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Euro Rescue, Finance Jitters
A global stare-down on debt. Will Europe’s trillion dollar rescue package be enough to stave off a sovereign debt crisis? Plus, Fed Chair Ben Bernanke’s speech to 2010 grads.

Traders shout orders in the S&P 500 futures pit at the CME Group in Chicago near the close of trading, Thursday, May 6, 2010, the day the Dow Jones industrials plunged nearly 1,000 points in half an hour. (AP)

Traders shout orders in the S&P 500 futures pit at the CME Group in Chicago near the close of trading, Thursday, May 6, 2010, the day the Dow Jones industrials plunged nearly 1,000 points in half an hour. (AP)

A trillion-dollar rescue package for Europe’s stumbling economies this last weekend. Shock and awe, Euro-style. 

A high-finance “Euro-TARP” to bail out Greece and give cover to Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy.

Markets celebrated the massive intervention on Monday, after days of high jitters and that 1000-point swoon on the Dow.

But the questions are not gone. Not about debt levels and European banking. Not about high-speed computer trading that can spin markets and turn 401Ks into road kill.

This Hour, On Point: World markets and the trillion dollar question in Europe. Plus, we listen as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks to the 2010 graduates.


Roben Farzad, senior writer for Bloomberg BusinessWeek. His April 29 article  in BusinessWeek is “Why Small Investors are Shying from Stocks.”

Kenneth Rogoff, professor of economics and public policy at Harvard University. He was chief economist and director of research at the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2003. His new book is “This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly”

Wolfgang Munchau, Brussels-based associate editor and European commentator of the Financial Times, and co-founder and president of Eurointelligence.com.

Closing segment:

We listen back as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke tells young graduates at the University of South Carolina why they need to look beyond a big income to find happiness. Here’s the full transcript. And watch the video.

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  • Michael

    I’m sure investment bankers are trying to figure out how to create this again, I’m sure the higher ups in my company are.

    Find/wait/create a crisis and sell off enough shares to start a run, while at the same time shorting the Index. I bet in a few years Jon Stewart will have someone on who wrote a book on how he did it and made billions.

    The newest toy in wall street i been hearing about is betting and buying up life insurance policies, where you tell a order folk you pay them a % up front of there life insurance but when they die you collect it all. As long as they agree that you can check and monitor there health and medical records. Currently creating formulas on when that person will die and the sooner the more money they make out of the deal.

  • pw

    Please go into the role hedge funds have been playing (and continue to play, per this morning’s NYT) by betting on sovereign debt.


  • Mr. Trees

    This is all on America’s horizon as well. The debt is out of control and so is our frivolous spending. $20 billion per month on the interest for our debt alone. The $300 billion tax package that the Obama administration is eye-balling is only stopping the bleeding without removing the knife.

    I for one would be interested in hearing a candidate that is primarily focused on eliminating, or at very least chipping away at, the country’s vast debt obligations. The hypocrisy of the political machine “protecting our children’s future” has gone on for too long while it has coincidentally buried the future it is worried about in red ink.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Bernanke in his speech linked above says: “Another finding is that happy people feel in control of their own lives. A sense of control can be obtained by actively setting goals that are both challenging and achievable.”
    He cites the Easterlin paradox, that the richer is not the happier.
    For one thing, he missed the research that happiness is contagious, and to several degrees removed. The cousin of a cousin who laughs…
    Nor has he seen on forums such as this the extent to which Americans value independence (control), from government and even from one another. Success is measured by your ability to buy things rather than collaborate. Once you have your own mountaintop and helicopter, you are home free. Unbotherable. You may be an escapist, addicted to substances, scornful of the mantra, cede some of your power back to a higher authority — or even cede some of your arrogance back to your fellow humans. But you, hoeing your organic crop or paying your servants, will be independent. Happy, not so much.
    As for Greece. Banks bought interests in failing countries in order to “short” them, bet against them, in search of short term profits? Hunt around for some incipient failures; there is great profit in being able to appraise something as sagging; you can bet against them: homeowners here, whole countries abroad. Where in that system of capitalism is there any “value” of the human sort?
    I can’t pretend to understand EEU economics, or global economics, organizational or private, but the world has to “unwind” a lot of “deals” that are counterproductive at some point in time.

  • cory

    Be happy with less folks, because less is all we have left. It is ultimately healthy for Americans to tone down consumption (and expectations), but I fear it will be a bitter pill for us to swallow. Most of us were raised on a healthy diet of consumerism and the expectation that our futures would be more posession filled than that of our parents.

