Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Matthew Yglesias — It doesn't matter if government bailouts are profitable

Every once in a while, a debate arises about whether or not a given government program — the Export-Import Bank, federal student loans, Quantitative Easing, or different kinds of bailouts — was profitable. These debates, unfortunately, are all basically nonsense. 
Here's the thing about the federal government — it can print dollars, a highly profitable activity. You can't print dollars. I can't print dollars. Vox Media can't print dollars. The state of Tennessee can't print dollars. These are the kind of kind of entities that need to worry about whether their activities generate more dollars than they cost, because they need to worry about lack of dollars. Of course there are lots of things to worry about with loan guarantees and bailouts and other things, but profits and losses is never the issue.…
It doesn't matter if government bailouts are profitable
Matthew Yglesias

Bill Mitchell — Direct central bank purchases of government debt

There was a recently published Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Report – Direct Purchases of U.S. Treasury Securities by Federal Reserve Banks – by Kenneth D. Garbade, which recounts the way the central bank in the US could purchase unlimited amounts of treasury debt by creating funds out of thin air and how that capacity was eventually constrained. The Report is an understated account of the way in which the conservative ideological forces eventually prohibited this capacity and forced the US government to only issue debt to the private sector. He shows that between 1917 and 1935, this capacity was used often “without incident” but as the conservative antagonism grew it was limited (in 1935) and then abandoned altogether in the early 1980s. The Report demonstrates there were no intrinsic financial reasons for abandoning this capacity.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Direct central bank purchases of government debtBill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at the Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia

Peter Lee — Occupocalypse Now! © in Hong Kong

Interesting that the United States, the United Kingdom, and the UN General Secretary have all voiced concern about developments in Hong Kong and called for restraint.
In other words, what we see is creeping internationalization of the Hong Kong issue. Given the relatively minor and local character of the matter to date, at least, it makes one pause.
After all, the current toll in Hong Kong is a few dozen injured after some confrontational street protests, some tear gas got fired, now everybody’s sitting around waiting for Occupy Hong Kong’s latest move. 
Why give a sh*t about a currently fatality-free civic ruckus inside China’s sovereign territory even as the US refeeds the Middle East through the military meatgrinder for the umpteenth time, mass graves of slaughtered civilians are uncovered in eastern Ukraine, and the U.S. can’t bring itself to censure Israel for a disproportionate military operation in Gaza that killed 2000 including 500 children? 
Hate to say it, but the inference that the U.S. sees profitable mischief to be made in Hong Kong is inescapable. 
I believe that Occupy Hong Kong is a legitimate local movement with legitimate local grievances and is pretty much a local phenomenon. 
I also believe that its leadership has spent months planning the current campaign, and part of that campaign involved keeping the United States informed and coordinating sub rosa with the United States to exploit the unrest to apply pressure on the PRC....
Occupocalypse Now! © in Hong Kong
Peter Lee | Editor, China Matters

Also Bruce Stinson, China’s Long Game and Occupy Central

Tony Cartalucci, US Openly Approves Hong Kong Chaos it Created, at NSNBC International

L. Randall Wray — Rising Tides Don’t Lift All Boats: Why the 1% Grabs all the Gains From Growth

You’ve probably seen references to the work of my colleague (and former student), Pavlina Tcherneva in recent days. If not, take a gander at this…
Economonitor — Great Leap Forward
Rising Tides Don’t Lift All Boats: Why the 1% Grabs all the Gains From Growth
L. Randall Wray | Professor of Economics, University of Missouri at Kansas City

Agence France-Presse — US could topple my government and kill me: Argentina president Cristina Kirchner

This is not The Onion.

The Russians and Chinese leaders are laughing at how the US is pushing people into their waiting arms.

The Raw Story
US could topple my government and kill me: Argentina president Cristina Kirchner
Agence France-Presse

Agence France-Presse — China tells US to back off: Hong Kong democracy protests are ‘internal affairs’

The United States and China openly clashed Wednesday over the pro-democracy protests sweeping Hong Kong, with Beijing angrily warning Washington to back off and saying it would not tolerate “illegal acts.” 
“The Chinese government has very firmly and clearly stated its position. Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi told US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was standing next to him, just before they went into talks at the State Department. 
“All countries should respect China’s sovereignty and this is a basic principle of governing international relations,” Wang said sternly.

