Links 8/4/11

Young puffins work out their own migration routes PhysOrg

Idaho police tell man to stop wearing bunny suit Reuters (hat tip Lambert Strether

Sydney teenager in 10-hour bomb hoax ordeal Guardian (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Starbucks Wants You Laptop Hobos Out Gawker

Warning over newer antidepressants pills Independent (hat tip reader Externality)

For those who still doubt the role of corporations in raising food prices through speculations Land and People (hat tip reader Attempter)

Murdoch’s Cleanup Effort Draws Criticism Bloomberg

The widening European sovereign debt crisis Ed Harrison

Japanese, Swiss Move to Push Currencies Lower Wall Street Journal

A Secret War in 120 Countries NIck Turse, Tomgram

U.S. citizen and Army vet claims U.S. tortured him in Iraq McClatchy (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Mubarak on Trial but W. Is Not Juan Cole (hat tip reader James B)

White House unveils broad plan to fight domestic radicalism Los Angeles Times

War and Debt Michael Hudson, CounterPunch

A Failure of Technocracy: Macroeconomic Policy Watch Brad DeLong

Exchange Subsidies Threatened; Part of the Automatic Trigger in the Debt Limit Deal Dave Dayen, FireDogLake

Welcome to the United States of Austerity Mother Jones (hat tip reader Tony)

National ‘poverty tour’ will highlight hardships in Obama’s backyard Chicago Tribune (hat tip reader rps)

America’s 10 Sickest Housing Markets: 24/7 Wall St. Huffington Post. The HuffPo version has pix, and I see Dayton, where I lived at two different junctures when I was growing up, has taken a big hit.

US corporate bond yields hit fresh lows Financial Times. The markets are screaming deflation. The only stocks you want to hold in deflationary times are high yield defensive stocks, meaning utilities. Cash and safe bonds are the place to be. You are warned.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. G Marks

    I’ve always wondered how French peasantry could cheer “Vertical Deportations” – also known as Republican Marriage – wherein a man and woman were tethered and dumped in the Loire – to resounding applause.

    Known as the Noyades at Nantes – Jean Baptiste Carrier used boats with trap doors to dispense with thousands of pesky Royalists – but again, I ask myself – how could that have been entertainment?

    This morning I got my answer. I awoke to a news story about Steve Jobs and Apple buying a million robots – to replace beleaguered and suicidal Chinese workers. This is their ‘solution’ to the ongoing management crisis of distraught workers.

    Next I read about a necklace bomb and ransom note attached to the daughter of one of Sydney’s most wealthy businessmen. Horror of horrors, my immediate reaction was – Way to go Aussies!

    Disclaimer – I am 63, self employed, and haven’t suffered much at the hands of the multi national crowd. So, imagine the fantasies of those who don’t enjoy my relative comfort.

    I want Steve Jobs, Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon to live in Terror.

    ….. each is a bit too relaxed for my tastes. Their lives should be ransacked – made to live behind razor wire and moats, with mandatory – EXPENSIVE round the clock security for their extended family. [even the pets!]

    We’ve been far far to easy on the likes of these monsters. American is yearning for a good hangin judge, and some sorely needed public executions, if we are going to sate this growing appetite for revenge, as entertainment.

    1. citizendave

      I awoke at 2 AM and had a flood of memories, like visiting with old friends. The world is turned upside down. In the debt ceiling negotiations defense was off the table until the end. But they would cut things we need, things that make us better, like education, environmental regulation enforcement, public transportation, and the social safety net. Defense keeps growing, but how much of it is due to the legacy of World War Two and the momentum of the MIC, and what would be the smartest posture for US in the modern world? An honest accounting would charge a huge portion of the debt, and the deficit, to the wars and the preparation for war. We should be striving for peace. The US was a beacon for the world, but we seem to have lost our vision. Blessed are the peacemakers. Yet we seem almost embarrassed to talk about peace. Perhaps there is, or should be, an economic principle that the economy will thrive in direct proportion to how much it is devoted to peaceful endeavors, and that our “best defense is a good offense” attitude is throwing the whole world out of balance, and making our economy suffer as a consequence. I’m also 63, and self employed. I’m beginning to be persuaded that those who are working so hard should work less — and get paid the same, or more — so that the millions who are not working can be employed. And I like Randall Wray’s idea that government should be the employer of last resort, to provide a flexible way to employ everyone who wants to work. There are many useful things we could be doing instead of War Incorporated. Defense needs to be drastically “right sized”.

      1. Dave of Maryland

        It was a busy night for the aging self-employed.

        I awoke at 2 am with the idea that America was the fantasy of 17th century Anglo-Franco idealists, and now that we’ve come of age, we’ve repudiated all that & reverted to type.

