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Archive for the ‘Economic Crisis’ Category

During a townhall meeting earlier this week, constituents in Rep. Randy Hultgren’s (R-IL) congressional district hectored him about raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations. The Washington Post reports, “It is a scene that has been repeated at town hall meetings across the country this August as Democrats make a concerted effort to use this […]/p

via Morning Briefing: August 19, 2011.

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Meltdown: Failure of eurozone countries to get control of their debts could lead to billions being wiped off the global economy, experts have warned

By James Chapman, Becky Barrow and Jason Groves
Daily Mail, 20th July 2011

While Westminster fiddled over the phone-hacking frenzy, the European economy was burning last night.

World financial watchdogs issued an extraordinary warning of a global economic ‘earthquake’ triggered by the failure of many countries to get to grips with massive debts.

To add insult to injury, it emerged yesterday that those largely responsible for bringing Britain’s economy to its knees – bankers and finance workers – have scooped bonuses totalling £14billion this year.

While the phone-hacking scandal will be investigated by a public inquiry led by a senior judge, there has been no equivalent investigation into the actions of bankers and the Government’s failure to hold them to account for triggering the financial crisis.

There were growing calls for Westminster to lift its gaze from phone-hacking and focus on the threat to the livelihoods of millions.

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Bernanke Calls On Congress To Help The Economy — For At Least The Fourth Time In Five Months

Huff Post

William Alden & Shahien Nasiripour

First Posted: 11-20-10 09:01 AM   |   Updated: 11-20-10 01:55 PM

NEW YORK — For at least the fourth time since June, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke publicly urged Congress to combat the lackluster recovery by increasing government spending, a recommendation that has gone unheeded by lawmakers.

In a speech at a conference of central bankers in Frankfurt, Bernanke once again said the Fed cannot save the economy on its own. The Fed’s recent move to add to its ballooning balance sheet by committing to buy up to $600 billion of government debt faces “limits” to its effectiveness, Bernanke said. The rest of the government, the chairman added, could aid the Fed’s efforts by hammering out a plan for stimulative spending. The right kind of spending, he noted, could help reduce the budget deficit over the long-term by first boosting economic growth.

“[I]n general terms, a fiscal program that combines near-term measures to enhance growth with strong, confidence-inducing steps to reduce longer-term structural deficits would be an important complement to the policies of the Federal Reserve,” Bernanke said Friday, according to his written remarks.

The fiscal policy recommendation came directly after Bernanke acknowledged it isn’t his job to make such policy proposals. “The Federal Reserve is nonpartisan and does not make recommendations regarding specific tax and spending programs,” the chairman noted.

The official parameters of his job, though, have not stopped Bernanke from engaging in backseat driving. At least four times since June — on June 9, July 21, July 22 and now Friday — he has urged lawmakers to increase spending to jumpstart the lagging economy.

But policy makers have proved to be unable to agree upon such a plan — or even propose one that’s viable. The rest of the nation has suffered as a result, as near-10 percent unemployment continues to hobble the economy. Democrats recently lost control of the House of Representatives, and a substantial part of their majority in the Senate. Voters said the dismal economy was their top concern.

To combat an ineffectual Washington establishment, the Fed has taken matters into its own hands. By buying up to $600 billion of government debt, the central bank hopes to increase the flow of money through the economy. Critics of the program, which is intended to lower interest rates and encourage corporate spending, have said the cheap money will not convince businesses to create jobs.

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As stimulus funds near end, new pain will begin

by Ronald J. Hansen – Nov. 21, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

If people didn’t like the federal stimulus, they may hate when it’s gone.

As the year winds down, the $862 billion plan to rescue the economy from the depths of the recession enters a new phase in which tax cuts and credits expire and countless hard-to-replace construction projects will end. Thousands of workers in some states could lose their jobs.

The political power shift brought about by the midterm elections has likely settled any lingering doubts that the stimulus will largely run out, as scheduled, in the coming months. A smaller package of federal aid that passed in August, primarily for teachers, also will rapidly disappear. With the new Republican majority in the House next year, there will be little support for similar additional measures.

Worries about the national debt and a negative view of the stimulus augur a new period when more businesses must survive on their own and governments must tighten their belts. The austerity will be widely felt.

Nearly every worker in the nation will see slightly slimmer paychecks as $400 individual tax cuts are slated to end this year.

Tax credits, such as those offering incentives for energy-efficiency improvements for homeowners, also are set to lapse at year’s end. The earned-income tax credit, which rewards the working poor, will no longer include funding for those with a third child.

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Rolling Stone feature discusses issues explored in The American Ruling Class

facebook July 16, 2009

by Alive Mind

The American Ruling Class has never been more relevant to the current news cycle or to the collective consciousness of the American public. Goldman Sachs is announcing record profits and it is the subject of a big Rolling Stone expose in which Matt Taibbi discusses “The Great American Bubble Machine,” stating, “The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Does Goldman Sachs still rule the world? Find out the back story with the feature documentary, The American Ruling Class.

