US Economy

Outgoing Fed chair Yellen brushes off financial warning signs

By Nick Beams, 14 December 2017

While she dismissed the impact of bitcoin on the financial system, Yellen was reminded by one questioner that her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, had said in 2007 that the sub-prime bubble would have no broader effects.

Bitcoin frenzy: The fever chart of a deepening crisis

By Nick Beams, 13 December 2017

The rise and rise of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin is the most egregious expression of the rampant speculation that has come to dominate the global economy.

Amid “full employment,” no recovery in US wages

By Jerry White, 11 December 2017

The jobs report provides further evidence that the much vaunted economic “recovery” in the US has overwhelmingly benefited Wall Street at the expense of the working class.

Senate races to pass Trump tax cut for corporate America

By Barry Grey, 1 December 2017

A measure that will further restructure American society to benefit the ruling oligarchy at the expense of the mass of the population is being rushed through Congress without so much as a public hearing.

Amid mounting fears of financial turmoil

Departing Fed chairwoman seeks to reassure markets while warning of debt crisis and social inequality

By Nick Beams, 30 November 2017

Amid surging stock markets and warnings of a new financial bubble, outgoing Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen made her final appearance before Congress.

US Senate committee passes tax windfall for the rich

By Barry Grey, 29 November 2017

Congress, backed by the Trump White House, is hurtling toward the implementation of the most brazen and far-reaching corporate raid on the federal Treasury in US history.

Warnings of new financial bubble as bitcoin price hits $10,000

By Andre Damon, 29 November 2017

The explosive rise in the price of bitcoin, the first “cryptocurrency,” has eclipsed the run-up of any comparable asset in modern history.

Right-wing billionaire Koch Brothers acquire major stake in Time Magazine

By Genevieve Leigh, 28 November 2017

As the Trump administration strips media regulation and antitrust laws, media conglomerates are planning even further consolidation.

Democrats posture as opponents of Wall Street in CFPB dispute

By Patrick Martin, 28 November 2017

The conflict between Trump and the Democrats over control of the Consumer Financial Protection Board is being conducted with utter cynicism on both sides.

Trump, Congress move to finalize tax cuts for big business

By Patrick Martin, 27 November 2017

A meeting of leading Republicans and Democrats Tuesday begins the last-minute deals to provide $1.5 trillion for the wealthy at the expense of working people.

Trump’s Justice Department sues to prevent Time Warner-AT&T merger

By Gabriel Black, 27 November 2017

The deal would result in the largest vertically integrated content and distribution company in the world.

Jeff Bezos’ $100 billion: The case for expropriation

By Eric London, 27 November 2017

The wealth of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, together with the trillions of dollars hoarded by his fellow billionaires, could be used to wipe out poverty, disease, and social misery.

The government attack on US college students

By Patrick Martin, 20 November 2017

The tax bill passed by the House of Representatives Thursday targets college and graduate students for savage economic attack to fund a bonanza for the super-rich.

The US tax bill: A massive handout to the financial elite

By Andre Damon, 18 November 2017

The tax bill passed by the US House of Representatives Thursday marks a new milestone in the transformation of the United States into an oligarchy.

Senate Republicans include repeal of Obamacare mandate in tax cut for the rich

By Barry Grey, 16 November 2017

The attack on access to health care for ordinary Americans is an example of the tax scheme’s fleecing of working people to pay for the tax windfall for the rich.

Trump nominates Jerome Powell as new Federal Reserve chief

By Nick Beams, 3 November 2017

Wall Street welcomed the selection of Powell, who will be the richest man to occupy the post.

US auto profits beat expectations despite softening sales

By Shannon Jones, 31 October 2017

Ford, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors all posted higher-than-expected earnings in the third quarter, boosted by savage cost-cutting facilitated by the collaboration of the unions.

US Senate votes to protect financial giants from consumer lawsuits

By Patrick Martin, 26 October 2017

The measure will benefit companies like Wells Fargo and Equifax, as well as banks and credit card companies more generally.

