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Author Topic: Corruption in Government  (Read 32049 times)

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AGelbert

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5 Ways Trump Has NOT Drained the Swamp with Robert Reich
16,596 views•Feb 11, 2020


Robert Reich
194K subscribers

It seems like forever ago when Donald Trump promised to “Drain the Swamp” if elected president. Well, it turns out this was one of the biggest whoppers in modern American politics. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich breaks down five ways Trump has made the swamp even swampier.


Watch More: 🦀 Trump's Emoluments Mess ►►
Category News & Politics
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #1111 on: February 16, 2020, 01:53:20 pm »
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #1112 on: February 16, 2020, 02:14:38 pm »






Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

AGelbert

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Trump's Acquittal Has Ushered in a New Era of McCarthyist Purges 

February 16, 2020

By Sasha Abramsky, TRUTHOUT

🦀 Donald Trump, the reality TV star who specialized in firing his victims on "The Apprentice," is using the power of the soft purge -- the destruction of people's livelihoods, careers and reputations , as opposed to the bloody violence of Soviet or Nazi purges -- to enforce a culture of absolute loyalty and to deliberately break the power of independent agencies and bureaucracies. Read the Article → 👀
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #1114 on: February 20, 2020, 01:55:46 pm »
BACK CHANNEL: HOW SEAN HANNITY CAME TO BELIEVE “EVERY WORD [ASSANGE] SAYS”

February 19, 2020/9 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel

In a pre-hearing hearing in London today, a lawyer for Julian Assange said they’d call a witness who would testify that Julian Assange was offered a pardon if he would say that Russia wasn’t behind the 2016 hack.

This has led to people discovering for the first time the abundant evidence that Assange and the Trump Administration were discussing pardons in a bunch of different contexts. They weren’t all, at all, an exchange for Assange’s false testimony about his ties to Russia. That’s just the only legally convenient one Assange can mention, because the others involve extortion (either a quid pro quo for the initial campaign dirt, or an offer to limit the damage of the Vault 7 leak in exchange for immunity) that would easily reach the bar for extradition.

As I’ve noted repeatedly, one of the most interesting questions Robert Mueller failed to get Trump to answer in good faith pertained to pardon discussions starting even before the inauguration.

Did you have any discussions prior to January 20, 2017, regarding a potential pardon or other action to benefit Julian Assange? If yes, describe who you had the discussion(s) with, when, and the content of the discussion(s).

Trump’s answer did not cover the transition, when — testimony from his trial made clear — Roger Stone was already working on a pardon.

Quote
I do not recall having had any discussion during the campaign regarding a pardon or action to benefit Julian Assange.

The record shows that discussions of an Assange pardon — for any of a variety of reasons — continued from late 2016 through early 2018.

But now that Assange is preparing to unpack one point of blackmail he has against Trump — and given the abundant effort we’ve seen that various people (including but not limited to 😈 Paul Manafort) use Sean Hannity as a back channel to the 🦀 President — it’s time for folks to reconsider the Sean Hannity interview of Julian Assange from early January, 2017, just days after Roger Stone was known to be pursuing a pardon for Assange.

https://www.emptywheel.net/2020/02/19/back-channel-how-sean-hannity-came-to-believe-every-word-assange-says/

Agelbert NOTE: And today, Stone gets a slap on the wrist sentence of 40 months when he should have gotten at least 10 years. Maybe the judge is trying to game theory Trump into NOT isssuing a pardon for Stone. Whatever her motive is, a sentence of 40 months is more evidence that we are living under a barely disguised (until just after the November elections) fascist dictatorship.


February 20, 2020

NowThis News
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Quote
Cece Olszewski
25 minutes ago
Stone as in Mason gets 3 years and 4 months. As in the 3&4 the compass and square. Just more Masonic propaganda and predictable programming.

Bella Marie
12 minutes ago
Love that tRUMP RAT statue. To be accurate it should have $h!t coming out of it’s mouth.

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

AGelbert

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February 20, 2020/29 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel 

SNIPPETS:

Quote
Leahy: Do you believe a president could lawfully issue a pardon in exchange for the recipient’s promise to not incriminate him?

