Slashing social safety nets, cutting people’s programs, shrinking life chances and everyone’s chance of enjoying clean water… My incoming emails have begun to read like a horror movie script, with non stop terror and round the clock slashing.
The reason: Democrats and their pals are up alarmed about the administration’s budget. Sure enough it’s scary. The GOP White House wants to strip $54 billion from spending on all things human and ecological while they increase already massive military spending.
The president’s plan would boost spending on so-called defense to well over 60 cents of every discretionary dollar. It’s largest budget share in decades. That’s even as Donald Trump himself admits that years of multi trillion dollar spending have left the Middle East "far worse than it was 16, 17 years ago” and none of us any safer.
Let’s not forget, that when it comes right down to it, the US already spends more than the next eight countries combined. That’s China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, the UK, India, Germany and Japan - combined. The US military is in 150 countries. Just how many countries are there?
We’re living in a time of economic babble, where politicians and economists throw out words like “reform,” “privatize,” and “austerity” to prop up corrupt capitalist opportunists. So says our guest this week, economist Michael Hudson, author of J is for Junk Economics.
Laura Flanders:Okay. We're going to start. The intro is about the book. The book is a wonderful thing. We're really glad to be here talking about it. I'm really excited to have you back on the program, Michael. It's great to see you.
Michael:It's good to be back.
Laura Flanders:This book was 10 years in the making. In that period, have you seen any new, exciting, or terrifying obfuscations, lies, and ways of talking about the economy?
Michael:Fortunately, things got worse and worse since 2008. As a result, I greatly expanded it, made it a completely different book. Also, it made the whole focus on the vocabulary because economics has turned into an Orwellian vocabulary where words mean exactly the opposite of what they used to mean.
Laura Flanders:Give us an example.
Laura: Hi, I'm Laura Flanders. Capitalism's crisis deepens. To many people, it looks more ascendant than ever. The coming to power of a billionaire without even the façade of public service backed by hedge funders and war profiteers. To a lot of people, the rise of Donald Trump and Trump-ism represents the ascendancy galore of capitalism, not its crisis. Economics professor Richard Wolff respectfully disagrees. Wolff is the founder of Democracy at Work, and the host of Economic Update, a weekly podcast, as well as the author of many books, most recently, Capitalism's Crisis Deepens.
In this week's conversation, he's joining Farah Tanis who also believes in building authentic, alternative livelihoods. It's the only way that many communities, especially communities of color, have every survived periods of repression, and it's the way to build the world we want to live in in the future, regardless of who is in the White House. Farah is the co-founder and executive director of Black Women's Blueprint, which recently chaired the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission of black women and sexual assault in the United States. Welcome, both. I couldn't be happier than to be sharing the beginning of this challenging year with the two of you.
Richard Wolff: Thank you.
Laura Flanders: Let's start with some descriptions. Farah, how do you describe the situation that we're in? How do you see it?
Farah Tanis: I can only speak with the hundreds and the thousands, if not the millions, of voices of people of African descent throughout this country who are fearful. Extremely fearful. Fearful about their own present, their economic security, fearful about whether or not their right to make a living, their right to have access to education, their right to not be burdened by debt, you know, even this dream or any vision that they had for themselves, there is this dissipation, there is this disappearing of this hope that we had before, that we could ever, ever get anywhere, even under the Obama presidency. The loss of jobs, it's become more real than ever. The student loan debt has become more real than ever. The lack of access to healthcare, even under Obamacare, has become more real than ever. Whatever little bits that we had, we now feel that we're going to lose. There is, I will be honest in saying this, sheer panic.
Can the wealthy save the rest of us from themselves? Venture capitalist Nick Hanauer tells us what’s wrong with rich people, and former Goldman Sachs Vice President Raphaële Chappe tells us about her work to even the playing field between the 1% and the 99% with the Robin Hood Hedge Fund.Read more
This Week on the Laura Flanders Show: Making sense of the election season with prominent historian, Eric Foner. From Confederate monuments and the Black Lives Matter movement to election politics and utopian communities, Foner discusses today’s politics through the legacy of the past, and Laura takes a new look at a hundred-year-old proclamation.Read more