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Dr. Rasmus dissects the moves of Dems and Republicans on the Infrastructure bill (aka American Jobs Act) now underway. Both sides are mostly just ‘moving the money around’ and using various ‘smoke & mirrors’ to show they’re making proposals and counterproposals: GOP negotiators (McConnell et. al.) initially proposed $568B, but $394B of that was money already authorized and passed in other legislation. Yesterday, they raised their proposal to $928B, but that was by diverting $350B also already passed in the February ‘American Rescue Plan’ (Covid relief bill). Thus, GOP proposing to spend money already spent! Biden proposed March 31 a $2.3T spending on infrastructure, but unilaterally dropped it to $1.7T (and quietly agreed to include $304B already authorized in transport funding to be included in $1.7T. Biden ‘signaled’ in meeting with GOP to agree to final $1T only. Both Dems & GOP breaking out $400B on separate corp subsidy bills for manufacturing, tech, R&D, chips, etc. soon to be passed. Smoke & mirror negotiations going on for public consumption.  Rasmus also comments on latest economic stats on jobs and durable goods consumer spending and on political democracy reforms collapsing with HR-1 election reform now DOA + collapse of Commission on Jan. 6 riots. Rasmus concludes fight for Democracy only beginning, but red state Republicans have the longer term advantage as their legislatures move now aggressively to restrict and suppress voting.

 Dr. Rasmus focuses on the recent 40% collapse in Bitcoin crypto currency deflation. What were the forces driving up Bitcoin & cryptos prices in 2020 and how have they changed. Why Bitcoin prices are now collapsing, and will they continue. What is the nature of speculative financial asset investing and the rise of the new global finance capital elite in recent decades. Rasmus discusses the forces deflating Bitcoin demand: China’s new digital currency, US Federal Reserve plans to regulate, tax, and eventually issue its own digital currency, etc. What’s behind China’s announcing its own DC (including efforts to bypass the US dominated SWIFT international payments system and the $US as primary global trading currency)—and thus avoid US economic imperialism key levers of economic control. Why the US Treasury is now moving to regulate and tax cryptos. The show concludes with a briefer assessment of debates on the Biden Infrastructure bill, and why the negotiations now focus on providing $400B in subsidies to auto and semiconductor big corporations first as Biden moves toward bipartisan support for his proposed Infrastructure legislation. The risks to the rests of the bill targeting support for workers and communities.

 Dr. Rasmus addresses the rising chorus from conservative politicians, media, and ‘paid for’ economists that the Fiscal stimulus bills being proposed ($1.8T American Rescue Plan, $2.2T American (Infrastructure) Jobs Plan, and $1T American Families Plan) will soon overheat the US economy and cause rapid rise in inflation. What are the actual forces driving/not driving prices today in 2021? What’s wrong with the way the US government estimates inflation? Why does it underestimate it in order to overestimate real GDP growth? Why are the government’s methodology for estimating inflation kept a ‘secret’ from the public?  Dr. Rasmus also comments on today’s Labor Dept. Jobs Report that missed forecasts of jobs created in April by more than 1 million. What’s going on? And what about that phony argument that workers are getting too much unemployment benefits, causing them to refuse to return to work at poverty level minimum wages ($7.25/hr. or $2.13/hr. for restaurant workers). Check out Dr. Rasmus’s latest print publication, “US 1st Quarter GDP: Recovery or Just Another Rebound’, at http://jackrasmus.com.

 Today’s show dissects US GDP for January-March just reported and explains why the media’s hyping of 6.4% is actually less than 1.6%. What’s really happening with consumption, business spending, government spending, and the trade balance drag on the economy.  Biden’s recent speech announcing his 3rd leg of his fiscal spending stool, the American Families Plan, is then broken down in detail. How much of the three fiscal programs—American Rescue Plan, American Jobs Plan, American Families Plan—will actually impact the US economy this year 2021? What are the major ways Biden proposes to pay for the spending and how much of Trump’s $4.5 trillion 2018 tax cuts be rolled back in the Biden plan.

 This past week Biden proposed to raise the capital gains tax (on profits from stocks, bonds, real estate sales, financial assets, etc.) from its current 20% to 39.6% on all capital gains profits over $1 million. Business and investor reaction has been apoplectic and immediate. Raising the tax, they claim, will collapse business investment and cut short any economic recovery, they and the business press are proclaiming! But what are the facts on how capital gains effects the real economy, jobs, incomes, business and consumer spending, and therefore US GDP and growth? Today’s Alternative Visions show addresses the growing debate on taxing capital gains by the Biden administration in particular, as well as raising taxes in general to pay for Biden’s Infrastructure plan (aka ‘American Jobs Act’) and his soon to be announced additional ‘Family Act’

