Article 43

 

Next Recession, Next Depression

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

NWO Covid Year 3 Part 3

image: caronavirus

The central claim of the ruling elite and its political mouthpieces - that “there is no money for jobs, education, health care, housing, pensions” - is a lie. The American financial elite has never been richer. Even as the government was launching its attack on social programs, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was heading for a new record high. Corporate profits and CEO pay continue to soar, subsidized by trillions in virtually free loans and bailouts from the Treasury and the Federal Reserve.
- Austerity American Style Part 9

“And thus it renders more and more evident the great central fact that the cause of the miserable condition of the working class is to be sought, not in these minor grievances, but in the capitalistic system itself.”
- The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), (preface to the English Edition, p.36), Fredrich Engels

IMF “structural adjustment” policies have resulted in 52% of Africans lacking access to healthcare and 83% having no safety nets to fall back on if they lose their job or become sick.
- Even the IMF has shown that neoliberal policies fuel poverty and inequality.

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What Was Covid Really About? Triggering A Multi-Trillion Dollar Global Debt Crisis. “Ramping up an Imperialist Strategy”?

By Colin Rodhunter
Global Research
July 7, 2022

The IMF and World Bank have for decades pushed a policy agenda based on cuts to public services, increases in taxes paid by the poorest and moves to undermine labour rights and protections.

In 2021, an Oxfam review of IMF COVID-19 loans showed that 33 African countries were encouraged to pursue austerity policies. The worlds poorest countries are due to pay $43 billion in debt repayments in 2022, which could otherwise cover the costs of their food imports.

Oxfam and Development Finance International (DFI) have also revealed that 43 out of 55 African Union member states face public expenditure cuts totalling $183 billion over the next five years.

According to Prof MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY of the Centre for Research on Globalization, the closure of the world economy (March 11, 2020 Lockdown imposed on more than 190 countries) has triggered an unprecedented process of global indebtedness. Governments are now under the control of global creditors in the post-COVID era.

What we are seeing is a de facto privatisation of the state as governments capitulate to the needs of Western financial institutions.

Moreover, these debts are largely dollar-denominated, helping to strengthen the US dollar and US leverage over countries.

It raises the question: what was COVID really about?

Millions have been asking that question since lockdowns and restrictions began in early 2020. If it was indeed about public health, why close down the bulk of health services and the global economy knowing full well what the massive health, economic and debt implications would be?

Why mount a military-style propaganda campaign to censor world-renowned scientists and terrorise entire populations and use the full force and brutality of the police to ensure compliance?

These actions were wholly disproportionate to any risk posed to public health, especially when considering the way ґCOVID death definitions and data were often massaged and how PCR tests were misused to scare populations into submission.

Prof FABIO VIGHI of Cardiff University implies we should have been suspicious from the start when the usually “unscrupulous ruling elites” froze the global economy in the face of a pathogen that targets almost exclusively the unproductive (the over 80s).

COVID was a crisis of capitalism masquerading as a public health emergency.

Capitalism

Capitalism needs to keep expanding into or creating new markets to ensure the accumulation of capital to offset the tendency for the general rate of profit to fall. The capitalist needs to accumulate capital (wealth) to be able to reinvest it and make further profits. By placing downward pressure on workers’ wages, the capitalist extracts sufficient surplus value to be able to do this.

But when the capitalist is unable to sufficiently reinvest (due to declining demand for commodities, a lack of investment opportunities and markets, etc), wealth (capital) over accumulates, devalues and the system goes into crisis. To avoid crisis, capitalism requires constant growth, markets and sufficient demand.

According to writer TTED REESE, the capitalist rate of profit has trended downwards from an estimated 43% in the 1870s to 17% in the 2000s. Although wages and corporate taxes have been slashed, the exploitability of labour was increasingly insufficient to meet the demands of capital accumulation.

By late 2019, many companies could not generate sufficient profit. Falling turnover, limited cashflows and highly leveraged balance sheets were prevalent.

Economic growth was weakening in the run up to the massive STOCK MARKET CRASH in February 2020, which saw trillions more pumped into the system in the guise of “COVID relief.”

To stave off crisis up until that point, various tactics had been employed.

Credit markets were expanded and personal debt increased to maintain consumer demand as workers wages were squeezed. Financial deregulation occurred and speculative capital was allowed to exploit new areas and investment opportunities. At the same time, stock buy backs, the student debt economy, quantitative easing and massive bail outs and subsidies and an expansion of militarism helped to maintain economic growth.

There was also a ramping up of an imperialist strategy that has seen indigenous systems of production abroad being displaced by global corporations and states pressurised to withdraw from areas of economic activity, leaving transnational players to occupy the space left open.

While these strategies produced speculative bubbles and led to an overevaluation of assets and increased both personal and government debt, they helped to continue to secure viable profits and returns on investment.

But come 2019, former governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King warned that the world was sleepwalking towards a fresh economic and financial crisis that would have devastating consequences. He argued that the global economy was stuck in a low growth trap and recovery from the crisis of 2008 was weaker than that after the Great Depression.

King concluded that it was time for the Federal Reserve and other central banks to begin talks behind closed doors with politicians.

That is precisely what happened as key players, including BlackRock, the world’s most powerful investment fund, got together to work out a strategy going forward. This took place in the lead up to COVID.

