Archive for the 'The bailout' Category

04
Feb
09

Your government hates you

Senate Dems lack the votes to pass the stimulus bill.  Cuts will likely come

…out of spending and not tax cuts…since Republicans and moderate Democrats are driving the boat on this one [and] then the bill will be completely unable to accomplish its goals on job creation. It may provide a temporary boost, but won’t do what’s needed to stop the bleeding. The recession will continue for years and maybe slip into depression.

Taxpayers to absorb bailed out bank losses; banks to keep any profits from any healthy assets.

Barbara Boxer rips the GOP for suddenly discovering “fiscal responsibility.

Contact your congressperson and Obama and even Biden’s middle-class office, and tell them you want the stimulus passed yesterday!

And people wonder why I’m so angry…

10
Dec
08

A single mistake

That’s how Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz assigns culpability for our current economic meltdown, as encapsulated in a single, flawed belief:

that markets are self-adjusting and that the role of government should be minimal.

If you’re like me, you haven’t been keeping up with most economic analysis of our current crisis because it bores / confuses / depresses you.  But this Vanity Fair piece by Stiglitz clearly explains 5 major decisions since the Reagan era that got us to today.   Though I summarize them very briefly here, I highly recommend the whole article.

Continue reading ‘A single mistake’

06
Dec
08

Weekend Skirmishes

If you’re not headed out to your local Swedish Christmas Fair today, perhaps you’ll want to catch up instead on the latest action from the Obama team.  Oh teh menz and their vaunted intellect, team-building skillz and decision-making prowess!  Sen. Clinton, Melody Barnes, Susan Rice, Janet Napolitano, etc. should have tons o’ fun working with teh dudez.  Tis an inclusive bunch, that Obama gang.

Treasury Chief designate Timothy Geithner wants to toss FDIC head Sheila Bair out on the street alongside her constituent homeownersTake that, Main Street! What’s that now about progressive leadership?  Wait, I mean, team of rivals??

Head speechwriter Jon Favreau has the hots for Sen. Clintonright?  Wait, this isn’t a show of respect for our SoS designate and former Democratic candidate for President?  You mean, this is bizness as usual?  Silly me!  I guess I was right not to fill out that job application.  I don’t have anything nearly as lascivious as this.  Maybe I’ll go grope some hot Swedish buns this afternoon to try and keep up.

02
Nov
08

Memphis on Obama

I think the countdown to the election clock on CNN is overkill, how about you?

Over the weekend here in Memphis, I surveyed 7 African-American shuttle and bus drivers about the election.  (I spent A LOT of time shuttling between two hotels and riding around on buses with Amnesty International members.  As I texted my boyfriend last night Highways 40 and 55 are beautiful this time of year.)

Here’s what I found:

4 were excited and hopeful, if somewhat restrained in their expression.  A young man, probably in his early twenties, was the most energized, adding that he “knows” Obama is going to win on Tuesday.  The male bus driver of the two I talked was optimistic but added that he hoped “[his] president” didn’t get shot in office.

3 were ambivalent, resigned and/or pessimistic.  I wrote in detail about two men’s opinions here.  I spoke with a young woman, 35?, who didn’t care much for Obama or McCain.  She didn’t like Obama’s (lack of) experience and worried about McCain’s age.  She didn’t think either of them were all that qualified to deal with our “problems at home,” which she emphasized should be a president’s priority before they wandered off to stir up trouble in the rest of the world.  She added that she has never been all that impressed with Obama, which often caused arguments with other African-Americans.  Of the six people I spoke with she seemed the most circumspect, and was the only “undecided” to whom I spoke.  Three, IIRC, had already voted.  (39% of Shelby County voters voted early.)

As I ate at Onyx last night, a jazz club in Memphis’s South Main arts district, the band announced they had a new album out, with a title song “It’s time for a change.”  The majority African-American crowd (majority middle-aged, majority having date night) cheered.  At this great clothing store Divine Rags (across the street from the Church of God in Christ bookstore), they had an Obama t-shirt I’ve never seen before:

O

Yes We Can!

Obama ’08

made by American Apparel.  It was too long for my taste, sadly.  I own no Obama swag to sport on Tuesday night.  Guess I’ll have to go with my Hillary t-shirt.  Or my Ortiz jersey.  (Go Sox!)

Similar enthusiasm existed among the Amnesty crowd (AI is a non-partisan organization).

Continue reading ‘Memphis on Obama’

01
Nov
08

More Election Pessimism

From The AP, as reported today in the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

One in seven [people], or 14 percent, can’t decide [on Obama or McCain], or back a candidate but might switch, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll of likely voters released Friday.

Who are they? They look a lot like the voters who’ve already locked onto a candidate, though they’re more likely to be white and less likely to be liberal. Many question whether McCain or Democratic rival Barack Obama can straighten out the economy, and they disproportionately backed Hillary Rodham Clinton’s failed run for the Democratic nomination.

Fueling their uncertainty is a combination of disliking something about both candidates and frustration with this campaign and politics in general.

“We have a lot of candidates who have never really hurt, have never had to struggle” economically, said Jeff Wofford, 28, a pastor and Republican from High Ridge, Mo., who may back McCain. “A lot of candidates are interested in working the political system but aren’t really interested in changing things.”

These people trust Obama less than decided voters do to handle the economy, the Iraq war and terrorism. They are less accepting that the Illinois senator has enough experience to be president. And by a 17 percentage-point spread, more see Palin favorably than unfavorably; a narrow majority of voters already backing a candidate dislike her.

A quarter don’t trust either Obama or McCain to deal with the economy and a third are uncomfortable with both on the federal deficit.

I wonder how many of them will be voting for McKinney, Nader or Barr, or no one.

01
Nov
08

Apprehension and Resignation

Red Queen linked to this hilarious Onion piece, noting “It’s funny cuz it’s true!”  Ain’t it though.

I’m in Memphis for the weekend at the Amnesty International Southern Regional Conference, an annual gathering of the mostly white, mostly middle-class, mostly college age Amnesty membership.  Bookending last night’s uplifting opening ceremonies – an a capella performance, spoken word poetry, a talk by an historian of African-American history and U.S. human rights, and dancing to a hippie jam band in the beautiful and cavernous First Congregational Church – were two conversations I had with my hotel shuttle drivers about the upcoming election.

Continue reading ‘Apprehension and Resignation’

31
Oct
08

Layover Links: Final Election Week (!!) in Review

I’m headed to Memphis for the weekend for work.  The conference is at an airport hotel, but I’m hoping to get downtown on Saturday night. I traveled to Memphis for work a lot back in 2001-3, and loved it.  I’d like to see the place again – check out the downtown development that was underway 5 years ago.

Speaking of development, urban change, etc. etc., I finally tried to estimate if I was one of the 7.5M homeowners “underwater,” meaning my mortgage costs more than the value of my home.  The data suggests that I am; according to Mass. RE research firm The Warren Group, average condos prices in my boston neighborhood have fallen 5% in the last three years.  My income as a grad student-consultant fluctuates wildly, so I have not yet done the math to see if I might qualify to renegotiate my payments should I need to, should any of the various homeowner assistance programs out there darken my door.

At least I’m not post-disaster dependent on FEMA.  “Insensitive” and “foot-dragging”?  Bush’s FEMA? NO!  Surely you jest!!

In other news, like 20% or so of Americans, I watched the Obama mega-mercial the other night.  Quality and boring were my impressions (as someone so saturated in political coverage, I can’t believe that people still don’t know his major promises.  I’m getting to the point that I feel like I could recite them.)  Also, I was struck by the calm, soothing nature of the whole thing, designed to make those folks out there who need some getting used to the idea of a black President.  Though the log cabin Oval Office to me looked like the place where a professor hides out to finally finish her overdue book.  I said that night at dinner to an ardent Obama voter and volunteer who was worried about whether the commercial was “presumptuous” that as a former Clinton supporter, by now I absolutely trust the Obama’s campaign strategy.  Clearly they know what they are doing, whether or not we like it, agree with it, or respect it.  YMMV.

Certainly, preferences for Obama vary widely.  Most national polls put his lead at ~6%.  Turns out he squeaked out a victory among kids, winning Nickelodeon’s kids vote by 2%.  Why the right and left blogs are not deconstructing this outcome six ways to Sunday surprises me.  I know it’s only 2.2M kids (!!), but still…though what do we know about families who watch Nickelodeon?  Why hasn’t FiveThirtyEight crunched these numbers for us??  I demand answers!!

The world, on the other hand, supports Obama in a LANDSLIDE.  Landslide.  Like a gazillion to 300 or something.  Not even Iraq is “strong McCain” anymore.   Other McCain leaning nations?  Algeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  They’re splitting the Sudanese vote so far.

US kids split; world consumed by Obama-mania.  What does this tell us about Obama’s governing mandate?  Digby warns against centrist leadership, pointing out Obama’s bipartisan bookends.

Maybe these folks have some advice for Obama.  Congrats to brownfemipower!  I also have done some work with one of the people named here, so I’m feeling totally cool by association.

Happy Halloween everyone!  I’m not a fan of the holiday, so I’m happy to be traveling.  Enjoy & stay safe!