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Effective regulation, and on that note, it is a positive thing that the Summers of our discontent can finally be laid to rest. After all the damage Larry Summers has caused in being one of the architects of this crisis, from boxing in Brooksley Born and ignoring her warnings with regard to derivatives which brought down Long Term Capital Management during the Clinton administration, to his sexism among everything else. He has now thankfully taken himself out consideration for the job.

It's a good thing he did. Rather than fighting for something or someone that helps people suffering from this economic crisis, President Obama strongly recommended and fought for Larry Summers to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve, a guy who lost a billion dollars as President of Harvard betting on interest rates. Yeah, let that sink in for awhile.

It's really not OK. This is why making excuses for everything the President does, as too many Democrats do without thinking of the damage, is dangerous, immoral, and unprincipled. Now it looks like the front runner to replace Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve is going to be Vice Chairwoman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and once President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Janet Yellin. Unlike Larry Summers, she at least saw the crisis coming as early as 2005.

That being said, she also thought the housing bubble, and the reverberations throughout the financial system, could be contained and thus didn't start worrying that drastic action should be taken until it was too late in 2007. Chris Hayes had an interesting discussion about all of this on All In with Heather McGee from Demos and my favorite member of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy the SEC, Alexis Goldstein. She makes the same points I just did, only better. It would be nice if we could be more creative about this pick rather than another layaway from the Clinton administration, though Janet Yellin is better than Larry Summers.

This is a problem, because unlike what Tim Geithner thought while he was President of the NY Fed — the most important regulator of the 12 regional banks — before the President hired that incompetent tool of Wall St to be his first Treasury Secretary, being a regulator is one of the most important responsibilities of everyone who runs all branches of the Federal Reserve. Therefore it matters that Janet Yellin did not know that the SF regional Fed had the power to act unilaterally to try and make moves to mitigate the bubble, but didn't, and instead followed the Wall St. bought Washington consensus.

Divining the Regulatory Goals of Fed Rivals

Ms. Yellen told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in 2010 that she and other San Francisco Fed officials pressed Washington for new guidance, sharing the problems they were seeing. But Ms. Yellen did not raise those concerns publicly, and she said that she had not explored the San Francisco Fed’s ability to act unilaterally, taking the view that it had to do what Washington said.

“For my own part,” Ms. Yellen said, “I did not see and did not appreciate what the risks were with securitization, the credit ratings agencies, the shadow banking system, the S.I.V.’s — I didn’t see any of that coming until it happened.” Her startled interviewers noted that almost none of the officials who testified had offered a similar acknowledgment of an almost universal failure.

Chastened by the financial crisis, Ms. Yellen now favors stricter regulation. “This experience,” she told the commission, “has strongly inclined me toward tougher standards and built-in rules that will kick into effect automatically when things like this happen, that make tightening up a less discretionary matter.”

San Francisco is in CA, and California is one of the largest states hit by the housing bubble. The state had a housing bubble in the 70s before and again when the big one exploded, so any moves at all would have made a difference. It's not enough to recognize a housing bubble, but yet, then severely underestimate the damage of the bubble while expecting the said damage to be contained, if one is in the position to do something about it as she was at the SF regional Fed.

Now it is certainly possible that Janet Yellin has learned from these mistakes since she now favors stricter regulation stated above, but it would be nice to get some specifics as to just how much. There are a number of reasons this should be the case: for instance, I, like Simon Johnson who has written papers on this, have reason to believe that the political power of these banks with trump any living wills loosely defined in Dodd Frank (plans to unwind without causing systematic contagion assuming they go insolvent again from their risky bets) via untested resolution authority. The banks are 30% bigger after Dodd Frank and they are too big and globally interconnected to regulate, really, when it comes down to it.

This is why I wish we had more creative choices on filling Ben Bernanke's position as Alexis Goldstein said. For instance, why not consider Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Fed?

Dallas Fed President: Break Up Big Banks

Bloomberg reports that Fisher recently called for an international agreement to break up banks that are too big to fail. Here are some quotations, taken from the Bloomberg article (the full speech is here):

“The disagreeable but sound thing to do” for firms regarded as “too big to fail” would be to “dismantle them over time into institutions that can be prudently managed and regulated across borders.”

