You all know how illicit narcotics are marketed – the first shot is free. Once the sucker is high and happy, “reasonable” terms are arranged for a steady supply of heroin or crack, oxycontin or fentanyl. Once the customer is hooked, and that steady supply seems necessary not just for exhilaration but survival, the terms get harsher, and the addicted customer grows more desperate and eventually destitute.
The analysts braying about the so-called American economic boom are high on their own substance of choice – money…the billions of windfall dollars dumped on corporations and their richest employees and shareholders by Donald Trump’s federal tax cut. Like the distorting molecules of smack or crack or carfentanyl sparking through the addict’s bloodstream, Trump’s injection of quick cash simulates natural stimulation, and then destroys it.
Look at that GNP! the boom-boosters cry, rising in the second quarter of 2018 at a startling 4.1%. Isn’t that making America great again? It is if your idea of America is that elite 1% at the top of the economy, the people who reaped those tax benefits and are profiting by them, not as the President promised they would, by investing in the economy, but by buying up their own corporate shares, and pushing up the value of their own holdings.
Is this growing the economy or just growing the injustice of the economy by concentrating all its benefits at the very top?
The inebriates and their pushers point to the historically low 3.9% unemployment rate. The figure and the thriving employment market it is alleged to signal are both utterly bogus.
Low unemployment is supposed to translate into higher employment, but new jobs are not developing at the assumed rate. And a squeeze on available employees is supposed to push their pay rates higher. Not happening.
If the economy is so good, why do so many Americans feel so bad? Because like junkies who wake up after the intoxication has passed, already strung out, the majority of Americans, middle-class and lower on the economic scale, can see their personal economy is in ruins.
Is it incongruous that in the midst of this alleged great national economy, rates of addiction are rising and lifetime longevity is falling, or is inevitable?
More and more Americans are working jobs whose terms of employment are so unjust they do not sustain life. That’s why American household debt is at a record high, people are living off their credit cards, simply putting off the day when unpayable loans will come due.
The rush from a few extra dollars in personal paychecks also is a pusher’s concoction. The tax cut created an enormous deficit, meant to force cutbacks in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. The 1% is confident they can “manage” the real-world effects of these cuts on the bottom 40%.
Just as the leaders of the Federal Reserve exude confidence they can manage the analogous effects of making once cheap dollars more expensive on international markets. The credit-junkie countries, often called Emerging Markets will, like those folks robbed of their retirement money and health protection, be told they just have to make do with less. Oh, and they’ll be told, with some justice, that it’s all their own fault. They should have known better than to take up the crack pipe or the temporarily cheap international loans.
Often, though, strung-out junkies rat out their dealers, and where prosecutors are interested, dealers rat out kingpins, and even the biggest of the drug cartelistas go down. Often, credit-crushed countries go belly up and spread contagious bankruptcy to their bankers.
The greed economy and our criminal President who primes it aren’t just stupid and vicious, they are ultimately self-defeating.
Nomi Prins is a renowned journalist, former international investment banker, author and speaker. Her new book, Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World, explores the recent rise of the role of central banks in the global financial and economic hierarchy. Her last book, All the Presidents’ Bankers, is a groundbreaking narrative about the relationships of presidents to key bankers over the past century and how they impacted domestic and foreign policy. Her other books include a historical novel about the 1929 crash, Black Tuesday, and the hard-hitting expose It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bonuses, Bailouts, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street (Wiley,2009/2010). She is also the author of Other People’s Money: The Corporate Mugging of America (The New Press, 2004) chosen as a Best Book of 2004 by The Economist, Barron’s and Library Journal.
She has appeared on numerous TV programs: internationally for BBC, RtTV, and nationally for CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, CSPAN, Democracy Now, Fox and PBS. She has been featured on hundreds of radio shows globally including for CNNRadio, Marketplace, NPR, BBC, and Canadian Programming. She has featured in numerous documentaries shot by international production companies, alongside prominent thought-leaders.
Her writing has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, Newsday, Mother Jones, Truthdig, The Guardian, The Nation, NY Daily News, LaVanguardia, and other publications.