Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Financial Transaction Tax

Targeting Wall Street, Robin Hood Tax Comes to Washington
Portside Date: 
October 30, 2013
Karen Higgins
Date of Source: 
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Common Dreams
With Congress about to begin the next cycle of budget battles – mostly focused on how much more pain to inflict on Main Street communities across America – a far different message is bubbling up across the land.
Activists from across the land gathered in Washington October 29 to step up what has become an increasingly vocal demand for a change of priorities and tone – with a call to expand the revenue pie with a tax on Wall Street speculation, the Robin Hood tax.
“The fire in this room will light up the sky for a lot of people,” said Larry Hanley, international president of the Amalgamated Transit Union surveying the room in the closing session of an action conference for the Robin Hood Tax campaign.
“We have a revenue crisis, and we know where the money is, it’s on Wall Street.” –George Goehl, National People’s Action

The myth about what caused the financial crisis.

The myth about what caused the financial crisis.
Krugman in his book calls it The Big Lie.  Here is Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Corporations and the corporate state

Our Invisible Revolution

By Chris Hedges
“Did you ever ask yourself how it happens that government and capitalism continue to exist in spite of all the evil and trouble they are causing in the world?” the anarchist Alexander Berkman wrote in his essay “The Idea Is the Thing.” “If you did, then your answer must have been that it is because the people support those institutions, and that they support them because they believe in them.”
Berkman was right. As long as most citizens believe in the ideas that justify global capitalism, the private and state institutions that serve our corporate masters are unassailable. When these ideas are shattered, the institutions that buttress the ruling class deflate and collapse. The battle of ideas is percolating below the surface. It is a battle the corporate state is steadily losing. An increasing number of Americans are getting it. They know that we have been stripped of political power. They recognize that we have been shorn of our most basic and cherished civil liberties, and live under the gaze of the most intrusive security and surveillance apparatus in human history. Half the country lives in poverty. Many of the rest of us, if the corporate state is not overthrown, will join them. These truths are no longer hidden.
It appears that political ferment is dormant in the United States. This is incorrect. The ideas that sustain the corporate state are swiftly losing their efficacy across the political spectrum. The ideas that are rising to take their place, however, are inchoate. The right has retreated into Christian fascism and a celebration of the gun culture. The left, knocked off balance by decades of fierce state repression in the name of anti-communism, is struggling to rebuild and define itself. Popular revulsion for the ruling elite, however, is nearly universal. It is a question of which ideas will capture the public’s imagination.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Guidelines for dialogue in the seminar

<EXT><P>Dialogue: Seminar on the Economic Crisis. 2013.</P>
<P>I search for basic agreements.</P>
<P>I search for strengths in your position.</P>
<P>I reflect on my position.</P>
<P>I consider the possibility of finding a better solution than mine or yours.</P>
<P>I assume that many people have a piece of the answer.</P>
<P>I want to find common ground.</P>
<P>I submit my best thinking hoping your reflection will improve it.</P>
<P>I remain open to talk about the subject later on.</P>
<P>I search for glaring differences.</P>
<P>I search for weaknesses in your position.</P>
<P>I attack your position.
I denigrate you and your position. </P>
<P>I defend my solution and exclude yours.</P>
<P>I am invested wholeheartedly in my beliefs.</P>
<P>I assume there is one right answer, and that I have it.</P>
<P>I want to win.</P>
<P>I submit my best thinking and defend it to show it is right.</P>
<P>I expect to settle this here and now.
I seek to silence those who disagree with my position. </P></EXT></BOX>
Adapted from, Choosing Democracy: a practical guide to multicultural education.  4th. edition. Duane Campbell.  2010.  Allyn and Bacon. <QSET><TTL>AdAdapted

Course Reading List

The Economic Crisis: Sources
Gar Alperovitz, America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy.  (2005) John Wiley and Sons
Barofsky, Neil, Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street. ( 2012)
 Baker, Dean.   Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy, (2009)
Barlett, Donald L., and Steele, James B., The Betrayal of the American Dream.  (2012).
Black, William, The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.
Bivens, Josh,  Failure by Design, The Story Behind America’s Broken Economy. 2011.
Campbell, Duane.  Choosing Democracy: a practical guide to multicultural education. (2010)
Center for Popular Economics, Economics for the 99%.  July 2012.
Edelman, Peter,  So Rich, So Poor. Why it’s so hard to End Poverty in America.  2012.
Engler, Mark. How to Rule the World: The coming battle over the Global Economy. (2008)
Ferguson, Charles H. , Predator Nation; Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America. 2012.  The background for Inside Job.
Frank, Thomas,  Pity the Billionaire: The Hard Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right.  Metropolitan Books. (2012.)
Friedman, Thomas & Michael Mandelbaum, That Used to be US : How American Fell Behind in the World and How We Can Come Back. 2011.
 Fox, Justin.  The Myth of the Rational Market: a History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street. (2009)
Faux, Jeff.  The Global Class War: How America’s Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future- and What It Will Take to Win It Back. ( 2006)
Johnson, Simon and James Kwak,   13 Bankers : The Wall Street Takeover and the next Financial Meltdown. 2010.
Galbraith, John K.  The Predator State.  2008.
Harvey, David. The Enigma of Capital and the Crisis of Capitalism.  (2010)
Hedges, Chris, & Sacco, Joe,  Days of Destruction: Days of Revolt. (2012)
Henry, James. The Price of Off Shore Revisited.  Tax Justice Network. July 2012.
 Krugman, Paul. The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008.  (2009)
Krugman, Paul, End this Depression Now. 2012.
Kuttner, Robert.  A Presidency in Peril: The Inside Story of Obama’s Promise, Wall Street’s Power, and the struggle to control our economic future. 2010.
Levison, Andrew, The White Working Class Today: Who They Are, How They Think, and How Progressives Can Regain Their Support.  2013.
Lewis, Michael,  The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. 2010.
McChesney, Robert W. , Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy. (2013)
Miner, Barbara,  Lessons from the Heartland: A Turbulent Half-Century of Public Education in an Iconic American City. (2013.)
National Commission on the Causes of the Financial Crisis.  The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report. 2011.
 Prins,Nomi.  It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bailouts, Bonuses and Backroom Deals from Washington to  Wall Street. (2009)
Smith, Yves,  Econed: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism.  2010.
Stiglitz. Joseph.  Free Fall, America, Free markets, and the Shrinking World Economy.  (2010)
Some on line resources on the economy,
Baseline Scenario.
Chicago Political Economy Group.
Economic Policy Institute.
United for a Fair Economy.
Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Naked Capitalism.
New Deal.
To calculate the benefits that the rich in your state received from the Obama/Republican compromise.   Citizens for Tax Justice.
New Economic Perspectives.

Revised seminar reading list

Course Outline.
There will be changes to this list as the course develops. Updated 9/20/13
Sept 6
Introduction to course
Video- Inside Job,
Sept. 13
The economic crisis
Krugman, Chapter 1

How bad are things?
The bubble. Depression economics
Krugman 2
Sept 27
Bankers.  Was it criminal?
Inequality is.  Reich.
Krugman 3.-4.
Oct 4.
What about Glass-Steagall?
Inequality.- lecture.
Krugman 5
Presentation; Failure of Laisse Faire Capitalism
Oct 11
The Bail Out. 
Money, Power and Wall Street.  “The Untouchables”, Inequality.
Krugman 6
Use Stiglitz.
Presentation; Civil v. criminal law
Oct. 18
Efficient Markets hypothesis
Bob Curry : International economics
Krugman 7
Presentation: Stockman: the Great Deformation
No class

Administration policy
The retirement crisis
Social Security
Richard Wolff.

Krugman 8-9
Guest speaker
Alternative policies.
Trade, labor, The Koch brothers . 

Krugman  8-9
Nov 15
Immigration, Political stalemate.
Is Obama a socialist ?
Krugman  10-11
Pete Martineau
Nov 22
The corporation. Richard Wolf.
Krugman 12
Nov 28
No seminar

Dec.  6
Final seminar
Krugman 13
Please refer to our class blog.
For more information. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Krugman. The Shut Down

The Boehner Bunglers
The federal government is shut down, we’re about to hit the debt ceiling (with disastrous economic consequences), and no resolution is in sight. How did this happen?
   The main answer, which only the most pathologically “balanced” reporting can deny, is the radicalization of the Republican Party. As Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein put it last year in their book, “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks,” the G.O.P. has become “an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”