Transcript of President Obama’s speech about green energy in Arcadia, Florida on Oct. 28, 2009.
My response to Bob Herbert’s column today about unemployed recent college graduates is “that sucks.” Now imagine what it’s like to be 55-years-old and out of work. That really sucks.
Nobody outside of Wall Street elites and the White House inner sanctum knows what’s really going on with the alleged economic recovery. What you do know is that Goldman Sachs is going to be handing out $23 billion in bonuses this year and record profits. You also know that without the hundreds of billions of taxpayer money, Goldman Sachs wouldn’t be rolling in piles of cash while its competition was left to fail (e.g. Lehman Brothers). And if you’ve been reading the newspaper, you know the Obama administration doesn’t care.
Most people, including myself, have no idea what financial institutions do. Whatever it is they do do, it sounds like a sweet gig, especially now that any competition that may have existed before the crash of 2008, is now gone. Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are running wild with taxpayer money, no regulation and no competition.
Round and round they go, from Delloitte & Touche to Goldman Sachs to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Adam Storch, formerly a Goldman Sachs executive, is not the chief operating officer for the SEC’s enforcement division.
Even while unemployment continues to climb, bailed out companies like J.P. Morgan are still making money. Last quarter, J.P. Morgan made $3.6 billion despite having to write off credit card and mortgage losses. At least someone’s making money, right?
Paul Krugman won a Nobel Prize in Economics last year and he’s apparently one of the only economists who knows what’s going on with our economy. In today’s column he takes on the Federal Reserve and the old-school mentality that interest rates should go up at the same time unemployment is increasing.
Bright, eager—and unwanted. While unemployment is ravaging just about every part of the global workforce, the most enduring harm is being done to young people who can’t grab onto the first rung of the career ladder.
If you listen to wind-bags like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity you’d think that America is the greatest country ever formed and anyone who disagrees with them is a commie-terrorist-socialist-bastard. But if you look at where we’ve been, and more importantly, where we’re headed, the United States of America is no longer, if it ever was, the greatest country in the world.
The New York Times columnist Tom Friedman likes to position himself as a centrist. He’s pro-war, pro-environment, pro-business, and I guess against deficit spending. I usually agree with about 60 percent of what he writes. The problem is that he works too hard to sit precariously on the fence. In today’s column he says that deficit spending is bad and that liberals will have to sacrifice some of their social programs to balance the budget, but as usual Friedman overlooks the glaring $500 billion defense budget.
New York Times columnist Bob Herbert pondered whether President Obama gets it. Does Obama understand that millions of people are out of work and are struggling every day? Gauging Obama’s rhetoric and his actions, he clearly does not.
The Nation’s Katrina Vanden Heuvel wrote today: “These next few months are a time of reckoning.
Every so often in American political history, a window for change opens, and the combination of crisis, leadership, and political movement makes big, positive reforms possible.”
Remember that series of episodes of the Sapranos when David Scatino fell into debt with Tony Soprano and ended up losing his sporting goods store? Scatino was a degenerate gambler and got in way over his head. Tony then took over his business, leveraged every asset and line of credit Scatino had, and when there was nothing left to strip from Scatino’s business, all that remained was a sad man sleeping in a tent on the floor of his sporting goods store. That’s exactly what has happened to the 133-year-old Simmons Bedding Company, but it’s legal and not on HBO.
The recession isn’t over, and there’s more evidence that we’re crawling towards another depression. Unemployment continues to increase. Conservative estimates peg unemployment at 9.8 percent and under-employment at 17 percent. The one sector of the economy seeing growth is finance, which has benefited from the taxpayer bailout, while regular folks struggle to make ends meet.
The New York Times reported today: “Job seekers now outnumber openings six to one, the worst ratio since the government began tracking open positions in 2000. According to the Labor Department’s latest numbers, from July, only 2.4 million full-time permanent jobs were open, with 14.5 million people officially unemployed.”
The Hill reported today that President Obama and the other G-20 members said that the bank bailouts successfully averted another Great Depression; all that’s left is just a bit of regulatory tweaking and we’ll be right as rain. I’m sure they’re right – all government needed to do to fix the economic crisis was to throw billions and billions of dollars at the banks who screwed everything up in the first place.
Top inspector of the Troubled Asset Relief Program says that the economy is “far more dangerous” now than before the economic collapse and subsequent bailout. So a year after last year’s run-on-the-Treasury by too-big-too-fail banks, the Troubled Asset Relief Program has done a lot to help banks get bigger and nothing to help protect the economy or taxpayers said TARP Inspector Neil Barofsky.
As he ushered in a new era in Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s theme song was “Happy Days Are Here Again,” but people tend to forget that along with sunny optimism FDR delivered a strong dose of justice. He left that job to Ferdinand Pecora, a fierce New York prosecutor whom Roosevelt urged to investigate Wall Street’s perniciousness. Pecora delivered big time. He humiliated and forced the resignation of Charles Mitchell, the head of National City Bank (later Citibank), and oversaw a 12,000-page probe into the causes of the Great Depression that gave birth to a new regulatory framework, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (Pecora was later one of the first commissioners). Other Wall Streeters were prosecuted, convicted, and jailed.
What? Wall Street is choosing to do what it does best, makes piles of cash anyone they can? And now Obama is bemoaning them for “choosing to ignore” lessons they should have learned when bank after bank failed and was then bailed out by the taxpayers. Why do they even have the option of choosing to ignore those lessons? And weren’t the lessons learned supposed be brought to bear on the regulatory agencies Obama now controls? Or we could just sit back and hope the Wall Street thugs do the right thing.
The Huffington Post published an investigative story on how the Federal Reserve controls what economists think, write and missed the obvious housing bubble burst.