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 President’s American Recovery & Reinvestment Act: What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us

shovel-ready

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 [...]

Where Government Spending Should be Trimmed — And Why It’s Necessary to Fast-Track Universal Health Care

play-aig

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 [...]

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 [...]

A Short Citizen’s Guide to Kooks, Demagogues, and Right-Wingers On Tax Day

what-are-we-protesting

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 [...]

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 We’re Not at the Beginning of the End, and Probably Not Even at the End of the Beginning

populist-rage

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 [...]

CSI Bailout, with William K. Black — Bill Moyers Journal Interview

handcuffs

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 [...]

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 [...]

The Administration’s Proposed Responsible Wall Streeter Tax Credit

recession-copy

The Administration is about to launch a new plan designed both to stimulate the economy and clean up Wall Street at the same time, the “Responsible Wall Streeter Tax Credit”.

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 [...]

Economic Recovery Will Be More than Trusting President Obama’s Stimulus Plan

bottom-feeder

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 [...]

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 [...]

The Stimulus: How to Create Jobs Without Them All Going to Skilled Professionals and White Male Construction Workers

construction_workers

The stimulus plan will create jobs repairing and upgrading the nation’s roads, bridges, ports, levees, water and sewage system, public-transit systems, electricity grid, and schools. And it will kick-start alternative, non-fossil based sources of energy (wind, solar, geothermal, and so on); new health-care information systems; and universal broadband Internet access. It’s a two-fer: lots of [...]

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.

How Obama Is Already Taking Charge

by Robert Reich – Obama’s immediate challenge is to fill the leadership vacuum created by a lame-duck president with historically-low approval ratings who seems to have lost interest in his job (at this writing, he’s out of the country) and who’s disappeared from the media, and a Treasury chief who has all but punted on [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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