Nationalizing Banks and Industry: Why Capitalists Hate Socialism

worse-depression

The United States has always been a political economy, requiring government regulation of its finance and money markets, and using government stimulation on its labor force. “Free Market” enterprise is based on the notion that open markets and the competition derived from competing ideas for consumer patronage will create a market balance (equilibrium) that will [...]

How About a Student Loan Bailout?

cost-of-college

The education bubble is going to burst. It has to happen. On a daily basis, we hear about the bursting of the housing bubble. Housing values were over inflated. Millions of people found themselves with mortgages they could not afford to pay—whether through hard times and job loss, racial profiling and predatory lending by unscrupulous, [...]

It Is As Bad As The 1930s

mute-poverty

So much for the Republican chant of “stimulus is bad” and “we need a balanced budget.” Nobel Prize winning columnist Paul Krugman points out on his New York Times blog yesterday that the world economy right now is more or less at the point John Maynard Keynes described in his essay The Great Slump of [...]

Blame It All on Unintended Consequences

poverty-dinner

Why do economic downturns catch experts unawares? Even more intriguingly, why do they defy analysis after they’ve happened? Neither economists nor financiers can agree on why the world’s economies are in free fall today. More than 70 years later, there’s still no agreement on what caused the Great Depression. Not even in hindsight does consensus [...]

Why You Should Work for a Hedge Fund

jacuzzi

Just because I lost a big chunk of my total retirement savings over the last year doesn’t mean I should be upset that 25 hedge-fund managers reaped a total of $11.6 billion during the same interval, according to Institutional Investor’s Alpha Magazine — including $2.5 billion for James Simons of Renaissance Technologies and $2 billion [...]

Tenant Foreclosures Highlight Need for Statewide “Just Cause”

robins-nest

With the mortgage crisis leading to mass foreclosures, right-wing pundits are blaming one set of victims – homeowners who got into bad arrangements they couldn’t afford. But what about renters who suddenly lost their homes, because their landlord didn’t pay the mortgage? Unless they live in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Los Angeles or other California [...]

It’s a Depression

good-old-days

The March employment numbers, out this morning, are bleak: 8.5 percent of Americans officially unemployed, 663,000 more jobs lost. But if you include people who are out of work and have given up trying to find a job, the real unemployment rate is 9 percent. And if you include people working part time who’d rather [...]

G-20 Tea with Her Royal Highness; Royal Bank of Scotland Trashed

obama-in-london

When Buddhists praying in the midst of financial district protests becomes news, we’re all in trouble. While the mainstream media focused on giftgate and other gaffes (FLOTUS — aka Michelle Obama as the First Lady of the United States — broke with protocol and shook Her Majesty’s hand without waiting for her to extend it [...]

Don’t Kill the Lawyers — Yet

justice

When asked about why he consented to the payment of the despised AIG bonuses, executive Edward Liddy cited, among other reasons, the threat of litigation. Ending up in Court these days, even when truth is on your side, is as appealing a proposition as eating a sand sandwich while camping in the Sahara. A very [...]

CEOs Golden Parachutes

Golden Parachutes

n 2008, approximately  1,484 CEOs left or were fired from their jobs. But most of them left with hefty severance packages or “Golden Parachutes” which softened the fall for so many of the executives responsible for the financial crisis. General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner stepped down under pressure from the White House.  His Golden Parachute [...]

AIG Bonuses: Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game

jasmyne cannick

I watched this week as the nation’s furor turned towards employees of insurance giant American International Group (A.I.G.) and the $200 million-plus in retention bonus payments recently doled out to executives. Executives, who, as we already know, are largely to blame for their role in A.I.G.’s financial crisis that led to the country’s economic meltdown [...]

AIG and the Undeserving Rich

dry-bones

Charles Blow, the “moderate” who seems to write a lot of words but never takes a clear stand on anything, recently lamented on the op-ed page of the New York Times about what a small matter the $165 million in bonuses really were compared to the $170 billion AIG received in government welfare. Sheryl Gay [...]

The Auto Bailout: A Bad Deal

obama-detroit

With the economy tanking and unemployment skyrocketing, you’d think the Obama administration would be doing all it could to save jobs. But if its auto bailout plan is any indicator of its current direction, we’re on our way to losing a lot more jobs.

The Rich Countries’ Faltering “United Front”

crisis8

By now we’ve heard “The worst economic crisis since the 1930s” – or words to that effect – so many times it’s become like a mantra. But as the days roll on it begins to appear that it might just be an understatement and that not only does the economic situation appear more like the [...]

Congress’s Potemkin Populism

bushido

It’s nice to see that when the public gets sufficiently angry about something, Congress responds. In a rare show of bipartisanship, members are eagerly registering shock and outrage at AIG’s bonus payments by coming up with an assortment of ways to reclaim the bonanza, including taxing them away retroactively. Who says democracy is dead? But [...]

In the Wake of AIG: Obama’s First Priority

aig1

AIG is rapidly becoming a nightmarish metaphor for the Obama Administration’s problems administering the bailout of Wall Street. One central problem is the lack of transparency. According to some news reports, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner knew weeks ago that AIG was planning to issue the bonuses to executives in its notorious credit default swap unit, [...]

Another $8 Billion Or So on the Line for AIG

aig

AIG has finally come clean with the public about who was at the other end of its calamitous financial bets. The recipients of billions of taxpayer dollars were … well … pretty much the banks that we expected: Societe General, Goldman Sachs, and Deutsche Bank, to name a few. The full list is here . [...]

The Real Scandal of AIG

rich-cigar

The real scandal of AIG isn’t just that American taxpayers have so far committed $170 billion to the giant insurer because it is thought to be too big to fail — the most money ever funneled to a single company by a government since the dawn of capitalism — nor even that AIG’s notoriously failing [...]

Is Obamanomics Conservative or Revolutionary?

obama_hat

There are two ways to see Obamanomics. The first, much preferred by the White House, is as a set of initiatives so modest as to hardly merit a raised eyebrow. Yes, steps must be taken to deal with the current economic crisis. But assuming the economy recovers next year, Obama’s budget projects that government spending [...]

Obama Rescuing Capitalism: That’s a Lot of Weight for One Brother

obama_congress

Back in December, when it was obvious that the economy was in bad shape and before we knew how precarious it could get, Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International and columnist for Newsweek and the Washington Post, wrote, “For Obama to be remembered as a great president, he has to do nothing less than rescue [...]

A Nation of Tax-Evaders

boligandollarchicken

The furor over the non-payment of taxes by Tom Daschle and a few other recent nominees for public office should not obscure the deeper truth that the United States has become a nation of tax-evaders. On the simplest level, this tax evasion is exemplified by the fact that vast numbers of people, including some who [...]

With Obama, It’s 1935 All Over Again

Obama, Roosevelt, Jindal, "Purcell"

As President Obama follows a $800 billion recovery act by proposing nearly $700 billion for universal health care, and financially ambitious programs for energy independence and education, the United States is experiencing 1935 all over again. That’s the year that followed huge Democratic gains in the 1934 election, and which saw Congress enact the two [...]

Worse Than Expected on the Economy

Keep your eyes on the gap between what the economy could produce at full employment and the paltry level of aggregate demand (consumers plus businesses plus exports). That’s why the stimulus is too small — and why my bet is the President will be back for more stimulus. The Commerce Department reported Friday that the [...]

Finally, A Progressive Budget

obama-saves

President Obama’s new budget is, well, audacious — not just because it includes several big, audacious initiatives (universally affordable health care, and a cap-and-trade system for coping with global warming, for starters) but also because it represents the biggest redistribution of income from the wealthy to the middle class and poor this nation has seen [...]

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