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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#13961 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-11, 09:20

From How to Tax Our Way Back to Justice by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman:

Quote

America’s soaring inequality has a new engine: its regressive tax system. Over the past half century, even as their wealth rose to previously unseen heights, the richest Americans watched their tax rates collapse. Over the same period, as wages stagnated for the working classes, work conditions deteriorated and debts ballooned, their tax rates increased.

Stop to think this over for a minute: For the first time in the past hundred years, the working class — the 50 percent of Americans with the lowest incomes — today pays higher tax rates than billionaires.

The full extent of this situation is not visible in official statistics, which is perhaps why it has not received more attention so far. Government agencies like the Congressional Budget Office publish information about the distribution of federal taxes, but they disregard state and local taxes, which account for a third of all taxes paid by Americans and are in general highly regressive. The official statistics keepers do not provide specific information on the ultra-wealthy, who although few in number earn a large fraction of national income and therefore account for a large share of potential tax revenue. And until now there were no estimates of the total tax burden that factored in the effect of President Trump’s tax reform enacted at the end of 2017, which was particularly generous for the ultra-wealthy.

To fill this gap, we have estimated how much each social group, from the poorest to billionaires, paid in taxes for the year 2018. Our starting point is the total amount of tax revenue collected in the United States, 28 percent of national income. We allocate this total across the population, divided into 15 income groups: the bottom 10 percent (the 24 million adults with the lowest pretax income), the next 10 percent and so on, with finer-grained groups within the top 10 percent, up to the 400 wealthiest Americans.

Our data series include all taxes paid to the federal, state and local governments: the federal income tax, of course, but also state income taxes, myriad sales and excise taxes, the corporate income tax, business and residential property taxes and payroll taxes. In the end, all taxes are paid by people. The corporate tax, for example, is paid by shareholders, because it reduces the amount of profit they can receive in dividends or reinvest in their companies.

You will often hear that we have a progressive tax system in the United States — you owe more, as a fraction of your income, as you earn more. When he was a presidential candidate in 2012, Senator Mitt Romney famously lambasted the 47 percent of “takers” who, according to him, do not contribute to the public coffers. In reality, the bottom half of the income distribution may not pay much in income taxes, but it pays a lot in sales and payroll taxes. Taking into account all taxes paid, each group contributes between 25 percent and 30 percent of its income to the community’s needs. The only exception is the billionaires, who pay a tax rate of 23 percent, less than every other group.

The tax system in the United States has become a giant flat tax — except at the top, where it’s regressive. The notion that America, even if it may not collect as much in taxes as European countries, at least does so in a progressive way, is a myth. As a group, and although their individual situations are not all the same, the Trumps, the Bezoses and the Buffetts of this world pay lower tax rates than teachers and secretaries do.

This is the tax system of a plutocracy. With tax rates of barely 23 percent at the top of the pyramid, wealth will keep accumulating with hardly any barrier. So too will the power of the wealthy, including their ability to shape policymaking and government for their own benefit.

The good news is that we can fix tax injustice, right now. There is nothing inherent in modern technology or globalization that destroys our ability to institute a highly progressive tax system. The choice is ours. We can countenance a sprawling industry that helps the affluent dodge taxation, or we can choose to regulate it. We can let multinationals pick the country where they declare their profits, or we can pick for them. We can tolerate financial opacity and the countless possibilities for tax evasion that come with it, or we can choose to measure, record and tax wealth.


If we believe most commentators, tax avoidance is a law of nature. Because politics is messy and democracy imperfect, this argument goes, the tax code is always full of “loopholes” that the rich will exploit. Tax justice has never prevailed, and it will never prevail.

For example, in response to Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax proposal — which we helped develop — pundits have argued that the tax would raise much less revenue than expected. In a similar vein, world leaders have become convinced that taxing multinational companies is now close to impossible, because of international tax competition. During his presidency, Barack Obama argued in favor of reducing the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent, with a lower rate of 25 percent for manufacturers. In 2017, under President Trump, the United States cut its corporate tax rate to 21 percent. In France, President Emmanuel Macron is in motion to reduce the corporate tax in 2022 to 25 percent from 33 percent. Britain is ahead of the curve: It started slashing its rate under Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2008 and is aiming for 17 percent by 2020. On that issue, the Browns, Macrons and Trumps of the world agree: The winners of global markets are mobile; we can’t tax them too much.

But they are mistaken. Tax avoidance, international tax competition and the race to the bottom that rage today are not laws of nature. They are policy choices, decisions we’ve collectively made — perhaps not consciously or explicitly, certainly not choices that were debated transparently and democratically — but choices nonetheless. And other, better choices are possible.

Take big corporations. Some countries may have an interest in applying low tax rates, but that’s not an obstacle to making multinationals (and their shareholders) pay a lot. How? By collecting the taxes that tax havens choose not to levy. For example, imagine that the corporate tax rate in the United States was increased to 35 percent and that Apple found a way to book billions in profits in Ireland, taxed at 1 percent. The United States could simply decide to collect the missing 34 percent. Apple, like most Fortune 500 companies, does in fact have a big tax deficit: It pays much less in taxes globally than what it would pay if its profits were taxed at 35 percent in each country where it operates. For companies headquartered in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service should collect 100 percent of this tax deficit immediately, taking up the role of tax collector of last resort. The permission of tax havens is not required. All it would take is adding a paragraph in the United States tax code.

The same logic can be applied to companies headquartered abroad that sell products in America. The only difference is that the United States would collect not all but only a fraction of their tax deficit. For example, if the Swiss food giant Nestlé has a tax deficit of $1 billion and makes 20 percent of its global sales in the United States, the I.R.S. could collect 20 percent of its tax deficit, in addition to any tax owed in the United States. The information necessary to collect this remedial tax already exists: Thanks to recent advances in international cooperation, the I.R.S. knows where Nestlé books its profits, how much tax it pays in each country and where it makes its sales.

Collecting part of the tax deficit of foreign companies would not violate any international treaty. This mechanism can be applied tomorrow by any country, unilaterally. It would put an end to international tax competition, because there would be no point any more for businesses to move production or paper profits to low-tax places. Although companies might choose to stop selling products in certain nations to avoid paying taxes, this would be unlikely to be a risk in the United States. No company can afford to snub the large American market.

These examples are powerful because they show, contrary to received wisdom, that the taxation of capital and globalization are perfectly compatible. The notion that external or technical constraints make tax justice idle fantasy does not withstand scrutiny. When it comes to the future of taxation, there is an infinity of possible futures ahead of us.

Are these ideas for greater economic justice realistic politically? It is easy to lose hope — money in politics and self-serving ideologies are powerful foes. But although these problems are real, we should not despair. Before injustice triumphed, the United States was a beacon of tax justice. It was the democracy with the most steeply progressive system of taxation on the planet. In the 1930s, American policymakers invented — and then for almost half a century applied — top marginal income tax rates of close to 90 percent on the highest earners. Corporate profits were taxed at 50 percent, large estates at close to 80 percent.

The history of taxation is full of U-turns. Instead of elevating some supposedly invincible and natural constraints — that are often invincible and natural only in terms of their own models — economists should act more like plumbers, making the tax machinery work, fixing leaks. With good plumbing — and if the growing political will to address the rise of inequality takes hold — there is a bright future for tax justice.

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#13962 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-11, 10:17

View Posty66, on 2019-October-11, 09:20, said:

From How to Tax Our Way Back to Justice by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman:


I believe Elizabeth Warren has a plan to address these problems.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13963 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-11, 14:53

From Sharon LaFraniere and Nicholas Fandos at NYT:

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Marie L. Yovanovitch, who was recalled as the American ambassador to Ukraine in May, testified to impeachment investigators on Friday that a top State Department official told her that President Trump had pushed for her removal for months even though the department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”

In a closed-door deposition that could further fuel calls for Mr. Trump’s impeachment, Ms. Yovanovitch delivered a scathing indictment of how his administration conducts foreign policy. She warned that private influence and personal gain have usurped diplomats’ judgment, threatening to undermine the nation’s interests and drive talented professionals out of public service. And she said that diplomats no longer have confidence that their government “will have our backs and protect us if we come under attack from foreign interests.”

According to a copy of her opening statement obtained by The New York Times, Ms. Yovanovitch said she was “incredulous” that she was removed as ambassador “based, as far as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.”

Ms. Yovanovitch, a 33-year veteran of the foreign service and three-time ambassador, spoke to investigators on Capitol Hill even though the State Department had directed her not to late Thursday and in defiance of the White House’s declaration that administration officials would not cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry. Democrats leading the inquiry said that order amounted to obstruction of their inquiry and quietly issued a subpoena Thursday morning with the understanding that Ms. Yovanovitch would then cooperate.

