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The Small Ball Trillion Dollar Coin Seigniorage Exception by Joe Firestone, OurFuture.org | January 8, 2013The exception to the general pattern focusing on the Trillion Dollar Coin (TDC) as the solution to the debt ceiling problem I outlined and critiqued in my last post, is in Joe Wiesenthal 's posts read more »
Republicans Getting Weak-Kneed About Debt Ceiling Fight by Greg Sargent, The Washington Post | January 8, 2013House Speaker John Boehner spoke at length with the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore about the coming confrontation over the debt ceiling, the sequester, and the spending cuts Republicans will try to achieve. Buried in the interview is a highly newsworthy nugget, in which Boehner implicitly admitted that the debt limit does not give Republicans the leverage they’ve suggested it does. Indeed, it’s hard to read this exchange as anything other than a sign that Republicans may be backing off the fight over the debt ceiling. read more »
Yes, We Have A (Defense) Spending Problem by David Callahan, prospect.org | January 8, 2013Last year, in 2012, the U.S. government spent about $841 billion on security—a figure that includes defense, intelligence, war appropriations, and foreign aid. At the same time, the government collected about $1.1 trillion in individual income taxes. (And about $2.4 trillion in revenues overall if you include payroll, corporate, estate, and excise taxes.) In other words, about 80 cents of every dollar collected in traditional federal income taxes went for security. That's an astonishing statistic, and it captures the most underappreciated aspect of today's fiscal challenges: We have a security spending problem. Such spending is significantly higher than all non-defense discretionary domestic spending. Worse yet, almost nobody in Washington seems interested in seriously curtailing defense spending that is greater in real terms than what the U.S. spent in the Cold War. read more »
Fool Us Again: 30 Years of Bait and Switch Budget Politics by John Atcheson, commondreams.org | January 8, 2013Once again we go to the cliff. Once again Republicans are threatening brinksmanship. Once again, Democrats are practicing preemptive capitulation. Once again, the media is missing the real story. You’re going to be hearing a lot from Republicans about the horrors of debt and deficits in the next couple of weeks. The last time they cranked up their fear machine prior to a vote on the debt ceiling, it caused a downgrading of the US credit rating and cost us some $90 billion. You know, crashing the economy in order to save it. Let’s be clear: Republicans don’t give a damn about debt and deficits. In fact, the bulk of our current and projected deficit is a direct result of Republican policies. And Republicans watched in silence as Reagan tripled the deficit and Bush doubled it. Both Cheney and Reagan claimed deficits don’t matter, and again, conservatives nodded in agreement. So what’s going on? read more »
Major Settlements Better For Banks Than Homeowners by Natasha Leonard, salon.com | January 8, 2013Two major settlements between ten big banks and the government Monday totaling over $20 billion aimed to clear up allegations of widespread malpractice relating to the mortgage crisis. But what at first looks like great news for the 4 million Americans forced into foreclosure between 2009 and 2010, the settlements may be a greater boon to banks than burned homeowners. read more »
Feds Replace Flawed Foreclosure Review With Vague $8.5 Billion Settlement by Paul Kiel, propublica.org | January 8, 2013The Independent Foreclosure Review was supposed to be a full and fair investigation of the big banks' foreclosure abuses, and it was trumpeted as the government's largest effort to compensate victimized homeowners. Federal regulators, who designed the review, forced banks to spend billions to carry it out. Millions of homeowners were eligible and hundreds of thousands submitted claims. But Monday morning, the very regulators who launched the program 18 months ago announced that it had all been a massive mistake and shut it down. Instead, 10 banks have agreed to pay a total of $3.3 billion in cash to the 3.8 million borrowers who had been eligible for the review. That's an average of around $870 per borrower. But typical of a process that's been characterized by confusion, delays and secrecy, regulators said the details of how the money will be doled out were not yet available. read more »
Wake Up Progressives: Bad Guys Are Trying To Steal the $Trillion Coin by Joe Firestone, OurFuture.org | January 8, 2013Wake Up Progressives: The Bad Guys Are Trying To Steal the Trillion Dollar Coin to Save the Financial Status Quo! read more »
