Just in case someone has been under a rock for the last year, I shall recap the crap that has us in a tether.
The U.S. economy slipped into recession in December 2007 and the 12-month slump is already the longest since the early 198Os. If it lasts more than 16 months, it will be the longest downturn since the Great Depression.
Employers have slashed 1.9 million jobs in the past four months alone. In all of 2008, 2.6 million people lost their jobs, the most since 1945.
Unemployment surged to 7.2 percent last month from 6.8 percent in November. Obama has warned the jobless rate could reach double digits.
Home foreclosures are still running at record rates and policymakers worry the housing market, at the centre of the economy’s woes, may not have found a bottom yet
Huge stock-price declines, the collapse of firms like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns that were once household names, and more recent turmoil at firms like Citigroup have evoked comparisons to the Great Depression.
However, in terms of the pain it may inflict on ordinary Americans, the current downturn may be more comparable to that of the early 1980s. A rise in interest rates aimed at breaking the back of crippling inflation that developed in the 1970s led to the 1980-82 weakness.
In the current downturn, economists are more worried about deflation, or falling prices, than inflation.
Obama is working with the Democratic-led Congress to craft a package of more than $775 billion (530 billion pounds) aimed at jump-starting the economy. He wants it passed by mid-February.
The plan would fund public works projects such as the construction of new roads and schools and provide incentives to promote energy efficiency. It also includes tax cuts.
Obama’s transition team has managed to persuade the Senate to release the remaining half of a $700 billion financial bailout program.
The bailout is unpopular with many lawmakers who feel too much of it has gone to financial firms with too few strings attached. Many would like to see more money go to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. Obama agrees with that goal and has pledged to restructure the rescue fund.
Obama will have to put energy into pressing foreign policy issues, such as the Gaza crisis, starting on Day One. But analysts believe some domestic priorities such as a promise to revamp the healthcare system and to devise a broad plan for addressing climate change may have to wait until the economy is stabilized.
Rewriting financial regulations will remain an important priority but many experts think significant progress on that will have to wait until later in the year as Obama concentrates on the stimulus plan and the financial bailout issue.
Now that the recap is finished–Obama has his work cut out for him….what can he accomplish in the first 100 days? How about the first year? Or maybe two?
So many a/holes and so little time……..
I thought I had heard all the crap that they, the Repubs, were throwing at the Obama plan.. I WAS WRONG! This one is a strong nominee for the Assies for ’09.
RNC Chairman candidate and former Ohio governor Secretary of State Ken Blackwell believes that the stimulus package could hurt the GOP by creating too many jobs. “While only a few details are known, one overlooked issue is that it could create a major electoral advantage for Democrats at taxpayer expense. That would be unacceptable for what is being touted as a nonpartisan measure, and gives Republicans yet another reason to oppose it if not restructured,” he writes. “But most federal employees, that are not political appointees, vote Democrat. Since Washington, DC is the seat of government, whenever new federal bureaucrats are created many live in Maryland and Virginia. In 2008, Virginia went Democrat for the first time since 1964, and Mr. Obama won it by 130,000 votes. Creating 600,000 new jobs might help cement Virginia in the Democrat column, making it harder for Republicans to retake the White House.”
So now we have to give up employment so Repubs can win elections….does anyone see the complete stupidity in that statement? John Mills had a saying about conservatives, “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.” Amen!
Can you now understand why the GOP is in such a bad way? It has become a southern regional party…that represents no one but itself.
Iran and nukes will be a major situation for the Obama admin to handle. But there are things that he should be aware of before he starts any meetings or actions.
Aspirations by Iran for a nuclear energy industry are not new. US opposition to it is, however, according to new declassified document published this week by the National Security Archive.
According to the documents, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the notorious dictator of Iran known as the Shah, who owed his position to CIA intrigues and oppression by Iranian secret police, sought nuclear energy capability to the chagrin of US leaders in the 1970s.
The Shah claimed the right to develop a nuclear energy program under the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which his country was a signatory along with the US. According to his reasoning, the treaty blocked the proliferation of nuclear weapons in non-nuclear states (at that time everyone except China, Russia, Britain, France, and the US), but it obligated nuclear states to provide technology and nuclear raw materials to non-nuclear states in order to develop nuclear energy.
Both the Ford and Carter administrations expressed strong reservations about allowing the Shah access to nuclear energy technology because they feared his government would secretly work to build a nuclear weapon, the newly released documents showed. More to the point, the successive US administrations in the mid- and late-1970s agreed with the assessment of one intelligence official who felt that “an aggressive successor to the Shah might consider nuclear weapons the final item needed to establish Iran’s complete military dominance of the region.”
Nevertheless, the Carter administration came to an agreement with Iran and negotiated a plan to provide nuclear energy technology in exchange for “nonproliferation controls.” In other words, the US reserved the right to scrutinize what Iran did with the materials and withhold technology and raw materials if Iran appeared to be shifting toward weapons programs.
