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Taibbi writes: "This sounds like the beginning of what will be a very heated debate over who has to pay for the excesses of the financial crisis. It was previously assumed that everybody but the actual financial services sector would have to pay, but voters in Europe now are refusing to go along, sparking a wave of eye-rolling editorials in the financial press."

Matt Taibbi at Skylight Studio in New York, 10/27/10. (photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
Matt Taibbi at Skylight Studio in New York, 10/27/10. (photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)



Austerity Can't Be Just for Regular People

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

09 May 12

 

t didn’t take long to crank up the backlash against European voters. This is inevitable whenever a socialist wins a major election, but particularly now, when new French president François Hollande rode to victory shouting, "Austerity can no longer be inevitable!"

This sounds like the beginning of what will be a very heated debate over who has to pay for the excesses of the financial crisis. It was previously assumed that everybody but the actual financial services sector would have to pay, but voters in Europe now are refusing to go along, sparking a wave of eye-rolling editorials in the financial press. Even David Brooks got into the act today, penning a lugubrious editorial about the errant political instincts of the populist masses here and abroad.

Markets all over the world freaked out over the prospect of having ignorant European voters meddling in the recovery process the geniuses of the high finance world had already painstakingly laid out for them. The model for economic progress in the financial bubble era, after all, is supposed to go something like this:

1. Let banks inflate massive asset bubbles with the aid of cheap or even free government cash, and tons of leverage;
2. Before it all explodes, carve out gigantic sums for bonuses and compensation for the companies that inflated those bubbles;
3. After it explodes, get the various governments to bail those companies out;
4. Pay for it all by slashing services to what’s left of the middle class.

This is the model we used in America. We had a monster asset bubble based on phony mortgages, which Wall Street was allowed to inflate to spectacular dimensions with minimal reserve capital, huge amounts of leverage, and tons of fraud for good measure. When that bubble exploded, we first rescued the banks who inflated the thing in the first place, and then our plan for paying for it mostly revolved around folks like Paul Ryan and Chris Christie, who made great political hay by trying to take an ax to "entitlements" like health care and retirement benefits.

They're replaying the same script in Europe, sort of. The causes of crises in places like Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy vary somewhat and are less simple to define, but a common denominator in all of them is weak growth mixed with giant budget deficits.

In most all of these cases, you had enormous sums of money entering these countries in the middle and late 2000s as global financiers in the midst of the bubble boom looked for higher-yield investments around the world – Spanish real estate, Greek debt, etc.

The local economies sucked up the bubble money, and in Greece's case they used it to ramp up state benefits, which they could no longer afford once the bubble burst. A lot of these countries turned to Wall Street to finance their way out of budgetary messes using swap deals and other hocus-pocus moves, kicking the can down the road as it were, and those decisions are now blowing up in their faces.

Now that it’s the next morning, and everyone has a severe hangover from the bubble, the dominant narrative is that these countries brought their troubles on themselves by being reckless spenders with unsustainable welfare states. The solution, naturally, is going to be "austerity," slashing state budgets, reining in those wasteful citizens with their unreasonable demands for returns on taxes.

Take today's Brooks column in the Times, for instance, which seems aimed at his colleague Paul Krugman (who has been arguing that cutting public spending and job stimulus in European countries will be disastrous). Brooks claims that the financial crisis was caused by "structural" problems, the first of which is that we’ve simply grown out of a need to pay low-skilled workers real wages:

Hyperefficient globalized companies need fewer workers. As a result, unemployment rises, superstar salaries surge while lower-skilled wages stagnate, the middle gets hollowed out and inequality grows.

According to Brooks, this organic trend toward lower salaries for everyone but the "superstars"  managing those hyperefficient companies has forced politicians into the bad decision of borrowing and taxing to extend more welfare/charity to the less fortunate:

Politicians tried to compensate by reducing the tax bill, increasing deficit spending, ensuring easy credit for homebuyers and by helping workers shift out of the hypercompetitive, globalized part of the economy and into the less productive and more sheltered parts of the economy – mostly into health care, government and education.

But you can only mask structural problems for so long …. The current model, in which we try to compensate for structural economic weakness with tax cuts and an unsustainable welfare state, simply cannot last.

Naturally, since that welfare state is "unsustainable"” we need to be real about things and stop the deficit spending and the stimulus, etc.

