S&P: foreign agents

So the lead analyst on the S&P downgrade of the U.S. Treasury is based in…Toronto! What, they were afraid to have an American do the work? And you can download the report from S&P’s “BlobServer.” I’m not kidding. More on all this in the imminently forthcoming LBO #133.

Me on the CBC, Sunday

I’m scheduled to be on Sunday Edition on CBC Radio One this Sunday, discussing the debt melodrama with Jack Mintz of the C.D. Howe Institute, a right-wing think tank. Recorded it this afternoon. Canadian right-wingers just don’t seem as rabid as ours do.

Jobs follow-up: limits of monetary policy

A follow-up to the previous, inspired by another question from Corey: I should have said in there that the reason that quantitative easing hasn’t worked well is that monetary policy is ineffective when an economy is this sick. It’s the classic “pushing on a string” situation. Corps have lots of cash – they’re just not investing or hiring. The financial markets are flush. You need fiscal policy to mobilize all that festering cash. Inflation is now about 4% – all because of commodities, because “core” inflation (ex food and energy) is only… Read More

Why a jobs program is taboo

I just posted this to Facebook in response to a query by Corey Robin about the dismal “debate” on jobs hosted by  The Atlantic, and Matthew Yglesias’ side commentary on it. Corey’s question: why can’t the gov solve the unemployment problem by hiring people? My reaction: Wow, what a collection of tiny little “ideas” that “debate” gathers. It’s up there in tininess with Obama’s jones for patent law reform. Raising the inflation target implies that the Fed has been too tight, when in fact it’s been anything but. It’s been pumping like crazy since the financial crisis… Read More

Help wanted (cont.)

Several people asked if the LBO assistant position had to be done by someone local. Yes, it requires on-site work in lovely Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

What fiscal emergency?

I break into the big time! My antidote to deficit hysteria is up on CNN.com: What fiscal emergency?


If you’ve got an email account and have a rep as some kind of “progressive,” you’re probably bombarded with offers from CREDO Mobile, often via The Nation and Alternet. Their marketing hook is that the big guys, AT&T and Verizon, support the far right and CREDO is all crunchy and nice. Except that the CREDO part isn’t really true. The company has no network of its own—it uses Sprint’s. And Sprint is aggressively nonunion, while AT&T is unionized. (No doubt AT&T would rather not be unionized, but it is.) But that’s not… Read More

Obama luvs bankers

From Bloomberg, via Politico’s Morning Money: OBAMA DOESN’T ‘BEGRUDGE’ BONUSES FOR ‘SAVVY’ WALL STREET EXECS, Bloomberg’s Julianna Goldman and Ian Katz report: ‘President Barack Obama said he doesn’t ‘begrudge’ the $17 million bonus awarded to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon or the $9 million issued to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, noting that some athletes take home more pay. The president, speaking in an interview, said in response to a question that while $17 million is ‘an extraordinary amount of money’ for Main Street, ‘there are… Read More

Radio commentary, January 21, 2010

In the economic news, more stumbling along the bottom. On Thursday morning, the Labor Department (not, by the way, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the main source of data in that agency, but in this case the Employment and Training Administration, another division within the Department—sorry to go all geeky on you) reported that first-time claims for unemployment insurance, filed by people who’ve just lost their jobs, rose by a sharp 36,000 last week. The Department said, however, that this rise was mostly the result of a holiday-related processing delays and not… Read More

LBO #121 out!

I’ve been reticent about promoting LBO, the newsletter, on LBO News, the “blog,” but why should I? Anyway, emailed to electronic subscribers and on press for the crushed-tree kind, #121, the third issue in three months, includes: Obama and the duelling caricatures • Adolph Reed on how racism is like the Easter bunny • How this recession stacks up vs. its ancestors • Life after crises • The media bloodletting • Rupert celebrates For a taste, see LBO 121 contents. I suspect many readers of this site already subscribe to the newsletter, for… Read More

Get your LBO sample here

Article from LBO #119 freshly posted to the web: Americans: sick, poor, undereducated, overworked, smug. Or, “How American awfulness stacks up.” A review of the OECD’s latest Social Indicators, showing just how bad off the USA is compared with most other rich countries in a host of important ways. We post samples from LBO to the web for free consumption—but only a few, and with a delay. If you like what you see, subscribe.

Radio commentary, March 7, 2009

[This is the KPFA version, which includes an analysis of the February employment report that came out the morning after the original WBAI show.] I’ve been off the air at WBAI for three weeks, though doing shows for KPFA during that hiatus. I can now disclose to the New York audience that the economy hasn’t recovered since I was last here. In fact, it’s not even starting to find its footing. And when I say “the economy”—a phrase I sometimes recklessly use, as if getting and spending weren’t somehow embedded deeply in… Read More