SteveG’s Posts


Trumka: Disappointment with Obama, a warning for Hillary

USA Today has the article and video Trumka: Disappointment with Obama, a warning for Hillary.

The nation’s most powerful labor leader, vowing to defeat President Obama’s key trade legislation in the House next month, warned Hillary Clinton of serious political consequences if she fails to take a stand against the Pacific trade pact that the president is campaigning for as a major part of his legacy.


I wonder how loudly labor has to speak in order to get the President’s attention. I am not sure Hillary is listening, either. Hillary and her supporters are going to have to learn that we are not going to take the usual crap from Democratic pretenders any more. If they don’t like it, then they should admit that they are really more comfortable in the Republican Party. They should put their efforts into fixing that party, and leave the Democratic party to us.


In Search of the Democratic Soul

Campaign For America’s Future has the article In Search of the Democratic Soul.

Progressive Democrats are often advised not to challenge their party’s leaders too firmly, because the Republican alternative is so terrible. “It is vital (for) Dems to figure out how to maintain maximum unity,” writes Ed Kilgore, “even as they disagree.” Similarly, independent progressives are often told it would be “irresponsible” not to vote for Democrats, even those of the Wall Street variety.

Democrats should be wooing progressives, not scolding them. By appealing to left-wing voters, Democrats will also be winning over the many Republicans and independents who agree with them on a broad range of issues.

The best way to find the soul of the Democratic Party is by seeking out the small-d “democratic” soul instead – that voice of the majority that so often goes unheard in today’s money-driven politics.

Part of the article remarks about how similar Hillary Clinton’s rhetoric is to that of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. I tried leaving the following comment.

In Hillary Clinton’s Roundtable in New Hampshire, one of the panelists cast aspersions on Dodd-Frank twice, and Hillary Clinton did not say a word in response. She made no defense of it, nor did she acknowledge the complainants’ comments.

In fact, Elizabeth Warren has a video response to the issue, Elizabeth Warren: Statement on bill to roll back Dodd-Frank.

Hillary Clinton still uses the same economic advisers who started the ball rolling toward the great collapse of 2008/2009. She has yet to denounce them or the advice that they gave.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are actively engaged in fixing these problems in their day jobs. Clinton is all talk, and not very convincing talk at that.

If you want to equate what Hillary says with what Sanders and Warren actually do, then that’s your privilege. But I think you have your eyes closed to the reality.


Elizabeth Warren: Statement on bill to roll back Dodd-Frank

Elizabeth Warren has made the Facebook post Statement on bill to roll back Dodd-Frank. If you would perfer to join the conversation elsewhere, you can go to YouTube where the video is posted.

The Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Republican Richard Shelby, has a new bill that would dismantle the Dodd-Frank financial regulations put in place after the 2008 crash. This bill is good for big banks, but it’s bad for families. While we should be providing targeted regulatory relief for community banks and credit unions – and stepping up our consumer protections – the last thing we should be doing is rolling back the rules and weakening the oversight for the biggest banks in this country.


It is abundantly clear that Bernie Sanders supports this type of stance that Elizabeth Warren is taking. It is entirely unclear what Hillary Clinton thinks of Dodd/Frank. She made no effort to defend it when one of the panelists in her New Hampshire Roundtable cast aspersions on it twice.


Sympathies to Fellow Quicken Users 1   Recently updated !

If you are having troubles with Quicken screwing up your financial records, you are not alone. I know that is not much comfort to find out that there are others who are having their decades of financial data trashed by Quicken.

You may want to read the Quicken community post Why, after downloading stock quotes today, has my portfolio incorporated a fictitious stock split for PRGO, completely messing up my information for this stock?. It’s not the post I wrote, but it is the one that mine got consolidated into.

Quicken tells me I have a certain amount of money. I hope I don’t wake up tomorrow to find that Quicken has run off to South America with it or how ever much money I may actually have.

It’s going to be time consuming to switch my financial records to a different program and change all my daily procedures, but the time is drawing near. I hope Intuit isn’t screwing up my taxes as badly as they are screwing up my financial records.

Good luck with your Quicken loan, if you have one.

Oh, and remember to request a backup after every successful session you have with Quicken. I hope you have enough disk space. It can be a life saver.


7 Things People Who Say They’re ‘Fiscally Conservative But Socially Liberal’ Don’t Understand

Alternet has the article 7 Things People Who Say They’re ‘Fiscally Conservative But Socially Liberal’ Don’t Understand by Greta Christina.

You can’t separate fiscal issues from social issues. They’re deeply intertwined. They affect each other. Economic issues often are social issues. And conservative fiscal policies do enormous social harm. That’s true even for the mildest, most generous version of “fiscal conservatism” — low taxes, small government, reduced regulation, a free market. These policies perpetuate human rights abuses. They make life harder for people who already have hard lives. Even if the people supporting these policies don’t intend this, the policies are racist, sexist, classist (obviously), ableist, homophobic, transphobic, and otherwise socially retrograde. In many ways, they do more harm than so-called “social policies” that are supposedly separate from economic ones.

The above is just the introduction to the 7 things. This has to be one of the strongest arguments against fiscal conservatism that I have read.

Thanks to Wesley Chrabasz for sharing this Facebook post. If only he could get a mutual friend to read this.


U.S. settles ‘pay-for-delay’ fight with drugmaker Teva over Provigil

Reuters has the story U.S. settles ‘pay-for-delay’ fight with drugmaker Teva over Provigil.

igil by paying generic drug makers to drop their challenges to Cephalon’s patent.

This is often called a “pay-for-delay” agreement since the brand name drugmaker pays a generic maker to delay entering the market.
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The FTC has fought pay for delay deals for more than 10 years. The agency has pushed for legislation to ban the patent agreements or make it easier for the FTC to challenge them.

This opposition got a boost when the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the FTC could pursue pay-for-delay drug cases as potentially illegal.

Well, it is about damn time that our government put a stop to this. I bet you thought that this kind of thing was plainly illegal because of anti-trust laws. Now you know how else the economy has been rigged against you for over 10 years.


Is Progressivism in the Eye of the Beholder?   Recently updated !

New Economic Perspectives has the article Is Progressivism in the Eye of the Beholder? by Joe Firestone. He is critiquing a post by Thomas Palley. He quotes Palley as follows:

In Clintonworld, it seems that playing a central role in catastrophic policy failure or peddling bad economics doesn’t disqualify you from future influence. If anything, a record of being disastrously wrong on economic policy seems to be a required credential.

This is something that even I forget when Clinton tries to put on the charm to pretend that she gets the idea of what being a progressive is. Joe Firestone gives a good account of what would be necessary for us to believe Clinton has really reformed. However, he comes to the following conclusion:

Perhaps Sanders is that authentic candidate. But Hillary Clinton, I’m afraid, can never play that role!


The Fed’s Dereliction of Duty and False Capital Flows Morality

Naked Capitalsim has the article The Fed’s Dereliction of Duty and False Capital Flows Morality.

Yves here. As a result of the US’s push over decades to make the world safe for America’s investment bankers, capital flows across borders easily, and some top experts contend, too easily. Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff, in their work on 800 years of financial crises, found that high levels of international capital flows were strongly correlated with more frequent and severe financial crises. In 2011, Claudio Borio and Piti Disyatat published an extremely important analysis of the crisis which shredded the Bernanke “global savings glut” thesis. It instead found that the culprit was excessive financial elasticity, which basically means deregulation and the resulting high level of cross-border capital flows.

While I have been focusing of late on the uselessness of monetary policy easing when fiscal stimulus is what is needed (just as explained by John Maynard Keynes), I have been ignoring the international impacts. The above article is a good resource for getting my attention back on these important issues.

What is truly galling about the situation is summed up in the closing comments.

Moreover, this tale of financial volatility may have a different moral than the usual one: bad things can happen even to those who follow the rules.

So even if you don’t want to participate in this risky game, there is little you can do to protect yourself except try to have enough of a cushion to survive the inevitable trauma.


Michael Hudson: Ukraine’s “Operation Vulture” and Labor Protests

Naked Capitalism has the article Michael Hudson: Ukraine’s “Operation Vulture” and Labor Protests.

Emptying out Ukrainian business bank accounts will leave empty shells. With Ukraine’s economy broken, the only buyers with serious money are European and American. Selling to foreigners is thus the only way for managers and owners to get a meaningful return – paid in foreign currency safely in offshore accounts, outside of future Ukrainian clawback fines. Privatization and capital flight go together.

So does short-changing labor. The new buyers will reorganize the assets they buy, declare the old firms bankrupt and erase their wage arrears, along with anyother bills that are owed. The restructured companies will claim that bankruptcy has wiped out whatever the former firms (or public enterprises) owed to workers. It is much like what corporate raiders do in the United States to wipe out pension obligations and other debts. They will claim to have to “saved” Ukrainian economy and “made it competitive.”

Who could have predicted this would be the result of the Ukraine taking the West’s deal instead of the deal Putin offered? Well, just about everyone whom I quote on this blog, and they did predict exactly this. But seriously, who could have predicted this?