Posts Tagged ‘2016’

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reports that US wages grew in real terms (wage growth minus inflation) during 2016. While good news for the people who actually do the work of producing the goods and services necessary to keep the economy humming, this is also bad news.

EPI reports that income inequality continues to rise. “Rising inequality,” the report states, “means that although we are finally seeing broad-based wage growth, ordinary workers are just making up lost ground, rather than getting ahead. The way rising inequality has directly affected most Americans is through sluggish hourly wage growth in recent decades, despite an expanding and increasingly productive economy. For example, had all workers’ wages risen in line with productivity, as they did in the three decades following World War II, an American earning around $40,000 today would instead be making close to $61,000 (EPI 2017c).” That income difference has been redistributed to the very rich since 1981.

The report went on, “A hugely disproportionate share of economic gains from rising productivity is going to the top 1 percent and to corporate profits, instead of to ordinary workers—who are more productive and more educated than ever. This rising inequality is happening largely because big corporations and the wealthy have been rewriting the rules of the economy, particularly the job market, to stack the deck in their favor. This has prevented the benefits of productivity growth from “trickling down” to reach most households.” In other words, trickle down economics was a complete farce.

Now for the bad news. The economy is heading on a crash course with the worst and most prolonged recession since the Great Depression sometime around June of this year, give or take a month or two. The severity of this recession is due to the income and wealth inequality the US and the world has experienced since 1981, the year it pretty much began. I have been watching this current business expansion unravel since before November 2015. See The Coming Recession is Going to Be a Big One-JohnHively.wordpress.com There are always certain variables that precede a recession. Many of those began a year and a half ago.

Typically, the last variables to happen before an economy tanks is that wages rise and the Federal Reserve raises interest rates. Now those variables have officially happened. The Fed will likely raise interest rates again this month.

Somebody might point out that the economy is humming along with wage growth, low unemployment, etc…. How can we go into recession?

The growth of any business expansion has much in common with hiking up a mountain. Once you step on the highest point of any mountain, the next step is down. And so it is with any economic expansion; once it hits a peak, the very next step is down into recession. This month, March 2017, is the 93rd month of this economic expansion, making it the third longest in history. Compared to every economic expansion lasting six or more years, the current is the weakest by almost every measurement. So don’t expect it to go on much longer.

Click here for the entire EPI report on wage growth in 2016.

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The Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by 0.25% on Wednesday. The corporate news media, both liberal and conservative, claimed this signified the Fed’s confidence in the improving U.S. economy. There may be some truth to this, but maybe not.

Anybody with any knowledge of US business cycles can see our current business expansion is nearly over, which makes this a poor time to raise borrowing rates. See The Coming Recession Is Going to be a Big One–Johnhively.Wordpress.com. The current expansion is 91 months old this month, which makes it the fourth longest on record. In February 2017 it will become the third longest in US history. All the variables indicate we’ll be hitting a recession sometime before or by June 2017.

Maybe Fed officials decided to deflate the stock market and housing bubbles the US economy is in the thrall of. The US economy has been powered by a series of federally created or federally condoned bubbles since the 1980s, which is radically different from the US economy of 1933-1981. The US economy will be suffering from a massive hangover when this next recession hits, which is why it will in many ways be far worse than the last recession.

Rising rates will affect millions of Americans, including home buyers, savers and investors by increasing the cost of which they borrow. In other words, trillions of dollars are going to be redistributed from the 99 percent to rich bank shareholders and bondholders. It’ll cost you more to borrow, and the difference between the old rate and the new rate goes straight into the pockets of the rich.

Income and wealth have been massively redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent by a series of deliberate federal government actions over the last thirty-five years. This is why interest rates have been historically low over the last eight years, and had been getting progressively lower since 1981. The demand for goods and services by the 99 percent is largely dependent on the ability to borrow to a much greater extent than earlier decades.

This is also means the Fed will have to enact negative interest rates to help bolster the economy during the next recession, which is currently the case in Europe.

Change in the form of a shift of political power from the billionaires to the middle class will finally come because of this next recession as millions more people vote via their wallets and take to the streets.

Fed officials raised its target for short-term interest rates by 0.25 percentage points to a range of 0.50% and 0.75%.

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Trump officials and supporters have filed a lawsuit in Michigan seeking to halt a recount effort spearheaded by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Why are they so scared?

On Friday morning, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed a lawsuit to stop the recount there, a move that came hours after Trump attorneys had filed a complaint to block the proceedings.

