Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Today's links

"Here we go. Negative bund yield! The black hole. global bond yields keep rolling in the deep!" Min Zeng, Twitter

1-A Lost Decade? We Should Be So Lucky-

2--Financial markets are begging the US, Europe, and Japan to run bigger deficits

But if the exact cause of the bond boom is a little unclear, the right course of action is really pretty obvious: If the international financial community wants to lend money this cheaply, governments should borrow money and put it to good use. Ideally that would mean spending it on infrastructure projects that are large, expensive, and useful — the kind of thing that will pay dividends for decades to come but that under ordinary times you might shy away from taking on.

But if you don't believe there are any useful projects or if your country’s political system is simply too gridlocked to find them, there are easy alternatives. Do a broad-based tax cut, for example. In the United States, that would be a cut in Social Security taxes that are paid by every single worker in the country. In Germany or the UK, it would be a cut in the value-added tax that’s paid by everyone who buys anything. Either way, it would mean higher real incomes and real consumption and hopefully an increased pace of business investment.

The opportunity to borrow this cheaply (probably) won't last forever, and countries that boost their deficits will (probably) have to reverse course, but while it lasts everyone could be enjoying a better life instead of pointless austerity.

3--The typical American couple has only $5,000 saved for retirement

Today's "must read"

When American companies began switching from traditional pensions to self-directed 401(k)-like plans in the 1980s and 1990s, it was supposed to lead to a golden age of retirement security. No longer would workers be at the mercy of the company’s generosity or of Social Security’s solvency; workers themselves would be responsible for saving enough for a comfortable retirement.

Some 30 years later, the results are in: The median working-age couple has saved only $5,000 for their retirement, according to an analysis of the Federal Reserve’s 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances by economist Monique Morrissey of the Economic Policy Institute.

The do-it-yourself pension system is a disaster....

Even those on the cusp of retirement — the median couple in their late 50s or early 60s — has saved only $17,000 in a retirement savings account, such as a defined-contribution 401(k), individual retirement account, Keogh or similar savings account. ...

Social Security remains the largest source of post-retirement income for all but the wealthiest. For those over 65 in 2014, Social Security provided an average of $12,232 per year, about 35% of their income, on average, according to Morrissey’s analysis of Census Bureau data.

4---Borrowing From ECB Shows Where Banks Are Most Vulnerable: Chart

Insolvent banks kept on life-support to prevent damage to counterparties. "Extend and pretend"

5--‘Turkey the only one supporting us’: Syrian rebel siding with Islamists on Ankara’s role

6--100 Al-Nusra terrorists arrive in Syrian-Turkish border region – Russian Defense Ministry

7--Opposition mounts to French labor law in new national day of action

8--The social roots of the mass shooting in Orlando

It took barely 48 hours for the initial official narrative about the massacre in Orlando, Florida—that it was an ISIS-directed attack on the US homeland—to unravel. Whatever role Omar Mateen’s sympathies for Islamic terrorism may have played in his decision to carry out a mass killing at the Pulse gay bar with a military-style assault rifle, it is now acknowledged by the government that there is no evidence that his actions were directed by ISIS or any similar organization.
Moreover, it has emerged that Mateen was largely driven by a combination of personal emotional and psychological demons, including a conflicted sexual identity, and backward, reactionary and racist views that have much in common with home-grown right-wing and white supremacist groups

These revelations have not prevented the president of the United States, the presumptive presidential nominees of both major political parties and the corporate-controlled media from continuing to exploit the deaths of 49 victims, the injuries, some life-threatening, of another 53, and the grieving of thousands of family members and friends to push a preexisting agenda of war abroad and repression within the US...

All of this is an attempt to conceal the real causes of mass violence in America, which lie in the decay and malignant crisis of American capitalism. Obama presides over the latest chapter in 25 years of unceasing war abroad, beginning with the first Persian Gulf War in 1991, and relentless attacks on the social conditions and democratic rights of the working class at home, carried out alike by Democratic and Republican administrations.

Never-ending war has been accompanied by the militarization of social life and politics within the US. It is almost impossible to exaggerate the impact of this daily reality within the borders of the United States, especially on the most unstable social elements. Political reaction, national chauvinism, anti-immigrant racism—the most backward sentiments have been systematically cultivated in order to pursue an agenda of imperialist war and the impoverishment of the working class.

To prepare for the inevitable growth of social resistance, the police have been turned into a militarized occupation force in working-class communities, using terror, brutality and outright murder.

The betrayal and collapse of the unions, their alliance with the ruling elite against the workers and suppression of class struggle, have added to the social malaise.
Now, however, we are seeing both in the US and internationally the beginnings of a new upsurge of class struggle, driven by immense anger over the colossal growth of social inequality and the brazen criminality of the ruling elite. This prefigures the inevitable revival of social revolution

9--Kill List: Smashing the 'B' in BRICS, Pepe Escobar (Brilliant)

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