Financial Crisis

The Failed State of California - The Changing Landscape of America

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The Golden State is not so golden anymore. California is broke. With a $20 billion dollar deficit and tax revenues down 27% from last year, Governor Schwarzenegger looks to Washington D.C. for a bail-out to rescue the state from financial ruin. Like the executive passing a beggar on a street corner, Washington looks the other way. Unemployment is statistically 12.3%, but functionally, it runs closer to 20% of the work force. Nowhere is unemployment more tragic than in the Central Valley, the fruit and vegetable producer of the world.  read more »

Why Millennials are Economic Liberals and What to Do About It

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The Obama administration celebrated the anniversary of the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or economic stimulus, by pointing out the gradual recovery of the United States economy has resulted in “saving or creating two million jobs.” But young Americans continue to bear the brunt of what is still America’s worst recession since the Great Depression.  read more »

Olympic Games: Greece's Gold Medal For Debt

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Although I cannot imagine that it will have much appeal in the ratings beyond C-Span 2, a terrific new reality program, Euro Bomb, could be produced around the survival of the Greek economy.

The founder of both the ancient and modern Olympic games is in the midst of a debt crisis that threatens not just to send a few bondholders off the island, but has the potential to blow up the European Union’s currency zone.  read more »

Ethics, Banking And The Coin of the Realm

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Many years ago, I wrote for a New York investment bank whose name has been semi-obscured by the epidemic of shotgun marriages on Wall Street in the intervening decades. Thus, the news that Goldman Sachs enabled the miserable financial accounting habits of Greece did not surprise me, nor, I feel sure, anyone who ever worked for one of the banks. As many characters on “The Wire” put it over five years of exquisite television, “All in the game, yo.” Or, in the words of a previous era’s television icon — JR Ewing, Texas oilman on “Dallas” — “Once you give up your ethics, the rest is a piece of cake.”  read more »

Blame Their Parents, Not Us

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We appreciate Pete Peterson’s attention to our work, but in responding to his complaint that we are denigrating Generation X and underrating its civic participation, we should begin at the beginning, define our terms, and give credit where credit is due. In writing our book, Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics, we borrowed heavily from the thinking of and acknowledged our intellectual debt to Neil Howe and the late William Strauss, the founders of generational theory.  read more »

Memo To Obama: Banks Are Beautiful

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In his search for what Theodore Roosevelt called “a good, safe menace,” President Barack Obama has settled on the nation’s largest commercial banks, which as late as last year’s bailouts were still considered the best hope for economic salvation.

At first Obama was content to rail about the filthy lucre of banker bonuses. Then he got the idea of maybe hitting the bonus babies with special taxes. But the reason that the Secretary of the Treasury is often the former chairman of Goldman Sachs is because the bank is one of the instruments that keeps the government afloat.  read more »

The Fate of Detroit – Revisited Green Shoots? The Changing Landscape of America

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During the first ten days of October 2008, the Dow Jones dropped 2,399.47 points, losing 22.11% of its value and trillions of investor equity. The Federal Government pushed a $700 billion bail-out through Congress to rescue the beleaguered financial institutions. The collapse of the financial system in the fall of 2008 was likened to an earthquake. In reality, what happened was more like a shift of tectonic plates.  read more »

Connecting Facts to Forecast 2010

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Anyone can figure out the State of the Union by taking a good look around. I mean, I was born in the afternoon – but not yesterday afternoon – I don’t need four days of press coverage and a long speech by the President to tell me that Americans are suffering.

This time of year, though, everyone is looking for some hint of what is to come. Even the most rational among us are tempted to seek out some prediction of the future. Economists often rate high on the list of seers sought out by most Americans – right up there with stock brokers, Dionne Warwick’s Psychic Friends Network, and Joan Quigley (White House astrologer to the Reagans).

In this article, I’ll give you a few of my own predictions and then invite you to tell me the subject areas you want predicted. When pressed for my vision of the future, I like to add up what I already know to arrive at what I think will happen.  read more »

The Fed: Reappoint Captain Smith?

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The debate surrounding the re-appointment of Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (the Fed) is not without historical parallel.

Just recall the RMS Titanic: It was April 14, 1912, when White Star’s “unsinkable” RMS Titanic, the largest and newest passenger liner in the world, was steaming from Southampton and Ireland to New York. The ship was traveling through a part of the North Atlantic where icebergs had been reported.  read more »

MILLENNIAL PERSPECTIVE: Vintage Fashion & The Twice-Around Economy

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One impact of the recession has been a fundamental change in consumer clothing purchase patterns. Luxury retailers’ losses have been second-hand retailers’ gains. Internet marketers have also been uniquely positioned to benefit.

Instead of buying new goods, more shoppers are turning to second-hand bargains. Thrift stores, with their low prices, are rising in popularity.  read more »