“I believe for any country, for any society, no one would allow those illegal acts that violate public order. That’s the situation in the United States and that’s the same situation in Hong Kong.”
Double standard? The US pretty well tarnished its moral superiority with respect to civil liberties and human rights and diminished its soft power. It looks, sounds and feels just hypocritical now.
Amid a tense standoff on the streets of Hong Kong, a Chinese territory, Kerry renewed US calls for restraint by the city’s police.
Where we these champions of democracy during the suppression of Occupy protests in the US? Oh, they were coordinated by the Department of Homeland Security. (Wow, that sounds eerie. Couldn't they have come up with a more innocuous name?)
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki reaffirmed the US position. 
“It’s clear that we want the people of Hong Kong to have a broad choice of candidates,” she said. 
“We believe human rights and the freedom of expression is something that’s important not just in China but countries around the world,” she insisted, asked about Wang’s assertion that Hong Kong was an internal Chinese matter.
"Not just in China but countries around the world” What about the US?

What the US media doesn't report and actually misreports is that the agreement regarding Hong 'independence" was a two-systems, one country agreement that gave the Chinese government the right to administer Hong Kong's elections. While the US might have wished for an agreement more to its liking, China is in its rights according to the agreement. The US is trying to foment change in a sovereign country, something that it doesn't brook regarding itself. Why is that not hypocritical?

And as far as I can tell, the HK protestors are being treated less harshly that Occupy in many US cities including NYC and certainly Oakland. Looks like they are being treated about the same as the anti-war protests in DC in the Seventies under Nixon, although we were "just" tear gassed. They didn't have pepper spray then. I'm reasonably sure they would have used it if they did.

The Raw Story
China tells US to back off: Hong Kong democracy protests are ‘internal affairs’
Agence France-Presse

Joan McCarter — Koch brothers freak out in response to Rolling Stone expose

Tim Dickinson's fantastic expose of the Koch brothers in the latest issue of Rolling Stone has gotten plenty of attention. For very good reason: it's a well-sourced, deep dive into the very toxic—literally toxic—business that earned the Kochs enough money to buy up an entire political party. That and the wrongful death judgement, six felony and numerous misdemeanor convictions, the tens of millions of dollars in fines, and the trading with Iran are all included in the story, well worth your time. 
No one has given it more attention, it seems, than the notoriously thin-skinned Kochs. In typical Koch fashion, they don't argue the facts of Dickinson's story. They attack Dickinson, who responds here. Here's the nut of his detailed response. 
Daily Kos
Koch brothers freak out in response to Rolling Stone expose
Joan McCarter | Daily Kos staff

The Koch stealth candidate for retiring Tom Harkin's seat senate seat has pulled ahead in the race.
[Joni] Ernst, a state senator running against Democrat Bruce Braley for the open U.S. Senate seat, was recorded in June speaking on a panel at a conference sponsored by the political activists Charles and David Koch. 
In her remarks, Ernst said "the exposure to this group and to this network and the opportunity to meet so many of you – that really started my trajectory. And it started a very strong victory that we've progressive, progressively built upon throughout the campaign cycle. 
The MoveOn ad plays an edited clip of Ernst saying, "This group … really started my trajectory" twice in the space of 20 seconds and accuses Ernst and the donors she was speaking to of wanting to "privatize Social Security, cut Medicare and eliminate the minimum wage." 
Democrats and liberal activists have seized on the surreptitious recording as evidence that Ernst is beholden to billionaires who have spent millions backing conservative candidates in recent election cycles and contributed to Ernst herself this year. 
"A secret recording made at a posh Koch brothers retreat in California confirms that the real Joni Ernst was groomed by the oil billionaire Koch brothers from day one to represent their interests over Iowa's," Iowa Democratic Party spokeswoman Christina Freundlich said in a statement released Wednesday, shortly after the Huffington Post broke the news of the tape.

