Town Hall Meeting

24 Mar 2009

Succinct Appraisal of the Current Economy

Filed under: — Al @ 8:43 am

Check out this short interview of the former chief economist of the IMF and current Economics professor at Harvard, Kenneth Rogoff. I don’t know of this person, but his analysis is pretty clear and easy to understand, and seems plausible. Check it out, but basically he’s saying that if we do everything correctly (big “if”), we should see about four years of recession, and start to see better days around the end of 2011. But at that time, we will have spent $8-9 trillion to get us out of the recession and banking crisis. He seems pretty sure that at that time, the plan is to use inflation to deal with the giant accumulated debt. So those folks who were smart enough to hold cash and avoid the stock market and housing bubbles will eventually get screwed too I guess!

If you don’t already watch the weekly show Now on PBS yet, we highly recommend it.

23 Mar 2009

“If You Can’t Live On It, It Doesn’t Count”

Filed under: — Al @ 2:14 pm

Check out this clip from the film “The American Ruling Class” made in 1998. It’s one thing to have “full employment” as economists say, but if it includes jobs that pay less than people can live on, those jobs shouldn’t count. On some level, it is true that as long as people don’t accept a job for less than they can live on, then we will be A-OK! But desperate people do dumb things, that’s just the way life is. This is where unions come into play. They require their members to only work for so much money and for the businesses that want their members to only hire folks from their union – thus making sure nobody is able to do the desperate thing. DON’T BE FOOLED, AND DON’T BE NICKEL AND DIMED!!!

The dialogue is a little corny, but the best part of the clip is the song at the end, sing along!

16 Mar 2009

The Sanctity of [Some] Contracts

Filed under: — Al @ 1:59 pm

This article is in reference to the $450 million in bonuses going to AIG executives and other employees even though the US govt owns 80% of the company.

Published on Monday, March 16, 2009 by Salon.com
The Sanctity of AIG’s Contracts
by Glenn Greenwald

Larry Summers, March 15, 2009, on AIG’s payment of executive bonuses:

We are a country of law. There are contracts. The government cannot just abrogate contracts. Every legal step possible to limit those bonuses is being taken by Secretary Geithner and by the Federal Reserve system.

Associated Press, February 18, 2009:

The United Auto Workers’ deal with Detroit’s three automakers limits overtime, changes work rules, cuts lump-sum cash bonuses and gets rid of cost-of-living pay raises to help reduce the companies’ labor costs, people briefed on the agreement said today. The UAW announced Tuesday that it reached the tentative agreement with General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLC and Ford Motor Co. over contract concessions, as GM and Chrysler sent plans to the Treasury Department asking for a total of $39 billion in government financing to help them survive. CONCESSIONS WITH THE UNION ARE A CONDITION OF THE $17.4 BILLION IN GOVERNMENT LOANS that the automakers have received so far.

Apparently, the supreme sanctity of employment contracts applies only to some types of employees but not others….

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/03/16-6

Good job Larry Summers appointed by Obama. Looks like campaign contributions to Obama by Wall Street, Investment Banks, and Hedge Funds was money well spent. Did you know that former investment banker and current white house chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was the “top House recipient in the 2008 election cycle of contributions from hedge funds, private equity firms and the larger securities/investment industry?” If we don’t keep their feet to the fire, these jerks will keep getting away with applying one rule to the rich and well connected, and another rule to the rest of us!

http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2008/11/obamas-pick-for-chief-of-staff.html

11 Mar 2009

If You Are Trying To Avoid Foreclosure…

Filed under: — Al @ 6:56 pm

So as of today in the United States, foreclosure is a major issue. One article says that there were 2 million foreclosures in 2008 and could be up to 10 million in “the coming years.” While this article says that “19 million homes and apartments across the country – one in seven – are now sitting vacant as the foreclosure crisis takes its toll.” And 1.5 million foreclosures a year are due to medical costs (can we get single-payer instituted TODAY please!).

So a woman in Florida is one of many homeowners who have figured out a way to fight back — force the bank to prove that they own your mortgage and show you their paperwork. A huge part of this whole mortgage meltdown is due to the fact that banks could sell away your loan to others. This previously non-existent commodity would be known as “mortgage backed securities.” This insane idea was concocted in the 1980’s at the firm Salomon Brothers (now a part of the also infamous Citigroup) and is detailed in Michael Lewis’ great book “Liars Poker.”

Michael Lewis Liars Poker

Check out this article explaining the story and how it may work for you.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29242063/?gt1-42003

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