Issue 9 – September 2011

Current Affairs Essay
The Aim Should Be to Restore Confidence and Avoid a Global Economic Depression  By Rodrigue Tremblay
Featured Books
The Road  By Cormac McCarthy
Last Words: A Memoir  By George Carlin with Tony Hendra
The Assassination of Julius Caesar  By Michael Parenti
Sunshine Assassins  By J. F. Miglio
Recommended Reads
The Small Business Guide (U.S Edition 2011)  By Owen O. Daniels
Master Self-Publishing  By Owen O. Daniels
The Great Singapore Penis Panic and the Future of American Mass Hysteria  By Scott D. Mendelson, M.D., Ph.D.
Super Life Secret Codes  By Great Sun
Pain Pill Addiction: A Prescription for Hope  By Jana Burson M.D.
The Employee Rights Handbook  By Steven Mitchell Sack
Bouncing Back From Loss  By Donna Marie Thompson Ph.D
Mockery  By Philip Kraske
A Pointed Death  By Kath Russell
Everything I Never Wanted To Be  By Dina Kucera
Enough for Us All  By Dorothy I. Riddle
Frozen in Time  By Theodore Jerome Cohen
Journey to Terra Incognita  By Gerald Shingleton
Goodnight, Brian  By Steven Manchester
The Mine  By Daniel R. Cobb
The Friday Night Club  By Jacob Nelson Lurie
The Entrepreneur Guide U.S. 2010 Edition  By Owen O. Daniels
Golden's Rule  By C. E. Edmonson
A World Away: The Quest of Dan Clay  By T.J. Smith
The Harrowing Escape: The Quest of Dan Clay (Book II)  By T.J. Smith
Winter  By Maneesh Sharma
Soul's Infarct  By Diamela Eltit & Paz Errazuriz
A Worthy Legacy  By Tomi Akinyanmi
Dangerous Liaisons  By Michael D'Ambrosio
Shroud of Beckoning  By Deb Woody
Shadows and Not  By Sara Brown
America's Suicidal Statecraft  By James Cumes
The Handkerchief  By Julian Stark
The End of the 19th Century  By Eric Larsen
Up Close: A Mother's View  By Fiona Yaron-Field
Secrets Revealed  By Sheshena Pledger
A Case of Wild Justice  By Yvonne Jerrold

Recommended Reads

If you are an independent, small press, or traditional publisher and would like to submit your book(s) for consideration to “Recommended Reads,” click here.

 

The Small Business
Guide (U.S Edition 2011)

By Owen O. Daniels

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Comprehensive reference resource book for entrepreneurs who want to start up and run a small business.

Master Self-Publishing
By Owen O. Daniels

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Excellent reference resource for anyone who wants to self-publish his or her own books.

The Great Singapore Penis
Panic and the Future of
American Mass Hysteria

By Scott D. Mendelson, M.D., Ph.D.

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Amazing study of a 1967 Singapore epidemic regarding male genitalia and how it relates to future mass hysteria in the United States.

Super Life Secret Codes
By Great Sun

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Illuminating discussion of life’s hardships and how to overcome them with love and gratitude.

Pain Pill Addiction: A
Prescription for Hope

By Jana Burson M.D.

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Penetrating examination of drugs, drug abuse, and the most successful methods for treatment and recovery.

The Employee Rights
Handbook

By Steven Mitchell Sack

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Comprehensive and practical handbook written in layman’s language on the legal strategies employees can use to protect themselves in the workplace.

Bouncing Back From Loss
By Donna Marie Thompson Ph.D

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Inspirational and informative account of how to deal with life’s setbacks and losses and transform the future to one’s advantage.

Mockery
By Philip Kraske

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Engaging political thriller about a young writer who stumbles onto the truth about a political election where both candidates are rocked by scandals.

A Pointed Death
By Kath Russell

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Entertaining mystery thriller about a biotech consultant and her dog Skootch and how they become involved in the high stakes world of corporate trade secrets and murder.

Everything I Never
Wanted To Be

By Dina Kucera

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
A struggling comic’s poignant and often hilarious account of her family’s battle with alcoholism and drug addiction over four generations.