Not long after, she arrived at the Capitol with a lawyer and entered the secure basement rooms of the House Intelligence Committee, where she was expected to take questions from congressional staff and lawmakers for much of the day.

Her searing account, delivered at the risk of losing her job, could lend new momentum to the impeachment inquiry that imperils Mr. Trump. The inquiry centers on the president’s attempts to use his power and the foreign policy apparatus to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, an endeavor in which Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, was a central player. The shadowy effort by Mr. Giuliani grew to drive the United States policy toward Ukraine, at times appearing to sideline the State Department in the process.

Ms. Yovanovitch said in her deposition that the undermining of loyal diplomats at the State Department would embolden “bad actors” who would “see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system” and serve the interests of adversaries of the United States, including Russia.

“Today we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within,” she said. She called upon the department’s leaders, as well as Congress, to defend it, saying “I fear that not doing so will harm our nation's interest, perhaps irreparably.”

And she spoke of her “deep disappointment and dismay” about the events that led to her removal, describing a sense of betrayal of the “sacred trust” she and other diplomats once had with their government.

Ms. Yovanovitch dismissed as “fictitious” the allegations that she had been disloyal to Mr. Trump, which were circulated by allies of Mr. Giuliani.

“I do not know Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me,” she said, adding that people associated with him “may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”

Ms. Yovanovitch’s opening statement revealed no new details about Mr. Trump’s effort to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of Joseph R. Biden Jr. It also offered no details about Lev Parnas or Igor Fruman, two businessmen who helped Mr. Giuliani mount a campaign for her removal. Both were arrested late Wednesday on charges of campaign finance violations.

The indictment charged that they were working for one or more unnamed Ukrainian officials who wanted her out of Kiev.
But she provided new details about her abrupt ouster just as Ukraine had elected a new president, when continuity in American policy was critical, she argued.

Less than two months after the State Department asked her to extend her tour as ambassador until 2020, she said, she was abruptly told in late April to return to Washington “on the next plane.”

She said that John Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state, told her later that she had “done nothing wrong and that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause.” Other foreign diplomats say they know of no parallel to her case.

Mr. Sullivan told her that Mr. Trump had “lost confidence in me and no longer wished me to serve as his ambassador,” she said. “He added that there had been, a concerted campaign against me and the department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the summer of 2018.”

That account contradicts what the State Department told reporters at the time, that Ms. Yovanovitch was merely completing her assignment “as planned.”

Even as she was being questioned behind closed doors on Friday, Mr. Trump nominated Mr. Sullivan to be the next ambassador to Russia. The timing appeared to be coincidental.

Ms. Yovanovitch said that she had never inhibited any legitimate efforts by Ukraine to combat corruption; instead, she tried to bolster them to help Ukraine combat Russia’s influence.

She was not involved in discussions about the suspension of $391 million in American security aid to Ukraine this summer; those took place only after she left Ukraine in May, she said.

She said she feared that the administration’s failure to back its diplomats would harm American interests, including Ukraine’s attempts to reform its government and defend against a hostile Russia.

“That harm will come not just through the inevitable and continuing resignation and loss of many of this nation’s most loyal and talented public servants,” she said, according to the prepared remarks.

“It also will come when those diplomats who soldier on and do their best to represent our nation face partners abroad who question whether the ambassador truly speaks for the president and can be counted upon as a reliable partner. The harm will come when private interests circumvent professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good,” she said.

Ms. Yovanovitch said she had met Mr. Giuliani only a few times, and at least in her prepared remarks, offered no details about his efforts to freelance foreign policy in Ukraine and to press Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Mr. Giuliani’s role is now at the center of the House’s impeachment inquiry into whether the president withheld military aid and a White House meeting in effort to gin up an foreign investigation that would damage the elder Mr. Biden, one of his foremost political rivals.

That Ms. Yovanovitch appeared at all was remarkable and raised the possibility that other government officials would follow suit in defiance of the administration’s orders. Caught between the conflicting and equally forceful demands of two branches of government, she chose Congress, raising the possibility that other government officials with little loyalty to Mr. Trump could follow suit

Three House committees conducting the investigation hope to tick through a roster of additional witness depositions next week, when lawmakers return to Washington from a two-week recess. Among them are Fiona Hill, who until this summer served as senior director for Europe at the National Security Council, and is scheduled to appear Monday; George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state and Ukraine expert, whose appearance is set for next Tuesday; and Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union whose scheduled appearance on Tuesday was blocked by the State Department hours before he was to arrive on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Sondland has now agreed to comply with a House subpoena and testify on Thursday, despite the State Department’s instruction that he not appear, although he would not hand over documents unless the department did, his lawyer said on Friday.

The White House or State Department could try to block those depositions, but like Ms. Yovanovitch and Mr. Sondland, each witness may make his or her own choice. Democrats leading the inquiry warned the Trump administration that attempts to stonewall their work could itself be impeachable conduct.

“Any efforts by Trump administration officials to prevent witness cooperation with the committees will be deemed obstruction of a coequal branch of government and an adverse inference may be drawn against the president on the underlying allegations of corruption and cover-up,” wrote the chairmen of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs committees.

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#13964 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-11, 15:52

I didn't know Trump could hit those high notes like this.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13965 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-11, 15:58

President Trump suffered defeats in three major court rulings Friday that address the limits of his executive authority: Business records, Denying green cards and visas to low-income immigrants, and Wall funding. What we need is a new presidential 3-strikes law: You're out!
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13966 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2019-October-11, 17:38

View Posty66, on 2019-September-23, 12:38, said:

From Citizens for Responsibility for Ethics in Washington aka CREW:


A gombeen man's man if ever there was one.

non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#13967 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2019-October-11, 17:40

America is a late-comer to the ways of the Murdoch Family. They have been doing this to politics for many decades. First in Adelaide, then Australia then the UK and now America. It is simply the Murdoch family making money. Enjoy
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#13968 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-October-11, 18:15

View Postpilowsky, on 2019-October-11, 17:40, said:

America is a late-comer to the ways of the Murdoch Family. They have been doing this to politics for many decades. First in Adelaide, then Australia then the UK and now America. It is simply the Murdoch family making money. Enjoy

Maybe a little later than some, but Fox Propaganda has been around since 1996 and Murdoch bought the New York Post way back in 1976
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#13969 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-11, 20:28

This is the guy who Trump and Guiliani were trying to get reinstated as Prosecutor General in Ukraine:

Quote

Quote

A classified State Department assessment concluded in 2018 that Ukraine’s former Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko—who is at the center of the impeachment inquiry of President Trump—had allowed a vital potential witness for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Konstantin Kilimnik, to escape from Ukraine to Russia, beyond the reach of the United States, after a federal grand jury in the US charged Kilimnik with obstruction of justice.

If Kilimnik had been available for questioning, he had the potential to provide invaluable information to investigators that might have shed light on one of the most consequential unresolved questions that the American people deserve an answer to: whether the former chairman to President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Paul Manafort, and perhaps other aides to then presidential candidate Trump, conspired with Russia to aid Russia’s covert operations to intervene in the election to defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Trump. By allowing Kilimnik to escape to Russia, Lutsenko foreclosed any possibility that Kilimnik would ever be questioned by US law enforcement and intelligence agents.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13970 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-October-11, 23:30

View PostMrAce, on 2019-October-11, 02:28, said:

Please do not let your judgement be blind due to how you feel about Trump and/or Erdogan.

Erdogan and his men are thugs who don't respect the rule of law. If he wasn't the leader of a recognized country, he might well be regarded as a terrorist.

Turkish bodyguards kicked him to the point of brain damage. Now he’s furious President Erdogan is coming back to DC

Quote

The scene was a stunning sight on American soil – Turkish bodyguards beating U.S. protesters, on the streets of D.C.

The May 17, 2017 clash between peaceful demonstrators and security personnel for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan marked a dramatic and illegal escalation, the likes of which the District has never seen.

The Manchurian President is a pathological liar and whose career has been marred by a blatant disregard for the law.

A pox of both of them. As for Turkey, they nearly killed some American soldiers in their indiscriminate bombing campaign. For the record, ordinary Kurdish civilians are not terrorists.
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#13971 User is offline   MrAce 

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Posted 2019-October-12, 01:34

View Postjohnu, on 2019-October-11, 23:30, said:

Erdogan and his men are thugs who don't respect the rule of law. If he wasn't the leader of a recognized country, he might well be regarded as a terrorist.

Turkish bodyguards kicked him to the point of brain damage. Now he's furious President Erdogan is coming back to DC


The Manchurian President is a pathological liar and whose career has been marred by a blatant disregard for the law.

A pox of both of them. As for Turkey, they nearly killed some American soldiers in their indiscriminate bombing campaign. For the record, ordinary Kurdish civilians are not terrorists.


You are right about Erdogan and his men. We agree with you. Say all this to Orange haired idiot not to me. He is the one who seems to not understand this.

