Bernie Sanders wins the Interwebs! Four reasons Bernie can become our President.

Bernie Sanders calls us to account.
Bernie Sanders calls us to account.

The New York Times frets that Hillary’s campaign suffers from “a lack of enthusiasm.” Well yeah, duh! People keep saying that Hillary is “the one,” yet the public keeps demonstrating how reluctant they are to support a chameleon candidate whose views shift according to polls. This enthusiasm gap is handily demonstrated in a major social media platform. I am not a political naif. I started my education in 1969 as a political science major. During these years I shifted my alliances from the right of the Republican Party to the left of the Democratic Party based on the tractor-trailer truckloads of evidence that counters the GOP worldview I was raised on. So here are the four reasons of the day!

First, Bernie is totally electable. He has a statistically significant lead among Facebook followers.

I was just mucking around on the Internet, reading my email, when I found myself at Bernie Sanders’s Facebook page. I was pleased, as a Bernie supporter, to see that he had nearly 2,000,000 that’s TWO MILLION followers. 

by Olivia LaRosa, November 22, 2015

Then I thought I should go see how many followers the other Democratic candidates had. Hillary Clinton has FEWER Facebook followers than Bernie Sanders. That’s right. She has been in politics for 40 years, has nearly limitless money, a lock on the corporate media, and she still has fewer followers than Bernie.

Bernie Sanders for President 1,984,719

Hillary Clinton 1,811,982

So, you are thinking that 170,000 likes aren’t all much of a spread in a nation with 330,000,000 people, and you are right.

OK, let’s go on…

Let’s step back a bit and look at both candidates’ related sites to see how those numbers look:

Senator Bernie Sanders  2,473,389 members

Hillary in 2016 201,257

Hillary Clinton 2016 2,932 members — no, I did not forget to type any numbers here

Let’s figure this:                                     2,473,389

–    201,257

                                                               –        2,932

Bernie’s lead:                                         2,269,200

Going on, we see another

Bernie Sanders for President                     92,393

Unofficial Bernie Sanders for President 115,447

adds up to another 184,706 for Bernie*

Most people in the US have not been offered the opportunity to learn more about Bernie’s ideals and plans. His lead can only grow.

*math approximate. I did not count all the Bernie and Hillary FB pages, only the most prominent

2. Bernie will be able to work with Congress because he will carry Democrats into offices across the nation. 

Many people lament the gridlock in Washington and most of our state capitols. They cannot see how the President can make a difference.

My theory is that the ENTIRE US House of Representatives and a full 1/3 of the Senate is up for re-election. If Bernie’s following continues to grow at these astonishing rates, he will have long electoral coattails. In other words, people who vote for Bernie are not likely to put up with posturing triangulators and fear mongers in other offices. The Republicans and a good many DINOs will be tossed out of office.

Even if they aren’t tossed out, Bernie knows how to work across the aisle without compromising his principles.


3. Bernie’s brand of social democracy builds strong families and strong countries. 

Forget Denmark! Germany’s is a nation of more than 80,000,000. Their social democracy features a form of universal health care. Labor unions share the seats on corporate boards 50/50 with company management. This country is the economic engine of Europe.

Germany’s per capita wealth among the highest in the world, say those crazy loony libs at the CIA.

The benefits that Germans receive, such as health care, at least a month of vacation time, shorter work days and scads of other perks more than make up for the $10K difference in annual income between the USA and Germany per capita. It also allows German families family time to build those family values. Pensions are generous.

Colleges in Germany are FREE for people from all over the world.  Germans enjoy superior elementary education and well-maintained infrastructure. Germans are allergic to waging wars. The cost has been too high. Let’s get our peace dividend and let someone else police the world.



4. Bernie’s Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) Proposal can solve forever our broken taxation system. 

I think that taxes are the price I pay for civilization. Our corporations and our billionaires do not agree. They pay an army of accountants and lawyers to rig the system in their favor.

A Financial Transaction Tax on Wall Street trades would fund free public college for anyone who works hard and gets good grades.

Only the mouthpieces of billionaires like Forbes and Bloomberg see a problem with it. If we take a tiny amount off the top, like .005%, then they cannot hide it in tax “havens.” People who earn great benefits from American workers and consumers should pay it forward, not squirrel it away. If you don’t have it, you can’t hide it!

We could get rid of volumes of tax law that are littered with loopholes. All of those lawyers and accountants could be helping people instead of trying to figure out how to steal “honestly” and cheat our country.

In conclusion, it seems to me that the only obstacles standing in the way of a Sanders Presidency are those without a vision of a peaceful future. You cannot wage war to gain peace. Everybody knows THAT!

Posted in 99%, Bernie Sanders for President, Economics 101, Education, Everything We Know is Total BS, Job Creation, Labor Law and Policy, practical economics, Tax Policy, Working People's Rights | Comments Off on Bernie Sanders wins the Interwebs! Four reasons Bernie can become our President.

A People’s History of Stock Market Crashes 1946-2016: The View from Below

It is difficult to “get ahead,” as in “accumulate assets,” in today’s radically uncertain investment markets. Nevertheless, it is received opinion in the US that if one “plays by the rules” one can “succeed.” This kind of success is defined narrowly as being able to save up enough money to buy a home, raise children, send them to college, and then retire without being a “burden on society.” These rules included legal protections for workers and consumers. More people prospered under these regulatory regimes.

Now, the regulatory regimes have been attenuated, weakened, maligned, and captured. As a result, corporations have been allowed to legally plunder the people that they are meant to serve. Their avarice knows no bounds. These financial actors are cannibalizing their hosts, we the people and the planet we depend upon for life, without even a thank you. In the corporate jubilation that followed every deregulation and privatization, our savings and home equity were plundered without apology or punishment of the perpetrators. I aim to show the levers and gears of these financial meltdowns, their causes, the failures that follow, and the effects of those failures on the typical nuclear family. I intend to demonstrate that a paradigm shift is occurring right now about how the USA might right its financial ship and get back in touch with its inhabitants. Young people are saying we have to figure out how to reward ourselves in ways that take into consideration equity, equality and fundamental fairness. We have to figure out how to invest in ways that create happy communities and happy families. How can investors protect their assets in a world gone mad?

Table of Contents

1)     Abstract 3

2)     Introduction. 5

3)     Inspiration. 6

5)     The WWII Postwar Period 1946-1960. 7

  1. a) How war profiteering led to the Marshall Plan. 7
  2. b) Erosion of Labor Law @Taft-Harley & Demobilization of female workforce after WWII. 8
  3. c) Remobilization of armament industry (Red Scare) 8
  4. d) The Bracero Program.. 9
  5. e) Steel Industry Strikes. 9

6)     The Last Decade of Dominance 1960-1969. 10

  1. a) The Pill 10
  2. b) The Stock Market seeks growth opportunities – Equity Funding. 11
  3. c) Studebaker Pension Fund failure. 11
  4. d) The conquest of cool 14

7)     The Seventies Changed Everything 1970-1979. 17

  1. a) The fiscalization of national product 17
  2. b) Oil embargo. 18
  3. c) Wage and price controls. 19
  4. d) Interest rate climb. 19
  5. e) War on Inflation. 19

8)     The Eighties – Business is Cool 19

  1. a) Deregulation and privatization. 19
  2. b) The fiscalization of national product 20
  3. c) The Savings and Loan crisis. 20
  4. d) Early 1980s recession. 22
  5. e) Black Monday 1987. 23

9)     The Nineties. 24

  1. a) Early 1990s recession. 24

10)        The 2000s. 25

  1. a) Early 2000s recession – dot com bust 25
  2. b) The collapse of Enron 2001-2002. 26
  3. c) WorldCom accounting scandal 27
  4. d) Subprime mortgage crisis. 27
  5. e) Real estate market cratered, stock market crashed AGAIN.. 28
  6. f) The Housing Bust, the Repo scams, and Middle class hollowing out 29

11)        The – “20teens” – A decade of crises in only 6 years. 30

  1. a) Irish and Icelandic banking crises. 30
  2. b) Student debt crisis. 31
  3. c) 2014 Russian financial crisis. 31
  4. d) 2015 Chinese Stock Market Crash. 31

12)        Increasing inequality without fundamental fairness brings new dynamics. 31

  1. a) Arab Spring & Libya & Occupy. 32
  2. b) The rise of Bernie Sanders and the return of class analysis. 32

13)        Conclusion. 32

1)      Abstract

It is difficult to “get ahead,” meaning “accumulate assets.” However, it is received opinion in the US that if one “plays by the rules” one can “succeed.” This kind of success is defined narrowly as being able to save up enough money to buy a home, raise children, send them to college, and then retire without being a “burden on society.” These rules included legal protections for workers and consumers. A broader range of society prospered under these regulatory regimes.

