Corbyn Victory; Other election links

Scott Fullwiler, New Economic Perspectives, Corbynomics 101
.  A good piece responding to three critiques of Corbyn’s idea of a “People’s Quantitative Easing”: ” the government would create a public bank for financing infrastructure (National Investment Bank, or NIB), which the Bank of England (BoE) would then lend to directly in order to fund.  The NIB would then carry out infrastructure projects to jumpstart the economy, create public capital, and create jobs.” It also addresses one worrisome part of Corbyn’s economic plan, which is the emphasis on deficits–I wonder if he is just deciding that if you want to oppose austerity, you have to just pretend that you think deficits matter, because the public has been so thoroughly convinced that they do.

John McDonnell, The GuardianJeremy Corbyn would clear the deficit – but not by hitting the poor, by the shadow Chancellor of the Exchecquer in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet. Again, they seem to be just accepting deficit-phobia, and making their big point that the burden of closing it should fall on the rich, not the poor.

Arthur MacEwan, Dollars & Sense, A Case for Public Ownership.  Corbyn has called for re-nationalization of the trains and the energy sector in Britain. Our “Ask Dr. Dollar” columnist coincidentally responds in the current issue to a reader’s question about what industries, besides banks, there might be a case for nationalizing.

Michael Robert’s Blog, Corbynomics: Extreme or moderate? Nice piece about the overheated claims that Corbyn is “hard left”: “In my view, the problem with Corbynomics is that opposing austerity is not enough.”

Pablo Iglesias, The Guardian, Jeremy Corbyn, welcome to Europe’s fight against austerityThere was a related piece in El Pais by Iglesias, the head of Spain’s left party Podemos, who has endorsed Corbyn.

Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight blog, Stop Comparing Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.  One of the pieces Silver criticizes is this stupid column by David Brooks comparing Trump, Sanders, Carson, and Corbyn. Silver has nice things to say about Sanders, but his main point is that Trump is more of a threat to the Republican Party than Sanders is to the Democrats. “Sanders’s policy positions … are about 95 percent the same as those of a typical liberal Democrat in Congress. And where they diverge, they push Democrats further to the left in a fairly predictable way.” But he has a footnote contrasting Sanders with Corbyn:  “In contrast, consider the odd mix of radical and reactionary positions that Jeremy Corbyn has in the U.K.” Say what? The Atlantic piece he links to says nothing about reactionary positions Corbyn might have, as far as I can tell.

Conn Hallinan, Foreign Policy in Focus, These Four Elections Could Determine the Future of Europe, about upcoming elections in Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland.


Labor Day? Let’s Tell The Truth And Call It “Assets Day”

By Douglas K. Smith, author of On Value and Values: Thinking Differently About We In An Age Of MeCrossposted from Naked Capitalism by permission of the author. 

Come on, face it. “Labor Day” is a national fiction — right up there with “anti-trust enforcement” and “regulating Wall Street.” The only parades that matter this September 7th will trudge through Wal-Mart, Gap, Radio Shack and other retailers in mad pursuit of holiday price reductions that come from eviscerating labor, not investing in it. The grandest pageant of all is going to be virtual: a mass frenzy of online deal seekers surfing eRetailers fixated on cutting labor costs while pushing, prodding, and electronically monitoring warehouse and office employees to get the last possible ounce of productivity.”

Don’t be surprised if some executive at Wal-Mart imagines observing “Labor Day” with a one-time offer of unpaid internships to debt ridden college kids — giving them the chance to build their “personal brands”‘ as a step toward, say, becoming an Uber driver.

Celebrate labor? Are you kidding me? Labor is an obscenity in executive suites, boardrooms and among the 1% generally — including the innumerable elected officials bought and paid for with the 1%’s assets.

Labor is not to be commemorated. Ownership is. Ownership is one of Jeff Bezos’ 11 Commandments at Amazon. Ownership makes America exceptional. The liberty and freedom to own is why our brave and underpaid service men, women and drones battle terrorists who hate our exalted financial wizards — people like Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs who “do Gods work” by making, selling, securitizing, swapping, re-securitizing, and under-collateralizing assets.

Assets are the “be all, end all” of our economy. Labor? Cue the canned laughter.

Look no further than corporate values statements and you will see this: “Our people are our most important assets.” Assets. Got that? And, it gets even creepier. What are employees? Human capital.

Trust me. Before the Emancipation Proclamation, Americans knew about human capital — and they did not dress it up once a year with a euphemism called “Labor Day.”

So, why do we?

“We’re creating,” President George W. Bush said in October 2004, “an ownership society in this country, where more Americans than ever will be able to open up their door where they live and say, welcome to my house, welcome to my piece of property.”

The same George W. Bush who — just like Clinton before him and Obama after him and asset lovers in both major parties — all have watched Labor Days come and Labor Days go over a now two-decade long series of what we call “jobless recoveries.”

It’s not for nothing that Ambrose Bierce wrote in The Devil’s Dictionary: “Labor: One of the processes by which A acquires property for B.”

Hey, you don’t want to be A. So don’t party about it.

Labor Day never sat well with America’s leaders anyway. Grover Cleveland and a unanimous House only enacted Labor Day in 1894 to quell rising unionism and violent strikes. They also made sure to time it in September instead of May to avoid any association with the asset-loathing ideologies of socialism and communism. Better to cordon off and confine Eugene Debs and other unionists to a single day of the year — and make the other 364 safe for the American Dream of Ownership.

Today it is “all assets all the time”‘ for the elites who, like Bush, Clinton, Obama and Blankfein, have drunk the anti-labor Kool-Aid for more than forty years. Free markets make America great. And free markets are freest when labor is free.

Why? Because free markets maximize efficiency. If you’re among the tens of millions of Americans whose jobs have disappeared, been downsized, and outsourced — if you’ve lost benefits, seen wages stagnate and even rely on public welfare to get by a member of the working poor, then you know what market efficiency means.

It means, to paraphrase Bierce, you’re A. Not B.

Take heart. Through your self-denial, executives, owners, and shareholders have grabbed all the productivity gains of the past quarter century for themselves.

No one is calling them “asset-less recoveries.”

Yet, this is just a part of our asset-driven society! Even as labor is gutted and life for tens of millions becomes ever more precarious, you get to do your part as a consumer and a taxpayer.

How, though, you might ask, do you help create assets as a consumer? I mean, you don’t really have any money since you get paid practically nothing for work.

Simple. You borrow it! “Consumer” is yet another fiction to today’s financiers. Just like “Labor Day.”

“Consumer” actually means “Borrower.” Let me explain. To our God-not-Mammon inspired financiers, you are no more and no less than a potential piece of cash flow. Need a car? Or a house, a refrigerator, a cell phone, a college education — or anything whatsoever that, of course, you cannot afford because of paltry and undependable wages? Call 1-800-GETLOAN!

When you — and zillions like you — cannot afford a car, home, college education, or whatever, just open your mail or answer your phone for a loan offer. One that will surely come with usurious interest rates, too! (Banksters get zero interest rates. That’s called “quantitative easing.” Everyone else? 10% to 30% or higher.)

Your interest rate payments are cash flows — and they get bundled up with lots of other cash-flows-formerly-known-as-people. Presto! We have mortgage-backed securities, student debt backed-securities, car loan-backed securities, credit card debt securities and pretty much anything that can get financed-backed securities.

Assets, my friends, assets!!

These assets are what get swapped, re-securitized several times over and always always always are under-collateralized. Then, whenever the utterly fictionalized values of these under-collateralized assets even come close to a dose of reality? Well, that’s when you come to the rescue in your role taxpayer!

Bailouts! Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!

You, my friends, are truly champion asset creators! Your long-suffering self-denial of working for crap wages contributes to massive corporate profits that executives tap to buy-back company stock in order to keep those asset values high. Your low-to-no wages give you as consumers the God-given freedom to borrow and, thereby, fund securitized assets. And, when those asset values get threatened, your taxes come to the rescue through bailouts and mumbo jumbo (“quantitative easing”).

This is sweeeeeeet!

This is worth celebrating!


Get a life. Get some assets.

So, why don’t we call this September 7th what it actually is: Assets Day!

A time to celebrate your assets off.

What? Got no assets?

You’re screwed.