The Real Deficit Argument by E.J. Dionne, The Washington Post | January 7, 2013Should our politicians dedicate themselves to solving the problems we face now? Or should they spend their time constructing largely theoretical deficit solutions for years far in the future to satisfy certain ideological and aesthetic urges? This is one of the two central choices the country faces at the beginning of President Obama’s second term. The other is related: Will the establishment, including business leaders and middle-of-the-road journalistic opinion, stand by silently as one side in the coming argument risks cratering the economy in an effort to reverse the verdict of the 2012 election? Yes, I am talking about using the debt ceiling as a political tool, something that was never done until the disaster of 2011. My first questions are, admittedly, loaded. They refer to a difference of opinion we need to face squarely. read more »
The Hoax of Entitlement Reform by Robert B. Reich, robertreich.org | January 7, 2013It has become accepted economic wisdom, uttered with deadpan certainty by policy pundits and budget scolds on both sides of the aisle, that the only way to get control over America’s looming deficits is to “reform entitlements.” The accepted wisdom is wrong. f anything, America’s safety nets have been too small and shot through with holes. That’s why the number and percentage of Americans in poverty has increased dramatically, including 22 percent of our children. “Entitlement reform” sounds like a noble endeavor. But it has little or nothing to do with reducing future budget deficits. Taming future deficits requires three steps having nothing to do with entitlements: Limiting the growth of overall healthcare costs, cutting our bloated military, and ending corporate welfare (tax breaks and subsidies targeted to particular firms and industries). Obsessing about “entitlement reform” only serves to distract us from these more important endeavors. read more »
The Big Fail by Paul Krugman, The New York Times | January 7, 2013It’s that time again: the annual meeting of the American Economic Association and affiliates, a sort of medieval fair that serves as a marketplace for bodies (newly minted Ph.D.’s in search of jobs), books and ideas. And this year, as in past meetings, there is one theme dominating discussion: the ongoing economic crisis. This isn’t how things were supposed to be. If you had polled the economists attending this meeting three years ago, most of them would surely have predicted that by now we’d be talking about how the great slump ended, not why it still continues. So what went wrong? The answer, mainly, is the triumph of bad ideas. read more »
China's Widening Trade Surplus Adds to Yuan Pressure, bloomberg.com | August 10, 2010
China’s Trade Surplus Climbs to $28.7 Billion, The New York Times | August 10, 2010
Fed Leaders Meet as U.S. Economic Recovery Loses Steam, The Washington Post | August 10, 2010
As Federal Reserve policymakers meet Tuesday, they will face the challenge of a faltering economic recovery without a clear consensus on what, if anything the central bank should do about it.
Fed leaders still think that the recovery is on track, though the pace of growth has slowed and the risks of a dip back into recession have risen since their last policymaking meeting in late June.
Fed Will Meet With Concerns on Deflation Rising, The New York Times | August 10, 2010
States Test Whether Public Pension Benefits Given Can Be Taken Away, stateline.org | August 10, 2010
Lawmakers in Colorado, Minnesota and South Dakota voted earlier this year to limit cost-of-living increases they previously had promised to thousands of current and future retirees, who courts historically have protected from benefit reductions. Not surprisingly, retirees in each state have filed lawsuits asking judges to restore their annual benefit increases to what they were previously.
Gov. Daniels Criticizes State Aid Package He Pushed Back In February , Huffington Post | August 10, 2010
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.) joined a chorus of Republicans on Sunday when he argued that the Medicaid and teacher funding set to pass in Congress this week is excessive and does not stimulate the economy. more »
U.S. House Set to Pass State Aid as Lawmakers Return From Break, bloomberg.com | August 10, 2010
House Expected to Approve $26 Billion in Aid to States, mcclatchydc.com | August 10, 2010
The House of Representatives plans Tuesday to approve funding that would save an estimated 161,000 teachers' jobs nationwide and pump billions of dollars into depleted state treasuries to help pay health benefits for the poor. The Senate approved the measure last week, so House approval would clear the measure for President Barack Obama to sign into law.
AIG Faces Fed Scrutiny as Buffett's Bets Spared by Dodd Law, bloomberg.com | August 9, 2010
American International Group Inc. said controls on Wall Street signed into law by President Barack Obama may force the insurer to raise capital, undergo stress tests and limit bets on private equity and hedge funds. more »
Crash of 2015 Won't Wait for Regulators to Rein in Wall Street, bloomberg.com | August 9, 2010