Monday, December 21, 2009



"""If one is still inclined to take [Larry] Summers seriously, consider some other numbers:

- The New York Times estimates that the job losses accompanying the 2009 recession are the most extreme the U.S. has seen in the last 35 years. The paper also reports that the most recent numbers from the Census Bureau show that the national poverty rate reached 13.2 percent in 2008, an increase from 12.5 percent in 2007, and poverty is at an all-time high over the last ten years. Although numbers are still unavailable for 2009, trends from 2008 suggest that poverty continues to be a monumental problem.

- Further analysis from the New York Times suggests that the median household income has declined by four percent from 2007 to 2008. Similarly, the percent of American adults without health insurance has increased by more than three percent over the past ten years, with approximately 50 million uninsured and another 25 million underinsured (both combined equal about 25 percent of all Americans). The economic crisis has also exacerbated the health care problem, since so many of those thrown out of their jobs lose their health insurance coverage.

- As of late 2009, nearly 10 percent of all U.S. home mortgages were either delinquent or in foreclosure, while projections suggest that up to six million families may lose their homes in the next three years if the government fails to effectively act. 2009 estimates suggest that 17 percent of all homes in the U.S., and four in ten homes sold in the last five years are underwater. End of year foreclosure rates also remain high. For the third quarter of 2009, foreclosure filings reached a total of 937,840, a 23 percent increase from a year earlier. Data for November 2009 suggests that home foreclosures did decline 8 percent from October, but remain 18 percent higher than in November 2008.


- Summers also became a controversial figure when it was shown that he made over $5 million in profits for the year in hedge fund investments and another $2 million from troubled Wall Street investment firms (many of which received bailout money) for various speaking engagements. The millions made by Summers from his Wall Street connections have raised many eyebrows at a time when he’s supposed to be spearheading an effort by the White House to increase transparency in the national economy and hold Wall Street accountable for its many transgressions.


-..... Summers [also] supported the 1999 bi-partisan repeal of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act. The Congressional repeal tore down the legal separation between traditional commercial banks and riskier investment banks. This repeal was significant because it ushered in the deregulation of U.S. banks. Deregulation is cited by critics as having played a major role in fostering the current economic collapse and crisis, especially in light of Congress’s deregulation of financial derivatives with the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000.

Larry Summers is merely a symptom of the much larger problem of big businesses’ dominance of government. Business elites do not merely “control” or “buy” political leaders. Increasingly, business and political elites are one and the same. Many of the most prominent members of Obama administration not only serve the business community, they are an active part of it. A recent report from the Chicago Tribune finds that “virtually all of the top Chicagoans [including Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, and Valerie Jarrett] serving in the West Wing had assets valued at a million dollars or more at the end of 2008.” Other administration officials also made their fortunes in corporate America. These officials - many of whom are responsible for regulating Wall Street - include: Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner (net worth of $1.7 million), economic advisor Robert Rubin ($130 million), Commodity Futures Trading Commission head Gary Gensler ($61.7 million), Security and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Schapiro ($41.8 million), and Chief Economist of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board Austan Goolsbee ($2.7 million), to name just a few.""""

To reiterate: "Increasingly, business and political elites are one and the same.""" Bada bing; bada boom.

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