Barr: No, that would be a crime.

Quote
..., Stone lied specifically to protect the president, to avoid explaining all those calls with Trump about WikiLeaks, to avoid describing what role Trump had in any success Stone had in optimizing the release of the John Podesta emails. He even told Randy Credico that he had to plead the Fifth because Stone couldn’t, because of his ties to Trump.

Full article:

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

AGelbert

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The Golden Age Of White Collar Crime
« Reply #1116 on: February 22, 2020, 10:20:37 pm »


Quote
According to a study by the Federal Judicial Center, four out of five judges in federal courts (where the vast majority of white-collar cases are decided) are white. A 2010 survey found that they have an average age of nearly 70. Their base salary is $210,000 per year.

It is, as one of those high-priced lawyers might say, improbable that these demographic and economic facts exert no influence whatsoever on judges’ rulings. In a 2012 review of sentencing data in Florida, researchers found that “high-status” white collar criminals, such as doctors scamming Medicaid, were 98.7 percent less likely to receive prison terms than welfare fraudsters. A 2015 study found that judges showed increasing mercy as fraud offenders moved up the income scale: Criminals who stole more than $400 million got sentences that were less than half of the minimum recommended by federal guidelines. Criminals who stole $5,000 or less served sentences well over the minimum.

“When you zoom out, you see all the ways that bias accumulates throughout the system,” said Justin Levinson, a University of Hawaii professor and the editor of “Implicit Racial Bias Across The Law.” Sentencing guidelines prescribe lighter punishments for first-time offenders and criminals who can afford to pay restitution. Evidence rules make it nearly impossible to seize records or computers from corporations. Jury selection weeds out the poor, the less educated and minorities.

The Golden Age Of White Collar Crime

By Michael Hobbes, Huffpost.com

February 21, 2020 | EDUCATE!

Over the last two years, nearly every institution of American life has taken on the unmistakable stench of moral rot. Corporate behemoths like Boeing and Wells Fargo have traded blue-chip credibility for white-collar callousness. Elite universities are selling admission spots to the highest Hollywood bidder. Silicon Valley unicorns have revealed themselves as long cons (Theranos)... -more-
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

AGelbert

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🦀 Donald Trump - Once a Bully Always a Bully
« Reply #1117 on: February 23, 2020, 12:59:33 pm »
🦀 Donald Trump - Once a Bully Always a Bully
4,547 views•Feb 19, 2020


Thom Hartmann Program
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Donald Trump - Once a Bully Always a Bully.

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Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

AGelbert

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BY Laura Flanders, Truthout

PUBLISHED February 23, 2020

SNIPPET:

Was it never self-sustaining? Never could’ve been self-sustaining, or was it created [to be] not self-sustaining, which is to say dependent?

Morales: Yes, it was never self-sustaining because, well first of all, Puerto Rico was a colony of Spain for 400 years before the United States, and they were collaborators with the Spanish colonialism as well, and they were the ones who had most of the property in the sugar industry.


But when the U.S. came in, they adjusted the tax laws to favor outside interest, and the U.S. sugar companies were able to take over most of the best land for sugar, and the U.S. economy started to dominate the Puerto Rican economy, and it was never really allowed to grow on its own. The Jones Act [made] it impossible for trade to happen. The U.S. set up Puerto Rico as a free-trade zone in the early 20th century, as a prelude to NAFTA in a way, by just … there were no duties charged to the U.S. for imports from Puerto Rico, and then the U.S. dumped all of its consumer stuff, that it wasn’t selling in the U.S., onto Puerto Rico.

Talk about the … is it called the Downes Bidwell case, that determined the status, and contextualize that a little bit for us?