Dirk Ehnts — Campaign Finance and Modern Monetary Theory

Over at Muckraker, Carillo, Gokhmark, Grey and Schweinberger wonder whether campaign finance should be financed from public coffers…
econoblog 101
Campaign Finance and Modern Monetary Theory
Dirk Ehnts | Berlin School for Economics and Law

Chart: Half of All Income Goes to the Top 10 Percent

Mother Jones
Chart: Half of All Income Goes to the Top 10 Percent
Dave Gilson

The race to the bottom

An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities
The Guardian
Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us
Paul Verhaeghe
h/t Lars Syll

Occasional Links & Commentary
Commodity fetishism
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics University of Notre Dame Notre Dame
h/t magpie
There are constant laments about the so-called loss of norms and values in our culture. Yet our norms and values make up an integral and essential part of our identity. So they cannot be lost, only changed. And that is precisely what has happened: a changed economy reflects changed ethics and brings about changed identity. The current economic system is bringing out the worst in us.
We're a race to the bottom spiritually as well as materially.

A Warning Sign: Three News Articles You Never Expect To See On The Same Day

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

And the timing with eerie artwork from The Nib? Spooky!

First, there's worrisome news:
We’ve killed off half the world’s animals since 1970
(Granted, WashPost journalists don't know WTF is vs isn't an "animal," or that humans are vertebrates too, but hopefully you get the picture. Mixing semantics & sophistry never effects coherent discourse, right?)

Second, this electorate's group brain is NOT even boarding at the station yet, so YES, we are in serious trouble:
Eric Holder WON'T Urge TBTJ Banks to Leave Transparent Backdoors for Public Financial Regulatory Agencies
Politicians & voters who THINK? About animals? And social species? And long term planning too? Not to mention transparency? Eric Holder? 

Don't mix oxymorons.  Oh well. We'll get a survive/fail grade someday, but it may be so tardi that only waterbears will be left to laugh at Holder's Folly.

Third, it's true, Maud, no one seems to care:
As Dark Money Floods U.S. Elections, Regulators Turn a Blind Eye
Is all this happening because we are voluntarily running out of fiat? Can enough citizens make the algebraic substitution of Public Initiative for currency operations? Why are most journalists and citizens not alarmed at our Deficit in Logical Discourse?

To find out, be sure to tune into the next episode of:
Will the last person left turn off the fiat when they leave? We wouldn't want the waterbears to run out.

ps: The answer is "plutocrats."

With first case of ebola in US, important to remmber that GOP cut $600 million in funding from CDC

In their insane, deficit cutting zeal, the GOP cut $600 million in funding from the Centers for Disease Control. Wonderful. Now we have ebola here in the U.S.and by the way, it couldn't have landed in a worse place--Texas--that's because the state, under moron governor Rick Perry, slashed health care funding to the bone. So if ebola has any chance of becoming a full-blown epidemic, it couldn't have found a better place to start.

Semantics or Sophistry In Policy Discussions and Economics. Which Do We Want? Our Selections Shape Our Success.

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

Don't know the difference between fiat, denomination units, currency, Public Initiative, semantics and sophistry?

Then read this and give it a 'tink:

Issuing sovereign currency gov Treasury securities [eg US, Japan] just allows the non-government to have net financial savings. That maintains a buffer stock of currency in private hands.

So what is the problem?

Why on earth do even MMT economists stoop to calling distributed holdings of denomination units a deficit or debt? That's unproductive use of semantics. It constitutes sophistry.

Better can we do, counsels YodaCredChief, Fedi Master. :)

To expose the semantics, just hold up the 1921 Edison/Ford statement on equivalence of bonds/bills.

I've had fiscal policy discussions with military operations people about the state of economics. They listened, said they understood, and simply replied:
“You’re going nowhere until you create a glossary of new terms allowing coherent discussion to proceed. You can’t prepare coherent operations when there is such high margin of error in interpreting statements.”
So do we want to figure out how to drive the changes we need in order to keep up our adaptive rate? Or do we just want to get people to accept no change?

Soph·ist·ry: noun,
   modern use, the use of fallacious arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving.

