Sorry Folks: Happy Days Are Not Here Again

stressed-banks

“Demonizing the bankers as if they and they alone created the financial meltdown is both inaccurate and short-sighted,” Citigroup chairman Richard Parsons told reporters recently. “Everybody participated in pumping up this balloon and now that the balloon has deflated, everybody has some part in the blame.” Oh no we don’t. Talk about dissembling. The truth [...]

Obama and Pragmatism: Thinking Through Values

barack_obama2

I keep hearing the White House staff describe the President as a pragmatist. David Axelrod, one of his chief advisors whom I admire enormously, recently called him a “ruthless pragmatist.” Soon, I expect, he’ll be called a “take-no-prisoners pragmatist,” or perhaps a “remorseless, merciless, and unrelenting pragmatist.” I’m relieved the President is a pragmatist, but [...]

Connecting the Offshore Dots

denis

Rachel Maddow’s example on MSNBC was a simple enough explanation of how $21 billion dollars in annual tax revenue disappears from US coffers through legal loopholes that create tax shell corporations. Mr. Bill Hypothetical, based in Texas, earns $50,000 annually and pays a 25% tax rate. KBR’s profits, also based in Texas (a military contractor [...]

Why Obama is Taking on Corporate Tax Havens

loopholes

Why, one may ask, is Obama taking on yet another huge fight by taking aim at foreign tax havens? Yes, it’s unfair that multinationals pay an average tax rate of only 2 percent on their foreign revenues, and it’s unfair that some wealthy Americans are avoiding taxes altogether by parking their fortunes abroad. But, hey, [...]

The Auto Bailout Is Going Off the Road

chrysler

GM just announced it was laying of 21,000 more of its workers, as a means of assuring the Treasury Department the company is worthy of more bailout money. A Treasury official was quoted as saying approvingly that the goal is a “slimmed-down” GM. What? Having General Motors or Chrysler cut tens of thousands of jobs [...]

How Obama Can Succeed in the Next Hundred Days and Beyond

first-stone

Before Inauguration Day, President-elect Barack Obama said he wanted to hit the ground running. Instead, he hit the ground sprinting and hasn’t stopped. Consider: A $787 billion stimulus package. A 10-year budget including universal health insurance and a cap-and-trade system to combat global warming. Subsidies to help distressed homeowners stay in their homes. Public-private partnerships [...]

The Great Credit Card Battle To Come

credit-card-sharks

The next front in the banking wars will be over credit cards. Some of the nation’s biggest bankers — including representatives of Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and other recipients of billions of taxpayer dollars — are meeting today with the President to ask him back off his move to reform credit-card lending practices. What’s happening [...]

Messy Blond Dreadlocks of Grace

homeless

Late afternoon rush hour, Hollywood, this time of year — right after Easter, just a few days left of Passover. Moments after hugging my then 11-year-old goodbye and watching her dad welcome her to his seder, I already missed her. I was expected at a seder in the West Valley in about 40 minutes. With [...]

The Tea Baggers and the Bizarro Revolution

bizarroworld

The 2009 Tax Day “Tea Party” protests remind us of the stubbornness of Bizarro politics. On the cube-shaped Bizarro World, the backward planet of DC comic’s universe, a salesman hawks bonds “guaranteed to lose money for you” and the larger populace works towards imperfection. The code of opposites is the rule of the land. Greed [...]

Stimulus Mania: Is It The 21st Century Soup Line?

soupline

The efforts to jump start the economy in the United States, in hopes of causing a global ripple, have taken on an entirely new meaning as people and industry alike wait for the $787 billion dollar economic stimulus package to drop. It’s like a “mania” as so many cities, states, industries, school districts, homeowners, small [...]

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