Politics & Policy

Yellen Into the Wind

If history tells us anything (it tells us just about everything), heavy investors in the stock market and the rest of society should be preparing for a repeat of 2007-2008 economic meltdown.

We cite none other than the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve (the FED), Janet Yellen, who said recently, “Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? No, probably that would be going too far. But, I do think we’re much safer, and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes, and I don’t believe it will be.”

Normally, we could accept that as a rather benign statement. She sits at the head of the table of the U.S. financial prognosticators, deciding when to raise interest rates and when to lower them, usually solely as a response to the threat of inflation.

But, Yellen was preceded in her job by the man widely accepted for years as a financial guru whose tortured and turbid statements probably sold more dictionaries and thesauruses than any other government official. He once said, “If I turn out to be particularly clear, you’ve probably misunderstood what I’ve said.”

Alan Greenspan, believed the big banks didn’t need added regulation and although the already scary derivatives trading were a bubble that had to burst at some point, he believed the banks would not do anything against their own self-interests.

The guru blew it on a massive scale, the incoming Obama administration in 2008 had to deal with the massive task of re-righting not just the domestic, but the international economies.

In October of that year, Greenspan told Congress, “I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.” He had sworn by “the presumption of neoclassical economics that people act in rational self-interest.”

And now, the 70-year-old woman who sits in the chair where he once presided over the economy assures us that “not in our lifetimes” will there be another financial crisis.

This, despite the efforts to repeal the regulations put in place after 2008 to prevent a repeat and a failure to replace the regulations removed in the Reagan through Clinton administrations put in place to prevent another Great Depression.

Perhaps the mattress market would be a good investment right now.

<>

trudeau-trump

<>

Bring Back the Old GOP

We have said before that the Republican Party of today is not the respectable and reasonable party with character and sense of ethics that it was in the past. The GOP Senate’s handling of the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to be attorney general showed it also has lost its soul.

This is the same party that in 1986, when it also was in the majority, had at least two members who voted for their country and not their party and joined Democrats in defeating his nomination to be a federal judge. The votes were based on the same evidence presented this time in his attorney general hearings. This year, however, Judiciary Republicans voted lockstep for their party and not their country.

That evidence showed that Sessions was a racist—once a racist, always a racist, and most racists don’t believe they are. It included statements from people who had worked for him, alleging he described the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP as “Communist-inspired” and “un-American” for forcing “civil rights down the throats of the people. He was said to have told a staffer that he supported the Ku Klux Klan until he found out they smoked marijuana, and that he called a black aide “boy” and warned him against criticizing whites.

That Judiciary Republicans voted unanimously for confirmation was bad enough, but It got worse when the full GOP-controlled Senate took up the nomination, led by Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, one of the weaseliest men ever to serve in the Senate that once included Joseph McCarthy. McConnell knew he had enough votes to confirm Sessions, but, in character, he couldn’t let well-enough alone.

As Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., read from the same evidence of racism presented in 1986, including statements from the late Coretta Scott King and Ted Kennedy, who once held Warren’s seat, McConnell interrupted her and said she was violating an obscure Senate rule that bars a senator from imputing to another senate conduct “conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.” Warren persisted and McConnell called for a vote on a formal rebuke, i.e., telling her to sit down and shut up.

McConnell’s predecessor in 186, Bob Dole of Missouri, was capable of doing some mean things, but it is hard to imagine him invoking that rule in the Sessions situation. In fact, McConnell himself has not invoked it in the recent past even when a fellow Republican, Ted Cruz of Texas, called him a liar during public debate on the Senate floor.

Nonetheless, Senate Republicans, who had planned before the day’s debate to invoke the arcane rule if Sessions was criticized (even though he was in the position of giving up his Senate seat to become attorney general), voted lockstep again to rebuke Warren and keep her from participating further in Sessions debate. (Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., voted with the Republicans when he was clear his vote would not be needed, a sop to his Trump-loving constituents.)

At least Sessions had the decency not to vote for his own confirmation. But, who knows what he would have done were there one fewer Republican in the Senate.

Apparently, today’s Republicans are lockstep okay with not only with Sessions and his beliefs, they have stomachs of iron and will take whatever Trump throws at them. No wonder he was able to steal their party.

It also may be that the party that sides with racists was still upset that the black president’s attorneys general also were black.

<>

R.I.P. GOP

It was a bit strange recently to read two conservative columnists and their takes on the state of the Republican Party. One announced that the party had died and mentioned some September, 2016 date. Another blamed Obamacare for the ogre who was the target in both columns—Donald Trump.

Both not only are wrong, they are way, way behind in their consideration of the long-term demise of the party that once was at least the honorable opposition and “worthy opponent.”

The party was placed on its death-bed, never to recover, back in 1994, when the off-year elections put the Republicans in control of the U.S. House for the first time since 1955 and a separated two-term blip in control stretching back to the beginning of the 1930s.  How ridiculous to say that Obamacare was responsible. Barack Obama wasn’t even old enough to be president when the seed was sown for the GOP demise.

A chubby little man who had been a history teacher whose higher education never left the South, qualifying him for a teaching job at the University of West Georgia, a backwater school unheard of outside of Georgia.

Newton Leroy Gingrich had an infamous affair with another congressman’s secretary, making waves by humping her between a couple of U.S. Capitol columns. Gingrich majors in 19-year marriages—two of them. At age 73, his warranty on the third one has three years to run on his between-the-columns bug-eyed paramour 23 years his junior. By the way, when he became speaker of the House in 1995, he got her a cushier job on a committee.

It wasn’t his intention to do so, but the chubby “Newt,” which is a lizard-like creature, a salamander bigger only than an eft, systematically dismantled the Republican Party, leaving in place a political institution so pathetic it, not only could behave no other way for eight years than as an obstruction to the nation’s first black president, it could be taken over by the likes of Trump, the psychopathic liar who wants nothing but to be in the limelight.

To make matters worse, Gingrich not only is a Trump supporter, he is a campaign advisor and ardent campaigner for someone who even an ignoramous with Newt’s background has to know would be a total disaster in the job. Unless Gingrich were running things, of course. How could that go wrong? Could it be any worse than a Dick Cheney in a Dubbya Bush White House?

No wonder Trump’s campaign is waged in the gutter.

Advertisements