Enough for Us All
By Dorothy I. Riddle

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Enlightening source book that uses quantum physics and metaphysics to help individuals attain personal transformation.

Frozen in Time
By Theodore Jerome Cohen

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
An exciting tale of greed, betrayal, and murder based on real events from the Antarctic continent.

Journey to Terra Incognita
By Gerald Shingleton

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Thought-provoking metaphysical adventure that begins in 1950s California and ends in the jungles of Guatemala.

Goodnight, Brian
By Steven Manchester

www.StevenManchester.com

(Fiction)
Inspirational story about how a woman’s faith and unconditional love help her grandson to lead a normal life after he is poisoned by a toxic soy formula and given little hope by his doctors.

The Mine
By Daniel R. Cobb

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Engaging thriller about an idealistic biologist who fights state corruption and corporate fraud perpetrated by a ruthless gold mining company.

The Friday Night Club
By Jacob Nelson Lurie

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
An irreverent coming of age story of a young man who must choose between continuing his hedonistic lifestyle or settling down and getting married.

The Entrepreneur Guide
U.S. 2010 Edition

By Owen O. Daniels

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Comprehensive book filled with information and answers about everything one needs to start and maintain a business.

Golden’s Rule
By C. E. Edmonson

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Compelling story about a modern-day girl battling cancer who finds inspiration by reading the diary of a 14-year-old slave girl from the 1800s.

A World Away: The
Quest of Dan Clay

By T.J. Smith

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Exciting story in the tradition of The Chronicles of Narnia about a young man and his three friends who embark on an out-of-this world journey where they are hunted by savage beasts along the footpath to a demonic castle.

The Harrowing Escape:
The Quest of Dan Clay (Book II)

By T.J. Smith

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
The saga continues as Dan Clay and his companions continue their quest to locate Dan’s brother in a parallel world filled with savage beasts and half-man, half-serpent creatures.

Winter
By Maneesh Sharma

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Fast-paced thriller about a predator with otherworldly talents who has a penchant for killing women and stealing fine art.

Soul’s Infarct
By Diamela Eltit & Paz Errazuriz

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Unique and penetrating examination through text and photographs of love among marginalized individuals in a notorious Chilean psychiatric hospital.

A Worthy Legacy
By Tomi Akinyanmi

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Touching and lyrical account about a dying Nigerian man and his practical wisdom for living life to the fullest.

Dangerous Liaisons
By Michael D’Ambrosio

www.amazon.com

(Science Fiction)
In this action-packed sequel to The Eye of Icarus, Lieutenant Will Saris and his new bride are caught in a web of treachery where no one, including the Space Fleet, can be trusted.

Shroud of Beckoning
By Deb Woody

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Thought-provoking supernatural tale about a four-year-old who is possessed by a demonic spirit.

Shadows and Not
By Sara Brown

www.amazon.com

(Poetry)
Soul-searching poetry anthology that illuminates the human condition.

America’s Suicidal Statecraft
By James Cumes

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
Well researched and documented examination of the self-destructive policies of the United States.

The Handkerchief
By Julian Stark

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
An intimate and probing love story that examines the breadth and depth of love and passion between two people.

The End of the 19th Century
By Eric Larsen

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Imposing lyrical epic about a Midwestern family’s journey through time and space.

Up Close: A Mother’s View
By Fiona Yaron-Field

www.amazon.com

(Nonfiction)
A touching and meditative memoir of a mother and her disabled daughter told through pictures and commentary.

Secrets Revealed
By Sheshena Pledger

www.amazon.com

(Fiction)
Gritty crime noir tale about a notorious crime family’s feud with its biggest rival.

A Case of Wild Justice
By Yvonne Jerrold

www.yvonnejerrold.com
(Fiction)
An intriguing story about a group of senior citizens who fight back against crime and vandalism in their neighborhood by becoming human booby traps.

If you are an independent, small press, or traditional publisher and would like to submit your book(s) for consideration to “Recommended Reads,”

click here.

Book submission deadline is
the 20th of each month.

