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Web Letter

Those Geniuses at the last Big Eight meeting were seeking some measurement on when the "recession" was going to end. They wanted to end the stimulus packages because they were inflationary. It was thought, or hoped, that the US would pull out of the recession first, and everybody in the world could start selling everything to America. We do not have the money to buy everything or anything, from anybody, because our industries and the jobs that they support have been outsourced overseas. No jobs, no disposable income, no American market, and no market anywhere without well-paying jobs. To paraphrase one of President Clinton's political campaign slogans, it is the jobs stupid, that support any market anywhere! By the way, they decided that the IMF would tell them when the recession is over. The stock market can go up for five minutes when they receive the "good news." Who cares, it is only speculation anyway!

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Jun 15 2009 - 2:13pm

Web Letter

I agree completely with Michael Crumpton's comments. My question is, What is really going on in President Obama's head? Surely he is intelligent enough to figure things out, if we lesser mortals seem to be able to do so. Is he so blinded by the corporate star players that he cannot see their agenda, or is he playing a game along with them, hoping he will come out on the winning side?

I think he is jeopordizing his presidency, as it will become apparent before long that none of his campaign promises are working out. And more worrisome is that he is jeopordizing all our futures along with it.

It is a great puzzlement.

Pearl Volkov

Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Jun 13 2009 - 1:08pm

Web Letter

I had high hopes for Obama, with him being so smart and a constitutional scholar and so calm in a crisis. I did not count on him also being naiïve and gullible as well. He has managed to paint himself (and us) into a corner where there is no upside to this debacle. If the banks recover they will say, "See, we don't need any new regulation, everything is fine now"; and if they fail, it is all Obama's fault, and his popularity (and all our money) goes down the drain along with any hope of enacting any progressive policies.

Obama had a chance to change the course that this country was on, changing the balance of power back to the public, but instead he chose to appease the corporate looters, betting they would reciprocate his generosity by allowing their industries to be reregulated and guided to a more responsible course. The industries bet that Obama would give them hundreds of billions rather than cope with the chaos of multiple multinational bankruptcies, and they have won that bet.

I sure wish Obama had read Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine. He might have recognized how he was being played sooner.

The Republican Party may have become a joke, but the Corporate Party is doing just fine without them.

Michael Crumpton

Miami Beach, FL

Jun 12 2009 - 8:31am

Web Letter

When the value of paper, especially when you include derivatives, is many times the value of the real economy, there will inevitably be trouble.

The establishment solution for the financial crisis is more of the same. The banks, brokerages and insurance companies that were too big to fail got us into all of this trouble. Given huge injections of taxpayer money, they have gotten even larger. Regulation has not kept up, oversight appears minimal. Banks are again flush with cash for another round of corporate consolidation, which leads to even more job migration offshore, more high-level bonuses and more aggressive lobbying. Remember that the definition of facism is government run by corporations.

Since the real economy is much smaller than the paper one, the currency may not retain its value for long. This could be a Weimar moment.

David Korten has, I think, the best perspective on our economic crisis and suitable steps to take. His book Agenda For A New Economy makes a convincing case that we cannot and should not continue with business as usual. He writes:

Wall Street interests have defined not only the structure of our economy but also the indicators by which we assess its performance. Focused on financial indicators, we accept that the economy is sound even when it is killing us. Real-wealth indicators of the health and well-being of our children, families, communities, and natural systems reveal terminal systemic failure. Since we get what we measure, we should measure what we want.

It is hard to be optimistic when the best solutions are not on the table.

Robert Vogel

East Lyme, CT

Jun 11 2009 - 7:14pm

Web Letter

Debt is our newest bubble. Debt also powered the previous two bubbles--high-tech and housing.

Former Fed chief Greenspan learned early in his career that it was important to have easy credit and low interest rates.

Relying on debt to fuel our economy looks like the game plan as well for the Obama team--as Greider points out. Obama won't regulate the banks and, as a result, they are up to their old greedy ways. Plus, they have tons of toxic waste on their books that neither Obama or the banks want to deal with. Hope is their plan of action.

More troubling is that our huge public and private debt (more than three times the GDP) warms the hearts (if any) of Wall Street.

During the Second Gilded Age (Age of Reagan to Age of Bush 2), the debt wind ruled. That party is now over. We're in for an Age of Inflation now. Time to reduce our imperial footprint, knock the bankers out of the box and bring good schools, good health, good jobs to our struggling population of not-so-rich Joes and Jills.

howard kaplan

Belmont, MA

Jun 11 2009 - 12:08pm

Web Letter

Thank you, Mr. Greider, for another clear piece on the DC-Wall Street (Ws) incest. Not being an Obama fan, I still had hopes that he had the separation from the establishment to re-regulate WS. So far, my would-be idol has feet of clay. In the past four months, braver elected officials could put WS in its place with new regulation like a revived Glass-Steagel. Force hedge funds to comply with the securities acts of the 1930s. Institute debit-to-capital rules that make it hard to expose the entire world to irresponsible speculation. Sadly, "brave" and "elected official" are mutually exclusive terms. If DC waits for WS to gorge itself again, it will be too late for us all. Can you recommend a good Chinese language teacher?

mike flynn

New York, NY

Jun 10 2009 - 1:23pm

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