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Dr Rasmus explains the relationship between trade wars, past and present, and neoliberal tax cutting and war spending policies: Trump 2018, Reagan 1985, Nixon 1971-73. What’s next after $34 billion in US tariffs on China this past week? Relative strengths and weaknesses of US and China in the pending trade war and potential tactics.  Rasmus reaffirms his prediction Trump is following a ‘two track’ trade war—one with US allies and another with China, and only China is potentially real. The role of domestic US politics in current trade disputes. A second topic of the show, i.e. accelerating global debt, is now $250 trillion and 3X global GDP, rising at$25-$32 trillion more a year. How global debt and US dollar exchange rates and central bank interest rates are related. The show concludes with review of recent data by the Institute of International Finance, confirming predictions by Rasmus that Trump January $5 trillion tax cuts for business and investors would result in lower US tax receipts, a diversion of tax savings to more stock buybacks, dividend payouts, and mergers & acquisitions—not investment, jobs, and wages. Projections of rapid slowing of US business investment and hoarding of Trump tax cuts.

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Dr. Rasmus interviews Alan Benjamin, long time participant in Mexican and US labor politics, on the recent election of Andres Manuel Lopez-Obrador (aka AMLO) this past week. Benjamin provides an analysis of the election, and why AMLO won the election this time after having past elections he likely won in 2012 and 2006 stolen. Benjamin explains AMLO’s program evolution over 2018, the role of AMLO’s key business advisors, Urzua and Romo, selected to head, Mexico’s key cabinet positions of Secretary of Treasury and State, and AMLO’s latest views re. NAFTA and Trump.  While the US media focuses on corruption and violence, various real sources of the economic and political crises in Mexico behind the election are discussed—i.e. popular demands by Mexicans for jobs, for an end to privatizations of energy and water, for restoration of Mexico’s declining healthcare services, and for repeal of past neoliberal ‘reforms’ of education and energy. Benjamin then describes the current grass roots organizing and popular committees now being formed by workers, communities, and youth to keep the AMLO election from being co-opted by US and Mexican business interests.  How the AMLO election  represents an important progressive ‘opening’, but also reflects a potential way of control by capitalist interests, as the old PRI and PAN business parties in Mexico have virtually collapsed.  (For more information of original English translation of popular programs and events in Mexico, go to: www.socialistorganizer.com

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Dr. Rasmus explains the yield curve as a predictor of the last 17 recessions (and the next in 2019). Why short term Fed rates are rising to finance trillion dollar annual deficits and debt and why investors and businesses aren’t convinced the Trump tax cuts will result in a growing US economy after 2018. Why the Yield Curve predicts recessions. Rasmus then discusses Wisconsin’s $4 billion tax and incentive package to lure Foxconn (the giant Taiwan corporation) to its state. Why Foxconn is not, per Trump’s quote, ‘the eighth wonder of the world’.  The meaning of this week’s primary victory by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez in New York, and the Democratic Party leadership’s response.  Interpreting the Kennedy Supreme Court retirement announcement. Why Trump is not a fascist, nor yet a dictator. But considers himself ‘above the law’—i.e. the definition of a Tyrant. Rasmus concludes with analysis of what the Supreme Court’s Janus decision this past week means for the intensifying attack on public employee unions now coming. (For more on Janus, listen to our March 2, 2018 Alternative Visions show and interview with SEIU union representatives).

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Rasmus reveals plans by Trump-Congress to cut taxes still further on investors and businesses before the November elections. Also ongoing incremental tax cutting involving corporate pension fund contributions and dismantling of funding for Obamacare. The Fed’s latest bank stress tests, how they’re phony and why some US banks are still financial fragile. Rasmus also discusses the pending Teamster-UPS contract and how workers’ wage hikes will be eaten up by reductions of overtime pay and inflation. A new five year agreement will mean real pay cuts. The show concludes with latest updates on Europe, Italy’s debt, Greek debt, 3rd party critiques of the US Labor Dept.’s Alternative Work survey, and Trump’s phony trade war with Europe (and real one with China).

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The past week’s momentous decisions by the US (Fed) and European Central Bank on interest rates is discussed. How last week’s Fed rate hike, and announcement of 4-5 more hikes to come in 2018-19, will destabilize Europe’s economy as well as Emerging Market economies. Discussion of new reports released this past week on precariate jobs in the US, US multinational corporations offshore tax havens, Corporate CEOs fivefold increase in insider stock sales as buybacks accelerate due to Trump tax cuts.  Also reviewed is study released by financial fraud whistle blower, John Griffin, showing that bitcoin price bubble of 2017 was largely manipulated by Asian cryptocurrency exchange, Bitfinex. Rasmus discusses Trump listing of $50b China tariffs today and internal Italian populist government maneuvering with Euro bankers, as Euro economy (and in particular German) economies show signs of further economic slowing of exports and GDP).