Morales: What happened in the 19th century, with a lot of territories that the U.S. acquired, which were put on the road to statehood, like a lot of the places in the middle of the country and in the West … those were thought of as incorporated territories, which meant that they were on the paths [to] statehood. But at the end of the 19th century, when the U.S. decided to start this … colonial empire and expand beyond its borders to maybe create a security zone in the Caribbean and to the South…. Fighting the war with Spain, they acquired these territories filled with people who they mistrusted, or were just outright racist towards, because they were not white, they were mixed. There’s a lot of prejudice against mixed people as well. They would say things like, “Mixed people have the worst aspects of both white and Black,” so they did not consider Puerto Rico, or the Philippines, as candidates for statehood.

And they created this new category called unincorporated ;) territory. And  Downes v. Bidwell, which was decided on by two of the same Supreme Court   judges that decided on Plessy v. Ferguson, which established 😈 separate but equal, they said that Puerto Rico was belonging to, but not a part of, the U.S. And so, what that allowed them to do was treat Puerto Rico in ways that was [an] advantage to the United States. For instance, they gave Puerto Rico the title of state so that it couldn’t declare bankruptcy. They did it that way, but when it was to their advantage to consider Puerto Rico a foreign area, then they consider it as foreign and that’s 👹 constantly still being done.
 


Full article with video:

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

AGelbert

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A Look at 🦀 Trump’s Proposed 2021 Budget
« Reply #1119 on: February 24, 2020, 05:11:48 pm »
A Look at Trump’s Proposed 2021 Budget
Feb 24, 2020


NowThis News ✨👍
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Billions in funding for anti-immigration efforts and billions in cuts for health care and student loan forgiveness — here's what's in Trump's proposed 2021 budget.
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In US news and current events today, Trump’s 2021 budget shows his priorities for governing:

- $2 billion for the wall Mexico was supposed to pay for a border wall

- $15.6 billion for the Customs and Border Protection agency an increase of 7%

- $9.9 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement an increase of 23%

- $1 trillion for infrastructure spending over 10 years including $200 billion for ‘nationally significant’ projects

- $465 billion in cuts to Medicare providers

- $700 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the next decade with new work requirements for Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance

- Federal disability insurance cut by $70 billion

- Student loan forgiveness cut by $170 billion

- 21 percent cut from foreign aid spending


The plan calls for extending Trump’s tax cuts to 2035 at a cost of $1.4 trillion and to pay for it, they propose various cuts.

For more on 🦀 Trump's proposed 2021 budget , watch this full recap.

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Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

AGelbert

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Jim Acosta Slams President Trump for Accusing CNN of Lying | NowThis
49,295 views•Feb 25, 2020


NowThis News
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Mr. President, I think our record on delivering the truth is a lot better than yours sometimes’ — CNN’s Jim Acosta was not afraid of standing up to Trump after he accused the network of lying.

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In US news and current events today, Pres. Trump didn’t like being questioned about appointing a political ally to be Director of National Intelligence.

Trump fired acting intel chief Joseph Maguire after he briefed Congress on new Russian efforts to interfere in the 2020 election. Trump then appointed a political ally with no intelligence experience, the search for a permanent intel chief is ongoing.

Trump still denies the proven efforts of Russia to help his campaign. U.S. officials also warned Bernie Sanders that Russia was trying to help him. When the news broke, Sanders response was a little different.

Watch the Jim Acosta vs Donald Trump moment from a White House press conference here.

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Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

AGelbert

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Coronavirus 😈 Capitalism — and How to 🦅 Beat It
8,264 views•Premiered 4 hours ago


The Intercept
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Governments around the world are busily exploiting the coronavirus crisis to push for no-strings-attached corporate bailouts and regulatory rollbacks .

“I've spent two decades studying the transformations that take place under the cover of disaster,” writes Naomi Klein. “I’ve learned that one thing we can count on is this: During moments of cataclysmic change, the previously unthinkable suddenly becomes reality.”

In recent decades, that change has mainly been for the worst — but this has not always been the case. And it need not continue to be in the future.

This video is about the ways the still-unfolding Covid-19 crisis is already remaking our sense of the possible. The Trump administration and other governments around the world are busily exploiting the crisis to push for no-strings-attached corporate bailouts and regulatory rollbacks. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is moving to repeal financial regulations that were introduced after the last major financial meltdown, as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. China, for its part, is indicating that it will relax environmental standards to stimulate its economy, which would wipe out the one major benefit the crisis has produced so far: a marked drop in that country’s lethal air pollution.

