What Will It Take?
Sale of Z Videos
Criminalization of Dissent
American Civil Liberties
Gaza Boats Seized
Wasting $13 Million
What Happened to Children First?
Bruce E. Levine
The Student Debt Bubble
Nicolas J.S. Davies
The Obama Doctrine
The Power Couple
Laurence h. Shoup
Bread and Roses
The Monopoly of Manipulation
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Economic Predictions for 2012
Predicting the trajectory of the
Seeking refuge in conservative consensus partly explains why virtually all the 10,000 professional economists in the world failed to predict the onset of the current crisis in 2007. Or why the same crew declared a sustained economic recovery after 2009 would occur, but didn’t. It is also why the same group is failing, for yet a third time now, to foresee the coming deeper economic crisis that will almost certainly emerge no later than early 2013—and potentially even earlier if the Eurozone financial system continues to unravel.
The repeated failure of the profession to predict the three great economic events of the past four years is the result of their adherence to a conceptual apparatus that cannot explain the essential forces behind the crisis. It is the result of theories based on pre-crisis conditions that no longer prevail. Deficient concepts, theories, and models are why Obama’s in-house professional economists—the Council of Economic Advisers—in early January 2009 erroneously assured the public that Obama’s $787 billion initial stimulus package would create 6 million jobs, but it didn’t. They are why the Federal Reserve’s economists insisted the $2.7 trillion Quantitative Easing (QE) 1, 2, and 2.5 (called “operation twist”) policies introduced between 2009-11 would resurrect the housing sector, but instead only fed stock, junk bond, and commodities futures speculators worldwide. They are why Congressional Budget Office economists forecast that Obama’s $802 billion tax cuts introduced a year ago would result in a significant increase in GDP growth rates and jobs. Instead they produced GDP growth of less than 1 percent in the first half of 2011 and then no net job creation the rest of the year.
The Broken Liberal Wing: Just Give Us More Stimulus
The liberal wing of the flightless bird of mainstream economics continues to maintain that the Obama programs since 2009 have not produced sustained economic recovery because the economic stimulus was of insufficient magnitude. At the forefront of this view have been economists like Paul Krugman and others. Even Larry Summers, former Treasury Secretary under Clinton and chief economic policy adviser for Obama in 2009-10, has joined the liberal chorus, saying that the original stimulus of 2009 should have been $1 trillion or more—not $787 billion.
Contrary to this view, the Obama stimulus programs failed not only because they were of insufficient magnitude, they failed because their composition was exceptionally bad and their timing poor. With regard to composition, the Obama stimulus programs were composed of 70 percent tax cuts—and mostly business tax cuts at that. These tax cuts were then hoarded by corporations, not invested in the
Despite a tax stimulus of trillions of dollars, corporate
Meanwhile, Obama’s $370 billion of subsidies dissipated after 12-18 months. Like business tax cuts, subsidies do not create jobs. They may temporarily save some. But that’s not economic recovery. Recovery means significant net job creation, typically in the range of 300,000 to 500,000 jobs every month for a year. Saving jobs is a policy of accepting continued economic stagnation at best.
The remaining $126 billion or so of Obama spending circa 2009-10 was earmarked for long term infrastructure—i.e., upgrading the national electrical grid, alternative energy projects, and so-called “shovel-ready” construction projects that couldn’t find their shovels. But that spending did not create jobs or generate recovery in the short run since 2009 any more than tax cuts and subsidies created jobs. Composed mostly of capital-intensive projects, most infrastructure spending was very long term, scheduled to take effect over a ten-year period. Like the tax cuts, the short term effect of this infrastructure spending resulted in little, if any, job creation or economic recovery.
The Stunted Right Wing: Just Give Business More Income
Republicans took charge of the U.S. House of Representatives following the November 2010 midterm elections and with it took over the economic policy agenda as well. The takeover created an ideal environment for the re-ascendance of the right wing of mainstream economics. The Obama programs failed to generate recovery, they argued, because they produced a “lack of business confidence.” That lack of confidence, they said, was due to business uncertainty about the future of tax cuts, excessive business regulation, stalled free trade agreements with
What’s conveniently ignored by this wing, however, is first, massive government spending cuts and sharply reduced consumer incomes produces a steep decline in GDP and no recovery. Conservative economists argue this slack will be more than offset by a rise in business investment. But this leads to the second problem: namely, with corporations already hoarding $2 trillion in cash and banks hoarding another $1.7 trillion in excess reserves, why should giving corporations and banks even more cash and income result in investment and recovery? Exactly how many more trillions of dollars are needed to get them to invest, lend, create jobs, and ensure recovery?
