Tag: Banana republic

Brace Yourselves: The US Is Setting Up a Ghastly “Natural Experiment”

Yves here. Since this post launched, Virginia had declared a state-wide lockdown till June 10 (although it could be lifted earlier). By contrast, in Alabama, the governor  last Friday only closed all non-essential businesses through April 17.  But the key bit is look how quickly things appear set to get ugly in the US. By […]

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Having It Easy in the Beginning, Tough in the End: How My Dad Predicted the Decline of America

By William J. Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF), professor of history, and Tom Dispatch regular. His personal blog is Bracing Views. Originally published at Tom Dispatch. My dad was born in 1917. Somehow, he survived the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919, but an outbreak of whooping cough in 1923 claimed his baby sister, Clementina. […]

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Radical Imagination: Imagining How the World of Finance Really Works

Yves here. Get a cup of coffee. Another meaty chat with Michael Hudson, who focuses here on the role of finance in rent extraction. An important theme here that Hudson has stressed before is the mistaken perception of home “ownership”.  Only about 1/3 of homes in America are owned free and clear. For the rest, […]

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Tax Justice and Modern Monetary Theory – A Guide

Yves here. Aside from the fact that readers have indicated they’d like some breaks from COVID-19 programming, this post is important because it addresses what seems be a widely-held misperception of Modern Monetary Theory, namely, the role of tax. Modern Monetary Theory scholars stress that tax is what legitimates a currency. Individuals and businesses must […]

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The CARES Act: Stimulus and Unemployment Checks

By Lambert Strether of Corrente. I am sure the hilariously named CARES (“Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security”) Act is just as horried as the 2008 bailouts, if not moreso — if only because the people in charge are even more greedy and venal than 2008’s crew[1] — but in this post, I’ll focus exclusively […]

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The Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Is a $2 Trillion Slush Fund for Washington Cronies

Yves here. The financial crisis was such a successful exercise in looting the public purse that our oligarchs are at it again, this time via the “stimulus” bill. By Marshall Auerback, a market analyst and commentator. Produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute When historians look back on our current […]

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Covid-19 Hits the Dual Economy: Incomes Destroyed at the Bottom, Profits Supported at the Top

Yves here. Those of you well schooled in MMT will no doubt react to the fact that this post expresses concerns about “government debt” and does not differentiate between debts of states and local governments, which are currency users, versus Federal debt, when the Federal government as a currency issuer could extinguish its debt at […]

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Can the Intra-Party Rift Be Healed, At Least For Now? Or Must the Fight Be Fought in 2020?

Yves here. I think Tom is being unduly polite. Can the Democratic Party be diverted from its current controlled flight into terrain? By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny! I’ve written before about the wide and deep rift that splits all three layers of the Democratic “party”*. Today, that split within these layers — office-holders […]

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RJ Eskow: 7 Rules for the Boeing Bailout

By Richard “RJ” Eskow, senior adviser for health and economic justice at Social Security Works. Eskow is also the host of The Zero Hour, a syndicated progressive radio and television program. This article was produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute. Call it the “Boeing bailout.” As the world struggles […]

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Michael Hudson: A Brady Bond Solution for America’s Unpayable Corporate Debt

Yves here. It seems oddly fitting to resort to a tried and true approach for dealing with the unwind of the corporate bond bubble by resorting to Brady Bonds….a mechanism used with dodgy Latin American borrowers. By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at […]

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How Far Will Trump Go To Save U.S. Shale

Jerri-Lynn here. I have one major quibble with this post, which focuses on high-level maneuevring to get Saudi Arabia to call off its price war. But observers such as Justin Mikulka at DeSmogBlog have shown how the shale oil industry was in deep trouble long before the price way erupted. We’ve crossposted Mikulka’s excellent work. […]

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‘This Is a Massive Scandal’: Trump FDA Grants Drug Company Exclusive Claim on Promising Coronavirus Drug

Jerri-Lynn here. I encourage readers to look at this update from The Intercept, CORONAVIRUS TREATMENT DEVELOPED BY GILEAD SCIENCES GRANTED “RARE DISEASE” STATUS, POTENTIALLY LIMITING AFFORDABILITY. Where are you, Joe Biden? What do you have to say about this decision, expected to give Gilead Sciences a multi-billion coronavirus windfall. Bernie’s position is clear, as reported below. […]

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Rule Number 1 for Government Bailouts of Companies: Make Sure Voters and Taxpayers Share in the Upside

By Thomas Ferguson Director of Research of the Institute for New Economic Thinking and Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Boston; and Rob Johnson, Institue President, Institute for New Economic Thinking. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website If the public is to be called upon for the second time in twelve years to […]

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Sanders Calls for ‘Unprecedented Legislative Response’ to Coronavirus Crisis—Not Corporate Bailouts

Jerri-Lynn here. Where is Joe Biden on any of this? Today is a momentous day in American politics. Congress is considering a multi-trillion dollar bailout plan, an attempt to calm free falling markets and shape the American economy for the foreseeable future. Alas, it looks like Congress is scrambling to implement a stimulus plan that […]

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Bailout Shenanigans: Making 2008 Look Good?

Because the legislative sausage-making is still underway, it might seem premature to declare the bailout bill underway a massive exercise in corporate welfare, but it sure has all the hallmarks. As Public Citizen warned by e-mail early Sunday evening (emphasis theirs): Senate Republicans just announced their long-awaited plan to help people and businesses weather the […]

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Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Could Weaken the School Privatization Agenda

Yves here. Coronavirus is throwing a wrench into the public school politics, not necessarily to the advantage of charter school advocates. By Jeff Bryant, a writing fellow and chief correspondent for Our Schools, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He is a communications consultant, freelance writer, advocacy journalist, and director of the Education Opportunity […]

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IMF Refuses Aid to Venezuela in the Midst of the Coronavirus Crisis

Yves here. While you were busy trying not to panic over the impact of coronavirus on your health, your job and finances, or both, the IMF was holding fast to its punitive playbook. By Vijay Prashad, Paola Estrada, Ana Maldonado, and Zoe PC. Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He is a […]

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Closing Polling Places Is the 21st Century’s Version of a Poll Tax

Yves here. We’re far from alone in calling out reductions in polling places in low-income and left-leaning areas, such as with high student populations, as vote suppression. Making people stand in long lines to vote is great way to make sure that some and likely many punt. Another trick is moving a polling station at […]

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Coronavirus Means Zero Hour for the European Union

Yves here. We wrote yesterday of our concern that Christine Lagarde, the new head of the European Central Bank, wasn’t bluffing when she said that the ECB job wasn’t to close the spreads of various state borrowers like Italy. Italian bonds plunged. Lagarde made what looked to us like a half-hearted walkback. Understand how serious […]

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Brexit: The ‘Australian Option’?

Yves here. We’ve covered most of the Brexit issues presented here, but this is a very useful high-level take that could be helpful as a recap of the state of play for curious friends and colleagues. By Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now. Originally published at openDemocracy The fallout of coronavirus only adds to […]

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Coronavirus Testing Shortages Force Extreme Shift In Strategy By Local Health Officials

Yves here. The admission that the US, even if it had coronavirus test results, lacked the institutional capacity to do contact tracing, is a stunner. Gee, we supposedly live in a world of AI and big data, but our Silicon Valley gearheads can’t come close to what China has done? But we can find the […]

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Who’s Responsible? How the “Independent Contractor” Dodge Guts Employment Protections

Yves here. Even though most readers are familiar with the efforts to force “gig economy” players to step up and assume employment obligations when they exercise significant control over their workers, these “independent contractor” relations are widespread. This article explains how employment laws already had significant failings and these new work relations make it even […]

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Coronavirus Reveals the Cracks in Globalization

Yves here. While this article has a lot of helpful suggestions, it does not acknowledge that public health is a state and local, not a Federal matter. The Federal government can intervene only by invoking emergency authority, which in every case I can recall, has been done only when asked (begged) by the relevant authorities. […]

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