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A Question of Values

A Question of Values

By Morris Berman
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Tag: Bailout

Kohn
Wikimedia Commons / Federal Reserve

Fed’s Second in Command to Step Down

The Federal Reserve’s vice chairman, Donald L. Kohn, is ready to leave the building. Providing what could be a substantial opportunity for the Obama administration to change the central bank’s course, Kohn announced Monday that he’ll retire June 23, the official end date of his four-year term at the Fed.

Posted on Mar 1, 2010 READ MORE


‘Rescuing’ Iceland

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Posted on Feb 26, 2010 READ MORE


Treasury Department
AP / Evan Vucci

No Banker Left Behind

They do have a license to steal. There is no other way to read Tuesday’s report from the New York state comptroller that bonuses for Wall Street financiers rose 17 percent to $20.3 billion in 2009. Of course that is less than the $32.9 billion for bonus rewards back in 2007, when those hotshots could still pretend that they were running sound businesses. 

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE


GM building
Flickr/richardefreeman

Big Bucks for GM Boss

It seems that the romantic notion of cutting back on executives’ astronomical salaries, especially execs at corporations that benefited from government funding, hasn’t exactly caught on like wildfire in the American auto business. Take General Motors, for example.

Posted on Feb 20, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Jack Plunkett

Austin Plane Attack: Tea Party Terrorism?

Authorities continue to investigate why Joe Stack of Texas flew his small airplane into the Austin offices of the IRS, but based on early reports and a tirade the attacker posted on the Internet, it had something to do with taxes, big government, corporate crime and bailouts. (continued)

Posted on Feb 18, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Petros Giannakouris

It’s Greek to Goldman Sachs

“What is this Goldman Sachs and why has it caused us so much grief?” is a question they must be asking in even the most remote of Greek villages, as they are throughout much of this economically troubled world.

Posted on Feb 17, 2010 READ MORE


Obama’s Nuclear Option

President Obama’s publicly financed resuscitation of the nuclear power industry in the U.S. is bound to fail, another taxpayer bailout waiting to happen.

Posted on Feb 16, 2010 READ MORE


The Origins of Tea Party Radicalism

The ferocity of the tea party movement’s opposition to President Obama is mystifying to political progressives. Most of the left simply doesn’t see the current occupant of the White House as especially liberal, let alone “socialist.”

Posted on Feb 10, 2010 READ MORE


Krugman
Wikimedia Commons / Prolineserver

Krugman Says Obama Is ‘Clueless’ About Outrageous Bonuses

There are few things, we imagine, that could elicit a heartfelt OMG (make that O.M.G., rather) from certified economics whiz and evident adult Paul Krugman, but President Barack Obama’s latest take on the egregious and profane bonuses of Wall Street executives has clearly tripped that wire in Krugman’s mind.

Posted on Feb 10, 2010 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Wall Street Wants a Refund

“Buyer’s remorse” is the way Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate Republicans’ fundraiser, gleefully refers to Wall Street moguls’ current disenchantment with the U.S. president they thought they had bought.

Posted on Feb 10, 2010 READ MORE


Thain
U.S. Department of State

Former Merrill Lynch CEO Thain Tapped to Head CIT

John Thain is back. The ex-CEO of Merrill Lynch, who also once held top posts at Goldman Sachs and the New York Stock Exchange, has returned to the Wall Street fold, this time as chairman and CEO of the CIT Group. However, this time, one imagines, he won’t have a $35K commode at his disposal.

Posted on Feb 8, 2010 READ MORE



‘iBailout’: Pocket Activism

The creator of “iBailout!!” says he wants to put his socially conscious games in front of a mainstream audience that might not normally engage with politics and activism.

Posted on Feb 4, 2010 READ MORE



‘iBailout’: Pocket Activism

Nick Marroni says, “My goal is to make games that have social and political relevance.” To that end he has created a satirical iPhone game called “iBailout!!” You play as the “Fed,” a robot that eats money. Just don’t let the angry mob get you.

Posted on Feb 4, 2010 READ MORE


The GOP’s Dubious Populism

The most revealing moments in President Obama’s State of the Union address were not in his remarks, but the reaction to them by those listening on the Republican side of the aisle.

