What if bigger isn't better?
Dieting: Bernanke has assured Senator Warren that we will not have the too big to fail banks forever, because they “will voluntarily reduce their size.” He was unable to say exactly when this might occur because it was difficult to know when the banks will have gotten every last penny from every last one of us.
Knowing vs. Doing: There is, generally, more money in not solving a problem, as drug makers with their palliatives understand, than in solving it.
It's All Your Fault: The question isn't 'Is austerity necessary?' it's 'Who should bear the burden of the austerity?' Governments didn't get over their heads in debt without the eager cooperation of the bankers/investors/gamblers. They are as culpable here as they were in the mortgage market, and they eagerly ignored the obvious dangers in pursuit of profits. Why are the taxpayers the first in line to be shorn? The bankers/investors/gamblers who gave the loans were quite aware the government couldn't pay, but they were also really sure that the sheep were there to be shorn. Maybe, just maybe, the sheep should shear the bankers. After all, the money the bankers/investors/crooks have came from profits made off the taxpayers' labor in the first place. Maybe the austerity should start with the few, the rich, those yearning to grind us into the dirt. Why not start by cutting government debts by selectively lopping a few trillion off what “we” owe to them, the bankers, etc. Across the board, then make whole those who had no choice (pension funds etc.) and let the rich become less rich. Let those who want austerity have memories of having got what they so richly deserve.
None Of The Above: Italy's voters did what we all would like to do – they told the professional politicians to go away. The final result of the Italian elections won't be known for a while, it takes a lot of back-stage wheeling and dealing and Beppe's reluctance to play well with the big boys is going to make things difficult. Certainly the Germans are upset, so that's all to the good.
On Economic Justice: Who should get how much? Who deserves how much, how much money, how much hunger, how much health and how much pain? How do we decide?
Pull Up A Chair: Big Brother Ben Bernanke says we shouldn't pay attention to the polite ruckus going on behind the curtain, everything is under control, the economy is on track, and unemployment will fall to about 6% in only three or four more years. That's “a reasonable guess” he said, although exactly what's reasonable about three more years of high unemployment wasn't immediately clear.
The Future's Not What It Used To Be: There isn't going to be enough net energy for the economic growth we want; the future will be shaped by scarcity – not abundance.
Fleecing the Sheep: The insurance industry has just been given another handful of taxpayer dollars - Obamacare is the grift that keeps on grifting. Arkansas has been given the federal okay to provide health care coverage for more than 200,000 of the currently uninsured. Yeah. But not through Medicaid. Nope, through publicly paid private insurance. Boo. Will this be good for Arkansans? Yes. But it will be far, far better for the health insurance industry, hospitals and the medical industry. It will cost the taxpayers far more than Medicaid, which in itself costs more than a true single-payer national health system would.
Sin-Be-Gone: Pat Robinson says that you should pray over any second-hand clothing you get – like from a thrift store or your big sister – to drive out the demons that hide out in them. And mom worried about grass stains.
Upstairs/Downstairs: In the last 25 years, while the average worker's inflation-adjusted pay has dropped, the wealth(sic) of African-American households has plummeted. Never something to talk about in polite society, the gap between the wealth of whites and what passes for the wealth of blacks has tripled. And despite all the Republican rhetoric about hard work and all that jazz, the big determining factor in wealth in America is skin color. Charter schools ain't gonna change that.
The Parting Shot: