left right politics showbiz tech invest good life gossip fun hot
Mother Jones Hot Air Huffpo Variety Engadget Seeking Alpha Lifehacker TheSuperficial Daily Beast reddit
Daily Kos Michelle Malkin Politico Billboard Boing Boing TheBigPicture Luxist TMZ.com Fark BuzzFeed
ThinkProgress RightWingNews First Read CNN Showbiz Gizmodo FT Alphaville Joystiq Perez Hilton 4chan memorandum
Crooks+Liars Power Line CNN ticker E! Online Techcrunch Josh Brown Kotaku gamer Bastardly Post Secret Techmeme
TalkngPtsMemo Ameri..Thinker Swampland TV Guide Ars Technica 24/7 Wall St. TreeHugger Egotastic hascheezburgr Drudge
The Raw Story NewsBusters The Caucus Ent. News Mashable bloggingstocks Consumerist PinkIsTheNew dooce digg
Wonkette Wizbang fishbowlDC HlywdWiretap Google blog DealBook lifehack.org CelebrityBaby Someth'nAwful trends
Atrios Taki Magazine WashWhisprs DeadlnHllywd Read/Write Jeff Matthews 43folders GoFugYourself Neatorama PSFK
Firedoglake Big Hollywood The Fix MSN Ent. OReilly Radar PhilsStockWorld Autoblog Page Six Cool Hunter BBC
Young Turks IMAO Capital Gains Rot'nTomatoes GigaOM Daily Rec'ng Deadspin BestWeekEver stereogum Timespop
Americablog AceOfSpades Open Secrets Cinematical ProBlogger Zero Hedge DownloadSqd Dlisted CuteOverload media eye
Politicususa Redstate WikiLeaks law Cool Tools Bespoke MediaZone PopSugar Dilbert blog TVNewser
CounterPunch Jawa Report econ law.alltop Scobleizer BtwTheHedges Deviant ArtHollyw'dTuna gapingvoid BuzzMachine
TalkLeft Patterico EconLog Volokh Consp. Apple Blog Minyanville Gothamist x17online DailyGrail MediaGazer
Feministing Townhall.com Freakonomics Legal Insurrec.. Valleywag Fast Money Curbed DailyBlabber Prof. Hex Steve Rubel
PolitAnimal OutsideBeltwy CrookedTimbr Conglomerate mozillaZine RealClearMkts FabSugar Gawker OvrheardinNY MediaBlgNRO
Truthdig Moonbattery MarginalRevo SportsLawBlog Smashing W$J Mktbeat Gridskipper Radar Last.fm Threat Level
Alternet RealClearPoli crime W$J Law BlogTechdirt AbnormalRtrns Material Defamer kottke.org Seth's blog
Media Matters Instapundit CrimeblogsBalkinizationMAKE RandomRoger Sartorialist Jossip PumpkinChuckin mediamatters
The Nation Hugh Hewitt All Crime Credit Slips SrchEngLand Stock Advisors Drink'nMadeEasy Just Jared Maps Mania Newshounds
Maddow Blog PJ Media Smoking Gun FindLaw VentureBeat Slope of Hope Mark Cuban Celebitchy CollegeHumor FAIR

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — March 10, 2009

Items of Interest:

Rethinking the American DreamDavid Kamp / Vanity Fair:
Rethinking the American Dream -- Everyone wants “the American Dream,” but do we even know what that means anymore? While the phrase was coined only in 1931, by historian James Truslow Adams, the idea has taken many forms: the individualism of the Wild West, the social compact of the New Deal, the suburban rewards of the G.I. Bill, and the hyped-up materialism of recent decades. As many declare the dream in danger, David Kamp proposes a different way of thinking about our national ambition...

These are tough times for the American Dream. As the safe routines of our lives have come undone, so has our characteristic optimism—not only our belief that the future is full of limitless possibility, but our faith that things will eventually return to normal, whatever “normal” was before the recession hit. There is even worry that the dream may be over—that we currently living Americans are the unfortunate ones who shall bear witness to that deflating moment in history when the promise of this country began to wither. This is the “sapping of confidence” that President Obama alluded to in his inaugural address, the “nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.”

But let’s face it: If Moss Hart, like so many others, was able to rally from the depths of the Great Depression, then surely the viability of the American Dream isn’t in question. What needs to change is our expectation of what the dream promises—and our understanding of what that vague and promiscuously used term, “the American Dream,” is really supposed to mean...

discussion:
Paul Kedrosky / Infectious Greed:
The Death of Dreams/Equities/etc. -- A friend argues that the current Vanity Fair has the true “death of equities” magazine cover of this era. The title: “Is it time to rethink the American dream?”
----
Mark Seal / Vanity Fair:
Madoff’s World -- Among Bernard Madoff’s many dupes were his closest friends, including two tycoons he loved as surrogate fathers: the late Norman F. Levy—whose girlfriend, supermodel Carmen Dell’Orefice, would lose her life savings—and the prominent philanthropist Carl J. Shapiro. Amid the sobs, screams, and curses in Aspen, Palm Beach, and New York, with victims sharing their stories, the author gets behind Madoff’s affable façade, to reveal his most intimate betrayals.

