Author Archives: William Black

Trump Proves Again that it is Impossible to Compete with Unintentional Self-Parody

By William K. Black
September 5, 2017      Kansas City, MO

In my immediately prior article I discussed how Politico fell for Third Way’s dishonest discussion of how Democrats should brand themselves as the party committed to jobs.  I explained that progressive Democrats were the party of good jobs in part because they opposed fraudulent for-profit schools while President Trump, the Republicans, and the New Democrats were anti-jobs because they supported the rip offs.  Trump, having run a for-profit “university” so fraudulent that.it was not even a real university, is the most glaring patron of these frauds.

Trump appointed Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education because she is a fierce enemy of public education and loves the for-profit frauds.  Recently, however, DeVos has taken a step so brazen that it adds proof to our family saying that it is impossible to compete with unintentional self-parody.  DeVos chose a prior executive of DeVry, a for-profit school sanctioned for its recurrent frauds, to head the Education Department’s “enforcement” unit responsible for disciplining fraudulent for-profit schools.  In any normal administration, this would be a scandal leading to investigations and resignations in disgrace.  Under Trump, the latest DeVos scandal is already a forgotten footnote in an administration in which absurdity and sleaze are constant companions.

Is Politico or Third Way More Divorced from Reality?

William K. Black
September 6, 2017     Kansas City, MO

The Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party (Third Way) is relentless in trying to bring back the days in which the Democratic Party’s leaders buried the Party in Wall Street’s pocket under the label “New Democrats.”  That period led President Clinton and Vice President Gore to implement disgraceful policies that made Wall Street executives fabulously wealthy at the expense of people.  To deliver on their promises to Wall Street, Clinton and Gore had to betray much of what the Democratic Party stood for.  Clinton and Gore’s destruction of effective financial regulation, which President Bush exacerbated, created the massively criminogenic environment that blew up the global economy.

I have written several times and documented that Third Way is a creature of, and devoted to, Wall Street’s CEOs.  Third Way’s con is describing itself as “centrist.”  Wall Street CEOs are not centrist.  They include the world’s most powerful and destructive predators and parasites.  The “left, right, center” metaphor does not apply to a group like Wall Street’s CEOs.  The latest media sucker to fall for Third Way’s con is PoliticoPolitico fell whole hog, calling Third Way a “center-left think tank.”  Fortunately, Google’s recent purge of New America Foundation scholars has proved that “think tanks” financed by elite corporate CEOs are oxymorons run by regular morons.  The one thing you can never do as a scholar at a faux “think tank” like Third Way is actually think – and then make public the perfidy of the corporate CEOs that fund the non-think tank.

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The Right Wing’s Fake Fake News of Hate

By William K. Black
September 4, 2017      Kansas City, MO

When people do awful things and know they are doing awful things and want to continue to do them they compound their awfulness by playing cute.  The cuteness demonstrates that they know that what they are doing is indefensible to moral people.  The political “dog whistle” is an example of this cutesy tactic.  Rachel Maddow’s September 4, 2017 program presented a classic example.  She showed video of a white supremacist/Neo-Nazi praising Donald trump’s election victory to an all-white audience.  The speaker ended his talk by proclaiming “Hail Trump” and extending his arm in a Nazi salute – except that he was holding a glass of water.  His audience understood the “dog whistle” immediately.  A number of them leaped to their feet to give answering, frenzied Nazi salutes – just as the speaker hoped.  The speaker created this charade because he knew it was not acceptable to moral audiences to praise President-elect Trump as the new incarnation of Hitler and a group of his strongest supporters as neo-Nazis.  The leaders of the worst people in America know they need to hide how awful their followers are from regular Americans.

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GOP and Democrats Push Trump on Tax Reform

NEP’s Bill Black appears on The Real News and says the Democrats’ demands are the result of bad economics and bad politics, while Trump’s vision is “the type of thing that comes from ingesting too much peyote”. You can view with a transcript here.

Trump vs. Sessions: A One-Sided Twitter War

“All of this is particularly bizarre because the Trump administration is having enormous difficulty getting any of its supposed agenda done, and the only person who is actively implementing the Trump agenda is Jeff Sessions,” says NEP’s Bill Black. You can view here with a transcript.

