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June 22, 2020 | Meet BlackRock, the New Great Vampire Squid

BlackRock is a global financial giant with customers in 100 countries and its tentacles in major asset classes all over the world; and it now manages the spigots to trillions of bailout dollars from the Federal Reserve. The fate of a large portion of the country’s corporations has been put in the hands of a […]

June 8, 2020 | When Profits and Politics Drive Science: The Hazards of Rushing a Vaccine at “Warp Speed”

More than 100 companies are competing to be first in the race to get a COVID-19 vaccine to market. It’s a race against time, not because the death rate is climbing but because it is falling – to the point where there could soon be too few subjects to prove the effectiveness of the drug. […]

May 19, 2020 | Another Bank Bailout Under Cover of a Virus

When the Dodd Frank Act was passed in 2010, President Obama triumphantly declared, “No more bailouts!” But what the Act actually said was that the next time the banks failed, they would be subject to “bail ins”—the funds of their creditors, including their large depositors, would be tapped to cover their bad loans. When bail-ins […]

May 3, 2020 | Crushing the States, Saving the Banks: The Fed’s Generous New Rules

Congress seems to be at war with the states. Only $150 billion of its nearly $3 trillion coronavirus relief package – a mere 5% – has been allocated to the 50 states; and they are not allowed to use it where they need it most, to plug the holes in their budgets caused by the […]

April 20, 2020 | A Universal Basic Income is Essential and Will Work

According to an April 6 article on CNBC.com, Spain is slated to become the first country in Europe to introduce a universal basic income (UBI) on a long-term basis. Spain’s Minister for Economic Affairs has announced plans to roll out a UBI “as soon as possible,” with the goal of providing a nationwide basic wage […]

April 3, 2020 | Was the Fed Just Nationalized?

Did Congress just nationalize the Fed? No. But the door to that result has been cracked open. Mainstream politicians have long insisted that Medicare for all, a universal basic income, student debt relief and a slew of other much-needed public programs are off the table because the federal government cannot afford them. But that was […]

March 22, 2020 | Socialism at Its Finest after Fed’s Bazooka Fails

In what is being called the worst financial crisis since 1929, the US stock market has lost a third of its value in the space of a month, wiping out all of its gains of the last three years. When the Federal Reserve tried to ride to the rescue, it only succeeded in making matters worse. […]

March 10, 2020 | The Fed’s Baffling Response to the Coronavirus Explained

When the World Health Organization announced on Feb. 24 that it was time to prepare for a global pandemic, the stock market plummeted. Over the following week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by more than 3,500 points, or 10%. In an attempt to contain the damage, the Federal Reserve on March 3 slashed the […]

February 8, 2020 | Mexico Is Showing the World How to Defeat Neoliberalism

While U.S. advocates and local politicians struggle to get their first public banks chartered, Mexico’s new president has begun construction on 2,700 branches of a government-owned bank to be completed in 2021, when it will be the largest bank in the country. At a press conference on Jan. 6, he said the neoliberal model had […]

January 9, 2020 | The Fed Protects Gamblers at the Expense of the Economy

Although the repo market is little known to most people, it is a $1-trillion-a-day credit machine, in which not just banks but hedge funds and other “shadow banks” borrow to finance their trades. Under the Federal Reserve Act, the central bank’s lending window is open only to licensed depository banks; but the Fed is now […]

December 26, 2019 | The Key to Solving the Climate Crisis Is Beneath Our Feet

The Green New Deal resolution that was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives in February hit a wall in the Senate, where it was called unrealistic and unaffordable. In a Washington Post article titled “The Green New Deal Sets Us Up for Failure. We Need a Better Approach,” former Colorado governor and Democratic presidential candidate John […]

December 12, 2019 | Paul Volcker’s Long Shadow

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan called Paul Volcker “the most effective chairman in the history of the Federal Reserve.” But while Volcker, who passed away Dec. 8 at age 92, probably did have the greatest historical impact of any Fed chairman, his legacy is, at best, controversial. “He restored credibility to the Federal Reserve […]

November 5, 2019 | Is the Run on the Dollar Due to Panic or Greed?

