Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
FATTENING WALL STREET — Mike Whitney reports on the rapid metamorphosis of new Fed Chair Janet Yallin into a lackey for the bankers, bond traders and brokers. The New Religious Wars Over the Environment: Joyce Nelson charts the looming confrontation between the Catholic Church and fundamentalists over climate change, extinction and GMOs; A People’s History of Mexican Constitutions: Andrew Smolski on the 200 year-long struggle of Mexico’s peasants, indigenous people and workers to secure legal rights and liberties; Spying on Black Writers: Ron Jacobs uncovers the FBI’s 50 year-long obsession with black poets, novelists and essayists; O Elephant! JoAnn Wypijewski on the grim history of circus elephants; PLUS: Jeffrey St. Clair on birds and climate change; Chris Floyd on the US as nuclear bully; Seth Sandronsky on Van Jones’s blind spot; Lee Ballinger on musicians and the State Department; and Kim Nicolini on the films of JC Chandor.
Archives by Tag 'Economy'
Domestic Cold War Casualties
EVAN JONES
In 1981 I read an article by Noam Chomsky that I have never forgotten. The article was published in the British Guardian, 15 June 1981. The title tells it all: ‘The cold war is a device by which superpowers control their own domains. That is why it will continue...
Crushing the Middle Class
MIKE WHITNEY
The Federal Reserve presently lends money at a lower rate than anytime in history. In fact, the rate at which the Fed lends money is more than a full percentage point below the current rate of inflation. That means the Fed is subsidizing borrowing. Naturally, zero rates c...
It’s Still Class Warfare
DAVID MACARAY
It’s an old joke, but it bears repeating: An Oxford professor meets a former student on the street. He asks what he’s been up to lately. The student tells him he’s working on a doctoral thesis about the survival of the class system in the United States. The professo...
The Economy, Labour and the 2015 Canadian Election
MURRAY DOBBIN
With the formation Unifor, a “new kind of union” and the country’s largest private sector union, there is at least a chance that the long slumber of the labour movement is over. An organization that big, with a radically new mandate, cannot help but influence develo...
The Fed, QE, and Jobs
JACK RASMUS
Over the past five years the US central bank, the Federal Reserve (Fed), has printed nearly $4 trillion in liquidity (money) which it has provided to banks and professional investors. This is called ‘Quantitative Easing’ (QE). QE means the Fed essentially prints money...
Is the Housing Recovery Over?
MIKE WHITNEY
Mortgage rates are rising and the housing market is getting weaker.  In May of 2013, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.59%. Today it is 4.71%, more than a full percentage point higher. That means that the payment on a $200,000 loan is 15 percent more than it would h...
Finally, Some Good News for Organized Labor
DAVID MACARAY
A couple of good things happened on the labor front recently.  Granted, thirty-five years ago, neither of these events would have merited more than a casual footnote, let alone be considered “good.”  But that was back in 1978, when there was still hope.  Considerin...
Obama’s Middle Class Problem
GEOFFREY McDONALD
Obama is scandalized that the American dream – the mythical notion that hard work gets you ahead – is not panning out for a lot of people. He is incensed that America is currently not in the position to create jobs that are both globally competitive and provide a dece...
The Stop-Go US Economic Recovery
JACK RASMUS
For the past several years, the US press, pundits, and apologists for both liberal and conservative politicians in the US have jumped at every slight indication of this or that monthly...
The New Economy is the No Jobs Economy
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
One of my most popular columns was about escaping from the Matrix existence in which Americans live. It is a world of disinformation and misinformation in which facts are fiction, and abstract theories are substituted for empirical reality. Official government stat...
Housing Shifts Into Reverse
MIKE WHITNEY
Here are a few headlines you might want to mull-over before you plunk 20 percent down on that $500,000 Tudor in Rancho Mirage: “Mortgage Applications Drop for Seventh Straight Week”,  “Homeownership slides to 18 year low”,  “Inve...
Hiding Economic Depression With Spin
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Time is running out for the US economy and the American people. The financial press and economic commentators, with few exceptions, do a good job of keeping this fact from the public. Consider for example the spin put on the “advance estimate” of the real GDP g...
Chester on the Edge
LINH DINH
Traveling by train to Philadelphia, going North, you will pass by Chester, PA, a city that has been in decline for more than half a century. Founded in 1682, the same year as Philadelphia, Chester was a major manufacturer of US Navy ships from the Civil War until World Wa...
Is Turkey Thriving?
