Alexandria on the Daily Show: the Moral Economy and Modern Money

Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.

The hopes of many progressives in the United States are being hitched to a new generation of left-wing Democratic politicians emerging to challenge both corporate Democrats and the Trump-loving radical-right Republican Party.  This movement has grown out of a group of organizations and institutions originating in, or energized by, the Bernie Sanders campaign of 2015-2016.  Among the most prominent of this new generation and perhaps its first political star is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (sometimes abbreviated AOC), a 28-year-old community organizer and economics graduate from New York, who is now the Democratic nominee for New York’s 14th Congressional District, unseating in the process the 4th most powerful Democrat in the House, Representative Joe Crowley in June 6th’s New York Democratic primary.

Continue reading

How big does the fire need to be?

By J.D. ALT

I have written about this before, but it bears repeating now—and perhaps it bears repeating every week until somebody with more leverage than me picks the message up and carries it a step further: America (and the rest of the world, for that matter) has the resources needed to limit and mitigate the enormous damage and dislocations that climate-change is now beginning to impose. The “resources” I’m referring to are not dollars. They are materiel, labor, and human ingenuity. The only question is how and when we’ll stop simply raising warning flags and marshal those resources to take real action against the growing challenges.

Continue reading

Trump Ally Rep. Chris Collins Arrested for Insider Trading – Is the Swamp Drained Now?

NEP’s Bill Black analyzes the significance of Rep. Chris Collins arrest for insider trading along with his son and son’s fiance’s father on 13 counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and making false statements to the FBI. Collins was first Congressman to endorse Trump and is one of his closest confidants.

Bank Whistleblowers United Told DOJ to use 4506-T as Kryptonite v Banksters

Steven Krystofiak Warned the Fed 12 Years Ago

By William K. Black
August 6, 2018     Bloomington, MN

Steven Krystofiak formed the Mortgage Brokers Association for Responsible Lending, a professional association dedicated to fighting mortgage fraud and predation.  On August 1, 2006.  He tried to save our Nation by issuing one of the most prescient warnings about the epidemic of mortgage fraud and predation and the crisis it would so cause.

The context was Congress’ effort to empower and convince the Federal Reserve to take action against what the mortgage lending industry called, behind closed doors, “liar’s” loans.  A liar’s loan is a loan in which the lender does not verify (at least) the borrower’s actual income.  The industry knew that the failure to verify inherently led to endemic fraud.  George Akerlof and Paul Romer’s 1993 article on “Looting” by financial CEOs explicitly cited the failure to verify the borrower’s income as an example of a lending practice that only fraudulent lenders would use on a widespread basis.

Continue reading

How Democratic Party Mendacity about Deficits and Banksters Lifted Trump

By William K. Black
August 2, 2018     Bloomington, MN

Peter Suderman, the managing editor at Reason.com (hard right) has published an op ed in the New York Times entitled “How Republican Hypocrisy Lifts Social Democrats.”  His subtitle is “By its astoundingly cynical approach to deficits and debt, the G.O.P. has opened the door to an expansive left.”  What is actually astounding is that Suderman never mentions, much less discusses; the situations in which a Nation with a sovereign currency should run deficits.

Stephanie Kelton and I have been trying hard to keep Democrats from, again, rushing into the trap of denouncing Republicans for running federal deficits.  Yes, Republicans are hypocrites about debt and deficits.  That does not mean that Democrats should repeat Clinton and Obama’s embrace of the Republican’s economically illiterate, harmful, and fake hysteria about debt and deficits.  Suderman makes an acute observation about why Republicans pretend to embrace deficit hysteria.

Through their actions, [Republicans] have proven that they cared about the deficit primarily for its usefulness as a political cudgel, an easy way to curtail Democratic policy goals.

My ‘friendly amendment’ would remove the word “primarily” from that sentence.

