Many economists believe that a recession is already underway. So do millions of Americans struggling with bills and job losses. While the ghosts of the 2008 financial crisis that sent inequality soaring to new heights in this country are still with us, it’s become abundantly clear that the economic disaster brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic has already left the initial shock of that crisis in the dust. While the world has certainly experienced its share of staggering jolts in the past, this cycle of events is likely to prove unparalleled.
To say that these are unprecedented times would be the understatement of the century. Even as the United States became the latest target of Hurricane COVID-19, in “hot spots” around the globe a continuing frenzy of health concerns represented yet another drop down the economic rabbit hole.
The official response to economic crisis will only worsen inequality — until it all comes tumbling down
Whether you’re invested in the stock market or not, you’ve likely noticed that it’s been on a roller coaster lately. The White House and most of the D.C. Beltway crowd tend to equate the performance of the stock market with that of the broader economy. To President Trump’s extreme chagrin, $3.18 trillion in stock market value vaporized during the last week of February. Stock markets around the world also fell dramatically. When all was said and done, $6 trillion had been at least temporarily erased from them. It was the worst week for the markets since the financial crisis of 2008 and it would only get worse from there.In the wake of that, the Federal Reserve kicked into gear. By the first week of March, after high-level coordination among the Group of Seven (G-7) countries and their financial elites, the Fed acted as it largely had since the financial crisis, but with more intensity, giving the markets a brief shot in the arm.
Like a gilded coating that makes the dullest things glitter, today’s thin veneer of political populism covers a grotesque underbelly of growing inequality that’s hiding in plain sight. And this phenomenon of ever more concentrated wealth and power has both Newtonian and Darwinian components to it.
Trump's rise marked a shift away from true populism - and created 'a recipe for an increasingly unstable and vicious world'
As we head into 2019, leaving the chaos of this year behind, a major question remains unanswered when it comes to the state of Main Street, not just here but across the planet. If the global economy really is booming, as many politicians claim, why are leaders and their parties around the world continuing to get booted out of office in such a sweeping fashion?
Once upon a time, there was a little-known energy company called Enron. In its 16-year life, it went from being dubbed America’s most innovative company by Fortune Magazine to being the poster child of American corporate deceit. Using a classic recipe for book-cooking, Enron ended up in bankruptcy with jail time for those involved. Its shareholders lost $74 billionin the four years leading up to its bankruptcy in 2001.
Here we are in the middle of the second year of Donald Trump’s presidency and if there’s one thing we know by now, it’s that the leader of the free world can create an instant reality-TV show on geopolitical steroids at will. True, he’s not polished in his demeanor, but he has an unerring way of instilling the most uncertainty in any situation in the least amount of time.
Imperial President or Emperor With No Clothes? How Donald Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
In the rush of Trumped-up events, history -- of the last month, week, hour -- repeatedly gets plowed (or tweeted) under. Who can remember what happened so long ago? Perhaps it’s not surprising then that, in the wave of abuse from the president and his men (including economic adviser Larry Kudlow and trade hardliner Peter Navarro) against Canada and its prime minister, Justin Trudeau, one of the president's earliest insults has already been washed down the memory hole into oblivion.
[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Nomi Prins is one of the most regular of TomDispatchregulars, so I have no doubt that you’ve come to know her work well. As it happens, her striking new book, Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World, a piercing look at the 2007-2008 global economic meltdown and the responses to it in the years since, has just been published. As Jeremy Scahill writes, “Prins has emerged as one of the fiercest critics of crony capitalism and its sustained attacks against poor and working people. This is the book that the financial elites don’t want you to read.” Ralph Nader adds, “Taxpayers, workers, and consumers who will suffer from another bailout, all better read this clear, concise compelling book.” And Greg Palast comments, “Scarier than Stephen King horror fiction.” For just a few days -- the offer ends this Sunday night -- you can get a signed, personalized copy of Collusion for a $100 donation to this site ($125 if you live outside the U.S.A.). Check out the details at our donation page and, while you’re at it, offer a helping hand to this website, which works hard to make Prins and so many other writers with unique perspectives on this topsy-turvy planet of ours available to you regularly. Tom]
Here we are, a little more than a year into the Trump presidency, and his administration’s body count is already, as The Donald might have put it, “unbelievable, perhaps record-setting.”