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 Dr. Rasmus critiques in detail the US Labor Dept., Bureau of Labor Statistics, just released report on Contingent-Alternative Jobs, or what’s called the ‘precariate’ workforce. How the BLS under-estimates and lowballs the number and growth rate of precarious work in the US today. How narrow definitions, exclusions of groups of workers, and BLS survey methodology makes it appear the rise of precarious jobs are not a problem—contrary to many independent private studies. (For a print version, see Dr. Rasmus’s blog, jackrasmus.com, on the topic).  In the second half of the show, the upcoming June 10 referendum vote in Switzerland on what is called ‘Vollgeld’ is addressed.  The proposal for what is called ‘sovereign money’ creation, represented by the referendum, is explained in the broader context of the increasing failure of central banks in the advanced economies to stabilize the capitalist economy.  How the central bank solution to the 2008-09 crash—via QE and zero rates for 8 years—will be insufficient in the next crisis. Hence, the new experiments like Vollgeld on how to bail out the economy are being explored.  Vollgeld-sovereign money as a new way to permanently bail out the private banks by having central banks assume all their debt perpetually.

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Dr. Rasmus on Trump’s lifting exemptions on US tariffs on NAFTA-Europe steel & aluminum. The oft-ignored role of US domestic politics in Trump trade actions. Trump negotiating strategy and tactics. Why there’ll be no trade war with Mexico-Canada or Europe, but may yet be with China. NAFTA and Europe partners’ tepid responses to Trump announcement (Mexico $4b, Canada $16b, Europe $7.5b counter-tariffs compared to US $2.4 trillion total annual exports). Three-way splits in US-China trade negotiating team. The US ‘dual track’ trade negotiations strategy.  In the second half hour, Rasmus addresses the emerging Italian Debt crisis and its similarities to the 2012-15 Greek debt crisis. Italy’s insolvent private banking system, $500b in nonperforming bank loans, and government debt of 130% of GDP. Contagion potential to French banks. 5-Star populist party-Greek Syriza party compared. Italy as Greek debt crisis writ large. How financial imperialism works in the Eurozone.

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Dr. Rasmus provides the latest, 1st quarter 2018, updates on accelerating S&P 500 US corporate stock buybacks, dividend payouts, and spending on corporate mergers and acquisitions. Latest data show $178b in buybacks and $113b in dividends and $840b in M&A spending estimates for 2018—i.e. a combined $2.01 trillion for just the S&P 500 largest corporations for the coming year alone. 2nd quarter estimates of buybacks for all US corporations now running at $6.1b per day and thus even higher. How the Trump-Congress $5 trillion tax cuts are the impetus for the more than $2 trillion boost in capital incomes for 2018-19.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate this week the Trump budget deficit will be $9.5 trillion, and $2.3 trillion greater than Trump-Ryan claim. (Dr. Rasmus estimate: $12.4 trillion and higher if recession occurs within next decade). Consequences for the US and global economy of the massive deficit-debt are discussed.  The show concludes with explanation of last week’s US Supreme Court’s ‘Epic Systems Corp. vs. Lewis’ decision, denying workers the right to engage in mutual, collective action to defend their working conditions and forcing them to individually arbitrate their disputes with their company.  A threshold SCOTUS decision that will overturn the 1935 Wagner Act giving workers the right to unionize for the first time in the US. SCOTUS decision the latest in intense legal attack on workers rights now underway, driven by Koch brothers and other anti-worker, anti-union groups. Rasmus briefly reviews the history of how courts and laws were used to prevent worker-union rights. US now returning to pre-1935 period in US labor history with Epic Systems decision.

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 Dr. Rasmus looks at the effects of steadily rising US interest rates, and the US dollar, on key South American economies—Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela—as well as other important emerging market economies like Turkey. How policies of business elites governing Argentina and Brazil wrecking their economies are about to worsen further, due to US monetary and Dollar policies. Argentina and Brazil currencies are now in freefall, provoking capital flight, domestic inflation, and the latest ‘Made in USA’ recession.  Meanwhile, Japan now enters another recession with GDP contracting -0.6% in first quarter and Europe-Germany now slowing dramatically as well (mere 0.3% growth rates latest quarter), as rising oil prices will push the US economy further toward recession in 2019 (as they did in 2008). Rasmus reviews the latest in US trade events re. China, NAFTA, Europe. How US bankers have taken control US trade negotiations with China, not Trump. Why NAFTA deal will be another Korean-like ‘softball’ deal. And how the US may ‘redefine away’ the trade deficit to make it appear something has changed with US trade deficit, when it hasn’t.

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The show leads with updates on latest evidence of stock buybacks in the US, which will exceed $800b in 2018, with another $500b in dividend payouts. Discussion then follows on the growing share of junk and near junk (triple BBB rated) US corporate bonds issued in the US. How BBB bonds may play a role in the collapse of retail stores like Sears, JC Penneys, etc. in the next recession (in 2019).  Rasmus then discusses the latest on the state of US trade negotiations with NAFTA and China. (Read Dr. Rasmus’ latest article, ‘Is the US-China Trade War for Real?’, on his blog, or PRN website, Counterpunch, Znet, Global Research and other public blogs for the real reasons behind the US-China trade conflict).  What’s happening in Argentina and EM economies in general is the focus of the rest of the show.  How US interest rate hikes and a rising US dollar are now precipitating another crisis in Argentina and emerging market economies in general. How Argentina’s current descent into deep recession, following Brazil’s, is the direct consequence of US interest rate and US dollar policies and the runup in dollarized debt issued by those economies in recent years. How the three largest economies of South America—Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela—are being wrecked by US policies, causing the collapse of their domestic currencies, capital flight, rate hikes, import inflation, and rapid contraction of their domestic economies.

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