But this is not the whole story. In the United States, we have also seen organizing at the city and state levels win important victories to suspend evictions during the pandemic. Ireland has announced six weeks of emergency unemployment payments for all workers who suddenly find themselves out of work, including self-employed workers. And despite U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden’s claims during the recent debate that the pandemic has nothing to do with Medicare for All, many Americans are suddenly realizing that the absence of a functioning safety net exacerbates vulnerabilities to the virus on many fronts.

This crisis — like earlier ones — could well be the catalyst to shower aid on the wealthiest interests in society, including those most responsible for our current vulnerabilities, while offering next to nothing to the most workers, wiping out small family savings and shuttering small businesses. But as this video shows, many are already pushing back — and that story hasn’t been written yet.

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Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

AGelbert

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What's Missing From the Coronavirus Bill with Robert Reich ✨ 👍
10,971 views•Mar 17, 2020


Robert Reich
225K subscribers

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich explains what's missing from the House of Representatives' coronavirus relief package, including:

—Guaranteed paid sick leave for ALL employees

—Extended Medicaid

—Immediate payments of $1,500/adult and $500/child

—Suspension of Trump's “public charge” rule so immigrants don't fear using social programs


Watch More: The Real Deal with Medicare for All ►►
Category News & Politics
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

AGelbert

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Is Joe Biden really winning?
« Reply #1123 on: March 17, 2020, 10:02:13 pm »
Is 🐵 Joe Biden really winning?   - Oil tanks - Will we get UBI?
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Ohio blocks Tuesday’s presidential primary in ‘health emergency’ as 3 other states vote
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-03-16/coronavirus-outbreak-primaries-florida-arizona-ohio-illinois

BREAKING: Biden Wins Illinois?! TV Station Declares Biden The Primary Victor Day Before Election!!
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Earth Just Experienced Second-Hottest Winter Ever Recorded
https://sputniknews.com/environment/202003161078587397-earth-just-experienced-second-hottest-winter-ever-recorded/

U.S. airlines seek billions in aid as outbreak cripples travel
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/u-s-airlines-seek-billions-in-aid-as-outbreak-cripples-travel

U.S. Airlines Spent 96% of Free Cash Flow on Buybacks
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Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

AGelbert

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A Coronavirus Bailout Will Save Corporations, Not Workers
March 18, 2020


What happened to the cash from the last bailout? Industries spent it all on stock buybacks and are now looking for billions more in relief from the impact of coronavirus.
Story Transcript
This is a rush transcript and may contain errors. It will be updated.

Kim Brown: Welcome to The Real News. I’m Kim Brown. As the world scrambles to contain AND deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, governments around the world are not only struggling to save lives, but to deal with an economic slowdown that has left millions of people without work at this time. But make no mistake, capitalism is trying to claw back the billions of dollars it has lost since the global economic slowdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, and many industries in recent memory, who were the beneficiaries of federally taxpayer-funded bailouts, are lining up once again with their hands out, these same bailouts that left many American workers and workers around the world holding the bag. To get more information and some analysis on this, we’re joined today with Bill Black. He is the author of the book titled, The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One. He is also a professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and the University of Minnesota. He joins us today from Bloomington. Bill Black, thank you so much for being here.

Bill Black: ✨👍 Thank you.

Kim Brown: So Bill, hourly wage workers and the gig economy workers are feeling the crunch and the sudden impact of the economic slowdown. Obviously here in the United States, and many states within the US have shut down bars, restaurants, casinos, schools, universities, everything is closed, and people who depend on working hourly are definitely experiencing the brunt of this, and we’re going to get to their plight in just a moment. However, companies, industries, are telling Washington that if they don’t get billions in federal assistance, they will go bankrupt, that they will not survive. And we’re talking about the airline industry, the hospitality industry, the cruise ship industry, even casinos and fossil fuels. So Bill Black, are these industries being truthful that their survival depends on federal intervention, or is this a lot of hyperbole?