Kate Kelly — New debt crisis fear: Subprime auto loans

Booming U.S. car sales and a push by private equity investors are creating a renaissance in the market for auto loan-backed securities. Corporations like AppleGoogle and 3M as well as institutional and insurance-industry investors have been looking for the promise of steady yields in exchange for limited risk. 
But a panoply of investigations into lending practices for so-called subprime, or riskier, borrowers, coupled with concerns about the exits of some auto-finance company investors, have some market observers warning that trouble could lie ahead.
So soon again?

New debt crisis fear: Subprime auto loans
Kate Kelly

Yves Smith —Richard Vague: How Private Debt Strangles Growth, Stokes Financial Crises, and Increases Inequality

Yves here. Richard Vague has been kind enough to allow us to feature an extract from his recent book, The Next Economic Disaster: Why It’s Coming and How to Avoid It. I first met Richard several years ago at the Atlantic Economy Summit. If my memory serves me correctly, he was then taken with the conventional view that debt was a dampener to growth…meaning government debt. The issue of what caused our economic malaise and what to do about it troubled him enough to lead him to make his own study, and he has come to reject the neoliberal view that government debt is problem and must therefore be contained. 
This view implies, as many readers have pointed out, that the great lost opportunity of the crisis was restructuring mortgage debt. That would also have allowed housing prices to reset to levels in line with consumer incomes. Vague also mentions a less-widely-commeneted on debt explosion prior to the crisis, that of business debt. One big contributor was an explosion in takeover debt for private equity transactions. Indeed, a lot of experts were concerned about a blowup due to the difficulty of refinancing these deals in the 2012-2014 time horizon. But ZIRP and QE produced enormous hunger among investors for any type of asset with non-trivial yield, so the Fed enabled the deal barons to refinance on the cheap.
Naked Capitalism
Exclusive: How Private Debt Strangles Growth, Stokes Financial Crises, and Increases Inequality
Yves Smith

Mark Thoma — The Contribution of Fiscal Policy to Real GDP Growth

From the comments at Economists View:
Lafayette said...

{Between 2008 and 2011, fiscal impact was positive, indicating that government policy was stimulative; in recent years, it has been negative, indicating restraint.}
And, what happened in 2008 to boost the economy? Lead-head left office and handed Obama on a platter the worst recession since the 1930s.
What did a Dem Prez and a Dem Congress do? They passed the ARRA stimulus spending bill of $831B in 2009. 
Were Americans grateful for having spiked unemployment at 10%, when it could have gone to Great Depression levels of 20/25%?
Nope - they voted the Koch Bros' T-Party in control of the HofR in 2010. All Stimulus Spending stopped dead.
How dumb can voters get? Really effing dumb ...
Not only dumb. Misled by a massive propaganda effort to convince them to vote against their economic interests for ideological reasons. The result. A repeat of 1937.
Economist’s View
The Contribution of Fiscal Policy to Real GDP Growth
Mark Thoma | Professor of Economics, University of Oregon

Bill Mitchell — British economic growth shows that on-going deficits work

In Australia, the Federal Treasurer announced today that they would be making further spending cuts to the fiscal position of the government in the mid-year statement to pay for “an increase in funding for security agencies” and its onslaught against ISIL. So education, health spending, income support etc will get the chop so we can make the world an even more dangerous place than it is currently at a time when unemployment is rising and economic growth falling. Another case of austerity madness combined with the mindless approach to dealing with the external threats from extremist groups. He should take a note from the British Chancellor’s book who is overseeing an expanding fiscal deficit and public debt ratio, despite the rhetoric to the contrary, and that on-going deficit is supporting growth, helping private households increase their saving ratio and is generally a good thing to behold. Austerity in the UK?- not if you consider the current data!
The word austerity has become very fashionable these days. I also bandy it around relentlessly. But like others I rarely actually define what it might exactly mean.…
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
British economic growth shows that on-going deficits work
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at the Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia

Lars P. Syll — ‘Infinite populations’ and other econometric fictions masquerading as science

I recall that in my Econ 101 class in 1958, the text was Samuelson and the required reading was Darrell Huff's How to Lie with Statistics. The title of a sequel should be How not to be be fooled by statistics.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
‘Infinite populations’ and other econometric fictions masquerading as science
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Here we go...dollar's 5-month bull run may be over

Weakening economic data, falling US bond yields, stock market starting to look shaky and HUMONGOUS short positions in euro, yen and other currencies. The dollar's 5-month rally may finally be over. And uwinding of those currency shorts could get bloody.