Aside from deepening the dependency of poorer countries on Western capital, Fabio Vighi says lockdowns and the global suspension of economic transactions allowed the US Fed to flood the ailing financial markets (under the guise of COVID) with freshly printed money while shutting down the real economy to avoid hyperinflation. Lockdowns suspended business transactions, which drained the demand for credit and stopped the contagion.

COVID provided cover for a multi-trillion-dollar bailout for the capitalist economy that was in meltdown prior to COVID. Despite a decade or more of “quantitative easing,” this new bailout came in the form of trillions of dollars pumped into financial markets by the US Fed (in the months prior to March 2020) and subsequent “COVID relief.”

The IMF, World bank and global leaders knew full well what the impact on the world’s poor would be of closing down the world economy through COVID-related lockdowns.

Yet they sanctioned it and there is now THE PROSPECT that in excess of a quarter of a billion more people worldwide will fall into extreme levels of poverty in 2022 alone.

In April 2020, the Wall Street Journal stated THE IMF AND WORLD BANK FCED A DELUGE OF REQUESTS FROM SCORES OF POORER COUNTRIES seeking bailouts and loans from financial institutions with $1.2 trillion to lend.

In addition to helping to reboot the financial system, closing down the global economy deliberately deepened “poorer countries” dependency on Western global conglomerates and financial interests.

Lockdowns also helped accelerate the restructuring of capitalism that involves smaller enterprises being driven to bankruptcy or bought up by monopolies and global chains, thereby ensuring continued viable profits for Big Tech, the digital payments giants and global online corporations like Meta and Amazon and the eradication of millions of jobs.

Although the effects of the conflict in Ukraine cannot be dismissed, with the global economy now open again, inflation is rising and causing a cost of “living” crisis. With a debt-ridden economy, there is limited scope for rising interest rates to control inflation.

But this crisis is not inevitable: current inflation is not only induced by the liquidity injected into the financial system but also being fuelled by speculation in food commodity markets and corporate greed as energy and food corporations continue to rake in vast profits at the expense of ordinary people.

Resistance

However, resistance is fertile.

Aside from the many anti-restriction/pro-freedom rallies during COVID, we are now seeing a more strident trade unionism coming to the fore in Britain at least - led by media savvy leaders like Mick Lynch, general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), who know how to appeal to the public and tap into widely held resentment against soaring cost of living rises.

Teachers, health workers and others could follow the RMT into taking strike action.

Lynch says that millions of people in Britain face lower living standards and the stripping out of occupational pensions. He adds:

“COVID has been a smokescreen for the rich and powerful in this country to drive down wages as far as they can.”

Just like a decade of “imposed austerity” was used to achieve similar results in the lead up to COVID.

THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT SHOULD NOW BE TAKING A LEADING ROLE in resisting the attack on living standards and further attempts to run-down state-provided welfare and privatise what remains.

The strategy to wholly dismantle and privatise health and welfare services seems increasingly likely given the need to rein in (COVID-related) public debt and the trend towards AI, workplace automisation and worklessness.

This is a real concern because, following the logic of capitalism, work is a condition for the existence of the labouring classes. So, if a mass labour force is no longer deemed necessary, there is no need for mass education, welfare and healthcare provision and systems that have traditionally served to reproduce and maintain labour that capitalist economic activity has required.

In 2019, Philip Alston, the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty, accused British government ministers of the systematic immiseration of a significant part of the “British population” in the decade following the 2008 financial crash.

Alston stated:

“As Thomas Hobbes observed long ago, such an approach condemns the least well off to lives that are solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and shortђ. As the British social contract slowly evaporates, Hobbes prediction risks becoming the new reality.”

Post-COVID, Alston’s words carry even more weight.

As this article draws to a close, news is breaking that Boris Johnson has resigned as prime minister. A remarkable PM if only for his criminality, lack of moral foundation and double standards - also applicable to many of his cronies in government.

With this in mind, lets finish where we began.

“I have never seen a class so deeply demoralised, so incurably debased by selfishness, so corroded within, so incapable of progress, as the English bourgeoisie”

For it nothing exists in this world, except for the sake of money, itself not excluded. It knows no bliss save that of rapid gain, no pain save that of losing gold.

In the presence of this avarice and lust of gain, it is not possible for a single human sentiment or opinion to remain untainted.Ŕ Friedrich Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), p.275

About the author:

Renowned author Colin Todhunter specialises in development, food and agriculture. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) in Montreal.

THE AUTHOR receives no payment from any media outlet or organization for his work. If you appreciated this article, consider sending a few coins his way.

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Posted by Elvis on 07/12/22 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Austerity American Style Part 22 - Forced Unemployment

image class warfare

In the boardrooms of corporate America, profits aren’t everything - they are the only thing. A JPMorgan research report concludes that the current corporate profit recovery is more dependent on falling unit-labor costs than during any previous expansion.
- Why The Rich Love Unemployment

After saying that “the halls of Congress are no joke,” Ocasio-Cortez said that “standing up to corporate power, and established interests is no joke. It’s not just about standing up and saying these things, but behind closed doors, your arm is twisted, the vise pressure of political pressure gets put on you, every trick in the book, psychological, and otherwise is to get us to abandon the working class.”
- AOC - Bernie Sanders WonԒt Abandon the Working Class

The Feds Austerity Program to Reduce Wages

By Michael Hudson
June 19, 2022

To Wall Street and its backers, the solution to any price inflation is to reduce wages and public social spending. The orthodox way to do this is to push the economy into recession in order to reduce hiring. Rising unemployment will oblige labor to compete for jobs that pay less and less as the economy slows.