Bill Black: Well, some of both. It depends on the circumstances. So simultaneously, with this incredible drop in the stock market and with the strong expectation that there will now be a global recession due to the pandemic, the Russians and the Saudis also [inaudible 00:02:35] was stage a price war on petroleum. Most shale oil production was already very marginal and often losing money, and the price of oil has basically been cut in half, and those companies most assuredly would go out of business, as they should. But of course, you recall these are the same people horrified, horrified by the concept of socialism, the government sending money to people and doing things, not so much if it’s going to major donors. So this is not about saving the economy and it’s not about saving lives, this is all about saving the Trump presidency and the reelection efforts.

Kim Brown: Professor, the Trump White House coronavirus response team held a briefing in the White House, on Tuesday where Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin pledged that workers who have been displaced either by their industry shutting down, i.e. restaurant and bar workers, could expect some financial relief coming from the White House. Let’s take a listen to what he had to say.

Steven Mnuchin: The payroll tax holiday would get people money over the next six to eight months. We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately. And what we’ve heard from hardworking Americans, many companies have now shut down, whether it’s bars or restaurants, Americans need cash now, and the president wants to get cash now, and I mean now in the next two weeks.

Speaker 4: How much?

Steven Mnuchin: I will be previewing that with the Republicans. There’s some numbers out there. They may be a little bit bigger than what’s in the process.

Kim Brown: So professor, what is your response to what Mnuchin had to say there?

Bill Black: Okay, so to put it in context, you have to back up to Friday. Trump makes his big announcement, everything’s wonderful, kumbaya. The stock market very briefly goes up 2000 points. He’s signing copies of a graph showing this, giving it to Lou Dobbs, taking personal credit for it, and the market just absolutely tanks, and it tanks globally. So again, they figured out, “Oh my God!” If you recall, last Friday, the Republicans in the Senate under Mitch McConnell were saying, “The Democrats have way too much money in this stimulus package, and they’re going to try to protect workers from layoffs, and from sick leave and such. That’s all outrageous! We need to make this package smaller!” And now Trump has reversed it, because the biggest thing he thinks he has going for his reelection is the stock market. So this is all about getting a really big surge in the stock market, which by the way, the gains go overwhelmingly to very, very wealthy people and corporations. That’s who’s most heavily invested in the stock market.

And given the failure of his last efforts, they’ve decided to go big. And this is the old thing, go big or go home, home, not to the White House, but back to Florida or wherever he’s decided to live, if he gets defeated for reelection. So Mnuchin is now promising payment to workers. Remember before, they didn’t want to do that. They didn’t want to have sick leave protection for workers and such, but they figured out, “Hey, our base in the critical states particularly, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and such, really wants these kinds of direct payments. So let’s, even though we as Republicans opposed them in 2008 in the Obama stimulus, now we love them,” and they’re going to compete obviously to see how big they can make them. So yes, there will be direct paychecks, and you can see that both the Republicans and the Democrats will support this legislatively, and probably do so on a very quick basis.

Kim Brown: Professor, I’m going to lean heavily on your financial expertise here, because Secretary Mnuchin in this address from the White House on Tuesday, he made some specific claims about what the Fed is willing to do to boost the economy. Let’s have a listen to what secretary Mnuchin had to say there.

Steven Mnuchin: The first, I would say is earlier today, I sent a letter to Fed Chairman Powell approving his request to use 13(3), and what that will do is the Fed will be setting up a special purpose vehicle, which the treasury will invest $10 billion in, from one of our funds, that will enable the Fed to guarantee the purchase of A1/P1 commercial paper going forward. That is a $1 trillion market and is critical to American workers, it’s critical to American business, and it’s critical to American savers, who have a lot of that money in money market funds. So we heard loud and clear there were liquidity issues. This is very significant, and we’ll create, I don’t think we’ll need to use it all, but we have the ability to have the Fed purchase up to $1 trillion of commercial paper, as needed. That has already created significant stability in the market today.

Kim Brown: So professor, I can tell you I understood very little of what was just said. All I understood was $1 trillion. Can you please decipher what Steve Mnuchin is talking about and how that will impact average workers, if at all?

