Tension in Free Market America

Posted on September 29th, 2008 in Economy by Robert Miller

September 29. 2008

This morning president George Bush went on television to encourage the American public to support passage of the new legislative bailout package that was hammered out over the weekend between the administration and congressional leaders. This bill was intended to commit the government to the largest bailout of the financial industry in our history, far outdoing the Savings and Loan scandal created by Ronald Reagan’s regulatory changes in the 1980s. If you saw any part of Bush’s speech this morning, his dejected facial expression, odd mannerisms and speech delivery gloom, it must have seemed to encourage onlookers to conclude: why would you buy anything from this guy? Indeed why would you? So the country decided that they wouldn’t. Many Republican House and Senate members were getting 9 to 1 or 99 to 1 calls and emails constituting a “slam dunk ” against the bailout bill. So, it failed because Pelosi does not want to see a bill pass with a huge Democratic majority, but little Republican support. In essence then, it will be up to the Republicans to align their members for a favorable vote on this bill before it comes up again, which could happen as early as this Thursday. Bush seems to be completely inept at this point as a source of support, through McCain will claim complete victory if anything good comes of this.

Paul Newman

Posted on September 28th, 2008 in Culture,Film by Robert Miller

The Democrats lost an important vote yesterday, when Paul Newman died of cancer at age 83. Newman once said that his activist activities in the 1970s, which landed him on Nixon’s enemies list, was his most important accomplishment. Not only was he a memorable actor, but his food company did good works by donating millions of dollars to good causes. A memorable portrait and tribute to Newman was posted today in Salon, by Stephanie Zacharek.

The Executive Bonus Pay Recovery Act!

Posted on September 28th, 2008 in Economy by Robert Miller

September 28, 2008

On Friday, speaking from the Senate floor, Senator Byron Dorgan from North Dakota, gave an insightful, searing speech about the travesties that have been perpetrated on U.S. taxpayers by the fraudulent behavior of Wall Street and the executives in charge of their diverse “investment instruments.” Dorgan was one of only 9 Senators who voted against the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act in 1999 (put in place under the FDR New Deal administration in 1933 to separate and regulate commercial banks, while allowing investment banks to be free of regulation by the FDIC; this act was nullified in a movement led by Texas Senator Phil Gramm and signed by Bill Clinton). In an impulse of free market euphoria, the Glass-Steagall act was replaced with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which allowed commercial banks to engage in investment activities. At that time (1999) Dorgan forewarned that future problems would result because of the lack of effective regulation of the new banking system. According to Dorgan (I don’t have another source of confirmation for his numbers, so I am reporting them from his speech), in 2007, Wall Street executives received a total bonus package (this is bonus money, not salary or other compensation) of $100 billion.

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