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 [...]

Obama’s Goal: Halving the Budget Deficit by 2012. Really?

economy-under-water

The President’s message on fiscal responsibility — that he’ll cut the current one by half by the end of his first term — is smart politics right now, but it may be dumb politics by November of 2012, and doesn’t make much economic sense regardless. We’re in a deepening recession, in case you hadn’t noticed. [...]

Foreclosure Fantasy Folderol

excess

The conservative Republican ideology for this first decade of the new millennium (during which they led the world into two holy wars, bankrupted a nation, and linked radical fundamentalist Christianity to governing) is boiled down to 11 words — “screw you, I got mine, grow up and stop your whining!” — is now spinning dangerously [...]

The New Deal and the New New Deal: Countering Conservative Claptrap

gop-on-automatic

The stock market reached a six-year low today. Why? Some blame loose talk (including that of former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan) about nationalizing the nation’s banks. Others blame Obama’s new plan for helping homeowners who may not be able to pay their mortgages. But the real culprit is the accelerating decline in aggregate demand — [...]

The Stimulus and the “Threat to Stability”

uncle-sam-crutches

Well, now it appears that, as the New York Times put it Monday, the “Rise in Jobless Poses Threat to Stability Worldwide.” This comes just after the new United States Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, told Congress instability caused by the global economic crisis had become the biggest security threat facing the United States, [...]

Finally, Too Many Cars

traffic

Rushing to beat a deadline, General Motors and Chrysler last Tuesday afternoon filed required restructuring plans with federal officials. Chrysler wants $5 billion more in federal loans to stay afloat. GM needs another $9.1 billion now, with more requests likely down the road. The short-term question of whether the two auto giants warrant a bailout [...]

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 [...]

Obvious Solution to Global Banking Crisis

wall-street-bonuses

It’s been done before, an FDIC/Comptroller of the Currency (or similar insurance or governmental institution elsewhere) bank take-over. I witnessed my first in Miami in 1991 when a former employer in the mid 1980s, Southeast Banking Corporation of Miami, then Florida’s oldest bank, had a deep liquidity crisis. It was a swift, brutal, and painless [...]

Stimulus Bill Limits TARP Executive Pay

Karen Bleier (AFP/Getty): Treasury Secretary Tim Geitner

Top executives at banks that got money from the TARP will face stricter compensation limits thanks to the stimulus bill.  That’s because tucked into the 1,071-page bill is a twelve-page section that goes much further than any limits imposed by the Bush administration or even contemplated by the Obama administration. The limits, which limit bonuses [...]

Spending Money at Home Helps America!

debt

I watched all the Sunday stuff on the telly today. Who was that old guy on the show saying that we should not be spending money on American schools, American students in college, or on the rebuilding of the infrastructure of America? Why? Because, are you ready, he says it will not do any good [...]

Obama, Pelosi Must Rescue Damaged Stimulus Package

pelosi-obama

Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have produced a Senate stimulus bill that kills jobs, eliminates affordable housing, guts education and gives billions in new tax breaks for the rich. Their hypocrisy is shameful. As New York Times columnist Paul Krugman put it, the Senate measure will “lead to substantially lower employment and [...]

Why Republicans Won’t Support the Stimulus

sinkorswim

Why are Senate Republicans (all, that is, except the lonely moderates Collins, Snowe, and Specter) nixing the stimulus package, as House Republicans did? Not because Obama failed to compromise — he gave them the tax breaks they wanted, included a whopper for business. Not because Senate Democrats failed to bend — they agreed to trim [...]

A Book Review of Kim Bobo’s “Wage Theft in America”

factory-workers

Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is an Israelite or is a foreigner residing in one of your towns. Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the Lord against you, [...]

Senate Republicans and the Stimulus: Playing Politics When the Economy Burns

reichtable

Friday’s job report is likely to be awful. January’s job losses could easily top half a million. We’re deep into the most vicious of economic cycles: Consumers are slashing their spending because they’re perilously in debt and worried about keeping their jobs. But as a result, businesses are facing shrinking sales of goods and services, [...]

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 [...]

Dem Bones Connected to De Debt Bone

rich-government

It is an understatement to say we are experiencing an unprecedented financial crisis along with our worldwide environmental crisis. Neither crisis needs an Austrian economist to explain it. We live in a consumer society and consumers “use things up.” In recent history, this useless, toxic “stuff” comes from China, and this sad state of affairs [...]

Why Citi Turned Around on Mortgage “Cramdowns”

class-struggle

The latest data show one out of ten homeowners in the United States is either late in making a mortgage payment or in such serious arrears as to risk foreclosure. Last week, congressional Dems breathed a sigh of relief when Citigroup dropped its opposition to a proposed change in the bankruptcy laws allowing distressed homeowners [...]

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 [...]

What Will It Take for Californians to Flood the Streets?

sharon_toji

What will it take for the people of California to rise up and flood into the streets to protest what the Republican legislators and Governor Schwarzenegger are doing to our state? When the first envelopes are opened — envelopes that should contain checks with state tax refunds, but have IOUs stuffed into them instead — [...]

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 [...]

Big Corporations Get Big Bailouts – Who’s Gonna Bail Out the Middle Class

john_marra

Not sure who will read this, but I saw Mr Cerf on CSPAN this morning and he got me thinking. I’m a recently unemployed Detroit union autoworker. This whole Detroit situation was completely avoidable and now I and countless others are victims of someone’s hateful stupidity. The Republicans and other union haters are getting back [...]

A New New Deal Must Be For ALL

rosieweb

by Eileen Boris, Lisa Levenstein, and Sonya Michel President-elect Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan has provoked comparisons with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. Like Roosevelt, Obama is promising to pull the country out of a depression with massive job creation through infrastructure spending. But, like FDR before him, it looks as if Obama is on [...]

The White-Collar Working Class: Has the American Middle Class Gone into Foreclosure?

student_loans

by Brian Purnell – Last year, according to the New York Times, the average debt in the United States was $121,650, while the average savings was just shy of $450. You don’t need a PhD in Economics or an MBA to know that something is terribly wrong and imbalanced with those figures.

Economics 101: Who’s Up, Who’s Down

bailouts

by Robert Brent Toplin – Customers at my local Barnes & Noble store are likely to get the impression that books about Franklin D. Roosevelt are all the rage these days. When they stand in line to pay the cashier, they come upon a large display of volumes dealing with FDR and the Great Depression. [...]

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 [...]

Raising Taxes Is Good for the Economy

santa-in-crisis

by Adam Eran – The Census Bureau reports that California ranks 10th among states in income, but only 22nd in tax burden. Nevertheless, the Republican mantra has been that higher taxes are so damaging that government should avoid them at all costs — especially in downturns like the current one. This sentiment is so pervasive [...]

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