We are joined for the full hour by geopolitical financial expert and financial historian, Nomi Prins, to discuss her new book, “Permanent Distortion: How Financial Markets Abandoned the Real Economy Forever,” which highlights the huge gap between the high-flying stock market, versus back down here on earth, where average people struggle to make ends meet.
Nomi Prins is an economist, author, geopolitical financial expert and financial historian. She is the author of several books, including Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World, All the Presidents’ Bankers, Other People’s Money: The Corporate Mugging of America, and It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bonuses, Bailouts, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street. Her latest book is Permanent Distortion: How Financial Markets Abandoned the Real Economy Forever.
The idea of “Permanent Distortion” is that when the financial system needs it, it gets the money. And lot of it. And in an uncapped way. And in an unregulated way. And in a non-transparent way. When the real economy needs it, it’s years of debate.
There’s no such thing as, “This bailout didn’t cost taxpayers money.” Because…money that goes into the banking system does not go into the real economy. Which means there is a shortfall in the real economy. Which means that money cannot be reallocated into the real economy. Whether that is to build bridges, or hospitals, or to enhance our education system, or help workers. Because it’s going somewhere else.
There are people that will say, “Well, SVB (the failure of Silicon Valley Bank) has nothing to do with Glass-Steagall,” and that’s just simply wrong. Any over-leverage in the banking system that can take down the rest of the banking system— or that can create that sort of lack of confidence, instability, creation of money to save it that doesn’t go into the real economy— is a part of that problem.
There’s a huge propaganda machine. And it’s interesting that the destabilization of the real economy comes so frequently from the speculation of the paper economy.
In Case You Haven’t Heard
1. In Israel, the planned judicial reform law has sparked nothing less than a popular uprising, with Haaretz reporting that as many as half a million protesters have taken to the streets. Prime Minister Netanyahu is wheeling and dealing like mad to cling to power. Barak Ravid reports that Netanyahu sacked the Minister of Defense after he called for suspending the judicial reform push. Itamar Ben-Gvir, leader of perhaps the most extreme party in the right-wing coalition government, has threatened to quit the coalition if the judicial overhaul is delayed – but may have been appeased by a promise from Netanyahu to make the National Guard answerable directly to Ben-Gvir, per the Jerusalem Post. Axios reports that Jewish Democrats in Congress met with the Israeli Ambassador and warned him that if the bill is pushed through, it will be harder for them “to talk about Israel the same way they used to.”
2. A new paper published in the Harvard Environmental Law Review – by David Arkush of Public Citizen and Donald Braman of the George Washington University Law School – posits whether fossil fuel companies should be charged with homicide. The authors argue these corporations “have not simply been lying to the public, they have been killing members of the public at an accelerating rate, and prosecutors should bring that crime to the public’s attention.”
3. In the wake of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders has introduced legislation that would bar big bank executives from serving on Federal Reserve Boards. Chairman Sanders said “The Fed has got to become a more democratic institution that is responsive to the needs of working people and the middle class.”
4. The Huffington Post reports that Rep. Ilhan Omar has introduced a bill to “Condemn Anti-Muslim Hate.” The bill was crafted to honor the 51 Muslims killed in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019, and it was introduced on the first day of Ramadan. Omar is quoted saying “We...know that this increase in hate is not isolated to only Muslims. Church bombings, synagogue attacks, and racial hate crimes are also on the rise. In order to confront the evils of religious bigotry and hatred, we must come to understand that all our destinies are linked.”
5. An investigation by Morgan Baskin of DCist found that “local developers are buying rent-controlled apartments, clearing out existing tenants, and marketing to housing choice voucher holders” because the DC Housing Authority engages in routine over-payments. In so doing, these developers are “eroding affordable housing.”
6. In Brazil, Democracy Now! reports that the Lula government has successfully removed “almost all illegal gold mining operations…from Yanomami Indigenous territory.” Lula campaigned on the promise to remove these mining operations, which have “displaced people, devastated the land and food resources, and contaminated rivers with mercury.”
7. Ever have a hard time canceling a subscription or recurring fee online? In a video by More Perfect Union, FTC Chair Lina Khan explained how the agency is taking aim at a pervasive corporate manipulation tactic nicknamed “click to subscribe, call to cancel” in which companies make it easy to sign up for a service, but make it very difficult to cancel it. The new rule – called “click to cancel” – would mandate that (1) it must be as easy to cancel a service as it is to sign up for it and (2) consumers must be able to cancel using the same method they used to sign up.
8. From PBS: In Florida, Governor DeSantis is expanding the “Don’t Say Gay” censorship law to high-schools. Supporters of this bill had previously insisted that it was only intended to curtail discussions of sensitive topics for young children. This expansion clearly undermines that argument.
9. In Chicago, the International Committee of the Democratic Socialists of America hosted Cuban Ambassador Lianys Torres Rivera at the 35th Ward - 8th District Office for a meeting with local elected officials and faith leaders. They discussed the harmful U.S. embargo and strengthening goodwill between the people of Cuba and the United States. This meeting was attended by Cook County Commissioner Anthony J. Quezada and Aldermen Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, Byron Sigcho Lopez, and Rossana Rodriguez.
10. From the New York Times: At a chocolate factory in Reading, Pennsylvania, a massive explosion has left at least seven dead and more missing. Activists are calling for a thorough and swift investigation into the factory’s owners, the R.M. Palmer Company.