Now, the regulatory regimes have been attenuated, weakened, maligned, and captured. As a result, corporations have been allowed to legally plunder the people that they are meant to serve. Their avarice knows no bounds. These financial actors are cannibalizing their hosts, we the people and the planet we depend upon for life, without even a thank you. In the corporate jubilation that followed every deregulation and privatization, our savings and home equity were plundered without apology or punishment of the perpetrators. I aim to show the levers and gears of these financial meltdowns, their causes, the failures that follow, and the effects of those failures on the typical nuclear family. I intend to demonstrate that a paradigm shift is occurring right now about how the USA might right its financial ship and get back in touch with its inhabitants. Young people are saying we have to figure out how to reward ourselves in ways that take into consideration equity, equality and fundamental fairness. We have to figure out how to invest in ways that create happy communities and happy families. How can investors protect their assets in a world gone mad?

2)      Introduction

In 2015, Japan’s sovereign debt offerings went into “negative” territory. This means that Japan is offering its bonds on the market and expecting investors to pay for the privilege of holding its debt rather than paying interest.

Japan can expect to sell its debt instruments, even with that premium cost to the holder, because sovereign debt of big rich nations like Japan and the USA is considered a safe and stable place to park investor funds when other markets are deemed too risky for investment. In other words, people do not want to purchase the debt of countries like Greece (an extreme example to illustrate the argument) because there is no assurance that their funds will be safe.

Why do nations have to sell bonds to finance their operations? Because their current accounts do not have enough money to fund all the services the nation provides. Why is it that nations do not have enough money to fund their services? There’s a two part answer: first, nations must invest in capital-intensive projects like maintaining roads and schools that cannot always be financed with current tax revenues and second, individuals and corporations avoid or evade their tax obligations using a combination of legal and illegal means. There’s a third reason that most students of economics are reluctant to raise: the economic system itself, prone to booms, bubbles and busts, makes it difficult to accumulate and retain capital. There are winners and losers in monopoly capitalist systems and the losers are more likely to be small investors and governments. The system has been rigged for the rich. Movements of large sums are artificially influenced by the basic view that capital has to earn income. Transnational corporations have near complete control over movements of capital in the 21st century; thus governments are starved and people are starved, enslaved, made ill, injured or killed.

The preceding views spring from a background in the Critical Law and Economics discipline. Nothing happening today in the world economy gives us cause to celebrate. Not just Japan, but many European countries have been running negative interest rates since 2015.

Complaints across the political spectrum about continually increasing amounts of regulation to control money flows and dampen capital flight may make it mandatory for us to look at ways to “take it off the top” rather than spend billions chasing the money after it has flown. The Financial Transaction Tax in its various forms, also known as a Tobin Tax, presents itself as a rational method for governments to collect enough taxes to take care of their people’s needs.

3)      Inspiration

This work springs from research conducted in support of a thesis, a risk/benefit analysis on using a Financial Transaction Tax rather than FATCA and international tax treaties to raise funds to satisfy the tax needs of nations on a global basis. The unfathomable size and scope of the colossal government and private institutional bureaucracies needed to enforce FATCA and tax treaties could make the discussion in favor of an FTT with global reach fruitful to analyze.

Holding up a new analysis of the risk/benefits of FTT alongside the ever-increasing need for global Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) laws, regulations, policies and operationalization may make the case for an FTT impossible to ignore.

  1. I bolster my argument by providing an historic excursion through a few decades worth of misguided-at-best, war-crime-bad at worst, geopolitical financial actions. For many observers, it is clear that trusting the invisible hand of the market makes cash disappear like magic into the unaccountable maw of vertical integration, offshore banking and underground economies.
  • Operationalization
    1. This paper will provide a “people’s history” rather than a close financial analysis of each of the events listed herein. There will be plenty of room for quibbling with each of my analyses but the arc of history will demonstrate that emphasizing faith in a rigged system is a ludicrous fantasy.

5)      The WWII Postwar Period 1946-1960

a)      How war profiteering led to the Marshall Plan

To remedy the unspeakable devastation wrought on Europe and Asia by WWII, American policymakers devised The Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan aimed to provide the means for European nations to rebuild their infrastructure and economies. Our high school history books present the Marshall Plan as an altruistic outpouring of love on our devastated allies. In fact, the Plan was necessary to provide new markets for the massive production capabilities America developed during the war. Our war profiteers needed market growth to maintain and increase their earnings. Capitalism’s basis tenet is that it must grow, or die. In the infinite world we perceived before the Industrial Revolution, that fantasy could be maintained. Today, we live in a finite world shrunken by 21st century-style globalization and communicate instantly across the globe by means of the Internet. We know that our seas are the last home for incalculable amounts of land-based toxins and our water and air are the last frontiers for corporate control.

b)      Erosion of Labor Law @Taft-Harley & Demobilization of female workforce after WWII

American workers who sacrificed economic benefits of their labor during WWII were told that they were patriots. Thus, they accepted that wages were artificially held down by anti-strike provisions and wage freezes. When the war ended, workers expected to reap the fruits of their labor. The period directly after WWII saw huge increases in labor activities as rank and file members sought to make good on their deferred hopes. When we began to repatriate our veterans as the World War wound down, we had to make sure that they had jobs to return to. Thus, management pressure and government policies acted to take away jobs from women, who had constituted a high percentage of the labor force during the war. Strikes, work-to-rule, and secondary boycott actions increased dramatically. Legislators took action: the Taft-Hartley Act, passed in 1948, began the long process that has decimated the union movement in the US. Workers were “protected” from union “abuses” under the Act.[1] [2]

c)      Remobilization of armament industry (Red Scare)

The US economy and the global economy were inextricably linked by the Marshall Plan and the various US occupations of countries like Japan and Germany. These countries began the slow and painful process of restoring their manufacturing capabilities. Germany was wholly industrialized before WWII, but Japan was still largely feudal in its global position before the war. The demands of capital hastened the development of manufacturing in these countries, but there was still a “need” to make more stuff. Creating a bogeyman after the Allied Powers had vanquished the Axis became important, so the drumbeat against the “godless communists” of Russia and China grew to a global obsession. Thus, manufacture of war goods could continue uninterrupted even though there were no significant “hot” wars.[3]

d)     The Bracero Program

Big manufacturing requires a big workforce. Powers That Be were not ready for women to re-enter the workforce, so immigration of Mexican workers was encouraged by the Bracero Program. The Bracero Program was a “guest worker” program; its aim to provide cheap labor in the US while denying these workers a path to citizenship. It was a failure for both the workers and the employers. The workers paid taxes, including Social Security. They were promised that the Social Security payments would be returned to them at the end of their work periods. Instead, the US kept the SS monies. The advantages to the workers were small. The program ended and the criminalization of workers from South of the Border began anew. The word “wetback” came into usage then.

e)      Steel Industry Strikes[4]

It is arguable that the first blow struck against workers that resulted in outsourcing of a major industry occurred because of the 1959 US steel strikes. These strikes had been foreshadowed by steelworker strikes in Germany.[5] Management accused unions of featherbedding; unions wanted management to adhere to the contract negotiated in good faith. The US dominated the steel market due to the destruction of manufacturing capability of the battlefield nations of WWII. All eyes were on the contract negotiations set to begin in mid-1959. Major steel users such as automobile manufacturers and shipbuilders began increasing their inventories of steel in anticipation of the strike. Part of that increase came from imported steel.

The strike went on for weeks. President Dwight D. Eisenhower invoked the Taft-Hartley Act, to end the strike and force workers back into the plants. Senator John F. Kennedy stated that the Act was used as a weapon against labor rather than to protect national interests, as Taft-Hartley supporters claimed.[6]

6)      The Last Decade of Dominance 1960-1969

a)      The Pill

With the failure of the Bracero Program, big business was once again faced with a worker shortage. Apparently, big pharma was seeking answers to the worker shortage as well. 1960 saw the advent of “The Pill.” Birth control has been demonstrated again and again to be the solution to many social ills, but there was no really effective method available until the Pill. Educated women mean educated families better suited to staffing and managing industrial and post-industrial economies.

America had at its disposal tens of millions of women who could enter the labor force. They spoke native English and were easier to train. They had a strong work ethic. All they needed was to be released from the labor intensive work of taking care of their families: cooking three meals a day, laundry day, marketing day, gardening day, sewing day, cleaning day, vacuuming day, waxing floor day, and so on.

b)      The Stock Market seeks growth opportunities – Equity Funding

First attempts at “democratizing” the stock market created one of the early disasters, the Equity Funding scandal.

The fraud at Equity Funding Corporation of America was essentially a securities fraud. While much attention has been focused on the insurance aspects, especially the manufacture of bogus policies, that activity was merely one part of a much larger stock fraud that began at or before the time Equity Funding’s first public offering in 1964. [7].[8]

c)      Studebaker Pension Fund failure

American Express established the first private pension fund in 1875.[9] The pension served as an incentive to retain employees without paying them more in real time. It was soon adopted by many large corporations, and also by governments. No safety net for failed pensions existed, so if a company failed to pay, its employees were left with nothing for their years of work.[10]

In 1963, Studebaker Motors did not have enough set aside to cover its pension liabilities. Here, more than 4,000 workers lost their pensions. The factory was in the “heartland,” South Bend, Indiana. One could say that this failure began the hollowing out of the middle class.[11]

The late Senator Jacob Javits of New York (shown at the right) found this situation a threat to the private pension system and, in 1967, introduced pension reform legislation to protect the benefits of millions of workers covered by private pension plans.[12]


In 1974, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was passed.[13] ERISA has served as a source of corporate welfare ever since. Corporations have, at best, shirked their duty to fund their financial obligations. Some have used ERISA as a piggy bank. As time has passed the pace of these pension failures accelerates. This list of the 10 largest pension fund failures illustrates this point.


