I have Joslyn Stevens's permission to repost this interview.
This week I conducted an interview with a progressive populist I follow on twitter, Priceman, whose annoying habit of using facts and common sense with a dose of in-your-face realness to prove his points tends to piss off democrats over at the “progressive” DailyKos. I feel it’s necessary to showcase often ignored voices representative of the people who speak truth to power and will continue to do so on a weekly basis. Read more about Q and A: Priceman
As the United States Government approaches “running of money” to pay its bills, news articles and pronouncements by politicians about the debt ceiling dispute focus on several things. First, they talk about the dire consequences of defaulting on our obligations. Second, they talk about the need for spending cuts that will put us on a long-term path to balancing the budget, getting a Government surplus, and improving the debt-to-GDP ratio. Third, they talk about the debt ceiling preventing the Government from issuing further debt instruments to “fund” paying for its obligations. Read more about Brinksmanship On the Debt Ceiling
Last Sunday, my son asked me what I thought about the WaPo article “Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner tackles five myths about TARP.” Here's my reply.
There's a lot of truth to the specifics, but his overall evaluation is way off because he looks at it by cherry-picking specific points, and also restricting his evaluation to the bank situation alone, and assuming that the proper goal was to save the big banks at low cost rather than to save the economy. So here are things the Administration and Geithner could have done if they had ended TARP and taken a different course. Read more about TARP: Wasting A Crisis
The only reason I can afford some pretzels, beer, and if I'm feeling really frisky, some chicken wings, is because I'm not sending any goddamn money to the vultures holding my debt. So, putting this thought in the category of "provocative" is perhaps a bridge too far:
Here’s a provocative thought: what if ‘extend and pretend’ within our nation’s troubled mortgage markets is actually providing a lift to consumer spending? It’s not as far-fetched as the idea might initially sound, and it might help explain some interesting data we’ve seen as of late — and it also might explain why the statistical recovery we’re seeing now doesn’t really feel like a recovery to most Americans.
Or as I might say, "no shit Sherlock!" This is exactly what's going on. Fuck, the only reason I'm not out there starving in the street right now, is because I can't be thrown out of my house under my state's law for another 7 months. As Yoda might say, "Some big fucking mystery, it is not."
But this is what it all comes down to, isn't it? The rich get bailed out by the government securing all of the securitized debt "assets," so when I go broke, whoever holds my mortgage, credit card debt, and/or student loans doesn't share in my misery. Meaning they have no incentive to negotiate down the amount that I owe them - why the fuck would they? They get their money no matter what. At the first sign of trouble the government steps in to secure the payment stream, and nobody says boo about that monumental plundering of the public treasury to protect the rich. Read more about The Poor Man’s Stimulus And The Rich Man’s Plunder
Over at New Deal 2.0, Nomi Prins, a former Goldman insider, thinks the answer's no:
But, the question is, would the massive bailout of the financial sector have occurred, had women been at its helm? Indeed, Davos economists this year speculated that the presence of more women on Wall Street might have averted the downturn.
She lines up the likes of Elizabeth Warren, Sheila Blair, Brooksely Borne against some of the more prominent vampire squid -- Bernke, Paulson, Geithner, Lloyd Blankfein (of we're doing "God's work" fame) et al and thinks the gender split may be not just coincidental.
But what would you expect when Big Money gets two trillion NOW NOW NOW, with no plan, and no accountability?* Bloomberg:
Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Timothy Geithner, President-elect Barack Obama's choice for U.S. Treasury Secretary, is seeking to push Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair out of office.