“Given the danger these institutions pose to spreading debilitating viruses throughout the financial world, my preference is for a more prophylactic approach: an international accord to break up these institutions into ones of more manageable size. If we have to do this unilaterally, we should.”

“The existing rules and oversight are not up to the acute regulatory challenge imposed by the biggest banks. Because of their deep and wide connections to other banks and financial institutions, a few really big banks can send tidal waves of troubles through the financial system if they falter.”

This is the stark reality that I would like to hear a directly acknowledged from Janet Yellin. This is especially important since she advocated for the repeal of Glass Steagall in the 90s as my friend TheMomCat lays out. And on that note, one might recognize that there is a pseudo intellectual cottage industry that villager Ezra Klein inhabits, among others at the WaPo and NYT. This cottage industry is dedicated to claiming that repealing Glass Steagall was no big deal. In doing so, they reference one of the worst so called financial analysts of all time, Andrew Ross Sorkin, as if doing so is a feat of strength.

Too bad for them, they don't understand the crisis at all, which is evident by Ezra Klein's bewilderment over Inside Job among other things. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since Ezra seems to need Michael Lewis (who denied there would be a crisis) to hold his hand and reaffirm everything for him. I answered this nonsense about a year ago, and I will add a chart to hopefully explain how bad mortgages made it into bundled up sub-prime Mortgage Backed Securities and into structured investment vehicles, commercial and investment banks' balance sheets, municipalities' public and private pensions, and in other non banking institutions' books.

Bottom line: the repeal of Glass Steagall had a lot to do with the originate to distribute model of the crisis which is a main factor behind this whole crisis.

Politicians, Their "Savvy" Banker Friends, and the Hackery from NYT Andrew Ross Sorkin Never Ends

They were able to distribute these bad mortgages across the financial system to be securitized and package up into (CDOs), sell them off, and didn't have to hold them(“originate and hold”) or be responsible for them like banks used to. They were sold to other institutions(and different kinds of institutions) that didn't have commercial banking arms which is also how they wound up poisoning public pensions in states across the U.S. causing them to go broke. What a piss poor uninformed, excuse. It's time to go back to school. Originate to distribute 101.
Research and consulting firm Celent released a study yesterday titled, “Pathology of the US Mortgage Crisis,” which examines the evolution of the credit crunch from its humble beginnings as a U.S. subprime mortgage problem to the subsequent global liquidity crisis that ensued.

The Boston-based firm noted that the global credit market saw a “flight of uncertainty” over the past nine months that led to billions in associated write-downs, the fall of investment banking giant Bear Stearns, and multiple emergency rate cuts by the Fed.

[...........]

Essentially, most originating banks and mortgage lenders only held onto mortgages long enough to sell them off to investors, promoting a higher-risk environment for loan origination.

Under this system, mortgage brokers and originating banks had volume-based incentives that weakened underwriting standards, while investment banks and Wall Street firms worked on loan performance incentives.

This disparity caused scores of low quality loans to funnel through the system and find their way into structured investments that eventually spoiled as home prices began to stagnate and fall, and mortgage defaults began to surge.

Whether Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, or Merril Lynch had commercial banking arms or not is absolutely irrelevant to Glass Steagall. All it takes is a few originators with bad underwriting standards brought on by the slow repeal of Glass Steagall in the 80s and the final blow with Gramm Leach Bliley in 1999 to spread this junk everywhere. ALL of these investment banks were brought down by subprime mortgage backed securities losses.
So that pretty much sums up why people who deny the significance of the repeal of Glass Steagall do not understand how sub-prime infected the whole system; shadow banking, commercial banking, investment banking, and non banking institutions; a perverse incentive and process which couldn't exist without this repeal, just like Citigroup couldn't exist. Not to mention the repeal of GS means that our FDIC deposits are now used as collateral for bets, just as they were recently to backstop JP Morgan's over 5 billion loss in their disguised London Whale proprietary trade. This is not to say Glass Steagall is a panacea for everything wrong with Wall St as AIG and Credit Default Swaps would have still been a major fixture of this crisis because of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, but the crisis would have been much less severe without GS repeal.

