Ann Telnaes: Trump makes the Time cover


Yet another graphic take [previously] on Time magazine’s awarding the coveted “Person of the Year” to President Pussygrabber, this time from the Washington Post:

blog-t-telnaes

Goldman Sachs win the race to the White House


It’s official.

Coolidge is no longer cool.

In his famous address to the address to the Society of American Newspaper Editors in the nation’s capital on 17 January 1925, President Calvin Coolidge famously declared that “the chief business of the American people is business.”

But unlike Coolidge, the motto of the looming Trump administration is “the chief business of the American people is banking.”

For proof, look no farther than his appointments,.

From the Associated Press:

In the heat of the presidential campaign, Donald Trump accused primary rival Ted Cruz of being controlled by Goldman Sachs because his wife, Heidi, previously worked for the Wall Street giant. He slammed Hillary Clinton for receiving speaking fees from the bank.

“I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total control over him,” Trump said of Cruz. “Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton.”

Now, Trump is putting Goldman executives at the helm of his administration’s economic team. He’s expected to name bank president Gary Cohn to an influential White House policy post, according to two people informed of the decision, and has already nominated former Goldman executive Steve Mnuchin to lead the Treasury Department. Steve Bannon, Trump’s incoming White House senior adviser, also worked at Goldman before becoming a conservative media executive.

>snip<

[T]he financial industry’s high-level presence in Trump’s burgeoning administration runs counter to some core campaign messages that energized his supporters.

The concentration of power among so many players who once worked at Goldman is sure to feed suspicions of a government at the service of Wall Street. Goldman was involved in the securities market for subprime mortgages, the same financial instruments that helped fuel the housing bubble and ultimately led millions of Americans to lose their homes to foreclosure. Wall Street executives also opposed the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation signed by President Barack Obama. . .

But clear signals were sent

The appointments should come as no surprise to anyone who followed Trump’s campaign, who signaled in May that his promises to rein in Wall Street greed were just for show.

Back in June Fortune, Wall Street’s virtual house organ, reported this:

“Dodd-Frank has made it impossible for bankers to function,” he says.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Tuesday that sweeping financial reforms put in place under President Barack Obama were harming the economy and he would dismantle nearly all of them.

Trump told Reuters in an interview that he would release a plan in about two weeks for overhauling the 2010 financial regulatory law known as Dodd-Frank.

“Dodd-Frank has made it impossible for bankers to function,” the presumptive Republican nominee said. “It makes it very hard for bankers to loan money for people to create jobs, for people with businesses to create jobs. And that has to stop.”

Pressed on the extent of the changes he wanted to make, Trump said, “it will be close to dismantling of Dodd-Frank.”

French central bank warns of a global slowdown


Thee global economic is engaged in a slow-moving crash.

When you consider the reasons, it’s inevitable.

While the rich are getting richer , everyone else is stuck or heading down [see our earlier posts].

And the rich are getting richer because their wealth is invested heavily in the  parasitical FIRE sector, the finance, insurance, and real estate markets,

Real economic growth, based on the consumption of goods and services, can’t happen without growth in the wages of the working and middle classes, the driving factors leading to consumption of those tangible goods and broadly used services.

But corporate mergers are producing cuts in pay and benefits, with cash assets stripped away and pocketed by plutocratic plunderers, rather than being shared with those folks whose labors produced all that wealth and could use their enlarged share of the pie to actually grow the economy [and, yes, we’re well aware that endless economic growth is itself problematic in the longer run].

And to buy what goods they can, people are increasingly forced to turn to debt, either through bank loans or credit cards, paying ever-higher rates of interest to the FIREy plutocrats.

And with education being privatized or subjected to reduced state subsidies, ever larger numbers of young people are being forced to take loans to attain educations once taken for granted.

And the FIRE folks get richer again.

And now for the warning, via Agence France Presse:

France’s central bank trimmed its growth forecasts for 2016 and 2017 on Friday, citing a deterioration in the global economy and Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

The Bank of France revised its 2016 and 2017 growth forecast down to 1.3 percent, having previously expected growth of 1.4 percent this year and 1.5 percent next year.

It also predicted growth of 1.4 percent in 2018, down from its previous figure of 1.6 percent.

“In 2017 and 2018, the downward revision of our GDP growth projection… is mainly due to the deterioration in the international environment,” it said in a statement.

“The projection is thus particularly affected by less favourable foreign demand prospects.., notably as a result of the impact of Brexit on the UK economy and of its dissemination to the euro area economies.”