Fig. 1 Ten Biggest Pension Failures (up to 2010)

Firm and Year Terminated Total Claims Vested Participants Average Claim Per Person
1. United Airlines (2005) $7.4 billion 123,957 $60,033
2. Delphi (2009) $6.1 billion 69,042 $88,475
3. Bethlehem Steel (2003) $3.7 billion 91,312 $40,021
4. US Airways (2003) $2.8 billion 55,770 $49,337
5. LTV Steel (2002, 2003, 2004) $2.1 billion 83,094 $25,694
6. Delta Air Lines (2006) $1.6 billion 13,291 $123,473
7. National Steel (2003) $1.3 billion 33,737 $37,811
8. Pan American Air (1991, 1992) $0.8 billion 31,999 $26,285
9. Trans World Airlines (2001) $0.7 billion 32,263 $20,717
10. Weirton Steel (2004) $0.6 billion 9,410 $68,064
Top 10 Total $27 billion 543,875 $49,933







Similarly, governments have failed to fund their pension plans. When a politician has a choice between adhering to a pledge not to raise taxes or funding the pensions of public workers, the public workers are thrown under the bus.[15]

How does this happen?

Companies and governments have great latitude in determining how much to set aside for their pension obligations.  A range of assumptions are allowed, including estimations of the years workers will accrue, pay rates, and so forth. “Assumptions that the government considers inadequate contributed to the demise of almost all of the roughly 150 pension plans that failed in the last year. Current detailed information about pension plans is not routinely disclosed, however.” (Emphasis author’s.)[16]

d)     The conquest of cool

“The Sixties” are a global watershed decade, a time of myriad paradigm shifts. The “20teens” feel the same way. In-depth discussion of this trope to follow in Section 10- The 20teens. To illustrate this concept, think of the foundational decade as the paradigm shift and the decade beyond as a political absorption of the peoples’ movements into the status quo. This is known as co-optation, defined thusly: “3. to take or assume for one’s own use; appropriate: co-opted the criticism by embracing it. 4. to neutralize or win over (an independent minority, for example) through assimilation into an established group or culture: co-opt rebels by giving them positions of authority.”[17]

Co-optation makes us a polity satisfied with token or facial changes. Then, we struggle to maintain even those small gains in the face of ever-more-powerful manipulation by the global elite.

It is more than a little odd that, in this age of nuance and negotiated readings, we lack a serious history of co-optation, one that understands corporate thought as something other than a cartoon. Co-optation remains something we vilify almost automatically; the historical particulars which permit or discourage co-optation—or even the obvious fact that some things are co-opted while others are not—are simply not addressed.[18]

For example, at the height of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, the Black Panthers formulated a Ten-Point Platform[19] that looks very much like a list of conditions needed for civilized society. Among them is the opportunity to work. Today, the unemployment rate for black youth is over 50%. This means not that black youth do not want to work. This means that to be black means that you are as likely to be unemployed than employed, 50 years after the 100 years of struggle for legal and economic recognition.  Looking back over the 150 years that have elapsed since the end of The Civil War, the legal promises made to our former slaves have been watered down into a weak struggle against voter suppression. Indeed, the Roberts Court disabled the only legislative tool that has been effective in protecting the voting rights of people of color and other disenfranchised groups. “The Supreme Court on Tuesday effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval.” [20] Since that time, vote suppression activists have been successful in destroying review of their projects to limit the vote of the 99%, not only in the South but all over the nation. This is just one of the invidious long-term effects of gerrymandering and the takeover of state and local governments by right-wing extremists.

Thus, the efficacy of co-optation has been shown to constitute a decades-long denial of rights given little more than lip service by society at large. What does the ruling class have to lose?

How this process operates in the media is the subject of a moving and insightful book, The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism[21], by Thomas Frank.

This is a study of business thought, but in its consequences it is necessarily a study of cultural dissent as well: its promise, its meaning, its possibilities, and, most important, its limitations. And it is, above all, the story of the bohemian cultural style’s trajectory from adversarial to hegemonic; the story of hip’s mutation from native language of the alienated to that of advertising. (ibid: abstract).


The book is a compendium of many case studies in the mechanics of co-optation.  As the anti-war generation moved into the halls of power, they hoped to create a brave new world by upending the rules of the advertising game. Such classic ads as “The Uncola” and the groundbreaking VW campaign marked the Sixties-type changes in media. The forces identified in Conquest of Cool have been enhanced and augmented over the decades, resulting in stealing the weak power of collective forces of the underrepresented. This is massive co-optation on a global scale. Rightists can always fall back on their pocket playbook by identifying any assistance to the less powerful as a giveaway that needs to be reined in. It works like a charm every time.  “Regardless of whether the co-opters deserve our vilification or not, the process by which they make rebel subcultures their own is clearly an important element of contemporary life.”[22] The co-opters are the same as they ever were, but have honed the methods by which they influence society to a fine art. One cannot claim that this process began in the 20th century, but the tools with which we are modernly molded shock the conscience. Edward Bernays, the author of Propaganda,[23] first worked to mold public opinion in favor of WWI. “Advertising,” “spinning,” and “disinformation” has now come to dominate every part of our lives.

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.[24]

This is a quote from the writings of the man IN FAVOR of propaganda. Can we have a world in which we can do without such “received opinion?”

7)      The Seventies Changed Everything 1970-1979

a)      The fiscalization of national product[25]

Early attempts at privatization and commodification of public assets began with the development of the secondary market for conventional home mortgage loans. Rumor has it that President Lyndon B. Johnson’s need to pay for the Vietnam War led to this startling development.

Dale’s work at FHLBB and HUD in the early 1970s occurred during a fascinating time in the development of the secondary market for conventional home mortgage loans by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHLBB supervised Freddie Mac at the time of its creation in 1970, and HUD has regulated Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for many years. (Emphasis author’s.)[26]

T The author obtained her first mortgage loan in 1971. She knew the lending officer and saw him every week when she went to deposit her paycheck. All loans were kept on the individual branch portfolio at that time. In 1975, she was working in the Real Estate Department at that same bank. The staff was ordered to make copies of everything in every mortgage loan file and ship the original files to headquarters.

This development was the first step in destabilizing a stable marketplace.

The seeds of the 2008 crash in the mortgage market were thus sown by the need to “create new markets,” viz. churn the public commonwealth for private gain, back in what we might consider “the dawn of time” in the commodification and fiscalization game

b)      Oil embargo

Rising at 5AM, waking, feeding and dressing the children, bringing snacks, and hoping you will get lucky in line was the routine for a few months in 1973. The reason? Drive to the line that started forming the night before at the only gas station within 5 miles of home.

When the USA decided to abandon the gold standard completely in 1971, under the Nixon administration, it still wanted to keep the dollar as the international universal currency. How to do that? Back the dollar in oil instead, thus the creation of a new market in 1973.

These “petrodollars” fueled the growth of power in oil-rich countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and Venezuela. Public comments about the rich and governments in these countries buying up US securities and other assets with petrodollars fed an always-present xenophobia.

[The petrodollar system] forced the world’s oil money to flow through the US Federal Reserve, creating ever-growing international demand for both US dollars and US debt, while essentially letting the US pretty much own the world’s oil for free, since oil’s value is denominated in a currency that America controls and prints.[27]

Worth noting here that the US military is presently the largest user of petroleum worldwide.[28] The victors in war, as we learned in WWII, are the countries that have unlimited access to oil. Thus we are bound in a devil’s compact with the Middle Eastern countries, supporting both Israel and Egypt, who are the biggest recipients of US foreign aid by far.

Soon after, the OPEC nations cut off exports of petroleum to many nations, including the USA, as punishment for supporting Israel in the Israel – Egypt 6 Day War.[29] The embargo lasted 6 months. Oil prices increased up to 130%, peaking in December 1973.  The public became conscious of the possibilities of longer-term oil shortages and got serious about alternative energy sources.

c)      Wage and price controls

Inflation soon set in. Nixon was forced to institute Wage and Price controls in an attempt to stabilize the US economy.

d)     Interest rate climb

Stabilization proved difficult to achieve. Lenders, wary of the wild gyrations of the economy, tightened the credit markets. Interest rates for home loans soared to 18% at the beginning of the 1980s.

e)      War on Inflation

Inflation stayed high for several years after 1974, when fiscal policy failed to control the effects of the oil market shock. It jumped from 3.6% annually in 1973 to 9.4% in 1974. Inflation rates continued to ring in at a “higher” low of 5.2% in 1977 and a peak of 13.9% in 1980.[30] Investment vehicles such as low-risk consumer bank Certificates of Deposit instruments, glorified savings accounts by which borrowers agreed to lock in for a set period, paid 12% interest.