So as Lambert of Corrente alluded to, before we start thinking we've hit a grand slam, let's reevaluate the replay of this perceived base hit. We need to know how Janet Yellin's thinking has evolved over the years on this since the 90s, because her thinking was once very wrong along with everyone else on regulation and the significance of Glass Steagall. We need to know how Janet Yelen feels about Too Big to Fail, because the Fed now has the power to regulate and end TBTF as we know it, if pursued. The problem is that the TBTF banks and Congress are whipped, bought and coerced by the White House and their benefactors.

The President will work to defeat any proposal in Congress to break up the banks as he did Sherrod Brown and Ted Kaufman's amendment to Dodd Frank(showing he can get things done when he wants to killing the excuse about Congress). So since the Fed now has the power to break up the banks if it so chooses, as Alexis Goldstein said, it would be nice if the reality of our financial system being too big, too interconnected, and too politically powerful was acknowledged from the next likely candidate to run the Fed.

So one might be asking why I am focused solely on the Fed as a regulator instead of its dual mandate of fighting unemployment and achieving price stability? Well, here comes the bad news: the truth is that although I appreciate the sentiment from Janet Yellin and other progressives in Congress who have praised her general focus on unemployment as a problem instead of just inflation from the Fed's standpoint, the truth of the matter is that there's really not much the Fed can do by itself right now for normal working people who make their money or rely on work in the real economy on Main Street.

The only time the Fed can truly bring down unemployment alone is with recessions they themselves create with double digit interest rates driving up the unemployment rate in order to "break the back of inflation" like what happened when Paul Volcker was Chairman of the Fed (of course that campaign was overly brutal to the labor market here and abroad and not solely responsible for bringing inflation down) and then lowering rates to bring unemployment down again. We are no longer in an era of high inflation. We are in an era of private debt overhang and deflation. ZIRP today means interest rates cannot go lower to lower unemployment like in the early 80s not to mention the causation factors are a matter of day and night.

We are in an entirely different more severe economic crisis today from an 8 trillion housing bubble that we haven't seen since the Great Depression. This crisis has killed over $1.4 trillion in demand in addition to demand leakages from the trade deficit which continue while we try to patch up the hole with an inadequate stimulus package that didn't close that or the lost output gap. Net government spending has been going down since 2009. With a private trade deficit in our current account we have to raise public deficits to cover these gaps which we aren't doing.

So called Fed Stimulus cannot significantly bring down unemployment by itself. What is called Fed Stimulus mostly affects the economy of the 1% as the Fed buys US Treasuries and swaps reserves for them from Commercial banks. Those reserves do not go into the real economy and chase goods that are for sale in a real economy. Instead they float speculative investments. UMKC economist Michael Hudson explains:

QE3 = Jobs for Wall St

Therefore, not enough people are hired in the real economy, because there is no significant amount of demand that would come from what would truly amount to what a fiscal stimulus would bring. Quantitative easing is good for some Wall St. investors and speculators making bets on bonds, interest rate movements, and different commodities, but besides raising GDP without the net benefit for all, this is hardly the stimulus we know provides demand and jobs for all. The only way that happens is if enough of this money is lent out, and that is not happening on a significant enough scale.

There's a clear reason for this, and that is because QE building up banks' reserves does not cause lending. Banks create loans whenever they want. Quantitative easing has nothing to do with it. This is the money multiplier myth that has been debunked so many times, I do not even feel like going into it anymore. And yet, we hear acknowledgement of this and other myths on every network by some commentators who consider themselves progressive but don't know any better. Some of them mean well, but are grossly misinformed about these matters when they pretend that this is the most important issue when it comes to the economy, sadly.

And now I have to reference another villager whose perverse obsession with this is almost pathological; enter Matt Yglesias at Slate where he constantly beats this dead monetarist horse. In addition to that folly, this obsession with inflation expectations and the signals from the Fed with regard to letting inflation happen at just the right boom time in the future, as if the lack of demand we are experiencing is a psychological problem instead of this bizarre obsession with inflation expectations. The lack of demand is very real. This inflation expectation fetish seems like more of a psychological disorder than something to take seriously. I mean how long has it been with very little significant results in lowering unemployment from this fetish?

There is no real consistent evidence of this phenomenon that we can observe and report on like the private debt overhang on consumers or the pernicious effect of reducing national income and paying off the deficit by reducing discretionary spending as this administration has done and are proud of it while claiming they are investing in our future. This compounds the fact that only fiscal policy from Congress can begin to fix fix our unemployment problem and start to turn back the tide of crushing income inequality where 95% of the income in this "recovery has gone to the 1%.