So, just as the liberal wing of economics has no answer to exactly how much more deficit spending is necessary to ensure a sustained economic recovery, the conservative wing cannot explain or answer how much more shifting of income to corporations and investors is needed to ensure a return to investment, jobs, and recovery. Given such fundamental errors by both wings, it is not strange that both liberal or conservative economists have had such great difficulty in recent years predicting the emergence and evolution of the current economic crisis. What then are the likely scenario(s) for the
Predictions for 2012
State and local governments continue to lay off workers in the 20,000 range every month. Little effective stimulus will be forthcoming from the Federal government, despite the 2012 election. The first quarter of 2012 will record a significant slowing of GDP growth once again. Should the Eurozone debt crisis escalate in the second quarter of 2012, the
The Federal Reserve will introduce a third version of its “Quantitative Easing” program in 2012. QE is when the Fed prints money to directly purchase bonds from the private sector at above-market inflated prices, thus pumping up the money supply. As in the past two versions of QE in 2009 and 2010, the result will have little effect on the housing markets, jobs, or general recovery, but will once again result in a boost to stocks, bonds, commodity speculation, and related price inflation. The timing of QE3 will be driven by the events in
The deficit cutting yet to come will dwarf the recent $2.2 trillion August 2011 deal. It will result in another $2-$4 trillion in cuts, mostly spending on social programs and entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, as well as food stamps, unemployment insurance benefits, education, and the 2010 Health Care Affordability Act. Tax hikes directly impacting the middle class will also occur, including heretofore untouchable measures like mortgage deductions.
Job growth will continue to stagnate and remain in the 24-25 million range throughout 2012, with a number of false starts in jobs recovery determined by seasonal and other statistical factors. There are no effective programs in place today to fundamentally increase net jobs in the
Congress and the Administration will pass two major tax bills in 2012. The first bill will bow to multinational corporations’ blackmail (and campaign contributions) and reduce the standard 35 percent corporate tax rate for offshore sheltered cash repatriation to the
The second bill will be some kind of extension of the Bush tax cuts that will take place before the November 2012 elections; or, immediately after, before year end. In the Bush tax extension deal, the top corporate and personal income tax rate of 35 percent will be permanently reduced to less than 30 percent in exchange for unverifiable tax loophole closings. The middle class will also pay higher taxes and the earned income credit for low pay workers will be reduced.
Home prices will continue to fall, foreclosures rise, and negative equity grow. Currently, at more than 11 million, foreclosures will continue to rise past 13 million. Home prices will continue to fall by 5-10 percent in key markets (bringing the decline since 2006 to more than 40 percent on average). At least 17 million mortgaged homeowners (out of 54 million total) will experience negative equity. The Obama administration and Congress will force States to accept the federal plan to let banks and lenders off the hook for “robo-signing” and illegal foreclosures, in exchange for a token fine. Housing and commercial property construction will continue to stagnate at around current levels.
The Eurozone sovereign debt crisis will stabilize and then worsen again. The Euro debt crisis will temporarily stabilize in early 2012 as the European Central Bank follows the U.S. Federal Reserve and introduces quantitative easing while negotiations among the Euro states on a fiscal union continue and proceed slowly. However, the sovereign crisis will erupt again in the late spring of 2012 as
Two or more banks will fail. Several Euro banks will become technically insolvent and will be nationalized by their governments and bailed out. Major candidates include the French banks, Societe General, and BNP Paribas; the German Commerzbank; the Italian Unicredit; and possibly one or more Austrian and Finnish banks. German and French economies slowed to virtually no growth at year end 2011 and both will slip into recession in 2012. A second round of severe austerity programs in the
Global trade will slow and begin to contract in 2012. Given
The foregoing predictions are based on a non-mainstream economic analysis. This framework is the consequence of the restructuring of the
Jack Rasmus is author of Epic Recession: Prelude to Global Depression, Obama’s Economy: Recovery for the Few (forthcoming from Pluto Press/Palgrave-Macmillan, March 2012), as well as a pamphlet produced for the Teamsters
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; email@example.com; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.