Feel free to start asking your questions. We’ll stagger them when Bob joins us.
11:05 Robert Scheer
Thu, 15 Jul 2010 19:05:06 GMT
11:05 Question From Guest
Thu, 15 Jul 2010 19:05:20 GMT
Comment: Leaving Glass-Steagall behind in 1999 is what began all this underwriting and is what exposes us to speculative risk. Is the new legislation a step toward return to Glass-Steagall?
11:11 Robert Scheer
Thu, 15 Jul 2010 19:11:44 GMT
(To Guest) As I indicated in my column on Truthdig this week, the most you can say in favor of this legislation is that it deserves a B, which is the grade [given to it by] Paul Volcker, the former chair of the Fed, who Barack Obama said would be his guide in these matters, the man who had run the Fed under Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, highly respected conservative economist, who had established the Volcker Rule, which was to return the spirit of Glass-Steagall. Volcker last week, after the bill was drafted finally, said the most he could give the bill was a B, and most of what Volcker wanted was on the cutting floor. The bill does not prevent Goldman Sachs from getting the protection of taxpayers which [the company has obtained from its] high-flying investment; the answer is we did not get a restoration of Glass-Steagall.
11:12 Question From Turd Furgeson
Thu, 15 Jul 2010 19:12:01 GMT
Comment: How much of the “job growth” that the Obama White House speaks of do you think is actually attributed to the continued growth of the U.S. military defense?
11:14 Robert Scheer
Thu, 15 Jul 2010 19:14:54 GMT
(To Turd Furgeson) I think that’s a good question; the main stimulus program unfortunately has been the expansion of the military budget with two wars, and this is a sad reminder that the thing that ended the Great Depression was World War II, not much in the way of domestic policy, and Obama has conceded that we have lost 8 million jobs—not his fault, he’s managed to claw back 600,000. That’s a lot of jobs that have gone missing and doesn’t include people that have given up on looking for jobs. Sadly, what we have for poorer kids is the military, be all you can be, go into the military. Sad thing is that the corps that have benefited aren’t spending the money to create jobs. It’s choking that we can’t do what the Chinese do. They are willing to spend money to create jobs, and what we have done with our stimulus package is really quite minor.
11:14 Question From Kawika
Thu, 15 Jul 2010 19:14:57 GMT
Comment: It’s starting to look hopeless. Do we need to have another crisis to get meaningful reform passed?
11:17 Robert Scheer
Thu, 15 Jul 2010 19:17:56 GMT
(To Kawika) Well you know, that is sort of what Volcker said in his interview with The New York Times. He’s afraid that we have this scare and then they do something that isn’t enough. If you really want an insight, we have a good item on our Ear section and it concerns the lobby that gutted this bill. ... How to help people stay in their homes, force the banks to loosen, better to help people stay in their homes—the lobbyists were able to gut that. There’s nothing in the stimulus that protects consumers; what’s outrageous is that Obama is being called anti-business when in fact he has been a proponent in the interest of the Republicans.
Question from Lee Diamond of Arlington: “Wouldn’t it be self-defeating to take our frustration out on President Obama and the Democrats? Don’t we need to re-elect them and push harder with grass-roots organizing?”
If you are looking for Obama to reverse the economy, get you a job, end home foreclosures, etc. ... you’re looking at him incorrectly.
11:20 Robert Scheer
Thu, 15 Jul 2010 19:20:37 GMT
(To Lee Diamond) Absolutely. I don’t know why, just because I will vote for the lesser evil, I should suspend my use of the rational mind; we have to look for the truth of the matter, and that is that the American public is hurting and it’s the responsibility of both parties. Obama is in trouble partially because he didn’t create the problem but [although] he didn’t follow the lead of Geithner and Summers, who helped create the problem with the radical deregulation of the Clinton years, he brought them in to help out with economic policy in the face of the recession by making the banks whole while ignoring the needs of those being foreclosed. I think criticism of the president will only strengthen them if it comes from the grass roots and the people around him have to deliver to the people who vote.
11:20 Question From Richard Nixon
Thu, 15 Jul 2010 19:20:43 GMT
Comment: Is there an easy way to summarize why people like Chris Hedges don’t like NAFTA? I just remember in his columns his saying Democrats should have abandoned the party when this came into place.
11:22 Comment From Turd Furgeson
Thu, 15 Jul 2010 19:22:35 GMT
Comment: Poll: I don’t agree.
11:22 Robert Scheer
Thu, 15 Jul 2010 19:22:41 GMT
(To Richard Nixon) Well, the problem is that NAFTA has been good for multinational corporations at the expense of agricultural workers in Mexico. We can look at that situation to know that NAFTA wasn’t the great gift that it was presented as. Inasmuch as the international legislation, it ignores environmental and labor concerns to facilitate business investments in the old assumption that what’s good for corporations is good for the people, but as we see in the drilling in the Gulf, that is not the case.