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2015 was the year when Catholic church extended its attack on neoliberalism.
See Full text of Pope Francis speech before Congress
Oct 06, 2015 | Zero HedgeWe have just witnessed one of the most significant steps toward a one world economic system that we have ever seen. Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership have been completed, and if approved it will create the largest trading bloc on the planet. But this is not just a trade agreement. In this treaty, Barack Obama has thrown in all sorts of things that he never would have been able to get through Congress otherwise. And once this treaty is approved, it will be exceedingly difficult to ever make changes to it. So essentially what is happening is that the Obama agenda is being permanently locked in for 40 percent of the global economy.
The United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam all intend to sign on to this insidious plan. Collectively, these nations have a total population of about 800 million people and a combined GDP of approximately 28 trillion dollars.
Of course Barack Obama is assuring all of us that this treaty is going to be wonderful for everyone…
In hailing the agreement, Obama said, "Congress and the American people will have months to read every word" before he signs the deal that he described as a win for all sides.
"If we can get this agreement to my desk, then we can help our businesses sell more Made in America goods and services around the world, and we can help more American workers compete and win," Obama said.
Sadly, just like with every other "free trade" agreement that the U.S. has entered into since World War II, the exact opposite is what will actually happen. Our trade deficit will get even larger, and we will see even more jobs and even more businesses go overseas.
But the mainstream media will never tell you this. Instead, they are just falling all over themselves as they heap praise on this new trade pact. Just check out a couple of the headlines that we saw on Monday…
- Time Magazine: "Pacific Trade Deal Is Good for the U.S. and Obama's Legacy"
- The Washington Post: "The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade deal worth celebrating"
Overseas it is a different story. Many journalists over there fully recognize that this treaty greatly benefits many of the big corporations that played a key role in drafting it. For example, the following comes from a newspaper in Thailand…
You will hear much about the importance of the TPP for "free trade".
The reality is that this is an agreement to manage its members' trade and investment relations - and to do so on behalf of each country's most powerful business lobbies.
These sentiments were echoed in a piece that Zero Hedge posted on Monday…
Packaged as a gift to the American people that will renew industry and make us more competitive, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a Trojan horse. It's a coup by multinational corporations who want global subservience to their agenda. Buyer beware. Citizens beware.
The gigantic corporations that dominate our economy don't care about the little guy. If they can save a few cents on the manufacturing of an item by moving production to Timbuktu they will do it.
Over the past couple of decades, the United States has lost tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities and millions of good paying jobs due to these "free trade agreements". As we merge our economy with the economies of nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, it is inevitable that corporations will shift jobs to places where labor is much cheaper. Our economic infrastructure is being absolutely eviscerated in the process, and very few of our politicians seem to care.
Once upon a time, the city of Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city on the planet and it had the highest per capita income in the entire nation. But today it is a rotting, decaying hellhole that the rest of the world laughs at. What has happened to the city of Detroit is happening to the entire nation as a whole, but our politicians just keep pushing us even farther down the road to oblivion.
Just consider what has happened since NAFTA was implemented. In the year before NAFTA was approved, the United States actually had a trade surplus with Mexico and our trade deficit with Canada was only 29.6 billion dollars. But now things are very different. In one recent year, the U.S. had a combined trade deficit with Mexico and Canada of 177 billion dollars.
And these trade deficits are not just numbers. They represent real jobs that are being lost. It has been estimated that the U.S. economy loses approximately 9,000 jobs for every 1 billion dollars of goods that are imported from overseas, and one professor has estimated that cutting our trade deficit in half would create 5 million more jobs in the United States.
Just yesterday, I wrote about how there are 102.6 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now. Once upon a time, if you were honest, dependable and hard working it was easy to get a good paying job in this country. But now things are completely different.
Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs. Today, only about 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.
Why aren't more people alarmed by numbers like this?
