Kwazi Nkrumah: After U.S. housing prices peaked in mid-2006 and began a sharp decline thereafter, refinancing became more difficult.
Kwazi Nkrumah: For years the banks, real estate agents and investors in real estate securities on Wall Street were making money hand-over-fist. They did all this while pretending to break from their previous established history of gross discrimination and red-lining against the disproportionately non-white borrowers whose limited financial resources forced them into “sub-prime” status in the first place.
Robert Reich: The real message from voters was “Fix this stinking economy.” But Republicans have no intention of doing so. With Republicans in control of the House, forget spending increases or tax cuts to stimulate the economy.
Robert Reich: The latest jobs bill coming out of Washington isn’t really a bill at all. It’s the Fed’s attempt to keep long-term interest rates low by pumping even more money into the economy (“quantiative easing” in Fed-speak).
Shamus Cooke: The housing market appears to be on a never-ending downward spiral, with the much-discussed “recovery” always around the next corner.
Robert Reich: The only reason the economy isn’t in a double-dip recession already is because of three temporary boosts: the federal stimulus (of which 75 percent has been spent), near-zero interest rates (which can’t continue much longer without igniting speculative bubbles), and replacements (consumers have had to replace worn-out cars and appliances, and businesses had to replace worn-down inventories). Oh, and, yes, all those Census workers (who will be out on their ears in a month or so).
David Barber: What I do know is that while “social psychology” may have had some small role as a causal factor in the Crash of ’08, it was the actual structure of the American and world economies which brought on the crisis. And if in fact we enter a second round of this Crash, it will not stem from what Dr. Shiller calls a “weakness and vulnerability of confidence,” but will result from the same structural elements of our economy as those that brought on the “first dip.”
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.