Default on the public debt, nationalization of the banks, and a citizen dividend could actually save the Italian economy.
Comedian Beppe Grillo was surprised himself when his Five Star Movement got 8.7 million votes in the Italian general election of February 24-25th. His movement is now the biggest single party in the chamber of deputies, says The Guardian, which makes him “a kingmaker in a hung parliament.”
Quantitative easing (QE) is supposed to stimulate the economy by adding money to the money supply, increasing demand. But so far, it hasn’t been working. Why not? Because as practiced for the last two decades, QE does not actually increase the circulating money supply. It merely cleans up the toxic balance sheets of banks. A real “helicopter drop” that puts money into the pockets of consumers and businesses has not yet been tried. Why not? Another good question . . . .
In a shameless display of putting politics before human needs, Congress began 2013 still scrapping over a $60 billion Hurricane Sandy relief bill fully nine weeks after the disaster hit. And if the Katrina experience is any indication, the bill may not bring adequate relief to struggling and displaced homeowners even when it is finally passed.
The “fiscal cliff” has all the earmarks of a false flag operation, full of sound and fury, intended to extort concessions from opponents. Neil Irwin of the Washington Post calls it “a self-induced austerity crisis.” David Weidner in the Wall Street Journal calls it simply theater, designed to pressure politicians into a budget deal:
The cliff is really just a trumped-up annual budget discussion. . . . The most likely outcome is a combination of tax increases, spending cuts and kicking the can down the road.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and the Bank of Scotland have been pillars of Scotland’s economy and culture for over three centuries. So when the RBS was nationalized by the London-based UK government following the 2008 banking crisis, and the Bank of Scotland was acquired by the London-based Lloyds Bank, it came as a shock to the Scots. They no longer owned their oldest and most venerable banks.
QE3, the Federal Reserve’s third round of quantitative easing, is so open-ended that it is being called QE Infinity. Doubts about its effectiveness are surfacing even on Wall Street. The Financial Times reports:
Among the trading rooms and floors of Connecticut and Mayfair [in London], supposedly sophisticated money managers are raising big questions about QE3 — and whether, this time around, the Fed is not risking more than it can deliver.
The economy could use a good dose of “aggregate demand”—new spending money in the pockets of consumers—but QE3 won’t do it. Neither will it trigger the dreaded hyperinflation. In fact, it won’t do much at all. There are better alternatives.
Japan’s massive government debt conceals massive benefits for the Japanese people, with lessons for the U.S. debt “crisis.”
In an April 2012 article in Forbes titled “If Japan Is Broke, How Is It Bailing Out Europe?”, Eamonn Fingleton pointed out the Japanese government was by far the largest single non-eurozone contributor to the latest Euro rescue effort. This, he said, is “the same government that has been going round pretending to be bankrupt (or at least offering no serious rebuttal when benighted American and British commentators portray Japanese public finances as a trainwreck).” Continue reading →
On July 27, 2012, the National Association of Letter Carriers adopted a resolution at their National Convention in Minneapolis to investigate establishing a postal banking system. The resolution noted that expanding postal services and developing new sources of revenue are important to the effort to save the public Post Office and preserve living-wage jobs; that many countries have a successful history of postal banking, including Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States itself; and that postal banks could serve the 9 million people who don’t have bank accounts and the 21 million who use usurious check cashers, giving low-income people access to a safe banking system. “A USPS bank would offer a ‘public option’ for banking,” concluded the resolution, “providing basic checking and savings – and no complex financial wheeling and dealing.”
Image by William Wright, seiuhealthcare775nw via Flickr
When Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase Bank, appeared before the Senate Banking Committee on June 13, he was wearing cufflinks bearing the presidential seal. “Was Dimon trying to send any particular message by wearing the presidential cufflinks?” asked CNBC editor John Carney. “Was he . . . subtly hinting that he’s really the guy in charge?”
The youtube video of 12 year old Victoria Grant speaking at the Public Banking in America conference last month has gone viral, topping a million views on various websites.
Monetary reform—the contention that governments, not banks, should create and lend a nation’s money—has rarely even made the news, so this is a first. Either the times they are a-changin’, or Victoria managed to frame the message in a way that was so simple and clear that even a child could understand it.
According to both the Mayan and Hindu calendars, 2012 (or something very close) marks the transition from an age of darkness, violence and greed to one of enlightenment, justice, and peace. It’s hard to see that change just yet in the events relayed in the major media, but a shift does seem to be happening behind the scenes; and this is particularly true in the once-boring world of banking.
“You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out. You will not be able to skip out for beer during commercials. Because the revolution will not be televised. . . . The revolution will be live.”
–From the 1970 hit song by Gil Scott-Heron
Last week, the city of Philadelphia’s school system announced that it expects to close 40 public schools next year, and 64 schools by 2017. The school district expects to lose 40% of its current enrollment, and thousands of experienced, qualified teachers.