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Posted on Mar 8, 2009 READ MORE    


AIG building
AP photo / Mark Lennihan

Billions Dished Out in the Shadows

We’ve already given AIG a total of $170 billion—an amount that dwarfs the $75 billion allocated to helping those millions of homeowners facing foreclosures. And more will be thrown down the AIG rat hole because President Barack Obama is blindly following the misguided advice of his top economic advisers, who insist that AIG is too big to fail.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / reubenaingber

Bigger Bailout Expected for AIG

The government is expected to come to AIG’s rescue for a fourth time as the mega-insurer prepares to announce the biggest quarterly loss by a single company in the history of the world. Reports put the bonus bailout at $30 billion, less than half of AIG’s expected quarterly loss.

Posted on Mar 1, 2009 READ MORE


Robin-Hood Republicanism?

Only months after the 2008 primaries, most Americans probably don’t remember Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul. But that doesn’t mean the conservative populism they championed during their campaigns is as fleeting as their dark-horse candidacies.

Posted on Feb 26, 2009 READ MORE


Turn a Harsh Light Onto the Banks

It’s reaching the point where desperate measures—brutal honesty and complete transparency—may be the only way to bring the economy out of its kamikaze dive. If so, this won’t be pretty.

Posted on Feb 23, 2009 READ MORE


Carmaker, Banker, Broker ...

Obama must deal with a new presidential role that he did not seek but cannot avoid: managing big chunks of the private-sector economy.

Posted on Feb 16, 2009 READ MORE


A Hand on History

President Obama senses that fate has handed him opportunities few presidents ever get, and that his test will be whether he makes good use of his chance to bend history at one of its “inflection points.”

Posted on Feb 15, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: The Stimulus, the Bailout and Judd Gregg

How stimulating is the stimulus, really? Did Obama bite off more than he could chew? Who wears the pants at the Treasury Department? Answers to these questions and more in this week’s episode.

Posted on Feb 15, 2009 READ MORE


The High Cost of Centrism

The Obama administration keeps having to learn that bland centrism is not pragmatic, it’s not helpful in resolving a big crisis, and it certainly doesn’t buy you any love.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE


Where’s the Top Gun?

Well, that didn’t work out. In pushing for a new financial industry bailout, Treasury Secretary Geithner came across like a banker trying to do a politician’s job. Obama owes us some hands-on involvement.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE


A Team of Zombies

Only weeks ago, the political world was buzzing about a “team of rivals,” but instead President Obama has populated his administration with Bush yes-men and Wall Street kleptocrats whose discredited theologies cannot be killed.

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 READ MORE


In Washington, Public Policy and Private Wealth Are Hopelessly Tangled

Barack Obama in Washington reminds one of Diogenes in Athens, with his lantern in search of an honest man.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE


Timothy Geithner
Wikimedia Commons / Presidencia de la Nación Argentina

Senate Sends Geithner to Treasury

Timothy Geithner may be a tax dodger who helped funnel taxpayer funds to his banking buddies, but we need that kind of cunning right now. That’s the thinking on Capitol Hill, anyway. The Senate confirmed President Obama’s pick to head Treasury on Monday, over the grumbles of 34 senators.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / hthg1983

Biden Says Banks May Get More, More, More

The vice president let it slip Sunday that the $700 billion TARP bailout bill could have a sequel. Also, Nancy Pelosi indicated that Congress might dole out more funds to financial institutions. Let’s see, that’s $700 billion on TARP, $850 billion for the still-pending stimulus package, plus the mysterious billions they’re tossing around at the Federal Reserve. ... Here’s hoping China doesn’t cut up our national credit card.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


Barack Obama
AP photo

Time to Get to Work

Tuesday was welcome theater, as profound as it gets—but today, as Obama has declared, begins a new era of responsibility and accountability.

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

Congress Sings the Bailout Blues

Want to know where the $350 billion banking bailout went and why it hasn’t done a bit of good? Read, and weep over, this little-noticed report from the congressional panel set up to monitor the Treasury Department’s distribution of our taxpayer funds.

Posted on Jan 18, 2009 READ MORE


money bags
0-60mag.com

Bailout a Boon for Bankers

So, the government forks over a ton of money to flailing banks and, naturally, their customers (i.e., taxpayers) might expect to gain something from this helpful transaction as well, right? Guess again, customers.

Posted on Jan 17, 2009 READ MORE


Fool Me Once

Somehow, immediately releasing more bailout funds is being portrayed as a self-evident necessity. Amid Barack Obama’s paeans to “new politics,” we’re watching old-school paybacks from a politician who raised more Wall Street dough than any other.

