When Will Wall Street Quit Being Stupid?

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

The self-described “Geniuses of Wall Street” are being stupid. Again.

In 2007, their stupid schemes and frauds crashed our economy, destroying middle-class jobs, wealth, and opportunities. Far from being punished, however, the scofflaws were bailed out by their Washington enablers – so the moral lesson they learned was clear: Stupid pays! Go Stupid!

Sure enough, here they come again! Rather than investing America’s capital in real businesses to generate grassroots jobs and shared prosperity, Wall Street is siphoning billions of investment dollars into speculative nonsense – such as bundles of high-risk, subprime auto loans.

It works like this: Car dealers, eager to goose up sales, hawk new vehicles to lower-income people, offering quick loan approval, even to those with poor credit ratings. Banks – eager to hook more people on monthly car payments – okay these subprime car loans without verifying the buyer’s ability to pay. Then, a Wall Street bank’s investment house buys up thousands of these iffy individual loans, bundles them into multimillion-dollar “debt securities,” and sells them to wealthy global speculators. Last year alone, banks sold $26 billion-worth of these explosive bundles of car loans.

This is a gaseous repeat of Wall Street’s subprime mortgage bubble that burst a decade ago. The scam generates easy money at the start for speculators and banksters – but as more and more low-income buyers are unable to make their car payments, defaults build up and the whole financial bubble pops.

Wasting America’s much-needed investment capital on a scheme that intentionally puts people in cars they can’t afford with loans they can’t repay is not only stupid, but immoral… and it’s killing our real economy. Why are we letting elite Wall Street loan sharks do this to us?

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Reposted from Jim Hightower

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. He publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown.” He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Jim Hightower

Union Matters

Want A Stronger Economy? Try Collective Bargaining

By Bethany Swanson
USW Intern

Well established collective bargaining systems improve wages, working conditions, and economic equality. They also can protect the economy as a whole against downturns.

These were the findings of a study published last week by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental agency founded after WWII, dedicated to improving economic and social conditions for workers across the globe.

Yet collective bargaining systems are facing serious challenges in many OECD countries, which make it unsurprising that the study also revealed that even with the unemployment rate decreasing, wage growth remains lower than it was before the recession in nearly every OECD country.

In the United States, which ranks at the bottom for both collective bargaining and worker security, workers are especially vulnerable.

The OECD found that countries like the United States that have decentralized collective bargaining systems generally have slower job growth and higher unemployment than other advanced nations. It also concluded that low paying jobs can create a slowdown in productivity and a sluggish economy.

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