The market giveth (to the funds) and the market taketh away.

Marshall Auerback — China Nibbles At Italy, The Eurozone’s Soft Underbelly

China’s Sovereign Wealth Fund is manifesting a growing appetite for sensitive Italian assets. It was always a wonder to us why the Greeks never turned to China when the country was in the throes of its economic crisis, especially as it has many desirable features from China’s perspective: assets in a warm water port in NATO’s security core. Italy obviously shares many of the same characteristics (and is a bigger player in NATO), which does beg the question, has Italy, rather than Greece, become Europe’s soft underbelly?
Macrobits by Marshall Auerback
China Nibbles At Italy, The Eurozone’s Soft Underbelly
Marshall Auerback

Neil Wilson — The Political Aspects of a Basic Income Guarantee

Brian [Romanchuk] has put up a useful post called Consequences of a Basic Income Guarantee which runs through some of the technical issues of an Income Guarantee for Canada and other countries. 
I'm from the UK, and we've had 'Means Tested' Unemployment Benefit, Housing Benefit, Universal Child Benefit, Universal Pensions and a National Health Service for decades. The history of these benefits show why general income schemes just don't work properly in practice.
Let's run through some reality.
Neil makes the point that the practical issues surrounding assistance are fundamentally political rather than essentially economic.

I would add that politics is about power, who wields it and how it is used. In a democracy, the power structure determines candidate selection, while election is by popular vote. So there is a dynamic between the power structure and the mindset of the public. Obviously, it is in the interest of the power structure to influence the public mindset, for example, through popular media controlled by the power structure.

In a capitalist economy and liberal democracy, oligarchic democracy is the norm owing to the ability of the power structure to influence the public mindset through media as well as to select candidates through funding. It is very difficult to change this in a representative democracy with a constitutional government that favors the power structure, legitimating capitalism as the priority of capital (class cronyism) over the other factors, labor (people) and land (the environment).

Without a change in the public mindset little lasting progress can be achieved to reverse these priorities, and without reversing them, little lasting social, political and economic change can come about through the political process.

Marxists hold that the way forward is material, though changing the economic infrastructure, which can only be accomplished effectively through revolution. Therefore, the task is eliminating "false consciousness" by raising the consciousness of labor through re-education in order to effect a political revolution.

Humanists hold that the way is through raising the level of collective consciousness to expand appreciation of universality, thereby grounding political revolution in an expansive conception of human rights.

Both stand in opposition to the classical liberal and neoliberal assumption that the dominant rights, if not the only ones, are self-ownership and ownership of property, both of which are held to be alienable.

The Political Aspects of a Basic Income Guarantee
Neil Wilson

Brian Romanchuk — Should A Central Bank Care About Loanable Funds?

New Keynesian loanable funds and DSGE modeling following up on Lars Syll and Nick Rowe.

Bond Economics
Should A Central Bank Care About Loanable Funds?
Brian Romanchuk

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Peter Radford — Study the Shocks

Black humor.

The Radford Free Press
Study the Shocks
Peter Radford

When Will Our Electorate Realize That NO-ONE They've Elected Has Any Idea How To Respond To Current Challenges ... & Go Into Distributed Bathrooms To Vomit?

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

A “Perfectly Legal” Scam is Perfectly Unacceptable to Real Bank Supervisors

When will our Middle Class vomit from the building tension? Hopefully before half-time of the next SuperBowl. At least before they disappear forever.

Fiat forbid the 1st two events coincide this coming year. Plumbing may be down for 40 days and 40 nights, and not even another TARP would cover the stench.

Just remember that we select the people we allow to select our realities for us. Wise up and choose more wisely, before our aggregate throws up more than just it's hands.

