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 [...]

Citizens, Not Serfs

greed_is_bad

On the “Tonight Show” recently, President Obama discussed the need to change the “culture of entitlement” on Wall Street. It needs more than changing. How about scrapping it completely and then grafting on a little bit of character and common sense? The other day, I asked a Bank of America representative why, after I used [...]

And Now Homeowners

homeowners

The two most important features of the administration’s plan to help homeowners are, first, its support for amending bankruptcy laws to allow judges to modify mortgages. This will give homeowners bargaining leverage with mortgage servicers (and give the servicers more leverage with securitized creditors on up the line) to get better terms; and, second, a [...]

Geithner’s “Stress Test” for Banks, and a Stress Test for America

modern-times

The only way to make sense of Tim Geithner’s “stress test” for banks is to assume a kind of triage. Banks that are reasonably healthy right now — whose assets are fully adequate to fund their liabilities, and can make new loans — don’t need a bailout. And banks that are too far gone to [...]

Madoff, Stanford, Ponzi and the Media

questionable ethics

Few had heard the name Bernard (Bernie) Madoff, as recently as two months ago. An equally small group was familiar with the term “Ponzi Scheme” when the Madoff scandal broke. And now there is the Sir R. Allen Stanford scandal. Now, in this era of keen observance to rules of fiscal prudence where the public [...]

Mad Dog Republican’ts

republicants

The titillating current titular potentate titan of the Republican’t Party is a junkie, who loves torture, Dominican sexual adventures, and illicit drugs, and admittedly hates the United States, its government, its laws, its leader, and the vast majority of “We the People,” wishing failure for our nation. Today’s Republican’t maxim: ‘And an addict shall lead [...]

Lessons of President Obama’s First Two Weeks

presidentobama

It’s been less than two weeks, but patterns have emerged that are likely to continue throughout Barack Obama’s presidency. First, Obama understands how to use the media. Examples are detailed below, but the best is the widespread media story last Thursday about how the usually cool Obama “lost it” — in front of cameras and [...]

Obama’s First Week in Office: The Nonsense Has Started Already

MIchelle and Barack Obama

President Barack Obama’s first week in office was certainly filled with only the highest of expectation, given the eight years of Republican elephant poo-poo that was left on the White House floor for him. That’s a lot of poo-poo: Over 180,000 more jobs lost in January (60,000 in a single day during his first week [...]

President Obama’s Remarks Before the House Votes on Stimulus Bill

President Barack Obama spoke to a group of business executives and elected officials before the House voted on the highly anticipated Stimulus Bill which contains an $825 billion Stimulus Plan. The President noted that seven of the largest corporations in the United States announced, this week, that they are making job cuts. Earlier, in a [...]

How America Embraced Lemon Socialism

obama_black_hole

America has embraced Lemon Socialism. The federal government — that is, you and I and every other taxpayer — has taken ownership of giant home mortgagors Fannie and Freddie, which are by now basket cases. We’ve also put hundreds of millions into Wall Street banks, which are still flowing red ink and seem everyday to [...]

What Should Be Done With The Next $350 Billion of Taxpayer Bailout Money: Criteria for TARP II

obama_tightrope

It’s difficult to make the case that the first $350 billion bailout of Wall Street — so-called “TARP I” — fulfilled its goals, unless one argues that the Street would have imploded without it, which is pretty much what Hank Paulson is saying these days. And since it’s impossible to prove a counter-factual, especially when [...]

The Stimulus: How to Create Jobs Without Them All Going to Skilled Professionals and White Male Construction Workers

construction_workers

The stimulus plan will create jobs repairing and upgrading the nation’s roads, bridges, ports, levees, water and sewage system, public-transit systems, electricity grid, and schools. And it will kick-start alternative, non-fossil based sources of energy (wind, solar, geothermal, and so on); new health-care information systems; and universal broadband Internet access. It’s a two-fer: lots of [...]

2009 as a Litmus Test for Change: Contact Sport or Spectator Sport

obama-ball-drop

The expectations of the New Year has us all expecting change on some level. Change in the nation’s political direction; change in the global situation; change in the economy; change in the job markets; change in the schools; change in our local communities; change in our personal lives. Funny thing about change? It’s much like [...]

Thoughts on the End of a Hell of a Year

2009

The biggest thing to happen to me this year was the birth of my first grandchild, a little girl named Ella. I know this kind of thing happens all the time and frankly I get bored with people who go all gushy about the birth of kids or grandkids.

The Debate to Come over Wall Street, Autos, and Everything Else: Cyclical or Structural?

problem

by Robert Reich – First prediction for 2009: A widening gap between the public’s view of the bailouts of Wall Street and Detroit, and the views of the direct beneficiaries. The public believes the bailouts will permanently change these industries, but industry insiders don’t really want to change.

