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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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.

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 [...]

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

computer-sisyfus-copy

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,” [...]

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.

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 [...]

A Bottom-Up Bailout Rather Than Trickle-Down

Hank Paulson has just about burned through $300 billion, and it’s not clear what the public has got out of it. Perhaps things would be worse without the bailout but they’re certainly no better. Wall Street banks have not significantly stepped up their loans to small businesses, college students, car buyers, or distressed homeowners. Much [...]

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