Periodic Posts

Posts made periodically by a particular author. The periodicity may be totally random.


Inflation Targeting and Neoliberalism, Part 3

Naked Capitalism has the story Inflation Targeting and Neoliberalism, Part 3.

We proposed an employment-targeting regime for the central bank. The Reserve Bank of South Africa, in conjunction with the government of South Africa, would develop a set of policies and tools—such as credit allocation policies, subsidized credit, lower interest rates, capital controls to keep the capital in the country, more expansionary and targeted fiscal policy—so that monetary policy and fiscal policy would work hand-in-hand to lower the massively high unemployment rate in South Africa. That’s an example of an alternative structure for monetary policy and one that has worked for other developing countries. So, for example, in South Korea in the 1950s ,1960s, and 1970s, the central bank supported the government’s industrial policy—by lending to development banks that would lend to export industries, by subsidizing credit for export industries, and they would do this as part of the government plan to develop the economy. I call this developmental central banking, that is, central banking that in combination with the government is oriented to developing the country using a variety of tools—interest rates, credit allocation tools, etc..

For years the Legislative and Executive branches of our government have been working at cross-purposes to the FED.  While the first two entities in the government refused to use their best tools of fiscal stimulus, this third independent entity of the government has had to use its ineffective tools to try, in some measure, to counteract what the rest of the government were refusing to do.

It is going to take some out of the box thinking that only Bernie Sanders can supply for a President to promote the changes we need to make this country great again. Hillary can’t do it because she only has inside the box economic advisers. Trump can’t do it because he holds too many self-contradictory ideas at any one time.

A foreign policy example of Trump’s is on the one hand his calling Hillary Clinton too trigger happy to be President and then on the other hand consulting with Henry Kissinger, the war criminal, on foreign policy.


Economics for the Rest of Us Explains NAIRU, Including Its Political Implications

Naked Capitalism has the article Economics for the Rest of Us Explains NAIRU, Including Its Political Implications. The article discusses the video below.

One obvious point which does not fit into this discussion’s framework: economists frame wages at the big potential driver of cost increases, when for manufactured goods, direct factory labor (which are in the class of worker most exposed to macroeconomic swings) is a small percentage of total product cost. By contrast, the NAIRU framing leads economists to obsess over unemployment levels (with the new “structural” level curiously higher than in the 1960s, when workers were less mobile than now) and ignore the roles of monopolies and oligopolies.

 


I am going to go back and look at previous podcasts on the this YouTube Channel.


How the “Maximize Shareholder Value” Myth Weakens Companies and Economic Systems

Naked Capitalism has the article How the “Maximize Shareholder Value” Myth Weakens Companies and Economic Systems. The interview/article has a link to one of the participant’s paper The Myth of Maximizing Shareholder Value.

There is a discussion of how Milton Friedman and others introduced this myth to our society.

Consider first Friedman’s erroneous belief that shareholders “own” corporations. Although laymen sometimes have difficulty understanding the point, corporations are legal entities that own themselves, just as human entities own themselves. What shareholders own are shares, a type of contact between the shareholder and the legal entity that gives shareholders limited legal rights. In this regard, shareholders stand on equal footing with the corporation’s bondholders, suppliers, and employees, all of whom also enter contracts with the firm that give them limited legal rights.

Here is some economic thinking that Bernie Sanders would embrace if you asked him to enunciate how capitalism/democratic socialism works.

This is way outside the box of Clinton thinking. When she talks about economic plans that her advisers approve, I wonder if any of them take the premises of this article into consideration.


The New Abnormal: “Disequilibrium Flirting with Deflationary Depression”

Naked Capitalism has the article The New Abnormal: “Disequilibrium Flirting with Deflationary Depression”.

The first ingredient of the New Abnormal is the fact that the mediocre growth that has been achieved over the past few years has depended on unprecedented and progressively more aggressive monetary policy initiatives. Meanwhile, fiscal policy, after the emergency easing of 2009-10, has been largely side-lined as a stabilisation tool. High levels of public debt have led most governments to calculate that they have little scope for fresh fiscal stimulus, notwithstanding the sustained fall in the yields on government bonds.