Bill Black: It won’t affect the average workers at all, if it works as intended. What they were concerned about is the kind of breakdown in markets that occurred in September 2008, and then like dominoes, cause what we call systemic failures, systemic risk, where one failure triggered another. And so the specific part of the plan that he was talking about there, has to do with trying to fix recurrent problems over about the last three months in the short-term borrowing markets, which are used almost entirely by Wall Street and its largest corporate customers. So it has not much of anything to do with any of us.

Now, in the further context, remember the Republicans who were all for central bank independence and you should never have political influence, but of course, Trump in ways that we’ve never seen in America, has been hammering Powell, his own appointment to run the Fed, to reduce rates to the lowest in the world. Well, they haven’t quite done that, but they’ve reduced rates essentially to zero. So that’s the broader context. They’ve used up all the monetary tricks that they have in terms of stimulus.

Then they try to deal with the liquidity problem, and the way they did that is say, “Hey, we’ll be the buyer of last resort up to 1 trillion bucks out of the Fed.” So that’s the liquidity, and then they said what economists had been saying for some time, “Hey, there’s not that much effective you can do with these circumstances with monetary policy. You really need a fiscal stimulus. Remember the Republicans, about how fiscal stimulus was insane in 2008 with president Obama?” Now they’re all for it, of course, and so that’s the three pieces of this pie.

But in addition to these stimulus, then you’re just playing good old crony capitalism payoffs to your biggest political supporters, right? So particularly in casino industries, these are Trump’s greatest friends, and political supporters and contributors, the investment banking folks, the hedge funds and such, that particularly support Trump, all of these folks are going to be the huge beneficiaries, and mind you, consider the number. The number they’re throwing around for allegedly sending to people, and remember most of that will probably go to richer people, but total that goes to people is 250 billion. Obviously this can change legislatively, but this authority to fix a liquidity problem is a trillion dollars, so four times as large, and then there’s all this other stuff from the Fed plus this incredible reduction in interest rates. So all of these things really help the folks that borrow a huge sums of money, and again, that’s corporations and in particular, Wall Street

Kim Brown: Professor, but this is what pisses a lot of people off, because when we hear the ease and the quick response from the White house, and this is really either White House, Trump, White House, Obama White House, Bush White House. When Wall Street needs money, oh, we can make a trillion and a half dollars appear out of nowhere, but when average Americans, working people, poor families are asking for a student loan bailout, for example, or Medicare for all, it’s like, “Oh, where are we going to find the money? Oh, we don’t even know where that money is.” So clearly this money is accessible to someone, but not to the people who clearly need it the most.

Bill Black: Yes. I mean, this is the part that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were absolutely right about, right? That whenever it’s for folks who are major contributors and the biggest political contributors of any industry in America, are finance, and after that comes a whole list of the folks that are the recipients of this proposed bailout. Whenever they want public money, suddenly it’s not socialism, suddenly it’s capitalism. And allegedly, these are the folks that save jobs, except that obviously, they’re not saving the jobs. In fact, it’s these precise companies.

Well, why don’t they have as much cash? Why are they in such a vulnerable position that even a month or two would destroy them? Because they’ve been using their cash to buy back their own shares. They use the corporate cash to buy back the corporation’s own shares. They don’t use it to invest in research and development, which is why our productivity gains have been cut in half, right? And why do they do this? Because the CEOs alone own a lot of stock. And what happens to stock prices when you buy back, and the corporation buy back stock? The stock price goes up, and you make the CEO a lot richer. That’s why they’re short of cash, not just because of the coronavirus crisis. So we’re bailing them out for running their companies imprudently in ways that hurt productivity, hurt economic growth, hurt the ability to get wage increases, and it’s insidious socialism for the rich.