This world view ignores the fact that those "superstar" leaders of "hyperefficient" companies have been sucking up a thousand times as much welfare as those low-skilled workers Brooks is talking about. Here’s how the "superstars" of the banking world sometimes earn their bonuses: they borrow trillions from the U.S. Federal Reserve at zero or near zero interest, then they turn right around and lend chunks of that free money to a place like Greece (ex-FDIC Sheila Bair, in a hilarious editorial on the subject, pegged the ten-year yield at 21%), then they pocket the proceeds and call it capitalism.

Brooks’ analysis of the financial crisis leaves out things like the $16 trillion in emergency loans the banks secretly got from the Fed in the years since the crisis. It ignores quantitative easing, bailouts, and the trillions of dollars of bets Wall Street made on the unreal economy during the bubble years that we all ended up paying for, either through taxes or reduced home values or lowered interest on our savings.

The point is, when people talk about “austerity,” they only ever talk about the pain the general population should voluntarily accept, in the form of reduced services and curtailed “stimulus.” No one ever says the financial services sector should have to cut back on its access to easy money, and there hasn’t been much in the way of serious plans to restore some sanity and prudence to the lending and investing business.

Instead, governments have stood by and allowed banks to lend thirty and forty dollars for every one on the books, they’ve watched lenders almost completely do away with underwriting standards, they’ve continually pumped the big firms full of cheap cash from the Fed and the ECB (printing new trillions when the real money runs out), and they’ve allowed Wall Street to build giant sandcastles of illusory wealth using synthetic derivatives, all with minimal reserve requirements.

The result of all of this easy money is an endless succession of speculative bubbles that simply shift from one market to another as financial companies run around the globe in search of high yields. It was Spanish real estate yesterday, and Euro sovereign debt before that, and American home mortgages at other times, and then it was wheat and corn and other food commodities last year (which led to the social unrest in the middle East), and it was oil in 2008, oil in 2011, and oil again this year, and so on.

In addition to the direct consequence of huge stunning losses when these bubbles collapse, the insane volatility of all of these markets creates panic in the business community, and puts a brake on real lending to grow real businesses. When you don’t know if oil is going to cost $40 a barrel or $140 three months from now, it’s pretty hard to invest in a new airline, or a chain of supermarkets (as commodities, many food prices will also rise and fall with oil), or anything at all, really. It’s not surprising that no one wants to lend in this environment.

I agree with Brooks, all of this is unsustainable. But if pain’s coming, it can’t just be regular people who pay. Bankers have to find new ways of making money that don’t just involve betting the hot table and taking out instant billion-dollar profits. They have to go back to building real businesses and being content with gradual returns over time. If there’s going to be austerity, it has to be for everybody.

 

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+80 # grouchy 2012-05-09 09:26
Golly Gee--seems like the common taxpayer is starting to gear up to raising hell. Oh my gosh! Where will this lead?
 
 
+4 # cybervigilante 2012-05-12 13:41
Quoting grouchy:
Golly Gee--seems like the common taxpayer is starting to gear up to raising hell. Oh my gosh! Where will this lead?


Well, Europeans are getting wise. Americans are not as politically savvy. They'll get brainwashed by Hateradio and the Koch Brothers Tea Party to run around blaming it all on Big Gummint while the Banksters skate free. We are a stupid people.
 
 
+93 # Andrew Hansen 2012-05-09 09:32
Matt is nail on head as usual with this write-up.

The US version being played out with student loans right now. Give the banks free money (for bonuses, hookers, & blow it seems) but you single comma students that seek an education buck-up and pay the 6.8% usury...
 
 
+83 # NanFan 2012-05-09 10:02
Quoting Andrew Hansen:
Matt is nail on head as usual with this write-up.


Agreed, but Matt, you didn't hammer that nail hard enough! These are criminals that MUST be brought to justice. And if they are going to claim "personhood" as corporations, then, put a personal lien on the money they EACH obtained through illegal processes, lies, and obfuscation.

It's time someone of authority got a spine and showed up at THEIR houses, yachts, and businesses at 3AM and evicted, nay, arrested them!

No, it's WAY past time.

N.
 
 
-67 # Robt Eagle 2012-05-09 10:30
Justice? The DoJ under Obama's Eric Holder will do nothing to the real bad guys: Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd who sang the praises of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as the untamed mortgae fiasco was burning full bore. Why hasn't Holder gone after the Obama heads of the SEC, FINRA, S&P, Moody's, Finch, and the bankers (who donated to Obama's campaign)??? No, Holder doesn't go after the real perps, he even let's voter intimidators like the New Black Panthers slide (wonder why that happened?). Seems Holder hasn't even gone after the Solyndra to the Obama election donation connection. So there won't be any real bad guys to pay the price for fraud, just a lot of sabre rattling against the bankers and of course the evil Wall Steeters. Justice, no way..."Injustic e" by J. Christian Adams about how we are about to be taken in with voter fraud under Holder. As far as the financial meltdown in the real estate market, then global recession, you really should read "Reckless Endangerment" by Gretchen Morgenson, but then you might actually learn the real facts, not the rhetoric from the media that is so slanted to the left!
 
