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Showing posts from March 22, 2009

Obama's Busted Bank Bailout, Jack Rasmus, Z Magazine

April 2009
In February 2009, economic data across the board revealed an accelerating decline of the U.S. economy, both in its financial and non-financial elements. Gross domestic product (GDP) data for the U.S. economy for the fourth quarter 2008 was revised downward, showing the U.S. economy had contracted by more than 6.2 percent. Unemployment levels from November 2008 through February 2009 show an official rise in joblessness of nearly two million, according to official U.S. government data. When properly adjusted, however, to include the six million new underemployed since the recession began, plus discouraged and other workers not recorded in the official data, the actual U.S. unemployment has risen by at minimum three million since November. Properly calculated, there are now more than 13 million unemployed in the U.S. By December, the unemployed will very likely exceed 20 million. Meanwhile, in January-February 2009 the balance sheets of banking and finance giants like Citigroup…

America Is in Need of a Moral Bailout, Chris Hedges

Posted on Mar 23, 2009By Chris HedgesIn decaying societies, politics become theater. The elite, who have hollowed out the democratic system to serve the corporate state, rule through image and presentation. They express indignation at AIG bonuses and empathy with a working class they have spent the last few decades disenfranchising, and make promises to desperate families that they know will never be fulfilled. Once the spotlights go on they read their lines with appropriate emotion. Once the lights go off, they make sure Goldman Sachs and a host of other large corporations have the hundreds of billions of dollars in losses they incurred playing casino capitalism repaid with taxpayer money. We live in an age of moral nihilism. We have trashed our universities, turning them into vocational factories that produce corporate drones and chase after defense-related grants and funding. The humanities, the discipline that forces us to stand back and ask the broad moral questions of meaning an…

No Return to Normal:Why the economic crisis, and its solution, are bigger than you think. James Galbraith

Here's a video version; more below:

Barack Obama’s presidency began in hope and goodwill, but its test will be its success or failure on the economics. Did the president and his team correctly diagnose the problem? Did they act with sufficient imagination and force? And did they prevail against the political obstacles—and not only that, but also against the procedures and the habits of thought to which official Washington is addicted?

The president has an economic program. But there is, so far, no clear statement of the thinking behind that program, and there may not be one, until the first report of the new Council of Economic Advisers appears next year. We therefore resort to what we know about the economists: the chair of the National Economic Council, Lawrence Summers; the CEA chair, Christina Romer; the budget director, Peter Orszag; and their titular head, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. This is plainly a capable, close-knit group, acting with energy and commitment. Defic…