Two EU Finance Ministers Throw their Bosses and Nations Under the Bus

By William K. Black

The finance ministers of Italy and Serbia have just publicly thrown their heads of state and their nations under the bus.  In a testament to the crippling effect of the belief that “there is no alternative” (TINA) to austerity, these finance ministers have insisted on bleeding economies that are in desperate need of fiscal stimulus.  Their pursuit of economic malpractice is so determined that they eagerly sought out opportunities to embarrass the democratically elected head of state in Serbia when he dared to support competent economic policies.

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John Cochrane’s Witch Hunt for Witch Hunters

By William K. Black

John Cochrane is an economist at the University of Chicago.  The Wall Street Journal has just featured his op ed piece entitled “The Failure of Macroeconomics.”

I’ll focus on his foray into criminology as a component of economic growth. Cochrane’s column ignores the paramount role that the three epidemics of “accounting control fraud” played in hyper-inflating the bubble and causing the financial crisis – which cost over 10 million American jobs and a projected $21 trillion loss of production.  Instead, he claims that the economic recovery is weak because “Who wants to hire, lend or invest when the next stroke of the presidential pen or Justice Department witch hunt can undo all the hard work?”

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Survey of Bankers Unintentionally Documents their Depravity

By William K. Black

Makovsky is a PR group that specializes in representing banks.  Because of that dual specialization they should be the most skilled shills for fraudulent bankers that money can buy.  This fact makes their annual “reputation” survey delectable.  Each year, the survey unintentionally documents how depraved senior bankers are as a group.  They come to praise Caesar, but end up burying him in a garbage dump.

Here are key findings of their 2014 survey:

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National Retirement Infrastructure – Part 3

By J.D. Alt

1. Why we can afford it—2. Why we need it—3. How we can build it

3. How we can build it.

Cohousing, as briefly explained in Part 1, offers a uniquely supportive context for retired living. Cohousing communities consist of between 10 and 30 privately occupied and maintained dwelling units which share certain common facilities, amenities and, in some cases, social responsibilities and activities. It is this “commons” sharing that can potentially provide a retired person with benefits they otherwise could not afford to have, or have easily. For example, the shared facility might include an apartment for a live-in nurse-assistant/care giver who would provide assistance, in each of the private dwellings, as needed. Or, the “commons” might include a small exercise pool that individual retirees can utilize for a daily work-out. “Traditional” cohousing projects typically include a common cooking and dining facility where at least one meal a week is a shared community event—(individual dwellings have their own small kitchens as well.) In general, the goal is to create a comfortable balance between private autonomy and community activities.

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The Big Lie at the Core of Pete Peterson’s Attack on the Baby Boomers

By William K. Black

For the purposes of writing a column I ended up reading materials written by the financial industry PR specialist Makovsky and found this nugget. A Makovsky executive was interviewed about Millennials and he explained the finance industry’s perspective on that group.  Millennials have been leading victims of financial fraud and the resultant Great Recession so they have no love of financial firms:  “the four major banks in the U.S, were ranked in the 10 least loved brands among Millennials according to Viacom.

The Millennials’ disdain for big finance is terrifying to finance for an excellent reason that Makovsky quantified.

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National Retirement Infrastructure – Part 2

By J.D. Alt

1. Why we can afford it—2. Why we need it—3. How we can build it

2. Why we need it.

What is retirement anyway? For most people it seems to be the end of that middle period of their lives where some business, or institution, or civic entity has paid them Dollars in exchange for their labor or personal services. This “Dollar-earning-in-exchange-for-work” period can end at various points in a life-span, for various reasons planned or unplanned: Some of us become disabled by health catastrophes in our 40s or 50s, some find the particular skill we learned or developed over the years is suddenly no longer in demand (and it’s much too late to start over again). Many people are forced to stop providing their labor or services at a certain age by retirement rules designed to create employment openings for the younger generation coming along behind. While a few are fortunate enough to continue earning Dollars in exchange for their services right up until the very end—entertainers, writers, highly specialized professionals come to mind—the vast majority of U.S. citizens all share the same basic fate: at some point in time, with many years or even decades remaining in our life-span, we will cease earning Dollars in exchange for our labor or services.

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Merkel’s Pyrrhic Victory over Cameron

By William K. Black

The old line that one should be very careful about what one wishes for – for you may receive it applies to Germany’s installation of Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the EU Commission. Germany’s Prime Minister Angela Merkel has just crushed her UK counterpart (David Cameron) by orchestrating a nearly unanimous vote among EU nations to appoint (not, really, “elect”) Juncker as head of the EU Commission (not, really, “Parliament”).

The old days of needing to hide Germany’s control of the EU through the façade of a German-French partnership are long gone.  EU nations know that there will be a high price to pay for attempting to buck Germany – and that the effort will fail.  Cameron’s effort to block Juncker is generally viewed outside of the UK as quixotic and humiliating while Merkel is viewed as reigning supreme and serene.

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National Retirement Infrastructure

By J.D. Alt

1. Why we can afford it—2. Why we need it—3. How we can build it

1. Why we can afford it

We, who face mass retirement at the same moment our life-expectancy has been stretched far beyond the retirement savings we managed to set aside during our working years—and anticipating that future generations will face equal, or even more difficult retirement circumstances—we offer to provide the initiating, planning and management efforts required to build, for our collective use, a permanent “National Retirement Infrastructure.” This infrastructure will provide us with housing and social accommodations over the next several decades and, subsequently, be passed on to the next generations inevitably to follow.

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Corporate Fraud is Up Dramatically: Has anyone told John Cochrane?

By William K. Black

John Cochrane, the U. Chicago apologist-in-chief for elite corporate criminals, might want to read what the industry says about fraud.  Cochrane claims that the reason we have a modest economic recovery has nothing to do with inadequate demand, but is instead caused by government civil suits (not even prosecutions) against the financial industry’s massive frauds.

Cochrane apparently knows that corporate fraud does not exist, which is why he describes the government’s civil fraud suits as a “witch hunt.”  As I’ve described several times, Cochrane refuses to read the relevant criminology literature, but perhaps he’s willing to listen to the industry.

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It’s Long Past Time for Krugman to Name and Shame NYT’s Eurozone Reportage

By William K. Black

Monday, July 7, 2014 provided another example of Paul Krugman explaining why austerity was an insane response to the Great Recession and the New York Times authoring another of its endless articles that assumes that austerity is essential to a eurozone recovery. I have no problem with the NYT reporters providing their rationale for why they concluded that Krugman was wrong and that austerity is the proper response to a recession. My problems are with the NYT reporters ignoring Krugman’s views – views shared by the great bulk of economists – and with their failure to question whether austerity is the proper response to a recession.

Recessions occur when demand becomes seriously inadequate and industries fire workers and decrease production and investment. Austerity further reduces already inadequate demand by reducing public sector demand. Austerity is akin to bleeding the patient (the economy) to make him well. It would, therefore, be exceptionally strange if austerity were to be the optimal response to the Great Recession. We have a great deal of real world experience in dealing with recessions that confirms that austerity is self-destructive in such circumstances.

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