This is part II of my analysis. You can read Part I here.
The list of troubled companies is too long to even list and it's spread across almost every vertical market. Wall Street is begging for money, retailers are having their worst patch in decades, restaurants are looking for diners, the airline industry is running out of cash again, Detroit is lining up their own $50 billion taxpayer loan and consumers have stopped spending with wild abandon. If the Fed and Treasury jump in to save another high roller who lost, where would it all end and where would the money come from? As a country and as individuals, we do not have the spare cash because we sold our debt to China, who has their own economic problems coming and who are probably fed up with our lousy debt anyway. This brings us back to this previous post that kicks around the idea of the US going beyond a recession and into a depression. The numbers involved with bailouts and failures are beyond anything we have experienced in a long time so while the odds are still remote, it's not unthinkable.
The question now is where do we go from here? For starters, the 900 pound gorilla in the room (the bad economy) is now going to be impossible for the campaigns to avoid. Obama needs to jump out immediately and make this the critical issue of 2008. It's been sitting there for months on end and he has repeatedly failed to develop a clear and forceful message. This is a serious issue that impacts all Americans and we know that without lying, McCain is unable to deliver a strong message on the economy. Besides not knowing anything about it, his economic advisers are befuddled and were hoping it would somehow go away. Then again, maybe McCain did know it was coming via his economic brain Phil Gramm (who works with UBS), and that's why they chose silly side show topics like lipstick, to divert attention from the economy. Heaven forbid a presidential candidate talks about a serious issue.
Whether we like it or not, Americans are stuck with the burden of the housing bubble, especially since last week's nationalization of Freddie/Fannie. The costs of the war and now the cost of the credit crisis will severely limit spending options for the next President. There is only so much debt the US can accept before the issue of tax increases are forced on the country. Foreign buyers are watching this implosion and are not interested in buying more. Without tax increases and budget cutbacks, Americans are in for a painful reduction in the standard of living made possible by easy credit.
Obama needs to hammer away at this shaky economy and tell us his plan for the future. If we're all going to be in this together - and with our money propping up banks and others, we are - how can our next economic run benefit us as a country? This last economic cycle left a few very wealthy. They walked away unscathed - some even accumulated 12 houses - compared to Americans who have lost their houses, their jobs and their retirement all while watching their income stagnate for decades. (Sure the execs could have made more, but being pushed out with $60 million ain't so bad.) Obama has a short window to make his case to the public before McCain steals away another talking point, like "change". The economy will not suddenly get better and in all likelihood the GDP growth for this quarter (ending this month) will be negative. Obama has doddled long on enough but we can be sure that everyone in America will be listening to this issue today. Whether Obama chooses to lead Americans or stay on the sidelines remains to be seen.
Buried in the sound and fury of the current financial storm, including the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, sale of Merrill Lynch to Bank of America, and the rumored imminent meltdown of insurance giant A.I.G. is something which I consider far more[...]
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Today Joe Biden is off of the leash.... and for many who want to hear Obama's VP pick forcefully answer the McCain attack machine .... out of the doghouse.
In Michigan today, flanked by tee-shirted "Fire Fighters-Obama Biden" supporters, Biden delivered a blast at John McCain and the Bush administration's failed policies, broken promises and scurrilous campaign tactics.
Biden says of the promises and policies of McSame.... "We've seen this movie before, folks. But as everyone knows, the sequel is always worse than the original."
Biden says McCain just doesn't get it. Even today while the stock market is plumeting on the news of the Lehman collapse, like a Bush bobblehead McCain said once again... "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."
Biden laments that his old friend McCain not only supports Bush's failed economic policies, but that a McCain presidency would continue those policies..... "Bush 44."
Woof! Let's hear more!
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A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
by Cheryl Coon
I am a woman and a single mom with elderly parents who depend on Medicare. Did you know you could "cap" out of Medicare -- Daddy almost did last year and they have NO net. Did you know that per a NPR story, the average cost of insurance for a family of 4 is $13,000 per year -- so how far will that $5,000 tax credit go that McCain promises??? Not far. And he will tax any health care benefits from employers. Isn't there some good reporting to be done there??
