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 Dr. Rasmus explains the forces behind the 2017 escalating Bitcoin bubble and their reversal in 2018 in recent weeks, leading to the collapse of Bitcoin prices. Both demand and supply forces driving, then collapsing, bitcoin are explained, and projections for 2018 offered where Bitcoin and other Altcoins may be headed. Crypto currencies as classic financial asset speculative plays are explained, in context of 21st century Capitalism’s continuing securing shift to financial asset investing. Rasmus then estimates the true tax cuts for US businesses from the Trump tax act ($4 trillion not $1.5 trillion), and estimates that US multinational corporations will reap at least half of that $4T. The case example of Apple Corp’s tax cuts are estimated—from the repatriation one time tax savings in 2018 and thereafter for the next five years, after Apple’s announcement of bringing back $38 billion (over the next five years) of its $270 billion offshore untaxed thus far profits hoard. Rasmus explains only part of the $38 billion will result in wage and real investment, with most going to stock buybacks, dividends, and mergers and acquisitions. (Next week: ‘What’s Happening in China?’)

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 Dr. Rasmus starts the show with comments on last week’s announcement by WalMart raising its minimum wage and the Bloomberg News story about China considering cutting back buying US Treasury bonds. The rest of the show addresses the Trump Tax Cuts true extent of tax reduction on corporations, businesses, investors and the wealthiest 1% households. Jack debunks the notion that the US budget deficit hit from the tax cuts will equal only $1.46 trillion, the official government estimate, showing it is based on the absurd assumption of a 10 year annual average GDP growth rate of 3% and no recession occurring for another decade (or 19 years from the last). The deficit hit will be at least twice, or $3 trillion. Tax hikes on the middle class are about $2 trillion. So the tax cuts for corporate America et. al. therefore exceed $5 trillion. Rasmus then estimates the $5 trillion from the major provisions of the Act: $1.5t from corporate rate reduction, $1t from accelerated depreciation write-offs, $.5t from elimination of corporate AMT, and between $2-$2.5t for US multinational corporations from repatriation of $2.8t to $4.0t profits in offshore subsidiaries and tax havens and a future offshore tax rate reduction from 35% formerly, to 8%. Rasmus explains the cornerstones of the US global economic empire: the twin deficits (trade-budget), free trade (benefits share with local capitalist elites offshore), the dominance of the US dollar as global trading currency, and US domestic tax policy that ensure trillions of profits keep flowing to investors via dividends, stock buybacks, and capital gains.

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 Dr. Rasmus provides his economic and political predictions for the coming year, 2018, including: flattening yield curve and recession 2019, slowdowns in autos, housing, retail, why the Fed won’t raise interest rates 3 more times in 2018why  health care costs are about to surge again, why the Dems won’t take back the Senate in November 2018, why Trump will fire Mueller, and how the Supreme Court will rule against union and worker rights. In the first half of the show, Dr. Rasmus explains in detail what’s driving the stock market bubble in the US and globally, both short term and longer term demand forces (short term: the multi-trillion dollar Trump tax cuts, the global economy, the low dollar, and structural shifts in stock markets toward indexing, passive investing, and ETFs. Long term. The massive subsidization of money capital by the central bank from 1986 to present and the continuing, equally massive tax cuts for corporations and investors from Reagan to Trump. Rasmus concludes with his analysis of what’s behind the Steve Bannon-Trump rift, and the likely fallout. (Next week: why the true dimensions of the Trump tax cuts exceed $5 trillion for businesses, investors, and the 1%).

