Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fire Paulson Fire Cox

The reason Bush should fire Paulson is he and his investment bank buddies created the financial mess.

The federal government admitted it in the New York Times story "S.E.C. Concedes Oversight Flaw Fueled Collapse." The Security and Exchange Commission (the SEC) was passed during FDR's presidency to regulate Wall Street and was supposed to save the country from out-of-control greed, speculation and manipulations of the 1929 stock market crash. The SEC was supposed to regulate Wall Street, but following the Reaganomics voodoo economics of the last 3 decades. they didn't regulate. Instead Bush II appoints Christopher Cox to chair the SEC, but Cox like Bush and like McCain is a long-time foe of regulation. It's just like letting the fox guard the hen house. In 2004 the SEC, not interested in any real regulation of investment banks, instituted a "voluntary supervision program for Wall Street's largest investment banks" and now Mr. Cox admits his voluntary program "had contributed to the global financial crises, and he abruptly shut the program down" (New York Times, 9/27/08).

Mr. Cox said his voluntary program was "fundamentally flawed the from the beginning" because investments banking companies could join or withdraw from the program at will. Besides, the SEC in a just released report said that it didn't failed to monitor Bear Stearns before it collapsed.

The 5 big investor banks lobbied for the voluntary commission, and who was head of Goldman Sacks at the time? Mr Paulson, now head of the Treasury Department. So Mr. Paulson helps set up the voluntary commission at the SEC that helps crash Wall Street. The SEC gave into the lobbying of the 5 investment banks including Mr. Paulson at Goldman Sacks.

But there's more. The 5 investment banks wanted SEC as their umbrella regulator "because that let them avoid regulation of their fast-growing European operations by the European Union." So this voluntary commission was set up to avoid regulation by European Union. Now Mr. Cox admits that the SEC's regulation was non-existent and was put into place at the request of the investment banks who had collapsed or been sold.

Mr. Paulson is one of the people most responsible fore creating this Wall Street financial crises. He should be fired. Mr. Cox also by his negligence helped the crises develop. He should be fired.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Wall Street Bail Out Is a Mistake

Last week I was interested in the Wall Street crisis for many reasons, one being that my
auto insurance agency was 21st Century owned by AIG. I was wondering if I had an auto insurance if AIG went bankrupt, but then it the federal government promised to bail it out, so I still have auto insurance.

Who to blame for the crises? Most people in mainstream media such as PBS blame Allan Greenspan, former head of the Federal Reserve bank, for not regulating the investment banks such as Lehman Brothers who were making wild loans on subprime mortgages. LA Times had an article today saying Europeans blame the financial crises on deregulation, Alan Greenspan, and greed. The left-wing Counterpunch goes further saying blaming the crises on neoliberalism, the ideology that free markets with little or no government regulation should dominate our economy. Neoliberalism has dominated U.S. economy since President Regan. Therefore blame Milton Freedman, the great guru of neoliberalism, and all his quack followers; also blame President Regan and his bunch of neoliberals followers including Bush I and Bush II. They repeated endlessly that deregulation wasn't necessary and markets should prevail.

We also should blame U.S. Senator Phil Graham who sponsored a legislation passed in the late 1990s that deregulated banks and investment houses, ending the Glass/Stegal Act that in the 1930s regulated banks and investment houses. Graham is now a major fundraiser and adviser for McCain who also solidly supported deregulation his decades in the Senate. We should blame Clinton and his Secretary of the Treasury Bob Rubin for pushing to pass Graham's disastrous piece of legislation that deregulated the banks.

Most everybody agrees that government needs to step in but Bush's stepping in so far has been a disaster. Bush has refused to help out distressed homeowners by giving them low-interest loans. Neoliberals have also kept down wages for 30 years, so wages have stagnated. Bush II's mismanagement has cost the country 600,000 lost jobs this year.

Now Bush's plans would worsen the economic crises. The New York Times said the government could spend money on rebuilding the country's broken infrastructure or doing a bail out of Wall Street. Bush II wants to spend $700 billion bailing out Wall Street--this same Bush II who said the country couldn't afford to spend paltry millions to expand Healthy Families giving health insurance to poor children.

