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Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

Deflation_cartoon_03.24.2015_large

As this coming Great Depression nears (See The Coming Recession–JohnHively.Wordpress.cm, the corporate press will want you to believe that deflation (a decrease in overall prices) is bad. Sometimes, and for some people, it will be. Deflation will deflate the current stock market bubble, and the current housing bubble. A lot of rich people are heavily invested in these two sectors. The rich folks are mainly invested in mortgage backed securities (bonds backed by outstanding mortgages). The more the big banks illegally manipulate housing prices upward, the more bonds can be sold to the rich. See The Big Banks Are Illegally Manipulating the House Prices Upward–JohnHively.Wordpress.com

By some estimates, an 8 percent decline in the value of houses sends the values of tens of trillions of dollars of mortgage backed securities plummeting to zero. That’s a bad thing for the rich, but a good thing for everybody else.

That’s tens of trillions of dollars the rich won’t have to corrupt your federal, state and local governments with. That’s tens of trillions of dollars the affluent won’t have to corrupt both major political parties. And when the values of stocks drop with deflation, for the same reason, that’s good too, at least for 99 percent of us.

Our spending power increases when the price of goods and services drop, especially if those things are made outside of the United States, which is where most US corporations manufacture their stuff.

Yes, there are some down sides to deflation for the rest of us. More corporations operating in the US are likely to lay off people. On the other hand, small business is the fastest growing sector for employment in the US, and these businesses are less likely to be impacted by deflation.

Just take a look at the recent deflation in the prices of oil and gasoline. That spurred the profits of the Airlines upward. That helped a lot of travelers of the 99 percent, but it hurt rich shareholders in the oil and gasoline industries. It also helped the rich shareholders in the airline industry.

Good things and bad things can occur with deflation. Most of the bad things will happen to the rich, especially to those who corrupt government, and use that corruption to rob from the 99 percent. So deflation can’t be all bad.

Check out the link below for more information.

World faces deflation shock as China devalues yuan at accelerating pace–Daily Telegraph

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Is Verizon Communications stealing from its customers? And just what is Verizon anyway?

Verizon is a publicly traded limited liability corporation. As such, it is a business idea given legal structure through the creation of law in a representative democracy. The government that brought this idea to legal fruition was supposed to represent all of the people, not just the rich ones.

A publicly traded corporation is nothing more than an idea to allow investors to unionize without having to produce anything with their labor or their ingenuity, which if you look at some of the writings of original capitalist economic thinkers, like Adam Smith and John Locke, was and should be the cornerstone of all economic activity in the creation of wealth.

The problem is that publicly traded corporations allow for the organizing of money, rather than forcing that money to compete in smaller business units, as idealized by Smith and Locke. Organized money on the scale of what’s going on today is the primary problem with the economy and government, and both have been corrupted by the influence of organized money.

As such, organized labor is at a serious disadvantage in competition in the political markets with organized money because labor doesn’t have the financial muscle that rich investors possess to compete. Not only that, money is always much more potent in its organized form than is organized labor, especially in the political markets.

“Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob,” President Franklin Roosevelt said 80 years ago. At that time, “organized mob” meant “organized crime.” That’s what we’ve got today, effectively “organized mob” given legal cover as federal officials look the other way at corporate lawbreakers.

Verizon is organized money in that its investors don’t need to compete with one another.

That’s one of the reasons Verizon earned $4.31 billion dollars from its customers during the first quarter of 2016. It also earned $19 billion in profits for all of 2015. How can a corporation in a competitive environment earn so much money? Oh wait! Verizon operates pretty much as a monopoly, as well as being an organized mob.

In other words, Verizon’s products are seriously overpriced by any real market standards. The price of its products, like products throughout most of the economy and the political markets (yes politicians are products with price tags), is rigged against the 99 percent.

This suggests that the strike by 39,000 Verizon and Verizon Wireless workers could be made a little stronger and perhaps more effective.

The strike continues into its third week, and efforts are undertaken to broaden picketing at Verizon Wireless stores across the country. Workers at seven Wireless stores in Brooklyn, New York, and Everett, Massachusetts, are on strike, along with wireline workers from Massachusetts to Virginia.

The Communication Workers are working with Jobs with Justice to get local unions and community groups across the country to “Adopt-a-Store”—meaning they would agree to picket and leaflet outside Verizon Wireless corporate stores at least twice a week for two to three hours.

But the strikers could begin targeting Verizon customers, and perhaps leaflet stores showing how customers are being overpriced, in addition to picketing stores. Why can’t a monopoly getting $19 billion in profits a year lower its prices? If Verizon were in a competitive industry it would lower its prices because it would be forced to.

