Thursday, 25 May 2017

Trump Plan to Cut Trillions of Dollars from Social Programmes Defended

US budget director Mick Mulvaney has defended plans to cut trillions of dollars from social programmes over the next decade.

He says President Donald Trump's proposals are morally justified and will increase economic growth.

The US government plans to boost spending on the military, but will impose significant cuts in other areas, including food stamps, medical care and education.

Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher reports from Washington, DC.

First Amazon Store Opens in New York City

May. 25, 2017 - 2:12 - Tracee Carrasco reports for 'America's News HQ'

Bitcoin Explained and Made Simple | Guardian Animations

Baffled by bitcoin? Confused by the concept of crypto-currencies? Well, fear no more. In 190 seconds we explain what bitcoin actually is, where the idea came from and the impact it's having around the world. Is bitcoin the future of finance, a potential destroyer of the economy ... or just a silly slice of technical utopianism?

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

George Halvorson Interview with Cenk Uygur on The Young Turks

Cenk Uygur (host of The Young Turks) interviews George Halvorson. George is the former CEO of Kaiser Permanente who has written nine books on the topic of health care reform including his most recent, “Ending Racial, Ethnic and Cultural Disparities in American Health Care.”

Press Conference on Trump's Budget

Senator Bernie Sanders, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, Congressman John Yarmuth, ranking member of the House Budget Committee, and Democratic Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi hold a press conference to respond to the release of the Trump budget.

Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Trump's Budget Takes a Sledgehammer to What Remains of the American Dream

The Trump administration unveiled its $4.1 trillion budget Tuesday. The plan includes massive cuts to social programs, while calling for historic increases in military spending. The budget proposes slashing $800 billion from Medicaid, nearly $200 billion from nutritional assistance programs, such as food stamps and Meals on Wheels, and more than $72 billion from disability benefits. The plan would also completely eliminate some student loan programs. It would ban undocumented immigrants from receiving support through some programs for families with children, including the child care tax credit. The budget also calls for an historic 10 percent increase in military spending and another $2.6 billion to further militarize the U.S.-Mexico border, including $1.6 billion to build Trump’s border wall. For more, we speak with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Lord Heseltine on Brexit Day: 'We've Lost Power and Influence' – BBC Newsnight

"It's the day in which Britain lost more power and influence than in any other day of my peacetime life.” Lord Heseltine speaks to Emily Maitlis on the day Article 50 was triggered - starting the process of the UK leaving the EU.

Heseltine on Brexit: 'The British People Have Been Sold a Deceitful Pup' - BBC Newsnight (June 2016)

Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine tells Evan Davis that British people were misled by Brexit campaigners, and that - regardless of whether he becomes prime minister - Boris Johnson should be put in charge of negotiations with the EU because "he got us into this mess". He argues there should either be either a second referendum or a general election to make sure the “will of the people” is met.

Trump will Hilfe für arme Amerikaner radikal kürzen

DIE PRESSE: 800 Milliarden Dollar will der US-Präsident mit Einschnitten bei der staatlichen Krankenversicherung für Arme und Behinderte einsparen - während seine Tochter in Riad Millionenspenden an Land zieht.

US-Präsident Donald Trump verordnet dem amerikanischen Staat eine radikale Rosskur bei Sozialausgaben - zu Gunsten der Verteidigungsausgaben: Er plant Einschnitte bei der staatlichen Krankenversicherung für Arme und Behinderte. Für das entsprechende Programm Medicaid seien Kürzungen vorgesehen, berichtete die "Washington Post" am Sonntag. Das Präsidialamt äußerte sich zunächst nicht zu dem Bericht. Trumps Haushaltsvorschläge sollen am Dienstag vorgestellt werden. » | APA/dpa/Reuters | Montag, 22. Mai 2017

Brexit: Will UK Banks Move Abroad? - BBC Newsnight

Adam Parsons has been looking at the consequences of Brexit on finance companies in the UK, and investigates whether some companies may move abroad.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Why Solar Bankruptcies Soar Despite Growth and Subsidies

DANIEL LACALLE: SunEdison, Sungevity, Suniva, Beamreach, Verengo Solar … and now another giant, Solarworld. Solar bankruptcies keep growing. The case of Suniva, for example, is amazing. It announced its bankruptcy just after receiving millions in subsidies.