THESE THINGS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN PIGS, LIPSTICK, AND THE MANTRA OF SEXISM.
I am a woman, and it is NOT sexist for me to expect that Palin and all her credentials be explored. And stop allowing sound bites to pass as news. Here is what I know, and she is NOT qualified.
she would do even more harm than Bush to the environment
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"Tricks and treachery are merely
proofs of lack of skill."
Also: Viral Obama Ad
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Sarah Palin Movie Trailer
by John Dolon
We can't sit and watch as a man that admittedly doesn't understand economics tries to get into the White House.
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Bear Stearns, Fannie and Freddie and now Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers are all proof that Bush economic policies do not work. If McCain is elected things will only get worse.
If you're like most people and don't have any extra money to send to the campaign there's still a lot you can do.
Visit your local Obama Campaign office
Log onto Neighbor to Neighbor to canvass or make calls.
Contact your local media to tell your story and why you think it's important that we win.
(NOTE FROM JOHN: I apologize in advance for Chris' tone criticizing Senator McCain over the economic crisis. Obviously he didn't get the Obama campaign memo explaining that this crisis is NOT John McCain's fault - that's what Obama said this morning, not John McCain's fault. No mention of "whiners," no mention of McCain admitting he knows nothing of the economy (gee, McCain as "inexperienced," no we wouldn't want to make his head explode with that charge), no mention of McCain's other adviser writing an op ed this weekend scolding Americans for thinking the economy has problems, no mention of McCain's other banking crisis he very much caused, the Keating Five, no mention of McCain now supporting Bush's tax cuts. So please, Chris, get with the program.)
If ever there was a moment in history that proved just how out of touch McCain is about the economy, it was last night. Yesterday he even had an economic adviser propping up the economy, scolding Americans for buying into the "media-created problems" related to the credit crisis, as if Wall Street gambling and heavy payouts had nothing to do with it. For those wondering why McCain has been focusing on silly non-issues like lipstick, here you go. He admits that he knows nothing about the economy and has no answers.
For starters, what the heck happened last night? Lehman Brothers, founded in 1850 and made it through the Great Depression, fell victim to the credit crisis. The housing bubble extended Lehman too much with bad loans and potential buyers from the US or Europe were uninterested in snatching up the business without significant US government financial assistance, as witnessed with the Bear Stearns bailout. Some were interested in the good pieces (those without debt) but the weight of bad debt was too high, with too much risk. Overall the industry generated roughly $1 trillion in bad money during the credit crisis so the numbers could drag even the largest companies under. The fact that everyone in banking and finance has billions in bad loans also contributed to the caution.
It was very significant to see Henry Paulson and the Fed *not* step in with direct assistance. Yes, the Federal Reserve is extending the free (half the rate of inflation) loans to Wall Street, an extraordinary process that started earlier this year. This is a cost to American taxpayers though not as expensive as a bailout. The Fed has also brokered a $70 billion fund for troubled banks to use and this is exclusively a private initiative by global banks, based on the information provided so far. If this fund keeps this group of bums out of our pockets, fine, but I suspect in one shape or form they will all pass along the cost to normal people. Time will tell.
Of course, Lehman wasn't the only story last night. Since Stanley O'Neal walked away with $161.5 million despite driving the company into the ground, Merrill Lynch has been the center of financial trouble rumors. On Sunday night, Merrill "merged" with Bank of America in a pure stock sale, no cash. This "merger" was yet another act of desperation on Wall Street due to the housing crash, which they all feasted on with jumbo profits and paychecks. To reach out to them with financial assistance is a violation of the what a true free enterprise economy is all about. Jobs will be lost, but let's not forget that these are the people who stoked the housing bubble fires and who were paid well beyond the imagination of most Americans.