Carmen DellOrefice victim of Bernie MadoffOver dinner in New York one night in January, I was airing my frustration concerning Bernard Madoff. Everybody had read about the losses he had inflicted on foundations associated with Steven Spielberg, Elie Wiesel, and Mort Zuckerman, I told my dinner companions, but after having interviewed nearly 40 of his other financial victims, I still couldn’t get a picture of what the man was like. “If you want to know about Bernie Madoff,” said Mary T. Browne, the renowned psychic and author, who counsels many heavy hitters on Wall Street, “you need to talk to my friend Carmen Dell’Orefice.” She was referring to one of the original supermodels, the platinum-blonde beauty who had posed for Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Francesco Scavullo, and Norman Parkinson, and who had been a muse to Salvador Dalí. She had first appeared on the cover of Vogue in 1946, when she was 15. “Nobody can give you better insights into the Madoffs than Carmen,” Browne told me. “I’ll see if she’ll talk to you.” ...
----
Vanity Fair:
Wall Street on the Tundra -- Iceland’s de facto bankruptcy—its currency (the krona) is kaput, its debt is 850 percent of G.D.P., its people are hoarding food and cash and blowing up their new Range Rovers for the insurance—resulted from a stunning collective madness...

“Iceland is no longer a country. It is a hedge fund.” ...
----
Paul Krugman / NY Times:
Can America be saved? -- So I read this:
Boehner said Americans want government to practice the same financial restraint they have been forced to exercise: “It’s time for government to tighten their belts and show the American people that we ‘get’ it.”
and I wonder if this country can handle the crisis we’re in. Remember, John Boehner is, in effect, the second-most influential member of the GDP (after Rush Limbaugh). And while Democrats hold a majority, it’s not enough of a majority to make the minority party irrelevant.

So the fact that Boehner’s idea of economics is completely insane matters.

What’s insane about Boehner’s remark? He’s talking about the current economic crisis as if it were a harvest failure — as if we faced a shortage of goods, so that the more you consume the less is left for me. In reality — even most conservatives understand this, when they think about it — we’re in a world desperately short of demand. If you consume more, that’s GOOD for me, because it helps create jobs and raise incomes. It’s in my personal disinterest to have you tighten your belt — and that’s just as true if you’re “the government” as if you’re my neighbor...
related:
Wikipedia:
Paradox of thrift -- The paradox states that if everyone saves more money during times of recession, then aggregate demand will fall and will in turn lower total savings in the population because of the decrease in consumption and economic growth...

Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias:
The Chamber Mobilizes — I'm probably not breaking any news …

discussion:
Alec MacGillis / Washington Post: The Employee Free Choice Bill Battle Is Joined
----
David Brooks / New York Times:
Taking a Depression Seriously — The Democratic response to the economic crisis has its problems, but let's face it, the current Republican response is totally misguided. The House minority leader, John Boehner, has called for a federal spending freeze for the rest of the year...
----
Rasmussen Reports:
discussion:
Roger L Simon / Pajamas Media: The (coming?) Depression: “It Is So, If You Think So”
----
Calculated Risk:
What is a depression? -- It seems like the "D" word is everywhere. And that raises a question: what is a depression? Although there is no formal definition, most economists agree it is a prolonged slump with a 10% or more decline in real GDP.

Yesterday I heard an analyst say that a 10% unemployment rate is a depression. But the unemployment rate peaked at 10.8% in 1982, and that period is usually not considered a depression...
-----
Credit Cards Are the Next Credit CrunchMeredith Whitney / Wall Street Journal:
Credit Cards Will Crunch Next - Just six months ago, I estimated that at least $2 trillion of available credit-card lines would be expunged from the system by the end of 2010. However, today, that estimate now looks optimistic, as available lines were reduced by nearly $500 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008 alone. My revised estimates are that over $2 trillion of credit-card lines will be cut inside of 2009, and $2.7 trillion by the end of 2010.
-----
Roger Kimball / Pajamas Media:
The Idiot's Guide to Destroying the Economy: a 12-Step Program — Think destroying the mighty economy of the United States is too big a job for you? Relax. Anyone can do it. A friend sent me a handy-dandy no-fuss 12-step program for wreaking financial havoc among even the world's most advanced economies....
----
Jane Hamsher / Firedoglake:
Talking Economic Accountability With Rep. Alan Grayso — … You probably know Alan Grayson for his greatest hits collection on YouTube. It was his questioning of Fed Vice Chair Donald Kohn that alerted the public to the fact that the Fed had a $1.2 trillion slush fund, and they wouldn't reveal where the money was going..
discussion:
----

zero hedge

Calculated Risk

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia