We’ll be paying for this for how long? A decade? The rest of our lives?
We’ll be paying for this for how long? A decade? The rest of our lives?
Americans have almost always taken growth for granted. Recessions kick in, financial crises erupt, yet these events have generally been thought of as the exception, a temporary departure from an otherwise steady upward progression.
But as expectations for the recovery diminish daily and joblessness shows no sign of easing — as the jobs report on Friday showed — a different view is taking hold. And with it, comes implications for policymaking.
The “new normal,” as it has come to be called on Wall Street, academia and CNBC, envisions an economy in which growth is too slow to bring down the unemployment rate, while the government is forced to intervene ever more forcefully in a struggling private sector. Stocks and bonds yield paltry returns, with better opportunities available for investors overseas.
If that sounds like the last three years, it should. Bill Gross and Mohamed El-Erian, who run the world’s largest bond fund, Pimco, and coined the phrase in this context, think the new normal has already begun and will last at least another three to five years.
The new normal challenges the optimism that’s been at the root of American success for decades, if not centuries. And if it is here, the new normal could force Democrats and Republicans to rethink their traditional approach to unemployment and other social problems.
This is the ObamaEconomy. Same as the Carter Economy. If we want to live like this, we can continue to vote these dufuses into office. They’ll do the rest.
If you don’t go to the link, I can tell you that the talk is turning to doing a massive government program, patterned on the WPA, (Works Progress Administration), which was put in place during the Great Depression.
Let’s face it: Obama’s policies have failed massively. The sooner we admit our mistake and change course, the better off we’ll all be.
Listen to this:
But more evidence is emerging that the old normal of unemployment at about 5 percent during buoyant economic growth is over.
For those who cannot recall the Carter years, that was the mantra. We’re going to have to learn to live with high unemployment, and, in those years, high inflation. This is normal. Reagan ran for President on the premise that that is nonsense. He had an optimistic, pro-growth, lower taxes approach. And it triggered a wonderful economy that held up.. until.. well, until we decided that the right approach was to hire a bunch of Democrats (2006, 2008).
Now that Jonathan Alter’s literary fellating of President Omoeba is old news (it was old news before he started), I’d like to share this excerpt with you (it’s safe for work).
Newsweek just sold for a dollar. No surprise why:
Barack Obama was more cunning than anyone knew.
Seriously, that’s how it starts. Could you just barf? Let me move ahead.
By this time the molecules of power in American politics were in a rapid state of realignment.
Huh? I like a good metaphor and all, but how can power (in this case, authority or command might have been better words) be likened to a molecule? The trope draws too much attention to itself and away from the story.
Bush, who was supposed to be leading the meeting, was poorly informed and detached. “He’s already in Crawford,” whispered one Republican. That left the skinny African American guy who had crashed into their world only three and a half years earlier. He was the only one of the big dogs who seemed to know what he was talking about. Obama was taking charge of the meeting—and the crisis—peppering the others with detailed questions.
After the meeting broke up, the Democrats huddled with their aides in the narrow and crowded hallway just outside the Cabinet Room. They were angry and confused. Should they go to the microphones and blast the TARP deal right then?
“Shhh! This place may be bugged,” Obama said, referring to the White House he would occupy four months later. He was joking, but the point was serious. “We need to go back there,” he said, gesturing across the hall to the Roosevelt Room, which was fortuitously unoccupied.
Back inside the Roosevelt Room, the Democrats resumed their conversation over what to do next, when there was a knock at the door. In walked a highly agitated Henry Paulson. Bush’s treasury secretary started in right away: “Please. I’m begging you—begging you!—don’t go out and attack the plan.”
Now Paulson was down on one knee, pleading with the Democrats not to “blow up” the deal. It was hard to know how serious he was, but others in the room found it scary to see the treasury secretary pathetically praying in the middle of a crisis.
“I didn’t realize you were Catholic,” Pelosi deadpanned. (Paulson is actually a Christian Scientist.) Barney Frank muscled his way past Harry Reid and started yelling. “F-you, Hank! F- you! Blow up this deal? We didn’t blow up this deal! Your guys blew up the deal! When Paulson tried to equivocate, Frank threw in another “F-you, Hank!”—his third of the day.
Everyone knew Frank had a temper, but no one had seen anything like this. For a moment it struck Robert Gibbs and Jim Manley (Reid’s aide) that this little scene really could get physical: the pudgy congressman versus the gawky treasury secretary, right here in the White House. As a former Dartmouth football player, Paulson was the favorite, but maybe Frank had a shot.
The only person standing between Frank and Paulson was Barack Obama, who bent his arms and spread his palms to keep the two men apart. “Okay, guys,” Obama said, like a teacher preventing a playground brawl.
“That was surreal,” Obama said on the speakerphone from the car on the short ride back to the hotel, with several campaign aides on the call.
No one knew Frank could go postal? Yeah, right. And this pudgy little psychopath, along with his partner in crime, Chris “Sweetheart Loan” Dodd, just got a standing-O from his colleagues for gutting the financial industry. Odd and Dodd: the perfect pair. (You would prefer The Lush and The Swish?)
I realize this is written from Obama’s perspective, but don’t call it journalism. Not even in today’s degraded state is this journalism. It’s pornography.
Of course Bush was checked out—he was a lame duck, others would have to deal with the consequences, and these matters were way over his head, as they were over almost everyone else’s. Paulson was probably running the meeting. And who says those questions that Obama was peppering people with weren’t stupid questions?
That McCain screwed this up and was out maneuvered is old and already accepted news. Which may explain why this insider view of Obama (and I mean inside literally) is already ranked down at 1,315 at Amazon.
But I can’t get over the horror of our most detailed financial rules and regulations being written by a corpulent communist who treats Treasury Secretaries as he would ferry ticket salesmen.
I bet he never talked to Dick Cheney like that. They overlapped (if that’s not an unfortunate choice of word) in the House from 1981-’89, so he could have taken his shot.
But so could have Cheney:
Seriously, what could I add?
Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank caused a scene when he demanded a $1 senior discount on his ferry fare to Fire Island’s popular gay haunt, The Pines, last Friday. Frank was turned down by ticket clerks at the dock in Sayville because he didn’t have the required Suffolk County Senior Citizens ID. A witness reports, “Frank made such a drama over the senior rate that I contemplated offering him the dollar to cool down the situation.” Frank made news last year when he was spotted looking uncomfortable around a bevy of topless, well-built men at the Pines Annual Ascension Beach Party. Frank’s spokesperson confirmed to Page Six that his partner, James Ready, asked the ticket office for a regular ticket for himself and a senior ticket for Frank, “but was turned down because Frank didn’t have a resident ID.”
How much did he, er, blow on Fannie and Freddie? And he’s bitching about a measly buck?
I probably should have stopped with no comment.
Really, a financial system overhaul authored by Barney (Freddie’s Fannie) Frank and Christopher (Sweetheart Deal) Dodd just can’t be good. Like the legislators themselves, I don’t have to read the bill to know that.
But they got a standing-O from their Democratic colleagues nevertheless:
It was perhaps one of the most bipartisan votes of the entire debate. Unanimous. And a standing ovation from Democrats and Republicans. A teary-eyed Mr. Frank exchanged a few hugs before he sat back down and prepared to wrap up debate of the “conference” committee bill.
This snapshot of legislative sausage being made doesn’t make me feel any better:
“My guess is there are three unintended consequences on every page of this bill,” Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas) said of the nearly 2,000-page bill.
Judd Gregg is even less impressed:
“This legislation is a failure on both counts,” Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) said in a statement that denounced the compromise as failing to address “shoddy underwriting practices” or problems with the government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “It will not encourage much-needed stability and confidence in our financial markets. It will not significantly reduce systemic risk in our financial sector.”
But I actually think Chris Dodd hisself said it best:
“It’s a great moment. I’m proud to have been here,” said a teary-eyed Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), who as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee led the effort in the Senate. “No one will know until this is actually in place how it works. But we believe we’ve done something that has been needed for a long time. It took a crisis to bring us to the point where we could actually get this job done.”
