Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
The Elizabeth Warren video is a good one.  She demonstrates with graphs and government derived stats what has become very obvious.  The middle class has taken it on the chin for the last 30 years.  The truth is that Americans have not been foolishly spending all their incomes on luxury goods and electronics at the expense of savings.

I often wondered how my father, who earned less than $12K at the height of his working career, could put two kids through college, pay off a house, buy his cars with cash, and accumulate more money in savings (CDs of course) than both my brother and I (plus our working wives) combined.  This explains one part of the mystery. (By the way, I never buy a new car before my old one is at least 12 years old, bought my last television set over 30 years ago, and lived 30 miles away from work where houses were more affordable.)

The other part is explained by the fact that my father and my mother came from self sufficient farming families who knew how to live off food and products they produced themselves and little else.  While they left farming when even that couldn't produce a living, they retained many of their frugal habits.    

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 02:22:44 PM EST
Don't forget also that credit (debt) industry and the you-must-consume ad industries are synergistic.

This is at the very least convenient for the ownership class.

It's a three way squeeze - cut down the amount of ready cash from income, pump up consumer desire to frenetic levels, and then offer cheap credit to make those exotic dreams possible.

If you count the bailouts it's a four way squeeze, because the bailouts are effectively another massive tax cut and rebate for the ultra-rich.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 02:30:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't forget also that credit (debt) industry and the you-must-consume ad industries are synergistic.

True.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 02:59:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
do you know whther she on board of some banks? I became suspicious of all professors of economics after I realized that many are on board of various investment banks like Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs. They invented derivatives and now claimed they thought they are selling wonderful products reducing risks.
by FarEasterner on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 09:06:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She isn't an economist. She's a law professor specializing in bankruptcy law. She's been talking about this stuff for a while now, and was the academic point person in the (failed) fight against bankruptcy 'reform' demanded by the banks. She and a couple of her students used to blog over at TPM Cafe, then at the Credit Slips blog. She's been very, very critical of the financial industry and calling for much stricter regulation.
by MarekNYC on Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 at 12:37:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
thank you for clarification. i cannot see video because i am in internet cafe.
by FarEasterner on Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 at 12:48:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I also recommend watching the Elizabeth Warren video. I think she has it about right.  Excellent confirmation of what I and most who I know have experienced over the last 40 years, driven home with statistics derived from pretty good data.  She was fortunate to be able to work with the Commerce Department to get good answers to basic questions.  I wonder if she has this information available in printed form.

I am very glad that she has been put in charge of monitoring the TARP expenditures.  While nothing has been done to correct the problems, her reports have been scathing.  From this video and what else I have seen of the lady, I have no doubts about her integrity.  No one in Washington can ask "How could we have known?"  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:45:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One thing to note is that if she's using the official GDP deflator (and I assume she is) to make her inflation-adjusted earnings figures, she's understating things by some margin, because Games Have Been Played with the GDP deflator ever since Ronnie Raygun.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 at 04:55:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Confirming my interest in the Elizabeth Warden video.
There is however a little bonus for those like me that can't resist browsing the side windows of youtube.
Under the somewhat pompous name of "the most Important video you'll ever see" there is a class by a physics professor explaining why growth will get us all killed.

He demonstrates the simple arithmetic truth: something that grows 7% a year, doubles every 10 years. During those 10 years,one consumes an amount of resources superior to those spent since we started.

by Torres on Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 at 04:43:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series