 

Links For Independent Writers & Publishers
• Publishers Marketing Association (PMA): Largest non-profit trade association helping independent publishers

• Small Press Center: Non-profit organization designed to help small independent book publishers

• Press Release Services: Submit Press Release, Online Distribution Services.

• LitPitch: Place to read books online for free and for authors to pitch book ideas and get feedback.

• Bookwired.com: Author/reader resource for book reviews and news

• WriteLinks.com: Complete list of book publishers & publishing info

• Books-in-Print.com: Registry of electronic publications

• Bowker.com: Major book and publishing data

• PubEasy.com: E-commerce site for global bookselling

• Published.com: Informative and helpful site for independent writers and self-publishers.

• The Center for the Book: Book fairs & literary events

• American Booksellers Association: Organization for independently owned bookstores

• Business.com: Site listing book distributors and wholesalers

• Dowse: A list of e-book publishers

• Internet Publishing: Tips about online publishing from Piers Anthony

• Online Books Page: Listings of books online, news, & features

• Book Sense.com: Family of bookseller Web sites

• Nospine.com: Independent authors from around the world

• Author Yellow Pages: Online author directory

• Dan Poynter’s Para Publishing: The Godfather of self publishing

• Bookcrossing.com: Global book club & reading group

• Newradiance.com: Over 90 pages of inspired marketing ideas for small business owners and self-published authors.

 

The Aim Should Be to Restore
Confidence and Avoid a
Global Economic Depression

By Rodrigue Tremblay

“The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone.”

— Xinhua, China’s official state-run news agency, August 6, 2011

“A budget deficit is inflationary if, and only if, it is financed in considerable part by printing money.”

— Milton Friedman (1912-2006), American economist

Financial markets show signs that they have lost confidence in politicians both in the U.S. and in Europe. They have reached the conclusion that those presently in charge are not on top of things, and that either they don’t understand the current economic problems their countries face or they lack the will or ability to bring forth the bold economic policies that would be required to solve them.

For one, the U.S. government looks like a ship in a storm without a captain, with President Obama and the Republican-influenced Congress stubbornly paralyzing each other. In Europe, politicians and central bankers seem to react to crisis and look like they are always behind a crisis when it occurs.

The trigger that may have persuaded many investors and consumers to adopt a more prudent approach took place on Friday August 5, 2011 when the credit agency Standard & Poor’s finally downgraded the U.S. government long term debt from triple A to AA+, blaming the obvious incapacity of American politicians to come to grips with the government’s fiscal crisis, let alone cure the nation’s economic problems. Indeed, the previous week, American politicians had given the world a spectacle of rarely seen political buffoonery and confusion with some of them straight-jacketing themselves in signing ridiculous documents pledging to “never to raise taxes” while others were reverting to the primitive practice of using incantations to gods to solve the nation’s economic problems. -That’s nothing to inspire confidence.

All this has been seen before, as it was in Japan some ten years ago. Indeed, on Saturday February 24, 2001, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the government of Japan’s long term debt from its top rating of AAA down a notch to AA+, blaming the lack of needed structural reforms and rising public debt. The Japanese economy was then mired in a slow growth environment with an aging population, and was recovering from a real estate debacle, while the government’s fiscal deficits were approaching 10 percent of gross domestic product and its public debt/GDP ratio was 135 percent and rising. Indeed, Japanese debt kept rising and it was downgraded many times afterwards.

Just as the United States today, Japan then had a growing public-sector debt, large fiscal deficits that its politicians seemed unable to control and to top it all off, Japan had a troubled banking sector that was also overburdened with bad debt. -The Japanese economy has languished in a relative economic stagnation ever since. Its main stock market, the Nikkei, peaked at 38,957 in December 1989 and it is still presently much lower, i.e. below 10,000. Contrary to the U.S. government, however, whose debt is 40 percent owned by foreigners, Japanese government bonds were largely held domestically, thus insulating somewhat the country from international financial markets.

It must be recognized that the present day U.S. economy never really dug itself out of the economic recession that began in 2008, with the subprime financial crisis. It is true that the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has announced that the economic recession officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. However, with hindsight, this may have been a premature call.

Indeed, while NBER focuses on a variety of different measures of economic activity to establish its official recession dates for the whole economy, periods of recession in the labor market have recently had a tendency to last much longer than the fluctuations in national output. Presently, the U.S. official unemployment rate is still above 9 percent, as compared to 5 percent in early 2008, while the level of employment is some 6.8 million lower than it was in early 2008. (Of course, when considering discouraged unemployed workers and those forced to work part-time, the real unemployment rate in the U.S. is closer to 20 percent than to 10 percent.) Clearly therefore, from a labor market perspective, the U.S. economy is still in recession.

There is no other institution but the U.S. federal government that could, at least in theory, stir the economy from its current state of stagnation. Indeed, there is little that the central bank, the Fed, can do since it has already pushed short-term interest rates close to zero and has pumped into the economy all the liquidity it needs. Similarly, at the state level, most governments are very stressed fiscally speaking and they tend to lay off people, and thus they are contributing to the economic downfall.

Let’s look briefly at the Fed’s options.

Let’s note that it is illusory to think that a central bank can solve a country’s structural economic problems on its own through monetary means. This cannot be done. A central bank can facilitate economic growth, but it cannot create it.

For the time being, the Bernanke Fed has announced that it will keep short-term interest rates at near zero for at least another two years, after having pursued this very loose policy for the last three years, thus confirming in the minds of many investors that the ailing debt-ridden U.S. economy is dead in the water and that it resembles more and more the Japanese economy of the last twenty years.

In theory, of course, the Fed could keep printing new money, but this is unlikely to increase employment and economic growth, and may instead, in due time, have the reverse effect. In fact, the Bernanke Fed is already the largest holder of U.S. Treasury bonds ($1.6 trillion) after its numerous Quantitative Easing (QE) operations, ahead of foreign owners such as China ($1.2 trillion) and Japan ($0.9 trillion). This is equivalent to having lent new printed money to the Treasury or to have reimbursed other holders of Treasury bonds with newly printed money. Another way to look at this is to say that the Fed has been busy monetizing the US Treasury debt over the last two years, thus contributing to the demise of the U.S. dollar.

But, printing money above and beyond normal liquidity needs is a third-world recipe for disaster. This has been tried time and again with the same disastrous economic and political results, i.e. with inflation and even hyperinflation, with a drop in national savings and investments, with the destruction of people’s pensions and economic security, with an outflow of capital and finally, with the impoverishment of a nation. Inflation and hyperinflation are also the bedrocks on which dictators begin their ascent.

A good example is the German Weimar Republic in the 1920s and its hyperinflation policy: It gave rise to Adolf Hitler. Those who propose inflation, instead of sound and vigorous economic policies, as a solution to the U.S.’s structural problems-and to Europe’s structural problems for that matter-should think twice about the consequences of such a foolish approach.

A small additional step that the Bernanke Fed can take (a thing that it has refused to do until now) would be to stop subsidizing large banks by paying interest on the excess reserves that they keep deposited at the Fed, after ironically having borrowed the same money from the Fed itself at near zero interest rate. That should be an outrage, but American politicians seem to be asleep at the switch.

That leaves the U.S. government with the task of stabilizing the economy.

Unfortunately, it has become a clich� to observe that the U.S. government is currently more or less dysfunctional, being deadlocked into a partisan and ideological stalemate that pits a lame duck democratic President against a rudder-less Republican dominated House of Representatives. That is the source of the crisis of confidence that has gripped the markets recently. There is this uneasy feeling that nobody is in charge at a time when the economy is stagnating and could be teetering at the edge of an economic depression.

In the case cooler heads prevail, here are a few examples of reappraisals and bold policies that I alluded to before:

First of all, come to grips with the fact that the current fiscal deficit, besides the run-away cost of certain non-insurance based entitlements, can be attributed to three moves made over the last ten years:

  1. The Bush-Cheney administration’s tax cuts for the super rich in 2003 ($1 trillion);
  2. The Bush-Paulson administration’s and the Obama’s administration gift to the largest banks (another $1 trillion);
  3. The Bush-Cheney administrations’ two wars in Afghanistan (since 2001) and in Iraq (since 2003) which have cost so far at least $1 trillion.