The US electoral system has been under siege for centuries. That’s right! Two centuries of electoral and voter fraud have undermined the integrity of US elections. This fraud has most likely gotten worse with the adoption of easily hacked computerized voting.


Ohio in 2004 was a notable example, but the US voting system was awash with scandal in 2000 and 2004. Donald Trump is the first Republican candidate to become president without electoral fraud in 28 years. So why is he so afraid?

Considering Trump has proclaimed millions of illegal people voted in this election, and that he wasn’t going to accept defeat if he lost the election to Hillary Clinton because of alleged rampant voter fraud, you’d think Trump would welcome a recount to see if the system really needed cleaning. You’d think President-elect Trump would want to clean up this alleged mess, rather than avoid it.

Stein filed the papers and paid the millions to proceed with recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Trump narrowly won those states, and his wins stopped Clinton in her presidential tracks.

Some of the polls in those states had Clinton winning, and some had Trump winning in the days just before the election.

You would think President-elect Trump and his supporters would be happy to ensure he won the presidency legitimately. Of course, exit polls showed a tight race in Michigan, and Clinton ahead in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. So if just a few thousand votes were made for Clinton, but changed to Trump via hacking, and the same held true for the three states being challenged, then that means Donald Trump is not the president-elect.

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The US government is possibly the most corrupt among the major industrialized nations, and probably more corrupt than many third world nations. This is because there is little difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties, and the rich people who manipulate them like puppets. So, quite naturally, one can be suspicious of US election results at just about any level of government. And yet the leaders of both parties want us to believe such corruption does not dirty our elections. They’re wrong.

So now Donald Trump must go through the agony of recounts in three states: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. This recount effort is spearheaded by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, but the Clinton camp has decided to help ensure the accuracy of the recounts.

Exit polls showed Clinton winning all three states. Clinton, by the way, may not have defeated Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary without the use of electoral fraud; her wins in Arizona and New York come readily to mind.

Donald Trump, who told us of such election fraud, is not happy about these recounts. No Republican has become US president without a high degree of electoral fraud during the last 28 years. George W. Bush became president in 2000 with the use of voter suppression, and a number of other dubious tricks. His win over challenger John Kerry in 2004 was filled with corruption.


The reports of corruption in 2004 were especially dramatic in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush’s victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged 190.000 Democratic voters from the rolls between the primary and the general election and didn’t notify any of the voters.

Ohio officials also failed to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency.

A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.

There were serious problems throughout the nation on November 2, 2004. What is most glaring about the irregularities in 2004 was their decidedly partisan bent: Almost without exception they hurt John Kerry and benefited George Bush.

So bring on the recount. Besides, what does Donald Trump have to fear?

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How could Hillary have lost? Maybe she lacked credibility? She is a noted jobs exporter with intensely close personal and financial ties to Wall Street, which benefits from exporting jobs. Maybe those folks in the rust belt were sending a message to the Wall Street controlled Democratic Party by voting for Trump. Maybe enough of those folks in the rust belt were tired of seeing their jobs, as well as their friends and neighbors jobs, exported to Mexico and China and Vietnam and India.

When a job is exported, the difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new lower Chinese wages and non-existent benefits goes straight into the already fat wallets of the super rich via higher corporate earnings, rising dividends and surging share prices.

Like many Republican lawmakers, Hillary and President Obama and Democratic Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden are noted job exporters, which means they like to redistribute income from hard working people to politically and financially powerful people.

As a member of the Wall Street Democratic Establishment, Hillary Clinton lacks credibility as a woman of the people. So does the Democratic Party Establishment.

In poll after poll during the presidential primaries, Bernie Sanders defeated Donald Trump by much wider margins than did Hillary. Why? Because the public perceived Bernie as being far more honest than Hillary or Donald Trump, and he has a history of fighting hard for the 99 percent against the rapacity of Wall Street and hedge fund CEOs.

My take is simple. Hillary lost because she lacked the history of fighting for working people, and had a long history of fighting to redistribute income from working people to the rich and powerful, and she was correctly perceived as less honest.

This suggest that the Democratic Party Establishment, which is owned lock, stock and barrel by Wall Street investment banks and hedge funds, is as out of touch with its base as is the Republican Party Establishment out of touch with its base.

Perhaps the two bases should unite and throw the bums out.