I'm all for loose and soft currency monetary economic policy, but you cannot really isolate it from the importance of aggressive fiscal policy and expect to get results that benefit 99% of the population. The White House could help by stop blaming victims of mortgage and control fraud and do whatever is possible to instruct and pressure the head of the FHFA to write down more mortgage debt. They could consider creating a job guarantee program to shrink the supply of labor and bring wages up as an idea instead of not having the stomach for it. Even if it doesn't pass, they could advocate for it until it does.

Of course that assumes they care one iota about the public they claim to represent. That's what real leaders have done in the past with Medicare among other programs. A deficit terrorist White House that created the sequester while working with a deficit terrorist Congress to terrorize the public by reducing discretionary spending to the lowest level as a share of GDP since the Eisenhower administration is not leading when it comes to anything good on these issues. They failed us while helping their 1% benefactors looking to privatize and cut Social Security and Medicare by establishing the precedent of a Congress that jumps from one debt ceiling and government shut down fight to another every few months ending in continual Faustian austerity bargains.

This is either outright incompetence or extreme corruption. There are no excuses for it. The people who make excuses for it have no shame or empathy. In addition to that, Harry Reid has created an Congressional oligarchy 3 times now by keeping the filibuster. This is obviously the Congress he prefers. This means we are all pretty much screwed, because only Congress with proper leadership from the White House on things that matter to the 99% can even begin to fix our economy.

As of right now, the White House as well as the crisis to crisis stop gap bipartisan austerian Congress, are showing extreme disdain for the public. Is it no wonder why we are in this predicament? So the best we can hope for is that someone is appointed who is a decent regulator as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Whether that person is Janet Yellin remains to be seen, and there are doubts.

It would be better if we had more choices considering her background, but at least there are no more Summers of our deregulatory discontent on the horizon, for now. This administration won't go quietly at another attempt at hiring another Rubinite in the dismal future they created.

Cross posted at Voices on the Square, The Stars Hollow Gazette, and Corrente

Originally posted to The Amateur Left on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 02:47 PM PDT.

Also republished by Money and Public Purpose.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hey, what do you know. (17+ / 0-)

    First T&R.

    Always a pleasure.

    No victory this, except maybe in expectations.  As Krugman says, you have to convince them of your irresponsibility.

  •  The Chair of the Fed (15+ / 0-)

    ...needs to return to the low profile days of William McChesney Martin.

    The idea that the Fed can manage the economy died in 2008.  Milton Friedman's era is over.  The Fed can fine-tune what Congress does with fiscal policy (especially infrastructure policy) but the Fed's days of tweedling interest rates have been shown to be a sham that enriched the 1% at the expense of the rest of us.

    If the Fed chair is not about tighter regulation of the banking industry regulated by the Fed, most importantly having a strong Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,  then we are in continued trouble.

    If Summers is indeed gone, if Geithner has taken himself out of the running, two paragons of incompetence are no longer risks.

    The problem most folks have with the candidates left is that they do not know their records and barely know the Wikipedia skeletons of their resumes.

    So the question for the next chair, whoever it is, is whether they will be incompetent, evil, or both.  Because "none of them" would be a huge surprise after a generation of Allan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 03:05:58 PM PDT

  •  Summers was actively campaigning for Fed Chief (7+ / 0-)

    Something which no one has done before. The notion that he was POTUS' number one choice was initially floated by Ezra Klein, with anonymous sources, IIRC. So who knows - maybe POTUS asked Summers to take himself out of contention.
    Otherwise, good points re Yellen. Thanks.

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 03:22:44 PM PDT

  •  So in short -- (8+ / 0-)

    it doesn't matter a whole lot who's Fed chair at this point, at least as far as the real economy is concerned.  Maybe it matters that Summers is out, for intellectual reasons.

    "it makes no difference which one of us you vote for. Either way your planet is doomed. Doomed!" -- Kang

    by Cassiodorus on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 03:31:24 PM PDT

    •  It only matters as far as regulation is concerned (9+ / 0-)

      and stopping another financial crash which can reverberate to the real economy, but it doesn't matter as far as the dynamics with the real economy as far as jobs instead of floating the 1%'s asset prices with QE claiming "concern" about the unemployed.