This class-war doctrine is the prime directive of neoliberal economics. It is the tunnel vision of corporate managers and the One Percent. The Federal Reserve and IMF are its most prestigious lobbyists. Along with Janet Yellen at the Treasury, public discussion of today’s inflation is framed in a way that avoids blaming the 8.2 percent rise in consumer prices on the Biden Administration’s New Cold War sanctions on Russian oil, gas and agriculture, or on oil companies and other sectors using these sanctions as an excuse to charge monopoly prices as if America has not continued to buy Russian diesel oil, as if fracking has picked up and corn is not being turned into biofuel. There has been no disruption in supply. We are simply dealing with monopoly rent by the oil companies using the anti-Russian sanctions as an excuse that an oil shortage will soon develop for the United States and indeed for the entire world economy.

Covid’s shutdown of the U.S. and foreign economies and foreign trade also is not acknowledged as disrupting supply lines and raising shipping costs and hence import prices. The entire blame for inflation is placed on wage earners, and the response is to make them the victims of the coming austerity, as if their wages are responsible for bidding up oil prices, food prices and other prices resulting from the crisis. The reality is that they are too debt-strapped to be spendthrifts.

The Feds junk economics of what bank credit is spent on

The pretense behind the Fed’s recent increase in its discount rate by 0.75 percent on June 15 (to a paltry range of 1.50% to 1.75%) is that raising interest rates will cure inflation by deterring borrowing to spend on the basic needs that make up the Consumer Price Index and its related GDP deflator. But banks do not finance much consumption, except for credit card debt, which is now less than student loans and automobile loans.

Banks lend almost entirely to buy real estate, stocks and bonds, not goods and services. Some 80 percent of bank loans are real estate mortgages, and most of the remainder loans are collateralized by stocks and bonds. So raising interest rates will not lead wage-earners to borrow less to buy consumer goods. The main price effect of less bank credit and higher interest rates is on asset prices deterring borrowing to buy homes, as well as for arbitragers to buy stocks and bonds.

Rolling back middle-class home ownership

The most immediate effect of the Federal Reserve’s credit tightening will be to reduce America’s home-ownership rate. This rate has been falling since 2008, from nearly 68 percent to just 61 percent today. The decline got underway with President Obama’s eviction of nearly ten million victims of junk mortgages, mainly black and Hispanic debtors. That was the Democratic Party’s alternative to writing down fraudulent mortgage loans to realistic market prices, and reducing their carrying charges to bring them in line with market rental values. The indebted victims of this massive bank fraud were made to suffer, so that Obama’s Wall Street sponsors could keep their predatory gains and indeed, receive massive bailouts. The costs of their fraud fell on bank customers, not on the banks and their stockholders and bondholders.

The effect of discouraging new home buyers by raising interest rates lowers home ownership - the badge of being middle-class. Despite this, the United States is turning into a landlord economy. The Feds policy of raising interest rates will greatly increase the interest charges that prospective new home buyers will have to pay, pricing the carrying charge out of reach for many families.

As the United States has become more debt-ridden, more than 50 percent of the value of U.S. real estate already is held by mortgage bankers. Homeowners’ equity what they own net of their mortgage debt - has fallen even faster than home ownership rates have declined.

Real estate is being transferred from “poor” hands to those of wealthy landlord corporations. Private capital companies - the funds of the One Percent - are going to pick up the pieces to turn homes into rental properties. Higher interest rates will not affect their cost of buying this housing, because they buy for all cash to make profits (actually, real estate rents) as landlords. In another decade the nation’s home ownership rate may fall toward 50 percent, turning the United States into a landlord economy instead of the promised middle-class home ownership economy.

The coming economic austerity (indeed, debt-burdened depression)

While home ownership rates plunged for the population at large, the Fed’s “Quantitative Easing” increased its subsidy of Wall Street’s financial securities from $1 trillion to $8.2 trillion of which the largest gain has been in packaged home mortgages. This has kept housing prices from falling and becoming more affordable for home buyers. But the Fed’s support of asset prices saved many insolvent banks - the very largest ones - from going under. Sheila Bair of the FDIC singled out Citigroup, along with Countrywide, Bank of America and the other usual suspects. The working population is not considered to be too big to fail. Its political weight is small by comparison to that of Wall Street banks.

Lowering the discount rate to only about 0.1 percent enabled the banking system to make a bonanza of gains by making mortgage loans at around 3.50 percent. So despite the stock markets plunge of over 20 percent from nearly 36000 to under 30,000 on June 17, America’s wealthiest One Percent, and indeed the top 10 Percent, have vastly increased their wealth. But most Americans have not benefitted from this run up in asset prices, because most stocks and bonds are owned by only the wealthiest layer of the population. For most American families, corporations and government at all levels, the financial boom since 2008 has entailed growing debt. Many families face insolvency as Federal Reserve policy aims to create unemployment. Now that the Covid moratorium on the evictions of renters behind in their payments is expiring, the ranks of the homeless are rising.