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Dr. Rasmus reviews the major economic developments of the past year. Included are the major economic consequences of Trump’s first year in office: tax cuts, environmental, financial and other deregulations, Goldman Sachs running the economy, the Trump ‘bump’ and Trump ‘trade’, Trump free trade policies re. NAFTA, Trump’s replacement of Fed chair Yellen with Powell, the low dollar and Emerging Markets and US multinational corporations gains, education and union labor policy shifts, Obamacare-ACA gutting, etc. Rasmus also reviews US and global economic developments, including US GDP, productivity, wages, stock markets and Bitcoin, household debt and collapse of savings rates, and the narrowing (and eventual inverting) of the important ‘yield curve’. Global developments are commented on, including Brexit, the continuing collapse of social democracy in Europe and rise of nationalisms, the US counter-offensive in Latin America, Russia’s rising role in Syria and partnership with Saudi Arabia and OPEC on oil prices, China’s party conference and shift to attack its financial speculators and shadow banks again, US foreign policy failures in Turkey and the US-No. Korea continuing drift to military confrontation.  (Next Week: Dr. Rasmus makes his predictions for 2018)

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Dr. Rasmus explains and critiques the Trump-Republican $4 trillion plus tax cuts passed and signed this week, describing it as thieves ‘smashing’ their way into the US Treasury and ‘grabbing’ as much of government revenue as they can get away with.  The tax cuts are put in historical context, as a continuation of the ‘tax shell’ game since Reagan, and as an example of the escalating efforts by politicians, paid for and bought by big business, to subsidize capital incomes at an increasing rate in the 21st century.  Various details of the tax cuts are considered, mostly for corporations, businesses, and investors, with token concessions for the very poor, but with the middle and working classes paying the bill for both.  How the token concessions to the poor will be taken away by other measures as well.  The show focuses, however, on the false claims that tax cuts will create jobs and raise wages. Rasmus explains how this is false in theory and in fact. How the tax cuts will not only NOT increase investment, jobs, and wage growth but will actually result in the loss of jobs and no wage growth. (Next week: roundup of Trump’s economic policies in his first year in office, and what’s coming in 2018)

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The two major economic US events of the past week were the Trump tax cuts and the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate hike. What do they have in common? Dr. Rasmus explains both  share the common result of an escalating subsidization of capital (corporations, investors, and the wealthiest 1% households) by the State in the 21st century: Congress and the president subsidizing via increasingly massive tax cuts, as the central bank slows its rate of subsidization by raising rates. Rasmus explains how the Fed policy since 2008 has resulted in $6 trillion in direct purchases of investor securities through its ‘QE’ program while enabling, via its low 0.15% interest rate policy, corporate America to issue more than another $6 trillion in low interest bonds. Together with tripling of corporate profits, the $12-$15 trillion has enabled corporations to distribute $6 trillion plus to investors in dividend payouts and stock buybacks. Now that Fed rates are rising (but won’t exceed 3% without a credit crunch), the policy shift is to subsidize corporate America via even more tax cuts--$4.5 trillion in the Trump bill.  With corporations hoarding $4.8 trillion still, Rasmus debunks Trump claims the tax cuts will result in more investment, jobs, and $4000 wage increases. If $4.8 trillion hasn’t had the result, why will $4.5 trillion more achieve it? Rasmus debunks the notion of the ‘wage conundrum’, explaining why wages are not really growing. (Next week: dissecting the final version Trump corporate hand out).

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 Dr. Rasmus goes in depth on the bitcoin mania and the bubble now at more than $15,000 a coin—a 1500% increase in speculative profits in 2017…and rising. What are the determinants and drivers of the Bitcoin mania, the ‘digital tulips’ bubble of today? Rasmus discusses the fundamental causes as blockchain technology and central bankers’ decades of massive liquidity injection into the global economy, looking desperately for ‘yield’, with inflows to digital currencies absorbing more and more. Additional ‘enabling’ factors have been driving prices as well, including proliferating ICOs, entry of traditional investor-speculators, diversion of financing from gold futures, and most important, increasing legitimation of Bitcoin and crypto currencies by established commodity clearing houses in the US (CME, CBOE), some countries’ endorsement (Japan), hedge funds preparation to enter the market, and even commercial banks (Chase) announcing partial participation.  Bitcoin is a commodity, not yet a currency, and a speculative ‘play’ not unlike oil futures, gold futures (as were tulips ini 17th century Holland). Rasmus concludes with a discussion of government regulation, taxation, and potential channels of contagion to other financial asset markets (also approaching bubble territory) when the Bitcoin and cryptos price busts occur.  Capital gains from Bitcoin commodity speculation at 1500% contrasts sharply with today’s just announced real wage gains of only 0.5% in the US. (Next week: the House-Senate final Trump Tax Cuts and latest acceleration of income inequality)