 
+45 # Smiley 2012-05-09 10:56
Robt,
The media is owned by the corporations. That is why it is "slanted" toward them, not the left. Unfortunately they also seem to own all the right (except for Ron Paul and maybe Olympia Snow) and most of the left politicians.
 
 
+21 # carp 2012-05-09 13:17
Quoting Smiley:
Robt,
The media is owned by the corporations. That is why it is "slanted" toward them, not the left. Unfortunately they also seem to own all the right (except for Ron Paul and maybe Olympia Snow) and most of the left politicians.


I believe it was Taibbi that blew the whistle on Olympia Snowe and her cohorts on the fraud in for profit education field. Snowe is not a lily white snow field.
 
 
+17 # Billsy 2012-05-09 12:11
Obama's campaign was largely financed by Wall St. so we already iknow not to expect proper redress from him. We all already know that corporate campaign financing is a large part of the problem so your post attempting to blame it on the "left" fails to hold water. Sorry but your attempt to redirect the focus of this article is yet another failure on your part to dissuade independent minds. So put aside your petty politics, after all, these problems were rampant under Bush II and you were silent then.
 
 
-11 # Robt Eagle 2012-05-10 09:04
Billsy, I didn't even know this trash site existed back when GW was in office. And while we are on it...in 2007 when the Dems controlled the House and the Senate they changed all the crap regarding Fannie and Freddie leading to the financial mess we are all dealing with. GW and many, many Republicans plus Greenspan all told Congress repeated times about the Fannie and Freddie wrong doings. But Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd negated the warnings. It is all in the record, just you refuse to learn the real facts. Read Reckless Endangerment and learn something!
 
 
+2 # cybervigilante 2012-05-12 13:45
The problem, even worse after Citizen's United, is that all politicians, left or right, need Bankster money to run. Campaign Finance Reform is a dead issue, and the failure to fight Citizen's United is the death knell of democracy. Money talks and your vote is a joke.
 
 
+15 # goodsensecynic 2012-05-10 03:30
The USA is, among liberal democracies, so far to the right that it is barely recognizable as being of the same general species as Canadians, Norwegians, Spaniards, Germans, etc.

So, Robt, I venture to say that you wouldn't know a "leftist" if she leapt naked onto a bar stool clad only in a red sash, with a hammer in one hand and a sickle in the other singing "The Internationale" suitably off-key.

Here's your test: what would you think of a leader who publicly favoured no restrictive laws on abortion, two official languages, a general policy of multiculturalis m, the abolition of capital punishment and, of course, same-sex marriage? Some liberal-lefty proto-socialist ? No, that's Canada's (for us) extreme right-wing prime minister!

North of the border, Mr. Obama would fit nicely into the right-wing of the already Conservative party. And you think of him as a "leftist"?
 
 
0 # cybervigilante 2012-05-12 13:50
Funny how strongly "socialist" countries like Germany and the Netherlands have jobs, great health care, job retraining, a safety net, thriving economies, exports, strong capitalism (yes, With socialism - look at Angry Birds ;') and a thriving economy, while all we can export is war and pornos.

Unfortunately, Hateradio listeners don't even know what "socialism" is and that it has a broad spectrum. So does capitalism. There is intelligent capitalism, then there is the Social Darwinism, crony capitalism we've got.
 
 
+18 # Rick Levy 2012-05-10 00:21
I will believe that corporations are persons when Texas executes one.
 
 
+1 # cybervigilante 2012-05-12 13:50
Save America! Give Texas back to Mexico!
 
 
+1 # cybervigilante 2012-05-12 13:42
Hate to say it since I voted Obama, but not ONE major Bankster indicted, yet even Bush Sr. prosecuted a thousand S&L crooks. Geithner needs to GO.
 
 
+9 # RLF 2012-05-10 03:23
Problem is where is our socialist to vote for. Our system is sooo broken that we have no choice...funny how if you look right where the Repubes are pointing, you find exactly the problem...but the opposite of what they are saying. Taibi is right...nice summary...too bad americans are too stupid to see it or too lazy to pay attention.
 
