased by 3%.

Of interest in the article as well, is this statement by Republican Judd Gregg, who said, “Just a few years ago, the deficit was under 500 billion dollars.”

That’s quite correct Judd.… Read the rest

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Bank Failures Show No Sign Of Stopping – Taxpayers Pick Up The Tab

The Wall Street Journal attracted a lot of attention yesterday with the headline “Banks Keep Failing, No End in Sight.” If you’ve been reading Danny Schechter’s posts about the never-ending recession and financial crisis, it may not come as a surprise, but if you drank the “Recession’s Over” Kool Aid being dispensed in Washington, it might surprise you to learn that since big fish Washington Mutual went bust, 279 more lenders have collapsed, and counting:

The largest number of bank failures in nearly 20 years has eliminated jobs, accelerated a drought in lending and left the industry’s survivors with more power to squeeze customers.

Some 279 banks have collapsed since Sept. 25, 2008, when Washington Mutual Inc. became the biggest bank failure on record. That dwarfed the 1984 demise of Continental Illinois, which had only one-seventh of WaMu’s assets. The failures of the past two years shattered the pace of the prior six-year period, when only three dozen banks died.

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