Tag Archives: economics

Strange Machinations

InvestMy Comments:There is an old adage about stock prices being a function of earnings, earnings, earnings. It’s similar to the adage about real estate prices being a function of location, location and location. You and I know there are other variables, but how to identify and quantify those variables is another matter.

Perhaps you’ve noticed a lot of pricing volatility in the world these days. This means there is more uncertainty than usual about stock prices, about interest rates, and about which countries across the world should be included in your mix of investments. As a result, the perception of risk, both for the short term and the long term plays a role in what you do today and your expectations. It also matters what you mean when you say “short term” and “long term”. (I once knew someone who traded stock positions daily across the world based on currency values. For him, a “long term” position was about 3 days!)

by Scott Minerd, Guggenheim Partners on May 15, 2015

What to make of markets that are no longer on speaking terms with their fundamentals.

I can’t recall in my career where I had such an accurate forecast on the economy, and then was so surprised by the market’s reaction. Weeks before first-quarter U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) was announced, we were forecasting extremely weak economic growth—near zero or even negative for the quarter. Market consensus was 1 percent, so the shock of just 0.2 percent GDP growth should have driven rates down. Since 2010, GDP disappointments like this have led 10-year Treasury yields to fall by 5.5 basis points on average in the two days following the release. This time around, the opposite occurred—yields rose by double that, and continued to rise.

Many have speculated about what caused this selloff because it was so out of line with what one would expect following a surprisingly weak GDP print. I think the reason had more to do with what was happening in Europe than what was going on in the U.S. economy. European bond market volatility has been extreme. The yield on the German bund has gone from a low of 8 basis points on April 20 to around 70 this week, a move of over 800 percent (by the way, if you purchased a bund at the bottom in yields, it would hypothetically take 65 years’ worth of yield to erase such losses). Violent convulsions like these are not based on fundamental changes but relate to technical factors resulting from market distortions created by quantitative easing and macroprudential policy. Similarly, the backup in U.S. rates is likely a result of market machinations. Call it a volatility overflow from Europe.

Ultimately, all of this unusual market behavior should prove to be just noise. We are likely to continue down the road we’ve been on, with a flood of liquidity coming into the system as foreign investors pursue relatively attractive yields in the United States. The reality though is that Europe cannot abort its quantitative easing program early. In fact, I expect the European Central Bank will soon confirm that it will stay the course until September 2016 as it seeks to calm the nerves of the market.

For the moment, given the rise in interest rates that we’ve had, the market has discounted a fair amount of risk and has repriced for that. On balance, we’re better positioned today in terms of value than we were two or three weeks ago. The risk-on trade remains intact, despite recent market irrationality, and the sensible reaction is to remain long equities and credit.

In equities, the old adage “Sell in May and go away” usually has a high statistical significance of working. This year, it may not. Since 1980, the average U.S. equity return through this point in the year is nearly 5 percent. So far, however, performance has been sluggish, with the market up just 3 percent. This may mean there is headroom for stocks heading into the summer months. This view is reinforced by the fact that stocks have historically performed well in the period leading up to the first Federal Reserve rate hike. The S&P 500 has historically gained on average more than 9 percent in the five months prior to tightening by the Fed, which I continue to believe will commence in September.

A Bumper Sticker World

My Comments: A conversation last week with an attorney friend again revealed a world which is far more complicated today than seemed possible just a few short years ago. An expert in family law, he said tens of thousands of new laws have entered the books across these United States in the last three decades. It’s impossible to know the rules we are subjected to as we travel from one state to another. What is OK in Florida may not be OK in Tennessee.

So I understand the frustration of many who argue in favor of a simpler time. Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen. My solution is to stop worrying about what might have been and instead focus on what might be. That demands some creative thinking and a semblance of recognition about what today really looks like, who the stakeholders are and what steps to take to improve the chances my grandchildren have going forward.

For me, the first step is a willingness to step outside my comfort zone. How far are you willing to step?

Philip Stephens April 23, 2015

It is easier to say that Obama never gets it right than to come up with an alternative strategy.

On one thing everyone lining up for next year’s US presidential race can agree. Barack Obama has led from behind on the global stage. The president has been shy about deploying US might, accommodating of adversaries and reticent about standing up for allies. His successor in the White House, we are to believe, will restore America’s global prestige by standing up to China, facing down Russia and sorting out the Middle East.

