Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Real Face of Socialism

The real 'socialists' here.

The George W. Bush administration handed 125 billion dollars to nine of Wall Street's richest banks, but this will do little to help the economy that is crumbling around ordinary U.S. citizens, independent experts and activists say.

"There is no way a modern economy can function without good roads, telecommunication, rail transport and an educated labour force," Allan Mendelowitz, a member and former chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board, told IPS.

Bush's new Office of Financial Stability, led by Neel Kashkari, sealed a deal Tuesday to provide the billions, plus 125 billion dollars more for small banks, to encourage them to start lending to each other and the world's biggest businesses again.

A freeze in lending, related to the banks' risky trading ventures, has slowed the global economy, rocked stock markets around the world, and tightened lending throughout the U.S. economy.

"We're not proud of all the mistakes that were made by many different people, different parties, failures of our regulatory system, failures of market discipline that got us here," said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Thursday in an interview on Fox Business Network.

Freddie Mac Pays Republicans to Scuttle Bill

This story has more legs that I can count.

Freddie Mac secretly paid a Republican consulting firm $2 million to kill legislation that would have regulated and trimmed the mortgage finance giant and its sister company, Fannie Mae, three years before the government took control to prevent their collapse.

In the cross hairs of the campaign carried out by DCI of Washington were Republican senators and a regulatory overhaul bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. DCI's chief executive is Doug Goodyear, whom John McCain's campaign later hired to manage the GOP convention in September.

Freddie Mac's payments to DCI began shortly after the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee sent Hagel's bill to the then GOP-run Senate on July 28, 2005. All GOP members of the committee supported it; all Democrats opposed it.

In the midst of DCI's yearlong effort, Hagel and 25 other Republican senators pleaded unsuccessfully with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., to allow a vote.

"If effective regulatory reform legislation ... is not enacted this year, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a whole," the senators wrote in a letter that proved prescient.

Unknown to the senators, DCI was undermining support for the bill in a campaign targeting 17 Republican senators in 13 states, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. The states and the senators targeted changed over time, but always stayed on the Republican side.

The Ever Increasing Grocery Bill

I was just talking with a co-worker about this yesterday.

Worries over a global recession have pushed the price of oil to its lowest in over a year. Don't expect the same for a bottle of beer, a tube of toothpaste, or a box of cereal.

You can blame "sticky" prices.

That's what analysts call it when companies slap higher prices on products and keep them there even though the rationale for the price hikes -- such as soaring oil prices -- is gone.

The falling cost of oil could help companies pad their profit margins as they pay less to make and transport goods. But it won't mean a break on the average grocery bill.

The price of consumer goods typically lags behind the price of key inputs like oil and wheat, said Chris Lafakis, an economist with Moody's

"Consumer prices don't change near as fast, because they are set by companies," Lafakis said. "Commodity prices are set every day on an open market."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Planet McCain

One of the better videos that I have seen on McSame lately.

Wall Street- The Week Ahead

It should be an interesting week.

High anxiety on Wall Street won't subside this week as the deepening credit crunch pushes the global economy into recession, and corporate profits increasingly become an afterthought as investors scramble to raise enough cash to weather the credit crisis.

On the heels of a panic-riddled sell-off that caused the Dow industrials and the S&P 500 to plummet for eight days in a row, finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven met on Friday -- followed by meetings of the Group of 20, International Monetary Fund, World Bank officials and European leaders over the weekend -- to discuss jammed credit markets and the staggering global economy.

While corporate earnings season gets into full swing this week, results will likely be on the back burner as investors struggle to see through the fog of fear that has engulfed the market.

World Bank to Poor- Suffer

Robert Zoellick, head of the World Bank and cheerleader of free trade, laid down the gauntlet for the world's poor at a meeting of the World Bank's policy-setting committee this weekend while discussing the current economic crisis.

As a result of the downturn, developed countries are not expected to help 28 countries facing twin shocks of rising food and fuel prices, said the bank's president, Robert Zoellick. "For the poor, the costs of the crisis could be lifelong," he said.