8)      The Eighties – Business is Cool

a)      Deregulation and privatization

President Jimmy Carter was on the wrong end of a decade of economic drama unmatched since the Great Depression. He lost his bid for a second term to a Hollywood actor with weak comprehension skills and an addiction to benefiting the wealthy.

President Ronald Reagan and his handlers worked very hard to undo the social safety net created during and after the Depression, and had notable successes. Using a Nixonian tactic, Federal funds were awarded to states and agencies through block grants rather than direct support. This new method forced entities to cut staff and cut services, which was exactly the goal of the new government.

Furthermore, Reagan famously worked to break unions. His crowning achievement was the destruction of PATCO, the air traffic controller union. Once PATCO, a quasi-public sector union had been undone, the rate of de-unionization increased.[31] Was this a Black Swan, or was it controllable or preventable? People say that it does not fit the definition because the controller negotiations were on the public calendar. People still recall when Reagan ate table grapes on national television during the Farmworker strikes of the 1980s to show his contempt for the lowest workers in the class hierarchy.

b)      The fiscalization of national product[32]

Part two of Reaganomics involved selling off the public commonwealth to his friends and allies. This is known as privatization, and alternately, deregulation. Public servants were caught up in massive layoffs. Quality of service either deteriorated or disappeared. Recession reared its ugly head. The first half of the 1980s saw a dismal job market. The immiseration of the middle class took hold.

c)      The Savings and Loan crisis[33]

In addition, one of the deregulation schemes involved the Savings and Loan industry. Using the term scheme here, in the sense of a conspiracy by a handful of well-placed insiders to exploit the weaknesses in the plan. S&Ls were significantly deregulated. Naturally, a bunch of “capitalists” came in and started looting the industry. Charles Keating was a crook who started a Ponzi scheme something like Bernard Madoff’s. Keating is the most notorious name associated with the S&L meltdown.

He was influential in Republican circles in the 1960s through the 1980s, likely because he was unscrupulous. Nixon appointed him to the President’s Commission on Pornography in 1972.

Charles Keating was involved in American Financial’s 1974 sale of Bantam Books, and its decision that year not to enter the investment banking field. In 1975 and 1976, several stockholder lawsuits were filed against American Financial, and Keating was under fire for aspects involving unsecured loans, stock warrants, and the sale of the Enquirer. The Securities and Exchange Commission launched a major investigation of the company and charged Lindner, Keating and others with having defrauded investors and filing false SEC reports. At particular issue was a $14 million loan that the SEC said was made on preferential terms. [11] Keating resigned from American Financial in August 1976…[34],[35]

After deregulation, Keating purchased Lincoln Savings and Loan in 1984 for $51 million. He was offering 12% on certain notes of Lincoln Savings and Loan. Trouble was, these notes were based on subordinated debentures. That’s a fancy term for unsecured debt. Therefore, if the S&L went under, purchases of these debentures would be repaid after the stockholders, depositors and creditors of the institution. This in fact meant that there was nothing left when the S&L industry bubble burst in the late 80s. Keating’s particular wrongdoing involved investing Federally Insured savings and loan deposits in real estate ventures,[36] some of which did not turn out so well. It also means that this was a problem CREATED BY Republicans. Neil Bush, George and Jeb’s brother, was part of the crash of Silverado S&L in Colorado.[37] Sure, everybody got into the Act in the crooked 80s and Democrats stepped into the same muck.

d)     Early 1980s recession

A devastating recession (the worst since the Depression and before 2007) began in July 1981 and continued until November 1982, according to Federal Reserve history.[38] Unemployment reached 11%, the highest percentage in the post-WWII era. But that’s not all, folks. Good paying manufacturing jobs vanished, never to return.

Although goods producers accounted for only 30 percent of total employment at the time, they suffered 90 percent of job losses in 1982. Three-fourths of all job losses in the goods-producing sector were in manufacturing, and the residential construction industry and auto manufacturers ended the year with 22 percent and 24 percent unemployment, respectively (Urquhart and Hewson 1983, 4-7).[39]

This great recession followed on the heels of a smaller recession in 1980.

Both the 1980 and 1981-82 recessions were triggered by tight monetary policy in an effort to fight mounting inflation. During the 1960s and 1970s, economists and policymakers believed that they could lower unemployment through higher inflation, a tradeoff known as the Phillips Curve.[40]

The Phillips Curve stated that inflation and unemployment had a stable and inverse relationship. [41] The result was a stop-go monetary policy. The Fed would raise interest rates to combat inflation. Then the Fed would drop interest rates to spur investment and employment. It proved to be an unstable and unsound policy. [42] Use of the Phillips Curve represents another attempt to manage monetary and economic policy with voodoo economics. All too often, reductions in the cost of money do not stimulate business investment. Increasingly, the money is just shifted from one paper investment to another. Quants think of ever more intricate ways to slice and dice a financial commodity so that it can be churned and re-churned for the benefit of the investing class.

e)      Black Monday 1987

On October 18, 1987, the US Stock Market declined in the largest drop since the 1929 Crash. Ronald Reagan was still President. His go-go teams of unscrupulous advisers were floating along in a rowboat in a stream of bad economic policy. Observers call it the first contemporary global financial crisis.

A chain reaction of market distress sent global stock exchanges plummeting in a matter of hours. In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped 22.6 percent in a single trading session, a loss that remains the largest one-day stock market decline in history.[43]

Black Monday was the fruit of globalization. International investors flocked to US securities. Markets around the world had become increasingly interlinked. This meant that events could turn the markets upside down within a matter of days. It was another bubble. The DJIA had gained 44% in 7 months. October 1987 saw many news reports that caused international markets to quail, and then take a nosedive.

Some of the instability resulted from institutional program trades. Cosmetic measures were taken to cool the markets, such as “circuit breakers,” also known as trading pauses. Still, risky and novel financial products like portfolio insurance were not significantly curbed. Portfolio insurance made extensive use of options and derivatives. The market regulators stopped the use of these options and derivatives immediately to increase investor confidence. Just kidding. The confidence game being run on the public would go on to new heights of destruction.[44]

9)      The Nineties

a)      Early 1990s recession

The Savings and Loan deregulation and the subsequent white collar crime affected our economy in dramatic style.

The Savings and Loans Crisis was the greatest bank collapse since the Great Depression of 1929. By 1989, more than 1,000 of the nation’s Savings and Loans (S&Ls) had failed. This effectively ended what had once been a secure source of home mortgages.[45]


The collapse of the S& L industry cost US taxpayers dearly, just in terms of hard dollars taken from the public commonwealth to cover for private criminality. The bankruptcies of these home lending institutions harmed the housing market, which lowered employment rates in the construction and mortgage industries, just for starters.[46] Some argue that the S&L crisis led directly to the next recession.

The recession of the early 1990s lasted from July 1990 to March 1991. It was the largest recession since that of the early 1980s and contributed to George H.W. Bush’s re-election defeat in 1992. Although mainly attributable to the workings of the business cycle and restrictive monetary policy, the 1990-91 recession demonstrated the growing importance of financial markets to the American and world economies…and associated public and private sector debt.[47]

The authors of this work are focused on public debt-related management and diminishment. It is not clear who or what is supporting this dedicated project. In current right-wing political circles, the public debt is the worst thing ever. It is easy to forget that during Ronald Reagan’s first term, the debt increased tenfold from the Presidency of Jimmy Carter. It is easy to forget that Dick Cheney famously said, “You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”[48] Yes, as long as they don’t have to pay the interest, and we do, they simply do not care.

As the decade drags on, international financial regimes are tortured by a number of crises. These include the Finnish and Swedish banking crises, including the collapse of their housing markets ala 2007.  Mexico suffered its second debt crisis in a decade. Argentina could not pay its debts to the IMF and World Bank. It was cut off from global financial markets for several years. The Russian financial crisis in 1998 looked like nothing less than a greased slide to hell.

10)  The 2000s

a)      Early 2000s recession – dot com bust

Yes, it was another bubble. Children were touting stocks related to the Internet. People who were earning $60,000 a year were sleeping in their cars in Silicon Valley due to the acute housing shortage there. People believed Bill Clinton when he said we had a New Economy that would just keep rising up up and up. A book titled Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market became a best seller. Released in November 2000, it was just in time to see the recession on the horizon. The book pretended that stocks had underlying value and an intrinsic ability to generate cash. Eeeny meeny chili beanie. Stocks have little relationship to the companies that issue them, even though markets claim that P/E ratios indicate underlying value.[49]

The Dotcom Crash began in March 2000 and lasted until October 2002, officially. “The Nasdaq Composite lost 78% of its value as it fell from 5046.86 to 1114.11. “ [50] As they did in the early 80s, investors sought big ideas and ignored solid business plans. The Internet represented endless possibilities for new market penetration, so it seemed.