As Pelosi said of the health bill, we have to pass it to find out what’s in it.
Who knew the American Republic would collapse so quickly? A year and a half.
One acts creepy around kids and is nauseating after about twenty seconds—and the other’s a purple dinosaur!
That’s a joke, son.
But is there a stranger person in the entire US Congress than Barney Frank?
What’s the deal with Barney Frank and his “partners?”
First there was Stephen Gobie, male prostitute and pimp:
Frank, one of two openly gay members of Congress, confirmed Friday that he paid Gobie for sex, hired him with personal funds as an aide and wrote letters on congressional stationery on his behalf to Virginia probation officials, but Frank said he fired Gobie when he learned that clients were visiting the apartment.
Then there was his love connection over at Fannie Mae:
Unqualified home buyers were not the only ones who benefitted from Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank’s efforts to deregulate Fannie Mae throughout the 1990s.
So did Frank’s partner, a Fannie Mae executive at the forefront of the agency’s push to relax lending restrictions.
Now there’s this:
FOX25 has learned that Congressman Barney Frank was present during a marijuana arrest at James Ready’s home in Ogunquit, Maine. Ready is well-known for his relationship with Congressman Frank.
According to a police report, police charged Ready with marijuana possession, cultivation and use of drug paraphernalia in August of 2007. Ready admitted to civil possession and paid a fine. The remaining charges were dismissed in 2008.
Sources tell FOX25 that when Frank was questioned he told police that he did not live in the house and that he only smoked cigars.
Further, Frank now claims he doesn’t even know what marijuana looks like.
I wonder why he didn’t use that excuse when caught with the male hooker, Steve “Hot Bottom” (as Howie Carr calls him) Gobie? “Honest, Officer, I’ve never seen a schlong before.”
It’s been a long time since he’s seen his own.
This nice Jewish boy from New Jersey certainly likes to hang around with rough trade—and by that I mean the Democratic caucus in the US House of Representatives.
Come here, I want to show you a couple of things.
You know how Aggie and I have been shaking our heads over the sheer volume of repaving jobs currently underway, all in the name of stimulus?
Well, it takes a mind greater than ours—Sarah Palin’s, in fact—to connect the potholes:
Given that we’re spending billions of stimulus dollars to rebuild our highways, it makes sense to think about what we’ll be driving on them. For years to come, most of what we drive will be powered, at least in part, by diesel fuel or gasoline. To fuel that driving, we need access to oil. The less use we make of our own reserves, the more we will have to import, which leads to a number of harmful consequences. That means we need to drill here and drill now.
It would take President Obama forty-five minutes and 3,000 words (spoken on two continents) to come to the exact opposite—and dead wrong—conclusion. You may not agree, you may have objections to her premises (though I can’t imagine what they would be), but she made her point in 88 words. If brevity is the soul of wit, she’s Einstein and Obama is a paramecium with a learning disability.
Last Wednesday in Moscow, the remaining illusions the Obama administration held for cooperation with Russia on the Iranian nuclear program were thrown in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s face. Stronger sanctions against Iran would be “counterproductive,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, just days after President Dmitry Medvedev said sanctions were likely inevitable. This apparent inconsistency should remind us that Mr. Medvedev is little more than a well-placed spectator, and that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who discounted sanctions in a statement from Beijing, is still the voice that matters.
This slap comes after repeated concessions—canceling the deployment of missile defenses in Eastern Europe, muted criticism of Russia’s sham regional elections—from the White House. Washington’s conciliatory steps have given the Kremlin’s rulers confidence they have nothing to fear from Mr. Obama on anything that matters.
And nothing matters more to Mr. Putin and his oligarchs than the price of oil. Even with oil at $70 a barrel, Russia’s economy is in bad straits. Tension in the Middle East, even an outbreak of war, would push energy prices higher. A nuclear-armed Iran would, of course, be harmful to Russian national security, but prolonging the crisis is beneficial to the interests of the ruling elite: making money and staying in power.
To paraphrase Sarah Palin, we’re gettin’ all socialisty just when the rest of the world is turning into rapacious capitalists.
