March on Wall Street The WBAI studios are on Wall Street, of all places, so I was able to catch a glimpse of the anti-bank demonstration sponsored by the AFL-CIO and a coalition of community groups organized by National People’s Action (Showdown in America). It’s inspiring, but I’m afraid there’s just not the level of popular mobilization necessary to overcome the lobbying power of big finance. The unions are blowing off some steam today, but tomorrow they’ll go back to writing big checks to Democratic politicians and apologizing for their failings. And,… Read More
Allow me to plug another fine article by my beloved spouse: A Wal-Mart Worker’s Horror Story by Liza Featherstone Passed over for promotion in favor of teenagers? Subject to sexual innuendo from a supervisor? Liza Featherstone on Dee Gunter, the plaintiff behind the largest sex discrimination case in U.S. history.
Asked by Sen. Tester if Goldman had done anything “wrong” in selling CDOs, Goldman’s Sparks evades the question, saying that wrong “conveys some qualitative sense of doing something inappropriate.” They just made some business decisions that look bad in retrospect.
This piece of idiocy is about to be voted on by the Pacifica National Board. It’s only going to make me intensify my on-air criticisms of 9/11 nuttery and conspiracism in general. Pacifica National Board Motion on 911 Programming and Mission Compliance Proposed 4-25-10 by Pacifica Foundation member Christopher Condon Except during fund drives, key public affairs programming throughout the Pacifica Network has appeared to overwhelmingly accept the Official Story of 911, arguing from its assumptions, asserting the theory assigning culpability for these tragic attacks to Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaida without… Read More
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner—a Dem polling firm run by a former Marxist, so it always asks good questions with a strong class angle—reports that public perceptions of the U.S. economy are improving significantly, but with no political impact yet: http://www.citizenopinion.com/wp-content/files/co04152010-ectrack-FINAL.pdf
financial “reform” Our president gave a speech on Thursday in the Great Hall at Cooper Union, the site of Abraham Lincoln’s rather conservative 1860 speech on slavery. Obama’s speech was on a much less elevated topic—financial regulation. He made a lot of appealing sounds, and the financial execs in the front row mostly sat on their hands, but while he was talking, Congress was busy working out compromises—with Wall Street’s army of lobbyists at their sides. So I’m going to reserve commentary until we see what’s actually in the thing. Will there… Read More
Just posted to my Radio archives: April 15, 2010 Robert Scott of the Economic Policy Institute on how China’s currency manipulation kills American jobs • Matt Taibbi on how Wall Street ripped off Jefferson County, Alabama, and the U.S. government Links to relevant bios and articles at archive site.
Financial Times – April 16, 2010 Republicans are in the White House From Mr Doug Henwood. Sir, Clive Crook’s call (April 12) for a revival of an old-style GOP opposition is a little strange, since Barack Obama himself is a liberal Republican. Or maybe not so liberal a Republican. Consider the healthcare bill. The individual mandate has its origins in the Nixon administration’s response to Teddy Kennedy’s single-payer bill in the early 1970s. The insurance marketplace has its roots in the American Enterprise Institute’s response to Bill Clinton’s healthcare scheme. Speaking of… Read More
Recession fatigue (cont.) I said last week that the preliminary reports on March shopping showed Americans rediscovering their lust to buy, following almost two years of born-again prudence. Those early returns, which were based on sales numbers coming from the major chain stores, have now been confirmed by the official word from the Census Bureau, compiler of the monthly retail sales figures. The Census stats are based on a much broader survey of the retail universe, which includes not only big national names like Target and Wet Seal, but also local chains,… Read More
Just posted to my radio archive: April 8, 2010 Diane Ravitch, former conservative educational reformer turned critic of the privatization agenda and author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System, on the awfulness of the now-bipartisan scheme of testing, charters, union-busting, etc. April 3, 2010 (KPFA version) Ann Harrison, labor economist at Berkeley, on the effects of the anti-sweatshop campaign on Indonesian footwear workers (paper here) • Steven Hill, author of Europe’s Promise, on the Old World as an economic model for the U.S.
Just one guest up on today’s show, Diane Ravitch, the former conservative educational reformer turned critic of the whole testing and privatization agenda that is now not only the province of the Republican party, but the Obama administration as well. economic news Since I want to say a few words about Ravitch and education before playing the interview, only a few brief comments on the economic news. One, it looks like American consumers are going back to their freespending ways. They haven’t yet reached the point of irrational exuberance, but the preliminary… Read More
March employment First, a few words on the U.S. employment report for March, released on Friday morning. While the headline job gain of 162,000 looked pretty decent, especially after the huge declines of 2008 and early 2009, 30% of the gain came from temporary workers hired to conduct the Census, and another 25% came from temp firms in the private sector. So more than half the gain was in jobs designed not to last. There were a few bright spots. Manufacturing added 17,000 workers, its third consecutive monthly gain—a sterling performance for… Read More
Not much in the way of economic news since last we spoke. The U.S. economy continues to flatline, which only looks good next to the collapse of 2008 and 2009. The Chicago branch of the Federal Reserve puts out a monthly National Activity Index (CFNAI), a composite of 85 separate indicators, that’s a good a single measure of the state of the economy that we have. When it’s at 0, the economy is expanding at its historical average; below 0, it’s growing below trend; above 0, it’s growing above trend. The CFNAI broke… Read More
In U.S. economic news, more signs of modest recovery. Early in the week, we learned that retail sales rose an OK 0.3% in February. Weak auto sales dragged down that headline number; stripping them out, sales rose a pretty healthy 0.8% last month. Sales of electronics and appliances, sporting goods, and at restaurants and bars were pretty strong. The mix was a departure from recent retail bahvior, when spending on necessities predominated. Now we’re seeing more indulgence and frivolity in the mix. And, in another departure from recent behavior, it looks like the… Read More