Buzzwords like networking, new paradigm, information technologies, internet, consumer-driven navigation, tailored web experience, and many more examples of empty double-speak filled the media and investors with a rabid hunger for more. The IPOs of internet companies emerged with ferocity and frequency, sweeping the nation up in euphoria. Investors were blindly grabbing every new issue without even looking at a business plan to find out, for example, how long the company would take before making a profit, if ever.[51]

The boom ushered in IPO frenzy, with 457 new ones offered in 1999. By 2001, the number dropped to 76.

But wait! There’s more! The 2000 stock market crash resulted in a loss of almost $8 Trillion of wealth.[52] This is an unimaginable amount. Another source breaks the causes into two parts. First, the use of [valuation] metrics that ignored cash flow. Investors were preoccupied with “network theory.” “The value of a network increased exponentially as the series of nodes (computers hosting the network) increased.”[53] Second, because of significantly overvalued stocks. Analysts used unrealistic and overly optimistic values for Internet companies.[54]

The world’s largest bank, HSBC Holdings, conducted research on the P/E ratios of newer, tech-savvy companies. According to their findings, these newer companies were overvalued by 40%. In fact, the only way these stocks could have been properly valued would be if their revenues grew by 80% a year for five years. However, this would probably have been an impossible standard for any company to meet, given that even Microsoft only averaged a little over 50% a year.[55]

b)      The collapse of Enron 2001-2002

In Reefer Madness and other tales from the American Underground, Eric Schlosser described the inventive money laundering techniques developed by the so-called Porn King, Reuben Sturman. Schlosser speculated that Enron executives had taken their playing instructions from such as him.[56] The various schemes they hatched ended up taking people’s pensions, created an artificial energy pricing crisis that cost states and municipalities countless billions of dollars, and destroyed the lives of most everyone they came into contact with. The once-great accounting firm Arthur Anderson was forced to close its doors forever due to its complicity in Enron’s fictitious book-cooking.[57]

c)      WorldCom accounting scandal

Hot on the heels of Enron’s collapse, “WorldCom, the nation’s second largest long-distance telecommunications company, announced that it had overstated its earnings in 2001 and the first quarter of 2002 by more than $3.8 Billion dollars.” [58]

In the CRS Report to Congress, the authors blame too-rapid expansion of capability in response to the DotCom boom and too many acquisitions that were not well-considered. Here is yet another example of regulatory failure. The SEC is so short-staffed that it is unable to examine the books of even the largest companies. “WorldCom was 42nd among Fortune 500 companies when it collapsed.”[59]

d)     Subprime mortgage crisis

Meanwhile back at the ranch, President George W. Bush was touting “The Ownership Society.” If you can load people down with the ball and chain of home ownership, they are less likely to notice that you are stealing their commonwealth and that the markets are built on fantasy. [60]

“We can put light where there’s darkness, and hope where there’s despondency in this country. And part of it is working together as a nation to encourage folks to own their own home.”

– President George W. Bush, Oct. 15, 2002[61]

The Bush administration actively weakened state consumer protection laws to make loans accessible to a broader market. In other words, the administration encouraged a relaxation of mortgage loan underwriting standards. The attorneys general of 49 states sued the Bush administration to stop its meddling. Most everyone could see that there would be a bad end to the administration aligning itself with the lenders. We just didn’t know when it would arrive. Eliot Spitzer, then Governor of New York, penned an article for the Washington Post in 2008 explaining that Attorneys General were noticing an increase in predatory lending.

Even though predatory lending was becoming a national problem, the Bush administration looked the other way and did nothing to protect American homeowners. In fact, the government chose instead to align itself with the banks that were victimizing consumers.[62]

In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.[63]

e)      Real estate market cratered, stock market crashed AGAIN

Dean Baker, a noted economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research consulted with PBS to present “The Housing Crash Recession: How Did We Get Here?” To Baker, Alan Greenspan is a lead player in this gargantuan tragedy.

It is not clear whether or not Greenspan saw the bubble, since he has not spoken consistently on the topic. It is clear that he did nothing to prick the bubble and arguably even promoted its growth, both by publicly denying the existence of a housing bubble and by encouraging homebuyers to take out adjustable rate mortgages.[64]

The aim here is to counter the blame game practiced by Republicans and indeed, the Democratic frontrunner for President, Hillary Clinton. It goes something like this. “Well, those people should have known that there was something wrong. They got in over their heads.”

Moreover, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been blamed for allowing predatory lenders into the market, rather than Bush administration policies. Even after 1975, when mortgage loans were commodified, Fannie and Freddie were still largely government-sponsored institutions. As the privatization frenzy grew, however, Fannie and Freddie were sucked into that vortex and became political pawns of the Right. The goal of the Right is always to explain policy and regulation failures by pointing to the broken institutions they themselves disabled with spending cuts and personnel cuts.

f)       The Housing Bust, the Repo scams, and Middle class hollowing out

The social upheaval created by the housing bubble is beyond quantification. Many people are still struggling to catch up with income tax filings ignored in the mayhem. People tell about owning four homes, and seeing each one disappear into the gaping maws of the very banks that created the bubble.  Not only do we see that evil outcome, the banks were not content just to repossess homes from those who couldn’t pay. They set up “robosigning” operations that forged homeowner’s signatures on falsified documents that allowed them to actually repossess houses from homeowners whose payments were current.[65]

Sure, there were penalties to the banks, but they pale in comparison to the value stolen from hard-working American families.

Unemployment skyrocketed. The Middle Class marched further off into the sunset. They began to wonder how they were going to buy groceries, let alone pay the rent in the skimpy digs they now inhabited. No one has gone to jail for these vast criminal conspiracies.

Lehman Brothers collapsed. AIG had to be bailed out. The entire banking industry called for a bailout that staggered the mind. Rather than go through the successive crises and bailouts and mistakes that occurred in the wake of the housing bust, I want to ask this question. “When are we going to have some adults in charge of our economy?”

This Great Recession, triggered by Bush Administration policies, will leave its mark on us forever.

11)  The – “20teens” – A decade of crises in only 6 years

a)      Irish and Icelandic banking crises

Sketching a brief contrast between the Irish and Icelandic banking crises is a worthwhile endeavor. Although both had their roots in the fallout from the US economic collapse, it took years for the scenarios to play out. Today, Ireland’s banking sector still has what the IMF calls a high risk profile because “Irish mortgage loans remain an unusually risky asset class.” [66] After a 300% rise in property prices from 1996 to 2008, values fell drastically.  Even worse, there is a 15% vacancy rate in the houses built during the boom. More than 700,000 houses were built in a nation of 4.5 million people. When the US sneezes, little countries get the flu. “Ireland’s banks suffered huge losses due to their exposure to sub-prime mortgage defaults in the US.”[67] The Irish government put countless billions into their banks to keep them afloat, and the Irish people have suffered greatly under austerity regimes and double-dip recessions. GDP is far below pre-downturn figures and unemployment is exceptionally high. [68]

Iceland’s recovery has been more robust. However, it was preyed upon by the same banking excesses as the rest of the world.

Iceland’s three biggest banks grew to 10 times the size of their economy by offering people overseas, especially in the Netherlands and Britain, higher interest rates than they could get at home. Then, armed with this cash, Iceland’s bankers went on a historically ill-advised buying spree.

The problem, in other words, was that Iceland’s banks were not only paying high prices for questionable assets, but also promising to pay their depositors high interest rates. This was about as unsustainable as business models get, and it wasn’t that hard to tell.[69]

Here are some differences in Iceland’s handling of the crisis. They considered their banks “too-big-not-to-fail.”  They closed the doors and sent some people to jail.[70] Ireland bailed out its banks, but Iceland let them go bust. However, the biggest reason for the faster and heartier Icelandic recovery lies in the fact that Iceland has its own currency, while the Emerald Isle is Euro-denominated.[71]

O’Brien maintains that because the Icelandic Krona collapsed so badly (60% less at the end of 2008) that the economic balance tipped in their favor toward competitiveness in the export market.[72]  Other marginal participants in the European Union, namely Greece, must be wondering how things would have gone for them if they still used the drachma.

b)      Student debt crisis

Total owing student debt surpassed consumer debt totals a couple of years ago.

c)      2014 Russian financial crisis

Yet another Russian crisis, probably made worse by the laissez-faire capitalism practiced by the oligarchs. Another term for laissez-faire capitalism is mob rule.

d)     2015 Chinese Stock Market Crash

After pretending everything was JUST FINE for the past few years, China finally admitted that it had been cooking the market’s books.

12)  Increasing inequality without fundamental fairness brings new dynamics

a)      Arab Spring & Libya & Occupy

People have been long silenced by a lack of understanding how elites can run amok and plunder the commonwealth. Now they are finding their own voices in the 99% movement. People are tired of being told that governments are going to help them by not helping them. People know that threat of war is on the horizon and do not want to pay for it or fight in it. People know that 30-mile long cracks are appearing in the Antarctic ice shelf. People know that there is enough money to create a secure social safety net and want that instead of throwing the money away on expensive war toys that don’t work.

b)      The rise of Bernie Sanders and the return of class analysis

It is too late to recuperate all that money destroyed by fraud and theft over the past 71 years. It is too late to undo the 40 years of damage done by the rich and famous, as we are astonished to learn of this week re: the Panama Papers. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders spoke in the Senate about the Panama Treaty, predicting in 2011 that the deal was only going to aid and abet money-laundering.