        1. citizendave

          My anti-war rant might have worked better as a comment on Michael Hudson’s “War and Debt”, but I felt like offering it as an antidote for G Marks’ vision of hell-bent capitalism. And to express solidarity among us aging boomers.

          I think that America has not yet lost its soul. On the surface, it feels like we’re really screwed. But rather than reverting to type, I think we’ve lost sight of who we have been trying to become since the early days of the Revolution. We need leadership from people who can articulate a noble vision for America, of social and economic justice, and fairness, and prudence. What we have is a putative Democratic president talking about tinkering with Social Security and Medicare. But I think he can still be moved to leadership.

          I don’t think this president was duplicitous during the campaign, I think he, like every other President in the modern era, was moved by the briefings from the Spooks and the Generals, and their determined exigencies. Anyway, that’s my way of reconciling the difference between the candidate and the president.

          We lack a unifying vision. President Kennedy gave us a unifying vision, the race to the moon. It affected almost the whole country. I remember a sense of working together toward a common goal, each of us in our own way.

          As an example, I like the idea that we could convert our defense industries to build the world’s safest, most fuel-efficient high-tech passenger rail system. A unifying vision (especially toward a clean energy infrastructure) from the president would go a long way toward economic recovery. But I’m keeping my meager retirement savings in a money market fund.

          Possible campaign slogan for 2012: “This Time I Really Mean It!”

      2. Jim Haygood

        An honest accounting would charge a huge portion of the debt, and the deficit, to the wars and the preparation for war. — citizendave

        That’s exactly what Michael Hudson said in the Counterpunch link above:

        Throughout modern history, war has been the major cause of a rising national debt.

        The U.S. spends 5 percent of GDP on ‘defense’ [read: global domination] when 1 percent would suffice in its safe neighborhood. Compounded over decades, four percent of GDP squandered rather than invested productively produces economic pathologies such as flat real wages for the past forty years.

        Contrary to what the MIC and the Depublicrat political establishment would have us believe, ruling the world makes you poor, hungry and bankrupt. We’re the new Soviet Union — bristling with missiles, but with a domestic economy in shambles.

        Here’s how an Argentine cab driver reacted to the news that U.S. debt now exceeds 100 percent of GDP (relayed by a friend in Buenos Aires):

        “Que se jodan! Eso es el karma de un pais que cree solamente en lanzar guerras en otras tierras!”

        “Screw them! That is the karma of a country that believes only in launching wars in other lands!

        1. BetaSheep

          That was always my understanding of what the Second Amendment was all about. Our Founding Fathers were eyewitnesses to what large standing armies did for the great European powers. Having an army forced the country to eventually use it, leaving the country both bankrupt and desolate. Our Founders thought we could avoid the mistakes of Mother Europe and that we could be protected by well-armed, well-engaged citizens. They simply wanted something better for us. Our post-WWII period would be a profound disappointment to them, I think.

    2. dcblogger

      I prefer Philappino style revolutionary terror, wherein we invite the world’s press in to gawk at their panty and bra collection, along with their shoes.

      But in my weaker moments I dream of sending the Banksters to Khmer Rouge style reeducation camps.

  2. dearieme

    Call me a crusty old conservative, I’d rather see the time-honoured sequence: arrest, charge, try, convict, sentence.

    1. ambrit

      Dear dearime;
      Yes, we all yearn for ‘the rule of law.’ Terror, as defined as a stage of the revolutionary struggle, often turns on its’ former masters. Terror, I’ll posit, is necessary when the ‘ancien regieme’ fails to perform even the basic tasks of civil governance. Todays Western governments are rapidly approaching that tipping point. That’s one of the fundamental insights of Marx and Engels; there is such a thing as History. We may not know its’ ends, but it is a force to be reckoned with.

  3. rjs

    the HuffPo article still embeds the fantasy of housing prices “getting back” to previous highs…

    with the US median wage at $26,261 & with the bulk of new jobs created since the economic recovery began paying $13.52 or less an hour, such ongoing predictions of a recovery prices would seem to be made up out of whole cloth…

  4. psychohistorian

    Well, well, well. Domestic radicalism, huh?

    Here come the brownshirts folks.

    First they come for the disaffected and unemployed youth…….

    Damn this is a sick world and getting sicker.

    I thought for a moment that G Marks was a bit over the top with his comment above but maybe not……I am less against folks that made their own money unless they clearly buy into this fascism we face.

    I think the trick now is to compile a world wide public list of the global inherited rich and their holdings, etc…..maybe an add only kinda wiki site.

    We need to “encourage” the global inherited rich to become REAL partners in our society.

    When will they come for me?

    When will they come for you?

