Specifically, What Should Be Done for Jobs?

Alan Greenspan cartoon

It would be hard to get a new stimulus package through Congress, but no member who’s up for reelection next year when unemployment is likely to be in double digits wants to be accused by rivals of voting against steps to help small businesses, public schools, childrens’ health, and average working people who need a tax cut.

The Continuing Disaster of Wall Street, One Year Later

Zombie-Bankers

Let’s be clear: Wall Street today is up to the same tricks it was playing before its near-death experience: Derivatives, derivatives of derivatives, fancy-dance trading schemes, high-risk bets. “Our model really never changed, we’ve said very consistently that our business model remained the same,” says Goldman Sach’s chief financial officer.

Don’t Succumb to Deficit Hysteria

red-ink

The only item worth looking at is the part of the report that predicts the government will have nearly a $1.6 trillion deficit in the fiscal year that ends this September 30 — but not because that number is alarmingly large. It strikes me as alarmingly small.

The New Volt and an Old Nash Rambler

1956_Nash_Rambler

American Motors and Nash have long-since disappeared. But if the auto industry could build that kind of fuel-efficient, gas-powered engine in the 1950s, why did it stop and why is the Volt such a big deal?

Goldman’s Back, and Why We Should Be Worried

wall-street

So the fact that Goldman has reverted to its old ways in the market suggests it has every reason to believe it can revert to its old ways in politics, should its market strategies backfire once again — leaving the rest of us once again to pick up the pieces.

Schwarzenegger and the Republicans Cost California $7 Billion

arnold

The California State Senate adjourned at midnight, unable to pass three stopgap bills that would have saved the state $7 billion. To appease Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Democratic leaders of the state legislature hastily drew up the three complicated bills to try to stave off fiscal collapse and the necessity to begin issuing IOUs. All [...]

Schwarzenegger’s Budget Battle II: Another Bad Sequel

arnold

Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared that the test of our nation was “not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger might be married to a Kennedy but his governing philosophy is pure George W. Bush [...]

Does the Obama Plan for Reforming Wall Street Measure Up?

evasive-money

In a word: No. The plan doesn’t stop stop bankers from making huge, risky bets with other peoples’ money. It does increase capital requirements and oversight, but it doesn’t require bankers to take their pay in long-term stock options or warrants, and it doesn’t even hint that banks should go back to being partnerships instead [...]

California Democrats: “Spreading the Pain” from Sacramento

Karen Bass, Darryl Steinberg

When his term mercifully expires next year, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be leaving the Golden State in the worst condition than at any time its history. If Schwarzenegger and his right-wing Republican co-conspirators get their way (as they always seem to do), they’ll gut every social program and educational institution in the state in [...]

The Italian Job: Border Police Seize $134 Billion in US Government Securities

Michael Caine as John Le Carre's George Smiley

Although the story is being widely reported across Europe and Asia, it’s received scant media coverage in the US. AsiaNews along with other major media outlets outside the US are reporting that Italy’s financial police, the Guardia Italiana di Finanza, seized US government bonds worth $134.5 billion from two Japanese nationals at Chiasso, located less [...]

The Three Essentials of Financial Reform

dollar-hand

As the White House unveils its long-awaited proposals to prevent another Wall Street meltdown in the future, keep a lookout for three essentials. Without them the Street will revert to its old ways as soon as the coast clears. In fact, now that the government has bailed out the Street, the biggest banks will take [...]

New Jobless Stats: Still “Less Terrible”? Not for Some

dismal-science

The Lex Column in the Financial Times got it right: “… ‘less down’ is now the new ‘up’ as media watchers search for stabilization in the overall market.” The writer was referring to the world of advertising where some analysts were putting a hopeful spin on revenue that fell 18% over the first three months [...]

The Great Debt Scare: Why Has It Returned?

broken economy

It’s the kind of thing I expect to hear from deficit hawks and chicken littles — from the self-described “fiscally responsible” right, from the scolds Ross Perot and Pete Peterson, from my former cabinet colleague Bob Rubin. But yesterday I was shown slides developed by the putatively liberal Center for American Progress intended to make [...]

“You Are Now the Owner of a Brand New Car (Company)!”

Walter Reuther

We now own a major stake in the largest auto company in the world. With the General Motors Corporation filing the second-largest industrial bankruptcy in world history, the US government has stepped in to take a 60% stake in the company and the autoworkers’ healthcare fund taking ownership of 17.5%. In a reversal of Aesop’s [...]

The Future of Manufacturing, GM, and American Workers (Part III)

Buick assembly line, 1950 (Photos Philip Gendreau)

As president of General Motors when Eisenhower tapped him to become secretary of defense in 1953, “Engine Charlie” Wilson voiced at his Senate confirmation hearing what was then the conventional view. When asked whether he could make a decision in the interest of the US that was adverse to the interest of GM, he said [...]

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