News & Comment
Blogs and Opinion
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 »
White House's Late Push for $26B State Aid Bill, Politico | August 2, 2010
With a Senate vote slated for Monday evening, the White House shows signs of a late-breaking push behind a $26.1 billion aid package to help state and local governments cope with revenue shortfalls due to the continuing housing crisis and slow economic recovery. more »
More Spending Is Needed on Weapons Systems, Panel Says, The New York Times | July 30, 2010
Even as political pressure grows to reduce the federal budget deficit, a blue-ribbon board led by former top national security officials called on Thursday for more spending on weapons systems. more »
Too Big Not To Organize, inthesetimes.com | July 30, 2010
Through the blare of screeching feedback from portable translation headsets and microphones, unionized bank workers from Brazil, England, Chile, Germany, and Uruguay are encouraging American workers to undertake an unprecedented campaign against a common enemy: Grupo Santander, the global banking giant which last year took control of Sovereign Bank.
Citigroup Agrees to $75 Million SEC Settlement on Subprime Mortgage Investments, The Washington Post | July 30, 2010
Citigroup, one of the nation's largest banks, agreed Thursday to pay $75 million to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint that it misled investors about $40 billion of its holdings in subprime mortgage investments. more »
Small, Midsize U.S. Banks Need to Raise More Capital, IMF Financial Study Finds, The Washington Post | July 30, 2010
The U.S. financial system remains under stress, with small and midsize banks in particular potentially needing to raise more capital, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund that shows the continuing strains facing the U.S. economy. more »
Obama Making Sales Pitch for Auto Bailouts to Skeptical Voters, bloomberg.com | July 30, 2010
President Barack Obama flies to the heart of the U.S. auto industry today on a mission to convince taxpayers that their investment in the bailouts of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC will bring a return. more »
President to Promote Auto Bailout as a Success, The New York Times | July 30, 2010
When President Obama steps into a General Motors plant on Friday morning — as the majority shareholder surveying the government’s investment in a company the White House called “moribund” just 18 months ago — he will be doing more than just examining the first models of the all-electric Volt that began rolling off the production line this week.
Federal Reserve's James Bullard: Long-term Deflation is a Possibility, The Washington Post | July 30, 2010
A top Federal Reserve official warned Thursday that the nation faces the risk of an extended period of falling prices known as deflation, such as that experienced by Japan over the past two decades. more »
Within the Fed, Worries of Deflation, The New York Times | July 30, 2010
A subtle but significant shift appears to be occurring within the Federal Reserve over the course of monetary policy as the economic recovery is weakening. more »
Homes Keep Falling Into Foreclosure as Programs Fail to Help, mcclatchydc.com | July 30, 2010
More than three years into the housing crisis that helped trigger a worldwide recession, the torrid pace of home foreclosures continues to tear at the core of the American dream.
New figures Thursday from Realty-Trac showed that foreclosure activity declined over the first six months of the year in nine of the 10 large metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates.