Blue Dog Democrats and Republican Triangulation

pet-republicans

Senator John McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, has served up a devastating critique of the direction the Republican Party has taken recently. “If figureheads like Ann Coulter are turning me off,” Ms. McCain writes, “then they are definitely turning off other members of my generation as well.” She understands that when the GOP’s dominant personalities are [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Thoughts on the End of a Hell of a Year

2009

The biggest thing to happen to me this year was the birth of my first grandchild, a little girl named Ella. I know this kind of thing happens all the time and frankly I get bored with people who go all gushy about the birth of kids or grandkids.

The Debate to Come over Wall Street, Autos, and Everything Else: Cyclical or Structural?

problem

by Robert Reich – First prediction for 2009: A widening gap between the public’s view of the bailouts of Wall Street and Detroit, and the views of the direct beneficiaries. The public believes the bailouts will permanently change these industries, but industry insiders don’t really want to change.

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 [...]

States’ Budget Crises: Share the Pain, Share the Dough

sanjose-football

by Carl Bloice – It’s probable that by the time this is read, officials in San Jose, California, will have eliminated athletic programs from all 11 of the city’s high schools. It might not seem like much to some, given the declining economic situation in the country and the kinds of budget cuts being made [...]

Masters of the Universe No More

opulence

By Denis Campbell – New York City suburb, Greenwich, Connecticut, has 55 houses for sale asking $9 million dollars or more. Staff at East Hampton Airport on Long Island, a scene of private Gulfstream jet gridlock, says traffic is down 35%. Bettridge Jewelers on Wall Street sees traffic mostly selling off jewels to make mortgage [...]

So Long GM, See Ya’ Chrysler — Hope America Enjoys The Second Great Depression

by Charley James – In the 1950s, “Engine” Charley Wilson – then chairman of General Motors – said “What’s good for GM is good for America.” We’re about to find out that the reverse is also true.

Are We Courting a Populist Backlash?

auto-wave

by Robert Reich – The government is doing a lousy job helping distressed homeowners. And according to John Dugan, the Comptroller of the Currency, the little that’s been done has had surprisingly little effect. Nearly 36 percent of homeowners holding mortgages whose terms were adjusted to give them more leeway defaulted on payments within three [...]

Shall We Call It a Depression Now?

economy

by Robert Reich – Friday’s employment report, showing that employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, 320,000 in October, and 403,000 in September — for a total of over 1.2 million over the last three months — begs the question of whether the meltdown we’re experiencing should be called a Depression.

A Bottom-Up Bailout Rather Than Trickle-Down

Hank Paulson has just about burned through $300 billion, and it’s not clear what the public has got out of it. Perhaps things would be worse without the bailout but they’re certainly no better. Wall Street banks have not significantly stepped up their loans to small businesses, college students, car buyers, or distressed homeowners. Much [...]

The Mysterious Mandate

There can be little doubt that the biggest loser in this election was the political brand of Karl Rove and his politics of divisiveness and fear. The major policies of the Bush administration, including the war in Iraq and its overwhelming bias toward the super-rich, were also repudiated. Earth to Neo-Cons: In the words of [...]

Bloomberg Sues The Fed For Disclosure

by Charley James – Lost in the wake of Henry Paulson’s announcement Wednesday that Treasury is “changing direction” in how it doles out money in the bank rescue plan is a little-noticed lawsuit filed last Friday by Bloomberg LP, the business news wire service. It is suing the Federal Reserve Board’s governors for public records [...]

Now Greenspan Tells Us!

Whoops! My bad. Sorry. In effect, this is what former Fed chair Alan Greenspan is telling members of the House Committee of Government Oversight and Reform today by admitting he was wrong about unfettered free markets regulating themselves.

We’ve Invested in Wall Street, Now It’s Time to Invest in the Rest of America

The global economy has been put into the economic equivalent of a full nelson by a financial system threatening to collapse under the weight of a complicated pyramid scheme. The Bush administration sounded dire warnings and cobbled together a vaguely flushed-out rescue plan promising the injection of up to $700 billion of taxpayers’ dollars into [...]

The New Deal, and the Era of Angry Populism

The Senate voted Wednesday night; the House is scheduled to vote today. Will the deal fly? Probably. Wall Street’s gyrations since Monday have scared the hell out of a number of holdouts, notwithstanding all the negative emails and phone calls they continue to receive from constituents.

Senate Plot-Plop, Fizz-Fizz

$700,000,000,000… oh what a relief, it is! With apologies to Alka-Seltzer, one chamber crawled out of the sandbox and reached an unpopular but bipartisan decision to save global credit markets last night as banks held a Russian Roulette pistol with six chambers full to our heads and yelled, “Stop me before I shoot.” Crisis over? [...]

Funeral for “McCain-Palin Socialism”

Reagan’s America is dead. If not dead, it lies fallen on a US economy near ruin. The recent collapse of several financial giants and the extreme concentration of wealth in a few hands have reached levels unmatched since the 1930s Great Depression Era. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who witnessed firsthand the Great Depression, [...]

Bush Bail-Out Plan Is an Insult

The Bush bail-out plan is nothing more than a slap in the face of all working families. As Peter Dreier notes, “we have been here before—in the 1930’s Depression, when the entire economy collapsed, and in the 1980’s, when the savings-and-loan industry imploded.” It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the [...]

Grassroots Movement to Give American Homeowners a Bailout – Anthony Samad’s Tips of the Week

Tip 1: Grassroots Movement to give American Homeowners a bailout There is a grassroots and on-line movement to get Congress to give American homeowners the same kind of bailout they are giving Wall Street. Many people, including Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Clinton and others are asking for banks to write down subprime mortgages given during the [...]

Congress Passes Wall Street Relief Act of 2008

At a news conference held a short time ago, a bi-partisan claque of Congressional leaders stood before cameras to declare, finally and with great relief, “We have a Pope bailout!” Let the puff of white smoke rise from the Capitol’s chimney. Except none of them said exactly what is in the deal. How much money [...]

The Heart of the Economic Mess

Poverty

The Federal Reserve Board’s “beige book” for June and July offers a clear explanation for why the economy has slowed to a crawl. It shows American consumers cutting way back on their purchases of everything from food to cars to appliances to name-brand products. As they do so, employers inevitably are cutting back on the [...]

What the Lieberman-Warner Climate Change Legislation and the Selling of Indulgences Have In Common

Global Warming Cartoon

In the grand tradition of the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s, the mortgage-backed securities meltdown that currently threatens to undermine our financial markets, NAFTA, GATT, and the invasion and occupation of Iraq , our leaders in the Senate are once again preparing to hoist upon an unsuspecting public another catastrophe in the making. [...]

The Housing Crisis: Why the Roof Fell In

The Housing Crisis

By now everyone with a roof over his head has heard about the subprime mortgage mess. Understanding why so many homeowners are defaulting on their mortgages or what mortgage foreclosures have to do with the collapse of the housing market, however, is another matter. To get a better grasp of the mortgage mess I called [...]

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