I feel good. Such remarks by Mr. I went to Harvard Law School decades after Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, graduated. When I was there in , nobody wore thick gold chains to show off their wealth. They wore thin ones to match their David Yurman bracelets. Canada Goose down jackets may as well have been part of a uniform during Boston winters. And Mr. Obama is partly to blame for that.
Black families were hit the hardest during the financial crisis. Because of falling homeownership rates and layoffs, blacks lost over half their wealth between and , according to a report from the National Association of Real Estate Brokers. Instead of bailing out families, Mr.
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Obama bailed out banks, failing to pursue specific policies that would have addressed the decline in black homeownership rates and equity. The economist William Darity painted a stark picture in a article in The Atlantic:. Blacks working full time have lower levels of wealth than whites who are unemployed.
It might mean jobs and development, or maybe sickness and drought. The structure Sibeko can see is what has so far been built of Kusile, which will be among the 10 biggest coal-fired power stations in the world, and is already one of the most controversial. Delayed by decades and wildly over budget, Kusile is emblematic of a development model increasingly seen as outdated. The days of vast mega-projects with enormous financial, social and environmental costs, as well as the potential to transform economies, are over, some experts say.
Instead, smaller and cheaper projects can bring change as effectively, supplying energy and other needs with minimal impact. But the loan was also very expensive. As local currency has lost value against the dollar the cost of repayments has soared. The project is immense. When completed Kusile will consist of six units with the ability to generate 4,MW, making it significantly bigger than any power station in the US except the hydroelectric Grand Coulee dam in Washington. Defenders say Kusile has been designed with advanced technology that will minimise its environmental impact, such as scrubbers to control sulphur dioxide and filters to reduce emissions of dangerous particulates.
The plant will use an air cooling system to help conserve water and is designed so equipment to capture carbon emissions can be fitted in the future. The plan to build Kusile, and its twin Medupi, in Limpopo province, dates back to the immediate aftermath of the repressive racist apartheid regime. In recent years, South Africa has been hit by severe power shortages, leading to rolling outages.
But circumstances — and attitudes — have changed since the original decision was taken to build the vast plants. Projects this large are seen as transformational. They cost a lot. They employ a lot of people.
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Their effects are meant to be big. Both projects have been plagued by allegations of corruption. All concerned deny any wrongdoing. Kusile alone is projected to emit an estimated The impact on local towns and villages will be immense.
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It is not simply the power station itself, and the air pollution and traffic it will generate, but the vast coalmining operations needed to provide the estimated 17m tonnes of coal Kusile will require each year. Farmland and wetlands will disappear as new open-cast and underground mines are opened or, in some cases, reopened. Tens of thousands of impoverished labourers will swell some settlements.
Others will have to be entirely shifted to new locations. Roads will be built, bringing access and jobs for some, but exacerbating environmental consequences. This is far from pristine farmland or wilderness, however. Central Mpumalanga is the site of a dozen power stations and a huge mining industry. One of the major complaints of local communities is that local men are rarely hired by companies for anything but casual labour because already acute air pollution has, they claim, damaged their lungs. Mpumalanga is already designated as a zone of acute air pollution in South Africa.
Locals complain of sinus infections, headaches and coughing children.
She lives in a small three-roomed hut only a few metres from waste spoil marking the boundary of a major mine, operational for around five years. It has been operational since the early s, is coal-fired and has a capacity of more than 4,MW. Then there is water. Among the impacts of Kusile will be the destruction of important wetlands around the plant.
Massive infrastructure including pipelines and canals has been constructed to bring water for cooling to Kusile, but the plans were conceived in a period when water was more plentiful. South Africa is currently experiencing its worst drought for 50 years, which some blame on climate change. Instead, regulation of the financial system should aim to create a sustainable economy and to finance productive investment and innovation.
Revive the economy by instituting a massive public investment and financial support program focusing on jobs, housing, state and local services, green investments, and infrastructure investments, supported by expansionary monetary policy. Reform the financial sector bailouts to be fairer, less costly and more effective, by broadening and strengthening the oversight of financial institutions and using government leverage to realize significant changes in how these financial institutions operate.
Reverse extreme inequality and increase the prosperity and power of families and communities. Re-regulate and restructure the financial sector. Reform international economic governance to make the transition to a more balanced, prosperous and just global economy appropriate to changing global realities.
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Reverse extreme inequality and restore family and community health. Policies to reverse this extreme inequality must restore the power of workers to bargain for a decent living. These were among the most important policies. This cycle was described well by Hyman Minsky. Each cycle is punctuated not only by costly financial mistakes, but by widespread financial fraud and malpractice. Furthermore, financial markets must be re-regulated in order to prevent a build-up of the same problems that lead to the current crisis.
This would be designed to enhance transparency and ensure that these institutions are contributing to the creation of jobs, home ownership, education and other goods that people want and need. Furthermore, these government actions must be transparent and accountable, and broad citizen representation must be included on financial oversight boards. In addition, it was recognized that in the short to medium term, a globally coordinated fiscal expansion would be required to place a floor on the economic down-turn and to promote a global economic recovery.
It called on President Obama to take a lead in promoting this large, globally coordinated fiscal expansion. The statement addressed some of these broader issues of global macroeconomic coordination and global economic reform. The state of affairs in which the US serves as the buyer of last resort and the world serves as dollar accumulators of first resort cannot any longer be the basis for the long-run trajectory of the global economy. To further these goals, the Obama administration and partners must initiate a dialogue to implement a major reform of global institutions and practices.
This could include, for example, mechanisms of issuing more Special Drawing Rights SDRs directly to developing countries for development purposes. The two areas, however, where the Obama policy has utterly failed, is in the management of the financial crisis, including salvaging and restructuring the banks; it has also been very slow and tentative in proposing longer term financial reforms. On the other hand, with respect to most of the other areas, the administration has proposed many sensible programs and policies. The contrast between the finance proposals and those in other areas is so striking, it calls out for explanation.
In the end, the administration will have to choose which initiatives on which it will decide to spend political capital. In terms of directly supporting fiscal policy, the Fed has begun to directly buy longer term Treasury Securities, to try to lower the cost of government borrowing, a direct measure to support fiscal policy expansion.
This plan reflected a number of significant compromises and changes from the original bill proposed by the Obama Administration. A key concern of the bill was to spend the money quickly to fight the recessionary forces. CARB, Many progressives were disappointed with both the size of the package, as well as the excessive amounts spent on tax cuts, which are widely seen as less effective in stimulating jobs.
Still, with all its flaws, the plan was a significantly positive departure from the lack of significant effort by the Bush administration to address the deepening crisis. Among the massive problems insufficiently addressed by the Obama stimulus package but emphasized by the Progressive Economists is the serious fiscal situation of the state governments. Unless the Federal Government is able to send significantly more money to the states, they will have to raise taxes or fire teachers, firefighters, police and other public employees, significantly worsening the recession, and dramatically reducing the quality of public services.
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McNichol and Lav, It has three parts. The first part makes it easier for the nationalized housing banks Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy housing loans, which should lower the costs of mortgages and make them more available to more people.
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This will allow people to refinance their mortgages even if the value of their loans exceed the value of their homes by five percent. A second part of the plan gives a subsidy to mortgage servicers to agree to reduce monthly mortgage payments for distressed home owners. The problem with this is that it is a case by case approach, not a comprehensive one affecting millions of homeowners at once.
Here too, it will have to come back to revisit this problem soon and probably take more radical action. It has also pushed the IMF to enhance its lending facilities to promote economic recovery while reducing the degree of neo-liberal conditionality involved in these loans.
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These initiatives, however, have not been terribly successful, at least not as of this writing. Most members of the G, including the French and German governments, are strongly resisting a major, coordinated fiscal stimulus package. And the United States has not pushed the IMF strongly enough to reduce its conditionality, so that the effectiveness of IMF lending is likely to be dramatically undermined.
This is especially worrisome since the center-piece of the G plan from the London Summit is to triple the resources going to the IMF. They also urged a code of conduct on these banks that would limit the pay of high level officials, eliminate their ability to lobby the US government, and that would dramatically increase the transparency and accountability of these institutions. The statement was agnostic about the issue of nationalization, but supported the idea if it was necessary to achieve the goals listed above.
It has now become clear that as major US banks are or are nearly insolvent, that nationalization of a number of them is likely to be the best solution. The structure allows the Obama administration to avoid going to Congress to get an additional allocation of public money. This is widely seen not only as non-transparent and lacking in accountability, but also as a massive subsidy for the banks, private equity firms and hedge funds.