      It matters that Summers is out, but we don't know what Janet Yellin will do since she doesn't have a good record of making moves on this front, so it doesn't matter as much as people tell us it matters, because we really don't know.

      We would be smart to have a bad feeling, regardless.

      Those who deflect debates about the issues with complaints about tone usually have a lot to atone for.

      by priceman on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 03:39:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It matters with respect to regulation of the ... (7+ / 0-)

      ... finance sector.

      As far as economic stimulus goes, all that the Fed can do during a depression such as we are currently experiencing is accommodate an expansionary fiscal policy, and at present we have an argument between whether the Republican desire to drive the economy over a cliff and the White House desire to drive the economy into a ditch.

      But the damage done by bad regulation builds up over time, and there is a particular temptation to make bad regulatory decisions during a depression, under the excuse that gross incompetence as a regulator is somehow good for economic expansion.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 03:48:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Personally, I'd rather have Christina... (5+ / 0-)

    ...Romer as Fed chief or Sheila Bair or, let's go for a real dark horse, Ann Markusen. Not really even a dark horse since she isn't on anybody's radar, and her views would horrify just about anybody in the Senate who learned them.

    But Yellen is the best choice available to us. The truth is that lots of people—including people on the left—did a lousy job of predicting where the economy was headed although most thought deregulation was a terrible idea.

    The Fed is going to have a lot more regulatin' to do, and that's going to depend on how Dodd-Frank gets interpreted.

    But the reality is that we need a good fiscal policy. That means an industrial policy, an infrastructure development bank, state banks like North Dakota's (or some other model) in every state and a whole lot more to alter the economic system. (I know lots of people say, you too I believe, that we need to completely revamp the economic system, and I don't disagree, but I have heard that kind of talk all of my adult life and nobody has shown a path toward the level of power that would be needed to pull that off.

    So, one step at a time. We just took two: blocked the worst of the lot for the Fed and, at least for the moment, stopped yet another military intervention (with all the economic fallout these can and often engender). Models for future action.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 05:45:01 PM PDT

    •  It would be a just revenge.... (4+ / 0-)

      for Christina Romer after what Larry Summers and the President did in quieting her for being right on the stimulus proposal needing to be 1.2 trillion or over. Sheila Bair would be better since we agree that implementing Dodd Frank correctly, including taking advantage of the powers in it(if interpreted correctly which seems to be a choice) to break up the banks.

      Wow, Ann Markusen would really shake things up, though talk about only implementing the possible. Still, it's worth thinking about; I'll give you that. I think where I don't agree with you is that Janet Yellin is the only one who could be available since there are better candidates out there in the Federal Reserve system, though I can't speak to who wants the job or not.

      There were plenty of people who saw where the economy was heading that are on the left spectrum of things at the UKMC economics school and their forefathers like Wynne Godley who scientifically modeled the crisis. The problem is, as Jamie Galbraith says, they are not allowed in the mainstream publications so one doesn't hear about them loudly enough even if they are right, which they have been.

      We agree that we do need good fiscal policy and that, and only that(along with public banking for public purpose along with Warren Mosler's narrow banking proposal), like an infrastructure banks set up the correct way, and a job guarantee, is going to make things better or on a path towards recovery instead of what we call "recovery."

      Yes, I would say we need to revamp the whole economic system, and I'm glad you agree, but I would like to hear more condemnation of this system, and in a political sense. Since Congress sets fiscal policy, I didn't think the failed DK filibuster reform campaign was worth celebrating at all. It was a good try, but when things fell apart and Harry Reid sold us out, I wish Chris Bowers and others recognized it and were honest.

      A lot of changes happen historically, and expectantly, when one just doesn't accept the unacceptable. For instance, since I predicted the debt ceiling debacle from the 2010 tax deal without a raise or getting rid of the debt ceiling in that deal, and then the sequester happened, I am going to call people out who celebrated that damaging "the end justifies the means" deal which is costing us economically and has set a dangerous precedent for a dangerous broken Congress. All the leverage was there to stop the whole debacle that led to the Budget Control Act.

