Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Today's links

1--Interest rates soar on Trump victory, OC Housing


2--Supreme Court now in Trump’s hands


3--Steve Bannon: A fascist in the White House


An article entitled, “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right,” published on Bannon’s Breitbart web site, is remarkably candid in its embrace of fascist ideology: “The origins of the alternative right can be found in thinkers as diverse as Oswald Spengler, H.L. Mencken, Julius Evola, Sam Francis, and the paleoconservative movement that rallied around the presidential campaigns of Pat Buchanan. The French New Right also serve as a source of inspiration for many leaders of the alt-right.”

The references to Spengler and Evola are euphemisms for German and Italian fascism. Spengler was a major influence on Nazi philosophy, within which his doctrine of Blut und Boden (Blood and Soil) was an integral component. Evola’s 1941 racist diatribe, “Synthesis of the Doctrine of Race,” so impressed Mussolini that he invited Evola to an in-person meeting. Afterwards, Mussolini helped Evola publish a journal, Sangue e Spirito (Blood and Spirit...

As a scandalmonger and inciter of racial hatred, Bannon recalls no historical figure so much as Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher, a comparison already made by Republican strategist Rick Wilson as well as numerous other reporters and commentators. In an interview, Wilson described Breitbart News as “acting like Der Stürmer in Germany in the 1930s more than actually a legitimate conservative media outlet.” Wilson described Trump as “the human avatar of the Breitbart comments section: stupid, vulgar, racist, anti-Semitic, vile in almost every aspect.”

Streicher, the publisher of Der Stürmer, was found guilty at the Nuremberg Trials of complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity for “his 25 years of speaking, writing and preaching hatred of the Jews.” The judgment continued, “In his speeches and articles, week after week, month after month, he infected the German mind with the virus of anti-Semitism, and incited the German people to active persecution.”
The Democratic Party—including figures such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders—is currently devoting all its efforts to discouraging protests, pledging to “work with” Trump and urging the population to “give Trump a chance.” Millions of people, on the other hand, instinctively sense the immense dangers involved in the prospect of a Trump administration. The entry of figures like Bannon into the West Wing, without so much as a peep of protest by the outgoing administration, points to the fact that there is a consensus within both the Republican and Democratic Parties for a dramatic shift to the right in American politics.


4---Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon: A new stage in the crisis of American democracy


In December 2000, in advance of the Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore that halted the recount of votes in Florida and handed the election to George W. Bush, the WSWS wrote that the outcome would reveal “how far the American ruling class is prepared to go in breaking with traditional bourgeois-democratic and constitutional norms.” The Democratic Party’s refusal to stop what amounted to a political coup—the theft of an election—demonstrated that there was no significant constituency within the ruling class for the defense of democratic rights.

Everything that has happened since has proved this fact. Less than a year after coming to power, the Bush administration seized on the attacks of September 11, 2001 to launch a “war on terror”—in fact, a political justification for endless war abroad and the destruction of democratic rights within the United States.

Since his election in 2008, Obama has escalated the attack on democratic forms of rule. In policy doctrines and executive actions, the Obama White House asserted the presidential power to assassinate US citizens without charge. The torturers and war criminals of the Bush administration went unpunished, while the power of the military-intelligence-police apparatus has grown enormously.

Much of what was going on, in part behind the scenes, under Obama will take on a much more direct form under Trump. A form of American authoritarianism is emerging—which will be directed at the increasingly violent suppression of working-class struggle...

With the election of Trump, the ruling class is sharpening the knives and preparing to use them. At the same time, Trump’s economic nationalism, far from marking a retreat from militarist violence, is the antechamber to World War III. Facing a protracted global crisis, the American ruling class will seek to maintain its position of world domination through ever more naked aggression...

While Trump’s electoral victory marks a major shift to the right by the American ruling class, millions of workers and youth are moving in a different political direction. Trump was able to exploit social anger due to the political bankruptcy of the Democratic Party, under conditions of a general collapse of voter turnout and deep hostility to the entire political establishment. However, the vast majority of those who voted for Trump did not vote for a fascist regime, and as the character of his administration becomes clear, social and political opposition will grow.