Bank fraud shows failure of controls, says fraud expert

NEP’s Bill Black appears on ABS-CBN news discussing bank fraud and specifically Metrobank loan fraud involving one of its executives.

Dear Professors Uribe-Teran and Vega-Garcia…

More than fifty economists signed onto an open letter, written by professors Ha-Joon Chang of the University of Cambridge and James K. Galbraith of the University of Texas at Austin, ahead of this year’s presidential elections in Ecuador. The letter noted:

Over the past ten years, Ecuador has achieved major economic and social advances. We are concerned that many of these important gains in poverty reduction, wage growth, reduced inequality, and greater social inclusion could be eroded by a return to of the policies of austerity and neoliberalism that prevailed in Ecuador from the 1980s to the early 2000s. A return to such policies threatens to put Ecuador back on a path that leads not only to a more unequal society, but to more political instability as well. It is important to recall that from 1996 to 2006, Ecuador went through eight presidents.

The authors and signatories emphasized that “our goal is not to tell Ecuadorians whom to vote for, or to interfere in Ecuador’s political processes,” but instead to counter misinformation in mass media and “correct the record.”

Carlos Uribe-Teran and Pablo Vega-Garcia, both professors of economics at the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito, responded in kind with a critique of the open letter. In their concluding remarks, the authors generously offered up an opportunity to address their analysis, as well as to re-publish any exchange on their blog. We hope they will post this response there.

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Jamie Dimon: You Make Us Embarrassed to be Americans

By William K. Black
July 24, 2017     Kansas City, MO

Jamie Dimon talked about his personal pain recently using the exact phrase that many of us have used to explain his personal anguish that “It’s almost an embarrassment to be an American citizen traveling around the world and listening to the stupid sh—t we have to deal with in this country.”  The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch” described Dimon’s fervor.

“J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s outspoken CEO on Friday broke into an impassioned, expletive-tinged rant.”

The WSJ, in the introduction of an online video interview of Paul Gigot, its editorial page editor, termed it a “remarkable diatribe.”

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The CFPB Arbitration Rule is Pro (Honest) Businesses

By William K. Black
July 11, 2017     Bloomington, MN

Politico has just published a column with a title and analytics that drive white-collar criminologists nuts:  “In a major setback for businesses, CFPB opens door to consumer class actions.”  Logically, the title should have read: “In an important step forward for consumers, investors, and honest bankers and lenders, CFPB begins to restore the rule of law to banking.”

The CFPB is the acronym for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  The problem that led to CFPB to issue its new rule has six parts.  First, it is often profitable for lenders to abuse and defraud borrowers.  Second, lenders are able to do this because financial understanding is highly asymmetric.  Third, even if the borrower eventually spots the fraud or abuse it is rare that the typical borrower could profitably prove the fraud and recover enough funds in a lawsuit to (net of legal expenses) recover effectively and could never recover enough to deter future misconduct.  Fourth, the only potential legal remedy for the typical victim to recover and deter is the class action suit.

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Wall Street: It’s “Icky and Un-American” to ‘Short’ Frauds

By William K. Black
June 27, 2017     Bloomington, MN

The president of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) launched a coordinated attack on “shorts” that mirrored his rival’s (Nasdaq) attack.  The NYSE assault, however, used bizarre rhetoric.

“It feels kind of icky and un-American, betting against a company,” NYSE Group President Tom Farley told lawmakers in Washington Tuesday.

The heads of the NYSE and Nasdaq have appropriated the word “transparency” to support the effort to reduce the shorts’ effectiveness.  When the NYSE purports to champion “transparency” – the key to reducing fraud by the CEOs of the companies whose stocks they exchange – it is time for investors to grab their wallets and hold them tight.  The stock exchanges are very far from being champions of transparency when the question is what the CEOs of the listing companies should be required to disclose.  Sure enough, it turns out that the stock exchanges’ proposed anti-short “reform” is actually a means to try to reduce the reliability of the public disclosures made by the CEOs of firms on those stock exchanges.  A sophisticated stock fraudster wants the public to believe the firm is “transparent” because of its disclosures, but it is those very disclosures (when false) that turn that ‘transparency’ into an illusion designed to deceive the investor.  When shorts improve the reliability of the disclosures that the CEOs of firms listed on the stock exchanges make, they protect investors from fraud.  That makes honest “shorts” highly “American.”

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