The American oligarchy prepares a new tax windfall for the rich

By Barry Grey, 25 October 2017

Trump’s tax plan raises to a new level the plundering of society’s resources by the ruling class that has been underway for nearly four decades.

Senate passes resolution setting stage for $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for the rich

By Gabriel Black, 21 October 2017

The resolution helps procedurally prepare for the passage of a dramatic cut in taxes for business and for the financial elite.

US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to Congress: Pass tax cuts or markets will tank

By Nick Beams, 21 October 2017

Mnuchin’s Politico interview is an unwitting admission that the world’s largest economy is dominated by financial parasitism.

Military industry stocks soar amid growing threat of war

By Gabriel Black, 19 October 2017

While basic social services are being slashed, the ruling elite is pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into more-sophisticated ways to kill people.

Thirty years since Wall Street’s “Black Monday”

By Nick Beams, 19 October 2017

Thirty years ago today, on October 19, 1987, the New York Stock Exchange experienced what remains its largest one-day fall in history.

IMF report points to financial dangers lurking beneath global growth

By Nick Beams, 14 October 2017

Central banks confront an acute contradiction: attempts to normalise monetary policy may trigger a financial crisis, but continuing the flow of easy money is creating unsustainable debt levels.

035 US jobs report

7 October 2017

Bailed out in 2008 crash, AIG now out of government oversight

By Nick Beams, 2 October 2017

Ending the “too big to fail” designation for the giant insurance group has been described as the most significant step in the Trump administration’s push for financial deregulation.

A tax plan by and for the US oligarchy

By Fred Mazelis, 29 September 2017

The proposed elimination of the estate tax is an assertion of aristocratic privilege.

A step toward trade war:

Trump’s Commerce Department imposes huge tariff on Canada’s Bombardier

By Roger Jordan, 28 September 2017

The Trump administration is using the Bombardier-Boeing dispute to send a message to the world that it intends to press forward with its protectionist “America First” program.

The Fed’s quantitative easing: A class assessment

By Nick Beams, 25 September 2017

Bourgeois economists would like to pass off speculation as some kind of extraneous, unhealthy activity, but it is rooted in fundamental processes within the capitalist economy itself.

Markets hail “gradual” moves by Federal Reserve

By Nick Beams, 21 September 2017

As stock prices continue to soar, voices within the US financial elite are warning of the dangers of another financial meltdown.

Bank for International Settlements voices concern over finance markets

By Nick Beams, 19 September 2017

The BIS has warned that the slow pace in normalising central bank interest rates and ending quantitative easing is setting up financial markets for a shock when interest rates do rise.

Growing warnings of a stock market bubble

By Nick Beams, 15 September 2017

US markets are in their second-longest bull run in history, indicating a growing divergence between financial markets and the underlying real economy.

US Fed confronts dilemmas over monetary policy

By Nick Beams, 7 September 2017

Despite massive injections of money into global financial markets by the Fed and other central banks, there is no sign of the US and the global economy returning to pre-2008 crisis conditions.

US Fed confronts dilemmas over monetary policy

By Nick Beams, 7 September 2017

Despite massive injections of money into global financial markets by the Fed and other central banks, there is no sign of the US and the global economy returning to pre-2008 crisis conditions.

Trump begins campaign for huge tax cut for business and the wealthy

By Patrick Martin, 1 September 2017

There is widespread support from Democrats on proposals to reduce the corporate tax rate, the centerpiece of the Trump administration tax plan, and repatriate offshore earnings.

After the financial crisis: How the ultra-wealthy have prospered

By Nick Beams, 31 August 2017

The word “recovery” is frequently used to describe the state of the world economy, but what it really reveals is the position of the ultra-wealthy.

Central bankers at Jackson Hole conference: What was not said and why

By Nick Beams, 28 August 2017

In their speeches, neither Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen nor European Central Bank head Mario Draghi even mentioned the massive asset purchases carried out over the past eight years.

