Michael Hudson (economist)

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Michael Hudson (born 1939) is an American economists and research professor of economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC). He is a former Wall Street analyst and consultant as well as president of the Institute for the Study of Long-term Economic Trends (ISLET) and a founding member of International Scholars Conference on Ancient Near Eastern Economies (ISCANEE).

Quotes[edit]

  • If you look at the speeches he gave just before he left the Fed, it's pretty much “After me - the Deluge. I'm getting out while my reputation's intact”.
  • You could say that GDP (National Income) and prosperity and wealth grows fastest when income tax rates are highest. And wealth slows, the economy slows, when taxes are cut. That's counter intuitive but if you look at any chart comparing tax rates and economic growth rates that's what you find. The 19th century knew it, the 18th century knew it but today you have a kind of counter revolution of junk economics that is basically anti-labor economics.

Michael-Hudson.com, 1998-[edit]

  • The most serious problems lie in the financial sphere, where the economy’s debt overhead has grown more rapidly than the ‘real’ economy’s ability to carry this debt. ... The essence of the global financial bubble is that savings are diverted to inflate the stock market, bond market and real estate prices rather than to build new factories and employ more labor.
  • Overconsumption by US citizens, US buy-outs of foreign companies and dollars the Pentagon spends abroad all end up in foreign central banks. These governments face a hard choice: either recycle the dollars back to America by buying US Treasury bonds or let the “free market” force up their currencies relative to the dollar – thereby pricing their exports out of world markets, creating domestic unemployment and business failures. US-style free markets hook them into a system that forces them to accept unlimited dollars. Now they want out. ... The US is the world’s largest debtor, yet has avoided the pain of “structural adjustments” imposed on other debtor nations. US interest rate and tax reductions in the face of exploding trade and budget deficits are seen as the height of hypocrisy in view of the austerity programmes that Washington has forced on other countries via the International Monetary Fund and other vehicles.
  • Europe is to be turned into a banana republic by taxing labor – not finance, insurance or real estate (FIRE). Governments are to impose heavier employment and sales taxes while cutting back pensions and other public spending. ... The financial privatization and credit-creation monopoly that governments have relinquished to banks is now to really pay off – at the price of breaking up Europe. ... The unelected members of the European Central Bank have taken over planning power from elected governments. Beholden to its financial constituency, the ECB has convinced the EU commission to back the new oligarchic power grab. ... In sum, the Neoliberal Revolution seeks to achieve in Europe what the United States has achieved since real wages stopped rising in 1979: doubling the share of wealth enjoyed by the richest 1%. This involves reducing the middle class to poverty, breaking union power, and destroying the internal market as a precondition.
  • So the Bush-Obama administration has taken a fiscal stance diametrically opposed to that of the patron saint of free enterprise. While escalating war in Afghanistan and maintaining over 850 military bases around the world, the administration has run up the national debt that Smith decried. By shifting the tax burden off property and off rent-seeking monopolies – above all, off the financial sector – this policy has raised America’s cost of living and doing business, thereby undercutting its competitive power and running up larger and larger foreign debt.
  • So the game plan is not merely to free the income of the wealthiest class to “offshore” itself into assets denominated in harder currencies abroad. It is to scrap the progressive tax system altogether. ... How stable can a global situation be where the richest nation does not tax its population, but creates new public debt to hand out to its bankers? ... The “solution” to the coming financial crisis in the United States may await the dollar’s plunge as an opportunity for a financial Tonkin Gulf resolution. Such a crisis would help catalyze the tax system’s radical change to a European-style “Steve Forbes” flat tax and VAT sales-excise tax.... More government giveaways will be made to the financial sector in a vain effort to keep bad debts afloat and banks “solvent.” As in Ireland and Latvia, public debt will replace private debt, leaving little remaining for Social Security or indeed for much social spending. ... The bottom line is that after the prolonged tax giveaway exacerbates the federal budget deficit – along with the balance-of-payments deficit – we can expect the next Republican or Democratic administration to step in and “save” the country from economic emergency by scaling back Social Security while turning its funding over, Pinochet-style, to Wall Street money managers to loot as they did in Chile. And one can forget rebuilding America’s infrastructure. It is being sold off by debt-strapped cities and states to cover their budget shortfalls resulting from un-taxing real estate and from foreclosures. Welcome to debt peonage. This is worse than what was meant by a double-dip recession. It will be with us much longer.
  • In America, despite the amazing rise in productivity we’ve had in the last 30 years, real wages have actually gone down. All of the increase in productivity has been taken by the finance, insurance, and real estate sector, called the FIRE sector, almost all of it by the financial sector. ... So instead of having industrial capitalism a century ago, we have a finance capitalism that actually is stifling industrial capitalism here. So what Alan Greenspan and others call the postindustrial economy is really neo-feudalism. It’s a financialized economy where all of the surplus goes to the banks.

External links[edit]

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