Ten years ago, after making piles of money gambling with other people’s money, Wall Street nearly imploded, and the outgoing George W. Bush and incoming Obama administrations bailed out the bankers.America should have learned three big lessons from the crisis. We didn’t, to our continuing peril.First unlearned lesson: Banking is a risky business with huge upsides for the few who gamble in it, but bigger downsides for the public when those bets go bad.Which means that safeguards are necessary. The safeguards created after Wall Street’s 1929 crash worked for more than four decades. They made banking boring.But starting in the 1980s, they were watered down or repealed because of Wall Street’s increasing thirst for profits and its growing political clout. As politicians from both parties grew dependent on the Street for campaign funding, the rush to deregulate turned into a stampede.It began in 1982, when Congress and the Reagan administration deregulated savings … [Read more...] about Reich: The three big lessons we didn’t learn from the economic crisis
“It’s the Lord of the Flies on LaSalle Street,” wrote columnist John Kass in the Chicago Tribune. In case the references are unclear, whether because high schools haven’t been assigning the William Golding novel in the last few decades or because out-of-towners unaccountably don’t realize that Chicago’s City Hall front is on LaSalle Street, the curmudgeonly Kass was writing about Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s announcement that he won’t run for a third term as mayor next February.Should readers from outside Chicagoland care? Yes, because Emanuel’s surprise exit is a sign of the unworkability of policies that will go national if Resistance Democrats oust Donald Trump, and indeed of some policies embraced by Trump as well.Emanuel will be leaving office as a frustrated and unsuccessful mayor, even though he is one of the great political talents of his generation. Former Clinton fundraiser and White House staffer, Chicago congressman and chairman … [Read more...] about BARONE: A cold wind off Lake Michigan — for Chicago and America
It is always dangerous to be right, noted Voltaire, in matters where the established authorities are all wrong. In 2002, barely a year after the attacks of 9/11, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, three papers that rarely agree editorially on anything more controversial than the observance of Mother's Day, all endorsed the U.S. going to war against the Iraq of Saddam Hussein, who was, we were told, well on his way to building weapons of mass destruction that threatened this nation.War fever seized the Congress to where every senator in either party who would run for the White House in the next four presidential elections voted to endorse the George W. Bush administration's call for the authority to invade Iraq. Voting to go to war were Sens. Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Sam Brownback, Chris Dodd, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry, John McCain, Rick Santorum and Fred Thompson. More than a dozen years later, when the Wall Street … [Read more...] about SHIELDS: Downside of being right
On the day after his inauguration, Donald Trump gave a speech at CIA headquarters. He lied about the number of people attending his inauguration, claiming the crowd was far larger than it was. He also lied about the media, falsely accusing journalists of manufacturing his feud with the intelligence community. Earlier that month, Trump had compared U.S. intelligence agencies to Nazi Germany.I remember this well because of the hand-wringing coverage of it, particularly from my beloved NPR. “It’s probably not true,” Mary Louise Kelly said about his blaming the media. “In that same speech out of the CIA this weekend, Trump also falsely inflated the size of the crowd at his inauguration.”I sat at the kitchen table and said to our dog, “Whaaaat?”After a lot of other listeners had the same reaction, NPR ran another story explaining why we didn’t hear the words “Trump” and “lie” in the same sentence. As NPR’s Richard … [Read more...] about SCHULTZ: Are we still pretending Donald Trump isn’t lying?
It’s an affecting story. Matthew Desmond, writing in The New York Times Magazine, profiles Vanessa Solivan, a poor single mother raising three children. Vanessa works as a home health aide, yet she and her three adolescent children are often reduced to sleeping in her car, a 2004 Chrysler Pacifica. In the morning, she takes her two daughters and one son to her mother’s house to wash and get ready for school. Vanessa has diabetes. Her work brings in between $10 and $14 per hour depending upon the health coverage of the mostly elderly patients she cares for. But because of her responsibilities to her children, Vanessa works only 20 to 30 hours per week. That doesn’t provide enough to keep this family of four above the poverty line.Yes, Vanessa gets government benefits. Between the Earned Income Tax Credit and child credits, she received $5,000 from Uncle Sam last year. She also gets SNAP (food stamps), but when one of her daughters qualified for SSI last year due to a … [Read more...] about CHAREN: What The Times misses about poverty