T. SABRI ÖNCÜ
On 27 May 2013, Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University published a commentary titled “Why Turkey is Thriving?” at Project Syndicate. He argued,  “Long-term growth stems from prudent monetary and fiscal policies, the political will to regulate banks, and a combination...
Bernanke’s Inflation Problem
MIKE WHITNEY
Ben Bernanke has an inflation problem. There isn’t any inflation and that’s a problem. In the last 12 months, consumer prices have risen a mere 1.1 percent which–according to Bloomberg–“matches the smallest increase since records began...
Sequester Optionally Applied Only to Good Things
DAVID SWANSON
Spending cuts have been applied by Congress to both military and non-military spending. In my view, the military cuts are much too small and the non-military cuts should not exist at all.  In the view of most liberal organizations, the military cuts — like t...
Time for an Economy Of, By and For the People
KEVIN ZEESE & MARGARET FLOWERS
The reaction to Ben Bernanke suggestion that it may be time to wind down the easy money policies which have been injecting $85 billion into the hands of Wall Street each month show that the ‘recovery’ has been a fraud. In the weeks since the Fed chairman first ...
Rural Definitions: You’re O-U-T!
CAROL MILLER
The squabble over how to define rural diverts us from the real problem: Support for vital rural development programs has been decimated. Maybe it’s time for a new take on an old idea. The emerging fight in Washington over how to define “rural” for some federa...
Made In Post-China™
ASHOK KUMAR & ALEX GAWENDA
“Those jobs are gone and they’re not coming back” snapped Apple Ceo Steve Jobs. The scene was a 2011 dinner held at the home of venture capitalist John Doerr in Woodside, California, a short drive south of San Francisco. Those on the guest list–the...
The Collapse of the Hourly Wage
MIKE WHITNEY
“If we care about building a fast growing economy that provides opportunity for every American, then we must enact policies that build it from the middle out, not the top down. Tax the wealthy and corporations–and invest that money in the middle cl...
Another Phony Jobs Report
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
The payroll jobs report for May released continues the fantasy. Goods producing jobs declined, with manufacturing losing another 4,000 jobs, but the New Economy produced 179,000 service jobs. Are these jobs the high-powered, high-wage  “innovation jobs”...
Privatizations and Failures in Russia’s Economy
JEFFREY SOMMERS
The departure of college rectors is typically is not the topic of national news, let alone a story dominating global press coverage for a week.  The exit of Sergey Guriev as rector from Russia’s New Economic School, however, has proved just that.  From Russian interne...
Sweat Shops, Then and Now
DAVID MACARAY
Despite his support for some policies and programs that organized labor has strongly opposed (NAFTA anyone?),  I’ve always been a fan of Robert Reich, President Clinton’s first-term Secretary of Labor.  Even when disagreeing with him, I’ve always found his thinkin...
Deflation Smackdown
MIKE WHITNEY
“Under a fiat money system, a government… should always be able to generate increased nominal spending and inflation, even when the short-term nominal interest rate is at zero.” Ben S. Bernanke, “Deflation: Making...
Krugman’s Austerity Blinders
JOSHUA SPERBER
The liberal case against austerity has recently gained momentum with the exposure of Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff’s calculation errors in their influential pro-austerity paper, “Growth in a Time of Debt.” Amon...
Obama’s Personal Responsibility Snake Oil
AJAMU NANGWAYA
United States president Barack Obama appears to never pass up an opportunity when addressing Afrikan Americans to shift the responsibility for their success to personal effort and not the removal of structural barriers that are connected to white supremacy, sexism and cap...
Radical Remaking of the Economy is Taking Root
KEVIN ZEESE and MARGARET FLOWERS
It is time for the economy to work for the people, not the elites; it is time for economic democracy. As the school year ends, college students are coming home to a paucity of summer jobs and young adults are graduating into an economy with ...
Japan’s Roller-Coaster Markets
MIKE WHITNEY
“The bankers in Tokyo tell me there is a widespread mindset of panic among institutional holders of Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) and that can’t be a good thing. Panic tends inevitably to lead to crisis, and goodness knows, global financial mark...
The Silent Death of the American Left
JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
Is there a Left in America today? There is, of course, a Left ideology, a Left of the mind, a Left of theory and critique. But is there a Left movement? Does the Left exist as an oppositional political, cultural or economic force? Is anyone intimidated or re...
Goal Reached: Time to Restart the Economy
KEVIN ZEESE and MARGARET FLOWERS
Finally – it’s over.  The goal of Simpson and Bowles has been met, the deficit is shrinking rapidly. And the intellectual underpinning for deficit reduction, based on the ...
