1.) BANK OF AMERICA: Our nation’s largest bank, Bank of America, as some staunch Wall Street supporters in this community will tell us (maybe even in the comments to this diary), gained 9% in the market on Thursday. They’ll probably leave out the part where BofA lost 10% the day before and is off a little under (not checking the numbers on this, so feel free to correct me) 30% in the past eight days, having lost roughly (guesstimating) half its value since the beginning of the year. (So, updating my commentary from the other day: half of BofA might collapse; the other half will, more than likely, continue to receive massive, stealthy bailouts.) Other recent developments, over the past 24-48 hours, “overlooked” by defenders of the status quo: the bank’s now “scrambling” to selloff key assets to raise cash for rapidly-mounting mortgage fraud claims; and, an ongoing discussion among senior BofA management regarding pushing its entire Countrywide subsidiary into bankruptcy have been noted in the MSM. Meanwhile, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, who also happens to be the Vice President’s son, just “dropped a (mortgage fraud) bomb” on the bank, late Wednesday, as Yves Smith points out to us over the past 24 hours. But, not to worry! Many assure us the bank’s doing just fine. “Nothing to see here. Move along.” (Heh…)
2.) ONGOING WALL STREET BAILOUTS: More and more folks are discussing the possibility of “another” Wall Street bailout, which in and of itself is propaganda, since taxpayers have been spending an easy $200 billion-plus per year on stealthy Wall Street bailouts since 2008. This time it’s M.I.T. economist Simon Johnson at the NY Times’ Economix blog, from early Thursday.
3.) MUNICIPAL BOND MESS: And, using Chicopee, Massachusetts as a case-in-point, we also learn, via NPR, just how the S&P’s national downgrade of U.S. creditworthiness is specifically hammering towns’, counties’ and states’ cashflows nationwide. Speaking of muni bond nightmares, at some point on Friday, if you hear of Jefferson County, Alabama (home to the state’s largest city, Birmingham) formally declaring Chapter 9 bankruptcy, remember you heard it here first.
4.) THE DEMOCRATS' JOBS MEME: Last but not least, I’ll leave you with Krugman, tonight, from Friday’s NY Times, telling it like it is—if this is too much for those in blissful denial about these inconvenient truths, they might want to click off of this page right now—with regard to our own party’s leaders opting for rightwing memes and talking points about deficit cutting, as opposed to confronting the nation’s joblessness crisis head-on, 24/7.
Paul Krugman slams the rightwing and centrists alike for “The Hijacked Crisis,” in Friday’s NY Times.
The Hijacked Crisis
New York Times
August 12, 2011
Has market turmoil left you feeling afraid? Well, it should. Clearly, the economic crisis that began in 2008 is by no means over.
But there’s another emotion you should feel: anger. For what we’re seeing now is what happens when influential people exploit a crisis rather than try to solve it.
For more than a year and a half — ever since President Obama chose to make deficits, not jobs, the central focus of the 2010 State of the Union address — we’ve had a public conversation that has been dominated by budget concerns, while almost ignoring unemployment. The supposedly urgent need to reduce deficits has so dominated the discourse that on Monday, in the midst of a market panic, Mr. Obama devoted most of his remarks to the deficit rather than to the clear and present danger of renewed recession…
…So how did Washington discourse come to be dominated by the wrong issue?
Krugman continues on to call out the usual suspects—Republicans--for playing a key role in misdirecting economic discussion. But, that’s only part of the problem according to the Nobel Prize-winning Princeton economics professor.
He also refers to “other influential people” who have ”been eager to change the subject away from jobs, even in the face of 9 percent unemployment, and to hijack the crisis on behalf of their pre-existing agendas.”
…Check out the opinion page of any major newspaper, or listen to any news-discussion program, and you’re likely to encounter some self-proclaimed centrist declaring that there are no short-run fixes for our economic difficulties, that the responsible thing is to focus on long-run solutions and, in particular, on “entitlement reform” — that is, cuts in Social Security and Medicare. And when you do encounter such a person, you should be aware that people like that are a major reason we’re in so much trouble…
Bold type is diarist’s emphasis.
As he closes out Friday’s column, he concludes that “our economy desperately needs a short-run fix.”
He argues, that we need more, not less, government spending for the near-term; a strong set of initiatives to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure; an aggressive plan “to reduce household debt via mortgage forgiveness and refinancing. And it would involve an all-out effort by the Federal Reserve to get the economy moving, with the deliberate goal of generating higher inflation to help alleviate debt problems.“