If ways could be found to curtail such unproductive expenditures, this would alleviate a lot of budget pressure and at least slowdown the rate of increase of the public debt.

Secondly, tax measures could be introduced to discourage American companies from exporting jobs abroad. Presently, through various schemes, most large American companies hardly pay any taxes on the earnings and profits they make by operating abroad. This puts domestic job-creating investments at a big disadvantage. Non-repatriating profits, beyond a certain threshold, could be subject to a special assessment. Try it, and you will observe an inflow of job-creating capital into the U.S.

Thirdly, with aging social infrastructures crumbling, the government could embark on a ten-year Eisenhower-type infrastructure program. This would go a long way to rejuvenate the ailing construction industry.

A fourth avenue would be to reformulate immigration policies in the current context of free international trade and high domestic unemployment. In such an environment when labor-intensive goods can be imported, the need for imported cheap labor is greatly reduced and limited to very specific industries, such as agriculture.

These are only a few examples of feasible measures that a prudent government could adopt when faced with economic and fiscal structural problems.

If the economy languishes for many years, or worse, if a full-fledged economic depression ensues, the economic losses in unemployment and in lack of economic growth would be much larger than the few measures mentioned above.

Think about it.


Rodrigue Tremblay is professor emeritus of economics at the University of Montreal and can be reached at rodrigue.tremblay@yahoo.com. He is the author of the book, “The Code for Global Ethics”.

 


Featured Books


Buy The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road
By Cormac McCarthy

A nightmarish, yet poetically written tale of a father and son and their brutal trek to survive in a post-apocalyptic America.


Buy Last Words: A Memoir by George Carlin

Last Words: A Memoir
By George Carlin with Tony Hendra

Master comedian/satirist George Carlin takes us on a wild ride as he recounts his turbulent life and ground-breaking career with great candor and trademark humor.


Buy The Assassination of Julius Caesar by Michael Parenti

The Assassination of
Julius Caesar

By Michael Parenti

Award-winning author and scholar examines ancient Roman history from a populist viewpoint, arguing that Caesar was assassinated for being a champion
of the people.

A bone-chilling political
morality fable…

— Midwest Book Review

Buy Sunshine Assassins by John F. Miglio

Sunshine Assassins
By John F. Miglio
(Fiction)
Controversial political thriller about a band of democratic rebels and their attempt to overthrow the corporate fascist shadow government in the USA…Read Reviews

John F. Miglio is available for all types of speaking engagements. For information, click here

Bestsellers











Links For Progressive Publications & Organizations

• PEN.org: “An association of writers working to advance literature, defend free expression, and foster international literary fellowship.”• TruthDig.com: “Hard-hitting investigative journalism.”

• MoveOn.org: Influential democracy in action group

• The Nation.com: “Unconventional wisdom since 1865.”

• Op/EdNews.com: “Progressive news and essays.”

• Air America Radio: “Unabashed liberal talk radio and humor.”

• Counterpunch: Hard-hitting alternative news and essays

• Buzzflash.com: Headlines and stories from dozens of alternative publications

• Democracy Now!: Complete and comprehensive presentation of alternative news and analysis with Amy Goodman leading the charge.

• Brad Blog: Up-to-date progressive news & opinions.

• Radio Power Network: Listener supported, independent radio streaming progressive music and culture from around the world.

• NPR.org: National listener supported news and information.

• Pacifica Radio: Listener-sponsored radio featuring alternative news and community service.

• From the Wilderness: Radical alternative news and essays

• Tom Paine.com: Alternative news and essays

• Mother Jones.com: Alternative and environmental news

• Liberalism Resurgent: Wealth of information on liberalism & politics

• The Foundation for Taxpayers & Consumer Rights: Loads of information about social and consumer issues

• TvNewsLies.org: A compendium of TV news lies

• In the Spotlight: Unsettling information about the voting process in America

• The Rest of Story: Alternative news on the media

• Judicial Watch: Legal watchdog information

• The Center for Public Integrity: Public service journalism

• PFAW.org: People for the American Way

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *