Mark Dempsey: Why does the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate sector, whose frauds caused the current economic meltdown, get trillions at the drop of a hat, and social safety net programs and revenue sharing with states, whose needs are far more modest, get the “one-finger salute”?
The City of LA’s ongoing budget crisis has allowed a triage mentality to permeate throughout City Hall, framing the ongoing debate over our future in the negative and conditioning the public to focus on what they can give up rather than what they want. Each year the Mayor’s office gathers with neighborhood council representatives to [...]
Tina Dupuy: Let’s talk news. And where the majority of Americans – as in over 50 percent (by most estimates) – still get their news – from their local nightly news show. Any discussion about how unaware Americans are when it comes to news needs to have its finger pointed at the proper culprit: Your local broadcast.
TEd Vaill: The Republicans should remember that the vote in the 2010 elections, especially in Middle America, was not a vote of support for them, as their approval rating is worse than the Democrats, but it is a sign of huge discontent: a house that is underwater, with no relief from their crushing mortgage debt in sight, a job that has vanished or is in danger of being shipped overseas, diminishing hope that they will be able to afford to send their kids to college, and a feeling that their government has turned a blind eye to their problems.
Jim Fuller: For the first time in the 50-plus years I’ve been paying close attention to the securities markets and banking and looser attention to commodities markets — most of those years covering such businesses for newspapers and magazines — I am close to concluding that the only place for the modest savings of the average Jane or Joe is a tightly sealed jar buried in the garden or an envelope under a mattress. Maybe in a mixture of currencies.
Ten years ago, the story dominating the headlines was Y2K. In 2009, according to Yahoo, the story that dominated in terms of searches online was — wait for it — Michael Jackson’s death! Not the economic meltdown, not the healthcare debate, not even the inauguration of the first black president of the United States!
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).
In a word: No. The plan doesn’t stop stop bankers from making huge, risky bets with other peoples’ money. It does increase capital requirements and oversight, but it doesn’t require bankers to take their pay in long-term stock options or warrants, and it doesn’t even hint that banks should go back to being partnerships instead [...]
It’s the kind of thing I expect to hear from deficit hawks and chicken littles — from the self-described “fiscally responsible” right, from the scolds Ross Perot and Pete Peterson, from my former cabinet colleague Bob Rubin. But yesterday I was shown slides developed by the putatively liberal Center for American Progress intended to make [...]
One of the first things President Barack Obama did as our nation’s Chief Executive was to urge Congress to pass, then sign, the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), better known as the nation’s “economic stimulus” package. The $787 billion bill, the largest taxpayer footed bill ever passed, was viewed as the primary vehicle to [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
It’s no accident that as Congress returns this week from its two-week recess and begins debate on the $3.5 trillion budget plans for the fiscal year starting in October — which may or may not include a provision that fast-tracks Obama’s health care proposal by allowing it to pass the Senate with a mere majority [...]
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 [...]
No one likes to pay taxes, so tax day typically attracts a range of right-wing Republicans, kooks, and demagogues, all of whom tell us how awful we have it. Herewith a short citizen’s guide (that is, a citizen’s guide that’s short rather than a guide for short citizens) responding to the predictable charges: “Americans pay [...]
With only $110 billion remaining in the TARP bailout fund, all signs are that Tim Geithner is preparing to return to Congress seeking more bailout money. He’ll bring along the results of his bank “stress tests,” which will probably show many that big banks are still technically insolvent, along with bankruptcy scenarios for General Motors [...]
The United States has always been a political economy, requiring government regulation of its finance and money markets, and using government stimulation on its labor force. “Free Market” enterprise is based on the notion that open markets and the competition derived from competing ideas for consumer patronage will create a market balance (equilibrium) that will [...]
Are we at the beginning of the end? Mortgage interests are now so low (the average rate on 30-year fixed mortgages was 4.87% Thursday, slightly higher than the 4.78% last week, but still the lowest level since 1971) that President Obama has begun urging Americans to refinance their homes so they can save money and [...]
William K. Black suspects that it was more than greed and incompetence that brought down the U.S. financial sector and plunged the economy in recession — it was fraud. And he would know. When it comes to financial shenanigans, William K. Black, the former senior regulator who cracked down on banks during the savings and [...]
Just because I lost a big chunk of my total retirement savings over the last year doesn’t mean I should be upset that 25 hedge-fund managers reaped a total of $11.6 billion during the same interval, according to Institutional Investor’s Alpha Magazine — including $2.5 billion for James Simons of Renaissance Technologies and $2 billion [...]
When Buddhists praying in the midst of financial district protests becomes news, we’re all in trouble. While the mainstream media focused on giftgate and other gaffes (FLOTUS — aka Michelle Obama as the First Lady of the United States — broke with protocol and shook Her Majesty’s hand without waiting for her to extend it [...]
I watched this week as the nation’s furor turned towards employees of insurance giant American International Group (A.I.G.) and the $200 million-plus in retention bonus payments recently doled out to executives. Executives, who, as we already know, are largely to blame for their role in A.I.G.’s financial crisis that led to the country’s economic meltdown [...]
Charles Blow, the “moderate” who seems to write a lot of words but never takes a clear stand on anything, recently lamented on the op-ed page of the New York Times about what a small matter the $165 million in bonuses really were compared to the $170 billion AIG received in government welfare. Sheryl Gay [...]
The Audacity Of Greed should be the title of President Obama’s next book. Never could he have imagined how tough getting out of an economic recession (borderline depression) when he signed up for the presidency. He knew the job was tough when he took it, he just didn’t know that greed would continue to trump [...]