fiscal policy

Sunday Train: Our Trebly Broken Highway Funding System

Over the balance of this year, you are likely to hear more and more about our broken Highway Funding system. For instance, William Moore, of the consultancy group Vianovo and member of the Transportation Transformation Group, wrote at Infra Insight this last 13 March that:

Absent swift action by Congress, state departments of transportation will begin to have cash flow problems that could delay payments to vendors and slow projects. Without action by the fall, new projects may have to be shelved until Congress can resolve the funding crisis that confronts the Highway Trust Fund.

However, this is just the most visible layer of pending crisis in our highway funding system. Even if we were to fix the threat to engage in spending at status quo levels,status quo spending has been falling behind the damage done by cars and trucks to our roads for decades, and even if we were to fund our transportation to address the massive shortfall in maintaining our current highway system, we have not seriously begun in addressing the fact that our current transport system is one of our principle contributor's to our economy's present climate change suicide course.

We have a trebly broken highway funding system, and there is no guarantee that we will actually address the simplest of the problems.

The good news is that we do not need massive technological breakthroughs to fix this triple layer cake of crisis. The bad news is that what we do need is a political movement with both the focus and the clout to push the existing available solutions onto the table, in the face of determined status quo resistance ... and those who have at least glanced at our political system over the past decade would be aware that building such a movement is a "to be solved by reader" kind of problem.

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What We Really Should be Yellin About When it Comes to Who Runs the Fed

Effective regulation, and on that note, it is a positive thing that the Summers of our discontent can finally be laid to rest. After all the damage Larry Summers has caused in being one of the architects of this crisis, from boxing in Brooksley Born and ignoring her warnings with regard to derivatives which brought down Long Term Capital Management during the Clinton administration, to his sexism among everything else. He has now thankfully taken himself out consideration for the job.

It's a good thing he did. Rather than fighting for something or someone that helps people suffering from this economic crisis, President Obama strongly recommended and fought for Larry Summers to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve, a guy who lost a billion dollars as President of Harvard betting on interest rates. Yeah, let that sink in for awhile.

It's really not OK. This is why making excuses for everything the President does, as too many Democrats do without thinking of the damage, is dangerous, immoral, and unprincipled. Now it looks like the front runner to replace Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve is going to be Vice Chairwoman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and once President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Janet Yellin. Unlike Larry Summers, she at least saw the crisis coming as early as 2005.

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Economic Populist: Capping Bush Tax Cuts fixes over half of fiscal problem

Burning the Midnight Oil for Economic Populism

Among the many things entirely lost in the mainstream media coverage of the "fiscal cliff" are the nature and magnitude of the country's fiscal challenge. The magnitude is why it is not a crisis, and the nature is why we would be better off "just doing nothing" ~ letting the whole Bush tax cuts expire and scrapping the zombie spending cuts ~ is better than the vast majority of "fixes" floating around in the mainstream media.

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Honest Questions All Democrats Must Ask Themselves

Cross posted in Orange and the Stars Hollow Gazette

Ever since last weekend, I've been seeing Paul Ryan's mug everywhere and it is all anyone can talk about. I can't help but think this constant attention elevates him a little, even though as Elliot Spitzer said, if he turned his budget to the SEC he would be fined for turning over fraudulent documents. I also don't believe Ryan helps the Romney ticket at all, except for the pretense by the corporate owned media that he's an intellectual instead of someone who just likes crazy immoral Ayn Randian ideas and terrible mathematical projection fantasies.

Regardless, there are too many negatives and a lack of anything at all for Romney to run his campaign on. It won't be a contest, in my opinion, when you look at electoral votes(though the media will have fun playing up the head to head match-ups as if the popular vote still matters) and the President is lucky he doesn't have an opponent who excites the base at all. He's lucky because his record is a mediocre one at best when it comes to what should have been pursued in what many are now calling a depression(economic inequality and private debt overhang is on par with the Great Depression).

This isn't the 90s. He shouldn't have hired people from the 90s that helped crash the economy. He wasted this crisis, which conservatives never do when they get a chance to exploit one, ruining any chance for real reform and stability. It's really not OK because the opportunity only comes once every 20 or 30 years and he blew it. There will be more financial panics and bailouts in the nearer than you think future because of this wasted crisis.

History shows that Dodd Frank will not stop implicit bailout guarantees, specifically, with the massive political power, the biggest power, of TBTF banks. Our safety net is not safe even if Democrats win this election. The banks own our government, so we must be on guard when the lame duck period comes after next November.

I hope there is a major moment of self reflection for a party I'm having trouble recognizing by the second so I'm asking these questions to spur one. I'll give my take on each of them, but you all can answer them for yourself.

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