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Dr. Rasmus continues the review of the Federal Reserve Bank, showing how the private banks today control the Fed more than ever in recent decades. How the Fed’s structure permits private banking interests to dominate strategic decisions of the central bank, and how there control of the Fed is about to deepen further under Trump. Jack explains how the expansion of Debt before 2008 was the source of the crisis, and how $50 trillion more debt has been added globally since 2009. Debt is the appearance of the crisis. Excess credit has enabled it but excess liquidity provided for decades by the Fed and other central banks is the source of the excess credit and debt.  How the Fed and other central banks contributed to the last financial crisis and have been creating the next. The explosion of central bank liquidity under Greenspan from 1986 to 2006 is detailed, leading to multiple financial bubbles and culminating in the 2008 financial crash. Jack previews the show with comments on ‘Donald the Trumpet’s claim he saved 1100 jobs at Carrier Corp, but facts show Carrier is sending 600 jobs to Mexico and automating away the rest in the US. How ‘The Trumpet’ claims of jobs in auto and mining also are false. (Next week: The Fed under Bernanke and Yellen).

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Dr. Rasmus reviews the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike decision this past week, showing how the Fed’s justifications for the rate hike based on ‘data’ are contradictory. How the data show no hike was justified. Rasmus explains how the Fed has been manipulating reporting the data on prices, unemployment and wages in order to justify 8 years of zero rate borrowing by the banks—i.e. 7 years after the banks were fully bailed out in 2010. More than $15 trillion in virtually free money was provided by the Fed to bankers and investors since 2009 as a result. Rasmus also addresses the Fed’s announcement this past week to begin selling off its $4.5 trillion balance sheet, but explains that will be token and temporary. Rasmus predicts the Fed’s recent string of 3 rate hikes has reached its limit now that the US economy is weakening once again.  The second half of the show returns to the theme of ‘Central Banks at the End of Their Ropes’ and the origins of the Fed as a creation of the private banks, a corporation funded by and run by the private banks. (Next week: The Fed under Greenspan and Bernanke).

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In the first half of the show, Dr. Rasmus reviews key economic events of the past week, including the collapseof ‘Banco Popular’ bank in Europe and what it might mean in coming weeks to Europe’s fragile banking system, the emerging problems in Junk Bonds and the retail sector in the US, renewed falling oil prices, the US House passing the ‘Financial Choice Act’ and new bank deregulation, and Turmp’s phony ‘Infrastructure Week’ announced this past week and why ‘infrastructure’  really means privatization.  Rasmus then discusses the origins of the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, in 1913 and how central banks evolved out of private banks and still retain deep connections to private banking systems.  How the Federal Reserve originated from the Financial Crisis of 1907 and was developed by big New York banks as a way to capture control of a monopoly of a single currency, become the national ‘clearing house’ of all banks, and create an institution, the Fed, that would provide money to bail themselves out during periodic bank crises instead of having to bail themselves. Jack describes the early structure of the Fed, and how it was owned, financed, and directly controlled by the private banks, with the New York Fed operating as the ‘central bank of the central bank’. (Next Week: The Evolution of the Federal Reserve from the great depression to the crash of 2008).

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Dr. Rasmus begins a four part series examining the role and function of central banks in the global capitalist system, and how that role evolved through the 20th century and is changing again in the 21st.  In Part 1 of a proposed four part presentation, Rasmus explains how central banks have been the primary source of runaway money and liquidity generation that is the root cause of accelerating global debt.  Debt is but the reflection of the more fundamental problem of excess liquidity creation by central banks since the 1970s. It is liquidity that enables debt accumulation, which then leads to financial asset bubbles, busts, deflation, defaults, which then transmits the crisis to the real side of the economy producing ‘great recessions’ and eventually depressions. Central banks then bail out the banks—injecting still more liquidity again—leading to a renewed cycle of debt, bubbles, and crisis. Rasmus asks why the Fed, which bailed out US banks by 2010  has nonetheless continued for 7 more years providing free money to the banks to the tune of more than $10 trillion?  Their ole of central banks has expanded beyond its primary task of bank bailouts this century, Rasmus argues. Continued injection of trillions of free money has become their new 21st century primary function—i.e. to continue to subsidize the financial sector and financial markets (stocks, bonds, derivatives, forex, etc.) . Central banks are evolving, Rasmus argues, along with the rest of the capitalist State toward an ever growing subsidization of Capital in general. Can global capital survive without expanding State subsidization of profits—central banks subsidizing financial markets and finance capital and other sectors of the State other non-financial forms of capital. (Next week Part 2: The origins of the US central bank, its 20th century performance, and why in the 21st it is failing as it evolves toward its new subsidization role).

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Dr. Rasmus examines the Trump budget released this past week, which is based on a crude restatement of Supply Side economics bullshit that has had no evidence in reality since it was first introduced under Reagan in 1981. Rasmus explains why the budget’s ridiculous assumption of 3-3.5% GDP for the next decade is nonsense. How the budget double counts tax revenues that won’t materialize. And why corporate-business tax cuts historically have not created jobs and won’t this time again. A background to the budget is explained, including how the US neoliberal ‘twin deficits’ of trade deficits enabling budget deficits has worked since 1980 and why falling tax revenues since 2000 accounts for more than 60% of US budget deficits since 2001 along with war spending increases and health care system price gouging. The show previews with a review of last week’s falling oil prices, protests in Greece and Brazil, warnings about China’s business debt and new US economy potholes of collapsing bank lending and stalling home sales.  (Next week: Part 1 of a four part series previewing Dr. Rasmus’ new book to be released in June, “Central Bankers at the End of Their Rope: Monetary Policy and the Next Depression”, by Clarity Press—a thorough debunking of central banks and why they are failing).