 Dr. Rasmus follows up last week’s analysis of the Union defeat at Amazon by placing it in historic context, from the growth of union membership in the 1930s and 1940s to the great strike wave of 1970-71 and the Great Detour and decline of unions under Neoliberal industrial parties that began with Reagan in the 1980s and continues to this day. How the 1947 Taft Hartley and 1959 Landrum Griffin Acts stopped union strikes for recognition in their tracks and how Employer-State strategy cooperation in the 1970s and beyond have rolled back union membership in the private sector from its peak of 35% (80% in basic industries like auto, steel, transport, etc.) to its barely 5% today. Rasmus explains the strategies and tactics used by employers, with aid of government, to prevent unionization in NLRB elections, such as recently occurred at Amazon. How these strategies and tactics—along with offshoring, free trade, onshoring of H1-B visas, outsourcing, contingent, gig, and other work—have together resulted in a near collapse of private sector unionization in America. Rasmus concludes with a comment on the failure of Obama administration do reform the problem of de-unionization and pass ‘card check’, as well as a review of the Biden administration’s recent PRO Act bill recently passed by the US House of Representatives but all but dead in the US Senate committee.

 Dr. Rasmus reviews the notable economic events and data of the past week. Included are Treasury Secretary, Yellen, proposes for a minimum global corporate tax for the 20 advanced economies, in the latest effort to stop the corporate manipulation of taxes and ‘race to the bottom’ globally in corporate tax revenues; the IMF’s proposal to raise $650 billion in Special drawing rights (SDRs) in anticipation of more sovereign debt defaults coming in emerging market economies; Larry Summers’ latest defense of corporations by critiquing plans to raise corporate taxes; latest jobs data showing a million new jobless claims every week despite the growing media puffery about the US economy now booming; growing signs of financial fragility globally and looming future defaults in the US from leisure & hospitality to urban office buildings; dangerous new strains of Covid spreading; and the recent union vote at Amazon.

today’s show focuses on Biden’s just announced Infrastructure Plan. Called a jobs plan, it will produce few jobs in 2021-22 and have virtually no impact on the near term 2021 economic recovery effort. Estimated by the Wall St. Journal at $2.3T, over 8 yrs., very little will hit the US economy in the much needed early stage of recovery in 2021. At best it will be passed no sooner that 3rd quarter 2021 and not then if filibuster in Senate is upheld. Composed of two phases, the second will not likely be passed (if at all) until 2022. Combined with the Biden prior Covid 19 Relief bill (American Rescue Plan) which projects less than $1T spending in 2021, the combined two fiscal spending bills (ARP and now American Jobs Plan, aka Infrastructure bill) will provide roughly $1 trillion stimulus to US economy in 2021, as it reopens aggressively in coming months. Dr. Rasmus discusses the outlines of Biden’s Tax plan, designed to cover part of the cost of the two stimulus bills. (see last week’s show for more details on Biden’s tax proposals).

Dr. Rasmus provides a first look at President Biden’s Tax proposals, designed to roll back the worst of Trump’s $4T tax cuts in 2018 for businesses and investors. Rasmus describes the 40 year historical tax shift in favor of the 1% wealthiest households, their businesses and their investments—a key hallmark of Neoliberalism policy since 1981.  Biden’s 3-part economic recovery program—the $1.8T recent stimulus, the $2T-$3T infrastructure bill to be announced next week, and the tax proposals to help pay for both—are described in context of a struggling US economy and a global deterioration in Europe and elsewhere of the fight against Covid 19 and another economic downturn in many economies. What’s happening in Europe and the prospects of a third wave of Covid based on new and more dangerous variants from UK, So. Africa, and Brazil. Rasmus introduces the show with commentary on the current, intensifying fight to retain even limited democracy in America—as Republicans launch voter suppression legislation in 43 states and as Democrats offer HR 1 in Congress to ensure absentee and mail in voting. America’s ‘triple crises’ of Covid, a faltering economy, and a declining democracy are not over. Is a new phase in each on the horizon?

 Now that the Biden $1.9T (actually $1.8T) fiscal stimulus has passed, mainstream economists and media are pumping up the rhetoric it will soon lead to excess inflation and rising interest rates that will endanger the economic recovery. Rasmus debunks the notion that deficits and debt—or ‘too much money chasing too few goods’ cause inflation, as well as related ideological notions of mainstream economics. What has been the actually deficits in 2020-2021 due to the three bouts of economic fiscal stimulus during the pandemic (March, December, and now March again)? What have been the actual causes of the deficits (besides the fiscal stimulus)? What’s the likelihood of inflation in 2021 and beyond and its real causes apart from deficit spending? What are financial markets reacting now so negatively driving up long term Treasury interest rates? And what instability might that lead to?

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