An old friend in Washington, a foreign policy veteran of the Reagan administration, calls this a “bumper sticker” view of the world. He is right.

The chatter in an already crowded Republican field is that 2016 will be a “foreign policy election”. Republicans fear that a buoyant economy will narrow the range of domestic targets. National security offers obvious opportunities. The march across Syria and Iraq of the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has revived fears of new attacks on the US. Mr. Obama’s proposed deal with Iran falls short of the scrapping of Tehran’s nuclear program. Russia’s Vladimir Putin is menacing America’s European allies.

The 2016 hopefuls are as hawkish as they are inexperienced in foreign affairs. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker and the rest all promise to be tough-guy presidents. Even Rand Paul, who once flirted with isolationism, has hardened up the rhetoric. Mr. Bush blames Mr. Obama’s hesitations for the rise of Isis. Mr. Rubio, who marches under the old neoconservative standard of “a new American Century”, would slam the door again on Cuba. They are all against the nuclear deal with Iran.

Republican hawks are not alone. Hillary Clinton served as Mr. Obama’s secretary of state. Now she is running for the office he denied her in 2008. Admirers say she too would be more robust. Had she not argued for arming moderate Syrian rebels and for a reset of the reset with Moscow when Mr. Putin started throwing his weight around? Were she to set a “red line” there would be real consequences for those who crossed it. Mrs. Clinton, of course, is under attack from Republicans for the deaths of US diplomats in Benghazi. All the more reason to show her mettle.

Some of the criticisms of Mr. Obama’s approach to global affairs have a point. Most of them miss a bigger one.

In one respect, to say that the president has often been reluctant to throw America’s weight around is simply to describe the circumstance of his election in 2008. He inherited two wars — in Iraq and Afghanistan — and the US was losing both of them. George W Bush had tested to destruction the notion that American military power could remake the Middle East. Mr. Obama’s task was to get the troops home.

The charge against the president that half-sticks is that the imperative to end these military entanglements has encouraged him to be overcautious elsewhere. Officials who have served in the administration say he is slow to weigh the costs of inaction. Power is about perception as well as economic strength and military hardware. It is one thing to draw a tighter definition of America’s national interests; another to forget that if the US steps back in one part of the world, allies and enemies elsewhere draw their own conclusions.

The impact of Mr. Obama’s decision to allow Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to cross a red line was felt as much in east Asia as in the Middle East. China’s new assertiveness in the East and South China seas has been grounded in a calculation that the White House wants to avoid confrontation.

It is easier to say that Mr. Obama has never got it right than to come up with a strategy to tilt the balance back in the other direction. Risk-taking is not just about military force. The diplomacy with Iran has been bold. Save in the dreams of diehard neoconservatives, the US lacks the resources and political will for “generational projects” to transform the Middle East.

The Republican contenders do not want to admit that, relatively speaking, the US is weaker. You do not have to be a US declinist to observe the rising economic and military weight of China, India and others. Nor, with the end of the cold war, can foreign policy be framed as a simple fight between good and evil. Not so long ago, Republicans were talking about Islamic State as the big threat. Now the danger comes from Iran. And yet Tehran is a fierce enemy of the jihadis.

The neat lines drawn by the contest with communism have disappeared. The new international disorder is being defined at once by the return of great power rivalry — think of China and Russia — and, paradoxically, by the collapse of the post-imperial state system in the Middle East. The US remains the most powerful nation but, on its own, it is insufficient.

The case for Mr. Obama is that in seeking to deploy economic and diplomatic power, and to leverage US influence through multinational coalitions, he has recognized the complexities of this new landscape. The case against is that he has sometimes gone too far in drawing the limits of US power.

What has been missing is an overarching framework — a set of principles clear and practical enough to deter adversaries and to reassure allies. A grand strategy, in other words, that balances ambition and realism. Republicans used to have a reputation for such thinking. Now they prefer bumper stickers.

The Left Is So Wrong On Trade

flag USMy Comments: When I first heard about the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and understood the broad outlines of the idea, I had no problem with it. Then along came Robert Reich, someone whose intellect I respect, saying it was terrible and should be scuttled. So I started looking a little closer, mindful I didn’t have access to the actual language.

