Friday Links

Quick links–some new, some long overdue:

(1) On the so-called “CRomnibus” and the provision that would “add numerous additional exemptions to the section’s ban on Federal government bailouts of large derivatives dealers”:

(2) On the Bad Grand Jury Decisions:

Speaking of “offending” the cops, here’s The New York Times‘ fail on this topic: New Twist in Lynch’s Confirmation After New York Grand Jury Decision, about how the confirmation hearings for nominee to replace Eric Holder will supposedly be complicated by the fact that she’s heading up the civil rights investigation of Eric Garner’s choking death. The Times tells us: “One Democratic official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is involved in advancing the nomination, said Ms. Lynch would have to carefully navigate community demands for action, in New York and Missouri, and the sensibilities of the law enforcement officers she would represent if confirmed to lead the Justice Department.” Come again? I guess maybe there’s some sense in which the Attorney General, the chief law enforcement official of the United States, “represents” law enforcement officers (though it makes more sense to think of her as their (future) boss); in the context of allegations of illegal police conduct (murder), this is a pretty outrageous framing. (I’ll pass over the usual outrage of the Times‘ use of anonymous sources (usually leakers trying to use the Times reporter to shape the story).

(3) Antonio Weiss nomination: 

The Yves Smith piece, and various recent Bill Black pieces criticizing Dealbook and Andrew Ross Sorkin’s shameless coziness with his Wall Street funders and sources inspired me to check in to see whether the Times‘ Public Editor has had anything critical to say about Sorkin. I found that the current Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, seems to be easy on Sorkin (she brought up criticisms people have had of his coziness with sources here, but instead of actually investigating and assessing the charges, she just gets a quote from Sorkin: “The criticism of him as an insider is, Mr. Sorkin says, ‘an old meme,’ and simply untrue.” Her predecessor, Arthur Brisbane, seems to have been harder on Sorkin, e.g., here.

Ok, that’s it for now.

–Chris Sturr

 

Tuesday Links: CEO Pay, Crisis Costs, Climate March, etc.

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(1) Dr. Dollar on the Ex-Im Bank.  Our latest piece from the (still in production) Sept/Oct issue: Arthur “Dr. Dollar” MacEwan answers this question from D&S reader Arne Alpert: “Congressional Republicans and the Heritage Foundation are making a big deal about the Export-Import Bank, calling it “crony capitalism.” Are they right? Does the Ex-Im Bank serve a useful purpose, or is it just propping up the profits of trans-national corporations?”

(2) Susan Holmberg and Mark Schmitt, The Overpaid CEOInteresting piece that focuses on the costs of high CEO pay. When CEOs get huge paychecks, “the company is choosing to pay executives instead of doing other things—distributing revenues to shareholders, raising wages for workers, or reinvesting in the business. But the greater cost may be the risky behavior that very high pay encourages CEOs to engage in, especially when pay is tied to short-term corporate performance.” This piece resonates with our July/August cover story, Marianne Hill’s Taming the Corporate Beast.

(3) David Cay Johnston, Corporate DeadbeatsThe awesome DCJ has a cover story in Newsweek, which is back in print as of March (it stopped last December). The subtitle: How Companies Get Rich Off Of Taxes.” Key quote: “How can a tax burden become a boon? Simple. Congress lets multinationals earn profits today but pay their taxes by-and-by. In effect, Uncle Sam is loaning these companies all that money they do not immediately turn over as taxes. And all of these loans come with the same attractive interest rate: zero.” Great article; I’m not sure I like “Off Of” in the subtitle, though. Did Newsweek lay their editors off between December and March?

(4) Abby Scher, At Least Some Unions Step Up for Big Climate MarchFormer D&S co-editor Abby Scher had this piece at Truthout on Sunday. Choice quote: “The transit workers are my personal heroes of the climate justice movement; when you encounter members of Transport Workers Union Local 100 while flyering for the march on city streets, not only are they already on board, they often have something to say about the state of a world that doesn’t deal with the reality of climate change.”

(5) National Jobs for All Coalition, Green Jobs for All flyer.  Hat-tip to Trudy Goldberg for this flyer that folks from the National Jobs for All Coalition will be handing out at this weekend’s Climate March in NYC. Print some up and hand them out if you’re going to the march!  “Creating green jobs would solve both environmental and unemployment crises—as well as decrease our growing economic inequality.”

(6) Americans for Financial Reform, Cost of the Crisis:  A briefing paper from AFR, to mark the sixth (!) anniversary of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy filing. A summary:

Cost of the Crisis – An Updated Reckoning, Six Years After the Lehman Bros. Bankruptcy

On the sixth anniversary of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy filing (Sep. 15, 2008), the financial crisis is still severely affecting our economy. Today, Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) released an updated compilation of the quantifiable costs of the financial crisis. A few highlights:

  • The Dallas Federal Reserve estimates the total U.S. economic output loss from the financial crisis and its aftermath will eventually be $6 trillion to $14 trillion, or $50,000 to $120,000 for every U.S. household.
  • Median household wealth in 2013 was $81,200, down 40.0% from $135,400 in 2007 before the financial crisis began (numbers in inflation-adjusted, 2013 dollars). Federal Reserve 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, Table 4.
  • From the beginning of the recovery in 2009 through the end of 2013, wage rates decreased for the bottom 90 percent of workers, despite productivity growth of 4.8 percent over that period. On the other hand, the stock market and corporate profits (adjusted for inflation) have both surpassed their pre-recession peak. EPI.
  • More than five years after the recession officially ended, the unemployment rate (U-3) stands at 6.1 percent as of August 2014, up from a pre-crisis rate of 4.7 percent (in November 2007). Long-term unemployment remains at near-record levels. The typical (median) unemployed worker still takes over three months to exit unemployment – a longer period than has ever been observed during any recession period since World War II. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • At the end of the second quarter of 2014, 8.7 million households remained underwater on their mortgages, representing one out of every six homes with mortgage debt. The average negative equity amount for underwater homeowners was $72,381, or 34.8% more than the home’s worth. In most markets, the largest part of the negative equity is in lower priced homes ­­– 28 percent of the least expensive third of homes were underwater compared to 9 percent in the top tier.  Zillow.

With $613 billion in debts, the Lehman bankruptcy was the largest bankruptcy in US history and a defining moment of the financial crisis.

That’s it for now.

–Chris Sturr