The Stall Has Arrived

black unemployment

Robert Reich: @idening inequality is the underlying culprit. As long as almost all the gains from economic growth continue to go to the top, the vast middle class doesn’t have the purchasing power to boost the economy on its own.

Time for an Economic Bill of Rights

america's economy

Ellen Brown: What was sufficient for a simple agrarian economy does not provide an adequate framework for freedom and democracy today. We need an Economic Bill of Rights, and we need to end the privatization of the national currency.

History and Double-Dip Recessions

obama senior staff

Iwan Morgan: If America does manage to avoid a new recession and achieve stronger growth, it will be a testimony to the underlying strength of its economy. At present its political leadership in both the executive and legislative branches does not appear to have the same reserves.

War: Fiscal Stimulus of Last Resort

headless-uncle-sam-wide

Ellen Brown: Diverting a portion of our massive war spending to peaceful use could add jobs, improve living standards, and add infrastructure, while reducing the national debt and balancing the government’s budget by increasing the tax base and government revenues.

Stock Tip: Be Worried. Workers are Consumers.

Iranian medical delegation at the Agent Orange conference in Hanoi.

Robert Reich: Every CEO of every company that continues to squeeze payrolls (Verizon, are you listening? Ford?) needs to understand they’re shooting themselves in the feet. Where do they expect demand for their products and services to come from?

Inflation — Fighting the Last War

pat-toomey-wide

Steven Conn: For thirty years inflation has not been a serious threat to the American economy, yet politicians and pundits continually fret about it. The never-ending worry about inflation is like fighting the last war rather than the current one. What’s needed today is a war on unemployment and wage stagnation, not inflation.

Social Costs of Rising Unemployment

capitalism-wide

Sy Slavin: While economists and national policymakers discuss economics in coldly statistical terms, research has shown that social costs of economic downturns, particularly rising unemployment rates have personal and social costs not previously discussed.

The Carnage on Wall Street

media-watchdog-wide

Robert Reich: Our representatives in the nation’s capital continue to obsess about future budget deficits and games of chicken over raising the debt ceiling — neither of which has anything at all to do with the stalled recovery and the carnage on the Street.

How Democrats Can Become Relevant Again

entertainment-wide

Robert Reich: Republicans offered Democrats two more weeks before the doomsday shut-down. Democrats countered with four. Republicans held their ground. Democrats agreed to two. This is what passes for compromise in our nation’s capital.

Who Is the Spendthrift?

homeowners' lament

Steve Hochstadt: When the real estate boom turned out to be a house of cards, people’s debts came due much sooner than they had expected. Governments are much less to blame for the current foreclosure crisis than homebuyers, egged on by unscrupulous bankers.

Why No Amount of Fiscal or Monetary Stimulus Will Be Enough

recession

Robert Reich: The Fed’s decision Tuesday to keep short-term interest rates near zero is no surprise. What’s odd is its apparent decision not to boost the economy by buying hundreds of billions of bonds — despite its acknowledgment that ”the pace of recovery in output and employment has slowed in recent months,” and that prices are rising too slowly for comfort (i.e., we might be facing deflation).

The California Budget Mess Backstory

oil addiction

Adam Eran: So the origin of California’s tax reductions, and even its current budget deficit, is arguably oil price inflation. If we want a stable economy, and government without deficits, we need to stop kidding ourselves that spending is a the root our budget problems, and attend to our energy addiction.

Inflation May Be Under Control, But Watch Out for Conflation

brangelina

Michael Sigman: Just last week, Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer almost got away with conflating immigration and beheadings. When it became crystal clear she’d made it all up, she reached an Orwellian summit of non-apology-apology, acknowledging only that “If I said that, I misspoke.”

Why A Civil Society Extends Unemployment Benefits

unemployment

Robert Reich: A record number of Americans is unemployed for a record length of time. This is a national tragedy. It is to the nation’s credit that many are receiving unemployment benefits. This is good not only for them and their families but also for the economy as a whole, because it allows them to spend and thereby keep others in jobs.

Why We Are Moving Toward a Recessionary Era

Robert Reich: The biggest ongoing threats are chronic recession or even deflation, because consumers don’t have enough money to what the economy is capable of selling at full or near-full employment. Despite gains in productivity, little has trickled down to America’s middle class.

The National Anthem: Why We Need Health Care Reform So Desperately

Private Health Insurance

Robert Reich: Anthem obviously believes it can raise its rates by as much as 39 percent without losing every one of its remaining customers with average or even somewhat above-average medical needs. The only way it could possibly raise its rates so high and expect to keep its customers would be if Anthem’s customers have no other choice.