Charles D. Hayes: Many full-time employees of some of America’s largest employers need government assistance, including food stamps. Guess who picks up the tab?
Joseph Palermo: Tuesday night President Obama explained how his administration is going to respond to the most devastating human-made ecological catastrophe in the nation’s history. But he apparently doesn’t recognize how overwhelmingly popular it would be right now with the American people if he came out swinging against the malefactors of great corporate wealth like BP (or Goldman Sachs).
Robert Reich: So why is the FTC nosing around Apple and not around Wall Street? Because the Federal Trade Commission Act allows the agency to stop “unfair methods of competition” almost anywhere in the economy except in the financial sector. Banks are explicitly excluded. Another reason for financial reform.
Robert Reich: If Washington knew what was good for it and the nation, it would sever its financial connections with the Street. Better yet, it would enact legislation seeking to limit the impact of private and corporate money in politics. That goal is made more difficult to achieve by the grotesque recent Supreme Court decision (Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission) holding that corporations, including financial firms, have the right to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns. But there are ways around this, such as more generous public funding for candidates that choose not to take private contributions. Hopefully as well, the president will nominate Supreme Court justices who understand the importance of public trust in democratic institutions, and the difference between companies and people.
Joseph Palermo: Unless the Congress moves some progressive legislation quickly there’s going to be trouble this fall because any political party that is stupid enough to allow a couple of shmucks like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, or the outcome of a special election in New England, to unravel its governing coalition doesn’t deserve to be in power.
Why didn’t Obama deliver this speech when he spoke to bankers on Wall Street a few months ago? Better late than never, I suppose, and bankers are slightly more likely to pay attention to Volcker than to Obama as evidenced by the fact that several major US bank CEOs turned down the invitation to hear the president speak.
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 [...]
“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 [...]
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 [...]
I don’t know whether Bank of America shareholders will oust Ken Lewis from his chairmanship this week. I don’t know if Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will eventually do it, either. What really worries me is I don’t know who would actually be responsible for doing the deed, or by what criteria. When it comes to [...]
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 [...]
Who stopped the presses? Obviously, it is a question that many are asking these days. It is a bit sobering to witness the apparent demise of the newspaper industry. Not unlike dominoes, newspapers around the U.S. are toppling, closing their doors, filing for bankruptcy, or ceasing their print operations and only remaining online. As someone [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
$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? [...]