Category Archives: Capitalism

President Obama’s Saturday YouTube Address 02/13/10

white house gov logoWhiteHouse.gov—The President, having just signed the “Pay As You Go” law, discusses the importance of this fundamental rule to getting budget deficits in check. Ensuring that new spending and tax cuts are offset was a important factor in creating the budget surplus of the late 1990’s.
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President Clueless? Not so fast…

Posted by: Betsm

Reports claim Obama kisses up to the bankers in an interview. Critics on the left erupt! Here’s why they shouldn’t

President Barack ObamaPretty clever, those Bloomberg folks! First they buy BusinessWeek. Then BusinessWeek gets an interview with President Obama. Then, one day before the interview is to run, Bloomberg scoops its sister publication by excerpting a couple of choice nuggets suggesting Obama is cuddling up to the banks.

President Barack Obama said he doesn’t “begrudge” the $17 million bonus awarded to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon or the $9 million issued to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, noting that some athletes take home more pay…

“I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,” Obama said in the interview yesterday in the Oval Office with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which will appear on newsstands Friday. “I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system.”

Unsurprisingly, two of Obama’s harshest critics on banking policy — from the left — immediately went ballistic. Simon Johnson called it “a major public relations disaster” and Paul Krugman, in a post titled “Clueless,” said “you would think that Obama would understand the importance of acknowledging public anger over what’s happening” and declared that “we are doomed.”

Hmm. Maybe we should read the entire interview before rending our hair and screaming doom and disaster? If there’s one thing we know about the president, it’s that he is pretty good with nuance and capable of making complex, multifaceted arguments. His performance during his meeting with the House GOP two weeks ago should provide all the evidence we need for that.

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Read the entire article by Andrew Leonard @ Salon

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The Rachel Maddow Show: White House Explains Spending Freeze

Rachel Maddow ShowRachel Maddow talks with White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein about the breaking news that President Barack Obama will announce a “non-security” spending freeze in his State of the Union address on Wednesday evening.
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Republicans Stand by Their Man: Fat Cat The Banker

Posted by: LibbyShaw

Meet Fat Cat the Banker

Meet Fat Cat the Banker

Who would have thought? In its true and hypocritical form The Party of No and Obstruction opposes President Obama’s proposed fees on banks.

Dick Cheney must be hard at work at that printing press in his undisclosed basement.

Prominent Republicans are coming out in opposition to President Barack Obama’s proposal for a $90-billion fee on large banks that took bailout money, a move that political observers say could force the GOP to choose between their traditional anti-tax position and populist anger over the bailout.

On Thursday, GOP Chairman Michael Steele declared that the bank fee — which would be levied only on banks that took bailout money and have more than $50 billion in assets — is “another tax on the American public.”

The GOP is standing by fat cat the banker in yet another effort to oppose President Obama. Republicans demonstrate time and time again that they are willing to put politics ahead of working on solutions to solve the daunting challenges that we face on local, state and national levels.

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All of the Republican’s ranting and raving about the federal bailout is nothing but ginned up rhetoric. Apparently GOP lawmakers hate the bailout and yet they love the banks so much that they do not believe Wall St., aka gambling casinos that put Las Vegas to shame, should have to make reparations to the taxpayers for squandering and stealing our money. God forbid should the big banks have to pay fines for its appallingly irresponsible and over the top reckless behavior that annihilated the U.S. and global economy.

The financial services industry lobbied for the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act in 1999. That allowed banks to use their custodial power over your money to assume huge risks in investment markets.

They also lobbied for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which allowed banks to trade their crooked insurance in secret and exempted from all supervisory authority.

And to help grow the hurricane, then CEO of Goldman Sachs Hank Paulson made a personal plea to the SEC to allow banks to leverage more money against their capital. As much as $4,000 for every $100 in capital they held.

Wall Street may claim this was caused by a perfect storm, but the only thing perfect about it was their ability to line their pockets at the expense of our country.

Republicans apparently think it is a good idea for the banks to return to its wild, careless and out of control gambling practices that all but destroyed our financial security.

The proposed tax would apply to bank, thrift and insurance companies with more than $50 billion in assets and would start after June 30. It would not apply to certain holdings, like customers’ insured savings, but to assets in risk-taking operations. The levy would raise an estimated $90 billion over 10 years, according to the White House.

But it would remain in force longer if all losses to the bailout fund, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, were not recovered after a decade. The Treasury now projects that the losses from the $700 billion loan program, which was created in October 2008, could reach $117 billion, about a third of the loss that it projected last summer — an improved forecast that reflected the renewed strength on Wall Street.

After all, last week during the Texas Republican gubernatorial debate Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said she and John Cornyn hated voting for the bank bail out. But, alas, they did so only because then President G.W. Bush instructed them to do so in order to save the U.S. and global economy from a complete melt down.

A glimpse at a Texas Republican clown show.

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In their twisted logic Republican politicians insist they hated saving the banks but now they hate imposing punitive fees on the banks’ biggest gamblers.

I suppose now that Sarah Palin has been hired as a professional analyst by FOX, the Propaganda Arm for the RNC, all of the GOP’s verbal inconsistencies and contradictions will soon be fully explained.

Republican lawmakers will howl like possessed banshees about terrorism and the profound urgency for our national security. They also routinely cry for border fences, racial profiling and full body scanners at all airports. And yet when it comes to safeguarding our financial and economic security, Republicans, it appears, are not in the least bit concerned. For them Fat Cat the Banker can do no wrong.

According to an article written by Mr. Frank Rich of the New York Times:

The Other Plot to Wreck America

Americans might be fluent in global terror and the horrors of terrorism but we are woefully uninformed about our domestic financial weapons of mass destruction.

Americans must be told the full story of how Wall Street gamed and inflated the housing bubble, made out like bandits, and then left millions of households in ruin. Without that reckoning, there will be no public clamor for serious reform of a financial system that was as cunningly breached as airline security at the Amsterdam airport. And without reform, another massive attack on our economic security is guaranteed. Now that it can count on government bailouts, Wall Street has more incentive than ever to pump up its risks — secure that it can keep the bonanzas while we get stuck with the losses.

The Director of the Financial Crisis Commission intends to shed some light on the big banks and its financial practices (greed, hubris, stupidity – gosh, why this sounds like a typical old home week of the W. Administration of arrogance and incompetence) over the last several years.

He wants to examine the financial sector’s “greed, stupidity, hubris and outright corruption” — from traders on the ground to the board room. “It’s important that we deliver new information,” he said. “We can’t just rehash what we’ve known to date.” He understands that if he fails to make news or to tell the story in a way that is comprehensible and compelling enough to arouse Americans to demand action, Wall Street and Washington will both keep moving on, unchallenged and unchastened.

Maybe the W. Administration and all of its lackeys including Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison were far too distracted by non-existent WMD’s in Iraq and no bid contracts to the military/industrial complex to worry much about Wall St.

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Filed under Bailout, Banking, Barack Obama, Capitalism, Creepy right-wing antics, Economy, Greed, Media and Entertainment, Money, Mortgages, MSNBC, News, Partisan Politics, Politics, Presidents, Republicans, RNC, Small Business, The Morning Meeting w/Dylan Ratagan, Video/YouTube, Washington, DC

Republicans Delivered the Worst Decade in Modern U.S. History

posted by: LibbyShaw

Republicans ruled for 80% of the last decade, 60% of which Republicans were in total control

At least when W. ran his companies into the ground Daddy’s friends would step up and bail junior out. But Daddy’s buddies are nowhere to be found now that W. and his GOP drove the country straight to hell. Tragically for the American taxpayers, we, our children, our grandchildren and great grandchildren will have to clean up the squalor. It will take generations to undo the GOP’s financial carnage.

A recent article published in the Washington Post reveals that the American worker lost big time during the past decade.

This news should come as no surprise to any hard working middle class American. We have been living the pain for 10 long years.

The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, a sharp reversal from a long period of prosperity that is leading economists and policymakers to fundamentally rethink the underpinnings of the nation’s growth.

It was, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers. The decade began in a moment of triumphalism — there was a current of thought among economists in 1999 that recessions were a thing of the past. By the end, there were two, bookends to a debt-driven expansion that was neither robust nor sustainable.

The Washington Post also reveals that there has been zero net job creation since December 1999. Conditions have not been this grim for decades. Essentially, the American worker has not had a raise in a very long time.

Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 — and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The Aughts were the first decade of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.

Click to enlarge

As we well know, our home values have declined as have our retirement and savings accounts.

What happened?

Economists attribute the decline to economic stagnation, an out of control housing bubble, too much risk and too much debt. Money was invested in mini mansions instead of business investments that would have created jobs and economic growth.

The housing bubble both caused, and was enabled by, a boom in indebtedness. Total household debt rose 117 percent from 1999 to its peak in early 2008, according to Federal Reserve data, as Americans borrowed to buy ever more expensive homes and to support consumption more generally.

An experiment called an unbridled free market economy ended very badly for we the people.

The first decade of the new century was an experiment in what happens when an economy comes to rely heavily on borrowed money.

A big part of what happened this decade was that people engaged in excessively risky behavior without realizing the risks associated,” said Karen Dynan, co-director of economic studies at the Brookings Institution. “It’s true not just among consumers but among regulators, financial institutions, lenders, everyone.”

The experiment has ended badly. While the stock market bubble that popped in 2000 caused only a mild recession, the housing and credit bubble has had a much greater punch — driving the unemployment rate to a high, so far, of 10.2 percent, compared with a peak of 6.3 percent following the last such downturn.

In short, the big banks, enabled by Republican free market ideology, gambled with our money and they lost it. And they lost it big time. As we know we the taxpayer had to step up and bail out the banks so there would not be a complete and thoroughly devastating global economic melt down.

The G.W. Bush era was one in which the GOP rewarded every one of its fat cat sugar daddies, including Halliburton with its no bid contracts for a ginned up war called Iraq.