The Biden Administration is trying to blame today’s inflation and related distortions on Putin, even using the term “Putin inflation.” The mainstream media follow suit in not explaining to their audience that blocking Russian energy and food exports will cause a food and energy crisis for many countries this summer and autumn. And indeed, beyond: Biden’s military and State Department officers warn that the fight against RUSSIA is just the first step in their war against China’s non-neoliberal economy, and may last twenty years.

That is a long depression. But as Madeline Albright would say, they think that the price is “worth it.” Biden’s cabinet depicts this New Cold War as a fight of the “democratic” United States privatizing economic planning in the hands of the largest banks “too big to fail” and other members of the neo-rentier class, in opposition to autocratic China and even Russia treating banking and money creation as a public utility to finance tangible economic growth, not financialization.

There is no evidence that America’s neoliberal New Cold War can restore the nations former industrial and related economic power.

The economy cannot recover as long as it leaves todayҒs debt overhead in place. Debt service, housing costs, privatized medical care, student debt and a decaying infrastructure have made the U.S. economy uncompetitive. There is no way to restore its economic viability without reversing these neoliberal policies. But there is little reality economicsӔ at hand to provide an alternative to the class war inherent in neoliberalism’s belief that the economy and living standards can prosper by purely financial means, by debt leveraging and corporate monopoly rent extraction while the United States has made its manufacturing uncompetitive - seemingly irreversibly.

The rentier class has sought to make Americas neoliberal privatization and financialization irreversible.

It has succeeded to such a degree that there is no party or economic constituency promoting such recovery. Yet the Democratic Party leadership, subjecting the economy to an IMF-style austerity plan, will make this November’s midterm elections unique. For the past half century, the Feds role has been to provide easy money to give the ruling party at least the illusion of prosperity to deter voters from electing the opposition party. But this time the Biden Administration are running on a program of financial austerity.

The Party’s identity politics address almost every identity except that of wage-earners and debtors. That does not look like a platform that can succeed. But as the ghost of Margaret Thatcher no doubt is telling them: “There Is No Alternative.”

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Friday, May 20, 2022

The Next Recession Part 29 - Rising Inflation

rdwolff-dw.jpg image: economist richard wolff border=0

“The Fed uses interest rates as either a gas pedal or a brake on the economy when needed,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate. “With inflation running high, they can raise interest rates and use that to pump the brakes on the economy in an effort to get inflation under control.”
- CNBC - Why the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to combat inflation

“Relentless high inflation is the culprit here: As the Federal Reserve attempts to tame it by rising interest rates, investors read depressed earnings ahead. We’re going to have high inflation throughout this year and into next year, and I dont really see a slowdown until 2024”
- Wharton’s Jeremy Siegel says that high inflation will last until 2024 and the Fed is playing catch-up with its late response.

The US Department of the Treasury recently announced that student loan interest rates will increase for the 2022-2023 school year. These new rates go into effect July 1, 2022, and you can’t take out any new student loans before that date.
- Student Loan Interest Rates Are About To Go Up, Business Insider, May 18, 2022

University of Florida economist Dr. Amanda Phalin said she also anticipates a recession to form over the next year or two despite efforts to avoid job losses.

“It is possible to raise the interest rates without increasing unemployment theoretically, but it has never been done before, Phalin explained.
- Anticipate Another Recession

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Economics 101: What rising interest rates, inflation mean for you

By Paul Guggenheimer
Tribune Total Media
May 20, 2022

The price of just about everything has gone up.

Inflation, the rate at which prices rise in the economy, is the worst its been in 40 years. The Federal Reserve, the central bank for the U.S. - more commonly known as the Fed - announced earlier this month that it was raising its benchmark interest rate by a half percent. That marked the largest rate hike since 2000 and came as a direct result of rising inflation.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said future interest rate hikes are likely.

But what does this all mean for you?

It means the cost of borrowing money has gone up. If you carry credit card debt, your rates are going to jump. Adjustable-rate mortgages and home-equity lines of credit also will be affected.

Risa Kumazawa, an associate professor of economics in Duquesne Universitys Palumbo Donahue School of Business, teaches the course “Economics 101 - Principles of Macro Economics.” She spoke with the Tribune-Review and explained what you need to know.

Question: What is inflation and what causes it?

Answer: Inflation simply means that there are higher prices. There is always inflation in the economy. Prices are always rising. But when it becomes a problem is when prices are so much higher than the year before. Were experiencing inflation that is not the typical norm. In the U.S., prices (usually) grow by about 2% to 3% per year. But (now) we’re suddenly faced with an 8.5% (increase) in March of this year compared with March of last year. So we’ve deviated from the norm, which is why this inflation is on everybody’s minds.

Q: How would you sum up what is currently happening with the economy and what were seeing with inflation?

A: This is the perfect storm - with Russia going to war with Ukraine, the supply chain issue, higher demand, stuff not being shipped quickly enough and prices rising for certain things in the economy. People are facing unexpected higher prices. The first place people are noticing this is at gas stations. The one thing that shot up in price is oil. Your gasoline now costs a lot more (per gallon) than it used to. Russia’s war with Ukraine has definitely played a role in this. Russia is one of the primary countries that supplies oil to the world. So this is a major blow to countries that were importing oil from Russia. That usually comes with higher food costs, and we’re definitely seeing that as well.

Q: So its like a domino effect? Do higher gas prices impact food prices?

A: They do because when truck drivers ship things, or if you’re flying things, gasoline costs are involved, so then the sellers of these products raise their prices as well to make a profit.

Q: How do you arrive at the figure of 8.5% to show how much prices have increased in the last year?

A: Were tracking multiple prices in the economy. You’re not just tracking the price of gasoline but food milk, bread, eggs - we track all these prices as well. We have a way of combining all of these individual prices together in whats called the (Labor Department’s) consumer price index, and then when we take the percentage change in that, we can figure out the inflation rate in the economy.

Q: So this is what our current inflation looks like, and its not good for consumers. The Federal Reserve is responding to inflation by raising interest rates. What is the Fed, what is it designed to do, and why is it raising interest rates?

A: The Fed is considered to be the central bank of the country. It conducts monetary policy, which includes lowering and raising of interest rates depending on how well the economy is doing. The Fed lowers the interest rate to stimulate a slowing economy. It impacts big-ticket purchases that people make - cars, homes, appliances. If there’s a lower interest rate that people are going to be paying, they’re going to spend more, and this is how the economy gets stimulated. The Fed also raises interest rates to combat an economy with high inflation. When interest rates are high, people aren’t going to be spending as much because you’re going to be paying (more money) for your car loan, your mortgage, credit cards. (Consumers) aren’t spending as much, so prices will come back down again. But by slowing down the economy, it could lead to a recession. The Fed has decided that the inflation issue is a big enough problem that they’re going to fight that one.

Q: When do we, as a collective economy, feel the pinch of this, and whats the worst thing that can happen?

A: The worst, I think, is because of these (higher) interest rates, the Fed actually pushes us into a recession. That’s the worst that could happen in this scenario.

About the author

Paul Guggenheimer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or EMAIL

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“Is there anything the Biden administration can do to decrease the rate of inflation significantly, even though it is worldwide?  Is there any approach to price controls that could really work?”

By Richard Wolff
Democracy At Work
May 18, 2022

Transcript

Q. Is there anything the Biden administration can do to decrease the rate of inflation significantly even though it is worldwide?

A. There’s all kinds of things that Mr Biden can do. I’m going to go over several of them, but they’re not that’s not a complete list.

The tragedy in the United States is that we are dealing with the inflation by raising interest rates through the Federal Reserve and the public discussion is as if that’s it that’s our option. That’s what we’re going to do - that’s what we have to do.  As if there were not loads of other possibilities, which are all cut off by this conversation that is really a story of silencing.  And i want to unsilence so that we all understand it

First of all, the United States impacts global inflation because it is an outsized participant

Let me give you an example. The GDP, the gross domestic product of the United States is about 21 trillion dollars. The next biggest country, China, is only 15. And after that they’re very small.  Germany is about four, Russia’s about one and a half.

The United States is a huge outside player in the world economy, and if we bring down inflation here, everybody else confronted with the fact that prices aren’t rising here, they were wouldn’t dare raise their prices, because they priced themselves out of the world market. So put aside the question of direct control, we don’t need it.

In the united states what we do here impacts the rest of the world.  So let’s begin.

Here’s a way to stop an inflation.  I’m not going to speculate on a possible one, I’m going to describe it for you historically.

Richard Nixon, a conservative republican president on August 15 1971 declares a wage price freeze. He says “I’m speaking to you Americans on radio and television and as of tomorrow morning we will make it illegal for anyone to raise a price or a wage. If you do that we will arrest you and put you in jail.”

Is that an option?  Yes.  Was it done in the united states? Yup. Has it been done in other countries? Yes. Is it an alternative to raising interest rates to stop an inflation?  You bet. Is it being discussed in the United States?  Nowhere not at all.  It’s as if what i just said had never happened.

Here’s a second way to stop an inflation.  In World War II we had to do that. The democratic President Roosevelt understood that to fight world war II resources that used to be used to make consumer goods would be diverted to making uniforms - guns, planes, tanks, all of the apparatus of war - and that meant that the quantity of resources available to produce consumer goods would shrink and therefore consumer goods would be scarce.

The demand hadn’t changed, or people of America still wanted to eat and dress and live the way they had in the past, but there wouldn’t be the equivalent stuff, and the government decided. If we allow the market to handle this, the rich people will come in, see quickly that there’s a shortage, and make sure they get it by bidding up the price that’s how they make sure they get what is scarce.

Markets always distribute whatever is scarce to the richest people.

Do you find that offensive does it contradict your morality? Think about what you just agreed to.

Wow! And so the government didn’t allow it, It didn’t want an inflation. They didn’t want the prices of consumer goods to go up so that only the rich people could get it, and the mass of people couldn’t afford it who would then get angry and bitter and we would have disunity at a time of war when we needed unity, so that was out, and they issued ration books that had in them ration stamps and store keepers could not sell you a quart of milk, a gallon of gas, whatever it is that was in the rules of those days without you having a stamp, and the stamps were distributed to people according to their need not according to their wealth. Wow! We didn’t have an inflation for that reason we didn’t allow it to happen.

And here’s a third one that’s also a reality of American life, making it all the more amazing that there’s no conversation about it.

