ISBN: 9781603582056 Year Added to Catalog: 2009 Book Format: Paperback Dimensions: 5 3/8 x 8 3/8 Number of Pages: 224 Book Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Old ISBN: 1603582056 Release Date: May 11, 2009 Web Product ID: 467
Also By This Author
The Looting of America
How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions, and Prosperity—and What We Can Do About It
The new financial instruments invented about 30 years ago helped the America’s wealthiest to suck up the extra wealth created by deregulated finance system, explains Les Leopold, author of “The Looting of America”.
The New York Times
October 15, 2009, 5:40 pm
Dow 10,000, Goldman $3 Billion: Welcome to the ‘Bush Recovery’
By Eric Etheridge
At the Huffington Post, Les Leopold said “It’s time to recognize what it means to be part of the billionaire-bailout nation. Citizenship comes in three distinct flavors.”
If you are wealthy, it’s fantastic to take part in the resurgent Wall Street boom. You are thrilled to see the trillions in taxpayer dollars successfully prop up the financial sector. After all it’s not really your money — your tax shelters take care of that. You love the rise in the markets. You are now reaping the rewards of investing in a sector that rests firmly upon government welfare, and in which the largest institutions are guaranteed from failure. It feels good to see double-digit returns again, which you feel you truly deserve. The gap between your wealth and the average American’s is utterly fantastic. Life is good.
If you have a job, you are feeling better than a year ago. Your 401k is coming back from the dead. The stimulus program seems to be helping with your employment. You may even get some relief from health care reform. But you are not seeing your wages increase. (Overall the average production workers real wages are down more than 18 percent since the mid-1970s.) It’s not easy to maintain a middle-class existence or get anywhere near one if you’re not already there. Layoffs might be slowing down but you are still petrified that your job will soon disappear. You are unsure you can provide for your children’s education and your own retirement. The future seems much less secure than it did for your parents’ and grandparents’ generations.
Bankers Are Creating a Slot Machine with Our Money
by James Parks, Jul 15, 2009
The nation’s financial markets were a disaster waiting to happen, and the recent crash has given progressives the perfect opportunity to create a more fair and prosperous economy, says a leading author.
Les Leopold, author of The Looting of America, says the nation’s economic disaster was caused by a financial crash that has been brewing for 30 years. It began when policymakers created a trifecta of deregulated financial markets, tax codes that favored the rich and new trade rules.
[These policies] were supposed to lift all boats; instead, we got a gigantic bubble which burst.
Leopold, executive director of two nonprofit educational organizations—the Labor Institute and Public Health Institute—spoke last night at the National Labor College (NLC) in Silver Spring, Md.
Goldman Sachs Welfare Kings driving Ferrari's
July 15, 10:51 AM • Philadelphia Progressive ExaminerTim McCown
I am rapidly losing my patience with Wall Street's sense of entitlement to rob us blind and our governments complicity in the theft. A New York Times editorial today began, "Unemployment is rising, foreclosures are surging and lending is still restrained." What the Times concluded is that things are much worse than people thought.
Some experts believe the real unemployment rate, counting those working part time who want full time work and can't find it and those who have stopped looking because they can't find work may be approaching 20%. The Times concludes that if the Obama Administration is serious about helping homeowners in foreclosure then we need to revisit allowing bankruptcy judges to modify loans; otherwise, banks have an incentive to seek foreclosure because that is more profitable to them.
One of the reasons is that foreclosures allow banks to postpone taking a loss until the process is complete. This process that can take over one year.
Then there is Goldman Sachs, which represents the arrogance and sense of absolute entitlement that only Marie Antoinette could fathom. With this economic news they announced record profits and a willingness to pay out 18 billion to employee's in compensation. The problem is that as Les Leopold shows on Huffington Post in an article entitled Happy Days are here again ( Here = Wall Street ), it is you and I who will actually be forking out the 18 billion or $600,000.00 per employee.
Paving the Way for Repeated Economic Collapse (Again): Market Gamers are Undeterred
Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:27:55 PM EDT
This morning (July 10) NPR reported that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has placed the blame for the economic collapse squarely where he should have today: Unregulated derivatives. Morgan Stanley has announced it intends to magically (my word) turn downgraded loan CDO into AAA bonds! Poof! Just like that! This very day, Goldman Sachs plans its return to its risky (unregulated) investment strategies. And also this AM we learn on NPR that AIG will continue handing out their outrageous bonuses (for helping to wreck the economy). Someone in the White House or at Treasury must must step up and step in.
As Danny Schechter tells us, you can read at GamingtheMarket.com that "markets are subject to, prone to and characterized by all sorts of manipulative practices." Indeed, according to Reuters here a recent arrest over the July 4th holiday weekend, raises new concerns about just that. One sentence will raise the hair on your neck:
"The bank has raised the possibility that there is a danger that somebody who knew how to use this program could use it to manipulate markets in unfair ways."
We have the most fundamental fight over power ahead of us -- either the banks get bigger and richer and more powerful, or we take away some of their political power for ourselves and our businesses.
Why does this fight matter? Because we have trillions of dollars in deficit, and the financial sector is winning policy after policy and will continue to squeeze tax breaks, loose rules and dollars out of government. The financial sector is stopping our country from getting out of the crisis, it is to blame for our troubles. If we don't stop it, where will our country be by the end of this year?
But do you feel like you don't understand big finance, while you feel less financially secure? Wall Street has been getting away with taxpayer dollars, corruption and risky practices, and a massive market failure. It's because it wants us to believe that "ordinary people can't understand finance and economics." Let's get together and understand why the economic crisis happened and what is being done now.
To beat Wall Street at its game, we need to learn about what it's doing and then loudly refuse its way of doing business. A New Way Forward is launching a way we can do the first part to stop bad practices on Wall Street -- volunteers around the country are hosting economic crisis video screenings and town hall forums starting this Monday through Friday, some Webcasted live.
You can see the ANWF Economic Crisis 2009 video or bookmark this link to watch any of the live Webcasts on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. You can host your own screening using just this link: livestream.com/anewwayforward
These town halls are educational, local, citizen, community, rallying with former IMF Chairman Simon Johnson and author and progressive consultant Mike Lux on Captiol HIll. There will be a lively debate at the NYC event, with business leader Leo Hindery debating author Les Leopold and history professor Alice Kessler-Harris. In San Francisco, author Doug Rushkoff and economist Ernesto Dal Bo.
A New Way Forward is a pact we're making as citizens to not continue to let Wall Street act like our masters. The point is that winning the battle with the banks can change politics as usual. I truly believe this is a fight that can reset our political process, restoring it for the public.
So, A New Way Forward is a new group that is open and participatory and crosses party lines -- it's easy to be a part of this important movement, just sign up and we'll win.
ANWF is organized via the Web by local teams that want to take back the power of the ordinary citizen to affect our economic structure. As the banking industry continues secret lobbying in Washington, A New Way Forward is trying to begin a serious discussion at the grassroots level. Getting together this week is a start to fighting the big players in the financial sector.