00:46 GMT26 May 2020
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    As the US struggles to reopen its economy, US President Donald Trump has predicted the country will enjoy “incredibly strong” fourth-quarter growth following the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic. However, one expert tells Sputnik that the federal government is living in a fantasy while being funded by its current nemesis.

    Richard Wolff, professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, founder Democracy at Work and author of “Understanding Socialism,” joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Tuesday to discuss the US economy and peel back the facade that is covering the country’s fattening debt.

    “Only in America is there some ambiguity” regarding whether or not the US has “lost its global economic clout,” Wolff argued to hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. “Everybody else sees it, and that’s what Trump represents to the rest of the world: the flailing around of a declining empire.”

    “This gladly developing overloaded debt - that’s a signal to everybody that something is amiss,” he stated. “By itself? No. But together, with other signs, it is a very dangerous thing to be running up debt the way we are in this country, at this point.”

    The professor argued that instead, the US government should tax wealthy individuals and big corporations to a higher degree. “If the government did that, then it wouldn’t have to borrow,” he contended.

    Wolff explained that when wealthy individuals and large corporations are not taxed appropriately or receive big tax cuts, like those granted through the GOP tax bill in December 2017, they then take the money they saved and “lend it to the same government,” which has to pay it back with interest.

    Running deficits may be good for the rich, he stated, but “it’s terrible for the economy as a whole.”

    Wolff highlighted that this type of behavior that benefits the wealthy at the expense of the economy “is typical for the ends of empire, and it’s the kind of behavior that ends up coming and biting the rich and the corporations right in the rear end, because their greed took them beyond what the situation makes reasonable.”

    The professor also pointed out that the People Republic of China is currently the biggest creditor to the US. This means that a portion of taxes paid to the federal government by American citizens is sent to China to cover debts owed by Washington.

    “The same government that is bashed by Trump and most Republicans and Democrats, as a matter of daily political sport, is funded by those same people and has been for decades,” he said.

    However, when Trump was asked on April 30 whether he would cancel Washington’s debt obligations to Beijing as a retaliatory measure for its purported failure to contain the novel coronavirus within the city Wuhan, he instead floated the idea of slapping China with additional tariffs.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Wuhan, Beijing, China, public health, coronavirus, COVID-19, economy, Richard Wolff
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