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 […]

A Growing Sense of Anger at Obama – and Others

obama-bo-running

I’m so angry I feel like concealing a loaded hand gun and walking into a national park. No, I’m not going postal. Once President Obama signs the new credit card law, it will be legal for anyone to march around Yellowstone packing heat just for the fun of it. Although it’s usually angry, bitter, little […]

Sorry Folks: Happy Days Are Not Here Again

stressed-banks

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

This Week in The LA Progressive: March 22 to March 28

cuban-revolution1

Avoiding the Greater Depression New York, City of the Poor. This city that never sleeps, and others, will experience economic and social death without a vibrant middle class and viable opportunities to earn a living. –David A. Love The Magical Mystery Majority Budget. The bills passed, the Republicans threatened to sue, the Governor announced he […]

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 […]

Congress’s Potemkin Populism

bushido

It’s nice to see that when the public gets sufficiently angry about something, Congress responds. In a rare show of bipartisanship, members are eagerly registering shock and outrage at AIG’s bonus payments by coming up with an assortment of ways to reclaim the bonanza, including taxing them away retroactively. Who says democracy is dead? But […]

The Stimulus and the “Threat to Stability”

uncle-sam-crutches

Well, now it appears that, as the New York Times put it Monday, the “Rise in Jobless Poses Threat to Stability Worldwide.” This comes just after the new United States Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, told Congress instability caused by the global economic crisis had become the biggest security threat facing the United States, […]

Lessons of President Obama’s First Two Weeks

presidentobama

It’s been less than two weeks, but patterns have emerged that are likely to continue throughout Barack Obama’s presidency. First, Obama understands how to use the media. Examples are detailed below, but the best is the widespread media story last Thursday about how the usually cool Obama “lost it” — in front of cameras and […]

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 […]

They’re Just Not That Into You, George

bush_binladen

Mr. Bush, you shouldn’t have bothered. It wouldn’t have mattered what you said on your last Thursday evening as White House occupant. I’m sure many Americans did tune in out of curiosity as to how you were going to try to talk your way out of your mess this time. You used the same familiar […]

Stimulate the Economy by Mending Our Safety Nets

piggybank

Lots of talk this week about the proposed stimulus. One high priority ought to be the most vulnerable members of our society. The safety net created in the 1930s to protect Americans from extreme poverty is in tatters. Now that we’re in the worst downturn since the Depression, that safety net needs mending. This should […]

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 Housing Bubble Continues to Burst

waiting_for_santa

by Robert Reich – The National Association of Realtors said today that home prices have now dropped to the point where they’ve wiped out all the gains in housing prices since 2004. 2004, not incidentally, was when interest rates last hit bottom, and the Feds looked the other way while mortgage bankers began shoving money […]

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 […]

The Grapes Of Writhing

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Should we pity the rich? For the first time in the lives of many of them, they are in as much financial trouble as the middle class, poor, and working poor. It just shows up differently. Friends from the days when I lived in Manhattan are writing increasingly gloomy e-mails saying that there are so […]

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 […]

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 […]

Holiday Gloom in Silicon Valley

computer-sisyfus-copy

by Carl Bloice – A couple of days before Thanksgiving one of my downstairs neighbors matter of factly told me he had lost his job. He’d been abruptly laid off by a local information technology startup company. “They let go so many people I don’t know how they are going to get the work done,” […]

Slavery, American Style, Must Go!

world-balloon

ho says there are no slaves in America? The greatest domestic issue facing President-elect Obama is not the bailout of the bankers and insurers but the task of lifting tens of millions of hard-working American wage-slaves out of dire poverty. These are the folks who hold one – and sometimes two or even three – […]