The brilliant campaign of Sanders is resonating across party lines and generation lines. This week, he put a bird on it. As of April 6, 2016, he, or as he says “we” can still gain enough delegates to win the nomination this summer.  However, it does not matter that he win or lose. He has given voice to the questions we all have and proposed workable solutions. How do we even begin to restore what has been lost? Who will step up to take a principled approach to the public purse?

13)  Conclusion

People are worn out by the constant incompetence and avarice they see in their leaders. They are tired of seeing their tax dollars being sent out of the country, into private hands, or into space. They seek a safety net now so that they may seek long term answers about where we go from here. Protecting the status quo is a no-go.

How does a wealth manager begin to know how to advise clients in this atmosphere of lawlessness and greed? Does it all finally add up to how much you can pay your attorney per hour?

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Deborah Lagutaris aka Olivia LaRosa February 7, 2016


References and Resources

[1] National Labor Relations Board, Taft-Harley Act, major provisions. Accessed 2-15-2016

[2] National Labor Relations Act, aka Wagner Act, was enacted in 1935 as a measure “just to labor,” whose grievances became ever more obvious during the Depression. It was imperative, to boost the economy, that people had income to spend and goods to consume. Accessed 2/15/2016

[3] Various social problems in the US have been identified as “wars” for similar reasons. One example is the “War on Drugs,” the US’s most expensive and longest war, going on four decades now.

[4] Duncan Lyall Burns. The Steel Industry, 1939-1959: A Study in Competition and Planning. Cambridge University Press. P. 167, 132 US dominated industry Table 6.

[5] Chicago Tribune Archives, German Steel Workers Call Strike April 9. April 1, 1958. Accessed March 1, 2016

[6] John F. Kennedy. JFK Library. Remarks by Senator John F. Kennedy at a Democratic Party reception in Pueblo, Colorado.

[7] L.J. Seidler, F. Andrews, M.J. Epstein. M.J. Equity Funding Papers: The Anatomy of a Fraud. (1977)

“The fraud at Equity Funding Corporation of America was essentially a securities fraud. While much attention has been focused on the insurance aspects, especially the manufacture of bogus policies, that activity was merely one part of a much larger stock fraud that began at or before the time Equity Funding’s first public offering in 1964. The perpetrators of the fraud, who were major holders of the company’s stock, intended to inflate and keep the market price of the company’s common stock for the purposes of personal enrichment and ego enhancement. They wanted to be known as the management force behind a company believed to phenomenally successful. The fraud was implemented principally by inflating the company’s reported earnings largely through recording nonexistent commission income. This practice appears to have begun at least as early as 1964 in anticipation of the company’s first offering of common stock…”

[8] American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. (1975). Report of the Special Committee on Equity Funding: The adequacy of auditing standards and procedures currently applied in the examination of financial statements. New York: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

[9] Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Accessed March 31, 2016.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974: The First Decade.

[14] Emily Brandon, The Ten Biggest Failed Pension Funds. US News and World Report. Aug. 23, 2010.

[15] Roger Lowenstein, The Long Sorry Tale of Pension Promises. Wall Street Journal.  updated October 1, 2013.

[16] Mary Williams Walsh. Failed Pensions: A Painful Lesson in Assumptions. The New York Times. November 12, 2013.

[17] American Heritage Dictionary definition:

co-optation. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Accessed March 22, 2016

[18] Thomas F. Frank, (2000). “The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism.” Relevant excerpt:  Accessed March 3, 2016

[19] Zinn Education Project. Howard Zinn is the author of the groundbreaking book The People’s History of the United States.

Black Panther Ten-Point Platform.

  1. We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black and oppressed communities.
  2. We want full employment for our people.
  3. We want an end to the robbery by the capitalists of our Black and oppressed communities
  4. We want decent housing, fit for the shelter of human beings.
  5. We want decent education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society
  6. We want completely free health care for all Black and oppressed people.
  7. We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of Black people, other people of color, and all oppressed people inside the United States.
  8. We want an immediate end to all wars of aggression.
  9. We want freedom for all Black and oppressed people now held in U.S. federal, state, county, city and military prisons and jails. We want trials by a jury of peers for all persons charged with so-called crimes under the laws of this country.
  10. We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, peace, and people’s community control of modern technology. Acc. 3-22-2016

[20] Adam Liptak. June 25, 2013. Supreme Court Invalidates Key Part of Voting Rights Act. NYT Permalink Acc. March 21, 2016

[21] Thomas F. Frank (2000). The Conquest of Cool (abstract) 03-22-2016.

[22] Frank, Ibid.

[23] Bernays, Edward L. (1928) Propaganda. Reissued pamphlet & full text at Acc. 03/22/2016

[24] Bernays. Propaganda. Page 9. First paragraph in first chapter of book, titled “Organizing Chaos.”

[25] J.P. Forrester. Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Uniform Mortgage Instruments: The Forgotten Benefit to Homeowners. Missouri Law Review, Vol. 72, Iss. 4 [2007]. Art. 5

[26] J.P. Forrester.. Art. 5, Page 1

[27] Carlos Murphy. The Petrodollar System Explained. 1/26, 2012. Alternative Economics Blog.

The Petrodollar System Explained

[28] The U.S. Military and Oil. Union of Concerned Scientists. Accessed. 3-23-2016

[29] Middlebury University’s.htm Accessed. 3-23-2016

[30] Historical Inflation Rates: 1914-2016. US Inflation Calculator site. Accessed. 3-23-2016 Acc. 3-12-2016

[31] Global Nonviolent Action Database. American air-traffic controllers strike for benefits and pay, 1981.

[32] Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes, Andrei Scleifer, Robert W. Vishny. Privatization in the United States. The Rand Journal of Economics. Vol. 28, No. 3, Autumn 1997 pp. 447-471

[33] Lopez-de-Silanes, Ibid.

[34] Evans, Greg (August 1989). “The Desert Fox”. Cincinnati Magazine.

[35] Miller, Judith (1979-07-03). “S.E.C. Charges American Financial” (fee required). The New York Times.

[36] The Lincoln Savings and Loan Investigation: Who Is Involved? New York Times, 11-22-1989

[37] Martin Tolchin (1990-09-27). “Legal Scholars Clash Over Neil Bush Actions”. New York Times.

[38] T. Sablik. Recession of 1981-1982. Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

[39] Sablik, Ibid.

[40] Sablik, Ibid.

[41] Phillips Curve, Investopedia

[42] Sablik, Op.Cit.

[43] D. Bernhard, M. Eckblad. Black Monday, the Stock Market Crash of 1987. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

[44] Bernhard. Ibid.

[45]Savings and Loans Crisis: Causes, Cost: How Congress Created the Biggest Bank Collapse Since the Depression

[46] 1990-92 Early 1990s Recession. Slaying the Dragon of Debt: Fiscal Politics and Policy from the 1970s to the Present.

[47] 1990-92 Early 1990s Recession, ibid.

[48] On the Issues.

[49] listing for Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market.

[50] A. Beattie. Market Crashes: The Dotcom Crash. Investopedia.

[51] Beattie. Ibid.

[52] T. DeGrace. The Dot Com Bubble Burst That Caused the 2000 Stock Market Crash.

[53] Money Crashers. Factors that led to the Dot-Com Bubble Burst.

History of the Dot-Com Bubble Burst and How to Avoid Another

[54] Money Crashers, ibid.

[55] Money Crashers, ibid.


[57] Called to Account. Time Magazine. A special package.,28757,2021097,00.html

[58] B. Lyke, M. Jickling. WorldCom: The Accounting Scandal. CRS Report for Congress. University of Maryland.

[59] Lyke, ibid.

[60] Jo Becker, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Stephen Labaton. Bush drive for home ownership fueled housing bubble. New York Times. Dec. 21, 2008.

[61] Becker ibid.

[62] Eliot Spitzer. Predatory Lenders’ Partner in Crime. Washington Post. February 14, 2008

[63] Spitzer. Ibid.

[64] D. Baker. The Housing Crash Recession: How Did We Get Here? PBS. NOW. 3-21-2008

[65] Caja Whitehouse, JPMorgan forks over $50M in ‘robo-signing’ Pact with DOJ. USA Today. March 4, 2015.

[66] G. Connor. IMF Post-Program Monitoring Report on Ireland notes the unusual risk profile of the Irish banking sector. January 20, 2016.

[67] Connor. Ibid.

[68] Connor. Ibid.

[69] M. O’Brien. The miraculous story of Iceland. The Washington Post. June 17, 2005.

[70] O’Brien. Ibid.

[71] O’Brien. Ibid.

[72] O’Brien. Ibid.


Posted in 1percent, Bailouts and Tax Cuts, Civil Society, Corporate Crimes, Corporate-Congressional Complex, Economics 101, Everything We Know is Total BS, Evil Capitalism101 | Comments Off on A People’s History of Stock Market Crashes 1946-2016: The View from Below

A People’s History of Market Crashes 1946-2016: A View from Below v1


scary recent economic history makes me scared


BY:     Deborah Lagutaris, J.D.