Bankruptcies in the solar sector already surpass all those of inefficient coal and fracking companies combined. The interesting thing is that this domino of bankruptcies, which accumulates more than 120 corpses of large companies around the world, is self-inflicted.

It is not due of lack of growth. Solar installations soared by 50% in 2016, with annual growth at 76 GW. Do you know the famous curse that says “if you run you hurt, if you walk, it hurts you more and if you stop, you die”? That, dear friends, is what happens to much of the solar sector.

It’s ironic: A sector that brags of how much it has lowered costs and how competitive it is, and at the same time blames its bankruptcy domino on low prices. A huge drop generated by excess capacity – over 40% despite exponential growth – and, with it, the need for operators to generate any cash and sell at lower and lower prices. The curse of the sector has been its own growth:

Death by working capital. Huge expansion plans and new capacity to meet a demand that has grown exponentially, but not enough to cover the pace of productive capacity growth. Cheap money and juicy subsidies justified a business model that was far from being an energy model, but closer to a builder-developer one: Over-indebted, dependent on subsidies and unable to absorb overcapacity and compete with its own price cuts.

With costs falling, many companies are economically unviable and if the price decline were reversed, they would be unviable as well. If the prices of the panels went up to stop bankruptcies, the mantra that solar is competitive with other energies would disappear in one minute. Any of the companies mentioned in the first paragraph of this article would have needed price increases in their products of more than 50% only to stop burning cash, let alone make money. Born from a bubble, dead by a bubble.

The reality is simple. If a technology is viable, it does not need subsidies. If it is unviable, no subsidy will change it.

The efficient companies will survive and absorb the weak, but let us not blame the collapse on a lack of environmental commitment or support, when it is an evident case of massive leverage and fraud, hiding debt off-balance-sheet and giving overly optimistic estimates to “inflate” share prices.

The problem is that an important part of the solar sector still thinks that the problem is that they are not “supported” enough or that governments have to subsidize more their business for a “greater good” at any cost to the consumer. A proof that it is not a problem of support or growth, is that the list of bankruptcies has risen after debt restructurings, capital increases, interest rate cuts, massive liquidity injections, and spectacular growth.

If a solar -or any- company goes bankrupt in an environment of huge subsidies, spectacular growth, low-interest rates and high liquidity, it is not a case of a mistake, it was a bomb about to explode.

That is why we may see more bankruptcies in the face of greater growth. Because the wrong model of overcapacity, high debt, dependence on subsidies and inefficiency is being perpetuated. And that is not attacking a technology. Do not mistake technology and environmental commitment with indebted and inefficient businesses.While the wind sector works with an industrial energy model, in the solar subsector the constructor-promoter model still exists, and this will not be solved by a climate summit or 50GW more in annual installations.

Some solar companies have learned to manage a realistic model, partly thanks to venture capital funds and outside companies who have bought what was left of the disaster created by engineers who ignored working capital and debt.

Finally, sanity is starting to prevail with real industrial energy models, less or no debt and managing inventories as entrepreneurs. But the problem is the same, if costs continue to fall due to competition, inefficient firms will continue to fall, and if costs rise, the technology will not be competitive. The devil’s curse.

Disruptive technologies cannot be based on inflationary models, because their own development attacks price inflation – in electricity prices, in asset valuations – and therefore companies cannot be leveraged as if they were regulated utilities.

A disruptive technology can only succeed if it understands its function, which is to reduce costs and energy intensity (in this case). If the solar sector is based on an over-indebted constructor-developer model, it loses its role of innovation and competitiveness to become rent-seekers, precisely what they criticize of the incumbents.

There is life in solar energy. If companies die, no one will be to blame but themselves. | Daniel Lacalle | Friday, May, 19, 2017

© Daniel Lacalle

All Rights Reserved

Daniel Lacalle has a PhD in Economics and is author of “Escape from the Central Bank Trap”, “Life In The Financial Markets” and “The Energy World Is Flat” (Wiley)

You can comment on this article at Dr Daniel Lacalle’s website here

Greek Government Trades Austerity for Bailout, Again

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Can We Have Our Brexit Cake and Eat It? - BBC Newsnight

Newsnight is the BBC's flagship news and current affairs TV On the day Article 50 was triggered, Kate Hoey, Billie JD Porter, Max Hastings and Trevor Kavanagh join Emily to discuss what’s next.