Thomas Friedman’s economic illiteracy and sycophancy for Wall Street “elites” have never been in doubt, but he has (unknowingly) plumbed new depths in his columns advising Hillary Clinton to remake the Democratic Party in Bill’s image – by embracing Wall Street’s dream of deregulation. Friedman has literally learned nothing from the three great epidemics of accounting control fraud (“liar’s” loans, inflated appraisals, and fraudulent resale of these fraudulently originated mortgages) that drove the financial crisis and the Great Recession.
In other columns in this series on Friedman’s columns advising Hillary on moving the Democratic Party well to the right of the Republican Party on economic issues, I show that Friedman has literally learned nothing from the successes of stimulus, education, and infrastructure, the horrific failures of austerity and deregulation, or his repeated distortion of “capitalism” and “socialism.”. Friedman gives no indication that he realizes that (1) his economic dogmas were all falsified by our recurrent financial crises and (2) the policies implemented on the basis of those dogmas proved disastrous.
Michael Bloomberg has just published, in Bloomberg, what he describes as “an adaptation of an address to the University of Michigan’s class of 2016.” Having graduated twice from Michigan, as did our eldest, I was intrigued. Bloomberg’s title was “Here’s Your Degree. Now Go Defeat Demagogues.” What Bloomberg means is that he is frightened that so many young people supported the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and support Bernie Sanders. I’ve written before about Bloomberg, a Wall Street billionaire, and the myths he tries to spread about Bernie. Wall Street elites fear Bernie. They know he won’t take their money, he will end the systemically dangerous banks, and he will imprison their leading felons. Bloomberg’s hate for, and fear of, Bernie is perfectly rational. Why he thinks that Michigan students will take his advice and learn to love Wall Street’s felons is a lot less clear.
By William K. Black
April 30, 2016 Bloomington, MN
To no one’s surprise, President Obama lobs periodic attacks on Bernie Sanders’ plans to restore the rule of law to Wall Street elites. Obama launched his latest attack, fittingly, through Wall Street’s sycophant-in-chief, Andrew Ross Sorkin. Sorkin’s column expresses his shock at how Obama repeatedly extended their interview for hours beyond its scheduled length. No one else is shocked that Obama, trying to make the case that bailing out the Wall Street felons was an act of supreme genius, would find Sorkin’s relentless sycophancy towards those felons and their political cronies so endearing. This is the first segment of my response. It focuses on the Obama administration’s great lie – the only policy “tools that work” in response to a financial crisis are getting “in bed with the banks” and making even wealthier through federal bailouts the bankers who grew wealthy by leading the fraud epidemics that caused the crisis.
Wall Street billionaires are freaking out about the chance that Bernie Sanders could be elected President. Stephen Schwarzman, one of the wealthiest and most odious people in the world, told the Wall Street Journal that one of the three principal causes of the recent global financial trauma was “the market’s” fear that Sanders may be elected President. Schwarzman is infamous for ranting that President Obama’s proposals to end the “carried interest” tax scam that allows private equity billionaires like Schwarzman to pay lower income tax rates than their secretaries was “like when Hitler invaded Poland.”
Bill appears on The Real News along with Public Banking Institute founder Ellen Brown. They are discussing Hillary’s record on regulating Wall Street. You can watch the video below and for the video with transcript, you can visit The Real News here.
NEP’s Bill Black appears on The Real News and says it’s important to reimplement the Glass-Steagall Act – but it’s not enough to prevent another financial crisis. You can view here with transcript or watch video below.
Stated as above, the deficit hysteria-driven austerity campaign would have never gotten off the ground; no one outside the financial industry or its paid minions would choose to design society to facilitate the financial sector’s enrichment at the expense of the rest of the economy. However, the engineers of this campaign, including Peterson and Rubin, have couched the deficit hysteria campaign as if Social Security and other social spending are simply financial transactions between members of the private sector, generalizing as it were from their experience on Wall Street. In transactions between members of the private sector, credits and liabilities are assumed to balance. Debts must be paid in full or the debtor is assigned a social or financial penalty and/or stigma. This simple morality is supposed to apply to private sector to private sector business transactions (though often for Wall Street and the well-connected this morality is rarely compulsory) and is in most day-to-day interactions a workable rule of thumb for anonymous or largely anonymous business dealings between people.
The austerity push by politicians, political operatives, and pundits of the last 5 years is the height of economic, political, and social perversity and stupidity. Yet, as it still resonates in the halls of power, in the White House and Congress, and in many parts of the media, it still requires explanation and clarification. Besides inspiring the reduced level of government funding we are now seeing in the US and elsewhere, the deficit hysteria campaign is threatening to undermine what remains of the American social safety net that helped form and support the American middle class over the past 70 years. In addition, now and in the future, we will need a government able to use the full range of fiscal (i.e. financial) tools to combat climate change, tools which the austerity campaign seeks to lame or sequester for the benefit of a small financial elite. In the latest turn, deficit hysterics are trying to incite intergenerational warfare between the young and the old, accusing the latter of taking more than their share of public financial resources which the young will need later in life.
Third Way, lobbyists for and from Wall Street who are leading the effort to enrich Wall Street by privatizing Social Security, was created by Wall Street to fool some of the people all of the time. I have written previously to expose their fictional claims to be a moderate or liberal Democratic group. Continue reading →