Government report reveals scope of housing crisis in California

By Guillaume Garnier, 26 August 2017

Rents and housing prices in the most populous state in the US continue to rise, driving hundreds of thousands of workers and youth into economic crisis.

Sales declines at US department stores belie claims of economic recovery

By Barry Grey, 12 August 2017

Large sections of the working population lack the wherewithal to buy more than the bare necessities, which is why the retail slump is primarily hitting stores that cater to the working class.

Dow at 22,000: A new high for parasitism

By Nick Beams, 4 August 2017

The Dow’s record-breaking close coincided with Depression-like scenes of thousands of workers in the US lining up for job applications with Amazon, a firm which epitomizes poverty wages and super-exploitation.

Amazon CEO Bezos makes $1.4 billion Thursday morning, briefly becoming world’s richest person

By Evan Blake, 28 July 2017

Bezos’s ascension to the heights of society rests on the exploitation of Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of workers worldwide.

IMF global outlook downgrades US growth prospects

By Nick Beams, 25 July 2017

A decade after the global financial crisis, growth rates remain well below the levels of 2008, with no sign of a return to the previous levels in the future.

010 CEO Pay

24 July 2017

Trump administration to pursue protectionist agenda in NAFTA renegotiation

By Roger Jordan, 21 July 2017

Washington intends to use the talks to extract concessions from corporate America’s Canadian and Mexican rivals and to forge a US-led trade bloc to confront its global rivals.

Study reveals gutting of health care and pensions for US workers

By Isaac Finn, 21 July 2017

Global risk management firm Willis Towers Watson revealed the impact of the corporate-government assault on workers’ retirement and medical benefits.

US House proposes over $5 trillion in cuts

By Daniel de Vries, 20 July 2017

The plan introduced Tuesday would dismantle Medicare and Medicaid while cutting corporate taxes.

Study finds financial parasitism contributes to the high cost of drugs

By Nick Beams, 18 July 2017

According to the authors of a recent study, the reason for the high cost of drugs in the US is the prevalence of a “social disease” called “maximising shareholder value.”

Legislators pass devastating austerity budget in Illinois

By Alexander Fangmann, 10 July 2017

The new budget will become law, enshrining massive across-the-board cuts of 5 percent to most state government agencies, and 10 percent to higher education.

Fed stress test results unleash “party time” for US banks

By Nick Beams, 8 July 2017

As a result of the US Federal Reserve decision, the market value of American banks is estimated to have risen by $40 billion.

Missouri rolls back minimum wage increase in St. Louis

By Matthew MacEgan, 8 July 2017

Missouri’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a law that reverses the city of St. Louis’s 2015 hourly minimum wage increase, lowering it from $10 back to the state’s standard of $7.70.

Sears announces the closing of 43 more stores in the US and Canada

By Anthony del Olmo, 8 July 2017

Sears Holdings’ announcement last week of the closing of 43 locations, including Sears and Kmart stores, is the latest in a wave of retail closures and layoffs.

080 Illinois budget

8 July 2017

Concerns grow over Fed interest rate policy

By Nick Beams, 4 July 2017

The economic model the Fed has broken down under conditions in which parasitism has become the dominant form of profit accumulation.

International Monetary Fund revises down US growth predictions

By Nick Beams, 30 June 2017

The IMF has not only revised down its projections of US growth but said the country’s “economic model” was failing to deliver “broadly shared” income growth.

220 NB comment on Trump statement and parasitism

21 June 2017

US Treasury releases plan to roll back Dodd-Frank bank regulations

By Gabriel Black, 19 June 2017

Stripping away parts of Dodd-Frank will remove its minimal restrictions on Wall Street’s speculative activities.

Amazon’s monopoly swells with $13.7 billion offer to buy Whole Foods

By Evan Blake, 17 June 2017

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made $1.88 billion in a single day as the corporation’s octopus-like control expanded into a new segment of the world economy.

Despite low inflation, US Fed lifts interest rates

By Nick Beams, 15 June 2017

The overriding message was that low economic growth, falling consumption spending and the spread of part-time and casual work represent the new normal.