Ming Chun Tang — Hong Kong’s Fight Against Neoliberalism

As protesters flood the streets of Hong Kong demanding free elections in 2017, the international media puts on its usual spin, characterizing the struggle as one between an authoritarian state and citizens who want to be free.… 
But regardless of what the BBC wants the world to believe, Occupy Central isn’t so much a fight for democracy as a fight for social justice.… 
The list of people who have spoken out against Occupy Central is particularly revealing – oligarch Li Ka-shing, HSBC, the world’s four largest accounting firms, among others in business circles. The main issue with CY Leung’s administration isn’t the fact that it wasn’t democratically elected, but that it serves two main groups: Beijing on one hand, and local elites on the other – in other words, far from democratic in its representation. It’s not hard to see why big business and the oligarchs are terrified of Occupy Central: any movement towards real democracy would see them losing power and losing their grip over the territory. The status quo, on the other hand, serves them well.
Hong Kong’s Fight Against Neoliberalism
Ming Chun Tang | Hong Kong-born writer and a student at Hamilton College (New York), currently at the London School of Economics

Google Does Interdependent Series ... Someday This (And Currency Operations) Will Be Routine For Jane & Joe Sixpack Too

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

Google this.
Once the intricacies of infinitely expanding public Policy Space options becomes routine for Jane/Joe Sixpacks of the future, then maybe fiat currency operations will be trivial or at least pragmatic and straightforward again, rather like in 1933, and 1776, and 1729, and 1686 ... and ... (how far back?). Only the lineage of common sense knows.

David Bollier — Faircoin as the First Global Commons Currency?

It’s hard to find many co-operatives with the kind of practical sophistication and visionary ambitions as CIC – the Catalan Integral Cooperative -- in Spain. CIC describes itself as a “transitional initiative for social transformation from below, through self-management, self-organization, and networking.” It considers the state unable to advance the public good because of its deep entanglements with market capitalism -- so it has set about building its own working alternatives to the banking system and state.

Since its founding in May 2010, CIC has developed some 300 cooperative projects with 30 local nodes, involving some 4,000 to 5,000 participants. You can get an idea of the impressive scope of CIC’s work through this interview with Enric Duran by Shareable magazine in March 2014. It’s fairly clear that CIC is serious about building a new global economic system – and not just as a rhetorical statement. CIC builds real, working alternatives, showing great sophistication about politics, law, economics and digital platforms.
CIC has now started Fair.Coop to help build a set of free economic tools that will “promote cooperation, ethics, solidarity and justice in our economic relations.” A key element of the Fair-Coop vision is a cryptocurrency, Faircoin, which has been designed to adapt the block-chain technology of Bitcoin with a more socially constructive design. (Faircoin relies less on "mining" new coins than on "minting" them in a more ecologically responsible, equitable ways.)
Many skeptics might scoff at the brash, utopian feel of this initiative. But in many respects, Faircoin is the ultimate realism. CIC correctly recognizes that the existing monetary system and private banks pose insuperable barriers to reducing inequality and ensuring productive work and wealth for all. The only "realistic" alternative to existing fiat currencies and foreign exchange is to invent a new monetary system! Fortunately, thanks to the pioneering examples of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and the evolving powers of software, that idea is actually within reach these days.…
David Bollier — news and perspectives on the commons
Faircoin as the First Global Commons Currency?
David Bollier

Att. Gen. Holder Talks As Though All Criminals Are Equally Bad ... Some Are Just More Equal In Impunity Than Others

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

Is this who we are? WWGW think?

Dear Att. Gen. Eric Holder,
How about leaving some WHITE COLLAR CRIME backdoors open for regulators?
For Pete's sake! Get a clue.

This guy can't see context for the mirror?

In what follows, the semantics have been blatantly translated to more relevant analogies, in an attempt to redirect the topic to protecting the innocent.

What about all the forms of BS which are locking law enforcement regulators out of understanding increasingly popular Control Fraud methods?

Surely it is fully possible to permit private enterprise to provide personal incentives while still adequately protecting aggregate options?

When a Middle Class is in danger, law enforcement and Public Policy needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect Main Street and to stop those that abuse both the Middle Class and democracy. It is worrisome to see both Control Frauds AND public officials thwarting our ability to do so.

