Can a government fall after just three weeks of protests? People who were ignored when they predicted these things even a year ago look really wise today. While the future of Egypt is very uncertain, dramatic and unexpected changes have arrived.
President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court is, essentially, the same type of governing act as the EU decision to bail out European banks vulnerable to the Greek crisis. In both instances political leadership serves the interests of financial elites — plutocracy advancing while veiled by supposedly democratic institutions. In both cases the power of government grows as it defends the critical interests of financial policy overlords.
In 2009 the leading issue of moral hazard was “too big to fail.” Not surprisingly, the more things change, the more they stay the same. As the congressional bank hearings of 2010 unfold, the new touchstone of moral hazard is “too big to discipline.” The heads of Morgan Stanley, J.P Morgan and Bank of America argue that they cannot be reproved in practice or disciplined by being broken up because their gargantuan size is necessary for the health of American banking in a global environment. ‘Make us pay, and you’ll pay,’ is their mantra!
Is irrational exuberance making a comeback at the Fed’s invitation? Irwin Kellner thinks so, arguing that the “humongous volume” of Fed injected liquidity invites a speculative fever. The Fed’s bogus money has not produced consumer price inflation because the wealthy beneficiaries of the liquidity are keeping it engaged in speculative pursuits, with little trickling down to consumers.
Mass media may have been the weakest link in the American political system until the financial crisis of 2008. Personal observations support this conclusion as well as assessments of discerning scholars like Doris A. Graber (see “Mass Media & American Politics,” 7th edition, 2006). However, the emerging media situation is more complex, with growing evidence that heroic visionaries are writing to greater effect than forked tongue villains or hopelessly compromised media celebrities.
Who, if anyone, is surprised that Mr. Stanford’s chapter unfolds in Madoff-ite fashion, politics and all? Who, if anyone, does not expect bailouts and partisan subsidies to continue, with justice thrown to the wind as evidenced in the expanding mortgage subsidy affair?
Now we know why no one but the tax-flawed Timothy Geithner would do as the new Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. Ronald Orol’s report contains clues supportive of some observers’ contention that Mr. Geithner is under the influence of power hungry elites. Mr. Geithner’s proposal comes with the same directive as Paulson’s 2008 TARP proposal: We have to act without delay or be sucked into a black hole of collapsing banks and unemployment.
Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke claims that banks need more aid if we hope to return to economic growth anytime soon. What he really means is that banks and leveraged investors need inflationary economic growth if they are to get the type of returns that widen the gap between the wealthy and everyone else. This is why Fed governors have been peppering their speeches with concerns about inflation falling below “desirable levels.” What is the desirable level for inflation?
The globally coordinated interest rate cut today shows the desperation of central bankers in trying to calm market psychology. The rhetoric about inflationary prospects moderating is delusional. While commodity prices are coming down in the short term they will likely reverse in the mid-term, as fundamentals point higher. Furthermore, government bailouts and backstops will lead to higher inflation as will entitlement programs and the alleged need for large military expenditures.