    The western world now wakes up to a new reality. The third world is no longer a resource abundant servant, but a cheap labor filled competitor. Oh, and they are hungry. They are hungry for their share of the stuff in the world, and right now they are willing to work much harder for much less than we are. They don’t expect a pension, or health care, or even social justice. They are us a hundred years ago.

    Don’t worry though… America’s best days are still ahead- just ask any politician.

  • cory

    Ellen Dibble,

    Enjoyed your previous post very much, especially regarding the American notion of independence.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Cory, thanks. You are one of my favorite future-casters. Not so hopeful, but still.
    Speaking commencement addresses, once I heard in the 19690s a Nobel-winning scientist announce that he thought people have different levels of “basic needs” (for stuff). What would keep him productive is not what would keep his gardener happy and productive. I never forget that when I seem to have odd needs.
    It is not guaranteed global citizens will all want, for instance, life spans of 80 years.

  • steve

    Have now had two posts deleted prior to posting.

  • steve

    Washington does know what is happening and they do have their minds around it – so does the IMF and European Union.

    The markets are playing out as planned by the the banking sytem and their government underlings.

  • Wait one minute…


    Someone should write a summer movie horror film

  • Damian

    An increase in the sources of information also can have an effect on the market’s volatility. Information , whether correct or incorrect through the internet can affect trading behaviors.


    After being laid off for just over a year, my family learned very early on the difference between a need and a want and we were never a “Keeping up with the Jones” type of family. Too many people confuse the two. Living without debt is a calmer existance. While being without a job for so long was unnerving, it also reinforced living within our means was better for everyone and taught my children that material goods can’t take the place of family.

  • pw

    I’d like to see us bring down our debt, too, but we keep putting the wrong people in charge to do it. If you look at the debt trajectory over the past three decades or so, it’s the Republicans — for some nutty reason credited with being “fiscal conservatives” — who have brought us huge debt while Democrats, the “big spenders,” have brought it down.

    To compound the problem, most of us don’t understand that borrowing is as much a part of modern business as profits are. Ignorance and denial play a big part in our attitudes about government borrowing as it does about our private finances.

  • Steve


    I have read about the developing derivative market in life insurance as well.

    It will only be part of the equation.

    Death Race 2000
    Soylent Green

    The financial system will not only bet on life expectancy but they will insure that deaths happen to fix their bets

    This however is not the next move – watch the furture of tax free retirement accounts.

    It is the next pot-o-gold to which the government/banking system will turn their eyes.

  • Wait one minute…

    You can’t bind your Union together through a currency and finance. You need a political union, a cultural union, a social union and a desire for union.

    what happens to marriages when the same calculations are made? Divorce.

  • Rob Lerman

    Can someone explain why it makes sense, why it’s beneficial, why it’s necessary to have gamblers hod sway over whole economies? Why do we allow speculators to threaten the economic health of sovereign nations? They were not elected to their positions of immense power and their only interest is to make unfathomable amounts of money. Does it make sense for us to allow them power?

  • Danny DeGuira

    This rescue package just means the Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan will get their cut after causing the problem in the first place! It won’t be long before they are The CENTRAL BANKS!

  • Steve


    the answer to your question may be revealed in your definition of sovereign and nation

  • Andrew

    What is the problem if Greece defaults? The banks that lent to them at teaser rates and they get hurt. So what? Perhaps they won’t make stupid loans anymore.

    Greece won’t be able to borrow money on the cheap. So what? They’ll have to live within their means. How is this bad?

  • AL Husarich

    Those of us who live in Western Germany and saw the way East Germans were basically given money and high living standards without earning it are skeptical of giving these other countries an easy out. Of course Germans are not happy we are still paying for the expansion of this country and we are now being asked to pay for these other countries to live at our standard of living. They should have set the system up different from the beginning. Greece was careless with their EU funding because it was allowed. Now they are getting more. We should be worried.

  • Wait one minute…

    If Europe goes into a depression, should not we be concerned about the political fallout, not just the financial one?

    C’mon people, are we cash registers or humans?

  • Steve

    Wait one minute…

    Most of us are uninterested children as long as we have our pacifiers.

    Promise the populace a large-screen TV and an I-pad
    and you could hook up the tube.


  • Wait one minute…

    maybe individual states can’t leave the EU but they can give each other the silent treatment. it might be worse if they can’t leave- could get ugly.

