Steve Hochstadt: When the real estate boom turned out to be a house of cards, people’s debts came due much sooner than they had expected. Governments are much less to blame for the current foreclosure crisis than homebuyers, egged on by unscrupulous bankers.
Robert Reich: Democrats should admit America’s economic structure has become dangerously unbalanced — more unbalanced than it’s been in 80 years — and the imbalance is making it difficult if not impossible for the nation to emerge from recession. For these reasons, Democrats should recommit themselves and the nation to redresssing that balance.
Robert Reich: John Boehner, the Republican House leader who will become Speaker if Democrats lose control of the House in the upcoming midterms, recently offered his solution to the current economic crisis: “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmer, liquidate real estate. It will purge the rottenness out of the system. People will work harder, lead a more moral life.”
Carl Bloice: A call for actually retooling the economy for today’s challenges and granting preferential tax treatment to struggling working people could stir some enthusiasm among people now seeming inclined to sit out the election.
Randy Shaw: Few actions are more despicable than a multi-millionaire promoting making life worse for the very poor. Yet that’s what California Republican Governor candidate Meg Whitman is doing to get votes, even arguing that our lowest-income families should be removed from welfare altogether after two years.
So far, here in the U.S., over 4 million homes have been foreclosed on since mid-2006. Because consumer spending drops drastically whenever housing values decline, the entire U.S. economy has been in a tail-spin throughout this period. Over 10 million jobs have been totally eliminated due to a dramatic drop in consumer sales and the resultant decline in production.
Articles by Norman Solomon, Sherwood Ross, Michaelangelo Price, Tina Dupuy, Tim Gatto, Georgianne Nienaber, Robert Illes, Lawrence Wittner, Seth Hoy, Ivan Eland, Shamus Cooke, Robert Reich, Linda Milazzo, Tom Degan, Ivan Eland, William Lambers, Michael Sigman, Anthony Samad, Michael Sigman, Jim Fuller, Andrea Nill
David Barber: What I do know is that while “social psychology” may have had some small role as a causal factor in the Crash of ’08, it was the actual structure of the American and world economies which brought on the crisis. And if in fact we enter a second round of this Crash, it will not stem from what Dr. Shiller calls a “weakness and vulnerability of confidence,” but will result from the same structural elements of our economy as those that brought on the “first dip.”
Robert Reich: Respectful disagreement is virtuous in a democratic society, but so is appropriate indignation. Indignation signals to the public that social responsibilities have been breached, and thereby lends credence and authority to all those who are working toward them. Franklin D. Roosevelt had no hesitancy blaming the “economic royalists” – the rich bankers and executives who stood in the way of the New Deal.
Articles by Rev. Irene Monroe, Randy Shaw, Georgianne Nienaber, John Delloro, Ed Rampell, Noman Solomon, Paul Hogarth, Paul Loeb, Ivan Eland, Jim Fuller, Carl Matthes, Andrea Christina Nill, Tom Hall, Charley James and Lulu Demaine, Berry Craig, Tom Degan, Robert Reich, Carl Bloice, Tracy Emblem, Tina Dupuy, Jeffrey Blankfort, Anthony Samad, Michael Sigman, and Johnny Townsend
Carl Bloice: In most of the rest of the world the prescribed method for dealing with economic crisis is austerity. That’s what it is when, in order to deal with the economic malfunctioning, you cut education budgets and fire teachers, enact special taxes that hit working people hardest, reduce services for the indigent and threaten to reduce or eliminate retirement and medical programs for seniors. It comes down to who, in a pinch, is going to be required to lower their living standards, and which individuals and families are expected to lead more austere lives.
Natasha Minsker and Ramona Ripston: Los Angeles County, home to California’s largest trial court system, has been feeling the pain of those court closures in more significant measure than most. It recently laid off more than 300 staff and is moving forward with shutting down 12 courtrooms. But meanwhile, a parallel trend is stalking the county that’s exacerbating the budget crisis. Astoundingly, Los Angeles County has become the leading death penalty county in the United States. In fact, in 2009 more people were sentenced to death in Los Angeles County than in any other state, including Texas, the longtime leader in this grim statistic.
Joseph Palermo: He still wants to blame a “few bad apples,” instead of looking at his own role fanning the flames and pouring gasoline on the fire while the $8 trillion housing bubble was being pumped up. Greenspan said AIG’s problems were with insurance, but Born countered that if CDSs had been insurance they would have been regulated. Greenspan is bullshitting us again.
Ivan Eland: President Obama’s rationale for not including these security expenditures in his discretionary spending freeze is that he is prosecuting two wars. Aside from the obvious solution of ending the two conflicts—which are part of the “war on terror” but have had the counterproductive effect of increasing retaliatory terrorism—and cutting back the defense budget, defense spending could be reduced even if the two war efforts are sustained.
Dick Price: To get elected, we understood that Obama had to take a pragmatic approach. But underneath the pragmatism, we were attracted to the compassionate world view, the deep ability to grasp complex issues, and the eloquence to voice our best hopes and dreams for the future that we saw, and see, in the man—traits that had been so woefully absent in George W. Bush fear-mongering, hate-mongering, war-mongering reign.
John Peeler: The defeat of Martha Coakley in the race to succeed Ted Kennedy certainly shows the folly of taking victory for granted and failing to mount a serious campaign. But it also puts on display the complete political incompetence of the Obama administration and the national leadership of the Democratic Party and the Congress.
What’s happening to the lives of the legions out of work – particularly the young men and women – has to take second place to the fortune of the President and his party. The human crisis would be real regardless of who is in the Oval Office and is what should move the President and the Congress to do the right thing.
Obama Trapped Behind Wall of Mideast Containment: It’s the Iranians, Stupid. In reality, Obama’s troubles are not caused primarily by “the bad guys,” nor by Israel’s supposed power or that of the domestic “Israeli lobby,” nor even, as some critics charge, his own tendency to vacillate. Instead, he’s trapped in the conundrum that’s built into [...]
The public doesn’t know what’s going on because the national media would rather report on the sexual escapades of famous people or social trends or high finance (a recent Pew study of economic reporting shows the vast majority of stories about the Great Recession have focused on Wall Street rather than Main Street).