American Advice for Indian Growth
VIJAY PRASHAD
Where does one even begin? On May 21, the US Ambassador to India, Nancy Powell, addressed the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Kolkata. She told the eager crowd of businessmen that “if India is to grow again, support for policies that are necessary for ...
Soros’s Bets
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
You know that gold bear market that the financial press keeps touting? The one George Soros keeps proclaiming? Well, it is not there. The gold bear market is disinformation that is helping elites acquire the gold. Certainly, Soros himself doesn’t believe it, as t...
Fiscal Policy Without Fear
DEAN BAKER
It appears that the Reinhart-Rogoff battles have flamed out. Even the inventors of the 90 percent debt cliff are now anxious to portray themselves of ...
The Land of Murder
NILANTHA ILANGAMUWA
...
Obama’s Absurd Sequester Scheme
DEAN BAKER
The big talk in Washington this month is the sequester cuts. These cuts are roughly 8 percent of most areas of discretionary spending, both military and domestic. While the cuts became effective at the start of March, many will first begin to pinch this month since govern...
Divided We Fall: a Tale of Two Economic Realities
JASON HIRTHLER
“Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life.” These lines from schoolmaster Thomas Gradgrind open Charles Dickens’ ...
Recovery for the 7 Percent
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
“From the end of the recession in 2009 through 2011 (the last year for which Census Bureau wealth data are available), the 8 million households in the U.S. with a net worth above $836,033 saw their aggregate wealth rise by an estimated $5.6 trillion, while t...
Back to Recession
MIKE WHITNEY
The media is calling it a “Spring swoon”,  but it’s really just the next phase of the long slump. After a strong showing in the first quarter (Q1), the economy is starting to lose steam for the forth year in a row. The main cause for the slow...
Terrorizing the Economy
LAURA FLANDERS
Two acts of cruelty claimed lives this tax day.  One was criminal, bloody and shocked a nation. The other was routine, legal and potentially way more deadly. They both rely on secrecy. The bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon were planted by we don’...
Krugman vs. Stockman
MIKE WHITNEY
It was no Rumble in the Jungle, that’s for sure. There were no blindside blows to the ribs, no bone...
The Myth of the Aztec Tiger
PAUL IMISON
Mexico City. According to rumors spread by everyone from The Economist to The New York Times, Mexico has gone from being the bloody epicenter of the “drug war” to a roaring “Aztec tiger” in the space of three short months. Following l...
Reducing Production
DON FITZ
The question is not should we advocate reducing production within capitalist society but rather: How do we best relate to those struggles that are already occurring?  Activists across the globe are challenging the uncontrollable dynamic of economic expansio...
Has Everyone Improved Except Working People?
DAVID MACARAY
Not to wax nostalgically, but when we look back at the social progress made over the last half-century or so, we have much to be proud of. Granted, in many instances it was unfortunate we had to wait so long before these progressive measures took root, but late to the par...
Sealed in the House of Privilege
LAWRENCE MISHEL
David Brooks recently wrote a misguided column critic...
Obama and the Grand Bargain
SHAMUS COOKE
President Obama’s recent closed-door sessions with Republican congressmen to reach a “grand bargain” has roused suspiciously little attention in the mainstream media. What scant reporting has occurred presents the following narrative: President Ob...
Two More Public Officials “Cash In”
MIKE WHITNEY
Is there anything more maddening then watching elected officials and regulators cash in for their time in office? Here’s two more names you can add to the list: Former SEC chief Mary Schapiro and ex-US Senator Scott Brown (R-MA). Schapiro, the feckless sellou...
One Nation, Under Sequester
WALTER BRASCH
Judges who wish to assure that a jury has no outside influence will sequester them. Legally, a sequestered jury is seized by authority and isolated from all outside influences. The jurors are escorted into and out of the courtroom. They aren’t allowed to r...
Dow Sets Record On Fed’s QE
MIKE WHITNEY
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) roared to an all-time high on Friday wrapping up a 4-day winning streak and shrugging off grim reports of government budget cuts that are expected to slow growth. The Dow rose 67 points on the day to close at 14,397 passing the prev...
Can Re-Industrialization Save the Middle Class?
TOM MCNAMARA
Saint-Cyr, Coëtquidan, France. Most economists agree that the “Great Recession” of 2008 ended sometime around the summer of 2009. This is surely great news to the 47.6 million Americans who are eating thanks to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Prog...
How to Raise the Minimum Wage
RALPH NADER
Day after day exposés pour forth about corporate and governmental wrongdoing and abuses of power from official reports, the media, lawsuits and citizen groups. Far more often than not, little or nothing happens. The organized culprits continue with their harmful and gree...