 
+85 # wcandler1 2012-05-09 09:49
Don't forget that before the Bush tax cuts we were "in danger" of paying off the national debt. If we closed all foreign bases and wars we would have ample money for social problems, and fewer foreign enemies. We are "poor and unequal" by choice.
 
 
+33 # gtigerclaw 2012-05-09 09:59
This whole situation is going to blow apart before the year's out.

Interestingly, in the financial rags, they fail to acknowledge Italy and the other countries on the brink of folding. It's like if we don't mention it, it won't happen - but it's happening, and the coming summer, it will probably implode sucking the investment banks into vacuous oblivion along with the EU and it's pompous ministers.

Spain is going to nationalise the banks.

The fact of the matter is that the EU is finished. Once one country bails out out of the EU, it's going down like a house of cards, and it's going to take down a lot of investment banks with it.
 
 
-44 # Robt Eagle 2012-05-09 10:31
so, if there is financial collapse, then all the bankers and Wall Streeters will pay dearly! The common folk have nothing, so they won't lose anything. And then it will be fair again, per Obama!
 
 
0 # cybervigilante 2012-05-12 13:52
Gee, if there is no EU, that sure throws water on the "Rapture" folks.
 
 
+37 # jimyoung 2012-05-09 10:06
"I agree with what that man said" to borrow a phrase from an ancestor in the Revolutionary war legislature, (the only thing I can find that he was remembered for in the legislature), but it fits here perfectly.

What I agree with is, "Bankers have to find new ways of making money that don’t just involve betting the hot table and taking out instant billion-dollar profits. They have to go back to building real businesses and being content with gradual returns over time. If there’s going to be austerity, it has to be for everybody."
 
 
+55 # jwb110 2012-05-09 10:13
David Brooks is a rapist who always blames the victim. He is also the man who said of Geo. Bushes Cabinet that " at least the people who own the country will be running it." What an idiot and what an elitest!
 
 
+37 # luvdoc 2012-05-09 10:15
As the citizens protests escalate, and as the increasingly militarized police forces jail more and more of us, who will pay?

luvdoc
 
 
-64 # Robt Eagle 2012-05-09 10:34
luvdoc, we are a civilized society...besid es all the regular people have guns...that is why the 2nd Amendment is so important. Government will be afraid to use a polic state because the regular citizenry out gun the Obama private cops that you allude to. Didn't some one start that crap back in the mid 1930's? Ah, but they confiscated the citizens' weapons, now didn't they?
 
 
+38 # pbbrodie 2012-05-09 12:16
Where do you live? I'm living in the police state called the USA. It is here and now. You don't have to wait and no one in our government was the least bit scared to implement it. A very large majority of those nuts with guns have fallen for the propaganda and actually support the police state.
Also, get your facts straight. They didn't confiscate any weapons in the 30's, they just called out the Army and used bigger weapons, just like they can do today. Your brain isn't functioning correctly if you believe that a bunch of small arms in the hands of the citizenry can compete with what our Army has.
 
 
-8 # Robt Eagle 2012-05-10 09:08
pbbrodie, you are so not seeing the forest through the trees, or probably have no idea of hisotry. The confiscation of weapons took place in Europe, in Germany...remem ber the result of that operation?
 
 
+13 # freeportguy 2012-05-09 20:18
If you blame Frank for the financial crisis for his policies, why dont you blame big supporters of the 2nd Amendment for gun massacres in schools?

Not to worry, I don't expect any reasonable or rational answer...
 
 
-14 # Robt Eagle 2012-05-10 09:10
freeportguy, a weapon never goes off on its own. If you actually owned one and practiced you would know that. Gun massacres in schools are carried out by so few madmen, usually teenagers who are outcasts, and the real culprit there are the parents of those few nuts, and the teachers who do nothing to apprise the police of the afore mention lunatic!
 
 
+1 # cybervigilante 2012-05-12 13:55
Hmm, Dept of Homeland Security is buying 450 million rounds of small arms ammunition - hollow point, yet the most deadly. I wonder what that's for? The ONLY use for it is citizen suppression.
 
 
+34 # MidwestTom 2012-05-09 10:53
Iceland let their banks fail; the country went through hell for a short time, but is now improving. Elect candidates who oppose additional bailouts, no matter which party.
 
