Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education

07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

07.04 On reflection: how the 'albedo effect' is melting the Antarctic

07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn

07.03 Deep-sea mining to turn oceans into ‘new industrial frontier’

07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]

News Media Matters

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

07.18 Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California

07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]

07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]

07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]

07.18 "Can't Change a Corrupt System by Taking Its Money": Sanders Urges All 2020 Democrats to Reject Insurance, Big Pharma Cash [48:58 video]

07.17 Why Democrats’ oversight machine is moving so slowly against Trump

07.17 Here's the real reason Trump is attacking 'the squad': he's scared of their politics

07.17 'Good,' Says Elizabeth Warren, After Billionaire Right-Winger Peter Thiel Says She's 2020 Democrat He Is 'Most Scared By'

07.17 The American Right Defines Patriotism As Complacency About Racism

07.17 This is what today's America looks like. The squad is us

07.16 As Trump Sows Discord, Chief of Staff Mulvaney Reportedly Focused on 'Building Empire for the Right Wing' [And the South shall rise again...]

07.16 George Will's startling assessment of Donald Trump

07.16 Describing 'Future We Want to Live In' Scores of Groups Unveil New Blueprint for Reproductive Rights

07.16 'Do not take the bait': congresswomen denounce racist Trump attack [3:50 video]

07.16 Money Laundering Scandal Forces Puerto Rico’s Governor to Cut His Vacation Short — Just in Time for Another Scandal

07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]

Justice Matters

07.16 Contempt [Variations of frequent loss & theft of property title by organized legal efforts against black owners]

07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]

07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]

07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]

High Crimes
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

International & Futurism

07.18 There are 16 million slaves around the world making our stuff

07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]

07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]

07.17 Trump Murdered the Iran Deal—And Europe Isn’t Too Happy About It [Only psychopathic Saudi Arabia and Russia are U.S. ’allies’ now...]

07.17 Trump’s Unlawful Asylum Policy Is a Jab at Mexico

07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

07.15 India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]

07.14 Kasich: The chilling effect of British ambassador's leaked memos

07.14 'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]

07.13 New Zealand Begins Gun Buyback Prompted by Mosque Attacks

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning

07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]

07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Only Rats Get Fat as Misdirected Bailout and Stimulus Funds go Down the Rat Hole
Newspaper logo

OPINION FOR A BETTER ECONOMIC STIMULUS PLAN:

Only Rats Get Fat as Misdirected Bailout and Stimulus Funds go Down the Rat Hole

by Dave Lindorff
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
We are facing a grave economic crisis, but the boneheads in the Bush and Obama economic teams are either clueless or are too busy protecting their friends on Wall Street to either know or care.
Congress should do now what it should have done back in the fall: kill the Wall Street bailout program.

After wasting $350 billion on a program that was misrepresented from the outset, and investing hundreds of billions of dollars in failing financial institutions that it could have bought outright for less than it was investing in them (AIG was worth only a few billion dollars in total at the time that the government bailed the company out with an initial investment of $85 billion and Citicorp today is worth less than the $45 billion the government has invested in that failing firm), the Treasury Department, now acting at the direction not of the Bush administration and outgoing Treasurer Hank Paulson, but the Obama administration, is asking for the other half of the Troubled Assets Relief Fund (TARP).

Aside from the corrupt aspect of this $700-billion boondoggle—the handing over of borrowed taxpayer money to the very bankers and investors who created the mess we’re in today—the whole TARP program is premised on a false assumption: namely that the US economy’s problem is a freeze in bank lending.

This is simply untrue.

Three economists at the Minneapolis Fed, in an article published on the Minneapolis Federal Reserve’s website, show using the Fed’s own data that at the very point in September that Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke were warning Congressional leaders in a secret session that the bank lending had entirely seized up and that US was “days away” from a meltdown that would lead to riots in the streets and the possible need to impose martial law, in fact interbank lending was at record levels, and that commercial lending was also flowing normally. True, long-term bond interest rates were unusually (though not unprecedentedly) high, but then, that’s what you would expect when the treasury is borrowing enormous sums and lowering interest rates, and thus raising inflation expectations long term.

The real point of the damning report by the Minneapolis Fed’s plucky trio of economists, is that banks aren’t lending not because they don’t have enough capital, but because for the first time in a decade, bankers are being prudent the way banks are supposed to be. They are looking at companies seeking loans and saying, “show me your balance sheet and your order book.” Companies that are in trouble financially, or that are seeing their sales plummet are being rightly turned away, but companies with solid balance sheets and sales are able to borrow what they need.

