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Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

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The economic and political game is clearly rigged in favor of wealthy, and its getting worse. This is a recipe for economic disaster, and which has been closely followed by major Wall Street politicians, such as Ron Wyden, Barack Obama, Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch, and George W. Bush.

The richest are getting richer, and their doing so quickly, and at the expense of the rest of us. For the most part, control of the levers of political power is how they have gained their money. It’s that simple. The rich control the Republican and Democratic parties, and with them, they control all three branches of the federal government, as well as most state and local governments. And that’s just in the USA.

In early 2016 Oxfam reported that just 62 individuals had the same wealth as the bottom half of humanity. About a year later Oxfam reported that just eight men had the same wealth as the world’s bottom half. Based on the same methodology and data sources used by Oxfam, that number is now down to six.

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There is a reason why the rich, and in particular the super rich, continue to get richer. The politicians of both major political parties work as agents on behalf of their billionaire benefactors, whether its Republicans such as Mitch McConnell, or Democrats like Ron Wyden.

This is why the poorest half (and more) of the world has continued to lose wealth; and the very richest individuals—especially the top thousand or so—continue to add billions of dollars to their massive fortunes. Inequality deniers and apologists say the Oxfam methodology is flawed, but they’re missing the big picture. Whether it’s six individuals or 62 or 1,000 doesn’t really matter. The data from the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook (GWD) and the Forbes Billionaire List provide the best available tools to make it clear that inequality is extreme and pathological and getting worse every year.

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As of Feb. 17 of 2017, the world’s six richest individuals (all men) had $412 billion. Just a year ago, on March 1, 2016, the world’s six richest men had $343 billion. They’re the same men today, although slightly rearranged as they play “king of the hill”: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Amancio Ortega, Mark Zuckerberg, Carlos Slim Helu (with Larry Ellison jockeying for position). The wealth of these six men increased by $69 billion in just one year.

According to a new report, which can be accessed below, the poorest 50 percent of the population has seen their share of wealth decline. And the richest 500 people own more wealth that the bottom 70 percent.

Six Men Own More Wealth Than the Bottom 50 Percent of the World’s Population–EcoWatch.org

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20150224_problemThe financial collapse of 2008 was the worst recession since the Great Depression. Give President Obama and his administration credit for saving the economy from the depredations of Wall Street despite massive Republic resistance to resuscitating it, which they did solely for political gain. However, this historically weak recovery masks a startling reality.

Only one perpetrator of Wall Street crimes was ever brought to justice, and he wasn’t a big figure in the massive corruption going on. In March 2009, Obama met with Wall Street leaders and said, “I stand between you and the pitchforks. I am on your side and I will protect you.”

Only one banker from that era was prosecuted. That was Bernie Madoff, and the only reason he was carted off to prison was because he stole from rich people. And not one other Wall Street criminal executive went to jail after stealing billions via fraud, money laundering of Mexican drug cartel profits, and numerous other crimes. Many became his financial advisers, which meant Obama pursued policies to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent for eight long years.

At all times, Obama refused to bite the hand that funded his past, present and future, as well as funding much of the Republican and Democratic Parties. In other words, Obama was largely, if not completely, in the back pocket of Wall Street as were President Bill Clinton, both President’s Bush, Ronald Reagan, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Wall Street Senator’s Ron Wyden, Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch.

Obama operated in a cesspool corruption. He was part of the problem, not the solution.

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There are actions and then there are inaction’s. There is biting the hands that feed you now and in the future, and then there are the decisions one makes to not bite the hands that feed you, now and in the future.

First there was the illegal torture program of President George W. Bush. Bush is the only former US president who couldn’t visit Switzerland and numerous other nations after his terms in office. Bush would be arrested and charged with war crimes should he or several other members of his administration, including Vice President Dick Cheney, ever step foot into those nations. Obama called the torturers “patriots” and those who demanded justice “sanctimonious.”

When a judge in Spain began to pursue war crimes charges against Bush, Obama successfully began a diplomatic initiative to quash the charges.

Obama went out of his way to ensure that nobody of political and financial significance suffered the consequences of their actions.

Not one single person was charged with war crimes, torture or murder. Forget US laws, forget the US Constitution, and forget international laws the US had signed on to.