Posted on Feb 3, 2010 READ MORE


Spitzer and Colbert

‘Colbert Report’: Eliot Spitzer Has Nothing to Lose

Eliot Spitzer is attempting to work his way back into the public’s good graces, and the former New York governor braved “The Colbert Report” on Tuesday night, only to be roundly “condemned” by Stephen Colbert. However, Spitzer has a certain likability, Colbert admitted, which might have something to do with having nothing to hide anymore. (continued)

Posted on Feb 3, 2010 READ MORE


Obama at GOP retreat
youtube.com

Obama Confronts Critics (and Vice Versa) at GOP Retreat

Turns out that Barack Obama’s extemporaneous critique of the Supreme Court during his State of the Union speech Wednesday wasn’t the only such (apparently) unscripted moment he’d spend this week. On Friday, the president engaged in a frank exchange with Republican House members at a retreat in Baltimore, where he ... (continued)

Posted on Jan 29, 2010 READ MORE


Obama's arrival
White House / Pete Souza

Nice Speech. Now What?

Words won’t put people to work. Not even Obama’s eloquence—and he did reach that point on occasion—will be enough to inject courage into the gutless Democrats running from a mild heath care reform bill. Nor will words turn Republicans away from the unrelenting opposition they think will bring down the Democrats.

Posted on Jan 28, 2010 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama’s First State of the Union—Full Remarks

It was his third address to a joint session of Congress in less than a year, and it had all the usual gestures toward bipartisanship, but Barack Obama’s big speech was not without sizzle. The president shamed Republicans for obstructing, Democrats for giving up and the Supreme Court for auctioning off our democracy.

Posted on Jan 27, 2010 READ MORE


Obama
AP / Alex Brandon

The Sorry State of the Union

The state of the union is just miserable, no matter how President Obama sugarcoats it. He will claim that progress has been made in stabilizing the markets, increasing national security and advancing toward meaningful health care reform, but he will be wrong on all three counts.

Posted on Jan 27, 2010 READ MORE


The Urgency of a Teddy Roosevelt Moment

The only proper response to the distortion of our political system by ideologically driven justices is a popular revolt of a sort deeply rooted in the American political tradition.

Posted on Jan 24, 2010 READ MORE


Paul Volcker
AP / Wong Maye-E

Paul Volcker to the Rescue

President Barack Obama might have done well to keep former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker in closer reach during his first year of office rather than rely on the dubious advice of Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers. Too late for that—but hopefully not too late for Volcker to help the president in his future dealings with Wall Street.

Posted on Jan 22, 2010 READ MORE



Original: Reagan Library

Democratic Corporatism Brings Reagan Back From the Grave

In a state where Democrats outnumber the GOP by a 3-to-1 margin, little-known Republican Scott Brown defeated his rival by demonizing the government and taxes.

Posted on Jan 21, 2010 READ MORE


Obama
bbc.co.uk

Obama Talks Tough on Banking Reform

In case you hadn’t noticed, not a heck of a lot has changed on Wall Street in the last year, despite various banking behemoths’ successful pleas for federal aid to float them out of the recession they were instrumental in creating. Well, that’s about to change—or so President Barack Obama says, at least. 

Posted on Jan 21, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / eflon

Bernanke Offers Fed’s AIG Records to Gov’t Watchdogs

The Fed has nothing to hide about its dealings with AIG when it saved the too-big-to-fail insurance behemoth during the great bailout of 2008-9—or at least Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has signaled his full willingness to make the central bank’s relevant “records and personnel” available to investigators from the Government Accountability Office.

Posted on Jan 19, 2010 READ MORE


Newsflash: Right Is Not Center

On economic issues, we are often told that right is center, center is left, and left is fringe. For a year, national reporters (with help from conservative talk-radio goons) have depicted the center-right Obama administration and its corporatist policies as quasi-Marxist.