The issue has now given the GOP another imaginary arrow to put down the White House. To my mind, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are a breath of fresh air, but are pandering to their base just like Ted Cruz is pandering to his base. I’ve concluded, as an economist and financial professional, that it will be, on balance, a good thing. Does it have flaws? Most certainly. Should they be fixed? Maybe.

The 21st Century is evolving rapidly, and there will be unintended consequences, but to argue that not advancing the TPP will somehow miraculously result in jobs returning the US is nuts. Maybe some CEOs will make hundreds of millions; so what? My professional gut tells me the left has overlooked the benefits and the real chance to boost economic growth in this country, in a way that has to happen. They are just as fixated on their personal bias as are those on the right.

May 14, 2015 / Froma Harrop

The left’s success in denying President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership is ugly to behold. The case put forth by a showboating Sen. Elizabeth Warren — that Obama cannot be trusted to make a deal in the interests of American workers — is almost worse than wrong. It is irrelevant.

The Senate Democrats who turned on Obama are playing a 78 rpm record in the age of digital downloads.

Did you hear their ally, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka, the day after the Senate vote? He denounced TPP for being “patterned after CAFTA and NAFTA.” That’s not so, but never mind.

There’s this skip on the vinyl record that the North American Free Trade Agreement destroyed American manufacturing. To see how wrong that is, simply walk through any Walmart or Target and look for all those “made in Mexico” labels. You won’t find many. But you’ll see “made in China” everywhere.

Many of the jobs that did go to Mexico would have otherwise left for low-wage Asian countries. Even Mexico lost manufacturing work to China.

And what can you say about the close-to-insane obsession with CAFTA? The partners in the 2005 Central American Free Trade Agreement — five mostly impoverished Central American countries plus the Dominican Republic — had a combined economy equal to that of New Haven, Connecticut.

(By the way, less than 10 percent of the AFL-CIO’s membership is now in manufacturing.)

It’s undeniable that American manufacturing workers have suffered terrible job losses. We could never compete with pennies-an-hour wages. Those low-skilled jobs are not coming back. But we have other things to sell in the global marketplace.

In Washington state, for example, exports of everything from apples to airplanes have soared 40 percent over four years, to total nearly $91 billion in 2014, according to The Seattle Times. About 2 in 5 jobs there are now tied to trade.

Small wonder that Sen. Ron Wyden, a liberal Democrat from neighboring Oregon, has strongly supported fast-track authority.

Some liberals oddly complain that American efforts to strengthen intellectual property laws in trade deals protect the profits of U.S. entertainment and tech companies. What’s wrong with that? Should the fruits of America’s creativity (that’s labor, too) be open to plundering and piracy?

One of TPP’s main goals is to help the higher-wage partners compete with China. (The 12 countries taking part include the likes of Japan, Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, and New Zealand.) In any case, Congress would get to vote the finished product up or down, so it isn’t as if the public wouldn’t get a say.

But then we have Warren stating with a straight face that handing negotiating authority to Obama would “give Republicans the very tool they need to dismantle Dodd-Frank.”

Huh? Obama swatted down the remark as wild, hypothetical speculation, noting he engaged in a “massive” fight with Wall Street to get the reforms passed. “And then I sign a provision that would unravel it?” he told political writer Matt Bai.

“This is not a partisan issue,” Warren insisted. Yes, in a twisted way, the hard left’s fixation over big corporations has joined the right’s determination to undermine Obama at every pass.

Trade agreements have a thousand moving parts. The U.S. can’t negotiate with the other countries if various domestic interests are pouncing on the details. That’s why every president has been given fast-track authority over the past 80 years or so.

Except Obama.

It sure is hard to be an intelligent leader in this country.

David Cameron’s ‘Little England’ is a Myth

My Thoughts: As you know, I have a bias toward England and a bias away from right wing politics. The re-election of Cameron as Prime Minister at first caused me to envision woe and gloom as the next few years rolled by. It still may, but harsh reality from time to time results in a shift toward rational thinking. I hope this proves to be the case for the land of my birth.

Gideon Rachman May 11, 2015

When Angela Merkel won re-election in 2013, the outside world saw her success as a sign that things were going well in Germany. But David Cameron’s decisive victory in the UK’s election last week is receiving a much more sceptical press overseas. A Washington Post headline proclaimed: “Election may set Britain on a path to becoming Little England”. A New York Times columnist upped the ante by announcing: “The Suicide of Britain”.

Many Europeans, meanwhile, are incredulous and angry that the new Cameron government is now certain to hold a referendum on whether Britain should leave the EU. And the surge of the Scottish National party, and the potential implications for the unity of Britain, is attracting attention across the world.

As one Indian analyst harrumphed to me: “How can the UK still claim to be a major power, when the country is on the brink of falling apart?”

Some British leftwingers share this disillusionment, interpreting their side’s electoral defeat as a sure sign of a deep national malaise. The argument that the UK election has revealed a badly troubled country is easy to make. But it is also wrong.

Of course, a British exit from the EU (Brexit) and a Scottish exit from Britain (Scexit?) are both possibilities. But it is much more likely that in five years’ time, when this new government leaves office, the United Kingdom will still be a united country and will still be a member of the EU. The UK will also continue to be one of the most outward-looking countries in the world and is likely to remain among the fastest-growing economies in the west.

The EU referendum to which Mr Cameron is now committed is certainly a mighty gamble, and one that he has taken largely to appease his own party. The renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership is unlikely to yield more than a fig leaf to allow the government to campaign to stay in the EU.

The strong likelihood is that the Brits will then vote to stay in Europe. There have been four opinion polls on the subject in the past month and they have all shown big majorities for remaining a member of the EU.

Of course, the tortuous process of renegotiation, further chaos in the eurozone, and the referendum campaign itself, could all change minds. Some analysts point out that, in recent years, referendums on the EU have been unexpectedly lost in countries such as France, Ireland and the Netherlands. But those were all decisions on changes to European treaties, which limited the risk of a protest vote. Brexit would be a much more fundamental choice — and the Brits are unlikely to take the risk.

If Britain votes to remain a member of the EU, that will remove a potential trigger that the SNP might pull: to demand another referendum on independence for Scotland.

Last week’s general election results, in which the SNP won all but three of Scotland’s 59 seats, has created the impression of an irresistible surge of support for independence. But, even now, only about half of Scots actually voted for the party.

Expressing nationalist sentiment in a general election is a risk-free way of venting emotion. Voting for independence would be quite another matter since it would raise — once again — difficult questions about currency unions and tax revenues.

The economic case for an independent Scotland has, in fact, taken a bad blow in the past year as the oil price has plunged. Such tiresome considerations would come back into focus, if and when Scots were asked to vote for independence. In the next five years, some of the gloss is also likely to come off the SNP since all dominant parties eventually generate an opposition.

One legitimate foreign anxiety about the UK is that, even if the country does not actually break up, it is likely to go through a period of acute introspection as it tackles difficult questions about national identity, the constitution and economic austerity.

The notion, common in Washington, that Mr Cameron’s Britain is a smaller actor on the world political stage is hard to argue with. The House of Commons vote in 2013 to reject military action in Syria increasingly looks like the moment when Britain decided that it was going to turn in its deputy sheriff’s badge and leave the US to play the role of world policeman alone. The Iraq and Afghan wars have sapped Britain’s will for foreign wars and that is reflected in declining defence budgets.

But a willingness to drop bombs on the Middle East is not the only measure of internationalism. And the idea that Mr Cameron’s Britain is turning into a sleepy and cramped Little England is very wide of the mark.

London is now probably the most globalised city in the world. Some 37 per cent of its residents were born overseas. It is a hub for finance, transport, culture, tourism and a host of other industries. And while London is a unique place, Britain as a whole remains a trading nation by instinct, and a magnet for people and capital from all over the world.

Politics may be pushing the country to look inwards. But the more powerful social, technological, demographic and economic forces will continue to put Mr Cameron’s Britain at the forefront of globalisation.

Luddites Fear Humanity Will Make Short Work of Finite Wants

LudditesMy Comments: A conversation yesterday with a good friend resulted from her comment about the absurdity of Obamas’ suggestion that college education should be free for all students. Mindful that some of them will not qualify, and some will not want a college education, I argued that it was a great idea, that many employers today cannot find workers with the skills necessary to get the work done. Rather than stifle employment, a free track to acquire additional skills will, in my judgment, result in a net economic gain for all of us.