Perhaps Obama decided not to pursue charges, or quash prospective charges, because much of the torture was done by publicly traded corporate contractors. In other words, torture was to a large degree about profits; the more torture victims, the more profits.

Virginia-based CACI Premier Technology corporation is a military contractor that was a major US torturer at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The company made millions upon millions of dollars torturing people on behalf of President George W. Bush.

CACI’s share price hovered around $13 a share when Bush became president. Thanks to the torture contracts the company received from the US government, the share price increased more than five fold to $65+ by the summer of 2005.

No doubt Wall Street liked the torture program a lot because it fed into the pockets of the billionaires and millionaire investors of Wall Street, as well as Wall Streets large investment corporations, and Obama had to protect his financial benefactors, so justice could never be served, otherwise the financial spigot watering, seeding and fertilizing the corruption of government at all levels would have been turned off, and Obama could never have tolerated that.

 

 

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This is the third part in a series. So now we’re getting into some debatable stuff, but here goes.

  1. Obama brought the federal budget deficit down from the  more than $1.4 trillion a year he inherited from bumbling, corrupt and incompetent George W. Bush to $587 billion in 2016.
  2. Obama presided over one of the biggest stock market bubbles in world history, and did nothing about it. The hangover from this bubble is going to last quite a long time, but many of his rich supporters got richer because of it.
  3. The president presided over one of the biggest housing bubbles in US history, and did nothing about it. This bubble redistributed trillions of dollars from working folks to Wall Street executives and billionaires that have always been his financial supporters. The big banks illegally conspired to withhold 3.4 million houses off the market (over 50 percent of all vacant houses in the USA) in order to drive up housing prices, and Obama made certain not to let his justice department do anything about this. See The Big Banks Are Manipulating the Housing Market–JohnHively.Wordpress.com
  4. Obama presided over the largest redistribution of income in US history, and did nothing about it. From 2009 to 2013 the 1 percent stole all of the US income growth, and they stole over 50 percent in 2014 and 2015.
  5. In other words, Obama presided over an economy driven by bubbles and redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent. Good job!
  6. Obama called rising income inequality “the defining issue of our time.” When his Wall Street financial masters objected to this subject, Obama never mentioned it again. Guess who was really in charge of the white house? Hint. The big investment banks, along with other Wall Street executives and billionaires.
  7. All of the above suggests the next recession is going to be worst than the last one, and it is on its way. We’re at or near the peak of this weak economic expansion. Once we’ve reached that peak, the only place to go is down. Some of Obama’s better known accomplishments (or notoriously known depending on your point of view) include the Affordable Care Act and getting us out of Iraq. These were included in President Obama’s Top Accomplishments, and His Worst–JohnHively.Wordpress.com. Part two included normalizing relations with Cuba. That list can be found here.

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Official portrait of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Official portrait of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This is the second in a series of the accomplishments and the worst of President Obama. Click here for Part 1.

1. Obama normalized relations with Cuba after sixty years of trade embargo. Now Cuba can upgrade its economy, and the US has a new trading partner. There are a ton of people who opposed this move, but those are the same corporate hacks who support exporting US jobs to Mexico, China, Vietnam and elsewhere. I had a friend a long time ago who said he opposed the Vietnam War. This was back in 1980 or so. “If we hadn’t gone in there,” he said, “they’d be capitalists by now.”

2. Obama authorized the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. He announced the terrorist leader’s death in a live speech to the country saying, “Last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorized an operation to get Osama Bin Laden and bring him to justice.” The Republican president before Obama was such an incompetent he couldn’t figure out where Bin Laden was, much less kill him.

3. He helped stimulate the auto industry after the financial crisis. Chrysler and GM have created 250,000 jobs since then. Of course, many of these new jobs are in Mexico.

4. He signed the Dodd-Frank Act, which holds Wall Street accountable a little bit in the event of another financial crisis. In reality, the Dodd-Frank Act doesn’t regulate hedge funds even a little, and the act was heavily watered down by Wall Street lobbyists. So Dodd-Frank wasn’t much of anything, except that it included a provision for the establishment of the Consumer Protection Agency, which Wall Street executives and billionaire investors feared because it meant they couldn’t cheat and lie to the common folk as easily as before.

5. Obama backed down like a whipped dog when Wall Street billionaires and executives demanded he not appoint Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Protection Agency. This turned out to be a good thing, even if by accident. Warren later became a US senator and is likely to be the next president of the United States in 2020.

Among Obama’s worst decisions:

He appointed Arne Duncan to be US Secretary of Education. Duncan is a firm believer in using every child possible to enhance the profits of the testing industry, especially Pearson Limited, a long time financial sponsor of the Democratic Party. When Duncan announced his resignation the president of the AFT teachers union said, “there’s no question that the Department of Education’s fixation on charter schools and high-stakes testing has not worked.” US K-12 public education students are the most tested in the world, and by a wide margin. It’s all about the money folks, that’s what US educational reform means. Obama’s education policy was a complete, or nearly complete, failure.

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Official portrait of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Official portrait of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012.

President Obama was no Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but he did take office during an economic crisis greater than any since the Great Depression, a mess helped along by the worst and one of the most corrupt presidents of all time, George W. Bush. I don’t consider Obama to be a great president. I don’t think we’ve had one since Harry Truman. That being said, I think he’ll be remembered fondly even though he was largely a puppet of Wall Street.

1. Obama actually accomplished quite a bit despite the fact the Republican Party leadership fought against almost everything he wanted tooth and nail even if it meant sending the United States down the tubes. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell said, “Our top political priority over the next two years is to deny President Obama a second term.”

2, Got us out of the illegal and costly occupation of Iraq.

3. Passed Health Care Reform: After five presidents over a century failed to create universal health insurance, signed the Affordable Care Act (2010). This became the first time in US history the government could tax us for not buying something, which is not a good sign since now the government can tax you on anything you choose to not purchase. This legislation also drove up health care costs for everybody, increased deductibles and co-pays.

3. Ended the trade embargo against Iran, which put Iranian oil back on the market and helped drive down the cost of oil and gasoline.

4. Signed $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 to spur economic growth amid greatest recession since the Great Depression. Weeks after stimulus went into effect, unemployment claims began to subside. Twelve months later, the private sector began producing more jobs than it was losing, and it has continued to do so for seven years, creating 12 million new private-sector jobs. However, it should be pointed out that on a per month basis this growth was worst than that which occurred under President Jimmy Carter. On the other hand, monthly job growth of all of the presidents since Carter have been worst than what happened under Jimmy.

Worst Action?

Along with Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, President Obama continuously groveled at the feet of Wall Street and other big corporate executives, which is why he mightily tried to secretly ram through the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Obama promised an open and honest administration, but he was extremely secretive about the TPP, most likely because it would’ve exported millions of US jobs and redistributed trillions of dollars from working folks to Wall Street and other corporate executives and rich shareholders.

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The Federal Reserve Bank is expected to raise interest rates tomorrow. It will most likely be a mild increase of 1/4 to 1/2 percent.

The US and world economies are heading for a recession worse than the last one, and it should begin by June 2017, give or take a few months. Then President Donald Trump will get the blame, as well as the Republican US senate and the Republican US House of Representatives.

The Republicans will blame the Federal Reserve. Blame the recession and its dire impacts on the effects of Reaganomics, which has been a long-term policy of redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent (I doubt Reagan intended it that way). That decreased the demand for goods and services on the part of the 99 percent, and has led to a series of bubble economies for the United States since the 1980s.

The result has been the weakest economic growth in US history under President George W. Bush. The job gains under Bush numbered less than 1.4 million jobs total, with declining real wage growth. Things have been quite a bit better under President Obama. However, the job growth numbers under Obama are far worse than any other president since and including Jimmy Carter, with the exception, of course, of Bush.

Carter had the best monthly job growth numbers of any president since 1976. See Why Did President Jimmy Carter Create More Jobs Per Year Than Any President Since Him? JohnHively.wordpress.com

The Fed and everybody else expect the current economic expansion to continue. That’s insane. All the indications and variables suggest we are on a crash course with a massive recession by June 2017. See The New Recession is Knocking at the Door, and It’s Going to Be Worse than the Last One–JohnHively.Wordpress.com

Only two US business expansions have lasted longer than 100 months. The third longest expansion began under President Ronald Reagan and lasted 92 months. Including this month, the current expansion is 91 months. That means by next June it will have lasted 98 months. Given the weaknesses of the current US economy, we most likely won’t make it much longer than June.

The Federal Reserve will likely raise interest rates tomorrow and hasten the coming of the next recession by a month or two.

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