  • Adri Kalisvaart

    Tom, Here we go again. Dissecting a tree without seeing the forest. Since 1913 we have had central planning of the value of our (fiat) money. The last century has shown us the deathly folly of central planning. It cannot be done. We and the rest of the world should go back to anchoring the value of our money in something real, in something that cannot be manipulated by politicians. That something is gold.
    My question especially for the Harvard Professor Rogoff: would this turmoil we are now experiencing be possible if we still were tied to reality, that is, tied to gold? Also, Tom has any of your guests ever read: “Capitalism: the unknown ideal”?

  • Andrew

    What is the contagion risk? Why would Greece not paying it’s debt be a problem for Spain? Is it just that they would have to pay higher rates? If so, why is this a problem – wouldn’t this just limit their borrowing, and isn’t this the point?

  • Joel Brown

    Just tyo be clear:

    Rhode Island has the 44th largest GDP in the United States… I say we let Alaska go belly-up. Geographic size does not determine economic power.

  • jeffe

    From what I have read about the Greeks tax evasion is a sport.

    The EU was not supposed to take in all these countries that were not on the same economic level as Germany, France or the Scandinavian countries. Greece should have never been allowed to enter, nor Ireland for that matter.

    This is a huge mess.

  • Steve

    Wait a minute…

    you can’t bind your Union together through a currency and finance. You need a political union, a cultural union, a social union and a desire for union.

    what happens to marriages when the same calculations are made? Divorce.

    Al Husarich

    Those of us who live in Western Germany and saw the way East Germans were basically given money and high living standards without earning it are skeptical of giving these other countries an easy out. Of course Germans are not happy we are still paying for the expansion of this country and we are now being asked to pay for these other countries to live at our standard of living. They should have set the system up different from the beginning. Greece was careless with their EU funding because it was allowed. Now they are getting more. We should be worried.


    Please define us?

  • Steve


    the conversation must take place through parable…

    At this time the forest does not exist, only the burning house

  • steve

    This is not socialism…

    much more akin to oligarchy or fuedalism

  • Gala

    To the called that said “dinky little country” and that we should not care.

    This is exactly the kind of attitude that US has taken with their foreign politics, and this is exactly the kind of politics that got us where we are today in the world – the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and dislike of US all over the world. US is a world superpower and with great power comes great responsibility! We have a responsibility to care and help. Our states and other countries.
    What I am against, is paying out the big bonuses on wall street. Let the big cheeses unionize and go on strike. That, I can live with. :)

  • Wait one minute…

    It use to be that corporations provided for their communities in terms of sical services. However when they got the idea that low taxes and mobility are the key to success governments picked up the slack.

  • steve

    the problem isn’t socialism! its dishonesty the issues in the states and here in Europe is just big dishonesty, and the lack of Cops on the corporate Beat. Yes , bring on the regulations, put the refs on the field!!

  • Obama happens

    If the current socialist Obama regime continues to run trillion dollar deficits (forecasted for the next ten years), we’ll be in the same sorry boat Greece is in. Thanks democrats.

  • Edith

    I am in the Mediterranean. I do not appreciate that remark about lazy Greeks drinking Ouzo on the beach and the insinuation that social welfare doesn’t work. Seeing the economic crisis in the US, I would say that your raw capitalism does not work. You people have no family lives in America. Your food is terrible. Your quality of life is lower and you die sooner. What part of socialism doesn’t work? For all of the talk about God and family values, you don’t even sit down at the dinner table together. There is no balance. This is a run on Greece. Speculation, most likely engineered in America, where only the rich seem to have a right to quality of life. By the way, in Germany there is a pretty strong social welfare safety net and they have a very good economy. Furthermore, is it true that Greeks have a retirement age of 50-something or is this for only some professions? Let’s get all the facts straight before we bash the Greeks.

    I thank Bernanke, by the way, for his comments on happiness and well-being as a worthy goal for humanity. Let’s see if people catch on before the profit-and-growth-at-any-price faction destroys everything.

  • Wait one minute…

    When corporations do give generously it often is on the national level or for project that aren’t necessarily tied to a particular locale when they are based. Usually there is an ideological component. Instead of establish a civic institution, they usually provide the seed money for a private venture to compete with the state to show how it can be done better privately.

    How about a show on the politics of corporate philanthropy?

  • donna

    Just heard part of the speech by Ben Bernanke at USC Columbia. there were 3 commencement exercises over the weekend and I was at the Friday afternoon one where Eugene Robinson spoke. That is also a poignant speech that is well worth listening to, as well, I personally think better than Bernanke’s. One of the best speeches I have ever heard at a commencement, Well worth broadcasting, as well.

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    It’s upon us and very few see it ~ a world population that is growing and using Earth’s resources far faster than they can be replenished. Has anyone heard the term, more and more people chasing fewer and fewer resources?

    We are witnessing the first phases of a new reality … the ever greater presence of austerity as a way of life on Earth. Either we do something about our views of life as some sort of “gift from God” — reverent and untouchable — or we simply make life not worth living.

    We’re living in the era that will be looked upon as the turning point — the recognition that for anything above 6.5 billion humans, peaceful coexistence with the rest of the natural life on this planet is purely a pipedream.

  • jeffe

    Edith I’m not into bashing the Greeks but you should also acknowledge that there is a problem in Greece and that it is of their own making. Tax evasion is a huge problem. The government has way to many people on it’s payroll.

    You are right about the currency speculators, but it still does not mean that the Greeks have made some serious mistakes.

    Letting people retire at 50 something and receive generous pensions is not helping.

  • Ellen Dibble

    If the “philanthropy” is provided (once the corporations woke up to the possbilities) by the government in terms of Social Security, Medicare, Affordable Housing, public health, etc., etc., the corporations are free to show they can do it better? This is what Wait one minute seems to be suggesting? Oh, my head.
    I can only note that every time the government puts out providing some benefits, there is not only a sort of entitlement, there is a very malleable voting bloc. The proportion of the national debt that is entitlements seems to me roughly proportional to the percent of the population that (in self interest) would vote for returning those responsibilities to the corporations (or individuals).
    But with corporations (oligarchy), do we, idiot-voters that we are, get to vote?
    Socialism is very manipulative of voting for self-interest (my speculation). Is Greece’s situation the result of voters voting self-interest there, or is it the result of speculators here seeking bonuses. Is capitalism here to blame for the failure of socialism there?

  • Janet

    This attempt to justify a failed economic system by “bailing it out” will only lead to it’s eventual failure. Socialism does not work.

  • steve

    There are two steve’s on this comment board…

    Ellen, I enjoy your comments.

    Is the political system important, or the forces that may or may not undergird them?

    Possibly, what you hint at…self-interest.

    How do we marry freedom and self-interest?

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    Well, Jeffe, when you’re a “50-something,” you’ll look at all this much, much differently.

  • jeffe

    I am a 50 something.

  • Greg Stores

    Unchecked socialism and unchecked liberalism destroys countries.

    There is not enough money.

    The retirement age in Greece in 53 years of age.

    Obamanomics does not work.

  • Ellen Dibble

    “there is not enough money.”
    So print some more (didn’t I hear something like this on the show; that Washington and the almighty Dollar somehow is standing tall — or shrinking in worth a little to make this all happen?????????), and money everywhere is all worth less. Everyone with debt declares bankruptcy (sovereign debt or whatever), and creditors get to take a haircut all around the world. Anyone smart enough to be a debtor does not take a haircut, having no hair to be shorn. Everyone with both debt and investments tears their hair out over the Terribly Exciting Ride.
    The real question is productivity and availability. Is there food enough? Etc.
    But it sounds to me like the balloon the banks created by loving to loan, figuring the way to make a profit even when things are going bad — this balloon is beginning to shrink. “People” are working on those valves that are supposed to control sudden implosions. Germany did their piece, etc., Angela Merkel — who had said she wouldn’t. What “people”?
    If “people” are speculators, they should take a hike and let us get a grip for once. Am I right?

  • jeffe

    Gee Greg Stores I guess 30 years of Reaganomics has been working just fine. (sarcasm)

    First off Obama is not a socialist. Germany is doing better than we are economically and Europe as a whole is a larger economic force than we could ever hope to be at this point.

    Social democracies do work. Anyway I would rather be having to give up some of what a country such as Germany or France has in the way of benefits than deal with the mess we have here.

    By the way it’s also very common for government employees to retire in their 50′s in this country as well. If you took a job at 22 with any government body, city, state, or federal you would have 30 years in at 52. Most firemen who work in large cities retire in their 40′s due to the stress of the job or injuries.
    Cops retire early as well. It’s common for people in the military retire at 40 something as well.

  • Wait one minute…


    I am not schooled enough in the modern Greek economic history to know how they built their economy. I DO know that pundits are using Greece’s debt crisis to argue for austerity here at home- meanng keep taxes low and cut services.

    I am not advocating for corporate citizenship over government entitlements. I am making a point about a historical progession- once upon a time the American Corporation was protected from foreign competition through tariffs and helped kings of industry amass large fortunes with which they founded civics institutions: like public schools and libraries. They didn’t seem to have the need to prove that private foundations were better than public ones, but I am not 100% sure.

    Nowadays, the business class bemoans taxes, but do they realize it is their disinvestment in civic culture, their lack of commitment to one community where they are based that has given rise to much of government debt?

    You can have Social Security or you can have pensions, either way someone pays. When it was the corporations, they didn’t have to answer to voter, but they did have to answer to private unions. Public unions are now the pariahs and taxpayers are in the role of the corporations.

    This socialism versus fee markets seems to lack the element of time. That’s how I see it anyway.

  • Wait one minute…

    If you look at the architecture of a lot of these American civic institutions they are styled after classical Greece

    I am trying to think of modern examples of architecture built by microsoft or starbucks or walmart…

  • dorie richards

    US Exposure to EU Bailout: $50 Billion and Counting…

    How is that hope and change working for you?

  • Bob Barnes

    Germany, France May Compromise AAA Ratings…

  • Franklin Reise

    What we’re seeing in Greece is the death spiral of the welfare state. This isn’t Greece’s problem alone, and that’s why its crisis has rattled global stock markets and threatens economic recovery. Virtually every advanced nation, including the United States, faces the same prospect. Aging populations have been promised huge health and retirement benefits, which countries haven’t fully covered with taxes. The reckoning has arrived in Greece, but it awaits most wealthy societies.

    The demographics are brutal, and have been for some time: the western world is gradually committing suicide through a combination of low birthrates and widely available abortion, without so much as a thought as to where the next generations of taxpayers — you know, the ones named Peter we’re fleecing today to pay Paul — are going to come from. One second thought, maybe they have: mass immigration, whether legal or illegal, is meant to hide the decline.

    Americans dislike the term “welfare state” and substitute the bland word “entitlements.” The vocabulary doesn’t alter the reality. Countries cannot overspend and overborrow forever. By delaying hard decisions about spending and taxes, governments maneuver themselves into a cul de sac.

    Budget deficits and debt are the real problems; and these stem from all the welfare benefits (unemployment insurance, old-age assistance, health insurance) provided by modern governments.

    Aging populations make the outlook worse. In Greece, the 65-and-over population is projected to go from 18 percent of the total in 2005 to 25 percent in 2030. For Spain, the increase is from 17 percent to 25 percent.

    The welfare state’s death spiral is this: Almost anything governments might do with their budgets threatens to make matters worse by slowing the economy or triggering a recession. By allowing deficits to balloon, they risk a financial crisis as investors one day — no one knows when — doubt governments’ ability to service their debts and, as with Greece, refuse to lend except at exorbitant rates. Cutting welfare benefits or raising taxes all would, at least temporarily, weaken the economy. Perversely, that would make paying the remaining benefits harder.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Wait one minute, I am hoping by revealing where I (we) get lost in this crucial debate, the journalists will get more ideas about how to explicate things. Also, I was wondering what you had in mind in re corporate citizenship.
    I am thinking that when Standard Oil grew so big — the era of Vanderbilt etc. — international competition wasn’t a factor. Globalization hadn’t brought the cheap labor and the competition for cheap tax rates (and opportunities for corruption worldwide). But I think the libraries might have been built from corporate profits, but not the institution itself. Ditto for public schools (and even private colleges). Benjamin Franklin — he of the post office, the Franklin stove, and the public library — is remembered in Franklin, MA, where the first public library they say was established, but not for his money. Rather, for his idea, the seed for the institution.
    I think the businesses the grew rich here didn’t “have to” fight wars and so could be benefactors.
    I’m not sure about public versus private unions.
    You say, “Public unions are now the pariahs and taxpayers are in the role of the corporations.”
    I’m thinking my town is giving Coca-Cola a tax break to expand here, rather than accepting say a Coca-Cola funded “seat” teaching math at the high school. Why? If we don’t give them a tax break, another town will.
    “This socialism versus free markets seems to lack the element of time,” you say. You lost me there.
    As for Social Security versus pensions, I think most of us who make normal incomes are having to set aside a “pension” on the side. If someone earns about the limit of where FICA taxes your income, well, you don’t really need to set aside a pension fund. Social Security will be enough for you. The “huddled masses” have to have both the private and the public assets be quite stable. There is always the workhouse, its modern equivalent, housing where no one works, for fear of losing that housing as well and ending up on the streets, the fields, or in the church basement. “Austerity” — we don’t know what it will look like. In England, they call it “swinge-ing,” pronounced with a soft G as in “changing.”

  • Bill R

    As I have come to understand economics I believe the current debt crisis is different than those that have proceeded for the following reason:

    Capitalism and the money system we have created is predicated on growth and debt. It must have a growing money supply to function. That is the way it is constructed. Debt and Loans are distributed with the assumption that it can be paid back with interest.

    As long as we have extractive economies, this means that natural and social capital must be extracted and monitized to create consumer products to “feed the beast” and pay back the debt.

    This is what capitalism does not understand: It depends on natural resources and those resources are actually running out. Oil, Coal, Natural Gas, Water, Timber, Soils, Fish, Stragetic Minerals, Rock Phosphate, all are under great stress. Climate Change is creating more disasters of flooding, desertification, crop loss…

    A debt system predicated on growth is encountering a full planet. This is why finanicalization seeks phoney means of conjuring wealth, b/c creating real wealth to pay back debt and grow is increasingly difficult.

    Eventually this truth will collapse the current capitalistic system. Hopefully we can understand this truth and transition out of this disfunctional addiction to growth before it is too late.

  • BillR

    Let me clarify one thing in what I said. We are not litterally running out at this moment of any natural resources…. it is only that cumulative stresses of a declining oil supply, depleted aquifers, depleting minerals such as phosphate, rare-earth metals, and oceans that are near collapse from overfishing, acidification, oil spills, nitrogen and toxics pollution will combine together to make exconomic expansion and debt untenable and not able to be paid back. The only solutions will be massive conjoined default and depression, or inflation that makes the monetary system eventually useless. This is the long term picture.

    We need a money system that values nature, sustainability,and humans rather than growth. The current system is based on faulty assumptions of reality and is irredeemable.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Franklin’s post points to the problem of not enough young healthy people to support an aging population, and where immigration seems like a (short-term?) solution.
    I notice that aging people, even the healthy productive ones who want to work “forever,” don’t “be fruitful and multiply” the way those under 40 do. Maybe someday, as medical miracles proceed, the rule will be to create one family, then create another, then create another, but I hope not. I hope that a population of older people, world-wide, will produce fewer children per capita, and there won’t be the kind of shortages and environmental stressors that a “feed the beast” approach is bringing on.
    Both governments and investment institutions will have to develop a new approach before calamity (environmental and/or financial) takes over.

  • Janet

    obama-nomics will fail here just like Socialism is suppose to fail. R. Reagan economic ideas created the huge investment high tech which created the 20 year bull market.

  • jeffe

    Janet are you serious? What investment? Everything fell apart. Have you been looking at the infrastructure around this country? It amazes me how people on the right think Reagan had all the answers. He did not, and trickle down was, is an absolute failure. That’s not saying the democrats have any bright ideas on the mess we are in.

    Historically if one looks back to the Great Depression evidence does point to the republicans being an absolute failure on the economy. Reaganomics, absolute failure.
    Gingrich’s “Contract with America” an embarrassment.

    Obama does not impress me, he’s a centrist and kind of middle of the road. You know what you find in the middle of the road? Two yellow lines and dead skunks.

  • Gary

    @ BillR – Yes that’s it. Nothing can grow forever.

    Market economies are reliant on population growth and consumption, and at some point will fail. We are just like Easter Island, grasping for fuel, nutrients, and ever increasing religious fervor to pray, and later sacrifice the problems away.

  • Bruce Morton

    Ever notice how the dems and libs who post on this site never draw the connection between the cities and States that have been run by democrats for decades and which cities and States are now facing crushing debts and deficits that have resulted from their social entitlement programs and from the loss of tax revenue due to the private sector businesses that have been driven from these same States and cities as a result of the policies, laws, and regulations that these same dems have enacted?

  • jeffe

    Bruce, do mean like California which is governed by a Republican. Or how about Arizona which is also run by a Republican. They have one of the worse economies in the country.

    It’s pretty clear that you do not seem to have the ability to see that the loss of revenue is due to a falling tax rate and people losing there jobs.

    On regulation or the lack there off, it seems to me that recent economic events where caused by the lack of oversight. The same can be said for the huge oil spill that is ongoing in the Gulf.

  • Janet

    Jeffe – Are you for real? There has been a lack of funding for roads, bridges etc?…I can remember 3 different massive funding increases during the last 25 years just for roads and bridges..where did the money go?…FDR solved the Great Depression? He did exactly nothing other than give a fire side chat about “hope”…FDR tried every Socialist idea he could and they all failed…complete and total failure..did we not learn from PRC and USSR? Centrally planned economies and Socialism failed.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Oversight; as in, “Oh, that was only an oversight [committee].” “Our mission/commissionis to determine the best way to overlook this or that.”
    Janet, what is your plan for the improvement of the schools? How do we get the teachers able to train the kind of workforce needed for the next generation?
    Can this be done on the cheap? Is it strictly a local responsibility? Is that fair to all children? Do you think FDR advanced this? Or Eisenhower?

  • david

    Stupidity abounds across the globe.
    Europe has experimented with Social Democracy for over 60 years. The purpose of Social Democracy or Socialism is to create teats on the government in order to create a moocher’s style society of people who depend on entitlements from the Govt.
    This is what has happened in Europe, entitlements from the govt. have grown till they are now unsustainable. That is what happens in a Social Democracy. To many people hanging off the teat of govt.; Govt. grows to the point it cannot survive. A collapse occurs, and the milk turns sour.
    A failed system.
    Problem: Do we see what is happening over there?
    If not, you will experience it soon over here!!!
    Our present Govt. embraces the same failed philosophy and is pursuing it with the same thinking that somehow this system will work. It will fail also.
    * our share in the IMF is 17.09% or possibly 54 billion. Did anyone ask your blessing on this?????
    * CBO states today that Obamacare is going to cost more than previously states. Wow!!! I didn’t see that coming!!!!
    * European citizens are now facing a 23% VAT.
    Wake up America! Our country is in perilous times!!!!!

  • Mica

    The debt in Greek, Portugal, Spain etc arouse through uncontrolled government corruption, big financial greed, uebercapitalism etc. Where is this American obsession about “socialized” systems and Socialism coming from? Look at Scandinavia… it works fine if things are in balance.
    Get your facts right!

  • david

    My facts are right, time will prove them so. I hope I am wrong, because I am in this boat also.
    Here are some facts about Scandinavia
    One of the underlying standouts in all these countries problems is a fat government.
    I would ask Mica, How much money do you have??? Can you spend and buy stuff to the point where you bankrupt yourself into oblivion???
    Comparing Scandinavia with America, is like comparing a bowling ball to a marble. 309,000,000 people to 9,000,000 people.

  • Janet

    Ellen – How to improve schools? Get rid of the Dept. of Education is a good start. Have our schools improved since it was created by?…hmmmm…oh yes..JIMMY CARTER!!!..Why keep rewarding it with more money?…There is no great mystery to success in school..just turn off the tv/ipod/xbox and study…the success or failure of a child in school falls on the parents.

  • jeffe

    Janet if FDR failed I hate to see what Hoovers failure would have looked like. FDR’s New Deal put millions of people back to work, people like my grandfather and it saved his family, my fathers family from extreme poverty.

    Obviously you have a very conservative ideology so there is nothing anyone can here. You’re like a mule with blinders on.

    My guess is you would like to go back to the Gilded age.

  • Janet

    Jeffe, My grandfather was a steel worker for during the Great Depression. He had not one good thing to say about FDR or his gang of “economists”. You need to broaden you scope and read a book “The Forgotten Man”. The Democrates have worked very hard to protect FDR, but history and economics has shown he was a disaster. Do you know he actually took a butcher to court for selling chickens for less than the gov. price? Amazing economic thought huh? Hoover got stuck with the blame for the Depression, but he actually tried to inject money into the economy with massive government projects. Then FDR came along and scared away all the private investors with his bitter hate towards the rich. Facts don’t lie and FDR was a overrated clown. Just ask the Japanese-Americans how FDR treated their ancestors.

  • Edith

    One final word…

    I just don’t get Americans only talking about debt being a problem when it comes to something that is good for the people. Get rid of the Department of Education? Really?