Several factors and actions are intermingling in a way that adds to the confusion of exactly what is going on.  The neoclassical economists are worried that the increased Fed’s pumping of liquidity into the market will cause inflation.  In fact there is no consumer price index inflation anywhere to be seen.  The Fed is trying to create a little inflation, but cannot seem to do so no matter how much liquidity they pump in.  In fact inflation has been created, but it is in the stock market and in asset prices, not in consumer prices.  The inflation of stock market values is applauded by the capitalists because it appears to increase their wealth.  As the article suggests, the problem with this view is that stock prices are artificially inflated.  The new wealth could easily disappear if the market adjusts by having a stock market crash.

The proper prescription for what ails the economy would have been fiscal policy rather than monetary policy.  A fiscal policy of investing in infrastructure and direct job creation would seem to mean more government deficits which the public has been convinced are bad things.

The real issue is not so much government deficits as it is an issue of what those deficits have been used for.  Recently those deficits have been used to finance tax cuts for the wealthy.  The wealthy use that money to inflate the stock market and asset prices without creating new jobs and higher wages in the economy.  There is no creation of physical assets that would benefit the economy.

If the deficits had been used to invest in improving infrastructure rather than tax cuts, we would have more and better physical assets to increase the capacity of the economy, keep people employed, lead to higher wages, and produce a higher standard of living for the bottom 99%.

In normal times, increasing taxes and lowering deficits is associated with putting the brakes on the economy.  This adds another level of confusion to what is currently happening.  When taxes previously have been cut to put money into the hands of the wealthy where it is ill used, there may actually be an economic benefit to taxing this money out of the hands of the wealthy and putting that money to good use instead of bad.  In this case, increased infrastructure spending might not lead to as enlarged deficits as it normally would.

Instead of using indirect measures like government deficits, stock market growth, and interest rates to judge what policy we should promote, we need to look at wages, employment, inflation, income distribution, and standard of living.


After Distancing Herself From Bill Clinton’s Economic Policies, Hillary Wants Him as Mr. Economic Fix It   Recently updated !

Naked Capitalism has the article After Distancing Herself From Bill Clinton’s Economic Policies, Hillary Wants Him as Mr. Economic Fix It.

After having institutionalized the neoliberal economic policies that have enriched the 1% and particularly the 0.1% at the expense of everyone else, Hillary Clinton wants to give the long-suffereing citizenry an even bigger dose. As she said in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky:

My husband, who I’m going to put in charge of revitalising the economy, because you know he knows how to do it,” Clinton said in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, on Sunday. “And especially in places like coal country and inner cities and other parts of our country that have really been left out.

This plan is revealing, and in not a good way.

This article is a devastating analysis of all the things Bill Clinton did wrong to the economy when he was President. These are the things I try to post about. This is the best compilation of all the factors that I have seen in a relatively brief article.

If you don’t read this, or haven’t studied this on your own, then you don’t really have a clue as to all the damage that the Clintons have done to our economy. This article even mentions some of the damage that Bill Clinton wanted to do, but couldn’t get accomplished.

If you don’t understand why I will not vote for Hillary Clinton for President after reading this, then there is no hope of reaching you.  Either Hillary Clinton has no understanding of federal level economic policy needs, or she does understand how to make it work for the benefit of the 0.1% and devastating it for the rest of us.  I don’t like either alternative.

Even Donald Trump wouldn’t be this bad.  I don’t say that about Donald Trump just because of his reputation as a business man, but in spite of that reputation.  There are two things he has said lately that give me the impression that he really does understand the economic policy needed to be President.  He mentioned that the USA never needs to default on our debt exactly because we create our own money.  He also mentioned that the government needs to be a net issuer of debt when interest rates are low, and a net buyer of its own debt when interest rates are high.  Everybody right and left purposely misstated what he said so that they could accuse him of economic ignorance.  In fact he was only stating what every investor has to know – buy low and sell high.


