From an Economy of Consumption to an Economy of Sustainability

Walter Moss: As we face the simultaneous challenges of creating more jobs and a more sustainable environment for our children and grandchildren, are we not capable of new thinking? Are we not capable of demonstrating that yes, we can evolve toward an economy that evidences more of what Schumacher thought it should — Beauty, Truth, and Goodness?

As Progressives Predicted, Clinton Welfare Reform Law Fails Families

Randy Shaw: After President Bill Clinton signed legislation in 1996 “ending welfare as we know it,” many highlighted this “common sense” solution and criticized progressives for opposing the bill. Soon after passage, politicians and the media said it had not caused the downsides that activists had predicted, ignoring that the law had not been fully implemented. But troubling reports soon emerged.

The Future of American Jobs

Jobs

Robert Reich: The Great Recession has accelerated a structural shift in the economy that had been slowly building for years. Companies have used the downturn to aggressively trim payrolls, making cuts they’ve been reluctant to make before. Outsourcing abroad has increased dramatically. Companies have discovered that new software and computer technologies have made many workers in Asia and Latin America almost as productive as Americans, and that the Internet allows far more work to be efficiently moved to another country without loss of control.

Why More Immigrants Is an Answer to the Coming Boomer Entitlement Mess

Boomers

Robert Reich: Sixty years later, we boomers have a lot to be worried about because most of us plan to retire in a few years and Social Security and Medicare are on the way to going bust. I should know because I used to be a trustee of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. Those of you who are younger than we early boomers have even more to be worried about because if those funds go bust they won’t be there when you’re ready to retire.

Bail Out Our Schools

No Child Left Behind

Robert Reich: Any day now, the Obama administration will announce $4.35 billion in extra federal funds for under-performing public schools. That’s fine, but relative to the financial squeeze all the nation’s public schools now face it’s a cruel joke.

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.

Obomanomics One Year Out

Obama Economic Challenges

Robert Reich: The economic stresses of continued high unemployment and low wages are contributing to the growth of the “I’m Mad As Hell” Party – a rag-tag collection of Tea Partiers furious at establishment Republicans, left-wing Democrats angry at what they consider lily-livered Democrats in Washington, and Independents disgusted with everybody inside the Beltway.

Obama’s Tiny Jobs Ideas for Main Street, A Big Spending Freeze for Wall Street

Obama's Fading Hope

Robert Reich: President Obama today offered a set of proposals for helping America’s troubled middle class. All are sensible and worthwhile. But none will bring jobs back. And Americans could be forgiven for wondering how the President plans to enact any of these ideas anyway, when he can no longer muster 60 votes in the Senate.

What Scott Brown’s Victory Really Means

Economic Grip

Robert Reich: Here’s what’s really going on. In Massachusetts, in New Jersey, all over the nation, voters are petrified of losing their jobs, their homes, and what’s left of their savings. Nothing counts more than the economy. Rightly or wrongly, presidents and the party in power are blamed when the economy is lousy.

Bad Job Numbers and the Secret Second Stimulus

Jobs-Skyline

Robert Reich: Bottom line: Obama will be going into an election year with a higher total level of unemployment than before the Great Recession. He will have to argue that, were it not for his policies, things would be even worse. Counter-factuals like this do not sit well on bumper stickers.

The President’s Job’s Initiative Doesn’t Measure Up

Jobs

No president in modern times walks a tightrope as exquisitely as this one. His balance is a thing of beauty. But when it comes to this economy right now — an economy fundamentally out of balance — we need a federal government that moves boldly and swiftly to counter-balance the huge recessionary forces still at large

Worrisome Thoughts on the Way to the Jobs Summit

Jobs-Flight-1a

But the reality that no one wants to talk about is a structural change in the economy that’s been going on for years but which the Great Recession has dramatically accelerated.

Seeing Red: The Budget Deficit – Past, Present and Future

Budget-balloon

The dangers of a foreign retreat from Treasury securities are slight in the short-term but increase over time as the public debt continues to grow. Americans would do well to realize that things which cannot go on forever tend not to.

The Great Disconnect Between Stocks and Jobs

Unemployment

In the Great Recession of 2008-2009, companies are going a step further. They’re using this sharp downturn to cut payrolls even below where they were when times were good. Outsourcing abroad, setting up shop in China and elsewhere, contracting out, replacing people with software and automated machines – they’re doing whatever it takes to get payrolls down so earnings bounce up.

So Much Happening in Washington and So Little to Show for It, So Far

Politics Elephant cartoon

The public doesn’t know what’s going on because the national media would rather report on the sexual escapades of famous people or social trends or high finance (a recent Pew study of economic reporting shows the vast majority of stories about the Great Recession have focused on Wall Street rather than Main Street).

Blacks and Latinos Hit Harder in Hard Times

unemployment

Unemployment is and always has been much higher in Black and Latino communities. But the gap has widened during this recession. In fact, Black unemployment is nearly double that of Whites, while Latinos are unemployed at a rate one-third higher than their White counterparts.

When Will The Recovery Begin? Never.

debt

So instead of asking when the recovery will start, we should be asking when and how the new economy will begin.

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 Poor You Shall Have with You Always

lorraine

During this current recession, I’m sure anyone watching the news has noticed the sudden interest in helping the “poor”. We sit in horror as traumatized children talk about the difficulties of adjusting to life without video games and cable TV, having to move out of their elaborate houses into welfare motels, who now find themselves [...]

Is Economic Growth a Delusion?

banks

Unemployment reached 8.5% in March of this year, but add in the once full-time, now part-time laborers, it may be as high as 15%. Yet my fellow rail commuters somewhere between New Haven and Grand Central Terminal think they smell recovery. As one salesman put it to me, “things will come back–even better than they [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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