Continue reading

The Explicable Mystery of the National Debt

By J.D. ALT

America’s current “national debt” is tallied to be $21.5 trillion. When politicians and economic pundits talk (worry, fret, wring their hands, gnash their teeth) about this “debt” they implicitly assume—along with their listeners, readers, and potential voters—that this fantastic sum will eventually have to be paid back. That’s what happens with debts, right? Someone calls them due! Everyone also assumes the American tax-payer will have to do the paying. (Quick calculation to save you the trouble: Each one of us is in hock for $65,950!)

Depending on which political football is being tossed around, this “national debt” is either a crisis that must be addressed first (before anything else can be paid for!) or it’s something we can simply ignore for the time being—until the promised “economic growth” comes along that will somehow enable the federal government to collect that extra $65K from each of us. So long as we promise that Yes! someday we’ll pay it off, we can feel okay about going one more day, or month, or year without even starting to do so. In the meantime, of course, the “national debt” somehow keeps growing! At least that must stop, we declare! Our government must stop borrowing even more!

Continue reading

Mankiw Whiffs on “Learning the Right Lessons from the Financial Crisis”

By William K. Black
July 31, 2018     Bloomington, MN

I am writing a major article on myths about the causes of the financial crisis, so I read with special interest N. Gregory Mankiw’s column “Learning the Right Lessons From the Financial Crisis.”  (HT: DCJ.)  The context of Mankiw’s article, as he appropriately discloses, is to do a favor for a friend by plugging the friend’s new book in Mankiw’s column in the New York Times.  I have no criticism of that purpose and applaud him for alerting readers to it.  The problem is substance, both the book’s and his column.

Mankiw is the leading author of economic textbooks in the world, so his views and his ideology are enormously influential.  The first sentence of his book review asks the right question:  “What caused the financial crisis of 2008?”  The remarkable thing is that he never attempts to answer the question and does not explain how the book he is reviewing attempts to do so.

Continue reading

Trump is the World’s Most “Expensive Lobbyist” for Google’s “Huge Antitrust” Problem

By William K. Black
July 22, 2018     Bloomington, MN

Trump’s language problems do not end with his double negatives and his endless contradictions of what he has just said or tweeted about Putin’s assault on our democracy.  Trump lies about everything, all the time.  His lies, however, frequently reveal the greater truth – he lives to betray America, his responsibilities as President, and his base.  One classic example is the illegal abuse of monopoly power used against Americans and people globally.  Trump has managed to embrace, contemporaneously, polar views on monopoly power – and both views are wrong.  That takes some doing.  One would think that taking opposite views would help you be right half the time.

Under United States law, the intentional abuse of monopoly power is both illegal and criminal.  Our Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can bring civil suits to stop the abuse and penalize it – including treble damages and orders to reduce greatly the monopoly power.  DOJ can also bring a criminal prosecution.  In the European Union (EU), such monopoly power abuses are generally only subject to civil sanctions and orders to reduce monopoly power.  (Some EU nations criminalize “hardcore” cartel actions.)  DOJ can prosecute either, or both, the firm and the officers involved in abusing the monopoly power.  EU nations often do not permit prosecutions of the firm even for cartels.

Continue reading

European Union Fines Google $5.1 Billion, While Trump ‘Protects Monopolists’

The EU’s Google fine should have been imposed a long time ago, but it comes better late than never. Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to side with monopolies, leading to worse outcomes for US consumers, says NEP’s Bill Black. You can view with transcript here.

The Three Impossible Things Trump’s Base Must Believe before Breakfast

By William K. Black
July 19, 2018     Bloomington, MN

The Republican Party, for over 70 years, did not simply oppose the Soviet Union; it demonized Democrats as ‘soft’ on Russia.  This history makes the Republican Party’s increasing embrace of Putin’s Russia particularly bizarre.

Forty percent of Republican’s now consider Russia “friendly” or an “ally” of the United States.  That percentage is nearly twice as large as in 2014 despite a large number of Russian attacks on the U.S. and the West (and Russians) since 2014.  Seventy-nine percent of Republicans had a positive response to Trump and Putin’s infamous (to most Americans) Helsinki press conference.

Continue reading