The Populist Pub is Now Open


Petit Julien welcomes you back to the Populist Pub.  

As a nation, we are groping for some sense of hope that we are emerging from the economic morass. The ranks of the unemployed continue to swell and millions of working Americans and retirees worry that the economic tsunami may engulf them next. The government has enacted a dizzying array of bailouts and assistance plans aimed at stabilizing the banking industry, thereby clearing a path to recovery in the real economy.

There is plenty of criticism for the government's actions to date, much of which is centered on understanding what brought on the crisis in the first place. Many critics attribute the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and the 2000 enactment of the Commodities Futures Modernization Act as the impetus for the wreckless financial gambling of the last 8 years. For sure, this is not wrong and various measures of reform are now working their way through the Congressional process.

However, in an excellent article published in the April edition of Harper's Magazine, Thomas Geoghegan argues that we have not focused enough on the big deregulation that precedes all other deregulation. For him it was the day that America changed. His essay is titled: Infinite Debt; How Unlimited Interest Rates Destroyed The Economy.

The Populist Pub is Now Open


Petit Julien welcomes you to the first gathering at the Populist Pub.   As an introduction, let me refer to this comment I made the other night. You can scroll up and down in that thread to get more context.

One of the things I like most about Naked Capitalism is the daily links that Yves provides. They are wide ranging, only sometimes graphical or analytical, but always apropros to the bigger picture.

So I was thinking if there is a way of doing something similar here at EP. Provide links to other reports, essays, analyses without paraphrasing and just invite general discussion or further original blog posts.

Here Comes The Show - Congressional Hearings, Debt and Conjecture

Multiple Screens! 360 Panavision! Let the shouting begin! The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold hearings the next two days. Committee Chair Representative Waxman:

Lax oversight and reckless investments on Wall Street are causing massive disruption throughout our economy. Our hearings will examine what went wrong and who should be held to account.

Up on the executive chopping block are:

DAY 1: Causes and Effects of the Lehman Brothers Bankruptcy

  • Dr. Luigi Zingales, Professor of Finance, University of Chicago
  • Dr. Robert F. Wescott, President, Keybridge Research LLC
  • Nell Minow, Chairman of the Board and Editor, The Corporate Library
  • Gregory W. Smith, General Counsel, Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association

Buying Congress - Bullied on the Bail Out

One must wonder why Congress is hell bent on passing a plan when so many economists are questioning it even working at all and while other more proven approaches are available.

Congressman Peter DeFazio issued a press release showing the the bitterness of these so called sweeteners being dangled before our representatives on Capital Hill:

The Budget - That Ultimate Credit Card Paulson Wants to Have

buy now!  pay later!

Buy Now! Pay Later!

That seems to be the motto of Hank Paulson's bail out demands.

Today the Budget office had a Federal Responses to Market Turmoil Committee hearing.  Peter Orszag, Director of the Congressional Budget Office, in my opinion, confirmed what the critics are saying, this is not a wise plan. But read more and you decide.

The infamous question pops up again and again, what did they know and when did they know it? So let's apply this question to the fiscal impact of the bail out proposal.

What we know so far?

The Selling of a Crisis - So Horrible They Cannot Describe It

We are now hearing the United States has a dire emergency and if Congress doesn't act immediately we will face some sort of Economic Armageddon the world has never seen before, which of course they cannot describe.

Rep. John Boehner:

The Most serious crisis the World Has Ever Dealt With

(Wasn't that the Black Plague or maybe WWII?)

Here is Senator Chris Dodd saying Hank Paulson should be given the authority, absolute:

We are Suckers. We are Chumps.

Uncle Sam goes "all in"

And so, they have finally done it. Washington has finally bet every dollar of earnings and wealth you and I and every other taxpayer has ever made in our entire lives; every dollar that will ever be made by our children's generation; and every dollar that will ever be made by our grandchildren's generation; in an attempt -- that is by no means guaranteed to succeed -- to prop up reckless and malign investments by Wall Street.

Wondering Where Our Bail Out Is? A Few Lone Voices in Congress

The more I mull the idea that a bunch of completely irresponsible corporations who through default credit swaps and other exotic finance derivatives managed to crash their businesses are getting a potential $1.7 trillion bailout infuriates me. I was wondering if any of our representatives were not towing the Corporate Party line?

Well, yes and we have a great speech from Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT):