Saturday, November 15, 2008

Berkeley's Robert Reich Blog Seems To Point To Bailout Of The American Taxpayer

Berkeley Professor of Public Policy Robert Reich became famous for a book called "The Next American Frontier" where he favored a kind of American Industrial Policy while at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. That book, and "American Industry in International Competition" and "The New Industrial State" by John Kenneth Galbraith, plus a healthy practice of system dynamics modeling, helped to form my current economic view.

Currently, Reich serves as what he describes as an "informal advisor" to President-Elect Barack Obama.  In his blog, which I'd wish he'd break up into subject portions for linking, Reich points to the big "C" - Consumers -- as being at the heart of the economic problem. He writes:

The real problem is on the demand side of the economy.

Consumers won't or can't borrow because they're at the end of their ropes. Their incomes are dropping (one of the most sobering statistics in Friday's jobs report was the continued erosion of real median earnings), they're deeply in debt, and they're afraid of losing their jobs.

Introductory economic courses explain that aggregate demand is made up of four things, expressed as C+I+G+exports. C is consumers. Consumers are cutting back on everything other than necessities. Because their spending accounts for 70 percent of the nation's economic activity and is the flywheel for the rest of the economy, the precipitous drop in consumer spending is causing the rest of the economy to shut down.

I is investment. Absent consumer spending, businesses are not going to invest.

Exports won't help much because the of the rest of the world is sliding into deep recession, too. (And as foreigners -- as well as Americans -- put their savings in dollars for safe keeping, the value of the dollar will likely continue to rise relative to other currencies. That, in turn, makes everything we might sell to the rest of the world more expensive.)

That leaves G, which, of course, is government. Government is the spender of last resort. Government spending lifted America out of the Great Depression. It may be the only instrument we have for lifting America out of the Mini Depression. Even Fed Chair Ben Bernanke is now calling for a sizable government stimulus. He knows that monetary policy won't work if there's inadequate demand.

So the crucial questions become (1) how much will the government have to spend to get the economy back on track? and (2) what sort of spending will have the biggest impact on jobs and incomes?

The answer to the first question is "a lot." Given the magnitude of the mess and the amount of underutilized capacity in the economy-- people who are or will soon be unemployed, those who are underemployed, factories shuttered, offices empty, trucks and containers idled -- government may have to spend $600 or $700 billion next year to reverse the downward cycle we're in.

The solution, in my view, is to give the American Taxpayer a $4,200 per-person check, each. Then form a plan to subsidize labor costs in selected export industries and rather than pick the firms, let them fill out an online application for assistance and make it so everyone knows who's applying for it and who got it. Finally, the massive infrastruture reinvestment program is part of this, too. But the idea is that the check will help American workers during this time of economic adjustment and even reach those -- like Joe The Plumber -- who can't file for unemployment insurance.

President-Elect Barack Obama's Video Adress For Saturday, February 15, 2008

Here, President-Elect Obama calls for Congress to act swiftly on economic relief for the Auto Industry.

Barack Obama's Radio Address, November 15, 2008 height="500" width="100%"> value="">    
Get your own at Scribd or explore others:  Politics    Campaigns and Electi    radio address    Barack Obama  

Barack Obama Collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian Comics - Fun Facts About Barack

Ok.  So you're wondering what President-Elect Obama's weird and little known likes and interests are? Here's a list just presented by Denise Hawkins on the Obama listserv:

He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics
• He was known as "O'Bomber" at high school for his skill at  basketball
• His name means "one who is blessed" in Swahili
• His favourite meal is wife Michelle's shrimp linguini
• He won a Grammy in 2006 for the audio version of his memoir,  Dreams
   From My Father
• He is left-handed – the sixth post-war president to be  left-handed
• He has read every Harry Potter book
• He owns a set of red boxing gloves autographed by Muhammad Ali
• He worked in a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop as a teenager and  now
   can't stand ice cream
• His favourite snacks are chocolate-peanut protein bars
• He ate dog meat, snake meat, and roasted grasshopper while  living in
• He can speak Spanish
• While on the campaign trail he refused to watch CNN and had  sports
   channels on instead
• His favourite drink is black forest berry iced tea
• He promised Michelle he would quit smoking before running for  president –
   he didn't
• He kept a pet ape called Tata while in Indonesia
• He can bench press an impressive 200lbs
• He was known as Barry until university when he asked to be  addressed
   by his full name
• His favourite book is Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
• He visited Wokingham, Berks, in 1996 for the stag party of his
   half-sister's fiancĂ©, but left when a stripper arrived
• His desk in his Senate office once belonged to Robert Kennedy
• He and Michelle made $4.2 million (£2.7 million) last year,  with
   much coming from sales of his books

• His favourite films are Casablanca and One Flew Over the  Cuckoo's Nest  
• He carries a tiny Madonna and child statue and a bracelet  belonging
   to a soldier in Iraq for good luck
• He applied to appear in a black pin-up calendar while at  Harvard, but was
   rejected by the all-female committee.
• His favourite music includes Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Bach and  The Fugees
• He took Michelle to see the Spike Lee film Do The Right Thing  on their
   first date
• He enjoys playing Scrabble and poker
• He doesn't drink coffee and rarely drinks alcohol
• He would have liked to have been an architect if he were not a politician
• As a teenager he took drugs including marijuana and cocaine
• His daughters' ambitions are to go to Yale before becoming an actress
   (Malia, 10) and to sing and dance (Sasha, 7)
• He hates the youth trend for trousers which sag beneath the  backside