John Kirby , the director for this film, also posts on the Providence Journal and has done an article on “Building What”. The ad and “Geraldo-at-Large” spot can be seen on the family-members’ campaign Web site, .buildingwhat.org.

The movie, about an hour and a half, can be seen on HULU

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How Right-Wing Billionaires and Business Propaganda Got Us into the Economic Mess of the Century

Holland’s new book shows how the corporate Right obscured how they’ve rigged the “free market” so they always come out on top.
September 15, 2010 |

Editor’s note: AlterNet is proud to present this excerpt from senior writer Joshua Holland’s new book, The Fifteen Biggest Lies about the Economy (And Everything Else the Right Doesn’t Want You to Know about Taxes, Jobs, and Corporate America). Holland’s research-rich but entertainingly written book slices and dices the latest talking points, explaining the issues with depth and nuance. The book tells an important story about the American economy that you won’t read in the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal. It’s one that is vitally important to understand as we grapple with some new economic realities. It’s a story about how the corporate Right has obscured the ways in which they’ve rigged the “free market” so they always come out on top. Ultimately, it goes a long way toward explaining how so few Americans noticed as a new Gilded Age emerged under a haze of lies, half-truths and distortions.

*****

The Great Recession that began in 2008 wiped out $13 trillion in Americans’ household wealth —in home values and stocks and bonds—stoking the kind of anger we’ve seen from pissed off progressives and from the Tea Partiers who dominated the news in the summer of 2009.

But although a lot of people threw around some angry rhetoric—and even invoked the specter of armed revolution—the reality is that when the economy nosedived, we basically took it. We didn’t riot; we took the bailouts, tolerated our stagnant wages, and accepted that Washington wasn’t about to give struggling families any real relief.

Yet the meltdown was global in nature, and it’s worth noting that citizens of other wealthy countries weren’t so complacent. As the Telegraph, a British tabloid, reported, “A depression triggered in America is being played out in Europe with increasing violence, and other forms of social unrest are spreading. In Iceland, a government has fallen. Workers have marched in Zaragoza, as Spanish unemployment heads toward 20 percent. There have been riots and bloodshed in Greece, protests in Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary and Bulgaria. The police have suppressed public discontent in Russia.” Another British paper, the Guardian, reported scenes of “Burned-out cars, masked youths, smashed shop windows and more than a million striking workers” in France. French officials went so far as to delay the release of unemployment data, “apparently for fear of inflaming the protests.”

You might wonder why Americans are so docile compared to others in the face of such a brutal economic onslaught by a small and entitled elite. Any number of theories have been offered to explain the apparent disconnect. Thomas Frank argued eloquently in his book What’s the Matter with Kansas? that wedge social issues—“God, guns and gays”—that the American Right nurtures with such care, obscure the fundamental differences between rich and poor, the powerful and the disenfranchised. Class consciousness, common to other liberal democracies, has been trumped by social anxieties, according to Frank.

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Economists See Increased Chance Of Double-Dip Recession

Huffington Post |  Ryan McCarthy First Posted: 08-16-10 01:19 PM   |   Updated: 08-16-10 01:51 PM

Buried amidst the increasingly gloomy economic news of the last few weeks — which includes stubbornly high unemployment, rising foreclosures and a grim outlook from the Fed, among other factors — is a growing sense of doom among some prominent economists.

More than a few top economic thinkers have significantly upped the chances of a return to a recession. Today, the noted bear Nouriel Roubini, the president of RGE Monitor and a professor at New York University, delivered a grim prognostication via Twitter: “Risk of a double dip recession in advanced economies (US, Japan, Eurozone) has now risen to 40%.”

Roubini is not alone in his concern. Last week, David Rosenberg, the Gluskin Sheff economist (formerly of Merrill Lynch), whose words have become must-read barometers of bear-ishness, said that the chances of a double-dip recession in the U.S. are now “higher than 50-50.”

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Obama: Stimulus package prevented another depression

By Raw Story
Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 — 3:13 pm

On the anniversary of his huge stimulus bill, President Barack Obama admitted Wednesday that millions of Americans had yet to feel the economic recovery, but insisted he had staved off a depression.

Obama also lashed out at Republicans he accused of misrepresenting the aims and achievements of the $862-billion mix of tax cuts and government spending, which he said had saved or created two million jobs.

“One year later, it is largely thanks to the Recovery Act that a second depression is no longer a possibility,” Obama said, at an event marking the anniversary of the day he signed the bill last year in Denver, Colorado.

“We acted because failure to do so would have led to catastrophe.”

Obama’s remarks came the same day as the New York Times‘ David Leonhardt reported that the “best-known economic research firms” agree the stimulus package created somewhere between 1.6 million and 1.8 million jobs, with the final tally expected to be around 2.5 million.

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