Tag Archives: Economy
President Obama exits following his address on Monday.
Many of you have been going through tough times for longer than you care to remember.Â And I won’t pretend that the tough times are over.Â I can’t promise you there isn’t more difficulty to come.Â But what I can promise you is this:Â I will fight for you.Â You’re the reason I’m here today.Â I got my start fighting for working families in the shadows of a shuttered steel plant.Â I wake up every single day asking myself what can I do to give you and working people all across this country a fair shot at the American Dream. (March 30, 2009)
“Good, but not good enough.” President Obama emphasized this particular point in yesterday’s address that focused on the administration’s recommendations for the struggling U.S. auto industry. Recall in February, GM and Chrysler both offered to restructure their companies and provide the government with comprehensive plans to stay afloat. After thorough evaluation, Obama’s Auto Task Force decided that the the plans don’t go far enough in attacking the problems plaguing the auto companies and put a date on company restructuring.
The reactions to the administration’sÂ have varied from agreement to resigned dissent. Unsurprisingly, the Michigan delegation, though voicing support for the plan, is deeply concerned with the possible repercussions of the recommendations on an already struggling state. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) wrote only today, “I urge the Obama administration to review carefully the progress made by Chrysler and GM in 30 and 60 days, respectively, and give strong consideration to allowing more time for restructuring. The fate of these corporations and their cumulative impact on the national economy are too important to be subjected to an arbitrary deadline” (USA Today).
Is the deadline “arbitrary” and unjustified? There’s obviously multiple perspectives. Take a look at the actual plan and then make your own decision.
So I don’t know why this has flown under the MSM radar, but in an interview with C-SPAN two weeks ago, Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) made some startling revelations:
On Thursday (Sept. 18), at 11am the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous draw-down of money market accounts in the U.S. – to the tune of $550 billion – was being drawn out in the matter of an hour or two. The Treasury opened up its window to help and pumped $105 billion in the systemÂ and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide.Â We were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account (the previous guarantee was $100,000) so there wouldn’t be further panic out there.
If they had not done that, their estimation is that by 2pm that afternoon,Â $5.5 trillionÂ would have been drawn out of the money market system of the U.S.,Â would have collapsed the entire economy of the U.S., and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.
That sounds like all kinds of fun.
Now this has been questioned by some sources. Â For one thing, the FDIC did not publicly announce the possibility of an insurance cap increase until several days later. Â But still, damn.
Believe it or not, there are moments when I get stuck in bouts of… urban elitism. I suppose I only sort of believe that the New York is the center of the universe (Brooklyn, it’s pulsating heart with Manhattan as a brain) and I do recognize the uniqueness and homeland pride that comes with most residents of any state. That being said, despite its inherent superiority and timeless position as the face of class – I mean, despite everything that makes New York so special, the Empire state is finding itself in a somewhat scary place lately.
Sure, you can live here!
IBM, through its program Project Match, is offering up jobs to laid-off, domestic workers in places like India, Brazil, and China.Â Perks? Awesome food and cheap living — and IBM off-sets most costs related to moving. Downside? The wages aren’t so hot, with this program. Of course, critics are booing the program vehemently. “Those are not U.S. jobs!” they cry, shaking their fists angrily at Big Blue. (Information Week)
Granted, that’s true, but IBM isn’t the first company to offer such a program. If anyone recalls, Delphi was sliding downhill a few years ago, but still had fairly successful offices abroad at the time. One of our family friends, in example, took such an offer to work in Bangalore for two years.Â Their lovely, gated-community bungalow was company-paid and the wages were comparable to when he was in the United States. His children attended a good international school, and there were many other perks involved.Â Clearly, this example isn’t completely comparable to IBM’s Project Match, but working abroad still isn’t that bad. Think of the cultural experience! Honestly, if I was laid-off and no other options were coming up, I’d give it a shot myself…
The days when our government could be all things to all people are behind us.Â This is no time for special interests or pet projects.Â Itâ€™s a time that demands relentless focus and discipline.
Good-paying jobs.Â Education and training.Â Protecting our people.
~ Governor Granholm delivering the State of the State.
This is amazing, even if it makes fun of Alan Greenspan and I found it on Greg Mankiw’s blog.
I think I actually might understand a little bit about the bailout now…
“Ride along with your drivers, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke, as they drive a dump truck of cash down Wall Street and bail out the banks in need to help, but be careful; some banks only want to spend taxpayer dollars!”
Think you can effectively dole out that bailout money and save the United States economy? Go play The Bailout Game, now. (It’s pretty cool, believe it or not.)
The Atlantic has a fascinating map/flowchart thing on how the Boom-Bust progressed in Iceland. Â Click the image for a larger view.
Because of its remarkable (and unsustainable) growth over the past decade, Iceland has been, in some ways, the canary in the coal mine for our current global financial crisis. Â The chart explains (in 10 easy steps!) how changes in the banking industry in Iceland propelled both its meteoric rise and its monumental collapse.
Waking up this morning to peruse the news, I was pleased to see our governor, Jennifer Granholm, on the main page of the Times. This article does a very interesting, and pretty unbiased job of discussing the fact that Michigan is a microcosm of the large economic crisis. (more…)