Interestingly, the current Iranian government has cited the same national sovereignty, security and its energy concerns expressed by the Shah in the process of developing a nuclear energy program.
No nation has a right to nuclear weapons, including the existing nuclear powers: the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, Pakistan, India, and Israel. And because the nuclear energy industry has so far failed to guarantee public health and safety and environmental protection, nuclear energy should itself be halted. Dismantling nuclear arsenals should be and is a major goal of the peace movement globally.
In the world of real politics as it is now, however, a diplomatic effort that seeks to guarantee Iran’s national security and an alternative energy source while insisting on international oversight in exchange could serve to ratchet down tensions in the Middle East, reduce or eliminate the so-called proxy wars against Israel, and reduce Iranian-influenced sectarianism in Iraq.
The Repubs have got to be in the corner masturbating for joy at this.
United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger says the union will have to make further concessions as Detroit’s automakers try to meet the terms of government loans.
But Gettelfinger said Wednesday night that the UAW will go to President Barack Obama’s administration in an effort to change some of the terms, which he in the past has called unfair to labor.
Under loan terms from the Treasury Department, Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. have targets to have labor costs competitive with Japanese automakers that have plants in the U.S. They also have to swap cash for stock for half the companies’ payments into a union-administered trust that will take over retiree health care costs in 2010. There’s also language about eliminating the “jobs bank” in which laid off workers get most of their pay.
But Gettelfinger said the terms are unclear, and that the UAW will seek changes.
The union, he said Wednesday night, should get credit for concessions it made to the automakers in 2005 and 2007, some of which have not yet hit the companies’ balance sheets. The health care trust and lump sums in place of pay raises were among the concessions, he said.
He also said he expects Obama to meet soon with the chief executives of Detroit’s automakers to discuss the industry’s problems, although he had no direct knowledge of any meeting being scheduled.
Gettelfinger said he thinks Obama will bring a more straightforward approach to the auto industry than the Bush administration.
I like the optimism but I think that it is misplaced in this situation. Obama will tell the UAW that they must sacrifice as everyone will.
This week, senior officials at the Federal Reserve cited the need for further cash infusions into the weaker financial institutions, even as one of the original TARP recipients, Citigroup announced the sale of a controlling stake in its retail brokerage unit, , to Morgan Stanley to bolster its capital position. Citi has already gotten $45 billion in cash and a government guarantee for up to $300 billion in losses on its balance sheet. So the bank’s need for more cash doesn’t inspire much confidence that the TARP funds have been well spent.
Same plan, different day.
Ben Bernanke, chair of the Federal Reserve, has “warned” Congress that “fiscal stimulus packages,” meaning social spending and tax policies to increase purchasing power, will not be a long-term solution to the “credit crisis.” Rather, he has suggested that more extensive bank bailouts may be necessary.
Bernanke wasn’t opposing the present bailout with his remarks, but it is or should be obvious that he is still thinking in terms of reviving the financial system that he inherited from Alan Greenspan. Notably, Bernanke failed to talk about serious new regulation of the financial services industry or any serious connection between finance capital “bailouts” and the job and income security except “old time trickle down religion” which was good enough for Coolidge and Hoover, Reagan, Clinton, and the two Bush presidents.
Congress should write a new national banking act that makes the chair of the Federal Reserve directly accountable to Congress and the President and gives the President with the consent of Congress the right to remove Federal Reserve chairs. It is also time to have the Federal Reserve work in concert with the Treasury and the federal government as a whole as part of a national economic program.
Return to the drawing board and start over…remember it is time to change…then start with the Fed.
AS reported by CNN:
A noose was found Wednesday on the desk of an African-American supervisor at the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, according to the agency’s director.
The supervisor and a colleague found the rope “tied into a noose at the supervisor’s desk” in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said a statement from agency director Mark Cooper.
“Let me make myself clear: This type of behavior is 100 percent unacceptable and will not be tolerated on my watch,” Cooper said at a news conference recorded by CNN affiliate WBRZ.
State police responded to the office where the noose was found, Cooper said.
“Once it is discovered who is responsible for this act, we will pursue criminal charges against the person or persons responsible to bring justice for these two employees and send the strongest message possible that we will not tolerate any type of harm to our personnel,” he said.
Both the supervisor and the other employee are African-American, GOHSEP spokeswoman Veronica Mosgrove said. The noose was about 8 inches long, she said.
Public display of a noose in Louisiana is a felony punishable by up to a year in prison a fine of up to $5,000, state police Superintendent Mike Edmonson said at the news conference.
Cooper said he told both employees that “we will do what it takes to assist and support them and their families in any way possible to deal with this gross violation of an individual’s right to work in a safe and
Looks like this type of crap never stops. And people think that the South is changing….sounds about the same as it has been for years to me.