 
+31 # cordleycoit 2012-05-09 11:32
What a new idea: make the rich pay for their excesses. I never said to the banker who robbed me "Spin the wheel." He just did it and lifetime went down the drain. Now I am supposed to pay the rest of my life for all the Bank's debts? The Republican Party my say so and the President may say so but they are lying to me and you. Stop the bastards from looting the people twice.
Refuse to ga along for the ride when the politicians says "You have no choice."
The Tea Party is talking shooting the Communists that are standing up to them. They think guns are the answer as do the police. Say no to the wrecking crew. It looks like the French have resurrected Resistance.
 
 
+37 # waywuwei 2012-05-09 11:56
The problem with the banks is not that they are too big to fail, it is that they are like the dinosaurs, too dumb to succeed. Ask yourself why banks exist in a society. Is it not just to provide monetary liquidity. They allow areas where there are surpluses to share with those where there is a deficiency. If I am an entrepreneur and I have an order in hand of 10,000 widgets which will take 3 months to produce and which have to be paid for in the course of those 3 months and I will not get paid for my products until 6 months is up, I need liquidity to keep my company thriving and growing. The banks are not in this business currently, it's too risky and the payoff is not great enough. My son is starting a business and being forced to self fund his business growth. Every 6 months his business doubles so everything he makes has to go into the business. Banks won't touch him even given the track record of success. The banks are AWOL. They have virtually destroyed entrepreneurial activity. If you are an entrepreneur, if you manage to succeed you will inevitably be forced into the hands of the vulture capitalists and then into an acquisition. Starting and sustaining a viable business in the US is a activity in which all the cards are stacked against you.
The only solution is to nationalize the banks and break them up into regional banks whose charter is local lending under strict regulation that forbids investments in non productive and risky investments.
 
 
+27 # Doubter 2012-05-09 13:17
What a novelty,

Banks financing business growth!

I guess we had all forgotten (specially the bankers) this was supposed to be their raison d'etre and thought their only business was to hoard money and make it disappear.
 
 
+16 # Lolanne 2012-05-09 12:37
Although I disagree with republican positions on literally everything, Brooks is usually the least objectionable one I've run across. I read his editorial cited by Taibbi and I think he's pretty much on target when speaking of the need for structural change. The trouble is not with what he said -- it's with what he didn't say.

Yes, we desperately need structural change, but at the same time we need stimulus money to be spent in various ways just to enable the masses of people to at least meet the basic needs of survival: food, shelter, health care. It's not an either/or situation. It's both/and.

Plus one more thing: the crooks on Wall St need to be prosecuted immediately! I want to see them pay for what they have done, and I want to see it NOW!!!
 
 
+1 # cybervigilante 2012-05-12 14:42
Prosecution is unlikely with Goldman-Sachs Geithner at the helm.

Hey, what's with this very light gray skinny font on the comment editing screen. I can barely see it. Please consider readability and usability instead of the latest designer's fad - unreadable light gray.
 
 
+22 # Jack Radey 2012-05-09 13:30
Matt, as usual, is right, except for one thing. His conclusion. Share the austerity? That is a real bad formulation, for several reasons. For one thing, an awful lot of us are living real austerely already, and don't need to take our "share". We got it already. And if its formulated that way, it is a green light for austerity for US, while the super rich get a wee little paring cut off their pinkie nail. No doubt amidst weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth and predictions of how it will lead to mass unemployment. Oh yeah, we're there already...
 
 
+13 # RNF123 2012-05-09 16:03
The one percent have been provided with many tax breaks in addition to those enacted by the Bush regime. The increase in deductible pension amounts, the elimination of the estate tax for those valued at under five or ten million dollars of net worth, the property tax deduction, the dividend and capital gains reduction to 15% and other tax benefits that inure only to the wealthy along with a cap on the FICA tax. Corporations have massive hoards of cash as a result, in part, of lower interest rates that have decreased their cost of borrowing while the public is unable to obtain loans or only at very high rates. There needs to be a balance between tax revenue and tax cuts as well as reform of the tax laws.
 
 
+1 # robbeygay 2012-05-09 17:13
Do none of you get it the GOP and Dem's both have the same plan for who pays.

They argue we are sufferers from residual Great Drepression and WW II boomers. So let Nrext Gen pay for what we won?
 
 
+4 # goodsensecynic 2012-05-10 03:36
Kurt Vonnegut ("In a Manner that Must Shame God Himself," Harpers, 1972 - probably Nov.):

In the USA there are two imaginary parties, the Republicans and the Democrats. There are also two real political parties, the Winners and the Losers. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are run by Winners. So, in every election this much is certain: the Winners will win.