And of course the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not just about "free trade". In one of my previous articles, I explained that Obama is using this as an opportunity to permanently impose much of his agenda on a large portion of the globe…
It is basically a gigantic end run around Congress. Thanks to leaks, we have learned that so many of the things that Obama has deeply wanted for years are in this treaty. If adopted, this treaty will fundamentally change our laws regarding Internet freedom, healthcare, copyright and patent protection, food safety, environmental standards, civil liberties and so much more. This treaty includes many of the rules that alarmed Internet activists so much when SOPA was being debated, it would essentially ban all "Buy American" laws, it would give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and it would force even more domestic manufacturing offshore.
The Republicans in Congress foolishly gave Obama fast track negotiating authority, and so Congress will not be able to change this treaty in any way. They will only have the opportunity for an up or down vote.
I would love to see Congress reject this deal, but we all know that is extremely unlikely to happen. When big votes like this come up, immense pressure is put on key politicians. Yes, there are a few members of Congress that still have backbones, but most of them are absolutely spineless. When push comes to shove, the globalist agenda always seems to advance.
Meanwhile, the mainstream media will be telling the American people about all of the wonderful things that this new treaty will do for them. You would think that after how badly past "free trade" treaties have turned out that we would learn something, but somehow that never seems to happen.
The agenda of the globalists is moving forward, and very few Americans seem to care.HedgeAccordinglytwo hoots
CIA Insider: China is About to End the Dollar
Bill Clinton on signing NAFTA:
First of all, because NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't support this agreement.
Many of those NeoCon Bibi lovers and Jonathan Pollard conservatives love TPP and H1B Ted Cruz. Ted is also a Goldman Sachs boy.
That giant sucking sound just got gianter.
Probably, but here's a thought:
It might be a blowing sound of all things USA deflating down (in USD terms) to what they are actually worth when compared to the rest of the world. For example, a GM assembly line worker will make what an assembly line worker in Vietnam makes.
This will, of course, panic Old Yellen, who will promptly fill her diaper and begin subsidizing wages with Quantitative Pleasing (QP1).
If this gets through congress, the Republican Party better not bother asking for my vote ever again.
Vote? You seem to think "voting" will actually influence actions / Globalists plans which have been decades in the making amoungst thse Criminal Pure Evil Lucerferian Psychopaths hell bent on Total Complete Full Spectrum World Domination.
Yea, keep voting. I'll be out hunting down these Evil doers like the dogs that they are.
I have no illusions regarding the efficacy of voting. It is indeed a waste of time.
What I said was, they better not dare even ASK for my vote.
Doesn't matter. Diebold is so good at counting that you don't even need to show up at the polls anymore. It's like a miracle of modern technology.
Did the article say 40%?
I imagine they meant 40% of whatever is left after we all go to hell in a hand basket.
Great day for the multinationals and in particular the pharmaceutical companies.
Dec 30, 2015 | Economist's ViewSandwichman, December 30, 2015 at 10:06 AM"Graduate students of economics learn, early in their careers, that markets allocations are Pareto Optimal."
What they don't learn is that
1. the ideal markets that would produce Pareto Optimal allocations don't actually exist and
2. moving from actually existing non-ideal markets to ideal markets WOULD NOT BE Pareto Optimal even if it was possible to do so, which it isn't.
In short, Pareto Optimality is a just so story that has absolutely no bearing on the real world other than as an ideological justification for tons of bullshit.
The next step in graduate students' indoctrination is to teach them that although Pareto Optimal reallocations are implausible, you can get around that with a "principle of compensation." The principle, too is based on a same yardstick fallacy. But never mind the Pareto Optimality smokescreen and the compensation smokescreen have constrained economists to think in terms of doing what is best for the wealthiest. Funny how that happens.
anne said in reply to SandwichmanPareto Optimality is a just so story that has absolutely no bearing on the real world other than as an ideological justification for tons of bull----.
[ Agreed completely and I think this an important conclusion. ]
Paine said in reply to anneYes
Sandy gets the guts of it
The compensation principle is precisely what Pareto rule is all about
Yes we can scramble the goods all we want so long as in the end everyone is at least as well off as before the scramble
In a pure exchange model this is less exciting then in a one period production model
Going on to an inter temporal model with an infinite horizon gets into real juicy Wonderlands
The academy makes it's living as much by distracting fine minds as training them
anne said in reply to SandwichmanThe next step in graduate students' indoctrination is to teach them that although Pareto Optimal reallocations are implausible, you can get around that with a "principle of compensation." The principle, too is based on a same yardstick fallacy. But never mind the Pareto Optimality smokescreen and the compensation smokescreen have constrained economists to think in terms of doing what is best for the wealthiest....anne said in reply to Sandwichman...
December 29, 2015
Richest in U.S. Shape Private Tax System to Save Billions
By NOAM SCHEIBER and PATRICIA COHEN
The very wealthiest families are able to quietly shape tax policy that will allow them to shield millions, if not billions, of their income using maneuvers available only to several thousand Americans.
Supposing I understand the essay, Roger Farmer is just writing the logical justification to Herbert Spencer's (never Charles Darwin's) "survival of the fittest" rationale that Spencer made wildly popular after Darwin published "On the Origin of Species."
Spencer was the successful ultimate justifier of British "sun-never-setting-on-the-Empire" capitalism. Spencer sold a biological justification, Farmer is selling a logical justification of Empire.
Sandwichman said in reply to anneNo, I think Farmer is dissing Pareto Optimality and using "sunspots" as sarcasm. He seems to do it in a way that opens up space for countless side arguments that leave Pareto Optimality unscathed.
The bottom line is that NO ONE would have ever paid any attention to the not just "weak" but nonsensical concept if it didn't serve the function of justifying and ultimately glorifying great inequalities of wealth and income.
anne said in reply to SandwichmanI understand the argument and I am entirely right:
Roger Farmer is just writing the logical justification to Herbert Spencer's (never Charles Darwin's) "survival of the fittest" rationale that Spencer made wildly popular after Darwin published "On the Origin of Species."
Spencer was the successful ultimate justifier of British "sun-never-setting-on-the-Empire" capitalism. Spencer sold a biological justification, Farmer is selling a logical justification of Empire capitalism.
anne said in reply to SandwichmanI needed to be sure the argument was as empty morally as I supposed initially, but I supposed correctly. The Roger Farmer essay is an amoral logical justification of imperial capitalism. Plato's "Republic" conceived amorally. ;
anne said in reply to SandwichmanA mean little essay, carefully subtle and mean.
Paine said in reply to anneBut Anne as sandy points out Roger blows up the use of Pareto by his future generations argument
Those unable to establish their preferences are unaccounted for in the scrum
He uses this to draw a bold distinction between securities markets and fish catch of the day markets
Paine said in reply to PaineIt's not the way I'd make his point
But his distinction is important
Some are impacted that are not participating
Third party effects that can not be resolved even with repeated " games "
Because the players are not yet present
anne said in reply to SandwichmanFarmer is dissing Pareto Optimality and using "sunspots" as sarcasm. He seems to do it in a way that opens up space for countless side arguments that leave Pareto Optimality unscathed.
The bottom line is that NO ONE would have ever paid any attention to the not just "weak" but nonsensical concept if it didn't serve the function of justifying and ultimately glorifying great inequalities of wealth and income.
[ Agreed completely, but this argument runs with mine. ]
anne said in reply to SandwichmanFarmer is dissing Pareto Optimality and using "sunspots" as sarcasm. He seems to do it in a way that opens up space for countless side arguments that leave Pareto Optimality unscathed....
[ The issue is that Roger Farmer leaves Pareto Optimality unscathed, and this is an essential point. The essay is beyond the morality of now, but there is no beyond. ]
Dec 29, 2015 | Economist's View
'The Fed and Financial Reform – Reflections on Sen. Sanders op-Ed'This is the beginning of a long response from Larry Summers to an op-ed by Bernie Sanders:JohnH said...The Fed and Financial Reform – Reflections on Sen. Sanders op-Ed : Bernie Sanders had an op Ed in the New York Times on Fed reform last week that provides an opportunity to reflect on the Fed and financial reform more generally. I think that Sanders is right in his central point that financial policy is overly influenced by financial interests to its detriment and that it is essential that this be repaired.
At the same time, reform requires careful reflection if it is not to be counterproductive. And it is important in approaching issues of reform not to give ammunition to right wing critics of the Fed who would deny it the capacity to engage in the kind of crisis responses that have judged in their totality been successful in responding to the financial crisis.
The most important policy priority with respect to the Fed is protecting it from stone age monetary ideas like a return to the gold standard, or turning policymaking over to a formula, or removing the dual mandate commanding the Fed to worry about unemployment as well as inflation. ...Disagree!!! There is more to this than just interest rates. There is the matter of how the policy gets implemented--who gets low rates. Currently the low rates serve mostly the 1%, who profit enormously from them. Case in point: Mort Zuckerberg's 1% mortgage!JohnH said in reply to JohnH...
"The obvious candidate for this dark force [correlation between (rising) inequality and (low) growth] is crony capitalism. When a country succumbs to cronyism, friends of the rulers are able to appropriate large amounts of wealth for themselves -- for example, by being awarded government-protected monopolies over certain markets, as in Russia after the fall of communism. That will obviously lead to inequality of income and wealth. It will also make the economy inefficient, since money is flowing to unproductive cronies. Cronyism may also reduce growth by allowing the wealthy to exert greater influence on political policy, creating inefficient subsidies for themselves and unfair penalties for their rivals."
As we know (although most here steadfastly ignore it) the Fed is rife with crony capitalism. As Bernie pointed out, 4 of the regional governors are from Goldman Sachs. Other examples are abundant. Quite simply, the system is rigged to benefit the few, minimizing any potential trickle down.
If a broad economic recovery is the goal, ending cronyism at the Fed is likely to be far more effective that low interest rates channeled only to the 1%.Stiglitz:Peter K. said in reply to JohnH...
The real problem is that money does not go to where it should go, as we see for example in the United States. The money does not flow into the real economy, because the transmission mechanism is broken. That is why we have a bubble in the financial system. The answer is not to tighten monetary policy, but to reform monetary policy so as to ensure that the money gets to the right place...
Small and medium enterprises cannot borrow money at zero interest rates - not even a private person, I wish I could do that (laughs). I'm more worried about the loan interest rates, which are still too high. Access for small and medium enterprises to credit is too expensive. That's why it is so important that the transmission mechanism work..."
And let's not forget consumer credit rates, which barely dropped during the Great Recession and are still well above 10%. Even mortgage lending, which primarily benefits the affluent, have been stagnant for years despite historically low rates.
As Stiglitz notes, the transmission mechanisms are broken. Economists' trickle down monetary policy might work in theory, but not in practice, as we have seen for the last seven years, when low rates don't trickle down and were wasted instead on asset speculation by the 1%.
Reform of the Fed, and the end of cronyism are essential to making sure that the stimulus of low rates gets to Main Street, to ordinary people, and not primarily to asset speculators.EMichael said in reply to Peter K....
"The recent decision by the Fed to raise interest rates is the latest example of the rigged economic system. Big bankers and their supporters in Congress have been telling us for years that runaway inflation is just around the corner. They have been dead wrong each time. Raising interest rates now is a disaster for small business owners who need loans to hire more workers and Americans who need more jobs and higher wages. As a rule, the Fed should not raise interest rates until unemployment is lower than 4 percent. Raising rates must be done only as a last resort - not to fight phantom inflation. "
It is hilarious.
"He's right! But his policies are wrong!"
You couldn't make this up......The financial system reform legislation in 2017 will also need to include these matters:BillB said...
1. Licensure fees and higher and more differential income taxation rates based on the type of financial trading ratios the entities have (in order to direct more emphasis to real-economy lending and away from speculative and leveraged positions used in the financial asset trading marketplaces, so hedge funds probably would face the highest rates in income taxation). For a certain period after enactment these added taxes would be payable by the banks using their excess reserves, which will simply be eliminated until the reserve accounts return to the historically normal period when excess reserves were very small (there would no longer be a need for IOER, as the excess would be eliminated by operation of the taxation statutes). Attaching added ways & means statutes to all the financial service entities also serves to 'cover' some more of huge financial risk held by society and produced by them while the success of this huge sector actually contributes to the financing of self-government - which is also an indirect way to attach high Net Worth being used).
2. New statutory provisions need to reach any and all entities in the financial community regardless of definitions based on the functions they serve or provide (or the way they are named - so yes, the prior separation for deposit-management banking from investing activities can still happen, but this only helps to define which of the differential provisions apply, not help the entity escape them). Perhaps as a result Bank Holding Companies and other large entities won't use a complex network of hundreds of subsidiaries as these would not then serve as a way to avoid taxation, regulatory standards on what are prudent expectations, or supervision; or be used simply to obfuscate -- so investors and regulators can't see the truth of matters.
3. The newly named central bank needs to hold the discretion to buy Treasury bonds directly from the Treasury. This would discipline these fundamental asset-trading marketplaces and the huge primary dealer group of entities, and weaken the fox-and-hen-house influence on public finance.
4. New accounting approaches for the central bank would clarify what happens should the Congress direct redemption amounts or asset sales for the public's purposes. A good portion of the current FRB's book of owned assets can be redeemed or sold without affecting the 'power' of the central bank, and the proceeds used then, for example, to lower payroll taxes via a direct transfer to the social security trust fund's set of accounts).
Senator Sanders, good stuff. Bring out the vote, let us get others in Congress with whom you can work.Summers: "The most important policy priority with respect to the Fed is protecting it from stone age monetary ideas like a return to the gold standard, or turning policymaking over to a formula, or removing the dual mandate commanding the Fed to worry about unemployment as well as inflation."pgl said in reply to pgl...
And in one sentence Summers illustrates exactly why we dodged a bullet in not appointing Summers to be Fed Chair. Preserving the power of the Fed is not the most important policy. Changing the Fed composition so that it is more consumer friendly and not dominated by Wall Street interests is the most important policy change needed.
Summers argument is the same we always hear from so-called "centrists." "You hippies should shut up because you are helping the opposition."
You hear the same sort of argument with respect to Black Lives Matter.
On financial regulation - Summers is spot on here:
"the Balkanized character of US banking regulation is indefensible and would be ended. The worst regulatory idea of the 20th century-the dual banking system-persists into the 21st. The idea is that we have two systems one regulated by the States and the Fed and the other regulated by the OCC so banks have choice. With ambitious regulators eager to expand their reach, the inevitable result is a race to the bottom."
It is called regulatory capture.
Summers is also calling for higher capital requirements. Excellent stuff!
Dec 27, 2015 | naked capitalism
An excellent column by Martin Wolf in the Financial Times, where he is the lead economics editor. Starting with principles put forward by Ben Bernanke in his recent speech on income inequality, Wolf concludes that America cannot do without some form of a welfare state, specifically improved training, education, and universal health care.
James Levy, December 26, 2015 at 4:32 pm
I have no idea if Marx was right, in the long run, or wrong–the verdict is still out on the long-term viability of industrial capitalism, which is less than 250 years old and creaking mightily as I write this. It may be that when Rosa Luxemburg said that the choice was between Socialism and Barbarism, she underestimated how likely barbarism was. What I do know is that capitalism today isn't just too ugly to tolerate, it is downright murderous. Its imperatives are driving the despoliation of the planet. It's love of profit over all else is cutting corners and creating externalities that are lethal. But it has made a few percent of the global population comfortable and powerful, and they are holding onto that comfort and that power come hell or high water (and, ironically, if things continue apace both are on the menu).
Our problem is that we are asking for concessions that are beyond the acceptable limit for elites in any historical epoch. We're asking the powerful and the rich to give up their money and power for the greater good of all mankind. This is not likely to happen unless a powerful enough segment of the elite comes to the inescapable conclusion that they're literally dead meat if they don't and therefore opts for survival over position. I am not enthusiastic that this will happen before it is way too late to save more than a fraction of the current world population, and send those people back to the lifestyles and thought patterns of 30 Year's War Europe.