President Bush popped the oil bubble by just suggesting an increase in domestic production. A show of hands of anyone who thinks President Obama even allows discussion of such a policy. Anyone? Bueller?
No, we’d much rather let the Arabs, Russians, Venezuelans, and Sudanese (all swell fellows) profit from oil; and the Chinese power their expansion with coal. We have plenty of both, but we’d rather sit here in the cold and dark (global warming? are you kidding?).
One of our readers wondered why Barney Frank didn’t rush to the rescue. I have a thought. A few years back Congressman Frank shared a DC apartment with his lover, whose name I’ve forgotten. This guy was running a male prostitution service from their apartment, I believe. Somehow the media caught on and it was really unpleasant. My guess is that he tries to avoid prostitution related stuff these days.
This is the article It’s coming back. The prostitute was Steve Gobie. This was back in 1989.
Once burned, twice shy.
Be afraid. Be very afraid:
As chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Frank is busy assembling a complex bill to give the federal government unprecedented control over the country’s financial institutions. It is as ambitious as any legislation jolting town halls and cable-news programs…When Congress returns to session after Labor Day, Frank expects to chair a series of hearings and markup sessions that he hopes will generate a single comprehensive bill on financial reform for a vote in the House…
…Frank says the legislation is necessary to help fend off future episodes of financial panic. Hedge funds and derivatives traders would have to operate under new limits. A financial products safety commission would regulate the consumer marketplace, down to payday loans and check-cashing stores. Federal officials would gain new powers to unwind failed financial institutions.
Funny looking and sounding: check and check.
He’s so infuriating, it’s hard to credit Barney Frank with the ample intelligence he wields. But he’s a true believer and a dead-ender. When the Tea Party activists corner him in the barn, like a latter-day John Wilkes Boof, he’ll shout: “You’ll nevew take me awive, you wats! Eat wead!!”
PS: It would be worse:
Frank, a lawyer, could be next in line for the Judiciary Committee gavel, but says recent events have made that ambition moot. He said he has shrunk his political portfolio to only two nonfinance subjects: fisheries issues (due to his coastal district’s economy) and gay concerns (“because there aren’t enough of us to go around’’).
“Go around?” Is that some sexual euphemism?
If we go with the Obama plan, we will deserve it.
Didn’t President Obama scold the “speculators” in the Chrysler bailout as being unwilling to sacrifice?
Can’t wait to hear what he has to say about this:
President Obama may have “no interest” in running General Motors, as he averred Monday. But even if that’s true, we are already discovering that he shares Washington with 535 Members of Congress, many of whom have other ideas.
The latest self-appointed car czar is Massachusetts’s own Barney Frank, who intervened this week to save a GM distribution center in Norton, Mass. The warehouse, which employs some 90 people, was slated for closure by the end of the year under GM’s restructuring plan. But Mr. Frank put in a call to GM CEO Fritz Henderson and secured a new lease on life for the facility.
Mr. Frank’s spokesman, Harry Gural, says the Congressman discussed, among other things, “the facility’s value to GM.” We’d have thought that would be something that GM might have considered when it decided to close the Norton center, but then a call from one of the most powerful Members of Congress can certainly cause a ward of the state to reconsider what qualifies as “value.” A CEO who refuses the offer can soon find himself testifying under oath before Congress, or answering questions from the Government Accountability Office about his expense account. To that point, Mr. Henderson spent Wednesday with Chrysler President Jim Press being castigated by the Senate Commerce Committee for their plans to close 3,400 car dealerships. Every Senator wants dealerships closed in someone else’s state.
As Mr. Gural put it, Mr. Frank was “just doing what any other Congressman would do” in looking out for the interests of his constituents. And that’s the problem with industrial policy and government control of American business. In Washington, every Member of Congress now thinks he’s a czar who can call ol’ Fritz and tell him how to make cars.
Don’t you think of Norton, MA when you think of the American auto industry? Henry Ford, Ransom Olds, Lee Iacocca—Barney Frank. Which doesn’t belong?
Good for Barney Frank for going to bat for his district, but if this is how the government is going to run a car company, I’ll take the bus, thanks.