You are wrong that YPG is ordinary Kurdish civilians. They are ordinary civilians as much as ISIS and AL-Qaeda are ordinary Islamic people. They are NOT! Your own people saying it, watch the video I provided.
"Genius has its own limitations, however stupidity has no such boundaries!"
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#13972 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-12, 07:33

View PostMrAce, on 2019-October-12, 01:34, said:

You are right about Erdogan and his men. We agree with you. Say all this to Orange haired idiot not to me. He is the one who seems to not understand this.

You are wrong that YPG is ordinary Kurdish civilians. They are ordinary civilians as much as ISIS and AL-Qaeda are ordinary Islamic people. They are NOT! Your own people saying it, watch the video I provided.


I don't dispute that the PKK terrorize Turkey but are you claiming that if all PKK are Kurds then all Kurds are PKK? I would have to have a lot more proof of that claim.

I'm not trying to belittle your views and the points you made, but personally, I've always had a problem with labeling oppressed "terrorists" - what then do you label the oppressors?


The real terrorists (to my thinking) are those who try by force to impose their belief system on others.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13973 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-12, 07:59

Hard to keep church and state separate when the top law officer is an arrogant priest:

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Attorney General William Barr on Friday faulted the “ascendancy” of secularism in America for mental illness, violence and drug abuse.

“Virtually every moral pathology has gained ground,” he said in a speech at the University of Notre Dame’s law school. (See the video above beginning at 21:48.)

The speech revealed how deeply the top lawman in the nation is tied to his Catholicism as he lashed a recent New Jersey law requiring LGBTQ curriculum in public schools to support civil rights. He complained that laws are being “used as a battering ram to break down traditional moral values.”


No mention, I notice, of the all-time high in inequality of wealth as a contributing factor. No, just the moral hierarchy of the fundamentalist right wing:
God
White men
Everything else


Here is why Barr is so dangerous; he takes an accurate fact (the US constitution provides that the government cannot establish a religion) and expands that to fit his own personal beliefs that the rights of Christians supercedes others' rights, saying this:

Quote

“I can assure you that as long as I am attorney general, the Department of Justice will be at the forefront of this effort, ready to fight for the most cherished of all American liberties – the freedom to live according to our faith,” said Barr.
my emphasis

There is no such guarantee in the U.S. constitution. The U.S. AG should know that.

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#13974 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-12, 09:25

Jane Fonda was in my neighborhood this morning to talk about her lobbying campaign for the Green New Deal. I was impressed by her conviction, her sense of humor and her straight talk about the need to address jobs lost in the carbon sector. Can't believe she's 81.
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#13975 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-12, 14:20

From Lawrence Summers at FT:

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New IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva’s first speech makes bracing reading for the global financial community as it gathers this coming week in Washington for the annual IMF and World Bank meetings. Ms Georgieva noted that while two years ago growth was accelerating in 75 per cent of the world, the IMF now expects it to decelerate in nearly 90 per cent of the global economy in 2019 to the lowest level in a decade.

This shift into reverse comes as central banks in Europe and Japan have embraced negative interest rates and investors expect further rate cuts from the US Federal Reserve. Bonds worth more than $15tn are trading with negative yields.

If the primary problem were on the supply side, one would expect to see upward price pressure. Instead, despite loose fiscal and monetary policy, central banks in the industrialised world have as a group fallen well short of their inflation targets for a decade and markets project that this will continue.

Europe and Japan are engaged in black hole monetary policy. Without a major discontinuity, there is no prospect of policy rates returning to positive territory. The US appears to be one recession away from entering the same black hole. If so, the whole industrialised world would be providing at best negligible and often negative returns to risk-free savings and falling short of growth and inflation targets. It would also have to maintain financial stability amid increased incentives for leverage and risk-taking.

All this requires new thinking and new policies, much as the rapid inflation of the 1970s forced a reset back then. Once economies are in the monetary black hole, central banks that focus on inflation targeting will be ineffectual in hitting their immediate goal and unable to stabilise output and employment. The policy action has to shift elsewhere.

Today’s core macroeconomic problem is profoundly different from the problem any living policymaker has seen before. As I have been arguing for some years now, it is a version of the secular stagnation — chronic lack of demand — that terrified Alvin Hansen during the Depression. In today’s global economy, private investment demand is manifestly unable to absorb private savings even with negative real interest rates and limited restraints on financial markets. That is why even with burgeoning government debt and unsustainable lending, growth remains sluggish and below target.

Since 2013, when I first argued that we were seeing more than simple “economic headwinds”, interest rates have been much lower, fiscal deficits have been much larger, and leverage and asset prices have been much higher than expected. Yet growth and inflation have fallen short of forecasts. That is exactly what one would expect from secular stagnation: a chronic shortage of private sector demand.

What is to be done? To start it would be helpful if policymakers acknowledged this week that the policy problem is not smoothing cyclical fluctuations or preventing profligacy. Rather the fundamental issue is assuring that global demand is sufficient and reasonably distributed across countries.

The place to start is by dampening down trade wars — deeds, threats and rhetoric. Trade warriors think they are participating in zero-sum games globally with one country gaining demand at the expense of another by opening markets or imposing protection. In fact trade conflicts are negative-sum games because there is no winner to offset the demand that is lost when uncertainty inhibits and delays spending decisions.

Given the risk of a catastrophic deflationary spiral, central banks are probably right to attempt to ease monetary conditions. But diminishing returns have surely set in with respect to monetary policy and there is risk of doing real damage to the health of the banks and other financial intermediaries.

Most important governments need to rethink fiscal policy. Government debt or government support for private debt is needed to absorb savings flows. With real rates near zero or even negative, the cost of debt service is very low and low rates can be locked in for decades. That means that the debt levels that were prudent when rates were at 5 per cent no longer apply in today’s zero interest rate world. Governments that run chronic surpluses are failing to do their part to support the global economy and should be the object of international scrutiny.

There are other possible interventions. Increasing pay-as-you-go public pensions would reduce private saving without pushing up deficits. Public guarantees could spur private green investments. New regulations that prompt businesses to accelerate their replacement cycles will increase private investment. Measures to create more hospitable environments for investment in developing countries can also promote the absorption of global saving.

Spurring sound spending is the antidote to secular stagnation and monetary black holes. It should be an easier technical problem to solve and much easier to sell politically than the austerity challenges of earlier eras. But problems cannot be solved until they are properly diagnosed and the global financial community is not there yet. Hopefully that will change this week.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#13976 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-October-12, 15:39

Hey, does anyone remember when Trump said that trade wars are easy to win?

How's that going, Donald?

#13977 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-October-12, 15:41

View PostMrAce, on 2019-October-11, 02:28, said:

saying Turks attacking to Kurds is equal to saying USA is attacking to Islam just because they fight against ISIS or Al-Qaeda.


Timu, I appreciate (probably better than most Americans) that this is a complicated subject.

From my perspective, the single most important issue here is that Erdoğan is choosing to launch a war of convenience.
What actions necessitate a Turkish attack on Syria? (especially at this point in time)

I have heard claims that the Turkish government wants to create a "safe zone" in Syria and then force refugees out of Turkey and into Northern Syria...
Given Turkey's past history of forcible population exchanges / ethnic cleansing / and out right genocide this seems like a remarkably poor decision.

I have always loved the time that I have spent in Turkey and I very much hope that the world is capable to separating the actions of the Erdoğan government from the country as a whole. (In much the same way that I hope that the wold can separate Trump from [some of] the United States)

Last, but not least: I very much appreciate that Turkey has been a valuable ally of the United States dating back to the early days of the Cold War. However, I think that it is important to note that said alliance was predominately based on

1. A containment strategy directed against the Soviet Union
2. Turkey's position as a secular muslim country

As Erdoğan sidles up to to a revanchist Russia and as Turkey continues to embrace Islamist parties leading its government the foundations of that alliance are looking increasingly unstable.
Alderaan delenda est
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#13978 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-12, 18:35

Richard, thanks for introducing me to a word, revanchism, of which I was unfamiliar. I looked it up.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#13979 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-October-12, 19:16

Timu,

can you confirm the following claim:

https://twitter.com/...112864908894208

(Not that the individual in question was killed, but how this is being portrayed in Turkish state run media outlets)
Alderaan delenda est
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#13980 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-October-12, 20:30

Hi Richard, from reading other sites my understanding is that the Turkish defence ministry reported that there was a successful operation to neutralise 459 Kurdish militia. Reports about Hevrin Khalaf then came later from Kurdish sources including a video of her corpse (I assume it is genuine but honestly no idea) and another of a civilian being shot while lying on the ground has also emerged. Brett McGurk appears to have put the different sources together to create a misleading quote that Turkish state media was calling it a successful operation to kill a political rival. I think that such sensationalism is not needed here to stir up public opinion against the situation.
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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