Posted on Jan 15, 2009 READ MORE



marcelinopena.files.wordpress.com

Geithner’s Record of Failure

Forget that business with the maid whose work papers expired. The real scandal with Timothy Geithner, Barack Obama’s choice to head the Treasury Department, is his history of lax regulation—at least where his friends at Citigroup were concerned. ProPublica did some digging and found that Geithner’s New York Fed “eased the reins as the company blew billions. ...”

Posted on Jan 14, 2009 READ MORE


inauguraton memorabilia
AP photo / Jose Luis Magana

Here Comes the Change

Like many other people, I’d like to party all week when Barack Obama is sworn in as president. But this isn’t the year for it, not with unemployment rising and fear spreading through the land.

Posted on Jan 13, 2009 READ MORE



amazon.com

Andrew Nagorski on the Bolsheviks’ Crimes

There was a time when Russia was an economic power on the rise. Sean McMeekin’s new book, “History’s Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks,” explains what nipped that growth in the bud.

Posted on Jan 2, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Craig Ruttle

Why I Am a Socialist

The free market and globalization, promised as the route to worldwide prosperity, have been exposed as a con game. We will either find our way out of this mess by embracing an uncompromising democratic socialism or we will continue to be fleeced and impoverished by our bankrupt elite.

Posted on Dec 29, 2008 READ MORE


Regulator Gave Blessing to IndyMac Shenanigans

The Treasury Department’s inspector general has been looking into the failure of IndyMac, which set the taxpayers back $8.9 billion, and what he found isn’t pretty. It seems a certain regulator let the bank present itself as “well-capitalized” when the truth was something entirely different.

Posted on Dec 23, 2008 READ MORE


Obama appointees
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

Tough Road Ahead for New Economic Appointees

On Thursday, President-elect Barack Obama introduced three top financial appointees who will help him with the unenviable task of revamping the government’s economic regulatory system and “crack[ing] down on this culture of greed and scheming that has led us to this day of reckoning,” as Obama put it.

Posted on Dec 18, 2008 READ MORE


Workers Laid Off, Executives Paid Off, Bernard Madoff

Bernard Madoff’s criminal pyramid scheme, in which losses are expected to be $50 billion, paints a grim picture—unless you are a corporate executive. Read the fine print. Of the TARP bailout funds, only those that were technically spent “in an auction” carry limits on executive pay.

Posted on Dec 16, 2008 READ MORE


Bush and Paulson
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Republicans Bring Socialism to America

Let the record show that it was George W. Bush, the rich Texas Republican, who brought socialism to America, so don’t blame it on that African-American Chicago Democrat community organizer who made it into the White House.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons / mlb.com

Bailout Ballpark

The U.S. taxpayer is on the hook for more than $300 billion of Citigroup’s junk investments, so where did the ailing bank find $400 million to put its name on the New York Mets’ new stadium?

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Bailout Turkey

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Posted on Nov 27, 2008 READ MORE


Obama’s Shrewd Choices

Barack Obama’s appointees will implement the Obama program, not only because that is what he tells them to do but because that is what they have come to believe is best for the country.

Posted on Nov 26, 2008 READ MORE


Unions for Obama
my.barackobama.com

Where’s Labor?

Not only is Barack Obama packing his inner circle with neo-liberal Clinton stalwarts, he’s also avoiding the question of labor by not including any representative of workers in the economic policy team he announced Monday. What gives?

Posted on Nov 26, 2008 READ MORE


Last but Not Least: Obama Taps Volcker

After a series of depressing announcements, Barack Obama will finally turn to an economic adviser who wasn’t directly responsible for the current crisis or mentored by someone who was. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the president-elect wants former Fed Chair Paul Volcker to lead a new presidential advisory board focused on saving America from financial ruin. Update

Posted on Nov 26, 2008 READ MORE


Obama’s E-Team

Obama’s selection of a team of highly skilled pragmatists has already been described as a move to the political center, but Obama advisers and longtime acquaintances say that this is a misreading of the incoming president and his approach.

Posted on Nov 24, 2008 READ MORE



White House / Paul Morse (altered)

No One In Charge

Having two presidents is starting to feel like having no president, and that’s the situation we’ll face until Inauguration Day. Heaven help us.

Posted on Nov 24, 2008 READ MORE



change.gov

Obama Rolls Out Economic Team

To fix the ailing economy, Barack Obama has turned to two men who helped break it. On Monday, the president-elect announced Timothy Geithner as his choice for treasury secretary, and Giethner’s former mentor in the Clinton Treasury Department, Lawrence Summers, as his pick to head the White House Economic Council.

Posted on Nov 24, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Kiichiro Sato, file

Starving for Change

The swelling numbers waiting outside homeless shelters and food pantries around the country have grown by at least 30 percent since the summer. If Barack Obama continues to turn to the elites who created the mess, if he does not radically redirect the nation’s resources to assist the working class and the poor, we will become a third-world country.