Posted on Jan 14, 2010 READ MORE



commons.wikimedia.org / Ramy Majouji

Obama Wants a Wall Street Recovery Tax

President Barack Obama wants to slap a new tax on the country’s largest financial institutions in an ostensible attempt to “recover every single dime” given away in 2008’s Wall Street bailout. The tax was met with predictable fat-cat jeers, despite the fact that the industry has largely recovered from the crisis. 

Posted on Jan 14, 2010 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

The End of Wall Street Liberalism

If you held a contest to pick the worst thing a politician could be called at this moment, my nominee would be Wall Street Liberal—which is why President Obama’s new fees on the biggest banks comes just in time.

Posted on Jan 13, 2010 READ MORE


banking protest
AP / Mark Lennihan

Reich Urges Obama to ‘Take On Wall Street’

He’s not the only one saying this, but considering his background, Robert Reich is a pretty significant voice pointing out how, over a year since things went seriously south on Wall Street, “almost nothing has been done to prevent all hell from breaking loose again.”

Posted on Jan 13, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Richard Drew

Wall Street Will Be Back for More

When the bailout trillions run out, Wall Street’s maladjusted gamblers will come back for more until our currency becomes junk. Not that any of these people, who exhibit the same traits as psychopaths, have thought this through.

Posted on Jan 10, 2010 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Rep. Cummings Wants Geithner to Testify About N.Y. Fed-AIG E-Mails

Back in 2008, when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was just the lowly president of the New York Federal Reserve, he was involved in some interactions with embattled insurance giant AIG that apparently resulted in AIG withholding important information from the public. Now Geithner’s under pressure from at least one concerned member of Congress to testify about this matter.

Posted on Jan 8, 2010 READ MORE



Your Bailout Bill: $10,000 (and Counting)

The total price tag for each American for the financial bailout is about $10,000. Could be worse: Brits are paying more than $47,000 apiece. The unemployed bear the brunt of the meltdown, but we all carry a debt for saving Citi, AIG and the rest.

Posted on Jan 7, 2010 READ MORE


Obama and McCain
AP / Haraz N. Ghanbari

McCain Gets It, Obama Doesn’t

Maybe I got it wrong. During the presidential campaign I wrote columns blasting Sen. John McCain for siding with the big bankers on deregulation, citing his choosing ex-Sen. Phil Gramm, currently a vice chairman of the Swiss-owned banking giant UBS, as his presidential campaign chair.

Posted on Jan 6, 2010 READ MORE


iBailout!
gametrailers.com

Now You Too Can Be Among the Powers That Be—Thanks to ‘iBailout!!’

Leave it to the good ol’ U.S. of A. to produce this sort of thing: An enterprising gaming company by the name of Hands-On Mobile has created an iPhone game that allows users to play the part of the money-gobbling Fed. In this digitized satire the Fed actually eats angry citizens. But fear not ... (continued)

Posted on Jan 5, 2010 READ MORE


Why 2010 Doesn’t Have to Be 1994

Democrats can avoid a midterm rout if they get progressives excited without turning off independent voters. Here’s how.

Posted on Jan 3, 2010 READ MORE


Move Your Money

The filmmaker who gave us “Why We Fight” has crafted this powerful call to action out of scenes from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and documentary footage.

Posted on Dec 30, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / eflon

What Do AIG’s E-Mails Reveal?

We all know the outcome now, but in the latter months of 2007 executives at AIG seemed to be only starting to catch wind of the problems that eventually led to the nationwide financial collapse the firm helped precipitate a year later. Were they just overly confident? Clueless? Or were they hiding the fact that they knew very well that the jig was up?

Posted on Dec 29, 2009 READ MORE


Fannie Mae
foreclosurewearhouse.com

Treasury Digging Deeper for Fannie and Freddie

Who knew the Treasury Department had such deep pockets? Well, besides all of Wall Street, we can put the beleaguered duo that is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the list. The Treasury has obligingly removed the $400 billion cap previously assigned to the funding designated to save the two mortgage firms.

Posted on Dec 24, 2009 READ MORE


Nancy Pelosi
speaker.gov

Democrats Need More Pelosi, Less Reid

The fact is some can play this game and some can’t. Nancy Pelosi delivers time and again. Harry Reid hasn’t. The president and his chief of staff could use some coaching, too.