That was 40 years ago! 'nuff said!
 
 
+15 # spercepolnes 2012-05-09 19:35
I've a novel idea - how about a progressive tax system where the more you earn the more you pay - just like it was back in Ike's day......
 
 
+1 # cybervigilante 2012-05-12 14:58
But, but, that was during the greatest growth in prosperity of the nation and the middle class. Can't have that. Wouldn't sound good on Hateradio.
 
 
+11 # b_niles57 2012-05-10 04:52
If Repubs can link progressive ideas to "socialism", Dems should be linking the Conservative philosophy to "austerity", over and over. It is an ugly word for an ugly idea, and the reps should be forced to eat it. Never understand why Dems don't learn from Repubs about the power of words and repetition. Don't use "entitlement" or "stimulus" anymore, words like this make it sound like basic progessive ideas are outside the norm, and are something that have to be "placed" on the existing structure. Actually, "austerity measures" are extreme, and not a day should go by without some big league Dem hammering that home!

Ugh. Why, oh why are Dems so bad at politics? They seem unable to learn the rules of the game they are involved in.
 
 
+2 # cybervigilante 2012-05-12 14:59
I'm sick to death of hearing Social Security called an "entitlement." I paid real money, that was worked for, from my paycheck, into it. How can it be an entitlement. It's not welfare - It was an investment. And if it was badly invested, jail the crooks who did that.
 
 
+5 # corals33 2012-05-10 12:28
war and financial crises are crucial to the life of capitalism because they create the essential inequalities necessary for cheap labour and cheap resources to generate the profits and therefore the high standard of living that capitalism so wantonly displays.
 
 
+5 # CesareBorgia 2012-05-10 20:24
Where did the right wing shills posting comments here come from? Pointing fingers at Barney Frank and Chris Dodd while ignoring the investment banks and hedge fund operator's reckless gambling with the insane use of credit default swaps and other financial hocus pocus is just plain ignorant.
 
 
+1 # cybervigilante 2012-05-12 13:39
Besides, they are forgetting Chris Dodd's real crime - he was the major mover behind the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which kept what Buckminster Fuller called "The Great Pirates" in check. And now he's trying to wreck the Internet. He's a bad guy, no doubt about it - but he Didn't destroy the global economy - the Banksters did that.
 
 
+3 # Donald2 2012-05-11 03:18
So when Greece tries to avoid bankruptcy, they have to decide if existing bondholders lose 25% of their money, 50%, or 75%. So, if a bank owned $1,000,000 its money would be reduced to $750,000, $500,000, or $250,000. It ended up that the banks lost 50%. But if the banks holding the bonds lost 75% they might collapse, bringing financial havoc. The only answer: break up the banks on a worldwide basis, so that there are smart banks that survive, and stupid ones that fail. The too big to fail is the central problem.
 
 
+1 # cybervigilante 2012-05-12 13:37
In addition, speculation by megabanks raises the price of basic commodities, from gas to food, making life harder on the middle class, which spends a great percentage of its income on basics. The government even gave Goldman-Sachs a special dispensation to speculate in food, according to a previous screed by Mr. Taibi. Pretty sorry. But then, look who is Secretary of Treasury - Goldman-Sachs Geithner. (Who was in favor of the weak rules that just led to JP Morgan's 2Bn dollar loss.) Geithner needs to go.
 
 
+1 # Hey There 2012-05-12 15:41
I like Matt's Post
but disagree that austerity should be shared by all.

Austerity should only apply to those responsible for creating the problem.

A case in point.
The Senate recently passed S1789 which proposes to SAVE the USPS by having 100,000 postal employees become unemployed,by making it possible for union contracts to be nullified, by cutting compensation for injured postal workers,by closing smaller post offices & 200+ distribution centers,thus putting workers "living wages" and public service on the cutting block.

Why this hype to SAVE the USPS at the workers and public expense?

In 2006 CONGRESS passed HR6407 which mandated that the USPS fund 75 years of retiree health benefits in 10. Just like that the USPS was burdened with a yearly 5.5 billion expense which has nothing to do with processing and delivering the mail.

The passage of HR6407 set the USPS for financial failure & privatization.
Rather than rescinding a bill that never should have seen the light of day Issa & supporters of HR 2309, Lieberman & supporters of S1789, insist that the solution for the problem which Congress created is for a significant number of workers be laid off, unions to be gutted and the public to accept reduced mail service
S1789 will be heard in the House next, with workers and public tagged for austerity for a problem those Congressmen who voted for HR6407 created.
 

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