Why I Love Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow and Laura Tyson

by Charley James – A few nights ago, Rachel Maddow was discussing the Wall St. bailout on her MSNBC show with guest Dr. Laura Tyson. Tyson, a former economics advisor to Pres. Clinton and now a professor at UC-Berkeley, was defending the banks who received bailout money for their total lack of disclosure or transparency [...]

The Economy: Do We Have Any Idea What We’re Doing?

lightning-stock-market

by John Peeler – It is a commonplace these days to argue that the Bush administration helped to bring on the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression by clinging blindly to the dogma of the free, unregulated market as the solution to every problem. That is certainly an accurate accusation. At virtually every opportunity [...]

Too Big To Fail: Unless It’s the Entire EEKonomy!

tbtf

by Gene Rothman – A new Goldilocks gauge has gripped the Guardians of Greed. Too Big to Fail (TBTF) used to be one size fits all. Big corporations would be bailed out only if they were Big Enough. But now, the fickle public has grown Leery of the Too Large. It may now be seen [...]

Masters of the Universe No More

opulence

By Denis Campbell – New York City suburb, Greenwich, Connecticut, has 55 houses for sale asking $9 million dollars or more. Staff at East Hampton Airport on Long Island, a scene of private Gulfstream jet gridlock, says traffic is down 35%. Bettridge Jewelers on Wall Street sees traffic mostly selling off jewels to make mortgage [...]

White House and TARP to the Rescue — of Automakers, but not of States and Locales

detroit-flying

by Robert Reich – What now for the automakers? The Troubled Assets Relief Program — TARP — was enacted to save Wall Street but it’s already been so twisted out of its original shape by Hank Paulson that a bit more twisting to save the Big Three from bankruptcy over the next few weeks won’t [...]

So Long GM, See Ya’ Chrysler — Hope America Enjoys The Second Great Depression

by Charley James – In the 1950s, “Engine” Charley Wilson – then chairman of General Motors – said “What’s good for GM is good for America.” We’re about to find out that the reverse is also true.

Are We Courting a Populist Backlash?

auto-wave

by Robert Reich – The government is doing a lousy job helping distressed homeowners. And according to John Dugan, the Comptroller of the Currency, the little that’s been done has had surprisingly little effect. Nearly 36 percent of homeowners holding mortgages whose terms were adjusted to give them more leeway defaulted on payments within three [...]

Shall We Call It a Depression Now?

economy

by Robert Reich – Friday’s employment report, showing that employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, 320,000 in October, and 403,000 in September — for a total of over 1.2 million over the last three months — begs the question of whether the meltdown we’re experiencing should be called a Depression.

Holiday Gloom in Silicon Valley

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by Carl Bloice – A couple of days before Thanksgiving one of my downstairs neighbors matter of factly told me he had lost his job. He’d been abruptly laid off by a local information technology startup company. “They let go so many people I don’t know how they are going to get the work done,” [...]

Slavery, American Style, Must Go!

world-balloon

ho says there are no slaves in America? The greatest domestic issue facing President-elect Obama is not the bailout of the bankers and insurers but the task of lifting tens of millions of hard-working American wage-slaves out of dire poverty. These are the folks who hold one – and sometimes two or even three – [...]

Of Financial Capital and Human Capital: Why We’re Bailing Out Wall Street While Allowing Our Schools to Get Clobbered

liberty

by Robert Reich – Our preoccupation with the immediate crisis of financial capital is causing us to overlook the bigger crisis in America’s human capital. While we commit hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to Wall Street, we’re slashing our outlays for public education.

Bail Out the Big Three and Revitalize the Economy

1947_cadillac_series_62_convertible

by John Paul Rossi – The other week, the appeal of the Big Three’’s executives for a $25 billion taxpayer bailout for their desperately ailing firms failed. Neither the fractious lame duck Congress, nor the Bush administration were willing to help.

Why the Automakers Won’t Make Fuel-Efficient Cars, Even as the Price of Being Bailed Out

detroit

by Robert Reich – Telling automakers to make more fuel-efficient cars as a condition of being bailed out is like telling Citigroup or any other big bank to issue more affordable loans to Main Street as a condition of being bailed out. It won’t happen.

Can We?

alinsky

by Wendy Block – “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” — “The Unnamable” by Samuel Beckett Yea us! Americans just spent over a billion in time, energy and dollars and changed our government.

Can You Feel The Ship Turning?

financial meltdown

In the run-up to Election Day, when Barack Obama’s history-making victory wasn’t exactly a sure thing, our local congressman urged persistence and optimism. “We’ve got a big ship there in Washington, with a lot of right-wing momentum pushing it forward,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra on a sultry August evening, speaking to our Democratic club here [...]

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