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This presidential election reminds me of what comedian George Carlin once said. “Politicians are only put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you.” I think he was talking about Wall Street CEOs, hedge fund managers, Big Oil executives, military contractors and a few others.

Anyway, below are the latest polls. It’s a tight race. It all may boil down to Florida, where the latest poll has Trump ahead. So we could have a situation in which Clinton wins a majority of votes nationwide, but Trump wins the electoral college.

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Bloomberg Clinton 44, Trump 41, Johnson 4, Stein 2 Clinton +3

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein IBD/TIPP Tracking Clinton 41, Trump 43, Johnson 6, Stein 2 Trump +2

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein CBS News Clinton 45, Trump 41, Johnson 5, Stein 2 Clinton +4

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein FOX News Clinton 48, Trump 44, Johnson 3, Stein 2 Clinton +4

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein ABC/Wash Post Tracking Clinton 47, Trump 43, Johnson 4, Stein 2 Clinton +4

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Rasmussen Reports Clinton 45, Trump 43, Johnson 4, Stein 2 Clinton +2

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton LA Times/USC Tracking Clinton 43, Trump 48 Trump +5

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton CBS News Clinton 47, Trump 43 Clinton +4

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton Bloomberg Clinton 46, Trump 43 Clinton +3

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton IBD/TIPP Tracking Clinton 43, Trump 42 Clinton +1

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton FOX News Clinton 48, Trump 44 Clinton +4

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton ABC/Wash Post Tracking Clinton 49, Trump 45 Clinton +4

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton NBC News/SM Clinton 51, Trump 44 Clinton +7

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein NBC News/SM Clinton 47, Trump 41, Johnson 6, Stein 3 Clinton +6

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton Rasmussen Tie

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On May 17 2016 the Richmond Times Dispatch posted the above obituary. No doubt these were the sentiments of Mary Noland and her family.

What choice do we have?

We have Hillary Clinton on one side. She was for the massive income redistribution scam known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and for fracking. We know from leaked emails she told Wall Street executives she was for “free trade and open borders.” Those are code words for accelerated exporting of jobs and pushing US wages lower. Then Bernie Sanders entered the Democratic primary. Since then Hillary has said she’s against the TPP and fracking, but she has already stacked the deck in favor of Wall Street, the TPP and fracking, and she’s not even president yet.

Everybody opposed to fracking and the TPP should be alarmed at the choices she’s making, and her sincerity should be seriously questioned, especially since she has lied many times before.

She chose Tim Kaine to be her running mate. Kaine voiced support for the TPP two days before Hillary chose him. Now he claims he’s against it.

And now she has named former Colorado Democratic Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to be the chair of her presidential transition team — the group tasked with helping set up the new administration should she win in November. That includes identifying, selecting, and vetting candidates for over 4,000 presidential appointments.

Wall Street and other corporate CEO’s are drooling at her two choices. Kaine and Salazar demonstrate a complete lack of sincerity in her opposition to the TPP and fracking. If she is elected president, expect her to push the TPP and redistribute massive amounts of income from the 99 to the 1 percent, especially by exporting jobs.

Now if she wanted to represent the people of the US, and not just the super rich ones, Clinton would chose Joseph Stiglitz as Treasury Secretary. That would alleviate some anxiety on the part of labor union members and leaders about her sincerity, but that’s not going to happen.

Then we’ve got Donald Trump. He says and does anything like he’s a contestant on a reality television show. He’s got zero political experience. He’s gone bankrupt on four occasions. He’s got two feet that must be terribly swollen because of all the times he’s stuck them in his mouth in just the last twelve months.

The Republican Establishment is against him, as are the Koch Brothers. The corporate media is also against him.

My girlfriend is from Iran. Her brother lives there. He says the people of Iran are laughing at us because of our presidential choices. No doubt much of the rest of the world is also. Is this the best we’ve got?

Where have you gone Harry Truman? We need you. Where is an Eisenhower? A JFK? We sorely miss you Franklin Roosevelt! We miss you too Jimmy Carter! I’d give anything to have Gerald Ford or Bob Dole running for president in 2016! Even Lyndon Johnson of the Vietnam quagmire, Ronald Reagan of numerous scandals, and Richard Nixon of Watergate are preferable to the choices we have today.

Are you listening Elizabeth Warren, Sharrod Brown or Jeff Merkley?

Bernie! Can you still run as an independent?

Click here for Mary Noland’s obituary in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.


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