    1. sglover

      “Here come the brownshirts folks.”

      Well, let’s wait and see.

      I heard about this yesterday on National Piety Radio, and it certainly set my teeth on edge (not least because of the vacuousness of the NPR ‘reporter’). I was driving on the DC Beltway, where nowadays every few miles you pass under a digital sign carrying a message from the Homeland Security fucks: “Report suspicious activity”. Very Stalinist! And now the feds want to train Our Precious Children to monitor each other for deviations, crimethink.

      But…. Remember, this is DC, and this is Obama’s “administration”. Another result is at least as likely: This reeks of the kind of brain-dead, half-assed “initiative” that “interagency study groups” come up with all the time — and forget. I wouldn’t be surprised if this idiocy never gets beyond a shitty (contracted out) website and some lame posters.

    2. Art Nesten

      From the article:

      Although short on details, the eight-page outline for the first time called on all parts of the U.S. government, including the departments of Education and Health and Human Services, to devise ways to help communities identify extremist agendas that could lead to violence.

      Ah. “Could lead to violence” is the new criteria for criminal behavior and thinking. Those who disagree with the political elites better watch out.

    1. Philip Pilkington

      Oh, and on your (Yves’) comment on the low bond yields. Spot on.

      Maybe it’s because I’m just finishing re-reading JK Galbraiths ‘Great Crash’ (before I move on to Kindleberger’s ‘World in Depression’, but I’m watching the market ticker on my desktop this morning thinking:

      “Could this be it? Are we finally seeing the market that Robert Shiller has been claiming to be overvalued for years coming down significantly?”

      I never make calls on this — and I’m not doing so now — as it can do immeasurable damage to your credibility. But I’d consider selling right now… if I wasn’t completely broke and actually owned some shares…

        1. Philip Pilkington

          I dunno, I might well be wrong. But I have a feeling on this one… Don’t quote me on it though…

    2. Philip Pilkington

      Shifting sands — an interesting interview with Jeff Cohen regarding where progressives should go after Obama:

      I just wonder why Cohen wouldn’t consider a career in politics. He’s a good speaker. He’s media savvy. He’s got a good grasp of he issues. And he’s very presentable.

      Maybe a lot of the progressive mediasphere should start considering political careers. There’s some very capable people out there.

    3. Mr. Incognito

      “Why are you wearing that stupid bunny suit?” “Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?”

  5. Nicholas Arno

    Just a thought…maybe if they brought all those responsible for Ruby Ridge to account…maybe Oklahoma would not have happened…and maybe if they bring all the financial perps to account, well then maybe there won’t be more outrages…and I am sure that after reflection G Mark does not agree terrorising 18 year old girls in an extortion bid is the “way to go”.

    I would like to see the democratic process reclaimed by the people and the American dream restored… but I don’t yet see anyone on the national scene who can stand up and do that.

  6. Jim

    Re: corporations in raising food prices

    A food processing company buying up wheat futures! Shocking!

    Something really must be done about these evil capitalist using futures contracts exactly the way they’re meant to be used.

    I know; let’s get the government involved. That’ll fix ’em!

    1. attempter

      Yes, they’re being used exactly as they’re designed to be used, for evil. Thanks for being so honest about that.

      The government’s already involved. Corporations are creations and extensions of the government. Food commodification could never exist except as government policy. Food commodification (and all globalization) is a command economy feature.

      You’re the one who wants the tyranny of big, aggressive government. It’s we who oppose corporatism who are opposing government and sincerely want the government to go away. Corporate welfare leeches and their supporters simply lie about being against big government.

    2. Philip Pilkington

      “…bought all the available UK feed wheat last month…”

      That’s called hoarding and there’s been laws against this for centuries. The laws are generally put in place because hungry peasants used to turn up at the landowners barn where he’d stored all the food to drive up prices. The peasants then skewer the landlord and his family and take all the food for themselves. This usually resulted in a micro-famine later down the line as there would be no landlord to direct local economic activity.

      So, the state generally stepped in and created laws against hoarding.

      P.S. You clearly don’t understand what futures markets are supposed to do.

      1. Anonymous Jones

        Oh, tell us, dear Phil, what are futures “supposed” to do?

        I must have been out of the universe when we all had the meeting to decide upon the creation of futures contracts and what their only proper intent was.

        Futures are contracts, my friend. They are not “supposed” to do anything other than the parties intend.

        Not to get all relativistic up on you in here, but what you want or expect futures to do is your own personal thing; leave me out of it until I’ve stated my own set of preferences.

        This is the deal…

        The government has the choice to enforce some contracts through the state’s hoped-for monopoly on violence.

        The government has the choice to not enforce others (family contracts, donative contracts, minors’ contracts, unconscionable contracts).