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Last week the US stock market experienced a major hiccup as it now appears the US economy is softening in areas and the ‘Trump Trade’ may not materialize. Dr. Rasmus explores the soft spots in the US economy in US policy, business spending, household consumption, trade and government spending. Consumer and Corporate debt data released by the NY Federal Reserve raises a red flag. Rasmus explains the relationship between debt, income to service debt, and terms and conditions affecting debt payments and the importance of these relationships to the US economy. Why jobs and real wages are not going to improve much more, why household debt is now greater than in 2008 and business debt twice the levels it was in 2008.  Rasmus predicts the US economy will grow less than 2% for the entire year, far less than the Trump administration’s prediction of 3-3.5%, and explains why this will be so. (Next week: review of the Trump final budget proposal of spending cuts, defense spending increases, and tax cuts).

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Dr. Rasmus reviews early policy directions of newly elected French President, Emmanuel Macron, that focus on anti-labor reform, business tax cuts, and privatization and how that set of policy priorities is similar in many ways to Trump’s.  How recent reports on unemployment in Europe show jobless rates at 18% (not 9.5%) while the US rate is really 9%-12% and not the official 4.5%. While free trade and automation (capital replacing labor) have been identified as two major causes of job loss and wage compression, Rasmus argues that insufficient attention is being given to lagging wage and income growth due to the destruction of full time jobs and their replacement with ‘contingent’ (part time, temp, contract, gig) labor, creating a ‘new normal’ of low paid, no benefit, underemployment in France, the US, and throughout the advanced economies.  Jack explains how anti-labor reform is about reducing full time jobs to compress French wages to achieve an ‘internal devaluation’  to stimulate French exports, and why Macron’s (and Europe’s) ‘export-driven’ growth strategy is a dead end. The show concludes with commentary on Trump’s recent firing of FBI director, Comey, and what it represents, and why Trump will not be driven from office until, at the earliest, after the 2018 midterm elections, if then.

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Jack Rasmus looks at some contrarian negative indicators that the US economy is stumbling: reports show productivity and fixed investment are nearly stagnant. Bank loans in 2017 are growing less than 3% compared to 10% in 2014-16, retail sales are negative last two months, the worst since 2010. Auto sales are declining three months in a row, worst since 2008. US labor force participation rate indicates 10 million fewer employed today. In the 25-54 age group, for every one worker looking for a job, three have dropped out. Monthly job creation continues its slowdown, averaging now only 150,000 a month—with no growth in manufacturing, construction, and government employment.  In the second half of the show, Jack discusses the theme ‘Is Trump Really the President?’, or just a figurehead spending his evenings tweeting and days signing Executive Orders, giving tours of the white House to friends, and interviews to reporters? Trump’s 100 days record with 180 degree reversals from ‘populist’ election lies to his latest ‘about face’ on NATO, free trade, China, Mexico wall, bringing back jobs, Putin, and all the rest. Rasmus compares and comments on the quality of US presidents from Nixon to Trump.

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The show welcomes back guest, Alan Benjamin, an eyewitness to the recent elections in France last week, to discuss what’s going on in France. Will the right wing, Le Pen party, win in the runoff election coming up in a couple of weeks, or will the candidate backed by the French business and political elite, Macron, win?  What are progressives and the left doing in response?  Who is the progressive candidate, Melenchon, and how he almost made it to the runoff election. Behind the elections are the deteriorating economic conditions in France, as throughout Europe, and a growing attacks on jobs, wages, healthcare services, pensions and other benefits by French business elites.  Benjamin explains the anti-worker law and privatizations of healthcare and education behind the election, driving resistance now taking place ‘from below’ that will aggressively reassert itself after the election.  Is France headed for another ‘May 1968’ general strike?  What are the parallels to conditions and developments in the US today?  Jack Rasmus briefly introduces the show with comments on today’s just released US first quarter 2017 GDP figures, showing only a 0.7% growth rate in the US—a forecast predicted by Jack in the January 2, 2017 Alternative Visions show.  (Next week show: Trump’s 100 Days record and what it means plus a deep analysis of Trump’s budget and tax cut proposals)

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With a ‘false right populism’ of Trump replacing the previous ‘false left populism’ of Obama, Jack Rasmus raises the question ‘What Can Be Done’?  Arguing against ‘inside-outside’ strategies to reform the two dominant political parties, against spontaneous rebellions from below that dissipate with little gained, and the dead-end of fragmenting identity politics—all of which go nowhere in terms of change—Jack interviews long time union and community activist, Steve Early, whose just published book, “Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of an American City”, documents the past 12 year history of Richmond, California where a progressive alliance of ethnic, environmental, union and socialist activists took over city government and achieved meaningful gains in rent control, policy accountability, labor standards, housing, environmental safety and other progressive goals.  How the activists formed a new, democratic and accountable grass roots organization and membership based ‘party’, the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), and beat back the oil giant Chevron Corp. Author Steve Early explains ‘how it was done’ in the new book and how the RPA continues the struggle, not just focusing on elections but on continuous social, economic and class issue oriented politics. How to build a progressive organization, with dues membership and matching funds to defeat big corporations, as a ‘template’ for organizing progressively from the ‘ground up’, without relying on corporate money or becoming integrated with corporate political parties.  Everyone interested in real change should definitely read Early’s book for its lessons and recommendations.

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