US study shows one-third of adults suffer severe income fluctuations

By Josh Varlin, 7 June 2017

A recent Federal Reserve study found that almost a third of adults have a variable income from month to month, which makes financial planning nearly impossible.

Uncertainty grows over US Fed’s interest rate moves

By Nick Beams, 6 June 2017

Far-reaching structural changes in the economy, above all the rise of low-paid part-time labour, have undermined the assumptions on which the Fed’s policies have been based.

Study: The ultra-rich hide 25 percent of their wealth in tax havens

By Gabriel Black, 5 June 2017

A new report by economist Gabriel Zucman argues that global inequality is significantly worse than shown in official estimates because of rampant tax evasion by the financial elite.

GM announces more layoffs as US auto sales decline

By Shannon Jones, 3 June 2017

General Motors announced 300 job cuts at its Warren, Michigan transmission plant amid continuing signs of a slowdown in US auto sales after a seven-year boom.

070 Wall Street and airline conditions

31 May 2017

Wall Street engineers ouster of top Ford executives

By Jerry White, 23 May 2017

The management reshuffling at the number two US automaker, described in industry circles as a “coup,” underscores the complete domination of the banks and financial speculators.

Trump triggers renegotiation of NAFTA

By Roger Jordan, 22 May 2017

The Trump administration is aggressively pursuing its “America first” agenda, renegotiating the agreement as economic protectionism grows around the world.

030 Formal launch of NAFTA talks

20 May 2017

Productivity figures and job cuts expose Trump’s growth fraud

By Nick Beams, 19 May 2017

US productivity growth is running at around one third its level before the global financial crisis of 2008.

020 Stock market selloff

18 May 2017

Fund managers earned billions in 2016 even as hedge funds underperformed

By Shelley Connor, 17 May 2017

The wealthiest 25 managers earned $11 billion last year while hedge funds yielded meager returns for investors.

US Federal student loan interest rates set to rise in July

By Anthony del Olmo, 15 May 2017

The rise in rates is an outcome of the stock market boom following Trump’s election, and comes at a time when the plight of students continues to worsen.

110 US retail crisis

15 May 2017

035 Retail sales

12 May 2017

Apple valuation surges to over $800 billion

By Nick Beams, 12 May 2017

Apple’s market valuation and cash holdings illustrate a major shift in the mode of profit accumulation and how share values increasingly result from financial manipulation.

US auto profits soar as sales slowdown threatens more layoffs

By Shannon Jones, 11 May 2017

Higher auto profits are being accompanied by job cuts as management intensifies its assault on autoworkers.

US corporate profits up 13.9 percent on cost-cutting and low wages

By Barry Grey, 9 May 2017

At the heart of the corporate profit bonanza is an ongoing drive to cut costs by holding down wages, cutting jobs and slashing spending on new plants and equipment.

Higher education and upward mobility increasingly inaccessible to poor in the US

By Kathleen Martin, 5 May 2017

Higher education, seen as a key to social mobility in the US, is becoming increasingly unattainable to a growing section of the American working class.

Apple’s $257 billion cash hoard and parasitic accumulation

By Nick Beams, 5 May 2017

There is conjecture about what Apple intends to do with its cash pile, but one thing is certain: it will be used for forms of speculation and financial manipulation.

May Day 2017

The rise of economic nationalism and protectionism

By Nick Beams, 2 May 2017

The historic crisis of the global capitalist system is now producing the very conditions that led to the economic conflicts of the 1930s and the eruption of war in 1939.

Democrats agree to increase military and border spending while cutting food stamps

By Barry Grey, 2 May 2017

Republicans hailed the agreement as a down payment on Trump’s demands for a $54 billion increase in the Pentagon budget to be paid for with cuts in social programs.

Poverty among Michigan children greater in 2015 than during “Great Recession”

By Debra Watson, 1 May 2017

Michigan had an official poverty rate of 22.2 percent in 2015, more than at the end of the first full year of the 2008 recession.

