Why the Stimulus Will/Has Fail(ed)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Because it’s a matter of trust. The economy won’t recover until there is a palpable sense that we are doing the right thing. But no one can say, with certainty, that we are. Meanwhile, Americans, who truly understand being in debt, are watching the government pile on trillions with only a possible (it’s a bet!) positive outcome.

It’s beyond frightening. And though as a basic matter of economics – the money goes into circulation and revives the patient – what they are doing should work, there is a “spiritual” component here that is ignored. The patient has got to believe he’s going to get better. On that score, the doctors have a lot more work to do.

Just watch the Q2 GDP numbers beat expectations. We’ll hear that the recession is (near) over. And yet…their are plenty of layoffs on the horizon and no job creation; plenty of debt, and nothing resembling a balanced budget.

The hardest times are still ahead.

P.S. On a related note, if Congress doesn’t tax Goldman Sachs bonuses at, like, 90% (and they won’t), it will be hard to say that Americans aren’t justified in taking the law into their own hands down at 85 Broad Street. They shouldn’t. It is wrong to do so. But it will still be hard to say. Goldman Sachs represents the apotheosis of the moral hazard. Too big to fail, they make their profits on your back.


Cash for Clunkers: WTF?

Friday, June 19, 2009

I have completely soured on the American political system. Really, I have given up.

Democrats are in charge of Congress and the Executive and they still pass shit legislation like the weak credit card reform bill, Obama’s financial regulatory half-measures (still to be watered down even further), and now this cash for clunkers deal.

What the fuck? Just what the fuck?

Why should someone driving a piece of shit get my money to help them buy a new car? And, you know what? We’re borrowing it. So it’s my child’s money. $104 billion Treasury auction next week. And the bottom line here is that all of the important reforms are not happening. It’s all window dressing. And kicking the can down the road. Again. Just like the GOP. We have a completely dysfunctional, utterly broken political system and it won’t change until (seriously) a revolution happens.

WE ARE FUCKED.


Hooray! Unemployment Hits Only 8.9%

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hooray! The official number is only 539,000 jobs lost! …But it is, like seemingly everything coming out of the Obama administration these days, seriously fudged.

BLS adds in a season adjustment of tens of thousands for net birth/death rate, and there were another 60K government census (temporary) jobs added to the rolls. Altogether, the private sector lost over 650K jobs. And it will go up once it is revised next month.

But don’t worry, nothing to see here. The stress tests boosted the banks, borrowing and printing money is not insanely dangerous, and massive unemployment won’t depress a consumer based economy. There are no state and local governments in desperate financial trouble, no pension funds that are seriously underfunded, home prices and foreclosures are leveling off, and America didn’t just have to raise the coupon (mid-auction) on a 30-year bond offering in order to get people to buy them.

Nope, nothing to see here. Green shoots everywhere.

“We cannot go back to an economy that is built on a pile of sand — on inflated home prices and maxed-out credit cards, on overleveraged banks and outdated regulations that allowed the recklessness of a few to threaten the prosperity of us all.”

This was Barack Obama on April 29 in a press conference marking his first 100 days in office.

What is so scary about this is that we really can’t trust anyone, especially the government. The Obama administration understands propaganda and media manipulation (at least as well, if not better, than the Bushies). Do they understand in a deeply interconnected world, with an increasingly irrelevant mainstream media, that lies are uncovered quickly and undermine trust and confidence?

Do they ultimately understand that the crisis is an issue of confidence?

Right now, they’re just buying time and praying. We’d all be well advised to do the same.


Obama Housing Bailout Blues

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This is, again, the moral hazard writ large.

If you have a mortgage you can’t afford, you’re going to get relief. To every renter who has been responsible and waited and saved, you get nothing but more of your dream deferred. By artificially attempting to prop up housing prices, the market will not reset to it’s true value.

Waiting for home prices to become affordable again? Waiting for all the air to come out of the real estate bubble?

Obama’s got two words for you. T.S.

There is no incentive to do the right thing, and plenty to do wrong. That is the lesson of our time.


Et Tu, Stimulus?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Why are we rushing through a bill that everyone from Paul Krugman to Grover Norquist hates?


Obama Disappointment

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I’ve been stewing about this for a couple of weeks.

It’s a matter of integrity.

I know that it’s probably hard to find qualified people who are outside the Beltway and have paid their taxes, but I am sorely disappointed with Geithner.

He clearly lied. Before Congress, no less. His excuses were B.S. and everyone knows it.

And yet, Obama supported him and he was confirmed. In one simple move, Obama killed my enthusiasm.

Now I am simply left hoping for the best, but I am not, after all I gave this time around, inspired any longer.

It’s still the same shit as always. It just talks the talk better than most.

Was Geithner really worth it?


Thoughts on the Obama Inaugural

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

If I had time, I’d organize these into an essay…but I don’t, so…

1) There is a terrific irony in the Obama victory. His candidacy was sealed, in my opinion, by the Sarah Palin pick. Palin may have solidified the GOP wingnut “base,” but she cost McCain the sensible, conservatively-inclined middle – including a great many so-called Reagan Democrats. Palin’s candidacy was a stand-in for the Southern strategy that has been so effective for the GOP. She appeals to the proudly ignorant, to the uneducated masses, to all those who are threatened by America’s multiculturalism. It was her candidacy, the very real possibility of the worst of us ascending to the highest office in the land, that ultimately made voters either reject her, or, at the very least, stay home. In other words, ignorance helped usher in a new dawn in America. Sarah Palin, with a massive assist from W., was finally enough to bring about the day when education bested ignorance.

2) This is likely beaten to death everywhere, but I haven’t been reading a lot about the inaugural, so I’m going to take my shot and write about the dynamism of American democracy. Where else, indeed? Really, no where else – not in this way, not at this time. I do not like American triumphalism, that perpetual pat-ourselves-on-the-back that pours forth among Rupert Murdoch’s propagandists, but in this case, it is well deserved. America truly is the world’s first microcosmic global community. Here we have everyone, people from all over the world, finding opportunity, living lives unimaginable in their homelands, becoming Americans and, without limitation, it now seems, seeking to fulfill their highest aspirations. This is what gives me hope for America. This is why I don’t bet against us now. Because, for all our faults, we are always ready to begin again anew. America has grown on its ancient wounds a stronger fiber and possibility is now effused with light and momentum. This is the dynamic character of a free and ever adaptable people. We are down now. But we are not out. We are never out. This election has proved that again.

3) More later…no time to write now…