Another way the rich are different

Here is another big difference between the 1 percenters and everyone else. They get paid to co-sign loans.Ever co-sign a loan? Maybe your kid is in college and you needed to co-sign for the student loans from Sallie Mae. Or maybe a friend or a relative's car broke down and the only way they could get a new one in order to be able to get to work was for you to co-sign the loan.Now, here's the question: Is Sallie Mae paying you for co-signing that loan? How about the auto finance company, … [Read more...]

Unemployed in ‘The Affluent Society’

I read John Kenneth Galbraith's The Affluent Society more than 15 years ago in an edition, the fourth, that was then already 10 years old.I don't know how the argument of that book has held up over time or whether it is still well-regarded within the discipline of economics. But yesterday I found myself plucking this book down from the shelf for two reasons: 1) More than 14 million Americans are unable to find work, and 2) I am one of them.Given that, a few passages from Galbraith's book … [Read more...]

Idea of a debt Jubilee takes shape, gains a little steam


And you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you. ... -- Leviticus 25:10-11E.D. Kain of Forbes (!) likes the idea of Jubilee to end or mitigate oppressive debt, noting that the principle has support not just from the Bible, but also from South Park. A debt forgiveness program is a great idea, but it won’t go far enough if we don’t find ways to breathe life back into real wages, fix our lousy healthcare system, and propel our economy … [Read more...]

Herman Cain vs. G.K. Chesterton


Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is winning cheers on the campaign trail for telling the poor and the unemployed that they have only themselves to blame: "Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks — if you don’t have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself!" G.K. Chesterton offered a different perspective: "The old tyrants had enough insolence to despoil the poor, but they had not enough insolence to preach to them. It was the gentleman who oppressed the slums; but it … [Read more...]

Why are those OWS protesters so upset?


Wall Streeter Joshua Brown (a "Reformed Broker") offers one answer in a post candidly titled "This Is Why They Hate You and Want You to Die": You want to know why everyone in this country hates you and wants you dead, you big stupid [frakking] bank?Here's why, pay attention: Bank of America Corp will pay $11 million to ousted executives Joe Price and Sallie Krawcheck …Let me clarify that "Hates You and Wants You to Die" refers to the bank itself and not to the flesh-and-blood humans w … [Read more...]

‘Yes, they have very legitimate gripes’

Henry Blodget says "Here's What The Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About ..." The problem in a nutshell is this: Inequality in this country has hit a level that has been seen only once in the nation's history, and unemployment has reached a level that has been seen only once since the Great Depression. And, at the same time, corporate profits are at a record high. And he has charts. Lots of charts (courtesy of FRED -- Federal Reserve Economic Data). Let's start with the obvious: … [Read more...]

College is not a financial investment


James K.A. Smith casts a skeptical eye toward the latest figures allegedly showing the economic value of a college education.Smith, we should note, teaches philosophy at Calvin College, and this he has a personal stake in countering this idea of college as an "investment" in higher future income. It that's what higher education is for, after all, then there's no point in anyone studying philosophy. (I forget the name of the stand-up comic who joked about majoring in philosophy, then … [Read more...]

Proclaim liberty throughout all the land

My plan for economic recovery is as all-American as the Liberty Bell and as "values-voter" friendly as the Ten Commandments.Here it is: Declare a year of Jubilee -- "proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."And no, I'm not kidding. Neither are some economists, as Jennifer Ablan and Matthew Goldstein report for Reuters: More than three years after the financial crisis struck, the economy remains stuck in a consumer debt trap. It's a situation that could take … [Read more...]