        The government can also attempt to use its “monopoly” on violence to incarcerate people who even try to enter into certain contracts (they set up stings and jail people for making drug running and/or prostitution offers, not just engaging in those actions).

        We live in a purported democracy. We each theoretically get a vote to establish our preference set on how to set up the governance, enforceability, and prohibition of certain contracts. “Supposed” has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

        [By the way, me:YS is like YS:EW sometimes. So disappointing…]

        1. Philip Pilkington

          “Not to get all relativistic up on you in here, but what you want or expect futures to do is your own personal thing; leave me out of it until I’ve stated my own set of preferences.”

          You just did get ‘all relativistic’. You tried to make a smartass, definitional point to sound smart. And in doing so you got ‘all relativistic’.

          Of course, you went on to refute your own point in the next few sentences. As you point out the government — with its monopoly on violence — establishes what futures should and should not be used for.

          Policymakers justify their not regulating certain aspects of futures for very specific reasons (reasons I don’t think are good enough, but then let’s not get ‘all relativistic’). Hoarding to drive up prices is definitely NOT a reason why policymakers would allow futures to be traded.

          Anyway, next time you decide to have a conversation with yourself — incomplete as the conclusions may be — keep it in your noodle, would you?

          1. Art Nesten

            Well done. It’s amazing how the relativists forget their philosophy undercuts their own demands (“leave me out of it until I’ve stated my own set of preferences”) on others.

            Any relativist who uses imperative forms of verbs is inherently contradicting himself.

          2. Philip Pilkington

            People who claim their arguments are relative almost always end up using the imperative.

            I call it: confuse and command. It’s a very popular rhetorical strategy on the Internetz. No one on Internetz comment sections speak in the first person — it says a great deal about the medium. As a fine theorist once said: the medium is the message.

        2. Please, no more

          Anonymous Jones: “This is the deal….yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda

      2. F. Beard

        I wonder how much food speculation is done with leverage, the population’s own stolen purchasing power?

        Thus the filthy government (and Philip?) backed counterfeiting and usury cartel strikes again?

  7. Tony

    “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

    -Thomas Jefferson (maybe)

  8. A Farmer

    Wow Yves, I wouldn’t have guessed a globe trotter like yourself had spent any time growing up in a sleepy town like Dayton. The last decade has been brutal on the manufacturing sector here. Dayton lost 13,000 Delphi jobs and 4,000 GM assembly jobs, 1,500 jobs at a Panasonic TV plant, and many smaller closings. If it wasn’t for Wright-Patterson AFB and Honda’s significant presence in the area, things would be awful.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Dayton was bigger than most of the places I lived when I was growing up. This isn’t exhaustive but I also lived in Chillicothe, Ohio, and Escanaba, Michigan.

      One of my brothers visited Dayton for old time’s sake and visited the houses we lived in. The downtown is really sad and you can see how the city has suffered.

    1. Philip Pilkington

      Martin Wolf is weird. I’ve always found him to be. His understanding of the crisis is almost perfect and his explanation of how it will probably play out is too. But when it comes to fiscal stimulus he’s so weak.

      The commentator asks if there’s an example of a slump being fully counteracted in a short amount of time by fiscal stimulus. Wolf parries. But there is an example: WWII.

      After WWII many people thought they were going back to depression conditions. But they didn’t. The massive government spending and full employment wartime policies produced the Golden Age of US capitalism.

      Then Wolf vaguely suggests a program for household debt reduction. I know for a fact that Wolf is a fan of the sectoral balances approach, so he’s well aware that any increase in a government budget deficit is met with a rise in private sector savings (deleveraging). So, why doesn’t he call a spade a spade? Massive stimulus aimed at soaking up unemployment and giving tax breaks to the indebted masses would definitely accelerate deleveraging.

      So, why doesn’t Wolf say any of this when he clearly understands it? I honestly don’t know. Martin Wolf is weird. I’d love to meet him some time just to evaluate why he is the way he is…

      1. Cedric Regula

        Wolf reads the london newspapers and noticed England is broke. Somethin’ to do with a financial crisis.

      2. Valissa

        From what I have learned fiat money is always inflationary in the long run. My current working assumption these days is that they have already printed so much money that the money elites are finally worried about the inflationary aspect.

        I don’t agree that it was only gov’t policies of spending that made the US great after WWII, though certainly that was part of it. After WWII the US was sitting pretty in terms of manufacturing clout (Europe was recovering from the effects of the war), and also we had our own oil boom. And yes, the US built more highways and infrastructure (mostly for commerce) and grew like crazy. But those same options don’t exist now… repairing infrastructure us not going to have the same kind of economic boost as building it did (though I still think it’s a good thing). History is always the product of a confluence of trends and our current situation is very different from that of after WWII in hugely many ways.