Understanding the predatory FIRE sector

For more on the current slowdown and its causes and the predatory nature of the FIRE section, watch this very informative German television interview with University of Missouri-Kansas City economist Michael Hudson, perhaps the most incisive commentator of the modern economic conditions:

Michael Hudson: How Private Debt Makes the Rich Richer

Program notes:

Michael Hudson talks about the causes of inequality in the 21st century

Our author Michael Hudson summarizes some important theses from his book “The Sector – Why Global Finance Is Destroying Us”.
The interview took place on the occasion of the 16th International Literary Festival in Berlin for a symposium titled “Inequality in the 21st Century. Progress, capitalism and global poverty. “ The authors, Angus Deaton, David Graeber and Michael Hudson, presented the most important theses of their current books.

Michael Hudson Bio: Michael Hudson is one of very few economists – globally – who perfectly predicted the 2008 financial crisis.

Michael is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and author of Killing the Host (2015), The Bubble and Beyond (2012), Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1968 & 2003), Trade, Development and Foreign Debt (1992 & 2009) and of The Myth of Aid (1971), amongst many others.

ISLET engages in research regarding domestic and international finance, national income and balance-sheet accounting with regard to real estate, and the economic history of the ancient Near East.

Michael acts as an economic advisor to governments worldwide including Iceland, Latvia and China on finance and tax law.

Mike Luckovich: Ho ho ho


From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

blog-lucko

No more banker’s hours for the Swiss Air Force


You gotta love Switzerland, a nation so militarily non-aggressive that until a change that takes effect with the New Year, their air force has only worked Monday through Friday, and then only during daylight hours.

Starting in January, the jets will be on duty on the weekends for banker’s hours, though it be early in the next decade before the nation as round-the-clock air coverage.

From TheLocal.ch:

Switzerland said on Friday that its air defence system will no longer take weekends off effective January 1st, but that round-the-clock airspace surveillance is about five years away.

The wealthy alpine nation’s aerial defence staff currently work five days a week and are on call during business hours — from 8am (0700 GMT) to 6pm.

Air force colonel Benoit Studemann said that as of 2017 the force will be on guard through the weekend but that expanded daily hours were not expected to be implemented until 2021.

The Swiss air force’s modest work schedule sparked controversy two years ago when the co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines plane hijacked his aircraft and forced it to land in Geneva so he could seek asylum.

No Swiss fighter jets were scrambled to escort the plane as the hijacking happened in the early morning hours, before the air defence team had opened up for the day.

Star Wars: It’s just another day in Trumplandia™


From teleSUR English:

Neo-Nazi groups on the Internet are calling to boycott the premiere of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” as they feel offended about the themes of the upcoming film, calling it “nothing but a Jew masturbation fantasy of anti-White hate,” reports IB Times.

According to what these white-supremacists have poured into their comments on a forum on the discussion website Reddit, they are upset mostly because “nearly all of the major characters are non-whites and the main character is an empowered white female.”

A similar thing happened before the release of the franchise’s Episode VII “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015, when men’s “activists” called on boycott the film because it was starred by John Boyega and Daisy Ridley: a black actor and a woman.

The election of Donald Trump has underscored deep national divisions that have fueled incidents of racial hatred across the United States. There has also been a spike in the number of hate crimes after the vote, according to the FBI.

Chart of the day: The death of the American Dream


From the report.

From the report.

From The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940, a sobering new analysis from economist at the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University, which concludes:

We find that rates of absolute mobility have fallen from approximately 90% for children born in 1940 to 50% for children born in the 1980s. The result that absolute mobility has fallen sharply over the past half century is robust to the choice of price deflator, the definition of income, and accounting for taxes and transfers. In counterfactual simulations, we find that increasing GDP growth rates alone cannot restore absolute mobility to the rates experienced by children born in the 1940s. In contrast, changing the distribution of growth across income groups to the more equal distribution experienced by the 1940 birth cohort would reverse more than 70% of the decline in mobility. These results imply that reviving the “American Dream” of high rates of absolute mobility would require economic growth that is spread more broadly across the income distribution.

More from United Press International:

A new study suggests the “Dream” is fading, citing research that shows 50 percent of people born in the 1980s make more income than their parents, compared to 92 percent of children who were born in the 1940s.

That is, if you consider the definition of “American Dream” to be a person making more than his or her parents made.

In The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940 study conducted by Stanford University, Harvard University and the University of California-Berkeley, researchers said absolute income mobility, a rate used to determine the number of children who earn more income than their parents, has “fallen sharply over the past half century.”

The study said income inequality is the primary reason younger people have been left behind despite a growing gross domestic product, the secondary factor being a slower rate of economic growth when compared to that seen after the generation born in the 1940s.