Posted on Nov 24, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / LoopZilla

Fed to Rescue Another Shaky Bank

What’s a hundred billion dollars between capitalists? The Fed and the Treasury are once again throwing good cash after bad business. This time the culprit is Citigroup, which could get bailed out—courtesy of you—to the tune of $100 billion. And with that, we’d like to announce that Truthdig is officially too big to fail. Update: Done deal.

Posted on Nov 23, 2008 READ MORE


Paulson

Paulson and Bernanke Grilled on the Bailout

On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke faced a lineup of vexed, perplexed and otherwise agitated members of Congress, including Reps. Barney Frank, Ron Paul and Nydia Velazquez, all eager to ask some serious questions about the infamous bailout.

Posted on Nov 18, 2008 READ MORE


How to Stabilize the Stock Market

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Posted on Nov 13, 2008 READ MORE



Collage: Meutia Chaerani / Indradi Soemardjan and Shealah Craighead / White House

Paulson Revises Bailout Strategy

“I will never apologize for changing a strategy or an approach if the facts change,” explained Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who has retreated from his original plan of buying up near-worthless mortgage securities with taxpayer funds. Instead, Paulson will continue to pump money into troubled banks in exchange for equity, a scheme that has proved more expeditious and popular.

Posted on Nov 12, 2008 READ MORE


Obama

President-Elect Obama Meets the Press

During his first press conference as president-elect, Sen. Barack Obama stressed that he’s not in the Oval Office yet but offered a few specifics about how he plans to handle the economic crisis once he moves in.

Posted on Nov 7, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / World Economic Forum

Obama’s Treasury Secretary? Let’s Hope Not

Barack Obama is rumored to favor Lawrence Summers as his treasury secretary. That’s a terrible choice, says Robert Scheer, if the president-elect is at all concerned about the financial meltdown.

Posted on Nov 6, 2008 READ MORE



World Economic Forum

Beware of Lawrence Summers

While many of us are still celebrating Barack Obama’s historic victory, rumors of a major buzzkill are flying: Lawrence Summers, a Clinton-era treasury secretary and deregulation enthusiast, is said to be the front-runner to take over the Treasury Department.

Posted on Nov 5, 2008 READ MORE


U.S. Loses Its Grip on Europe

Military and economic disasters have caused Europeans and European governments to view the United States in a new, unflattering light.

Posted on Oct 16, 2008 READ MORE


Bank Crisis
AP photo / Mary Altaffer

Finding a Way Out After the Bailout

Wall Street has yet to recover after the economic shocks of recent weeks. Why? Two problems. One we already know: The “plan,” even with revisions, is deeply flawed. The second problem has not been mentioned all that much because it’s pretty scary: Put simply, we have no idea what we’re doing.

Posted on Oct 15, 2008 READ MORE


Welcome to the Third World, America

Here’s a question I’d like to ask Barack Obama and John McCain: Is the United States destined to look and feel increasingly like a “developing country”? Is this the way it’s going to be?

Posted on Oct 10, 2008 READ MORE



White House / Shealah Craighead

Is Paulson Going Bank Shopping?

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, with much prodding from Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, is thinking about using some of that $700 billion to buy ownership stakes in shaky banks. The scheme would ostensibly give taxpayers a share in the fortunes of the bailed-out institutions.

Posted on Oct 9, 2008 READ MORE


Schwarzenegger Economy
California Governor's Office

Economic Crisis Goes to California

Tight credit has put California’s state budget into a bit of a pickle, with funding for the government’s day-to-day operations drying up faster than Sarah Palin’s popularity. A sign of trouble is a letter—leaked Friday—from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that warned of a potential emergency request for a $7-billion loan within the coming weeks.

Posted on Oct 3, 2008 READ MORE


Saying ‘No Deal’ to This New Deal

The marriage of American capitalism and democracy has always been a Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee affair—stormy and erratic since its hasty wedding. But during the debate over a Wall Street bailout this week, we watched that matrimonial knot unwind into a tangled tale of terror.

Posted on Oct 2, 2008 READ MORE


A Welcome Pause Before the Bailing Starts

We all owe a debt of thanks to the skeptics who refused to be steamrollered by the Bush administration’s $700-billion financial bailout plan until we at least had some understanding of what we were doing and why.

Posted on Oct 2, 2008 READ MORE


Pentagon
flickr.com/mindfrieze

The Bailout vs. the Defense Budget

There has been much moaning, air-sucking and outrage about the U.S. government’s $700-billion bailout deal, but in fact we dole out similar amounts of money every year in the form of payoffs to the armed services, the military-industrial complex, and powerful senators and representatives allied with the Pentagon.

Posted on Sep 28, 2008 READ MORE


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