The size of the financial industry bears no relation to the economy. Self-mythological panegyrics aside, the finance industry confiscates money; it doesn’t create it. How much? Get out your calculators, and maybe you’ll have to find a way to add a couple of digits to what your screen can hold.
It remains unclear who will be the occupant of the White House next January. What can be easily predicted is the state of the economy for tens of millions of citizens. It appears what is called a K-shaped recovery is permanently dividing the country into the haves and have-nots. And this seems to be acceptable for those who are the haves!
In what is being called the worst financial crisis since 1929, the US stock market has lost a third of its value in the space of a month, wiping out all of its gains of the last three years. When the Federal Reserve tried to ride to the rescue, it only succeeded in making matters worse. The government then pulled out all the stops. To our staunchly capitalist leaders, socialism is suddenly looking good.
When the World Health Organization announced on February 24th that it was time to prepare for a global pandemic, the stock market plummeted. Over the following week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by more than 3,500 points or over 10%. In an attempt to contain the damage, on March 3rd the Federal Reserve slashed the fed funds rate from 1.5% to 1.0%, in their first emergency rate move and biggest one-time cut since the 2008 financial crisis. But rather than reassuring investors, the move fueled another panic sell-off.
Economist and founder of Democracy at Work Dr. Richard Wolff and broadcasting legend Larry King join Rick Sanchez to weigh in on Wall Street’s terrifying Monday plunge, the worst since 2008. They explain the link between oil exploration and extraction and the debt that fuels it. They also discuss the role of the coronavirus outbreak in the economic crisis and its likely influence on US politics.
It’s often hard to report on U.S. politics and government with a straight face. It’s even harder to report on the usual reporting on U.S. politics and government with a straight face. So much of it is beyond the reach of parody. Yet it also opens up opportunities to shock people with basic facts.
Central bankers are now aggressively playing the stock market. To say they are buying up the planet may be an exaggeration, but they could. They can create money at will, and they have declared their “independence” from government. They have become rogue players in a game of their own.
The monster of economic waste—over $7 trillion of dictated stock buybacks since 2003 by the self-enriching CEOs of large corporations—started with a little noticed change in 1982 by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under President Ronald Reagan. That was when SEC Chairman John Shad, a former Wall Street CEO, redefined unlawful ‘stock manipulation’ to exclude stock buybacks.
Rising stock prices is not an indicator of financial health like Trump would have you believe, specially when you examine who is buying that stock, says economist Michael Hudson, the author of Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy.
Imagine you are a shareholder in a big company and the top executives are sitting on huge amounts of cash and are not interested in putting it to work through productive capital investments, research and development, reducing company debt or paying employees a higher wage. What would you want done about it? Since you and other shareholders are the owners of the company, you’d likely say “give us back our money in cash dividends.”
Michael Hudson, the author of Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy Global Economy, says the stock market crash on Monday has very little to do with China and all to do with shortermism and buybacks of corporations inflating their own stocks.
Economist Dr. Richard Wolff, Democracy At Work joins Thom. China – the world’s second biggest economy – recently saw its stock market plummet 30 percent in a month. Does this mean that next big economic crisis is right around the corner?