Countervailing power

Boston Globe
by Robert Kuttner


As investigations are now revealing, there were laws that should have prevented the BP oil blowout, but the oil companies kept getting waivers from the Minerals Management Service, which was thoroughly tamed by the petroleum industry and its political allies in Washington. … The same hijacking of the regulatory apparatus occurred on the financial front. Ample laws could have prevented the speculative collapse if they had been enforced, including requiring banks to use sound underwriting standards, preventing credit rating agencies from bestowing triple-A ratings on junk, or keeping derivatives in check. The regulatory defaults spanned the Clinton and Bush administrations...

Big Oil bailout?

Our Future Blog
by Digby


Does that sound insane to you in this environment in which the congress is refusing to extend unemployment benefits? Me too. But John Boehner is actually pushing it. … [The] House Minority Leader [says] taxpayers should help pick up the tab. ‘I think the people responsible in the oil spill — BP and the federal government — should take full responsibility for what’s happening there,’ Boehner said at his weekly press conference this morning. … One very clever thing about this is the fact that they are framing this spill as being the equal fault of BP and the Federal government, which means it’s all the fault of an oil company and the Democrats...

Less government spending = less economic trouble

Christian Science Monitor
by Robert Higgs


Though our current economic troubles are complex, many mainstream economists have endorsed the simplistic Keynesian theory that massive government spending will produce jobs and prosperity. From such Keynesian thinking have flowed the ’stimulus’ and bailout measures that have increased the size and power of government and added trillions of dollars to the public debt. The federal deficit has jumped from about 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in fiscal 2008 to about 10 percent of GDP in fiscal 2009 and 2010. The government now forecasts deficits in the neighborhood of $1 trillion per year for the next decade. Politicians, who are always looking for plausible rationales for their insatiable spending, borrowing, and power-grabbing, had never abandoned Keynesianism, so they have been elated to find economic ‘experts’ again confirming their self-interested inclinations. Indeed, several prominent economists, such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, are urging Washington to spend even more, lest the economy slow. But what does history show?

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp


Our Fault, Too

William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "There were hearings on Capitol Hill this week regarding the Gulf oil disaster, and virtually everyone involved - from witnesses to experts to government officials - had a grand old time throwing rocks at British Petroleum. The Obama administration and various government agencies have also been taking it in the teeth over their failure to quell the oil boiling up from the bottom of the sea. Beaches are closing, animals are dying, livelihoods are being destroyed, and unbelievable as it may seem, the worst is yet to come. New reports indicate the well may have been releasing oil equivalent to the Exxon Valdez spill every eight to ten days since this whole thing started."

Obama, BP and the Wimp Factor

Alexander Cockburn, Truthout: "The British are howling with rage at President Obama's recent tough language about BP's chief executive Tony Hayward. Earlier this week, Obama suggested he'd fire Hayward if he could. U.S. politicians have taken to calling BP 'British Petroleum' - a name the company has not used since the 1990s. It's not surprising that the British are upset. BP is the elephant in the national living room. The value of the BP dividend accounts for roughly 1 pound in every seven of annual British shareholder payouts, and here are prominent politicians in the U.S. talking about BP suspending dividend payouts."


Obama: Stop Bashing Britain

Expect Lots of Government Layoffs at State, Local Level


EPA reveals toxic Corexit ingredients


The Case for a Second Round of Stimulus

By Mike Whitney

Consumer spending is flat, home prices are set to fall, unemployment will likely edge higher, private sector credit is still contracting, capacity utilization is far below pre-crisis levels, the CPI is slipping, and yields on US Treasuries are priced for deflation. The government must pick up the slack or their will be a general fall in prices that will trigger more layoffs, larger deficits, and social unrest.

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