Feed on
Posts

Dr. Rasmus examines today’s US Jobs report and other reports suggesting US job creation may be mostly 2nd jobs, per Bankrate.com and Payscale.com surveys. How Labor’s share of income has declined -$1.5 trillion a year, while stock buybacks and dividend payouts have risen +$1.5 trillion. The crisis at Germany/Europe’s largest bank, Deutschebank, is discussed and its comparison to the 2008 crash of another investment bank, Lehman Brothers. Why Deutschebank’s current $45 trillion in derivatives contracts poses a major threat to contagion in the next crisis. The case of Europe’s weak banks, non-performing bank loans, and 65% in negative rates. The show concludes with discussion of last week’s Supreme Court decision to allow gerrymandering to continue, as the latest development undermining US democracy.  How the Republican party’s ‘red states’ strategy of recent decades successfully captured the Senate, Courts, & states legislatures. Why the US House of Representatives has not added more seats since 1913, per the US Constitution requirement, further advantaging conservatives in the House. Why Democrat party strategy has failed.

 Dr. Rasmus previews the G20 meeting and prospects for US-China deal. Review of deteriorating condition of both US and China real economies. US indicators weakening fast: housing, factory orders, consumer and business spending, inflation, jobs.  What’s happening in India’s economy overview, as non-performing bank loans and shadow bank instability rises. Weak links in global economy: Europe, India, Argentina, Turkey, So. Africa, Brazil, So. Korea, as US & China economies also slow.  US Billionaires (Soros, kids of Pritzgers, Disney, Berkshire Hathaway, etc.) call for 0.1% wealth tax hikes on billionaires like themselves. As Trump maneuvers another tax cut for them bypassing Congress. Rasmus compares wealth tax hikes to financial transactions taxation, Warren vs. Sanders’ proposals. Stock buybacks and dividend payouts to reach $1.5 trillion in 2019, as Fed allows banks to buyback-payout $200 billion or more for first time.  The show concludes with critique of (other) billionaires (Rubinstein, Singer, etc.) launching media ideological offensive against emerging progressive proposals like Medicare for All, Modern Money Theory, Student Debt Relief, Green New Deal, and the general idea of ‘Socialism’.

 Dr. Rasmus reviews the condition of the Europe and US economies, now rapidly slowing this past month, and recent announcements by central bank chairs, Powell and Draghi, to lower rates and inject more free money into the system. New bubble levels in stocks, bonds, gold, bitcoin responding.  The question of reliability of stats for GDP (India) and US are revisited. Recent surveys by Bankrate and Payscale indicate significant rise in part time and 2nd jobs last year and that wages shrunk by -0.8%, not rose by 3.2%, this past year. (And have fallen by 9% since 2006).  What’s behind Facebooks’ entry into the global payments market and shadow banking by its ‘Libra’ digital token. The regulatory reaction coming. Congress’s $983 billion spending bill. Why military spending is more than $1 trillion a year, and not just $733 billion for Pentagon. Latest on the Trump tax cuts for multinational corporations. How the F500 alone just saved $219b by repatriation of offshore profits. The show concludes with analysis of Fed chair, Powell’s, press conference this past week. (Next week: the G20 meeting and Trump-Xi on trade war continuing or not).

Dr. Rasmus challenges the mainstream economic theory that prices serve to stabilize the economy. How financial asset prices, oil prices, bonds, etc. are now driving price volatility that leads to more general economic instability and recessions. Prices for financial assets are the main driver of goods prices, wages (labor prices), interest rates (money prices), commodities, etc.  How global oil deflation, now re-emerging after last year’s 40% decline, is a key factor in Trump neocons’ effort to provoke Iran and recent events in the strait of Hormuz. Rasmus concludes with latest figures on US deficit projections for 2019, now around $1.3 trillion, and US government and total debt trends and projections for government, corporate, farm, household, and related debt—now around $60 trillion and approaching $80 trillion by 2028. How deficits and debt do matter for the economy, when they cannot be financed (i.e. repaid) when prices slow or decline due to financial markets and recessions. (Next week: Europe as basketcase of the global capitalist economy).

 New US job numbers show big decline to only 75,000 in May. Is the ‘Lagging’ indicator of jobs now catching up with rest of slowing US economy? What’s behind Trump’s threat of new tariffs on Mexico? (Not about trade but election 2020 and Trump raising money for his wall). Who pays? Consumers and workers.  Why are global oil prices retreating again and the consequences? Dr. Rasmus takes a deep look at the Eurozone economy, now doomed to enter recession again soon. Japan also entering recession. China slowing, stocks declining, and bank defaults rising.  Why central banks globally are rushing to lower interest rates in anticipation of US central bank, the Fed, about to do so as well. Will the current long term global bond rate bust spill over to US and other stock markets? The show concludes with comments about Democratic Party leaders’ in the House throwing in the towel to subpoena Barr, McGahn and others, as the US constitutional crisis continues to develop.

Dr. Rasmus reviews events of the past week by Trump and China that show increasing evidence the ‘trade war’ is now morphing into a more general ‘economic war’ after the breakdown of negotiations earlier this month. The measures beyond tariff actions taken up by the US are reviewed, including choking off money capital flows, sanctions on both US and China corporations, direct attacks on China companies expanding, US pressure on allies, going after academics participating in research with Chinese. Rasmus predicts Trump will eventually push for delisting of China corps from stock exchanges, force divestiture of US joint production with China, increase pressure on Australia, Brazil, other commodity producing countries to restrict sales to China, and even interdict shipments of Iranian and Venezuelan oil to China if need be.  China’s counters to the US beyond just tariffs include slowing buying of US Treasuries now occurring, allowing its currency, Yuan, to devalue beyond 7 to the $1, mobilizing China consumers to stop buying US products, restrict export of ‘rare earth’ minerals to US producers, impose non-tariff barriers on US companies, stop buying US farm goods again, increase subsidies to China companies, step up buying of Iranian oil, exempt US companies from its 51% foreign ownership rule, etc. Trump and Neocons clearly plan to US China trade war as excuse to ramp up ‘economic nationalism’ theme in 2020 elections and blame China US slowing economy. The show concludes with commentary on 5 reports issued this past week: the Fed’s Household Survey showing 40% can’t afford $400 for emergencies; the Institute of Taxation report showing large profitable companies (Amazon, IBM, Chevron, Prudential, etc.) were written $80 billion in rebates in 2018; Mckinsey report showing Labor’s share of national income has now fallen to 56.7% from 65.4% (more than $1.3 trillion a year); and the Wall St. Journal reporting US capital spending rose only 3% in 1Q19 compared to 20% a year earlier, 1Q18, despite Trump’s multi-trillion dollar tax cuts given them.

Rasmus discusses events since the collapse of US-China trade deal a week ago. Who reneged on the deal? China or US? China & Trump responses of past week. (read jackrasmus.com blog piece: ‘US-China Trade War: Hiatus or Busted Deal?’)Review of Trump’s latest ‘job killer’ immigration proposals and US economy continuing softening per latest data on retail sales-industrial production collapse in April. Second half of today’s show addresses the Mueller Report and growing signs of Constitutional Crisis in the US. What the ‘Frontline’ TV show last week revealed re. ‘collusion’. Reading the Mueller Report re. ‘obstruction’. (p. 277- of Washington Post publication of Report).  Rasmus compares the Nixon impeachment with the current foot-dragging and refusal by Pelosi-Shumer to impeach Trump. What’s different today from 1970s re. impeachment?: divided country, radical right media power, stacked Supreme Court now in favor of Trump, Trump’s personality vs. Nixon’s, the decay of both political parties, and repeated strategic and tactic errors by Dem party leadership. Why Mueller failed to indict Trump on collusion while showing overwhelming evidence of same. How Trump is outmaneuvering Dem leadership again.

In the introduction, Dr. Rasmus provides final comments on the reliability of US stats (jobs, GDP, wages) affecting part time, discouraged workers, temp jobs, multiple job holders, labor force drop out, disability and census workers, as well as the main data points of full time and u-3 unemployed. (see jackrasmus.com blog for print version of the discussion). The remainder of today’s show focuses on ‘What’s really behind the US-China trade war’ standoff? Is it temporary or will it descend into a deeper trade conflict? Rasmus offers background on the origins of the Trump trade war with China since August 2017, and its evolution through 2018 up to the present break off of negotiations this week. Why (and how) the US negotiators ‘moved the goalposts’ in the past week and threw new demands at the Chinese as they were preparing to come to the US this past week to finalize a deal. Trump’s claim ‘they renegotiated the agreement’ this past week is his cover for the US actually doing the renegotiation, moving the goal posts with new demands as the Chinese team prepared to come to the US.  The question is raised: do the neocons driving US trade negotiations (and US foreign policy in general from Korea to Venezuela to Iran to Europe) really want a deal? Or are they intent on sabotaging one? What will other business factions (bankers, multinational corporations, farm sector) in the US negotiations now do? Rasmus concludes the show with a brief discussion of why the term, ‘Neoliberalism’, as used by many critics of US policy since Reagan falls short of the full meaning.  A broader term must include economic restructuring, a new economic policy mix, political institutional change, and ideological legitimization. Neoliberalism as really the intensification of domestic economic class war plus intensification of inter-capitalist global competition.

Dr. Rasmus dissects the latest jobs numbers released today showing 263,000 new jobs created and a 3.6% unemployment rate.  Looking behind the assumptions and comparing both jobs surveys—the Current Establishment Survey (CES) & Current Population Survey(CPS)—a different picture of the US labor market appears. First, the 263,000 new jobs indicated by the CES includes 155,000 part time jobs from the CPS, which aren’t included in the 3.6% unemployment rate (called the U-3) that considers only full time jobs. Second, Rasmus notes that the CPS shows full time employment actually falling by 200,000 in each of the last two months (Table A-9). So part time jobs are behind the 263,000 while full time jobs are declining? Moreover, preparing for the 2020 census has raised government jobs last month by 112,000 after declining all last year. Rasmus explains these and other contradictions between CES and CPS suggest the labor market is not as strong as the ‘selective’, heavily reported stats of 3.6% and 263,000 suggest. In the second half the show discusses economic events of the past week involving infrastructure spending, the Fed v. Trump and global central banks, financial imperialism and failed coup in Venezuela, and growing currency problems again in Argentina and emerging markets. The show concludes with Rasmus’s analysis of the Mueller-Barr ‘affair’ and how it reflects the US drift toward a Constitutional Crisis.

Dr. Rasmus provides his analysis of US GDP estimates for 1st quarter 2019 out today.  1st quarter GDP is over-estimated, he argues, due to boost in due to an excessive, one time boost in business inventory accumulation and decline in US imports, both of which are temporary events that will reverse soon in subsequent quarters. The real base of the US economy—i.e. business investment in structures, housing and equipment and household consumption (together 80% of GDP) show stagnation at best: Consumption grew only 1.2% annual rate in 1st quarter (with durables down -5.3%) and business investment slowed to only 2.7% (after hundreds of billions $ of Trump tax cuts for business a year ago). Rasmus predicts investment and consumption will continue to lag in 2019, while inventories and trade effects will dissipate quickly.  Global economic developments are discussed in what’s behind rising oil prices and the re-emergence of currency instability, especially in Argentina and Latin America. The show concludes with Dr. Rasmus providing an overview of his forthcoming book, ‘The Scourge of Neoliberalism’, and why most contemporary accounts of Neoliberalism offer only a partial explanation of what it’s about and miss understanding Neoliberalism at capitalist restructuring, ideological justification, and political institutional change. (Next week: An excerpt from the book on Neoliberalism under Obama and now Trump).

- Older Posts »