      As I said, this is a base hit, but we must not pretend it is a grand slam. I also think Congressmen and women need to at least start talking about this stuff I am referencing. I don't think that's too much to ask or demand. I also don't think Democratic politicians automatically deserve support just for being better than Republicans or neoliberal light being just better than neoliberal harder. So that is why I am keeping my leftist MMT populist anger, and I know some find it abrasive, but in the 30s that kind of anger is what shaped the New Deal so it does have some precedent.

      I'm not saying I have all the answers, but I am at least talking about the right things and all elected leaders have to put that into the vernacular before anything changes.

      But anyway, our disagreements are mostly on where policy meets politics and how to get to that intersection.

      I thank you for your insightful comment and for reading this diary, MB.

      Those who deflect debates about the issues with complaints about tone usually have a lot to atone for.

      by priceman on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 06:55:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When I say that Yellen is best choice... (4+ / 0-)

        ...available to us, I am saying that other potentially good candidates (in addition to those I mentioned) don't have the clout, the connections and whatever else it takes to catch the president's attention. I wasn't saying there Yellen is as good as it is possible to get, only that no way would Obama go outside the narrow range of what he and his advisers consider reasonable picks for the
        Fed job. We're going to have the same trouble with Hillary Clinton if she runs.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 07:08:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Lambert again -- (4+ / 0-)

    http://www.correntewire.com/...

    Not sure what chained CPI has to do with the Fed chair, but there it is...

    "it makes no difference which one of us you vote for. Either way your planet is doomed. Doomed!" -- Kang

    by Cassiodorus on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 07:42:26 PM PDT

    •  Indeed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus, ek hornbeck

      I saw that, and it is troubling, though I kept on the topic of her supporting repealing GS since it is more on the topic of fed chair.

      However, since fiscal policy involves preserving automatic stabilizers and demand infusions like SS and not cutting it, take a notch away from her on a true concern about unemployment.

      Those who deflect debates about the issues with complaints about tone usually have a lot to atone for.

      by priceman on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 08:51:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lambert writes well on economics issues... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    priceman, ek hornbeck

    ...and, some of his outside-of-the-box thinking on the subject's truly outstanding, especially from a Progressive's vantage point. But, he reserves a special contempt for Daily Kos, and virtually anything associated with the community...even tangentially or remotely. (Just the fact that you're registered here would be problematic for him; but, I'm pretty certain he wouldn't acknowledge that as being so.) I don't say this lightly. However, occasionally it gets in the way of his commentary (he brings it up in his blogging, from time to time; to the point where it takes away from his work, IMHO).

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 01:54:21 AM PDT

    •  That he does... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobswern, ek hornbeck

      and indeed it is. I don't doubt all you say, my friend, but I am starting to realize he has a point about Daily Kos given how I have been targeted here by the moderators and a few of my constant trolls get to do whatever they want; they don't have to cite their arguments on anything bringing the discourse here down below the level of a high school debate class.

      In case you were wondering, I don't do TTFN or GBCW but that is what is behind my absence. That and dealing with personal issues, but when people are allowed to troll my diaries and I get disciplined for calling them trolls, it really reveals some of what this site is really about. It makes it not worth participating here, and worse, that this arbitrary moderation is done is such a cowardly fashion like when I confront a certain moderator here who then denies it(like the rescue rangers bias they think isn't obvious).

      Letsgetitdone posts here and it doesn't bother him. Lambert let me register at Corrente knowing about my work here; he has even referenced my pieces from time to time, so it's not going to be a problem for me, though yeah he is a hothead and becomes unhinged sometimes. That's part of what I like about him; he's as angry about shit as I am. Yeah, I suppose it can get in the way of his writing sometimes, as with mine, but it's hard to have empathy for people suffering from the problems you and I outline, but then pretend others who don't have empathy, and show it, are arguing in good faith.

      But I have seen some of what you're talking about. There are good people here who are independent minded, but the discourse here that is allowed by those supporting the status quo is obvious unless they do something obvious and stupid like creating a sockpuppet. This past year has opened my eyes to how low this site has gone. So you won't be seeing post from me that much, though it is partly for personal reasons too; it ties together in that I need to spend my time in a place that appreciates it, but also on more creative matters.