What’s going on in the repo market? Rates on repurchase (“repo”)  agreements should be about 2%, in line with the Federal Reserve funds rate. But they shot up to over 5% on Sept. 16 and got as high as 10% on Sept. 17. Yet banks were refusing to lend to each other, evidently passing up […]

September 26, 2019 | The Disaster of Negative Interest Rates

The dollar strengthened against the euro in August, merely in anticipation of the European Central Bank slashing its key interest rate further into negative territory. Investors were fleeing into the dollar, prompting President Trump to tweet on Aug. 30 When the ECB cut its key rate as anticipated, from a negative 0.4% to a negative […]

September 18, 2019 | Central Bankers’ Desperate Grab for Power

Conceding that their grip on the economy is slipping, central bankers are proposing a radical economic reset that would shift yet more power from government to themselves. Central bankers are acknowledging that they are out of ammunition. Mark Carney, the soon-to-be-retiring head of the Bank of England, said in a speech at the annual meeting of central […]

August 29, 2019 | The Key to a Sustainable Economy Is 5,000 Years Old

We are again reaching the point in the business cycle known as “peak debt,” when debts have compounded to the point that their cumulative total cannot be paid. Student debt, credit card debt, auto loans, business debt and sovereign debt are all higher than they have ever been. As economist Michael Hudson writes in his […]

August 8, 2019 | Neoliberalism Has Met Its Match in China

When the Federal Reserve cut interest rates last week, commentators were asking why. According to official data, the economy was rebounding, unemployment was below 4% and gross domestic product growth was above 3%. If anything, by the Fed’s own reasoning, it should have been raising rates. Market pundits explained that we’re in a trade war […]

July 24, 2019 | The Cheapest Way to Save the Planet Grows Like a Weed

Philip Steffan / CC BY 2.0 Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the cheapest and most efficient way to tackle the climate crisis. So states a Guardian article, citing a new analysis published in the journal Science. The author explains: As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions […]

July 10, 2019 | How to Pay for It All: An Option the Candidates Missed

The Democratic Party has clearly swung to the progressive left, with candidates in the first round of presidential debates coming up with one program after another to help the poor, the disadvantaged and the struggling middle class. Proposals ranged from a Universal Basic Income to Medicare for All to a Green New Deal to student […]

June 26, 2019 | Facebook May Pose a Greater Danger Than Wall Street

Payments can happen cheaply and easily without banks or credit card companies, as has already been demonstrated—not in the United States but in China. Unlike in the U.S., where numerous firms feast on fees from handling and processing payments, in China most money flows through mobile phones nearly for free. In 2018 these cashless payments […]

June 13, 2019 | The American Dream Is Alive and Well—in China

Michael Levine-Clark / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Home ownership has been called “the quintessential American dream.” Yet today less than 65% of American homes are owner occupied, and more than 50% of the equity in those homes is owned by the banks. Compare China, where, despite facing one of the most expensive real estate markets in […]

May 31, 2019 | The Bankers’ “Power Revolution”: How the Government Got Shackled by Debt

This article is excerpted from my new book Banking on the People: Democratizing Money in the Digital Age, available in paperback June 1. The U.S. federal debt has more than doubled since the 2008 financial crisis, shooting up from $9.4 trillion in mid-2008 to over $22 trillion in April 2019. The debt is never paid off. The […]

April 17, 2019 | The Public Banking Revolution Is Upon Us

As public banking gains momentum across the country, policymakers in California and Washington state are vying to form the nation’s second state-owned bank, following in the footsteps of the highly successful Bank of North Dakota, founded in 1919. The race is extremely close, with state bank bills now passing their first round of committee hearings […]

April 1, 2019 | Why Is the Fed Paying So Much Interest to Banks?

“If you invest your tuppence wisely in the bank, safe and sound, Soon that tuppence safely invested in the bank will compound, And you’ll achieve that sense of conquest as your affluence expands In the hands of the directors who invest as propriety demands.” — “Mary Poppins,” 1964 When “Mary Poppins” was made into a […]

March 19, 2019 | The Secret to Funding a Green New Deal

As alarm bells sound over the advancing destruction of the environment, a variety of Green New Deal proposals have appeared in the U.S. and Europe, along with some interesting academic debates about how to fund them. Monetary policy, normally relegated to obscure academic tomes and bureaucratic meetings behind closed doors, has suddenly taken center stage. […]

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