That the desperate government of Biden, and the political center republican and democrat determined to survive politically and rebuild their shattered hold on American society have to make us all unite in a war, and have us all unite in the Federal Reserve as if the raising of interest rates is the only way to deal with an inflation. 

Here’s one more that time allow. We already do in this country a very interesting thing with the prices of utilities, you know electricity, water, things like that, and the price of insurance policies, because they have been abused by the capitalists who own those businesses who raised their prices too high, who made a little personal inflation, we have what are called utility commissions in every one of the 50 states, and we have insurance commissions. And you know what?  Before an insurance company can raise a price, before a utility can raise a price, they have to go before the commission and demonstrate that it’s a reasonable thing to do, which the commission has the power to reject, and that happens all the time. Well if you don’t want an inflation, why don’t you do that for everything? Why don’t we set up a wage price control board - oh wait a minute - during world war II we had that.

One of the greatest economists at that time - John Kenneth Galbraith - wrote a book: A THEORY OF PRICE CONTROL - because he worked during the war on the board that controlled prices in this country.  So don’t tell us that there’s nothing you can do but interest rates.  That’s a lie. It’s just a lie.

I’ve just given you rationing, I’ve given wage price freeze mr dixon thing, and I’ve talked about using commissions to control prices.

There are others, but the important thing is to understand that if there were a political will to stop the inflation it could be done tomorrow, but instead it’s taking months and months, and it’ll be done by raising interest rates, which will mean it’s harder to afford a home, harder to pay for a car, harder to carry credit. It’ll hurt the mass of people as if that were the only way to go.

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Posted by Elvis on 05/20/22 •
Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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Thursday, March 31, 2022

Are We Looking At Another Shadow Inventory?

image: homelessness truth and fiction

[During the Great Recession], lenders nationwide are sitting on hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes that they have not resold or listed for sale, according to numerous data sources. And foreclosures, which banks unload at fire-sale prices, are a major factor driving home values down.

“We believe there are in the neighborhood of 600,000 properties nationwide that banks have repossessed but not put on the market,” said Rick Sharga, vice president of RealtyTrac, which compiles nationwide statistics on foreclosures. “California probably represents 80,000 of those homes. It could be disastrous if the banks suddenly flooded the market with those distressed properties. You’d have further depreciation and carnage.”
- Shadow Inventory, 2009

Even in the face of rising mortgage rates and stagnating construction numbers, the housing market is still scorching hot. Because of this, it may be difficult to believe that more than 16 million homes across the U.S. are sitting vacant.

But this doesn’t mean millions of abandoned and dilapidated homes are withering away in the suburbs. Vacant homes can be unoccupied for many reasons beyond being uninhabitable. For example, a house can be vacant because it’s still on the market to be sold or rented or its a vacation home not currently in use.
- LendingTree Home Vacancy Study, March 2022

It’s hard for me to see it, when someone else owns it and I am homeless with nothing.
- Foreclosure victim

More than 1.6 million homes in Florida sit vacant; highest in U.S., study says

By Justin Matthews
FOX 35 News Orlando
March 30, 2022

A new study found that over 16 million homes are sitting empty across the United States—and Florida has more of those vacant houses than any other state.

The STUDY BY LENDING TREE says nearly 1.7 million homes in the Sunshine State are vacant, even outpacing larger states like California and Texas.

Researchers used the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the states with the highest number of vacant homes:

1. Florida: 1,680,844

2. California: 1,248,161

3. Texas: 1,216,084

4. New York: 955,437

5. Michigan: 631,361

However, when it comes to the vacancy rate, or a state’s share of unoccupied homes, Florida comes in at No. 6:

1. Vermont (22.86%)

2. Maine (22.68%)

3. Alaska (20.51%)

4. West Virginia (18.12%)

5. Alabama (17.69%)

6. Florida (17.13%)

7. New Hampshire (16.74%)

8. Mississippi (16.26%)

9. Louisiana (16.21%)

10. Wyoming (15.88%)

Researchers noted that the national average vacancy rate is 11.66%.

So why are home prices still so high?

If Florida has one of the hottest housing markets in the country, why are there so many vacant homes here? The study’s authors noted that other factors are at play when it comes to real estate.

“High vacancy rates and high home prices can suggest that an area has unique characteristics, such as being a vacation hot spot or targeted by investors,” researchers wrote - an apt description of the Florida housing market.

For other areas of the country, they note that low vacancy rates and high housing prices could suggest a highly competitive market, which would make it tougher for lower-income families to find a home to buy.

Locally, the housing market has shown no signs of slowing down. Tampa made the number three spot for U.S. cities people are moving to, according to a recent study by the Seattle-based real estate brokerage firm Redfin.

Redfin’s study ranks Miami at number one, followed by Phoenix, Tampa, Sacramento, and Las Vegas to round out the top five.

This is having a significant impact on Tampa Bays housing market with Tampa forecasted to be the hottest housing market in the country in 2022, according to Zillow.