      So I only post once in a blue moon. I do like a lot of people here, but it is what it is. I know you must be aware of some of this as you go through it too, but I haven't mentioned why I have been absent so I figured this comment should do. Thank you for all your support and all that you do, my friend.

      Those who deflect debates about the issues with complaints about tone usually have a lot to atone for.

      by priceman on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:35:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What ya' up to, work- and education-wise? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ek hornbeck, priceman

        (Hope all's well!)

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 09:32:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'll be OK. I just need to concentrate on that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bobswern

          which I am doing, even though I am one of the long term unemployed. I get by with help from the family, but they are not happy with me. However, I do feel if I work on my creative talents, that can be lucrative eventually. So I am trying to spend more time doing that and just writing once in a blue moon.

          So I have faith all will be well. Thank you for your help and encouragement, bobswern. I appreciate it.

          Those who deflect debates about the issues with complaints about tone usually have a lot to atone for.

          by priceman on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 04:48:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  As I've told my five nephews and nieces... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            priceman

            ...IMHO, it's not really all that important whether or not your "family is happy with me [you]." All that really matters is whether or not YOU are happy with you! (Sincerely!)

            "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

            by bobswern on Sun Sep 22, 2013 at 02:12:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  You think? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobswern, priceman

      I've met him and he didn't come off that way at all to me.  I think he reserves far more personal animus for Booman (also hated by Chuck Pierce) and Jane Hamshire (who booted him @ FDL over single payer v. public option and as it turns out he was right and she was wrong).

      Certainly he was nice enough to me and showed a familiarity with my original work.

      Now it's not my job to rehabilitate him here (indeed he'd sneer at the suggestion) but if you've been experiencing problems with his site (it took me almost a year to solve my signup problems) it's probably more related to the fact that it's a 'roll your own' with some quirks about what's acceptable HTML and what's not.

      I'm sure he'd be happy to have your cross posted contributions (as would we, nudge, nudge), look at what he publishes.

  •  Forcing Summers out is a sorely needed in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ek hornbeck, priceman

    but you're correct - Yellen is really just more of the economic neo-liberalism that has dominated the past half century. Both Yves Smith and Ian Welsh have pointed out the same problems with Yellen you have. I especially like the wayIan puts it:

    Yellen won’t be any better, by the way.  Bernanke’s job was to make sure  that the financial collapse did not cause an FDR or New Deal: to make sure that the rich weren’t wiped out by the financial bubble they caused. His academic work is about this exact problem: how to make sure that a New Deal doesn’t happen: how to make sure ordinary people don’t get their share of the pie.  Yellen won’t change that, no one will be picked for the Federal Reserve who would change that.
    A big problem now is that the left is fracturing. The inadequacy of our public discourse would be comic, were it not paralyzing us by foreclosing entire menus of policy options. On the left, increasing numbers are allowing themselves to be seduced by Marxist and socialist critiques, willfully ignoring the surfeit of failure of those schools of political economy. That problem aside, even the best, most progressive economists, such as Robert Reich, Paul Krugman, or Joseph Stiglitz, are simply not thinking in large enough terms to be truly useful. Look at the myriad postmortems of the financial collapse this past week, the fifth anniversary of the implosion of Lehman Brothers. Did Obama save us from a Second Great Depression or not? Was the $750 billion stimulus program enough, or not enough? (Or, as the hopelessly misguided wrong-wingers choose to believe, too much?) In point of fact,the International
    Energy Agency estimates a serious effort to combat global climate change will cost $45 trillion.
    And that is to meet a goal of only a 50 percent cut in
    emissions!

    As I wrote on Real Economics yesterday:

    We have entities today like the American Legislative Exchange Council which are waging open war on federal and state programs and policies which promote clean energy technologies. By a proper understanding of the Constitution, the efforts of the Koch family, ALEC, and similar organizations are, if not treasonous, at the very least, seditious. We need to generate, allocate, and distribute something on the order of $100 trillion in credit and financing to build the new, sustainable economy we need over the next ten to twenty years - in addition to and while maintaining present levels of financing of day-to-day economic activity. Yet the screech monkeys on the conservative side assert we're already spending too much?!?!  Given the proper understanding of the technological and environmental crises confronting us, promoting the general welfare absolutely requires we find the means to spend that kind of money.

    -- We have the skills needed. But what future are we building with them?

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 12:31:12 PM PDT

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