Category Archives: Social & Political

What if we just declare “jubilee”?

I’ve been thinking about something a realtor friend told me last night. Yesterday, three homeowners called a banker she knows and said that, if the banks were going to be bailed out, they weren’t going to pay their mortgage. These were regular mortgage payers with no history of credit problems. They have simply given up on the relationship between the economy and themselves that they’ve believed all their lives.

So, I looked into the total US debt, the total of debt owed by low-income countries, the total mortgage debt in the United States and other factors, such as total consumer debt, in the clusterf*^%$k we call the economy.

The United States has $10.2 trillion dollars of national debt as of today. Only $5.9 trillion of that is held by the public, the rest is intragovernmental debt, held by various government entities as part of borrowing conducted to keep things going.

As of August, there was $2.5 trillion in U.S. consumer revolving and nonrevolving debt. Low-income nations owe about $523 billion to rich countries, including the United States.

What if we call it all even? Just erase all debts, including all debts owed by developing nations, except those U.S. Treasury notes held by the public

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Our “CEO President” and the economic record

George W. Bush liked to call himself a “CEO President”—though even that conceit has passed away now—so let’s look at the record of the performance of our economy to see what his results look like.

Here is the Dow Jones Industrial Average from the first business day after Inauguration Day in 2001 through today.

George W. Bush's economic stewardship in a nutshell

You can check this yourself here. Unfortunately, we are not done, yet.

By the time Bush leaves office, his team of cronies and their lax approach to regulation will have managed to do worse damage to the economy than the 9/11 terrorists—who were trying.

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My Twitterscript of the debate tonight

Mitch I’m getting back to work on a project now…. debate over, Obama took this one.via Twitter – 7:37pm – Comment

Mitch “Our country’s business” is so much more than war, but that is all I hear McCain talk about when he talks about America: fighting.via Twitter – 7:34pm – Comment

Mitch Terry Scherry nodded to Obama at the end of Obama’s answer, suggesting he won that one with the questionner.via Twitter – 7:30pm – Comment

Mitch Obama’s “all the tools/scalpel” vs. McCain’s I’ll-take-hammer-to-it generalties is the story of this debate.via Twitter – 7:29pm – Comment

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Palin’s pal: Anti-American, Iranbuddy

Salon takes a look at Sarah Palin’s hypocritcal portrayal of Barack Obama as “friend of terrorists.”

“My government is my worst enemy. I’m going to fight them with any means at hand.”

This was former revolutionary terrorist Bill Ayers back in his old Weather Underground days, right? Imagine what Sarah Palin is going to do with this incendiary quote as she tears into Barack Obama this week.

Only one problem. The quote is from Joe Vogler, the raging anti-American who founded the Alaska Independence Party. Inconveniently for Palin, that’s the very same secessionist party that her husband, Todd, belonged to for seven years and that she sent a shout-out to as Alaska governor earlier this year. (“Keep up the good work,” Palin told AIP members. “And God bless you.”)

That’s a “God bless you” aimed at secessionists who, as the article goes on to explain, have solicited the support of the Iranian government to gain United Nations support for Alaskan independence.

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Disgusting AIG antics exposed at hearing

Watching the chairman of Lehman squirm yesterday when asked about his half-billion dollars in pay was fun, but the fact AIG execs are already back to the high-flying lifestyle is simply infuriating.

After Bailout, AIG Executives Head to Resort:
Less than a week after the federal government offered an $85 billion bailout to insurance giant AIG, the company held a week-long retreat for its executives at the luxury St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, Calif., running up a tab of $440,000, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said today at the the opening of a House committee hearing about the near-failure of the insurance giant.

Showing a photograph of the resort, Waxman said the executives spent $200,000 for rooms, $150,000 for meals and $23,000 for the spa.

“Less than a week after the taxpayers rescued AIG, company executives could be found wining and dining at one of the most exclusive resorts in the nation,” Waxman said. “We will ask whether any of this makes sense. “

Waxman should press for criminal investigations as to whether the bailout made this illegal. And, if it didn’t, then we should make it illegal until these companies have paid back every penny of taxpayer money with interest.

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An alternative to the bail-out that makes sense

James K. Galbraith writes in the Washington Post, arguing that, with all the big investment banks gone already, the best move is to fund the FDIC to cover all deposits and just be done with it. Then, take steps to shore up local governments.

It’s a thoughtful alternative to buying bad paper. Read, think.

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