Walter Isaacson / March 3, 2015 / The Financial Times

If new technologies really cut jobs, we would all be out of work by now, writes Walter Isaacson

Ada, Countess of Lovelace and Charles Babbage understood the potential of technological innovation.

Lord Byron was a Luddite. The Romantic poet’s only speech in the House of Lords defended the followers of Ned Ludd, who were smashing the mechanical looms in England during the early 1800s because they feared the machines would put people out of work. Back then, some believed that technology would create unemployment. They were wrong. The industrial revolution made England richer and increased the total number of people in work, including in the fabric and clothing industries.

Byron’s daughter Ada, Countess of Lovelace, was more prescient. On a trip through the English Midlands, she admired how punch cards instructed the looms to produce beautiful patterns, and envisaged how such cards could enable the numerical calculator being designed by her friend Charles Babbage to process not just numbers but words, music, patterns and anything else that could be encoded in symbols — a computer, in other words.

Today’s pessimists predict that these computers will put people out of work. These latter-day Luddites are also wrong. Technology can be disruptive. It can eliminate jobs, from weavers to buggy-whip makers. But 200 years of data show it improves productivity and increases wealth, leading to more demand and new types of jobs.

Take those mechanical looms. They were invented just after 1800 by Joseph Marie Jacquard in Lyon. Did that end up reducing employment in the textile industry in eastern France? No. Two centuries later, Lyon is Europe’s top centre for high-tech textiles. The city is the home of the Textile and Chemical Institute, 40 labs and schools, 140 companies and 10,000 textile jobs. Nor did the machines destroy employment in England, as Lord Byron feared.

The combination of computers and the internet began transforming our economy decades ago. The “app economy” is the latest example. It began in 2008 when Steve Jobs yielded to the advice of his team at Apple and decided to let outside developers create apps for the iPhone. The global app economy last year was worth $100bn, more than the film industry. This is an industry that did not exist seven years ago.

Apps and other advances in technology have helped create new forms of work, such as the “sharing economy” in which enterprising folks can rent out rooms on Airbnb and provide rides on Uber and Lyft. Likewise, online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay have recreated the kind of artisanal cottage industry that existed in the pre-industrial age. If you have a good recipe or can make a cool product or service, you can find customers. If you create a book or song, you now have ways to self-publish and distribute. If you dream up a new specialism — ethical hacker, pet psychologist, nutrition coach? — you have a chance of finding takers. More than 600,000 people nowadays earn a living by selling on Amazon and eBay.

If new technologies reduced the total number of jobs, we would all be out of work by now. But times of technological advance have been times of job creation. Last year, as whole new waves of robotic systems were introduced, the US added 3m jobs. The unemployment rate hit a six-year low, and average hourly earnings for private sector workers rose.

Be wary of those who lament the demise of jobs for checkout clerks and meter readers, as if preserving such jobs will lead to a healthier economy. This Luddite fallacy is based on a presumption that there is only a set amount of goods and services people want. If technology permits those things to be produced more efficiently, Luddites argue, there will be less work to do. In reality, technology leads to an increase in productivity and wealth. That in turn leads to increased demand for goods and services and thus more jobs, including ones in fields we can barely imagine.

The writer is chief executive of the Aspen Institute and author of ‘The Innovators

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/9e9b7134-c1a0-11e4-bd24-00144feab7de.html#axzz3TRNNs64q

Florida and Federal Money for Florida Citizens

health-is-wealthMy Comments: You may have read about this already. Or some version of it. I’m really not a fan of Rick Scott; I see him as a shill for the hospital industry who got himself elected governor. His ethics, values and focus are not consistent with mine. This was written by a Joan McCarter and appeared Wednesday, May 6th on an internet news feed I follow.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is continuing his bizarre quest to get one kind of federal money because he doesn’t want any money that might have anything to do with Obamacare. So he’s not worried about federal government overreach, he’s worried about Obamacare cooties. He’s filed a lawsuit against the feds that will cost his state who knows how much money and on Wednesday traveled to Washington to meet with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to try to convince her to give him the non-Obamacare money.