    If you follow the media it seems that most people didn’t blink an eye when it came to starting TWO wars. (Did anyone really believe that the Iraqui war would pay for itself with oil revenues?) How much money does the United States pay PER DAY for occupying Iraq and Afghanistan? But that’s ok. Spending for war and on the defense department always seems to be ok, but when it comes to collectively supporting things that contribute to a better quality of life for everybody like good public schools or medicine or eldercare or affordable housing, whatever, that’s always a terrible thing. (You know, I like to see older people enjoying their pensions, playing a game of dominoes with their friends and enjoying their grandchildren. Over there you shut them up in homes.) It’s as though everyone suddenly fancies themselves a robber baron. Is Janet maybe a robber baron? It would be funny if it weren’t so destructive.

    So you know some of us, who want civilization, not social darwinism, look on in horror when we see that 1% of the population in the United States controls 49% of the wealth and that this is ok with so many of you. It really scares me. I really don’t get these Americans casting Europe’s social safety net as something horrible and unaffordable that must be dismantled, while their own spending on war and defense is astronomical and somebody please explain to me how it benefits you to borrow the way you have to blow it all on wars – you explode a bomb once and that’s it. How much does each one of those things cost? I read somewhere that a gallon of petrol in Afghanistan costs, when you factor everything in, transport, etc, 400 dollars a gallon. Now that’s unsustainable!

    Now S&P has marked down the bonds of some southern European nations, from one day to the next, and we all have to become more austere. When are your bankers going to apply some austerity to their own lives? When are you going to start taxing those people to pay for your wars?

  • Janet

    Getting rid of the Dept. of Education does not mean getting rid of education. Far from it..but if you look at the complete and total failure of the Dept. of Education there is no reason to continue to fund it. They are nothing more than a bunch of middlemen getting in the way. Fire the whole lot and give the savings to the states to fund their education programs.

  • jeffe

    Janet what Hoover tried was to little to late.
    As for FDR, well he was no saint. Pitting your grandfather against mine as witnesses of how the New Deal worked out is neither here nor there. The reality is it did put a lot of people back to work. I’m not a big fan of FDR, being Jewish. He was a good president and I would argue a good war time president. Personally I think Truman was better.

    As far as the your statements about the Japanese Americans, well that’s a cheap shot in context to what is being discussed. What happened to them was horrific, but our nation is built on the backs of people being subjugated, used and abused. Look up the The Ludlow Massacre of Colorado.

    The thing is you are a conservative, which is fine I can respect that. I’m not so I don’t agree with your political ideology. We will always beg to differ. But you know what that’s the beauty of our democracy.
    We can argue like cats and dogs. In some countries one does not have this luxury. I think we should all try to remember that.

  • Isabel

    The department of defense is immensely efficient, however. But we don’t need the department of education. Janet is right about that. That’s a blatant failure. In fact, public education should be done away with all together. Let’s drown it all in the bathtub. Who needs the government? The FDA, let’s get rid of that too. Clean water act? People should pull themselves up by their bootstraps and buy water filters. I mean all these people sucking off the teat of the government and my taxes, really! I am appalled. That FDR with his social security, GI Bill, help for people to buy houses and get higher education, what a disgrace that was.

  • jeffe

    Isabel some people want to go back the Gilded age, to when McKinley was president. The age of the robber barons.

    While we are at it lets bring back child labor and the 14 hour 7 day work week.

    We could also bring back the debtor’s prison.

Aug 20, 2014
A man holds his hands up in the street after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

A deep read on Ferguson, Missouri and what we’re seeing about race, class, hope and fear in America.

Aug 20, 2014
In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, a monarch butterfly lands on a confetti lantana plant in San Antonio. A half-century ago Monarch butterflies, tired, hungry and bursting to lay eggs, found plenty of nourishment flying across Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers. But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants. (AP)

This year’s monarch butterfly migration is the smallest ever recorded. We’ll ask why. It’s a big story. Plus: how climate change is creating new hybridized species.

Aug 19, 2014
Lara Russo, left, Cally Guasti, center, and Reese Werkhoven sit on a couch in their apartment in New Paltz, N.Y. on Thursday, May 15, 2014.  While their roommate story of $40,800 found in a couch made the news, other, weirder stories of unusual roommates are far more common. (AP)

From college dorms and summer camps to RVs and retirement hotels, what it’s like to share a room. True stories of roommates.

Aug 19, 2014
Police wait to advance after tear gas was used to disperse a crowd Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

“War zones” in America. Local police departments with military grade equipment – how much is too much, and what it would take to de-militarize America’s police force.

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