economic crisis

Happy New Years! Move Your Money, a new year's resolution for fundamental change

It's obviously slow around here, this season, a hopeful sign that people are doing good things with their families in preparation for the end of the first decade of the New American Century. 

If only we might have preempted it just about a decade, or so, ago.  Alas, the best thing we can do is an appropriate and probing retrospective in order to understand what we should have done differently and to plan for resolving how to do the next one better.

Rule 1, I think, is to ignore Dick Cheney and his network of mega-FauxNe(w)s.

Rule 2 is to 'follow the money' (see Rule 1) and Arianna Huffington makes a good point (a couple, actually) in her argument with Larry Krudlow, the GOP financial pundit @ CNBC.

Goldman Sachs Vice-Chair: Tolerate the Inequality

Hat tip to Firedoglake, for picking this up from MSNBC and The London Guardian:

In remarks that will fuel the row around excessive pay, Lord Griffiths, vice-chairman of Goldman Sachs International and a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, said banks should not be ashamed of rewarding their staff.

Speaking to an audience at St Paul's Cathedral in London about morality in the marketplace last night, Griffiths said the British public should "tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity for all"

The New Employment Numbers: Things are Worsening More Slowly

by Robert Reich, posted with permission.

The economy is getting worse more slowly. That's just about the only clear reading that's coming from the economic reports, including this morning's important one on employment. The pace of job losses slowed -- payrolls fell by 247,000, after a 443,000 loss in June, and the official jobless rate dropped from 9.5 to 9.4 percent.

An Evening with William Greider and Friends

Last night Chris and I braved the incredible rush hour traffice in D.C. to attend a book-signing event for William Greider -- the book, Come Home America. The event was co-hosted by Campaign for America's Future Co-director,  Robert Borosage and the AFL, Executive Vice PresidentArlene Holt Baker at AFL National Headquarters.

Feeling the Pain

Originally posted 2009-03-25 12:16:37 -0500, bumped by carol.

I feel wiped out. And it’s not from the flu. It’s from the financial news. Several people I know lost their families’ life savings that were invested with Wall Street wizard Bernie Madoff. My bank, which has been on a buying spree of failing financial firms, was insured by AIG. Not long ago, the president of the United States—the one with a Harvard MBA degree—was urging Americans to switch from Social Security to private investment accounts. Yeah, sure. The only reliable income I have right now is a Social Security check.

A Lot Can Happen in a month: Back to the Future

Last month I attended Thing Big, a  conference held in Washington under the sponsorship of Campaign for America's Future among other progressive groups. At that time progressives were concerned over the presumptive appointment of Sen. Gregg as Commerce Secretary and the Obama stimulus package was under attack..Did his appointment of Gregg signal a pull back by the President from the progressive agenda which he had put forward?

I was particularly impressed with the optimistic tone of the conference. The message that I took away with me was that while President Obama will no doubt make mistakes, he is a new president and can learn from them and  (as did FDR) .  Just as progressives and the labor movement won significant gains in the 'thirties, so too can a strong progressive movement today. Now we are at another political crisis point, with the Bernanke-Geithner-Summer team threatening to create a de-facto banker's dictatorship which would put the Obama administration into receivership..

Within days of the Think Big  conference, the optimism expressed by the speakers, seemed to be  borne out as Gregg withdrew.his name because of irreconcilable differences with the Administration.  Now we are at another political crisis point and we can hope that President Obama will pull back from his support for Treasury Secretary Geithner retreaded bailout plan. and use his bully pulpit to fight for the social reforms that he has endorsed. Robert Reich, Paul Kurgman and Robert Kuttner have addressed the current inflection point. It's just a month snce the Thing Big conference but the economic situation is rapidly deteriorating. Popular anger is on the rise and the president again appears to be  veering off course.

Nick Benton's Corner: The Stimulus State by State


Posted with the permission of Falls Church News Pres owner/editor Nicholas Benton.

Update: The Bill has just passed the Senate with 61 votes.

The Stimulus State by State

by Nicholas Benton

Yesterday, President Obama's White House Press Office issued its first "blast" e-mail to every regional and local newspaper in the U.S., containing a lengthy 67-page "fact sheet" attachment delineating the concrete impact of the $850-billion stimulus package broken down on a state-by-state basis for every state in the union. 

The package, the so-called "American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan" is now being fought out in the U.S. Senate after passage in the House last week. Due to the strange rules of the Senate, it is not enough that Democrats have a clear majority to pass the laws they support. They need the "filibuster-proof" supermajority of 60, and still barely lack it.

As a result, an outraged American population is watching the same Republicans they rooted out of office in a "bum's rush" of epochal proportions in November, still holding the Democratic majority in a stranglehold, forcing ridiculous concessions. It is an obscenity.

If I were President . . . [Ending Wall Street's rule]

The past week, since the news that Merrill Lynch had hurried to pay out billions of dollars in bonuses before the end of the year, provoked a torrent of tirades and rage against Wall Street. Now, progressives are debating each other over the value and efficacy of President Obama’s attempts to attract Republican support for the stimulus program. Many defenders of President Obama demand to know what he might do differently.

Well, here’s my suggestion, in the form of a speech the President can give explaining measures I have concluded are essential to solving the financial and banking crises. Here is what I would do to root out and destroy the root cause of our troubles.

Some thoughts on the Obama Stimulus Package

 This was hard to put together because the charts were PDF so please excuse the appearance.

 The report, The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Investment Plan, has been  released as a PDF file and the link to it can be here. The report contains a table that shows how their estimate of how the recovery will work. One thing to note is that the composition of the jobs is such as to provide employment at the lowest-paid level (in service industry jobs) as well as for skilled professionals. See below the Krugmann commentary:

Stumbling Toward Stimulus: Are Entitlements in Danger?

Originally published 2009-01-08 14:14:40 -1000 - promoted by Roxy

In contrast to the mainstream media, there were many warnings in the progressive blogosphere over the past two years about the dangers of economic imbalances – most particularly the gap in incomes resulting from the 28-year old war Ronald Reagan initiated on the working and middle classes  – leading to a financial crisis. There is one primary and very important reason for this blindness of the mainstream media and prescience of the progressive blogosphere – the mainstream media is infested with the reigning economic paradigm of monetarism and financial economics which places emphasis on financial and monetary capital, while the progressive blogosphere throbs with populist economics focused on how well the least in society are uplifted and supported - the hoary old idea of developing human capital.

Open Thread

I was really astonished to read that Sanjay Gupta is the Pres.-elect's pick for Surgeon General. Well now his credentials don't look that bad, Besides functioning as CNN's health expert, he apparently also practices at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, and  is also an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the Emory University School of Medicine. It's his CNN commentaries that gives me pause. That said I think Paul Krugman got it just right. After describing Gupta's OK formal credentials he writes:

Nick Benton's Corner: Krugman Advises 'Don't Be Depressed'

Posted with permission from Nicholas Benton, Owner/Editor of "The Falls Church News Press."

Krugman Advises "Don't Be Depressed"

by Nicholas Benton

When signing for me a copy of his new book, "The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008," at Washington, D.C.'s National Press Club last week, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman scribbled, "To Nicholas, Don't be depressed."

The line is a good one, guaranteed to elicit a chuckle sorely needed after listening to Krugman's gloomy and indeterminate forecasts during remarks prior at a sold-out, nationally-televised luncheon.