5--The Euro-Dollar Parity Bet Is Back


Traders see about a 45 percent chance the European currency will sink to $1 by the end of 2017, about double the probability assigned a week ago, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The president-elect’s pledges to boost spending and cut taxes are fueling speculation that economic growth will accelerate, pushing the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates more quickly. That sentiment sent a gauge of the dollar to the strongest since February on Monday, while the euro fell to about $1.07, its lowest level this year...

Traders assess about a 92 percent probability to a Fed hike next month, up from 80 percent on Nov. 7, according to data compiled by Bloomberg based on fed funds futures

6--Trump speech in Florida


It’s a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth, and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities…
We’ve seen this firsthand in the WikiLeaks documents in which Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of US sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends, and her donors…

This election will determine whether we’re a free nation, or whether we have only an illusion democracy but in are in fact controlled by a small handful of special global interests rigging the system, and our system is rigged
...

Joe Sobran put it very well when he observed that anti-Semite used to be an expression applied to people who hate Jews but now it is more often used to describe people that Jews hate

7--Trump, Putin Agree to Normalize US-Russia Ties


8--Election facts?


In any case, with 25.5% of eligible electorate’s vote, less than Clinton’s 25.6, with 47% boycotting the (illegitimate) farce, Trump receives through this rigged process a pathetic mandate of one-fourth of the people’s support. By some polls over 60% of the people dislike him.

9--$5 trillion in tax cuts?


Trump's infrastructure plan, designed to help reinforce the country’s crumbling roads and bridges and put many Americans back to work, has popular support. In a March Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans agreed that the country needed more federal infrastructure spending, while only 11 percent disagreed.

This bout of spending would in many ways be the Keynesian fiscal stimulus that some liberal economists have advocated since the recession. But Trump's proposed tax cuts, which would largely benefit the wealthy, are a different story. Trump has proposed more than $5 trillion in tax cuts, including a $1.45 trillion reduction in individual taxes that would largely benefit the wealthy — policies that would run afoul of liberal economists who favor a more progressive tax code...

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated in September that Trump’s tax and spending plans would increase the national debt by a stunning $5.3 trillion, to 105 percent of GDP — far above the debt load that Clinton's plans would incur. Trump has said he would find ways to make it deficit-neutral but has not specified how.

10--Who Benefits From Donald Trump's Tax Plan?


11--Beware Donald Trump’s Infrastructure Plan


12--Why President Trump Will Fumigate the Fed


13--Donald Trump’s Point Man on Financial Regulation: A Former Regulator Who Favors a Light Touch


14--Can Trump make 'trickle-down' economics work


15--Trump Adviser Takes Aim at Conservatives’ Budgetary Restraint


16--Blame the Fed for Trump's Victory


17--Trump can’t repeal the laws of economics


Unfortunately, the plan presented by his advisers, Peter Navarro and Wilbur Ross, suggests an approach based on tax credits for equity investment and total private-sector participation that will not cover the most important projects, not reach many of the most important investors and involve substantial mis-targeting of public resources.


Many of the highest-return infrastructure investments — such as improving roads, repairing 60,000 structurally deficient bridges, upgrading schools or modernizing the air traffic control system — do not generate a commercial return and so are excluded from his plan. Nor can the non-taxable pension funds, endowments and sovereign wealth funds that are the most promising sources of capital for infrastructure take advantage of the program.

I am optimistic regarding the efficacy of fiscal expansion. But any responsible economist has to recognize that, past a point, it can lead to some combination of excessive foreign borrowing, inflation and even financial crisis. As Dornbusch showed, in emerging markets this can happen quite quickly. In the United States the process would take longer.

Even without taking account of the likely costs of the infrastructure plan (which the Trump team badly underestimates) or the proposed defense build-up, the Trump tax reform proposals are too expensive. Many, such as the proposed abolition of the estate tax, will benefit only the high-saving wealthy.

18--Trump’s win might blow up the Federal Reserve’s plans for next year

Perhaps the biggest unknown, for the Fed and for markets, is what sort of congressional moves the Trump administration might champion to increase oversight of the central bank. Republicans have floated several proposals, some of which would add only modest new accountability measures, and others that would curb the Fed's independence or change its policy mandate.....

"Trump’s exact policies are unknown," researchers at the investment bank ING wrote in a report this week. "Fiscal stimulus and tax cuts could generate inflationary pressure," forcing the Fed to raise rates more quickly. "However, a protectionist approach could damage growth and call for further easing" -- meaning, rate cuts and other monetary stimulus to prop up growth.












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