• He repaid his student loan only four years ago after signing  his book deal
• His house in Chicago has four fire places
• Daughter Malia's godmother is Jesse Jackson's daughter Santita
• He says his worst habit is constantly checking his BlackBerry
• He uses an Apple Mac laptop
• He drives a Ford Escape Hybrid, having ditched his gas-guzzling  Chrysler
   300 SUV
• He wears $1,500 (£952) Hart Schaffner Marx suits
• He owns four identical pairs of black size 11 shoes
• He has his hair cut once a week by his Chicago barber, Zariff,  who charges
   $21 (£13)
• His favourite fictional television programmes are Mash and The  Wire
• He was given the code name "Renegade" by his Secret Service  handlers

• He was nicknamed "Bear" by his late grandmother
• He plans to install a basketball court in the White House  grounds
• His favourite artist is Pablo Picasso
• His speciality as a cook is chilli
• He has said many of his friends in Indonesia were "street  urchins"
• He keeps on his desk a carving of a wooden hand holding an egg,  a Kenyan
   symbol of the fragility of life
• His late father was a senior economist for the Kenyan  government

"Lost" Inauguration Hotel Reservations Prompt New Facebook Page

Are you one of those who had the presence of mind to make your inauguration reservations earlier this year, only to have recently gotten a call from a hotel representative stating that your well-earned hotel room was "lost" are undoubtedly irate -- but not alone. 

Such reports have spawned this new Facebook Page called "Hotels "Losing" Reservations for The Inauguration".   This is what it's creator reports:

Have any of you who may have booked hotel rooms in the DC area for the inauguration months and months ago, suddenly received a phonecall from the hotel informing you that due to some sort of "computer malfunction" you no longer have a room reserved?

This just happended to me yesterday, and I'm trying to find out if this is starting to happen to many supporters. As I'm sure you're all aware, they are estimating there will be well over a million people coming to DC for this inauguration, and hotels that weren't already booked solid jacked their rates to rape people. That's bad enough, but now...I'm trying to get a feel for whether they are also now starting to "lose" reservations for people who booked months ago at lower rates, so they can resell those rooms at the rape rates.

As you might imagine, I am RAGING over this. I booked 2 rooms (for 6 of us) at the Hilton Garden Inn, in Greenbelt, MD back on May 11th, before Obama even won the primary! I have email confirmations on my reservations. In addition, I called the hotel directly 2 days after the election to reconfirm verbally they still showed my reservation, which they did. And now....magically....they tell me that the reservation never made it from the Hilton central system into their property system. I've spoken with a friend of mine in the hospitality industry, and she assures me they are blowing smoke up my skirt.

So, while I continue to call the hotel every hour on the hour, demanding that the general manager do something to rectify this situtation, I am attempting to find anywhere to stay. I worked 2 years on this campaign, and I'm heartbroken at the prospect of not being able to attend this historic event. There truly are zero hotel vacancies within a 250 mile radius of DC. I've been searching house rental sites, but I'm not having any luck there either. I'm livid.

If any of you have reservations, I would HIGHLY recommend you contact your hotels and reconfirm that they really do show you with a room...and somehow get them to confirm that in blood.

If any of you are experiencing the same problem that I have, please let me know. I think if we discover this has turned into an epidemic, we need to somehow get this out as a major story in the MSM and on the web. I would think a story about grassroots supporters getting screwed by corporate hotel chains would be a story that journalists would love. At the very least, I need to find a way to make Hilton pay dearly for this.

Also....if anyone is aware of someone in the DC area who would be willing to rent their house to a group of 6 of us, please contact me.

If you have been screwed by your hotel, please contact me with your story. I do NOT want to let them get away with this.

How Blogging Is Like An Election Campaign - A Set of Tips 1. You need a story

I saw what is an interesting take on Blogging and how it's like an election campaign, and since we just experienced and participated in one, I thought it was appropriate.  I found it at Problogger and it's by "Trish" of "Ideas for Women."

I disagree that a Blogger should take a break, not that Bloggers should not, but one has to make sure there's a constant churn of information -- posts -- daily.  I read somewhere -- I think here at Technorati -- that the most successful blogs had between four and 30 posts a day.  That's work. 

Here's an excerpt:

I followed this year’s U.S. presidential election pretty closely on T.V. and also volunteered for one of the candidates. Over I time I began to notice some parallels between running a successful campaign and a successful blog.

I don’t plan to ever run for president - but I would like to have a more successful blog. I would also like to share what I learned and hope that it will be helpful to other bloggers.

1. You need a story

Both of the presidential candidates and their running mates had a story. John McCain was a P.O.W., Sarah Palin, a hockey mom. Joe Biden was from Scranton, Pennsylvania and stuttered as kid. Barack Obama’s story is that he is the “son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas”.

The details of the stories don’t really matter. What matters is how they /framed/ their story - their story had to be everyone else’s story - a story people could relate to.

Editorial: Abusive police chief needs to go

THE OAKLAND SCHOOL district should fire the chief of its small police force for his abusive behavior caught on tape as he inappropriately detained an Oakland Tribune journalist during a student protest against immigration raids after striking her with his car.

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Valerie Jarrett Joins Obama Administration

With speculation that Senator Hillary Clinton is pondering whether or not to accept the Secretary of State position in President-elect Barack Obama’s administration, close friend Valerie Jarrett has been named senior adviser in the White House.

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Clinton to State? Is Mid-East Peace Back On The Table?

There has been a lot of chatter the last 48 hours or so about Obama considering Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State. The chatter practically exploded this afternoon with the report that the President-Elect had formally offered the job to her and she was considering the offer. Most all of the discussion to date as to why Barack Obama might be

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Hillary Clinton tipped for Secretary of State

SPECULATION is mounting in the US that Hillary Clinton could take control of the country’s foreign affairs policy as president-elect Barack Obama considers her for his secretary of state.

read more | digg story