Kim Brown: And we can look back retrospectively on the most recent bailouts, federally taxpayer-funded bailouts done at the very tail end of George W. Bush’s administration, going into the first term of Barack Obama’s administration. I mean, when we look at the General Motors bailout, for example, 10 years onward, GM has laid off tens of thousands of employees, they have shuttered factories in some of the most economically vulnerable communities here in the United States, but the banks also got a huge bailout in 2008, 2009, and I wanted to play a clip from then Senator and democratic candidate Barack Obama. He sat down with CBS’s Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, and this is what he had to say about the TARP bailout. Let’s have a listen.

🐍 Barack Obama: First of all, I think we have to understand this was a urgent situation and is an urgent situation, and by the end of the week, I think everybody recognized that something needed to be done. What I’m pleased about is that it appears, at least, and I haven’t reviewed the actual language, is that some core principles that I set forth at the beginning of this crisis, were incorporated. The issue of making sure that we had strong oversight, the insistence that taxpayers share in the gains, if there are any, when the market recovers, the insistence that homeowners get additional relief so that there’s some reciprocity. If in fact, we’re bailing out or helping banks, they in turn, have to help rework mortgages for people who are potentially facing foreclosure. And the final thing, the issue of executive compensation, making sure that taxpayer money is not going to pad bonuses or golden parachutes. It appears that those principles have all been incorporated into the core agreement, and I’m going to be reviewing the language over the next day, to make sure that those provisions actually stick.


Kim Brown: So professor, listening to what the Senator had to say now, it almost seemed like perhaps he was naive in his expectations, because really none of those things actually took in response. Many bank CEOs of banks big and small, walked away with tremendous compensation packages, while home mortgages, and rather, home foreclosures just jumped exponentially. So many people got kicked out of their houses. So when we look at a bailout, all I can think of is for one, we’ve done this before, for two, this did not end well for the workers, and three, surely, surely we can’t be considering this again.

Bill Black: Oh yeah, we’re not just considering, it’s going to happen. So there were actually three things involving that at… Well, let’s do them real quick. The interview was September 28th. At that point, that’s the original TARP plan, and that too was in the midst of a presidential election. John McCain, Republican candidate announced, “I’m suspending my campaign efforts. I’m going to come to Washington D.C. in my role as Senator, and provide leadership,” right? Because he was behind in the polls to Barack Obama, and so all the senators back, McCain, in fact shows no leadership. The TARP proposal was literally three and a half pages, and it had absolutely nothing in it that Senator Obama talked about, and that was all made up. That was all false.

In any event, Congress actually said no to that. And you ask, the broader reason why these things happen, is as soon as Congress rejected the first TARP plan, the stock market crashed, and everybody came together and on a bipartisan basis said, “Oh my God, we can’t have the economy cratering, we need to do this!” So then you got a broader TARP, and instead of being a TARP that was potentially going to help households, it removed centrally all the stuff that protected households. Then the third thing was the Obama stimulus, and that’s actually the one that was the primary thing for auto workers, not Bush, so that’s pretty much an Obama plan. Indeed, they were very, very proud of the auto bailout as saving this kind of industry, and in fact, experts go back and forth on that. But what is assuredly true, is the bottom line that you said. In both TARP and the Obama stimulus package, the money went overwhelmingly, overwhelmingly, like 95 plus percent to the wealthy and not to homeowners.

Kim Brown: I don’t even know what to say, Professor Black, because I am so disgusted, number one, at that piece of history that we all endured and lived through, and a lot of people suffered in, just to consider that we could be entertaining, and are seriously entertaining, likely to move forward on a similar stimulus and bailout package that will benefit exclusively the wealthy, while workers just get crumbs, perhaps not even a month’s worth of expenses. But unfortunately professor, we’ve run out of time, so we’re going to have to leave it there. We’ve been speaking with Professor Bill Black. He’s also an author. He is the most fun person that you will ever listen to talk about economics. So definitely, if you go to University of Missouri at Kansas City or University of Minnesota, you need to take Professor Black’s class. We appreciate your time today, Bill. Thanks a lot.

Bill Black: Thank you.

Kim Brown: And thank you for watching The Real News Network.

https://therealnews.com/stories/coronavirus-bailout-corporations-workers-unemployment


« Last Edit: March 18, 2020, 07:31:22 pm by AGelbert »
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

 

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