Last month, an analysis by Zillow found that housing inventory in the region is down 46% from pre-pandemic levels.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 03/31/22 •
Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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Sunday, October 10, 2021

NWO - Job Hunting 2021

image: job search

OBAMA’S BIGGEST BLEMISH remains the ongoing tragedy of mass unemployment. Not only does this have a human element - the countless lives harmed or destroyed by poverty and desperation - but it is a huge drag on our economy. Mass unemployment reduces spending - the engine of our economy - which in turn, reduces growth. And without meaningful growth, there’s no way to reduce long-term debt without inflicting a large dose of harmful austerity. That, in my view, is unacceptable.
Obama’s Biggest Blemish, January 3,2013

AFTER THE 2007-09 FINANCIAL CRISIS, the imbalances and risks pervading the global economy were exacerbated by policy mistakes. So, rather than address the structural problems that the financial collapse and ensuing recession revealed, governments mostly kicked the can down the road, creating major downside risks that made another crisis inevitable. And now that it has arrived, the risks are growing even more acute.

“The death of smaller businesses means that the big players in the stock market are anticipating a bumper year, full of bailouts and tax cuts and then austerity when convenient,” says Suresh Naidu, an economist at Columbia University who studies labor and inequality.

The coronavirus forced our entire economy onto life support from the federal government. Instead of choosing to support everyone during this temporary shutdown - guaranteeing the incomes of workers, instituting widespread debt relief, and pouring stimulus money directly into the base of the wealth pyramid, which supports everything else, the government has instead done what it is built to do: protect the biggest businesses and the accumulated wealth of the richest people, herding societys most powerful into an economic fortress, content in the knowledge that high unemployment and austerity for local governments will just create a population desperate to work for even lower wages than before. As the Trump administration pled helplessness over the fact that we have no good system for delivering money directly to individuals, it did not need to say that that, itself, is a policy choice that is now serving its intended purpose.
The Disconnect Between the Stock Market and the Real Economy Is Destroying Our Lives, may 5, 2020

[L]abour’s share of income is going to continue its downward trend after the current crisis ends. Aside from the profit incentive that has always existed to motivate automation, this crisis has highlighted the pandemic risks associated with relying on labour availability. Industries that employed millions of people pre-pandemic, such as accommodation and food service, as well as retailers, will take advantage of the technological advances in the coming years, suggesting that the so-called “jobless recovery” we saw after the Great Financial Crisis might end up proving to have been an absolute.
The ‘jobless recovery’ after the financial crisis is going to look like a labour bonanza compared with what’s coming next , February 2021

Confessions of job hunters: 5 people open up about their frustrations, from getting ghosted by recruiters to sending out 300 resumes with no response

By Jenny Powers
Business Insider
October 7, 2021

DESPITE REPORTS that there are more available jobs in America than people to fill them, people all over the country say actually getting hired is a different story.

Applicants say they’re being ghosted by recruiters, having their rsums eliminated by applicant tracking systems (ATS), and struggling to find remote work opportunities. At the same time, unemployment benefits have been cut off.

From graduate students to those looking for post-retirement work, Insider spoke with five people who are currently unemployed to learn what it’s like job-hunting during one of the worst times in economic history.

Here’s what they had to say:

Lauren Daly, 30, Henderson, Nevada

Due to a company restructure, I got laid off two weeks ago from my job as a sales rep in educational technology, and received two months severance.

The irony is in addition to that job, I teach an online course I created for a university focusing on career preparedness, covering everything from cover letters, rsums, interview tips, and how best to use LinkedIn to navigate the job search.

When I told my students I got laid off they asked, “How could you be out of work? You literally teach a class on getting jobs!” I resisted the impulse to say maybe I should create a class on how to keep jobs.

I assumed with my PhD and experience, I wouldn’t have a hard time breaking into the scrum master field I wanted to be in but right now, the market is insane. No one is ever really safe.

So far, five different recruiters have reached out claiming to have the ‘perfect fit’ for me, but I’ve been ghosted by all of them.

Bilal Waheed, 29, Astoria, New York

‘ve spent my life following an imaginary checklist based on societal and family expectations, but now that I’ve checked the required boxes, I’m in limbo.

My parents are Pakistani immigrants who always stressed the importance of higher education. I earned my Bachelor’s, worked for four years, then went to grad school for a Masters in applied statistics.

But since graduating in May and sending out nearly 70 applications for data science and analysis positions, I haven’t had a single interview and feel lost in a sea of other applicants. Dealing with so much rejection has been tough.

My savings ran out so I just applied for unemployment. I have $120,000 in student debt, so that’s another battle to face.

I wish I’d been better prepared to build up a network and leverage social capital like some of my classmates had been doing.

My dream is to work in data science for Spotify, but right now I don’t need to strive for the big-name jobs. I’m not ashamed to work my way up.

Donna Fields Brown, 70, Pearce, Arizona

I’m a retired RN looking for part-time work to supplement my social security income (SSI).

Working for over 30 years, I never truly found my niche and did a lot of job-hopping, but jobs were also plentiful back then.

In 2017, my husband and I retired, sold our house, and traveled across the country for two years in our 23-foot long travel trailer. We quickly discovered life on the road was more expensive than we thought.

When the pandemic hit, I took a part-time position as a Walmart cashier to supplement my SSI, but left after a month. Since then, I’ve applied for several jobs at Target, Safeway, and a nearby national park but I haven’t gotten any responses.

I don’t know what’s more daunting, filling out applications online or trying to find work in my ‘Golden Years.’ I’d have to say that both feel like full-time jobs.

