Posts tagged economy
Too Big to Jail

More than two decades ago, during the savings and loan crisis, Bill Black exposed the Keating Five, senators who took big campaign contributions from the most infamous of the savings and loan executives and then tried to hide their crimes by stopping bank examiners from doing their job. 

The scandal ended the careers of three of those senators. One of them—John McCain—went on to run for president. Black also helped prosecutors convict more than 3,000 crooked bankers, a third of them high-level executives. He also trained bank examiners and FBI agents in what to look for and showed prosecutors how to frame charges and present complicated evidence to juries in a compelling manner. 

After that, Black, a lawyer, got a doctorate in criminology and developed a theory he calls “control fraud” to describe how corrupt bankers turn legitimate institutions into criminal enterprises. He devised techniques to help bank regulators quickly spot crooked banking practices, and rolled all this into a book,The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One. 

With a track record like that, you might think Black would have been the first person President Barack Obama called when he took office five years ago as the economy was being gutted because of reckless and rapacious banking practices that plundered profits through subprime mortgages and devilish derivatives. A second Great Depression was stalking America, as the stock market was tanking and businesses small and large were hemorrhaging jobs. 

BUT

Too Big to Jail

More than two decades ago, during the savings and loan crisis, Bill Black exposed the Keating Five, senators who took big campaign contributions from the most infamous of the savings and loan executives and then tried to hide their crimes by stopping bank examiners from doing their job.

The scandal ended the careers of three of those senators. One of them—John McCain—went on to run for president. Black also helped prosecutors convict more than 3,000 crooked bankers, a third of them high-level executives. He also trained bank examiners and FBI agents in what to look for and showed prosecutors how to frame charges and present complicated evidence to juries in a compelling manner.

After that, Black, a lawyer, got a doctorate in criminology and developed a theory he calls “control fraud” to describe how corrupt bankers turn legitimate institutions into criminal enterprises. He devised techniques to help bank regulators quickly spot crooked banking practices, and rolled all this into a book,The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One.

With a track record like that, you might think Black would have been the first person President Barack Obama called when he took office five years ago as the economy was being gutted because of reckless and rapacious banking practices that plundered profits through subprime mortgages and devilish derivatives. A second Great Depression was stalking America, as the stock market was tanking and businesses small and large were hemorrhaging jobs.

BUT

kateoplis:

“A street prostitute in Dallas may make as little as $5 per sex act. But pimps can take in $33,000 a week in Atlanta, where the sex business brings in an estimated $290 million per year. It is not nearly as lucrative in Denver, where prostitution and other elements of an underground trade are worth about $40 million.” NYT In-Depth
“Atlanta’s underground sex trade is larger than Seattle, D.C., and Denver combined. …
[C]oercion and encouragement from family members to make money [is] a bigger factor in persuading women to go into (and stay in) prostitution than physical violence.”
"If you add all the underground economies together, you’ll see the largest combined black markets (by city) are: Atlanta, Miami, San Diego, and Dallas. Across the studied cities, the largest underground market is sex, followed by drugs, then guns."
8 Facts About the US Sex Economy

kateoplis:

A street prostitute in Dallas may make as little as $5 per sex act. But pimps can take in $33,000 a week in Atlanta, where the sex business brings in an estimated $290 million per year. It is not nearly as lucrative in Denver, where prostitution and other elements of an underground trade are worth about $40 million.” NYT In-Depth

Atlanta’s underground sex trade is larger than Seattle, D.C., and Denver combined. …

[C]oercion and encouragement from family members to make money [is] a bigger factor in persuading women to go into (and stay in) prostitution than physical violence.”

"If you add all the underground economies together, you’ll see the largest combined black markets (by city) are: Atlanta, Miami, San Diego, and Dallas. Across the studied cities, the largest underground market is sex, followed by drugs, then guns."

8 Facts About the US Sex Economy

President Obama has broken his promises, and Romney-Ryan is our only hope for prosperity writes Harvard historian and Newsweek columnist Niall Ferguson in next week’s issue available with bells n’ whistles on iPad today or in glorious print at the newsstand on Monday. AND if you’re by a telly you can catch Niall talking Obama, Biden, Romney, Ryan and all things 2012 on CBS Face the Nation w/ Bob Schieffer later this morning at 10.30am.

President Obama has broken his promises, and Romney-Ryan is our only hope for prosperity writes Harvard historian and Newsweek columnist Niall Ferguson in next week’s issue available with bells n’ whistles on iPad today or in glorious print at the newsstand on Monday. AND if you’re by a telly you can catch Niall talking Obama, Biden, Romney, Ryan and all things 2012 on CBS Face the Nation w/ Bob Schieffer later this morning at 10.30am.

Until consumers demand better conditions in overseas factories — as they did for companies like Nike and Gap, which today have overhauled conditions among suppliers — or regulators act, there is little impetus for radical change.
Well, there you have it tumblr. Until you—yes, YOU—demand better conditions for the people toiling away building your MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads, nothing will drastically change. You can start by signing this petition. Or this one. And if you haven’t read the Times piece on the factory conditions in China, read it.

Do you think Congress is responsible for this countries economic problems, or President Obama?

Can we say neither?

Sure, Congress & the administration have had a rough year trying to get along, but most of that hasn’t really affected our economic policy to a degree that it would really send us over the edge.

If you’re looking for someone to blame, we would start with the ten years prior at the Fed, then look at the banks and how they so poorly dealt with a rapidly collapsing housing market, and then Europe, which today is largely responsible for many of the fears and woes that things are going straight back to 2008. If you haven’t, we’d also recommend you listen to this This American Life podcast which really does a great job of explaining “The Giant Pool of Money.” It won a Peabody!

I generally think customers don’t want to be nickled and dimed.
You can say that again. The head of retail products at Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services, on the news that big banks have backtracked on their plan to charge monthly debit fees. (WSJ)

Herman Cain on #OccupyWallStreet: "If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself!"http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/10/cain-occupywallstreet-if-youre-unemployed-blame-yourself

motherjones:

It’s like they’re not even pretending anymore.

Also important: Cain believes banks may have had “something to do with the crisis in 2008,” but hey, he says,  we’re not in 2008 anymore! “We’re in 2011! Okay?” No. That’s not OK.



latimes:

The Huffmans are stocking up on cheese powder, dehydrated tomatoes and canned ham, watching warily as food and fuel prices rise despite a supposedly recovering economy. And they’re not alone. “This sort of stockpiling was once the purview of survivalists preparing for Armageddon,” reports Faye Fiore. “But Huffman’s fear isn’t the end of the world so much as the $5 basket of grape tomatoes she bypassed the other day at her local supermarket.”
Photo: Tami Huffman in her basement.  Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times


Love this story. We spent time with some similar folks who call themselves “preppers.”

latimes:

The Huffmans are stocking up on cheese powder, dehydrated tomatoes and canned ham, watching warily as food and fuel prices rise despite a supposedly recovering economy. And they’re not alone. “This sort of stockpiling was once the purview of survivalists preparing for Armageddon,” reports Faye Fiore. “But Huffman’s fear isn’t the end of the world so much as the $5 basket of grape tomatoes she bypassed the other day at her local supermarket.”

Photo: Tami Huffman in her basement.  Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Love this story. We spent time with some similar folks who call themselves “preppers.”

(Source: Los Angeles Times)

After enduring grueling work schedules for several years, many people, for the first time in several years, feel empowered people to ask for more—be it money, time off, stock options, bonuses, promotions, or the ability to work from home. “It’s not that workers feel entitled. It’s that they feel like they’ve earned it because there’s a little more room out there,” says one outplacement CEO. And, if employees feel like companies are not responsive, the high performers eventually will leave.
With new unemployment figures showing a stagnant job market, Nancy Cook asks, Are Fed-Up Workers Getting their Gumption Back?
The interplay between prosperity—and poverty—and religious observance has become a recent fascination of a small number of economists and other social scientists, for understanding these patterns can help us better predict the future. Do hard times produce more fundamentalists? Do prosperous times produce more do-gooders? Will a lengthy economic slump pull people into the pews to pray for jobs and ladle soup for needier neighbors? Or will it keep people at home on the couch, nursing psychic wounds and cursing their creator?
Lisa Miller, on whether recessions make us more religious