        1. Philip Pilkington

          “From what I have learned fiat money is always inflationary in the long run.”

          In the long run we’re all dead. Or, to put it differently: there is no ‘long run’. The long run depends on what we do in the short run. The economy may inflate in the long run, it may deflate. It all depends what we do in the short run. There is no Hidden Power pulling the strings.

          Fiat money is neutral. It is neither inflationary nor deflationary. It all depends on what we do with it.

          “I don’t agree that it was only gov’t policies of spending that made the US great after WWII…”

          It was without doubt the key component.

          “And yes, the US built more highways and infrastructure (mostly for commerce) and grew like crazy. But those same options don’t exist now… ”

          I think the green crowd would strongly disagree with you there…

          “History is always the product of a confluence of trends and our current situation is very different from that of after WWII in hugely many ways.”

          And good policy is always distilling off the key points. We cannot bring order to chaos. But we can influence it’s direction toward increased order.

          1. Valissa

            Well Philip I am not seeking agreement with my opinions, merely interesting conversation. We all share what we know and think and maybe learn something from each other, and maybe not ;)

            “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle

            “I have never wished to cater to the crowd; for what I know they do not approve, and what they approve I do not know.” – Epicurus

            “It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.” — Karl Popper

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            “It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.” — Karl Popper


            That’s why words are very dangerous and the highest aim is always to perceive without words.

            Short of that, minimize by using haiku.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “I don’t agree that it was only gov’t policies of spending that made the US great after WWII…”

          It was without doubt the key component.


          A scientific experiment can, is and should always be conducted under the same conditions.

          That’s why, among other whys, economics is not a science.

          1. Philip Pilkington

            In fairness I think most people know from the stuff I publish on here that I have little sympathy for the idea that economics is a science.

            Still I think its fairly clear that the post-war boom was in large part due toward government spending and full employment in the WWII era. Households net saved an incredible amount and these savings DIRECTLY fueled the consumption expansion that took place after the war.

            Talk to people who were alive back then. I guarantee they’ll tell you about how they came back from the front (or from the factory, in the case of women) and found that their bank accounts were overflowing. They’ll tell you how then all these new consumer goods began to become available in response to this in the 1950s (as wartime capacity was switched to civilian uses — tank engines to Cadillacs etc).

            That saving that accumulated can be held, in large part, accountable for the whole ‘American Dream’ aesthetics itself.


          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The conditions are not the same. What we think worked then likely will not work now.

          3. Philip Pilkington

            The situations were not identical — they never are — but they are VERY similar.

            Ditto for a comparison between monetary policy around 1998 and around 1928. They kept interest rates low — in both cases for international reasons (debt/financial crises in other countries) — and the results were the same: stock bubbles.

            What’s that Twain quote? History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. Our policy responses should rhyme too.

        3. reslez

          My current working assumption these days is that they have already printed so much money that the money elites are finally worried about the inflationary aspect.

          They are not worried about inflation. If they were worried about inflation, interest rates would be high. Rates are at record lows. Therefore either money elites are not worried about inflation, or they are irrational. If the former, nothing prevents them from lying about fake fears of inflation for political reasons, in which case they should not be listened to. If the latter, they should not be listened to in any case.

        4. okie farmer

          Valissa, there was one overriding reason for the greatest period of capitalism’s success following WWII, and that was the fact the US taxed the hell out of greed. Everything else is just dross.

      3. F. Beard

        Then Wolf vaguely suggests a program for household debt reduction. Philip P

        Why be vague? Here’s how the US could do it:

        1) Ban the banks from any new credit creation.

        2) Send monthly and equal bailout checks of debt-free fiat to every US adult citizen equal in total to the amount of credit paid off the previous month. Continue till all US private debt was paid off.

        There. The entire US population would be debt-free with no serious risk of price inflation since the size of the total money supply (base money + credit) would remain constant.

        What are we waiting for?

        1. Philip Pilkington

          Well, there’s plenty of things we could do. But that’s the problem with Wolf. He gets it. He really does. But then he claims that we can’t really DO anything. Watching him speak is like almost sneezing but not quite doing so — it’s remarkably unfulfilling.

          Okay, here’s my theory on Wolf.

          If you look at his arguments carefully you can discern that he’s coming from a Keynesian perspective. That’s obvious and I think he’s admit as much. But then when he talks about sectoral balances being his ‘favourite approach’ and the like you start thinking “Hmmmm… maybe we should put him in the ‘post-Keynesian’ camp”. [].

          But here’s the kicker: post-Keynesians tend to be pretty radical. If you understand the economy from a broadly post-Keynesian perspective you generally derive fairly left-wing opinions about what should be done (job guarantee program, strongly progressive taxation etc).

          So, maybe Wolf is hiding on this one. I mean imagine it: the FT’s main economics editor a pinko!

          There used to be a joke among the Catholic clergy in Ireland: “You want to know what political position the FT takes? Just look at the colour of the newspaper”. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but it would no doubt unsettle the business community if they though Wolf was a pinko. It would ruin the FT’s brand.

          So, that’s my theory. I hope I meet Wolf one day so I can confirm it or refute it.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Why don’t we just cut taxes if you want a deficit?

            Why doesn’t the government just hand out free money to us?

          2. Philip Pilkington

            That’s what beard wants to do: target debtors and give them cash to pay it down. Sort of like a ‘reverse bailout’. Instead of taking on the toxic mortgage asset you take on the mortgage itself. It would essentially cost the same.

            If a government had the balls to do this? Hell, I’d support it. But I’d say it would a tough one to get through. Better to target full employment, I think.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Here we are coming to an interesting area.

            Are you for cutting taxes to increase public sector deficit AND private sector savings?

            As for giving free money, why not free money for EVERY Citizen until they start spending?

          4. Philip Pilkington

            I’m for cutting taxes — but not for the rich (that just encourages speculation).

            As for giving out free money. Well, the most effective means to do that is through a tax cut, right? That’s sort of what a tax cut is. Mosler’s ‘payroll tax holiday’ is, in essence, just handing out money to workers.

            I assume if F. Beard’s ‘reverse bailout’ (my term, not his) were to be implemented it would take the form of a negative tax ala Milton Friedman’s poverty anti-tax.

          5. F. Beard

            That’s what beard wants to do: target debtors and give them cash to pay it down PP

            Nope. Every adult citizen would receive equal bailout checks including savers. The banking system ingeniously cheats both borrowers AND savers so both are entitled to restitution.

            As for tax cuts, those only benefit those who directly pay taxes.

          6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            How about a modest start with $5,000/month for everyone every month and we can eliminate all other governement assistance programs?

            During a recession, we can make that $10,000/month per citizen.

            During a depression, we can hike that to $100,000/month per head.

          7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            How about this: Let’s cut taxes for everyone except rich hedge fund managers.

          8. F. Beard

            How about a modest start with $5,000/month for everyone every month … Beef

            You do realize that the last one who suggests a bailout is ineligible for it? You’re it!

          9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s easy to have others suggesting the same after me. We have an increaseing world population.

          10. F. Beard

            — but not for the rich (that just encourages speculation). Philip Pilkington

            Good point but remember that I advocate that the banks be put out of the credit (horizontal money) creation business at least till the bailout is over and pending fundamental reform in money creation.

          11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            So, how about it – $20,000 per month per American citizen.

            Sorry, even in Heaven, there is a guarded gate.

          12. F. Beard

            So, how about it – $20,000 per month per American citizen. MyLessThanFirmBeef

            Th prevent an increase in the money supply, the amount of the bailout checks would have to be metered month by month to just replace the amount of credit paid off in the previous month.

          13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We can all just use some of the excess monthly money for buying more Treasury notes as we (citizens and politicians) all work together to make the public deficit and therfore private sector savings even greater.

            In return for this support, the government will up the monthly amount so we have more money to put back into the Treasuries.

            That’s how we get growth.

          14. F. Beard

            You mock money creation but the bankers and Wall Street have used it to suck this country dry, Beefy.

            Then why can’t it be used to reverse that theft, eh? Banker tool are you?

          15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You presume everyone is a banker tool when he or she is fighting fire with fire.

            If you like, 20 oz of gold per citizen every month then.

            Let’s do away with MMT and fiat currency as well.

          16. skippy

            @Mister P…isn’t interest just preservation of purchasing power by the lender thingy (loan = free monies to issuer + snicker + Sq/Cubed) and if so double dipping in perpetuity…cough…most loans are for crap any ways.

            Skippy…should flesh it out more (having to much fun playing tree surgeon today) but, think you got that covered.

      4. hermanas

        Phil, I’m not challenging your arguement, but how much of the world GDP increase per capita after WW11 was the result of 60 million dead?

        1. Philip Pilkington

          Directly? None. But if they hadn’t had anyone to point the guns at they probably wouldn’t have built them.

          Keynes has a quote somewhere lamenting the fact that governments only pursue the correct policy of deficits for less than noble reasons — such as war. War economies, in themselves, give a bad name to deficits. But they demonstrate one thing beyond doubt: we are capable of doing this.

        2. JimS

          hermanas, if I understand you right, you’re implying that 60 million dead out of a world population of 2 billion (about 3%) would change the GDP not at all, but distribute it among 3% fewer people. By Ricardo’s law of rent, that 3% would come off the marginal productivity (i.e. the workers working with the least productive resources, not the averagely productive ones), so the world GDP might well not go down by much due to mere population drop.

          But I think the GDP per capita went up by much more than 3%, so something else must have been happening.

  9. Jim Haygood

    The intermarket ‘Depression signature’ has intensified today: equities crashing (minus 2.6% at midday); Treasury yields crashing (10-yr T-note yield down 3.5%); gold price notching a fresh record (up 0.8%).

    Any one of these symptoms, on its own, would imply disinflationary pressure.

    But the constellation of all three, which has been brightening for two weeks, sends an unmistakable message that a fresh recession is likely upon us.

    Abolish the Fed, before they do something even stupider than last time. Here’s today’s scene at the Marriner S. Eccles Building:

    1. F. Beard

      The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Psalm 11:5

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We will probably be told that we need to be educated on the original meaning of that word that was translated as ‘violence.’

        Is flooidng violence?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We probably need to examine the meaning of the original word that is now translated as ‘loving.’

          2. F. Beard

            Well, by definition your ancestors were loved else you would not be here.

            BTW, genetic evidence shows we all descended from a single male about 40,000 years ago and a single female from about 120,000 years ago.

            Their names? Noah and Eve.

        1. skippy

          @beardy…You can not take_one set of data_(one male one female) with out having the context of the hole present…cough…stop picking chapter and verse arguments / suggestions. That bad habit comes from another pursuit…eh.

          The waves of population emanating from Africa, environmental conditions and their results, of which much is yet to be divined…eh.

          Skippy…Jesus mad at the Financialization of his deity..yup’ers, the rest is a bit hazy (too many irons in the fire thingy). Stop trying to validate by cheery picking or incur the wrath of your own proto deity’s argument…get out of my house!

          1. ambrit

            Hey skippy;
            There’s a growing discounting of the African Genesis Theory. That and growing evidence that H Sap interbred with H Neanderthal leaves us with a great conundrum. Who and what are Humans? Just take a look at the ‘who made it to the New World first’ controversy to get a taste of the necessary ferment that real Science needs to function. Religion may be some peoples whipping boy, but never forget that spirituality seems to be uniquely Human. If someone finds evidence that the other Primates perform some sort of religion, that doesn’t place us in the realm of the beasts. It brings the Primates into the realm of Humanity. Oh well, there I go again. Cheers.

          2. Skippy

            Just because I / Royal WE do not have the complete answer[s (universal equation), every thing is subject to revision stuff, it does not suggest we should employ fabrications in its stead. Play ground of the manipulators thingy, see history.

            Skippy…BTW fully concur with your E.W. comment, *eyes wide shut*, or in my parlance *shoot self in foot* to live another day…eh.

            PS. in the end we either come together or [????], personally I like embraces. I always ask why they call me enemy, when in fact my arm are out stretched, to humanity.

  10. El Snarko

    As a neighborhood president and sorta “community activist” in Dayton we miss you! Smart productive insightful people are a valuable to have resource.

    The overall destruction is impressive and actuallystarted twenty years ago but no one believed it. I still do not see how everyone stood still for this. Much was of course the demise of GM and then NCR. Before that it was Meade and others. The degeneration is now spreading to the burbs and I say thanks you very much Reagan Democrats from GM and Frigidaire who thought when they said ownership society they were actually talking to YOU! Ah for the deluded 90’s when you could see them sitting in bars sippin a beer watching the market on FOX on the 25 big screens (well five were for the Reds games). No pensions are vanishing as is health care.Home and auto upkeep is a pain in the wallet and there are NO jobs. Retraining/education above the community college level is prohibitively espensive here in Kasichland and now I see where Perry nuclear power plant is called by Reuters the most dangerous in the world!! Even the Ohio State football coach is a bit bent. This is NOT what I voted for and our elected reps (we are 40 miles from Boehnerville)represent a status quo that is now a selective reality.

    This sux rocks!!

  11. Eureka Springs

    Good gawd, Dayen sure does take great pains to both use terms like catfood commission II, yet tone down the fact all the peoples social programs are now at the point of a gun with automatic triggers, safety off.

    And somehow this is in any way reasonable?

    Dayen doesn’t seem to realize he is part of the protection team of D circular firing squad… this whole commission scenario is just a form of D party conducting Humanitarian economic Bombing (shock doctrine) on its own people.

    If there are no good options presented…. then you know the judge, jury, and verdict are rigged. Just like we the middle and lower have watched at every juncture for decades… no matter who is in charge.