We the people are dearly paying the price for the Bush era’s unforgivable mistakes.

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I am with Dylan Ratigan on this one. The banks should pay the taxpayers back with interest. Why on earth did Hank Paulson give away our money with no strings attached? What was he thinking?

So next time we hear about the virtues of an unbridled free market economy we need to say no way in hell. Any politician who embraces this voodoo notion of economic devastation should be run out of office on a rail for they are unfit to serve the people.

Speaking of unfitness to serve, why is that Republicans have to blame their short comings on others? Why can’t Republicans ever step up and take responsibility for their mistakes?

Republicans are obviously inept at running the economy and they are also incompetent at keeping our nation safe whether from terrorist attacks or national disasters like Hurricane Katrina. It seems that the only thing Republicans are good at is playing the blame game.

A coordinated, successful attack, with sufficient warning, carried out by 19 terrorists, killing 2,973 people, on the 234th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the previous President… who happened to be a Democrat.

HOWEVER, an unsuccessful attack, attempted by 1 terrorist, killing absolutely no one on the 339th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the current President… who happens to be a Democrat.

SIMILARLY, a complete and total meltdown of the financial system, including a stock market collapse and levels of bankruptcy/foreclosure not seen since the Great Depression on, or around, the 2415th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the previous President (and Congress)… who created Acorn, and just happened to be Democrats.

BUT, 10% unemployment and lackluster job growth on the 215th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the current President (and Congress)… who want to institute socialism (in the form of Acorn) and happen to be Democrats.

NOW, making a statement from your “brush farm” 144 hours after a dude with bad facial hair is prevented from blowing up an airplane… that’s fighting some serious war on the baddies.

AND YET, making a statement from the beach 72 hours after a dude with bad genital burns is prevented from blowing up an airplane… that’s “pretending the war on terror doesn’t exist“.

If folks really have a desire to destroy what is left of their financial security, go ahead and continue to vote for Republicans. Hopefully most of us won’t have this death wish in November.

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Berkshire Buying Burlington Northern Railroad

posted by GeoT

“An Investemnt in the Future of America”

Geo T Note: This is a play on railroads becoming the “green” mode of commercial transport, supplanting trucking. The near future will see new track laid and faster more efficient shipping methods developed…

Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) — Berkshire Hathaway Inc. agreed to buy railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. in the company’s biggest takeover under Warren Buffett.

Warren Buffett

Buffett’s firm will buy the 77.4 percent of the railroad it doesn’t already own for $100 a share in cash and stock, valuing the transaction at about $44 billion, including $10 billion in outstanding debt, Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire said in a statement today distributed by Business Wire. That compares with the railroad’s closing price yesterday of $76.07.

“It’s an all-in wager on the economic future of the United States,” Buffett said in the statement.

Berkshire has been building a stake in the Fort Worth, Texas-based railroad for more than two years as Buffett looked for what he called an “elephant”-sized acquisition in which he could deploy his company’s cash hoard, valued at more than $24 billion as of the end of June. Trains stand to become more competitive against trucks with fuel prices high, he has said.

“As oil prices go up, higher diesel fuel raises costs for rails, but it raises costs for its competitors, truckers, roughly by a factor of four,” Buffett told shareholders in 2007 at his company’s annual meeting. “There could be a lot more business there than there was in the past.”

Full Story Here:

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Obama Announces $3.4 Billion in Electric ‘Smart-Grid’ Grants

goinggreen
posted by GeoT

Oct. 27– President Barack Obama today will announce $3.4 billion in government grants for equipment to improve the efficiency of the nation’s electrical transmission network.

Smart Grid Layout

The grants, ranging in size from $400,000 to $200 million, will be used to develop and install “smart-grid” technology to make electricity transmission more reliable and aid the transmission of energy generated from sources like wind and solar power.
“The current system is outdated and dilapidated,” Carol Browner, the White House’s top energy adviser, said in a conference call with reporters late yesterday. “Today’s grants “will give us a transformational impact on how electricity is generated, delivered and consumed,” she said.
The money comes from the $787 billion economic stimulus legislation approved by Congress in February. Jared Bernstein, chief economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, said during the conference call the grants will “save or create tens of thousands” of jobs.
Bernstein said Oct. 15 the stimulus legislation has created or saved about 1 million jobs since it was enacted. The nation’s unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent last month, and the president has said he expects it to exceed 10 percent before it starts coming down.

Solar Power Plant
Obama will announce the grants today in Arcadia, Florida, at one of the nation’s largest solar power generating facilities. Florida Power & Light Co.’s DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center will generate enough power for 3,000 homes when it is completed

See: Largest Solar Power Plant In U.S. Rises in Sunshine State


Resources:

DOE: “The Smart Grid: An Introduction”

Enhancing the Smart Grid: Integrating Clean Distributed and Renewable Generation (PDF 1.14 MB)

Vice President Biden Outlines Funding for Smart Grid Initiatives

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