The other point is that contrary to the claims being made by both Bush and Obama economic teams about the allegedly urgent importance of the keeping credit flowing so that, as Paulson put it, companies will be able to meet payroll and so that they won’t start laying off employees, what is needed is not looser or cheaper credit but programs to protect the incomes of millions of workers who are losing their jobs. (Unemployment, officially now at 7.2 percent, would actually be closer to 17 percent using the more honest methodology in use prior to 1980, before the Reagan administration altered it to hide the impact of the recession of the early '80s.)

The record shows that even as the government has blown $350 billion on a Wall Street bailout, unemployment has soared, housing price declines have accelerated, and retail sales have continued on a six-month death march into the ground. While administration touts are claiming that if there had been no bailout, things would be worse, there is no evidence to support this claim. Things are terrible as it is—in fact the economic collapse is being called the worst since the onset of the Great Depression of the 1930s. How the hell much worse could it have been?

Which brings us back to the current Obama administration demand for the other $350 billion in TARP funds.

Being laid off in America is an unmitigated disaster: no health care, no income, and a nightmare struggle even to obtain food stamps.

It seems clear that what the country is facing is not a unique credit freeze, but rather a classic recession (or depression), in which spiraling industry layoffs of workers is leading to a collapse in spending, which in turn leads to a further slowdown in business and more layoffs. Because the social safety net in America has been systematically shredded, with unemployment benefits only covering a minority of laid-off workers, and then only for a short period and at only a small fraction of their prior wages, the rise in unemployment is crippling the economy. Being laid off in America is an unmitigated disaster: no health care, no income, and a nightmare struggle even to obtain food stamps. (People with homes and savings can be screwed out of assistance because they have too many assets, for example.)

In the case of tax cuts, studies have repeatedly shown that business tax cuts do nothing to stimulate business activity but rather just enrich managers and shareholders, while tax cuts to consumers do not even return a dollar-for-dollar stimulus.

Nor is the other Obama rescue measure—the proposed $800-billion so-called “stimulus” package--adequately addressing the problem. Focusing on tax breaks (especially tax breaks for business) and on large infrastructure projects, is once again wasting precious stimulus resources. In the case of tax cuts, studies have repeatedly shown that business tax cuts do nothing to stimulate business activity but rather just enrich managers and shareholders, while tax cuts to consumers do not even return a dollar-for-dollar stimulus. Meanwhile, investing in infrastructure projects only provides incomes to relatively skilled heavy equipment operators these days, not to the broad masses of people who need help. Moreover, because the pool of workers trained to work on such projects is limited, all boosting that spending does is push up wages in that sector. (Besides, the last thing America needs is more and better roads; it needs a wholly revitalized and expanded mass transit system, inter- and intra-city, and that’s getting short shrift in this proposal.)

A stimulus package that works would expand welfare and food stamp benefits for the chronically unemployed, would boost funding for education—K through college--would provide grants to states and local governments to compensate for declining tax bases, with stipulations that the money be used to hire more teachers, more teachers’ aides, more librarians, more trash collectors, etc., not just lower taxes. It would expand unemployment insurance coverage to all workers and extend those payments for the duration of the recession while raising the payments to provide a real subsistence wage. It would fund government run programs to hire the unemployed, creating jobs that meet the skill-set of the unemployed. The excellent CETA program, part of the grotesquely maligned War on Poverty of the late 1960s, would be a good model for this.

The truth is, the US military budget could be cut in half or even more, without anyone really noticing.

Meanwhile, of course, since we’re talking about big bucks here, the new administration should be looking to the future and figuring out how to get the budget deficit back in check. And there, a first target has to be the military, now chewing through well over $1 trillion a year, most of it wasted and wrongheaded. For starters, the war in Iraq should be ended. Period. Ditto for Afghanistan—a doomed venture. Then too, the 800 overseas military bases should be closed down, along with the nation’s nuclear missile and bomb program (okay, as long as China, Russia, France, the UK, Israel, India, Pakistan and a few other countries have the bomb, we could keep a few nukes for negotiating purposes, pending a global nuclear disarmament agreement, which should be a top priority). The truth is, the US military budget could be cut in half or even more, without anyone really noticing. The US would be the stronger for it, not weaker or more vulnerable. Even at half strength, no potential enemy would want to threaten the US. (In fact, arguably, a US that had pulled back from its current global stance would be far more formidable an opponent if directly threatened.)

We are facing a grave economic crisis, but the boneheads in the Bush and Obama economic teams are either clueless, or are too busy protecting their friends on Wall Street (or in New York Fed Chief and Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner's case, too busy figuring out ways to cheat on his taxes), to either know or care.

Only mass public action will set this right. Hopefully, the public is getting scared enough now to pry their eyes away from the tube and start demanding that it be done, before another trillion dollars is thrown down a rat hole.


Dave Lindorff in Washington

About the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.



Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on January 14, 2009.
 



Public Service Ads:
Verifiable Voting in Maryland