The major problem with Bush II's proposal is that he wants the government to take over bad mortgages from banks to stabilize the financial system until the economy improves and people can buy homes a gain. Given lost jobs, stagnating wages, and difficult-to-get high-interest mortgages, who is going to buy houses in the next few years? Very very few.

I know one young couple with a year-old baby in a one-room apartment in Los Angeles and another young couple planning to have a baby in their one-room apartment in San Francisco. Neither can afford to buy houses in their cities. Bush II's plans will do nothing to improve anybody's income but instead cause average taxpayers taxes to go up to pay for the bail out which might amount to trillion dollars. Bush II's bailout plan is a recipe for one very very very very long recession.

2001 economics Novel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz says the first thing this country has to do to recover economically is end the Iraq War which has now cost $3 trillion dollars. The economist argues that to get out of a recession what the federal government needs is to stimulate the economy but it doesn't have the funds if it wastes its funds on the Iraq War. He argues that the longer the Iraq War lasts, the longer the recession lasts. Also, I'd add close all these unnecessary bases that the U.S. has around the world.

Reducing military spending overseas would free the money to give a real stimulus package like FDR's New Deal. A new government in Washington would rebuild infrastructure as FDR did through such projects as the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s (CCC). The CCC not only built bridges, roads, post offices, and high schools which we still use today but also gave jobs to the unemployed. When you give jobs to the unemployed, then they immediately spend their wages, stimulating the economy. Further, a new administration could expand unemployment and food stamps. When you give jobs to the unemployed or more unemployment or food stamps, then the people immediately spend their wages or unemployment checks, stimulating the economy.

Further, FDR supported unionizing of blue collar workers, enabled them to eventually increase wages to join the middle class. The president & federal legislature can change its anti-union stances as well as get rid of anti-union legislation. With rise in unionization, wages will rise as they did in the 1940s and 1950s. With more people have jobs and higher wages, then people will have the income to buy homes so the housing market will naturally improve.

Instead of federal bailout of banks and investment houses who took on bad mortgage debt, the federal government should have a policy of switching high interest mortgages to lower, fixed rate 30 year mortgage, helping people to stay in their homes. The federal government after World War II gave low-interest housing loans to veterans, allowing thousands to buy homes for the first times in their lives. Low-interest 30-year mortgages would help stabilize markets and housing prices. Further, because investors speculated on housing prices causing them to go up astronomically, working people and middle class couldn't afford to buy houses in many urban areas such as Los Angeles. The fall of housing prices will make houses more affordable--that is a good thing.

Obama and the Democrats in Congress support some of these things. The Democrats in Congress want some housing relief for distressed homeowners included in the bailout package but the housing relief should be in a different bill. Also, Obama has promised to included money to rebuild infrastructure in his new administration. The rest of the |New Deal package--including removing anti-union legislation--people will have to struggle for. McCain sounds clueless. His major economic adviser is Phil Graham who got us into this mass. McCain's election will mean economic disaster for this country.

Let's get this very straight. FDR's New Deal, while not prefect, did help get millions out of dire poverty into jobs. The federal post-World War II packages of veterans benefits for education and low-coast housing loans helped more millions. We know what has worked in our economy. We know the neoliberalism has given us the present recession and Wall Street disaster. We need to junk the failed polices of neoliberalism. Government programs have worked in the past. We need to resurrect them.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sara Palin as Bush III

Sara Palin is really just Bush the Third.

The McCain/Palin ticket would give us more Bush policies in spades.

First, Palin like Bush is the candidate from Big Oil. Palin like Bush doesn't believe
in global warming. A few days ago she moderated her position and said that human activity can contribute to global warming a little. Palin like Bush wants as the crowd cheered at the Repbulican National Convention to "drill, drill, drill." Palin like Bush doesn't believe in renewable energy and hasn't funded any in Alaska.

Yes, Palin as governor of Alaska increased taxes from the oil industry but her husband has worked for oil giant British Petroleum for eighteen years on the north slope in Alaska. Palin thinks her big accomplishment is having the Alaska fund a natural gas pipeline which will pipe gas to Alberta to treat tar oil--an environmental disaster waiting to happen. As a governor in Alaska she lets oil companies dump thousands of gallons of toxic wastes in prime fisheries. McCain/Palin would continue Bush's policies of letting oil giants dominate energy in the United States, letting gas prices soar, wreak environmental havoc and letting oil companies have obscene profits. Voting for McCain/Palin is like voting for a hike in the price of gas.

Palin like McCain has presented herself as having no taxes but cutting spending. As mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, she cut funds for a new library, wouldn 't fund a new park the city needed, and wouldn't fund a sewage treatment plant Wasilla desperately needed. She did fund $15 million for a sports complex on land that the city didn't own, spurring a lawsuit which is still in the the courts. As mayor she lowered taxes on corporations but raised sales taxes which falls on working people. After she was mayor, the working people of Wasilla paid higher taxes for everything they bought but still lacked the library, the park, and the sewage treatment plant. She was a lousy mayor. As governor of Alaska, she had surplus of government money but wouldn't spend it on improving Alaska's terrible schools nor on domestic violence programs.

She attacked Obama for being a community organizer in her speech at the Republican National Convention. She obviously thinks its idiotic to give up a high paying job to go to work trying to improve a local communities. In fact, as governor of Alaska she had policies that were designed to never improve any local communities. She does, however, believe in spending a lot of state funds on proving polar bears are not endangered species. Ensuring that polar bears die out seems to be high on her priority list as Alaskan governor. Bush also has gone after the endangered species act, trying to end it. Palin like Bush work hard at making policies that wipe out animal species. Palin has been a lousy governor of Alaska.

Palin would give us more of Bush's foreign policy.

Palin like Bush II knows very little about foreign policy and Palin like Bush II before he was elected has hardly been out of the United States. The Republicans said she went to Canada, Mexico, and visited the troops in Iraq. Then the Republicans corrected themselves. No, she didn't visit troops in Iraq but merely went to Kuwait. Oh well.

Bush has now gotten into two wars--Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush has the tremendous incompetency to be losing to the Taliban in Afghanistan. McCain has promised us 100 years of war in Iraq while Palin when asked about Georgia/Russia said she would support War with Russia over Georgia. McCain/Palin are warmongers who refused to recognize how Bush's wars have bankrupted the U.S. economy and who promise to bankrupt it even faster.

Let's take her speech at the Republican National Convention attack Obama for thinking it important to read prisoners their rights. Palin thinks prisoners should have no rights. In other words like Bush she is pro-torture. She clearly hasn't thought much about the issue, because the armed service leadership is always against torture knowing if we torture people, then other people will hate us and torture our soldiers. Just like Bush has isolated the U.S. around the world, Palin's ideas that prisoners in the U.S. need rights would make this country look like brutal torturers.

The speech Palin said at the Republican National Convention, according to the New Yorker, was written by a Bush speechwriter and then refitted for Palin. Palin is a puppet repeating the words of her Republican handlers. The Republicans have threatened the press that if they ask tough questions of Palin, they would loose access. What are her Republican handlers afraid of? Are they afraid she would divert from the script they make her carefully memorize?

When people look at Palin and McCain, see 8 more years of polices destroying small towns by denying them needed sewage plants, destroying rural economies such as fisheries in Alaska she is letting oil companies pollute with toxic waste, and destroying communities in the city. Palin and McCain promise us indept handling of the U.S. economy and more wars to bankrupt the country.

Finally, many scientists think global warming causes increased intensity of hurricanes. Scientists predicted that millions would have to flee low-lieing areas to escape floods caused by global warming. That's exactly what's happening in the last month with hurricanes like Hurricane Ike right now. The Republicans have put in place policies that cause global warming. As long as they continue to be puppets of the oil industry and continue to fight for polices like use of oil and coal which increases global warming, they may shed tears for envirnomental refugees. They may give speeches about helping environmental refugees. But their policies for decades had caused the environmental refugees. There's an old saying that it's don't talk the talk but walk the walk. Palin walks the walk of Big Oil