The Money Delusion

money mint

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”?

Your Local Broadcast News Is Making Us Stupid

fox clear message

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.

Obama Returns U.S. Politics to 1995

bill clinton newt gingrich

Randy Shaw: Republican policies that drove the U.S. economy into the deepest ditch since the Great Depression are given equal credibility with Obama’s. It is as if the past fifteen years and the 2008 elections never occurred. How did this happen?

Republicans Beware!

republican pledge

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.

Banks, Markets Now Just Shearing Pens

wall street slide

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.

What Was the Top News Story of 2009

New Year 2010

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!

Does the Obama Plan for Reforming Wall Street Measure Up?

evasive-money

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 [...]

The Great Debt Scare: Why Has It Returned?

broken economy

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

We Need More Stimulus, Not More Bailout

patching panks

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 [...]

Nationalizing Banks and Industry: Why Capitalists Hate Socialism

worse-depression

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 [...]

Why You Should Work for a Hedge Fund

jacuzzi

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 [...]

AIG Bonuses: Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game

jasmyne cannick

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 [...]

AIG and the Undeserving Rich

dry-bones

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 Rich Countries’ Faltering “United Front”

crisis8

By now we’ve heard “The worst economic crisis since the 1930s” – or words to that effect – so many times it’s become like a mantra. But as the days roll on it begins to appear that it might just be an understatement and that not only does the economic situation appear more like the [...]