Monthly Archives: October 2017

Pollution Kills 9 Million People a Year

Pollution causes far more deaths than tobacco, infectious disease or war, and causes 4.6 trillion dollars of economic damage per year, according to a major new study published in the British medical journal The Lancet. You can view here with a transcript.

Wall Street Wins as Senate Blocks Consumer Protection Rule

The Senate voted 51-50 to repeal a rule that would have made it easier for consumers to sue the financial institutions that defraud them. The move is “outrageous,” NEP’s Bill Black on The Real News Network. “It should be a national scandal, and require resignations in disgrace.” It can be viewed with a transcript here.

Trump’s Would-Be Drug Czar Helped the Drug Profiteers

Rep. Tom Marino has withdrawn his nomination as President Trump’s new drug czar after revelations he pushed through a measure that worsened the U.S. opioid epidemic. NEP’s Bill Black says Marino and other lawmakers have been bought off by pharmaceutical companies he says have acted as “illicit, criminal, drug dealers” on The Real News Network. You can view with transcript here.

It is Impossible to Compete with Unintentional Self-Parody: Trump and Opioids

By William K. Black
October 22, 2017      Kansas City, MO

This is the first in a series of columns I will write that are prompted by the joint 60 Minutes and Washington Post investigations of the role of Congress and the White House in making it far harder to sanction effectively companies selling massive numbers of opioids that they know will go largely to those addicted to opioids.  I will use the case study to illustrate many important points that criminologists know about elite white-collar crime and how to limit it and sanction perpetrators.

In this column, I introduce one of the most important concepts in white-collar crime – “seeming legitimacy.”  The most elite predators use the seemingly legitimate entities in the business, government, and non-profit sectors that they run as “weapons” of predation and “shields” against sanctions.  The criminology term for this is “control fraud.”  The same logic applies to non-criminal predation.  I will show in later columns in this series that Representative Marino (R, PA), the worst of the political shills for the opioid Predator Class, repeatedly spread the falsehood that the worst of the opioid predators could not be predators because they structured their firm as if it were “legitimate.”  As a former state and local prosecutor, Marino knows that CEOs running the largest frauds pose as seemingly legitimate firms because it optimizes control fraud.

Continue reading

Solving the Political Problem


There was recently a breakthrough of sorts in media coverage for MMT. The Huffington Post published a piece covering the “People’s Convergence Conference” in Washington, D.C. on September 8-9. The conference brought together leaders and activists from all corners of the progressive political spectrum—including the “Draft Bernie for a People’s Party” movement. The conference apparently succeeded in creating the roots of a coordinated alliance between the leading progressive parties—including the Green Party, the Progressive Independent Party, and the Justice Party—which agreed, among other things, to the possibility of holding progressive primaries that would then field a single progressive candidate in the general elections. Most notable, however, the Huffington piece concluded with the header:  Progressive Economics: “How do we pay for it?”

Continue reading

Money and Banking Post 21: The Interest Rate

By Eric Tymoigne

In Post 20, a lot is said about the role that the rate of return on financial instruments—the interest rate—plays on the pricing on securities, but little was said about what determines that rate of return. Two competing theoretical frameworks explain what influences the interest rate, one of them emphasizes the role of real factors and the other emphasizes monetary factors.

Real Theory of Interest Rate: Natural Interest Rate and Expected Inflation

Gross Substitution and Indifference Condition: Determinant of the Nominal Interest Rate

The real exchange framework (Post 12) emphasizes the role played by real variables in the decision-making process of any rational economic unit. People are not fooled by mere improvement in monetary income because they only care about improvement in purchasing power given that only consumption provides utility. Monetary instruments have no other purpose than to smooth market transactions, and preoccupation about the liquidity of balance sheets and monetary outcomes are irrelevant. Capitalism is equivalent to a barter economy that uses monetary instruments.

Continue reading

Senator Warren: Equifax Profits from Data Hack While Consumers Pay the Price

NEP’S Bill Black appears on The Real News Network and says he’s skeptical that either Equifax or its former CEO Richard Smith will be held accountable for the breach that affected an estimated 145.5 million people. You can view here with transcript.

The Great Italian Experiment (part 2)


As I said, Italy, is now experimenting with paying for public services with tax credits. Presumably, this is happening because Italy doesn’t possess enough Euros to pay its citizens to provide all the goods and services needed to maintain and run the public sector of its social economy. And Italy can’t “create” the additional Euros it needs because that prerogative is the exclusive right of the EU Central Bank which Italy, even as a sovereign member of the EU, has no control over. But, as the news article explains, Italy still needs to have the grass mowed and the weeds pulled in its public gardens. So it has decided (out of desperation, the article implies) to pay the gardeners with tax-credits. The gardeners are willing to do the work in exchange for the government’s tax-credits, because it means the Euros they earn (in other ways) can then be used to purchase goods and services rather than for paying their taxes. So, in practical terms, it is “just like” getting paid in Euros.

Continue reading

Cheap Sexism and Intellectual Dishonesty about Marriage

By William K. Black
October 2, 2017     Kansas City, MO

This is the second column in my series about win-win strategies to strengthen the family and countering the conservative culture warriors who use the family as a means to oppose win-win solutions that bring people together.  Mark Regnerus is one of the most notorious of these hard right culture warriors.  He is the disgraced pseudo-scholar who right-wing groups funded to try to gin up evidence that same sex marriage harmed children.  His efforts collapsed in an embarrassing spectacle that made clear that his dogmas rule his work.

Regnerus is back in the Wall Street Journal flogging his new book in an op ed entitled “Cheap Sex and the Decline of Marriage.”  He introduces his thesis with the claim that because unmarried heterosexual women are willing to have sex, tens of millions of men are no longer willing to marry.  If unmarried heterosexual women wish to improve their chances of getting married, they need to be virgins – and convince their sisters to remain virgins until marriage (at an average age of around 28 for college-educated women).

Continue reading

The Poorest Tax Payers to Pay the Most Under Trump Plan

NEP’s Bill Black appears on The Real News Network and says that both Republicans and Democrats are financially illiterate when they speak about the deficit, and Trump’s economic experts are ‘completely disconnected from the real world.’ You can view here with a transcript.