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 Dr. Rasmus discusses the 9 major ‘drivers’ behind the growing bubble in Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, as well as potential channels of contagion to other financial markets once the bubble bursts. The connection between Blockchain tech and bitcoin and cryptos are explained, as well as the emerging shift from ‘retail’ speculator to professional investing in Bitcoin, options trading, legitimization by the CME, big US banks involvement and clearing houses, hands off by regulators, etc. Bitcoin and cryptos as commodities or currency? The relationship to gold futures.  Dr. Rasmus then debunks the lies that Trump tax cuts will create jobs, raise wages, boost consumption and GDP, and ‘pay for itself’ by not creating deficits. How neoliberal policy is now shifting emphasis from central bank/free money/low rates to subsidizing capital incomes via tax cuts, deregulation, etc.  Trump’s lie that the new tax bill will ‘cost me millions’ is exposed; instead he will make millions from the elimination of the AMT and the huge cuts in taxing of pass through income. (Next week: the Senate version of the Trump Tax Cut).

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 Dr. Rasmus invites guest, Alan Benjamin, one of the organizers of the forthcoming ‘Binational Conference’ of US and Mexican activists to be held December 2-3 in Carson, California (just south of Los Angeles). Benjamin discusses the themes of the upcoming conference: anti-NAFTA, opposition to Trump’s Wall & deportations, attacks on farmworkers in US and Mexico, the Driscoll Co. berry boycott, farmworker union busting in North Carolina tobacco fields, national boycott against cigarette giant, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, and the corporate anti-union open shop movement growing in the US.  How organizers of the various movements—both in the US and Mexico—are coming together in Carson to build a united front of resistance, with union labor councils in California (San Francisco, LA, Sacramento, etc.) in full support.  Rasmus and Benjamin also discuss the pending Pelosi ‘deal’ with Trump on a ‘Dream Act light’, in exchange for their parents’ deportations and for Democrat Party support for funding of Trump’s Wall.  Rasmus and Benjamin discuss intensifying attacks on workers’ rights in the US, Mexico, and beyond and activist plans for future post-conference actions. For information on the Conference, go to http://hermandadmexicana.org  or call conference organizer, Xelha Lopez at 714-541-0250.

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Dr. Rasmus reviews conditions in the three financial markets approaching or at bubble levels. Causes of excess demand driving prices in US equity markets are discussed—including Fed near zero interest rate policies since 2008; record corporate profits and $1 trillion annual stock buybacks and dividend payouts; multi-trillion $ corporate bond issuance; shift to ETFs and passive investing in stock markets; foreign money capital inflows to US; record margin debt issues in stocks; and Trump policies of multi-trillion dollar corporate/investor tax cuts, business deregulation, low US$ exchange rate policy, and expectations of infrastructure spending and free trade deal renegotiations. Trump policies as new subsidization of capital incomes via fiscal-trade policy, as central bank (Fed) reduces its subsidization of capital monetary policies.  Warnings of financial instability growing by Bank of America and hedge fund multi-billionaire, Paul Singer. Rasmus looks at other candidates for financial instability as well—pension funds’ hike risk investing practices, trend toward ‘covenant-lite’ lending, emerging junk bond selloff underway in Telecom sector and in China, and Bitcoin and crypto currencies extreme price bubbles. (Next week: The US Senate’s Trump Tax Cuts).

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