Amanda Dexter, 35, Wathena, Kansas

I was an English teacher for seven years but left the field in April after experiencing complete burnout. I was offered a teaching contract this year but turned it down for the sake of my mental health.

I started applying for work two months prior to quitting my teaching job. I’d heard all these reports about how many jobs were opening up, so I thought I’d have no trouble finding one pretty quickly.

But it’s now seven months later and I’ve had no luck when it comes to jobs outside of classroom teaching. It seems like I can’t ever get my foot past the front door.

Personally, I think my resume is getting weeded out by applicant tracking systems before it can even be seen by a human. ATS software only scans for relevant keywords and job titles. When the system reviews my resume, all they see is ‘teaching’ and ‘education,’ not all of the transferable skills that an actual human would recognize as part of my work experience.

For example, I’m an experienced content writer and have applied to a variety of content writing jobs, but on the surface to an ATS, it looks like I have no applicable experience. A human would understand that an English teacher would be a strong writer or at least have some of the skills and potential for the job. Even applying to something like secretarial work seems hopeless because my rsum doesn’t include the types of keywords an ATS is scanning for.

I’ve tried LinkedIn Premium and even got a $29.99 a month subscription for a career coaching company called Work It Daily. I followed their r驩sum templates which focus on getting past the ATS and being easily navigable for recruiters and HR staff. I even had one of their coaches review my rsum驩 to make sure it all looked right. While I have noticed a slight uptick based on my revised format, it hasn’t yielded a full-time opportunity yet.

It’s been incredibly defeating receiving rejection after rejection or being ghosted altogether.

Caitlin Tolchin, 38, New York City

I was laid off from my role as an art director in April 2020, a week after finding out I was pregnant with our first child. Recruiters said no one would hire someone that needed maternity leave so soon after starting, so I temporarily paused my job search.

Our daughter is now 10 months old and my unemployment just ran out. Over the past four months, I’ve applied to approximately 300 positions and only received five or six callbacks, all of which were for in-person jobs which is too big of a COVID risk right now with a baby in the house.

I want to return to work in a remote, freelance or project-based position with the possibility of a hybrid schedule down the line.

For now, I’m going to continue my search and in the meantime, I plan on taking classes to build up my skills in the hopes of becoming more marketable.

---

A worker in Florida applied to 60 entry-level jobs in September and got one interview

By Dominick Reuter
Business Insider
October 19.2021

Joey Holz recalled first hearing complaints about a labor shortage last year when he called to donate convalescent plasma at a clinic near Fort Myers, Florida.

“The guy went on this rant about how he can’t find help and he can’t keep anybody in his medical facility because they all quit over the stimulus checks,” Holz told Insider. “And I’m like, ‘Your medical professionals quit over $1,200 checks? That’s weird.’”

Over the next several months, he watched as a growing chorus of businesses said they COULDN’T FIND ANYONE TO HIRE because of government stimulus money. It was so ubiquitous that he joined a “No one wants to work” Facebook group, where users made memes deriding frustrated employers.

He said he found it hard to believe that government money was keeping people out of the labor force, especially when the end of expanded federal unemployment benefits did not seem to trigger a surge in employment. The expanded benefits ended in September, but 26 states ended them early in June and July.

“If this extra money that everyone’s supposedly living off of stopped in June and it’s now September, obviously, that’s not what’s stopping them,” he said. Workers have said companies struggling to hire aren’t offering competitive pay and benefits.

So Holz, a former food-service worker and charter-boat crewman, decided to run an experiment.

On September 1, he sent job applications to a pair of restaurants that had been particularly public about their staffing challenges.

Then, he widened the test and spent the remainder of the month applying to jobs mostly at employers vocal about a “lack of workers” and tracking his journey in a spreadsheet.

Two weeks and 28 applications later, he had just nine email responses, one follow-up phone call, and one interview with a construction company that advertised a full-time job focused on site cleanup paying $10 an hour.

But Holz said the construction company instead tried to offer Florida’s minimum wage of $8.65 to start, even though the wage was scheduled to increase to $10 an hour on September 30. He added that it wanted full-time availability, while scheduling only part time until Holz gained seniority.

Holz said he wasn’t applying for any roles he didn’t qualify for.

Some jobs “wanted a high-school diploma,” he said. “Some wanted retail experience,” he added. “Most of them either said ‘willing to train’ or ‘minimum experience,’ and none of them were over $12 an hour.”

He said: “I didn’t apply for anything that required a degree. I didn’t apply for anything that said ‘must have six months experience in this thing.’”

Holz isn’t alone. Others have also spoken out about their troubles finding work, despite the seemingly tight labor market.

In a Facebook post on September 29, which went viral on Twitter and Reddit as well, Holz said, “58 applications says y’all aren’t desperate for workers, you just miss your slaves.”

“My opinion is that this is a familiar story to many,” he added.

By the end of September, Holz had sent out 60 applications, received 16 email responses, four follow-up phone calls, and the solitary interview. He shared a pie chart showing his results.

Holz acknowledged that his results may not be representative of the larger labor challenges in the country, since his search was local and targeted the most vocal critics of stimulus spending.

He added that despite the claims of some businesses struggling to hire, his boss had no staffing issues during the pandemic.

“Nobody leaves those positions because he takes care of his people,” Holz said, referring to his boss.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 10/10/21 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Job Hunt • Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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