Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ President Franklin Roosevelt’s Inspiring, & Still Current, Acceptance Speech at the 1936 Democratic National Convention
President Franklin Roosevelt’s incremental changes were gigantic. Where are the leaders of today? Are they too afraid, or are they secretly part of the still-present economic royalty?
There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small-businessmen and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.
It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.
The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor – these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship. The savings of the average family, the capital of the small-businessmen, the investments set aside for old age – other people’s money – these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in.
Those who tilled the soil no longer reaped the rewards which were their right. The small measure of their gains was decreed by men in distant cities.
Throughout the nation, opportunity was limited by monopoly. Individual initiative was crushed in the cogs of a great machine. The field open for free business was more and more restricted. Private enterprise, indeed, became too private. It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise.
An old English judge once said: “Necessitous men are not free men.” Liberty requires opportunity to make a living – a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.
For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor – other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.
Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people’s mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended.
The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody’s business. They granted that the government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.
Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.
These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for.
What’s changed? We are still fighting this war.
⇧ Obama Blames Republicans For Slow Economic Recovery | The Daily Caller
“The plans that we have put in place to grow the economy have worked,” the president declared in the Oval Office. “They would work even faster if we did not have the kind of obstruction that we’ve seen in this town to prevent additional policies that would make a difference. …
There’s truth in that; however, what would President Obama have done, and why didn’t he take his plea to the American people to force Congress?
⇧ Wages: The shadow hanging over the jobs market
For American workers, it’s a familiar refrain: Jobs are plentiful but they don’t pay very much. The unemployment rate is falling, but it’s because the workforce is shrinking. The economy is growing, but the benefit distribution has been uneven.
The hallmark has been a relentless dichotomy that has provided cold comfort to the workforce, weighing on the minds of those whose wages have barely kept pace with inflation, manifesting in a wave of anger that has created a political climate perhaps unlike any the nation has ever seen.
So it’s no wonder that away from Wall Street, Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report didn’t generate universal acclaim.
Jeff Cox also zeroed in on the fact that wages actually went down.
The movement to increase the minimum wage will help (the Fed should favor it, as it would, according to the Fed’s notions, increase price-inflation pressures, which they want), but we shouldn’t have to be clamoring for living wages.
⇧ Flint Just Replaced Its First Lead Pipe (Only About 8,000 More to Go)
What a mess:
There are more than 8,000 lead service lines in Flint, a city of nearly 100,000 people, according to a study released last month by a University of Michigan professor. But the city’s records are spotty, and the locations of only 4,376 are known. Lead pipes that likely exist on blocks with others will have to be identified before they can be removed.
⇧ Exclusive: U.S. watchdog to probe Fed’s lax oversight of Wall Street | Reuters
The probe, which had not been previously reported or made public, is the first by an outside agency into the perception that government regulators are “captured” by and too deferential toward the bankers they supervise, so that Wall Street benefits at the public’s expense.
In the letter, Waters and Green said they are particularly concerned about reports of a “revolving door” between the New York Fed and the banks, and “a reluctance to challenge” them.
Better late than never (?) because, wow, it’s been a long time.
⇧ Congressional watchdog to review Fed’s bank oversight
Additionally, the Fed said it would develop a curriculum focused on the training of examiners who oversee large financial institutions.
Can you imagine that, that wasn’t in existence.
⇧ Congress’ GAO Opens Investigation of Fed’s Bank Oversight – Bloomberg Business
The Fed attracted considerable criticism for its failure to prevent excessive risk-taking by U.S. banks in the lead-up to the financial crisis of 2008-09, which triggered the worst recession in the U.S. since the Great Depression.
Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo, who oversees supervision and regulation, overhauled the central bank’s approach following his appointment in 2009. He re-established the Board’s authority on oversight, and created a new team of risk hunters comprised of market specialists, lawyers and senior examiners that looks at developments across institutions. Tarullo has also overseen the Fed’s annual stress tests, designed to inspect the resiliency of the biggest banks in dire economic scenarios.
Despite toughened scrutiny, there have been some nasty surprises. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lost at least $6.2 billion in trading in 2012, and the Fed’s inspector general criticized the New York reserve bank for botched oversight.
I definitely think the Fed is the wrong institution to supervise the banking industry. The bankers actually own the Fed. It’s the fox guarding the chicken coop, though there have been improvements.
⇧ Fed Proposes New Rule Capping Business Between Banks – The New York Times
… the banks may welcome the latest version of the cap, especially because it will be less onerous on their operations that trade derivatives, the financial contracts that allow investors to make wagers on, say, interest rates and stock prices.
If the Glass-Steagall Act hadn’t been repealed, none of this would even be necessary and the whole deregulatory climate that led directly to the crash wouldn’t have happened.
This is why those who say Glass-Steagall wouldn’t have prevented the crash are mistaken. It wouldn’t have prevented it alone, but it would have gone a very long way in doing it. When coupled with not doing the other deregulatory things the shortsighted, greedy, government-killing, money-crazed elitists did, the crash would not have happened. Anyone who claims otherwise, is missing the point or is shilling: the psychological point as well as the point of the letter of the laws/regulations.
The firewall should have been left in place, and anti-trust laws should have been enforced. The sweeping-, reckless-deregulation promoters should have been told, “No.” That’s what I thought at the time. Alan Greenspan and Bill Clinton were utterly wrong and have admitted it publicly.
Banks that hold FDIC-insured deposits should not be allowed to speculate in derivatives, period.
⇧ Plan for redevelopment of abandoned properties headed to governor | Government and Politics | nwitimes com
Under the plan, a city redevelopment commission can establish new opportunity areas composed of multiple abandoned properties that would be auctioned as a group for redevelopment, instead of forcing developers to acquire lots individually at tax sales.
It would, however, tend to benefit the bigger developers over the smaller ones; but, that’s how big projects get done.
⇧ BIDDING WARS: Birmingham real estate market rises from the ashes – Yellowhammer News
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Birmingham is making a comeback.
In the wake of the 2008 real estate crash, Birmingham lost more than 50,000 jobs. The 30 publicly traded companies that once called Birmingham home has dwindled down to 12. And five years ago, Jefferson County filed for bankruptcy.
But as anyone who has visited downtown or the surrounding suburbs recently can attest, Birmingham is reinventing itself.
⇧ Coming Soon: The End of the Chinese Miracle – YouTube
As I’ve said ever since China “opened up,” global wages really won’t rise until hyper-capitalists (the type FDR was referring to above) have run out of cheaper places to move. Recently, I’ve added: or until we establish a guaranteed living-income for all (which is my choice).