By William K. Black
April 17, 2016 Bloomington, MN
The old joke, that conveys a critical truth, is the poster that says “The daily floggings will continue until morale improves around here.” The troika misses the irony in the poster, for it thinks that the answer to the eurozone nightmare problems caused by austerity is more austerity. The latest example is three IMF stories that ran contemporaneously. The IMF, again, lowered global growth forecasts. Two, the IMF is calling for fiscal stimulus rather than austerity. Three, the eurozone wants to inflict more severe austerity on Greece, purportedly to make the IMF happy. If you sense a logical disconnect, you are right. Continue reading →
This is how the mission of the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform was defined by the White House on February 18, 2010:
The Commission is charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run. Specifically, the Commission shall propose recommendations designed to balance the budget, excluding interest payments on the debt, by 2015. This result is projected to stabilize the debt-to-GDP ratio at an acceptable level once the economy recovers. The magnitude and timing of the policy measures necessary to achieve this goal are subject to considerable uncertainty and will depend on the evolution of the economy. In addition, the Commission shall propose recommendations that meaningfully improve the long-run fiscal outlook, including changes to address the growth of entitlement spending and the gap between the projected revenues and expenditures of the Federal Government.
We need big, big changes in the United States. Many of them will require the Federal Government to spend unprecedented amounts, including deficit spending to enable us to solve problems that have languished, creating needs, for many, many years.
How can we get these changes legislated through a political system that has been increasingly less responsive to most people over the past four decades. There’s only one way that will work without revolution.
We need a movement for change powerful enough to replace the present establishment of House and Senate legislators and presidents wanting to preserve their way of looking at how to do things, with another group that has concluded that change is desperately needed and must be accomplished come what may, whatever the cost in long established customs and traditions in both Houses of Congress and among the vested political and communications elites in the Washington, DC/New York “village.” But not just any changes will do. Continue reading →
Below is an excerpt from my most recent e-book:Real Fiscal Responsibility, Vol. I: The Progressive Give-up Formula. The book is volume I of II critiquing austerity politics at the Federal level in the United States. It exposes its fallacies, its closed-mindedness and futility, and especially its reliance on wrong-headed conceptions of fiscal sustainability and fiscal responsibility. Continue reading →
The Eurozone is an instrument of the globalization process that is setting financial elites over all nations of the world, including the democracies. The situation in Greece exposes the true nature of the Eurozone institutions as a naked fact, beyond spinning, for all to see. They are popular sovereignty-thieves and democracy-killers, with the power necessary to shut democratic governments down.
The architectural flaw in the Maastricht Treaty: that the nations of Europe were giving up their monetary sovereignty, was immediately recognized as fatal by acute economists, and many predicted failure. But, what was not seen clearly were the political implications of giving the ECB, the ability to deny liquidity to the banking systems of nations, and, in so doing to perform, essentially, coups rendering elected governments of democratic nation states powerless to enact policies they were elected to pass. This “theft of democracy” contradicts the EU’s commitment to advance democracy. It steals what was so hard won from the peoples of Europe. Continue reading →
By Felipe Rezende
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
S&P has issued a negative outlook regarding Brazilian sovereign debt. The S&P’s announcement stated that “Over the coming year, failure to advance with (on- and off-budget) fiscal and other policy adjustments could result in a greater-than-expected erosion of Brazil’s financial profile and further erosion of confidence and growth prospects, which could lead to a downgrade. The ratings could stabilize if Brazil’s political certainties and conditions for consistent policy execution–across branches of government to staunch fiscal deterioration–improved. It is our view that these improvements would support a quicker turnaround and could help Brazil exit from the current recession, facilitating improved fiscal out-turn and provide more room to maneuver in the face of economic shocks consistent with a low-investment-grade rating.”
One of the great ironies is that just as neo-liberal economics and “modern finance” were falsifying each of their core claims Tony Blair led New Labour to embrace both dogmas. The result was a double economic catastrophe and it also led to the defeat of New Labour at the polls. I have already explained how Blair’s and Gordon Brown’s embrace of the most criminal and corrupt elements of the City of London (and their dogmas) and their resultant unholy war on financial regulation caused the UK financial crises and the UK’s Great Recession.
Just as every Spring we can count on the Peter G. Peterson Foundation (PGPF) to do a supportive press release when the CBO issues one of its budget outlook 10 year projection reports, we can also count on being treated to public statements by Maya MacGuineas joining in the Peterson Army choir, warning about the coming debt crisis, and singing about the glories of deficit and debt reduction. And this while completely ignoring the real and sad consequences of deficit and debt reduction policies throughout the world since the crash of 2008, as well as previous applications to Latin American, Asian, and the nations of the disintegrated soviet empire, most notably Russia itself. Let’s look at Maya MacGuineas latest effort; her testimony to the Senate Budget Committee.
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation (PGPF) always does a press release when the CBO issues one of its budget outlook 10 year projection reports. The PGPF did another in January quoting its President and COO, Michael A. Peterson. Let’s go through that press release and see how many troublesome or false statements we can find. Here’s a breakdown of the press release quotation from Michael Peterson.
Today’s CBO report reminds us once again that our nation has significant fiscal challenges that have yet to be solved.
It certainly does, but I doubt that Peterson and I would agree on what those challenges are. He thinks they have to do with bringing the national debt under control. I think they have to do with creating full employment with a federal job guarantee program, price stability, a robust economy, a great public and free educational system through graduate school, stopping and reversing climate change, providing everybody in, nobody out, no co-pays and no deductibles health care for all, a first class infrastructure, and a greatly expanded social safety net including a doubling of SS benefits.