DATE:            February 7, 2016

A People’s History of Market Crashes 1946-2016: A Hardworking Taxpayer’s View –Paper Proposal and Outline

Abstract: It used to be very difficult to “get ahead,” by which they mean accumulate assets, but if one played by the rules…and the rules included legal protections for workers and consumers, more people prospered under these regulatory regimes. Now, the regulatory regimes have been attenuated, weakened, maligned, and captured. As a result, corporations have been allowed to legally plunder the people that they are meant to serve. We can’t win, we can’t lose, and we can’t get out of the game.

Their avarice knows no bounds. These financial actors are cannibalizing their hosts, we the people and the planet we depend upon for life, without even a thank you. In the corporate jubilation that followed every deregulation and privatization, our savings and our home equity were plundered without apology by or punishment for the perpetrators. I aim to show the levers and gears of these financial meltdowns, their causes, the failures that follow, and the effects of those failures on the typical nuclear family. I intend to demonstrate that a paradigm shift is occurring right now about how the USA might right its financial ship and get back in touch with its inhabitants. Young people are saying we have to figure out how to reward ourselves in ways that take into consideration equity, equality and fundamental fairness. We have to figure out how to invest in ways that create happy communities and happy families. How can investors protect their assets in a world gone mad?

1)   Introduction

2)      Review of the literature

3)      Hypothesis

4)      Operationalization

5)      The WWII Postwar Period 1946-1960

a)     The Marshall Plan

b)    War Profiteers Erosion of Labor Law @Taft-Harley

c)     Demobilization of female workforce after WWII

d)    Remobilization of armament industry (Red Scare)

e)     The Bracero Program

f)      Steel Industry Strikes

6)      The Last Decade of Dominance 1960-1969

a)     The Stock Market seeks growth opportunities

b)    The Pill

c)     Equity Funding

d)    The conquest of cool

7)      The Seventies Changed Everything 1970-1979

a)     The fiscalisation of national product

b)    Oil embargo

c)     Wage and price controls

d)    Interest rate climb

e)     War on Inflation

8)      The Eighties – Business is Cool

a)     Deregulation and privatization

b)    Early 1980s recession

c)     Latin American debt crisis

d)    Savings and Loan crisis 1980s-1990s

e)     Black Monday 1987

9)      The Nineties

a)     Early 1990s recession

b)    Finnish and Swedish banking crises[i]

c)     Mexico debt crisis

d)    Argentina debt crisis 1999-2002

e)     Russian financial crisis

10)  The 2000s

a)     Early 2000s recession – dot com bust

b)    2000s energy crisis – Enron

c)     Subprime mortgage crisis

d)    Real estate market cratered

e)     Middle class hollowing out

f)      Repo crisis


11)  The 2010s[ii]

a)     Irish and Icelandic banking crises

b)    Automotive industry crisis

c)     Greek government debt crisis

d)    Student debt crisis

e)     2014 Russian financial crisis

f)      2015 Chinese Stock Market Crash

12)            Increasing inequity without fundamental fairness

a)     Occupy

b)    The The rise of Bernie Sanders and the return of class analysis


13)            Conclusion


[i] Presaged our mortgage lending crisis. Sweden tried to help us set things right but we ignored them and paid for it.

[ii] Wikipedia: List of financial crises. Accessed 2-7-2016

Posted in Bailouts and Tax Cuts, Can't make this stuff up, Culture of Death, Depression, Evil Capitalism101, Free Market Paradigm | Comments Off on A People’s History of Market Crashes 1946-2016: A View from Below v1

scary recent economic history makes me scared

Rebalancing a portfolio: a commentary on the market as a whole

I am back in school. I swear this is my last degree. I had to drop out of an LL.M. Program in Taxation and Financial Services in 2013 due to illness. I am now back, with a change in emphasis to Wealth Management. Really, I went back to write my thesis on the Financial Transaction Tax v. FATCA. Not coincidentally, I am a Bernie Sanders supporter and like his plan of using a speculation FTT to fund free public college in the US.

Here is my assignment for the week: Discuss why and how often we should rebalance our investment portfolios. My answer follows. ~Olivia

In a rational market with rational economic actors, rebalancing a portfolio that is well-designed makes sense. Every quarter is probably too often. Once a year is probably sufficient under those circumstances.

As we go through our lives, though, watching one sector or another of the economy blow up, it becomes easier to predict what sector will advance in the aftermath. Dealing with fairly recent history, the 199x-2001 dot com bubble was brought home to me when my young adult son started touting websites to me as good fundamentals for stock purchases. I knew then that when people with no investing history can be convinced on such flimsy evidence to part with their hard-earned dollars that we were in big trouble. Next year, the dot com bubble burst and that party was over for a while. Two years later, I was driving through Jackson, Wyoming and saw construction cranes all over the place. I thought, “WOT?” If you know Jackson, you know that it is just a tourist town based on outdoor recreation.* But, as you know the money has to go somewhere. If it isn’t in the stock market, it’s in bonds. If it isn’t in construction, its in commodities.

It is the pressure of the money itself that makes the market move. I agree with this statement by Christopher Van Slyke, “Assuming that you know the direction of prices in the short term is a fool’s errand that has proved out many many times academically.”1

There are simply too many factors to take into account, even for sophisticated institutional actors. But one thing we can be sure of: when the stock market tanks, money flows into other areas, and those areas can be predicted and acted upon.

Something went wrong, again, in 2008. There was no good place for the money to go. There still isn’t. The machine is overwhelmed and broken. We can’t simply keep building stuff or extracting natural resources every time the markets burp up another catastrophe.

Why do I claim so blithely that the machine is broken? The US had to engage in quantitative easing for 8 years in a row. The US has not felt confident enough about the market to raise the base interest rates on government obligations. Now, Japan has gone there, into negative bond interest territory. We did not hear much about it when negative interest became common in Europe in 2014-2015.2 I do not feel optimistic about the abilities of the investor class to manage the global economy here on out.

But yes, by all means, have a solid portfolio and rebalance it annually and keep your fingers crossed.


*When, after Seattle in November 1999 it became clear to the WTO World Economic Forum OECD Bilderburg Bohemian Grove crowd that their private events, held to determine the economic fate of the world, could no longer be conducted in large cities without people indicating their displeasure, Jackson and Doha and islands and cruise ships became the best places to hatch their plots.

1. How to Balance Your Retirement Portfolio. Accessed 02-13-2016

2. Viewpoints: Why the Bond Market is Yielding Negative and What Negative Means for You. PIMCO website, accessed 2-13-2016

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Posted in 1percent, Bankruptcy, Bernie Sanders for President, Black Swan, Evil Capitalism101, Free Market Paradigm, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on scary recent economic history makes me scared

other stuff I have written

some of it is in order…hey, I have ADD

A Blogspot Blog: Political Lobby 10. Was a Yahoo Group from the early 2000s until early 2008, when Yahoo was taken over by the right. We were Democratic to Social Libertarian in our views. The right wing trolls beat up on us for four years that I know of.

Here’s my stories about that otherwise known as if I can’t dance, it isn’t my revolution!

This was a Dogma and me project. Dogma being the lightening fast mind that she was. I lost touch with her as my health deteriorated and I got a call from them that Dogma was very ill. I tried to go up and couldn’t. Too sick myself. Always feel sorry about that.

I have published papers at as Deborah Lagutaris and Olivia LaRosa.

Fact-Based Initiatives

It was in the second year of Bush’s absolutely awful second term and the religious extremists were mobbing our schools and public areas trying to enforce some made-up fundamentalist code of behavior on everyone else.

We had been struggling against a horde of right-wing orcs for more than two years then.We began to detect a pattern in their questions and deduced that source material existed for this.

One Sunday, one of our brave band of progressives went to a local church fair. The Young Republicans were handing out Chat Room Scripts. He provided me with a scanned copy of the Script. I provide it and a transcription HERE.

We chatters just wanted to keep abreast of the news. We were commonly aware of world events four hours or four days before … you get the picture…than the mainstream media reports them. This international group spanned the globe, popular anywhere English was spoken.

I had friends in the UK, Romania, Hungary, Germany, Egypt, Israel, Yemen, (not Saudi Arabia – that place seems just creepy) Lahore, Pakistan, Mumbai, India, Australia, New Zealand (charming people,) Hawaii, and all across North America. Really, you Canadian folk are so polite and advanced and funny. I told my roommates I wanted to be smuggled into Canada. They said, you don’t need to be smuggled into Canada. I said, Well, that’s the way I want to go, so they promised to do it for me. When the trolls weren’t there it was so much fun to chat with these people who were all…so much like me.

That is the biggest lesson I have learned in my decidedly odd life. People are all pretty much alike in their desires. They want to work for decent living that allows time for family activities like swimming, paddle ball, museums and libraries, beach balls, ocean waves, kite-flying at Crissy Field, &c.