US economic growth slumps to slowest pace in three years

By Barry Grey, 29 April 2017

Friday’s report underscores the disconnect between the rising fortunes of the corporate oligarchy and the continuing fall in living standards for broad sections of the population.

Trump steps up trade war over NAFTA

By Nick Beams, 28 April 2017

The Trump administration has signalled that it will take an aggressive economic nationalist stance in negotiations on NAFTA after making moves to withdraw altogether.

Trump tax cuts: A bonanza for corporations and the wealthy

By Patrick Martin, 27 April 2017

The proposal unveiled Wednesday would channel trillions of dollars into the pockets of the financial elite at the expense of social programs and working class living standards.

Latest economic data dampen US growth prospects

By Nick Beams, 22 April 2017

The stock market has lifted but consumer spending is falling and industrial production is flat.

Canadian government seeks to placate Trump following NAFTA comments

By Roger Jordan, 22 April 2017

Trump’s sharp criticism of Canada over its trading practices in a number of economic sectors prompted a conciliatory response from Ottawa.

Over 8.3 million American adults suffer from severe psychological distress

By Kathleen Martin, 22 April 2017

Research released by the Psychiatric Services journal indicates disturbing growth of psychological distress in the United States, correlating directly to the continuing economic crisis.

055 Economic crisis and mental health

21 April 2017

Tesla’s market valuation pushes past Ford and GM

By Gabriel Black, 17 April 2017

Unbridled speculation and a shift towards high-tech products, like automated cars, explains the electric car manufacturer’s seemingly absurd valuation.

US retail stores closing at record rate

By Niles Niemuth, 12 April 2017

Along with mounting store closures, retailers eliminated nearly 60,000 jobs in February and March, making it the worst two-month period for the retail sector since 2008.

Super-rich in America live 15 years longer than the poorest 1 percent

By Kate Randall, 11 April 2017

Income-based disparities in US life expectancy are worsened by the for-profit US health care system.

Subprime auto loans threaten new crisis

By J. Cooper, 11 April 2017

Wall Street is concerned at the surge in auto loan defaults, a further indication that the sales boom of recent years is winding down.

Sharp fall in US jobs growth in March

By Shannon Jones, 8 April 2017

The worst job numbers since May 2016 underscore the disconnect between surging stock prices and the underlying economy, and the fraud of Trump’s “jobs” agenda.

Concerns over Trump crisis roil financial markets

By Barry Grey, 23 March 2017

Whatever the short-term trend on the financial markets, Tuesday’s downturn reflected the underlying unsustainability of the massively inflated stock valuations.

Wealth of world’s billionaires soars amid stock market surge

By Shannon Jones, 22 March 2017

In 2016 the combined wealth of the world’s richest individuals rose 18 percent to a staggering $7.67 trillion.

Trump budget to fund wider wars by slashing domestic spending

By Patrick Martin, 17 March 2017

The budget proposes to increase spending on the military and homeland security by nearly $60 billion, while slashing spending on the environment and social programs.

US Fed lifts interest rate and reassures markets

By Nick Beams, 16 March 2017

The US stock markets rose after the Federal Reserve increased interest rates by 0.25 percent but concerns were voiced over the divergence between the world’s three major central banks.

RadioShack closing 187 more stores

By James Brewer, 11 March 2017

This announcement follows on the heels of thousands of job losses, giving the lie to the optimistic jobs report by the Labor Department.

Trump steps up trade war agenda

By Nick Beams, 28 February 2017

The objective logic of Trump’s agenda of economic war, based on “America First” leads inexorably to military conflict.

Trump’s “America First” policies and the global eruption of economic nationalism

By Nick Beams, 21 February 2017

Speaking on behalf of European capital, the London-based Financial Times has described the trade policies of the Trump administration as a “clear and present danger” to the global trading and monetary system.

US stocks hit new highs following Senate testimony by Fed chief

By Barry Grey, 15 February 2017

While Yellen defended the Dodd-Frank banking law, she repeatedly stated her support for “mitigating” the regulatory “burden” on financial firms.