In his recent comments, Holder became just the latest government official to willingly be a hypocrite ... for financial gain, no matter how indirect.

Though Holder didn’t mention Goldman-Sachs or any other TBTJ banks by name, his remarks systematically avoided mentioning the documentation repeatedly offered by Bill Black since the resolution of the S&L Crisis 20+ years ago.

National, state and local citizen and law enforcement officials have complained loudly that the TBTJ banks are undermining efforts to fight White Collar Crime, including money-laundering and financial terrorism. The TBTJ's newest lobbying system, BS-8, has Congress so thoroughly bought that the lobbyists brazenly say that White Collar Crime is itself no longer illegal. Citibank's & JP Morgan's lobbying and "revolving door" system 
automatically began using direct and indirect incentives and re-election pressures decades ago, on all regulators and Congresspeople, unless they specifically opt into the bankster protection racket, described in unwritten agreements never intended to be released to honest citizens. (It will take months or years for reality to filter out and reach most people currently attempting to honestly participate in democracy.)

TBTJ financial industry executives have consistently said that less regulation better protects the privacy of Control Frauds by reducing the security of the Middle Class against a wide range of intrusions, by co-opted governments, White Collar criminals and Innocent Frauds on the bankster's payroll. American financial companies have been particularly eager to demonstrate their commitment to reduced citizen rights in the aftermath of the revelations by former litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, Bill Black, detailing the extensive overreach of TBTJ financial lobbies.

Holder never bothers speaking honestly to the Global Alliance Against Financial Abuse of the Middle Class and Democracy in General, regardless of where their diverse chapters try to meet. In fact, to my knowledge he's never raised the issue of preserving civic protections from large-scale Financial Control Fraud.

Sure, recent gutting of diverse Federal regulatory agencies has already greatly emboldened White criminals, as TARP and the aftermath showed, including providing implicit guarantees for abusers to avoid detection. In a snowballing number of cases, perpetrators are using clouded policy to cheaply and easily bypass tens of thousands of lines of former legal protections that had existed for 70 years or more - and to leverage that ability to operate from anywhere in the world. It shouldn't be a surprise that many Control Frauds rush to take advantage of "regulatory encryption" and anonymizing White Collar Crime practices to conceal contraband practices and disguise perpetrator positions.

In response to all this, Holder has essentially called on all citizens to work with him to look the other way while Wall Street guts Main Street, and ensures that law enforcement ignores the ability, with court-authorization, to at least attempt to obtain enough information to even initiate White Collar Crime investigations, such as catching mega Control Frauds.

Even with the new forms of Control Fraud, government officials maintain access to many sources of data related to the execution of Elite Financial Fraud, including the records of calls, texts and other communications kept by lobbyists, Congressional staff and Public Regulators alike. Even worse are the extensive, passive collusion agreements that most regulatory agencies now take for granted, by claiming that they "can't afford to prosecute rampant White Collar Crime," resulting in paltry fines for massive frauds against Jane and Joe Sixpack. Police and District Attorneys rarely even get search warrants on which to use third-party tools to try to unravel the levels of corruption involved in on decisions to not prosecute massive mortgage frauds and other financial schemes. Courts can and often have ordered the entire Middle Class to furnish up the keys that would otherwise preserve the future of entire generations against domination by a few Super Crooks.


Andrés Velasco — The Third Way's Second Chance

Remember Tony Blair and Bill Clinton’s Third Way? It is back. The faces and names have changed, but the idea that governments can – and should – combine social-democratic values and modern liberal economics has returned to center stage.
Triangulation and trickle down. Heaven help us.

Project Syndicate
The Third Way's Second Chance
Andrés Velasco | Professor of Professional Practice in International Development at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs

Dan Frommer — PayPal is finally free—let the real mobile-payments battle begin

It’s finally happening: eBay is officially spinning PayPal off as a separate company. And it comes at a crucial time, just as the budding mobile-payments industry—which many see as the future of payments and commerce—is getting interesting.
While PayPal has very done well for itself—payment volume grew 29% from a year earlier in the June quarter to $55 billion—things are about to get more competitive.