Posted on Dec 17, 2009 READ MORE



Federal Reserve

Bernanke Wins Senate Panel’s Support

It’s been a good week for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. First came the news that he’d been chosen to be Time magazine’s Person of the Year, and then, on Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee voted to approve his nomination to lead the Fed for another four years.

Posted on Dec 17, 2009 READ MORE


Whatever Happened to Shame?

What does it say when the New York Post hires Eliot Spitzer’s prostitute as a columnist and the bailout babies of Wall Street can’t be bothered to show up to the White House?

Posted on Dec 16, 2009 READ MORE


Blankfein
AP / Mark Lennihan

Has Goldman Sachs Gotten Greedier?

Was there ever a time when Goldman Sachs was more, um, ethical and client-centric than greedy and profit-driven, as its reputation now suggests? That’s debatable, but whatever its previous corporate ethos might have been, all signs point to Goldman’s current chairman and CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, as the major driving force behind the firm’s push for building bigger profits quicker these days.

Posted on Dec 16, 2009 READ MORE


Howard Dean
Flickr / Liberal Democrats

Howard Dean: Kill the Health Care Bill

Now that health care reform has been tailored to the demands of Sen. Joe Lieberman, there’s real debate among progressives about whether it’s worth doing at all. Howard Dean writes: “Any measure that expands private insurers’ monopoly over health care and transfers millions of taxpayer dollars to private corporations is not real health-care reform.” (continued)

Posted on Dec 16, 2009 READ MORE


Wall Street CEOs
AP / J. Scott Applewhite

Wall Street’s Fat Cats Are Still in Charge

Most Americans now know that Wall Street bankers are so greedy as to never be trusted, and I suppose it is a sign of progress that our president finally seems to grasp the obvious.

Posted on Dec 15, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and banking leaders
AP / Susan Walsh

Obama to Banks: It’s Payback Time

On Monday at the White House, President Barack Obama reminded a group of big banking honchos (or “fat cats,” as he called them Sunday) about last year’s bailout and advised them to get busy helping the taxpayers who helped with their recovery. Well, good luck with that one.

Posted on Dec 14, 2009 READ MORE



Collage: Gravel photo from Flickr / Center for American Progress Action Fund

Gravel’s Lament: Fighting Another Dumb War

Few voices in American politics have been as consistent, as reasoned and as moral as his, which is one reason why Mike Gravel, on a chilly December morning, is in front of the White House, not inside it.

Posted on Dec 13, 2009 READ MORE


NYSE
AP / Henny Ray Abrams

House Passes Major Financial Regulation Bill

In what is being hailed as the biggest bid to change financial regulation since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, the House of Representatives on Friday passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009. In a press conference after the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proclaimed, “We are sending a clear message to Wall Street: The party is over.”

Posted on Dec 11, 2009 READ MORE


Political Moral Hazard

Without consequences—or worse, with rewards—for wrongdoing, there is an incentive to do wrong. One need look no further than Wall Street and Washington, D.C.

Posted on Dec 10, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / antiparticle

No Year-End Bonuses for Goldman Sachs Execs

Goldman Sachs has had a record year in terms of employee earnings—The Wall Street Journal says Goldman’s 31,000 worker bees brought in an average of more than $700,000 each in 2009—and that would be better news for the firm if it hadn’t been on the receiving end of major federal funding from last year’s bailout.

Posted on Dec 10, 2009 READ MORE


Colbert

‘Colbert Report’: Fed’s Dead

Do Americans really need to know how sausage gets made over at the Federal Reserve? As Stephen Colbert points out, there may be a little pig rectum in the mix, but as long as the Fed’s minions are allowed to perform their secret rituals, which may or may not involve ritual chicken slaughter, we all profit in the end, no?

Posted on Dec 9, 2009 READ MORE



speaker.gov

Put Your Money Where Your Jobs Aren’t

The president is so desperate for ways to fight unemployment he issued a call Thursday for “fresh perspectives and new ideas.” Well, Nancy Pelosi has some. The House speaker wants to spend some of that hot, hot TARP money on job creation. (continued)

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 READ MORE


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