Also in the news late Sunday night was long-troubled insurer AIG, another failure who overextended themselves in the housing bubble. And yes, another company who showered their CEO in riches, who still has that money as the company crumbles based on his bad decisions. (Great work, when you can get it.) AIG is asking the US taxpayers to kindly pass along a bridge loan of $40 billion to help them get through tough times. Is there really a polite way to say "sod off" or do we even need to be polite with these spongers? Call in Nancy Reagan and "just say no" to them all.
Let them fail or else they will drag us all under water with bad debt. Investor Wilbur Ross is saying that we could possibly see 1,000 banks in US fail as they did after the John McCain Keating Five/S&L crisis in the 1980s. The flashy banks and financial services companies all wanted the rugged free enterprise system for those with the least but CEO socialism for those at the top. Let them go under and let them live with the consequences, just as the rest of Americans who have been on the receiving end of the credit crisis.
Now read Part II, Where do we go from here.
The Democratic party is actually starting to show some backbone. I know, it's hard to believe.
But they are taking on the McCain/Palin campaign lies with a site that keeps track of them.
Naturally all the lies have citations, it's not a right wing site.
The Democratic Party Lie Counter will come in handy between now and November if the McCain campaign continues on it's present course.
Pierre Tristam has a great essay on lies and why they work at Daytona Beach newsjournalonline.com, it's titled Flat-out lies finding a receptive audience in voters seeking denial. Here's some of it.
The McPalin campaign knows. No need for rumors and innuendoes. It flat-out lies. Repeats the lies. Then lies again when the lies are exposed. There's Palin's lie about the infamous Bridge to Nowhere: She campaigned for it, then kept the $223 million in federal tax dollars when Washington killed its support. Still, she keeps repeating her "thanks but no thanks" line rally after rally. There's Palin's lie about how "we began a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence," as she told the Republican convention, even though not an inch of that pipeline has been built, not an inch will be built for years, and it may never be built at all. There's Palin's lie about being an ethical reformist even though she thought nothing of billing taxpayers for 312 nights spent at home, at $60 a night, on days she commuted 45 minutes to her governor's office in Anchorage.
Then there's McCain's fantasies about balancing the budget while cutting taxes, fighting wars and "changing the tone of Washington" while slandering Barack Obama's darkish background. It's what Justice William Brennan once defined, in a different context, the reckless disregard for the truth.
But to succeed, deception needs a receptive audience. It needs the incurious, the unquestioning, the toadying. The effectiveness of the lies, in a year when comatose fleas should capably beat the shrewdest Republican, is telling -- not about the candidates' venality, but about the electorate's want: This isn't an election about change. It's an election about extending the denial that made the last eight years possible. Many Americans, maybe most, want to convince themselves that America's moral authority and example is undiminished despite the last eight years. (And who can blame them? Who doesn't wish it weren't so?) The last thing those brave Americans want is change. They want leadership that validates their delusion. Palin-McCain is their narcotic bridge to nowhere.
I've been "debating" right wingers lately and that last paragraph is so true. These people are convinced that Democrats are anti-American and in league with Osama bin Laden, really.
It's time to get serious about your politics, our country is at stake.
NYT Business Page
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THE FIFTH COLUMNIST by P.M. Carpenter
It was almost shocking. Not quite the real thing, because we're largely desensitized to the unremitting pageantry of Republican racketeering, a bit like professional electricians who've been zapped so many times they scarcely even notice the sting of live voltage.
But it was, let's just say, an eye-opener:
There, Friday morning, appeared John McCain on "The View," confessing to attempted political blackmail as a defense against the charges of slander, libel, swindling, fraud, misrepresentation, mythomania, confidence gaming and character defamation.
Now keep in mind, attempted blackmail was his defense. Said McCain: "If we had done what I asked Sen. Obama to do" -- that is, hold joint, town-hall appearances -- &qu Bookmark/Search this post with: buzzflash | delicious | digg | technorati Technorati Tags: P.M. Carpenter mccain obama presidential campaign