The governor wants the administration to extend $1 billion in low-income pool funds for hospitals that treat uninsured and Medicaid patients and the federal government wants Florida to expand Medicaid so more people have insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Eight other states, including Texas, also receive the hospital funds and are closely watching the standoff between Florida and the federal government. Florida’s funds are the first to expire on June 30th.

In some of his harshest comments yet, Scott criticized the agency for not giving an answer and essentially blowing apart budget talks.

“Before the session, HHS knew our budget timeline and they did not act to keep the LIP program,” Scott said.

And before the session, Scott and the legislature knew that the LIP program was going to be cancelled in Florida—they were informed of that decision a year ago. If anybody has blown the budget talks apart, it’s Scott and House Republicans—backed by the Koch brothers—who have refused to consider the solution the state’s Republican Senate agreed upon, which is Medicaid expansion. For months, Scott sat out the debate. Then a few weeks ago he decided he had changed his mind about Medicaid expansion (he said he was for it when he was running for re-election last year) and became not just opposed to it, but unhinged about it.

Scott came out of the meeting talking tough. “I told her that we need federal action right now. The low-income families in our state cannot wait on the federal government any longer.” One hopes that Burwell replied that they’d already been waiting far too long for Medicaid.

Scott’s plea didn’t work.

Burwell said in a statement that Florida’s request for the $2.2 billion in federal funding “falls short of the key principles HHS will use in considering proposals regarding uncompensated care pool programs, and the size of the proposed LIP [Low Income Pool] appears larger than what matches the principles.”

She added that the LIP funding was not tied in any way to the state’s decision to not expand Medicaid. What she left unsaid was that it’s not her job to bail the state of Florida out of a budget crisis they made for themselves by rejecting the expansion.

Public and Private Morality

rolling-diceMy Thoughts: I read this morning that there are now about 16 candidates from the right whose names are more or less officially in play for the Presidency in 2016. One of the defining characteristics of most of them is their focus on morality, theirs, mine and ours.

After reading these comments from Robert Reich, I now understand the need for a distinction between private morality and public morality. These two elements are not mutually exclusive, but quite different. As society evolved from roving bands of humans over the millennia, rules emerged that we define as moral rules, rules that support the survival of both individuals and the groups to which they belong.

In economics, we think of it as macro economic theory and micro economic theory. They tend to overlap but they are distinctly different. I suspect the same framework applies to questions about morality. I’m ok if the GOP candidates focus their energies on issues related to public morality, but I get annoyed when they attempt to impose their private morality issues on the rest of us. Or simply have no clue that there is a difference.

I’m not ready to endorse the elements below which are specific to Reich’s thoughts about public morality, but they are a better starting point for me than, say, Mike Huckabee’s.

By Robert Reich – May 3, 2015

THE THREE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC MORALITY.

I’m glad Bernie Sanders is describing America’s surging inequality as “a profound moral issue.” He’s right. For too many years, Democratic candidates have provided lists of policies while Republicans talk about morality. But Republican morality is about private personal decisions – to marry a gay partner, to have an abortion, to pray or seek redemption.

Democrats must talk about three fundamental principles of public morality that give context and meaning to key policies.

1. No American who works full time should be in poverty, nor should their families. This is why the minimum wage should be raised to $15 an hour, why the Earned Income Tax Credit should be expanded, why labor unions should be strengthened and expanded, and why we need a minimum basic income for all.

2. All Americans should be able to make the most of their intrinsic talents and abilities. This is why every child should have early-childhood education, free pre-K, a world-class K-12 school, and free access to public higher education. It’s also why all workers must be able to upgrade their skills throughout their lifetimes — with unemployment insurance linked to job training. And why all companies must devote at least 2% of their earnings to upgrading the skills of their hourly workers.

3. America must not have a privileged aristocracy. This is why the estate tax must be raised on inherited wealth at the top, why CEO pay over $1 million shouldn’t be deductible from corporate income taxes, why the biggest Wall Street banks must be must be busted up, and why the monopolies and oligopolies that dominate Big Oil, Big Pharma, military contractors, Internet Service Providers, Big Agriculture must be broken up as well. It’s also why we must get big money out of our politics.

These are not just economically sensible ideas. They are moral imperatives.

What do you think?