Saturday, January 31, 2009

Villiage Voice Nails Economic Melt-down Causes

Finally, someone has put together a good overview of this economic mess, and ties it (no surprise to me) to historical criminal financial schemes. This article in the Village Voice should be required reading for all.

James Lieber's concluding page,

To say the bailout hasn't worked so far is putting it mildly. Since the crisis broke, Washington's reaction has been chaotic, lenient to favorites, secretive, and staggeringly expensive. An estimated $7.36 trillion, more than double the total American outlay for World War II (even correcting for inflation), has been thrown at the problem, according to press reports. Along the way, banking, insurance, and car companies have been nationalized, and no one has been brought to justice.

Combined unemployment and underemployment (those who have stopped looking, and part-timers) runs at nearly 20 percent, the highest since 1945. Housing prices continue to hemorrhage—last fall's 18 percent drop could double. Holiday shopping fizzled: 160,000 stores closed last year, and 200,000 more are expected to shutter in '09. Some forecasts place eventual retail darkness at 25 percent. In 2008, the Dow dropped further—34 percent—than at any time since 1931. There is no sound sector in the economy; the only members of the 30 Dow Jones Industrials posting gains last year were Wal-Mart and McDonald's.

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