If anything, Verizon management should be willing to bend to union demands, if only because the money is there, and the money is there because Verizon’s competition doesn’t really exist all that much. In other words, giving a little back to the community would be in the interests of Verizon, and the communities in which it operates, rather than give all that unearned income to rich investors via rising share prices and surging dividends, none of which is funneled back into the communities from which they are effectively stolen through a duel monopolistic fraud.

Otherwise, what’s the purpose of allowing this legal fiction to exist if it can’t give back to the community? Or if it doesn’t benefit the community in which it operates, but is always taking out income, thereby financially weakening the community? That doesn’t make any economic sense.

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John Oliver asks the right question. “What does congress really do?” The answer is that every senator and ever congress person must spend several hours every day raising money, or what are called campaign contributions. Pay careful attention to Oliver’s presentation of Congresswoman Eleanor Norton Holmes call to a prospective campaign donor. Norton actually says she’s working in congress on behalf of the donor, and this might be against the interests of everybody else.

There’s one more thing quite interesting. Every member of the US congress that belongs to the Republican or Democratic Party must raise sizable amounts of cash to give to the party.

The whole process of congressional representatives having to raise millions of dollars a year, even when they are in safe districts, demonstrates how easily corrupted the US government has become since every politician is at the mercy of those campaign contributors.

Worse yet, many of these campaign contributors put out bait to political office holders, like swanky vacations, thousands of dollars of speaking fees while in office, and high paying jobs once they’re out of office, to US representatives. Overall, the US congress and the White House are pigsty’s of corruption.

 

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Franklin Roosevelt

The next recession is unfolding, and it’s going to be the worst one since the Great Depression. I’ve been watching this historically weak US economic expansion unravel since November 2015. See https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/the-coming-recession-and-us-senator-elizabeth-warrens-seniors-and-veterans-emergency-benefits-act-save-benefits-act/. We will officially go into recession somewhere between late this year and June 2017.

Nothing can stop it. Not declining gasoline and oil prices, not falling interest rates.

The corrupt US government has passed legislation over the decades that have redistributed massive amounts of income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent. The 1 percent currently steal over 37 percent of all income produced in the US compared to 8 percent in 1980. See https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/new-study-the-middle-class-is-losing-ground-as-wall-street-senators-ron-wyden-mitch-mcconnell-orrin-hatch-and-others-continue-to-use-the-federal-government-and-the-federal-reserve-to-redistribute/. Now the 99 percent can’t purchase enough goods and services to keep the economy and the financial markets chugging along. The economy is set to collapse upon itself. However, there is even worse news.

Sometime between the November elections of 2016 and whenever the new president is inaugurated Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden will introduce the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) into committee. This is the largest income and political power redistribution scam in world history. The TPP is falsely marketed as a trade agreement, but it has virtually nothing to do with trade.

President Obama, ever the servant of Wall Street executives, has already signed this scam without a single word of debate in the halls of one of the most corrupt political bodies in the world–the US congress. So the TPP becomes law, unconstitutionally at that, if it passes through the US House and the US Senate.

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The TPP will only make matters worse for the 99 percent as this recession swings into full gear. The TPP will redistribute trillions of dollars of income from the 99 to the 1 percent on a yearly basis, as well as steal their state and local voting rights in many cases.

Here’s how bad this coming recession will be without the TPP:

* Effective interest rates will sink into negative levels, like in Europe.
* The nation will flirt with deflation, and possibly fall into it, because trillions of dollars have been redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent, so demand for goods and services will be weaker than at any time since the Great Depression.
* Instead of 48 million Americans on food stamps, like during the current so-called economic expansion, 60 to 90 million Americans will be on food stamps.
* Unemployment will hit 10 to 18 percent, and will stay above 10 percent for years.
* Mortgage defaults will hit record levels.
* Home prices will decline 20 to 60 percent, and maybe more.
* On average, stocks will lose 20 to 60 percent of their values, and maybe more.
* We’re still feeling the impact of the last recession, and so too will we feel the impacts of this recession for years and years unless….
* Anticipate a possible political revolution as grassroots insurgents take over both major political parties. Think Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic Party, and who knows for the Republican Party?
* Anticipate possible violence as the police and military crack down on protesters.
* Anticipate a US political and economic rejuvenation after many years of hard struggle. People like Wyden, one of the principal architects of this recession, will be a historical footnote.

This Depression will be worldwide.

Imagine what this recession will be like with the TPP.

Now, if we can just stop Wyden and the TPP in congress, that will make our task of a restored America for everyone much easier in the long run. And it will be in the long run that we win.

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BernieSanders-TPP3

Jared Bernstein, a former chief economist to Vice President Biden, said last week;

“The time has come to create a new category of person in this town: Someone who supports expanded trade and is all for globalization with a voice for working people here and abroad, but who has completely soured on so-called free-trade agreements (FTAs), as they too often squelch that voice.

The need for this new type of person comes from two sources. First, after years of studying, critiquing, trying to improve and even helping to promote FTAs (when I worked for the Obama administration, I helped with the South Korean FTA), I’ve come to view the process as impossibly broken and essentially corrupted. It’s opaque, the end product is incomprehensible to most people, the input (and thus much of the output) is imbalanced, the politics are a hot mess, some of what’s called “free trade” is actually protectionist, and while many elites remain committed to evermore FTAs, there’s little trust among the people.

Second, if you suggest any of the above, you’re quickly labeled as a knuckle-dragging protectionist, not fit for elite company.”

hillary-for-whatever-tpp-flip-flop

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income inequality

A new study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that income inequality grew again last year, continuing a thirty-five year trend of rising income and wealth inequality that has been the defining feature of the American economy.

According to the study, “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 $50,000 today would instead be making close to $75,000. 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 educated than ever.”

As I show in The Rigged Game: Corporate America and a People Betrayed, our rising inequality is mostly the result of big corporations and the wealthy rewriting the rules of the economy via federal legislation to stack the deck in their favor. They’ve bought everybody from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, from Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden to Wall Street Senator’s Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch. The rich, in other words, are the monopolists who own the political markets on the federal and most state levels.

This government corruption has prevented the benefits of productivity growth from “trickling down” to reach most households.

A few years ago, President Obama called wage and income inequality the “greatest issue of our time.” Then some Wall Street hacks must have called him to their throne room and gave him a tongue lashing. So the president has never mentioned the “greatest issue or our time” ever again. And he’s done nothing about it either.

That’s why wage inequality continued to increase during 2015.

Among EPI’s findings:

* Wage growth occurred fastest in states with higher minimum wages.

* Overall, 2015 saw overall real wage gains driven only by a dip in inflation.

* Wage growth was faster for male workers and white workers, particularly at the top of the wage distribution, which continued to exacerbate racial, ethnic, and gender wage gaps.

* If the Federal Reserve makes decisions based on the data, it is clear that the United States is not in a period of inflation-spurring wage growth. (Editors note: So the Fed should not raise rates in June, although they likely will, but for other than inflation is on the horizon reasons)

* To see strong broad-based wage growth outside of the tightest of labor markets, policymakers could strengthen labor standards, such as by raising the minimum wage, expanding eligibility for overtime pay, and protecting and strengthening workers’ right to bargain collectively for higher wages and benefits.

Income inequality is destroying the US economy. It’s turning us into a third world nation, with a corrupt federal government, and corrupt corporate news media as bad as in any third world nation.

The less money the 99 percent has, the less demand there is for goods and services. This is why the last two economic expansions are the worst in recorded history for US job growth, as well as other economic indices. The more money the rich steal via government corruption, the more the stock markets roar. Currently, 1 percent of the population steal 37 percent of all income produced in the USA, up from 8 percent in 1980.

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If President Obama was a serious Democratic Party president, and he wanted to wipe out Republican Party majorities in the US house and senate, it would be a simple thing to do.

Republican Party leaders, such as Wall Street Senator’s Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch, are desperate to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) passed through congress. The TPP is a massive scam to redistribute income and political power from the 99 to the 1 percent. It involves 11 nations around the Pacific Rim. The TPP will export hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions upon millions (which is more likely), of US jobs to China and Vietnam (Click https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/the-trans-pacific-partnership-the-op-ed-the-liberal-and-conservative-corporate-media-doesnt-want-you-to-see/. The difference between the old US higher wages and the new lower wages over there will go straight into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate earnings, share prices and dividends. The stock markets will then shoot up, like what occurred under the same income redistribution scam called NAFTA.

Obama should have Democratic Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden introduce the TPP out of committee and into the senate for debate. Wyden is a long time supporter of redistributing income, wealth and political power from the 99 to the 1 percent. That’s why I call him Wall Street Ronnie. Republicans will try to block the TPP in committee for a simple reason.

This is an election year and there are more Republican seats up for grabs in the senate than there are Democrats. Voting yes for the TPP before the elections in November will be a deathblow to any candidate who votes yes, except for Wyden, who has a carefully and fraudulently cultivated reputation for caring about the aged, the poor, and the middle class, while carefully voting to redistribute their income to the 1 percent time and time again.

Obama, however, wants the TPP badly, and so most likely will wait with his Republican Wall Street allies until after the November elections to bring the TPP out of committee.

On the other hand, the economic winds already began shifting toward recession late last summer. Those winds will become more readily apparent by November to the great mass of US citizens. The president, Wyden and the Republican leadership will try to ram the TPP through congress then, but this international income and political power redistribution scam will come under intense opposition the like of which has not been seen for decades.

The result should be the death of the TPP, but only if pressure is continued until the bitter end, because most Republicans and Democrats in the US house and senate work for the 1 percent, and against the interests of the 99 percent. Anything to keep those corporate share prices rising, and those campaign contributions, lobbying jobs, vacations and other perks coming.

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