Who Is the Spendthrift?

homeowners' lament

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.

America Turns Right

john boehner

Randy Shaw: Obama’s early and steadfast refusal to attack Republicans in fiercely partisan terms allowed the GOP to blame Democrats for the ongoing economic crisis, and by the time Obama hit the campaign trail it was too little too late to change the public mood.

Why Democrats Should Not Join In Economic Scapegoating

chinese worker

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.

Republican Economics as Social Darwinism

john-boehner

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.”

Meg’s Vicious Campaign

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.

Mortgage Foreclosures, Housing, and the Current Economic Crisis

Foreclosure

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.

President Palin? Take the Poll

sarah palin

Sharon Kyle: Of course, it is possible that Palin’s celebrity will never be more than that – celebrity and she’d be clobbered if she were to actually enter the bid for the presidency. But, so far, things have been working out pretty well for Sarah Palin.

Saving LA’s African Marketplace

los angeles african marketplace

Anthony Samad: The City of Los Angeles is trying to charge the festival over $180,000 to hold the African Marketplace for two weeks, in a public park. Now we know the City is having a hard time…but $180,000??? For what?

LA Progressive Articles — May 30 to June 5, 2010

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

Skewed Wealth Distribution and the Roots of the Economic Crisis

david barber

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.”

Gulf Oil Spill: The Importance of Presidential Indignation and Explanation

bp oil spill

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.

LA Progressive: May 9 to 15, 2010

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

The People of Greece and the Rest of Us

ancient greek piggybank

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.

As Death Penalty Cases Fade, L.A. County Pays to Buck the Trend

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.

Alan Greenspan: As Unrepentant as Ever

alan-greenspan

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.

What Obama Must Do, and Cannot

Free iPads

Tom Hayden: Obama may succeed in withdrawing 100,000 American troops from Iraq this year, and the rest by 2012. But even this goal faces opposition from the Green Zone to the Beltway, and any peace dividend will be swallowed by Afghanistan and the Long War.

Why Freeze Spending on Only Part of the Budget?

Budget-Pie

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.

A Little Perspective, Yes?

Barack

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.

Massachusetts Debacle

Obama first year

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.

Will the GOP Find a New Reagan?

catsam

The question is whether today’s conservative Republicans understand that they cannot save their party by destroying it. Too many on the right have tried to conciliate a base that craves ideological purity. But ideological purity does not lead to victory. It leads to irrelevance.

New York Times: “American Workers Are Overpaid”

Maze

If recent resistance by IBEW and UNITE HERE members are any indication, the Times’ BreakingNews folks and corporate America have a long way to go before convincing workers that it is they, rather than their high-paid, amply-bonused bosses, whose compensation should be downsized.

Think First About the Unemployed, Not the Politicians … and Act

unemployed

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.

LA Progressive: October 4 to 10, 2009

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 [...]

Surprise: The Left Is Not Going Away

lenin statue

The much touted decline of the European left turned out to be pretty much of a mirage. The continent’s politics are being realigned not in spite of but because of the economic crisis. And the much of the gain has gone to the left – taken as a whole.

So Much Happening in Washington and So Little to Show for It, So Far

Politics Elephant cartoon

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).