A Global Marshall Plan for Joblessness?   Recently updated !

New Economic Perspectives has the article A Global Marshall Plan for Joblessness?.

The Solution: A Global Marshall Plan for the Unemployed

Because the social and economic costs of unemployment spread and reproduce in complex and pernicious ways, it ought to be treated like an infectious disease. The policy response should aim at inoculation against unemployment, not at countering its effects.

Some interesting ideas and some interesting history in this article.


Mankiw Morality in a Mash Up with Mankiw Myths

New Economic Perspectives has the article Mankiw Morality in a Mash Up with Mankiw Myths.

Bernie’s explanations of how the financial system is rigged, however, use conventional economics that people like me (one of his economic advisers) have long employed in our research.  I will show that Mankiw is actually spreading rather than refuting myths about the rigged system.  Mankiw’s own economic “principles” support Bernie’s explanation of why the financial system is rigged.

Read Bill Black’s eloquent take-down of anybody who pretends that there weren’t massive crimes committed during the build-up of the financial bubble and its inevitable bursting in 2008/2009.

Hillary Clinton’s challenge to Bernie Sanders to name one crime that was committed could have been answered by his handing her this article from one of his own economic advisers. I was surprised when Bernie Sanders came unarmed to that fight (debate). That mistake might cost Bernie the election.

In the article, Black mentions that not all CEO’s are incentivized to commit fraud, but he never explicitly states why.  The disincentive to commit fraud has always been the threat of being sent to prison for committing the fraud.  Now that President Obama and his Attorney Generals have buried the disincentive, what is left to stop this rampant crime on Wall Street?


Stop Calling Deals That Help CEOs Pillage with Impunity “Free Trade”

New Economic Perspectives has the article Stop Calling Deals That Help CEOs Pillage with Impunity “Free Trade”.

These points explain why President Obama’s rhetoric about the deals – they mean that the U.S. rather than China makes the rules – is knowing propaganda on his part.  Whether U.S. CEOs or Chinese CEOs dictate the terms of the deal is irrelevant.  They all want to achieve and maintain the ability to rig the system with impunity.

People who aren’t reading these articles by William K. Black just don’t have any concept of how duplicitous President Obama is being when he pushes these “trade” deals.

Whenever my resolve weakens to refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton and her third Obama term Presidency, I take a good dose of Bill Black explanations.  That keeps me healthy for at least a few months.


An Old Idea, Revived: Starve Cancer to Death

RichardH sent me The New York Times article An Old Idea, Revived: Starve Cancer to Death.

“I think there’s no doubt that insulin is pro-cancer,” Watson says, with respect to the link between obesity, diabetes and cancer. “It’s as good a hypothesis as we have now.” Watson takes metformin for cancer prevention; among its many effects, metformin works to lower insulin levels. Not every cancer researcher, however, is convinced of the role of insulin and IGF-1 in cancer. Robert Weinberg, a researcher at M.I.T.’s Whitehead Institute who pioneered the discovery of cancer-causing genes in the ’80s, has remained somewhat cool to certain aspects of the cancer-metabolism revival. Weinberg says that there isn’t yet enough evidence to know whether the levels of insulin and IGF-1 present in obese people are sufficient to trigger the Warburg effect. “It’s a hypothesis,” Weinberg says. “I don’t know if it’s right or wrong.”

I didn’t find a better excerpt to give you a feel for what is in the article, so to amplify on this one, one of the issues was sugar in the diet.

There is one caution that we need to all keep in mind.  It is an assumption that a chemical in your body that causes trouble comes from eating that chemical.  Therefore, not eating that chemical may not be a cure for what ails you.

The low fat diet is a case in point.  The fat in your arteries that causes Atherosclerosis does not come from eating fat in your diet.  It comes from the liver processing the carbs in your diet.  So cutting out fat in the diet and replacing that with carbs was exactly the wrong thing to do.

Just because an hypothesis is plausible, doesn’t mean that it is correct.  An hypothesis needs to be experimentally verified before you should bet your life on it.