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.
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.
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.