Posted in Ask Me, Coping for disabled and underemployed people, Disability, Fascist America, They'd Rather We Just Die | Comments Off on other stuff I have written

Interesting day on the net

Paul Krugman, Bernie Sanders, and the Experts

I have tremendous respect for Paul Krugman. I also consider him a friend. For these reasons I am not eager to pick a fight with him, but there is something about his criticisms of Bernie Sanders that continues to bother me.

In a blog post last week, Krugman told readers:

“As far as I can tell, every serious progressive policy expert on either health care or financial reform who has weighed in on the primary seems to lean Hillary.”

While I already had some fun with the idea of Krugman revoking the credentials of everyone who works in these areas who does not back Clinton, the appeal to the authority of the “experts” is more than a bit annoying. The reason is that the “experts” do not have a very good track record of late and still have a long way to go to win back the public’s trust.

To start with the obvious, almost none of the experts saw the 2008 collapse coming. Almost all of them dismissed the idea that there was a housing bubble and even the few that grudgingly acknowledged the possibility of a bubble insisted that it could not have much consequence for the economy. /snip

*** Here’s your treat ()()()()()()

eerie…a silent surf – freezing and frozen waves at Nantucket, Massachusetts

Posted in 99%, Bailouts and Tax Cuts, Bernie Sanders for President, Democrats: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Elephants in the Room, Energy Policy and Climate Change | Comments Off on Interesting day on the net

Why the primary system is bad for democracy

Jim Mastin I live in Indiana. During the 2008 Presidential Primary, I had planned on casting my Primary Vote for Dennis Kucinich for the Democratic Nomination …But, Because of the way the process is currently structured …with the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries …Barack Obama had became the Democratic Nominee…before Indiana was even allowed to cast its ballets in the Primary. This needs to be changed but, until it is…Don’t be surprised if Hillary walks away with the Democratic Nomination before some (at least Indiana, probably other states) are even permitted to cast a Ballet. This is Really going to Suck.! I really want to vote for Bernie…But, this is a Very Important Election that could garner 2 to 3 Supreme Court Justice picks for the next POTUS. I definitely don’t want to see a Republican make these picks. This will Really be a Bitter Pill to Swallow if I’m forced to place my vote for Hillary. It was Easier voting for Obama in ’08 than this will be…But, it still sucks that I’m not even given a choice. When I vote…Dutifully and Faithfully…only to have a candidate, not of my choosing, being my only given option. This isn’t what Democracy Looks Like.! I may just end up “Writing Bernie In” Instead of Accepting Another Candidate That Is Ordained By Others.! (Ready to be Really Pissed off in Indiana Again)! ……….This picture is Why We Need Bernie………….

Posted in 1percent | Comments Off on Why the primary system is bad for democracy

4th Dem Debate: Sneaky bipartisan bill cause for Bernie’s vote on financial instruments of mass destruction

My aim is to clarify the economic issues invoked in this Presidential campaign as they arise. Tell me how I’m doin’. -via at olivialarosa com

In the Sunday night debate, Hillary said that Bernie was the only one on the stage who voted for a bill that allowed derivatives and credit swaps to be traded in secret. True, on its face. So why I am writing about this?

A. Because Bernie was the only one capable of casting a vote in the Senate at that moment in time. Hillary was the First Lady, Martin O’Malley was doing something for Maryland.

B. The bill at hand did not contain the elements that permitted derivatives and credit swaps to be traded in secret. At the last minute, Bill Clinton agreed with Sen. Phil Gramm (R) Texas to add those elements onto an omnibus budget bill. By the way, omnibus means it was it was a huge bill packed with unrelated riders and had to be passed as presented.

C. The ability to trade derivatives and credit swaps in secret constitutes the biggest gamble that Wall Street types have ever taken.

D. Which led directly to the Great Recession.

E. We will never recuperate from those losses, or the unspeakable damage done to the fabric of American, and yes global society.

(I will never forget the expressions that crossed O’Malley’s face when Lester Holt asked him for a 30-second closing statement. Priceless. I like him.)

Read the article by Robert Scheer here:

Hillary Blames Bernie for an Old Clintonite Hustle, and That’s a Rotten Shame

Also see this article at Daily Kos by Diane Reynolds

Deborah Lagutaris (nom de plume) Olivia LaRosa) has a Law and Society Political Science BA from UC Santa Barbara with a minor in 20th century political history. She has a law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law, and is ABT in the LL.M. Taxation – International Taxation and Wealth Management concentrations at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and a business AA from Bakersfield College. She held responsible positions in the banking, real estate, and mortgage lending industries for 25 years. She took her first politics and economics classes when she was 16.

via at

Posted in Bernie Sanders for President, Corporate Crimes, Corporate-Congressional Complex, Daily Kos, Democrats: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Economics 101 | Comments Off on 4th Dem Debate: Sneaky bipartisan bill cause for Bernie’s vote on financial instruments of mass destruction

Richest 62 people as wealthy as half world’s population combined: you can’t have it all!

Larry Elliott Economics editor

Sunday 17 January 2016 19.01 EST
Last modified on Monday 18 January 2016 03.25 EST

Richest 62 people as wealthy as half world’s population combined

worth saying twice. This is the most inequality humankind has ever suffered. Why? Because corporations are voracious beasts. The inequality will increase.

Tell them that Bernie said, “You can’t have it all.” We the people shall  stop them. ~OL

Oxfam’s prediction that the richest 1% would own the same wealth as the poorest 50% had come true a year earlier than forecast. Photograph: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

Charity says only higher wages, crackdown on tax dodging and higher investment in public services can stop divide widening Oxfam’s prediction that the richest 1% would own the same wealth as the poorest 50% had come true a year earlier than forecast.


Oxfam said that the wealth of the poorest 50% dropped by 41% between 2010 and 2015, despite an increase in the global population of 400m. In the same period, the wealth of the richest 62 people increased by $500bn (£350bn) to $1.76tn.
Number of female billionaires increases sevenfold in 20 years
Read more

The charity said that, in 2010, the 388 richest people owned the same wealth as the poorest 50%. This dropped to 80 in 2014 before falling again in 2015.

This is shocking. There were so many little companies who needed good workers when I was young, in the 50s. The postwar boom lasted until 1973, when the oil embargo began.

Oxfam said a three-pronged approach was needed: a crackdown on tax dodging; higher investment in public services; and higher wages for the low paid. It said a priority should be to close down tax havens, increasingly used by rich individuals and companies to avoid paying tax and which had deprived governments of the resources needed to tackle poverty and inequality.

Three years ago, David Cameron told the WEF that the UK would spearhead a global effort to end aggressive tax avoidance in the UK and in poor countries, but Oxfam said promised measures to increase transparency in British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, such as the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands, had not been implemented.

Goldring said: “We need to end the era of tax havens which has allowed rich individuals and multinational companies to avoid their responsibilities to society by hiding ever increasing amounts of money offshore.

Read it all HERE

© 2016 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Posted in 14 signs of fascism, Authoritarianism, Bernie Sanders for President, Economics 101, Fascism | Comments Off on Richest 62 people as wealthy as half world’s population combined: you can’t have it all!

Four reasons to go for the Financial Transaction Tax, Bernie Sanders’ proposal to fund public colleges

by Deborah Lagutaris aka Olivia LaRosa, January 6, 2016

Deborah Lagutaris has a Law and Society BA from UC Santa Barbara with a minor in 20th century political history. She has a law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law, and  ABT in the LL.M. Taxation – International Taxation and Wealth Management concentrations at Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

1. The Financial Transaction Tax is the most effective, efficient tax-gathering method. Bernie Sanders proposes FTTs to fund free public college etc. FTT is typically under 1/10th of a percent of chosen gross speculative trades.

2,  Speculation is not a productive economic activity. It’s just gambling activity of the highest order for the .01% and produces nothing for society.

  • Now the US economy is largely made of the profits that rich people make merely by moving their money from one place to another. Big corporations make a lot of money just by moving it around. Good things thereby are not being created; bad things are not being destroyed.

3. The tax you never have in your hand you cannot cheat on.

  • If these big corporations refuse to pay their US taxes, let them pay some other way, a way they can’t lobby away and recapture.

4. A business should not rely on playing tax games to reward its stockholders. In that way, corporations are stealing the money we the people should have for common needs like infrastructure, government, and education.

  • A business should not be in business to take other people’s money and then not perform the job or the act. And then laugh about it and steal some more. A business should not be in business to cheat the US government out of taxes. Corporations have already engineered such elaborate loopholes; they can even become credits.
  • It should be illegal to hide money outside the US that earned with US resources and paid for by US citizens. It is not, as Apple said, a corporation’s duty to evade taxes because of their duty to their stockholders’ pocketbooks. Yeah right. Nice try. It is nothing more than a money tornado sucking up the money of the poor. The rich can never have enough.
There are a lot more reasons. I am just getting started here! Next: Answering objections to the FTT.
Posted in 99%, Bernie Sanders for President, Economics 101, Education | Comments Off on Four reasons to go for the Financial Transaction Tax, Bernie Sanders’ proposal to fund public colleges

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