  12. Anonymous Jones

    Very cool to get a shout out from Michael Hudson, but the article on “Russia’s Economic Interests” posted this week is far superior with respect to content.

    What an awesome beginning:

    “We all know that the world is unfair. The most useful question to ask is how much poverty is economically necessary, how much is a product of policies that can be alleviated?”

    And an awesome middle:

    “But this is not what happens in reality. It is easier to make money by predatory means. That is how the great American fortunes were made, by the railroad land barons, and by Wall Street railroad and stock market manipulators. Heavy industry was turned into trusts that fought against labor unionization, against the drive for safer and better working conditions, and to raise prices without regard for costs.”

    And an awesome finale (well, cliff-hanger for part deux):

    “The result is that average wage levels in the United States have not risen since the late 1970s. But the tax burden has risen, as has the cost of obtaining housing, an education and medical care. This has shrunk markets for goods and services. And the U.S. economy is now entering a deep L-shaped recession/depression, as is Western Europe. Most of the population is being squeezed and getting poorer. So this certainly does not seem a good model for Russia and other post-Soviet economies to follow (as the sad example of Latvia shows).”

  13. Dan Helphrey

    As a laptop hobo, I can tell you that Starbucks has gotten a lot more money from me since they began offering free wi-fi. It used to be, I’d have one drink and leave when I was finished with it. These days, I am sometimes known to spend a whole day there (sometimes getting work done, other times reading blogs like this one and playing Angry Birds), during which I average a drink every 1-2 hours.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think they should appreciate customers like you.

      They will appreciate you even more if you see anyone hanging around ordering, not once very 1-2 hours, but once every 8-9 hours, if you would tell those people that’s not so nice to other customers who come in, after a hard day’s work needing a drink, and can’t find a seat.

    1. Jim Haygood

      AH HA HA — good one!

      Evidently the War on Debt already exists.

      Like the War on Drugs, it has only served to drastically increase the supply.

      Maybe they should just declare victory and go home.

  14. Kathleen4

    I am a regular visitor of the blog Yves, thank you. As to the other readers I am almost always enlightened by your comments, thank you. Most of the comments today pertained to worldwide depression and revolution. I will disclose that I am a regional anarchist, in that regions should be “drawn” by the use and maintenance of natural resources with treaties drawn between “regions” over the ownership and profits of modern tech and healthcare. Another disclaimer: I know this is a pipe dream. My question to other readers is this: If we truly have no control over our government, corporations, and markets, what is your proposition for how to take control? In other words, where is a healthy governance going to come from? Where are untampered markets going to come from? Where are responsible[towards communities]corporations going to come from?
    I ask this out of fear of a Machiavellian-Elitist revolution.

  15. Where's the Demand Side?

    Hi Yves!
    Thank you so much for your informative and entertaining blog, have been a regular for some time. I was taken aback today when visiting your site and having the page covered in Crossroads GPS BS, I almost lost my lunch (and it was pretty good too). Hopefully, this was not an active decision on your part and would love to hear an update.
    Thank you!

  16. rps

    Bloomberg: Denmark Forcing Liquidity Crisis on Banks: Naur

    Bent Naur, chairman of the Copenhagen-based group; Local Bankers Association said,“There’s nothing wrong with helping banks out with their liquidity, it won’t cost the taxpayer,”

    Yeah, I believe Denmark has seen the American version of Road to Utopia movie starring Bernanke as Bob Hope and Geithner as Bing Crosby playing the patty cake scam of grab the money and run

  17. rps

    From Der Spiegel: Once Upon a Time in the West

    “By any definition, America is no longer a Western nation.

    The US is a country where the system of government has fallen firmly into the hands of the elite. An unruly and aggressive militarism set in motion two costly wars in the past 10 years. Society is not only divided socially and politically — in its ideological blindness the nation is moving even farther away from the core of democracy. It is losing its ability to compromise.

    America has changed. It has drifted away from the West.

    The country’s social disintegration is breathtaking….”,1518,778396,00.html#ref=rss

    The world watches as the Beacon of Enlightenment becomes engulfed by the supermassive black hole of corporate owned government and a knee-padded congress and a ransomed justice system.

  18. Asher Miller

    Yves & Naked Capitalism readers, I think you’ll find this animation narrated by Richard Heinberg to be as thought-provoking as it is entertaining. The fundamental premise? That we have hit the end of economic growth, as we’ve known it.

    There’s only so much ground you can cover in five minutes, but the argument is fully unpacked in the book, The End of Growth.

    1. F. Beard

      Blah, blah, blah…

      The Banksters screw up the world’s economy and just coincidentally the world’s economy can’t grow anymore?

      It’s amazing how many seek to divert blame from the counterfeiting and usury cartel.

Comments are closed.