Author Archives: William Black

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs – Not Austerity

William K. Black
December 5, 2016     Bloomington, MN

Bob Rubin and Alan Greenspan convinced the New Democrats, over a quarter-century ago, that the key to economic growth was to out-Republican the Republican Party in the fervency of their embrace of austerity.  This began the long war of the New Democrats against the working class that culminated in the loss of their candidate, Hillary Clinton, to Donald Trump.  Rubin’s and Greenspan’s support for austerity constitutes economic and political malpractice.  Austerity is the enemy of the general economy and the people of the world, but it targets for its greatest harm the working class.  As I have explained in earlier columns, Hillary was so devoted to austerity that she made it her major new policy theme in the closing weeks of her campaign – even as every poll warned her that she had enraged the white working class, a principal victim of austerity.

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Billionaire ‘King of Bankruptcies’ to Head Commerce Under Trump

NEP’s Bill Black appears on The Real News Network. “Despite promises to ‘drain the swamp,’ Trump chose a man for Deputy Secretary of Commerce who enriched himself at expense of labor and consumers and shipped jobs overseas.”

You can view the transcript here.

Trump Picks Ex-Goldman Banker Known as ‘King of Foreclosures’ to Head Treasury

NEP’s Bill Black appears on The Real News Network discussing Trumps choice for Treasury Secretary. “The joke’s on you if you thought Trump was going to do anything less than deregulate Wall Street,” says former financial regulator Bill Black

You can view the transcript here.

 

The Washington Post’s Propaganda about Russian Propaganda

By William K. Black
November 28, 2016     Kansas City, MO

The Washington Post has published a fevered piece of propaganda about Russian propaganda.  The trouble begins in the headline and the first sentence of the article.  The headline is: “Russian Propaganda Effort Helped Spread ‘Fake News’ During Election, Experts Say.  The first sentence reads:

The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.

The article provides no basis for its claims about “experts” and “independent researchers” who purportedly used (unspecified) “Internet analytics tools” in their “study.”  The first group, which does not purport to have used any scientific methodology explicitly resurrects 1992 USIA word pictures and charts in lieu of analysis.

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Howard Dean Wants to Continue Austerity’s Assault on the Working Class

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN     November 28, 2016

Howard Dean was attacked by the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) for the high crime of opposing the second President Bush’s disastrous invasion of Iraq.  While I strongly support the candidacy of Representative Keith Ellison to chair the Democratic National Committee (DNC), I am not arguing that Dean is not a progressive voice that needs to be part of the leadership team transforming the Democratic Party.

I write to urge him to learn the foundation of the economics of sovereign currencies.  I urge his progressive supporters to encourage him to undertake this study.  It is vital to his success and his input to transforming the Democratic Party.

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Krugman’s Failure to Speak Truth to Power about Austerity

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN      November 22, 2016

In the first column in this series I explained how Hillary Clinton, during the closing 40 days of her campaign, showcased repeatedly her promise to assault the working class with continuous austerity.  I explained that her threat represented economic malpractice – and was insane politics.  I showed that the assault on the working class via austerity was such a core belief of the New Democrats that their candidate highlighted that assault even as the polls showed massive, intense rejection of her candidacy by the white working class.  I also noted that in this second series in the column I would discuss the failure of her campaign team, and her de facto surrogate, Paul Krugman to speak truth to power about the dual idiocy of her campaign promise to wage continuous war on the working class through austerity forever.

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Hillary’s Threat to Wage Continuous War on the Working Class via Austerity Proved Fatal

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN     November 22, 2016

I’ve come back recently from Kilkenny, Ireland where I participated in the seventh annual Kilkenomics – a festival of economics and comedy.  The festival is noted for people from a broad range of economic perspectives presenting their economic views in plain, blunt English.  Kilkenomics VII began two days after the U.S. election, so we added some sessions on President-elect Trump’s fiscal policy views.  Trump had no obvious supporters among this diverse group of economists, so the audience was surprised to hear many economists from multiple nations take the view that his stated fiscal policies could be desirable for the U.S. – and the global economy, particularly the EU.  We all expressed the caution that no one could know whether Trump would seek to implement the fiscal policies on which he campaigned.  Most of us, however, said that if he wished to implement those policies House Speaker Paul Ryan would not be able to block him.  I opined that congressional Republicans would rediscover their love of pork and logrolling if Trump implemented his promised fiscal policies.

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Bloomberg Notices Paul Romer’s Indictment of Macroeconomics

By William K. Black
November 21, 2016     Bloomington, MN

Bloomberg has written an article about the origins of Paul Romer’s increasingly famous critique of modern macroeconomics.

His intention actually had been to write a paper that would celebrate advances in the understanding of what drives economic growth. But when he sat down to write it in the months before taking over as the World Bank’s chief economist, Romer quickly found his heart wasn’t in it. The world economy wasn’t growing much anyway; and the math that many colleagues were using to model it seemed unrealistic. He watched a documentary about the Church of Scientology, and was struck by how groupthink can operate.

So, Romer said in an interview at the Bank’s Washington headquarters, “I just thought, OK, I’m going to say what I think. I don’t know if I’m the right person, but no one else is going to say it. So I said it.”

The upshot was “The Trouble With Macroeconomics,” a scathing critique that landed among Romer’s peers like a grenade.

A bit of background makes the first paragraph more understandable.  Romer’s specialty is developmental economics.

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The Liberals Didn’t Listen: The Immense Cost of Ignoring Tom Frank’s Warnings

By William K. Black
November 8, 2016     Kansas City, MO

I am writing this article late on election night in my office at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, about a mile from the home in which Tom Frank grew up just over the state line in Kansas.  Beginning with his famous book, What’s the Matter with Kansas, first published in 2004, Tom Frank has been warning the Democratic Party of the increasing cost it was paying by abandoning and even attacking the working class, particularly the white working class.  Some political scientists tried to savage his work, pointing to Bill Clinton’s electoral success and arguing that the disaffected members of the working class were also less likely to vote.  Frank returned to the theme just in time for this election with a new book – Listen, Liberal – that documents in damning, lively narrative the New Democrats’ war on the New Deal, their disdain for organized labor, and their antipathy for what they viewed as retrograde white working class attitudes.

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Theoclassical Economists’ Dogmatic Hate for Only One Form of Unfair Competition

By William K. Black
November 2, 2016     Kansas City, MO

The uber-right wing economist Tyler Cowen, has written a column entitled “TPP Is Exciting. Let’s Make the Case for It.”  Cowen’s column is remarkable for his inability to even get himself excited about TPP, much less his readers.  He begins with what should be an important warning – there will be a major effort by President Obama and the largest corporations to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the lame duck session after the election.

Cowen’s effort to excite his readers to support TPP is so weak that I will comment on only a few points.  First, he says that Americans should be overjoyed that TPP would produce 18,000 tax cuts – for corporations!

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