FDL Movie Night: Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve

By: Monday September 23, 2013 4:59 pm

The Federal Reserve is a hundred years old this year. There’s not a whole lot to celebrate in its century long history–the intention might have been good, but the execution has kind of been disastrous. In tonight’s film, Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve, our guest filmmaker Jim Bruce takes us through the history of the Federal Reserve System and into the current mess.

 

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Sam Pizzigati, The Rich Don’t Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class

By: Sunday February 10, 2013 1:59 pm

I can think of few books about a slice of American history that have more relevance to the vital debates of today than Sam Pizzigati’s “The Rich Don’t Always Win.” Sam’s book tells the story of how the United States, one of the world’s most unequal societies in the early 1900s, became by the middle of the 20th century one of the most equal nations on earth. He shows how average Americans, organized in the labor and other movements, mobilized and vanquished a plutocracy even more powerful than ours today.

Why is this relevant to today? Well, starting with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the U.S. government — fueled by a far right ideology — passed “free market” taxes and other policies that left the nation once again as one of the most unequal on earth by the beginning of this century.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes L. Randall Wray, Modern Money Theory: A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems

By: Saturday January 5, 2013 1:59 pm

I am hosting the Firedoglake discussion of my colleague Randy Wray’s new “Primer” on macroeconomics. Macroeconomics is the study of the overall economy – economic growth, recessions, depressions, inflation, unemployment, and employment are big issues that macroeconomics studies. The key policies it addresses are usually divided into fiscal (tax and spending) and monetary policies (the growth of the money supply and setting interest rates).

The concept of monetary tools has broadened as we have seen the Federal Reserve change what had been a severely constrained “lender of last resort” function of the central bank into the most massive bailout program in history. Similarly, the central bank’s interest rate setting function that was long focused on short-term rates has expanded into large experiments that attempt to lower long-term interest rates (“quantitative easing”).

Civilian Conservation Corps 2.0

By: Saturday July 7, 2012 9:00 am

Over the Fourth of July holiday week, millions of people visited one of the hundreds of state and national parks that dot our land. A number of parks have a certain statue honoring the millions of Civilian Conservation Corps workers who made these parks the gems that they are. The CCC gave its workers employment and dignity in a time of economic depression, and it gave the nation a legacy of trails, roads, campgrounds, buildings, and more, so that future generations might be able to enjoy the richness of this land.

We invested in people and parks two generations ago, and we’ve been reaping the benefits ever since. In this current economic depression — worse than any other downturn since the Great Depression — when our parks are in serious need of maintenance and improvements, maybe it’s time to invest in the future once again and bring the CCC back once more.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Paul Krugman, End This Depression Now!

By: Saturday May 19, 2012 1:59 pm

It is an honor and a pleasure to have Paul Krugman at the Lake this afternoon for a conversation on End This Depression Now! Dedicated “To the unemployed, who deserve better,” the book is a condemnation of the policies and mind-set that have produced the worst economic depression since the 1930s. And unlike the Great Depression, which contemporaries did not understand, we know what to do; the current depression is entirely self-inflicted. The broken homes and ruined lives are not attributable to acts of God or the inscrutable logic of the market, but are the direct consequence of public decisions that have amplified the inherent risk of private credit by deregulating financial operations and the attempt to balance the budget when aggregate private demand is collapsing. The central message is that none of this suffering is necessary, and none of it is justified.

President Barack Herbert Hoover Obama Explains How to Avoid a Depression

By: Saturday July 23, 2011 4:00 pm

On several occasions after the Great Depression began, President Hoover admonished the public and those demanding the government provide economic relief that the nation had run out of money and that it would be irresponsible to borrow and engage in profligate spending. Over 80 years later, we are hearing virtually the same economic gibberish from President Obama.

Late Night: We Screwed Ourselves with Success

By: Thursday December 30, 2010 8:00 pm

We could comfort ourselves with the idea that this bankster-created economic crisis could have been far worse, had it not been for the success of the social safety net we’ve created since the Great Depression. But that’s just denial talking. We have to do something about this situation; while we cannot morally create any more pain for our fellow Americans, we surely must tell their stories.

Death of a Generation Marks Death of America’s Middle Class

By: Thursday December 2, 2010 3:15 pm

On November 17, my mother died. She was the last surviving grandparent of my children, so her death was in a very real sense the death of a generation in our family. However, as I look back on the lives of my parents, I see that their generation represented a unique bridge in the American cultural landscape. Both of my parents were born in 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, and yet their early adult lives saw the very best of economic times for a huge middle class. Sadly, at their passing, that middle class now also is dying, as the distribution of wealth returns to its concentration into only a few hands, just as it was in the 1920′s prior to the Depression.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Richard D. Wolff, Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It

By: Saturday July 17, 2010 2:00 pm

Dr. Wolff is a prominent Marxist economist who teaches at U. Mass and The New School. The book is composed of scores of short essays he did for Monthly Review beginning in 2005. The publicity blurb sent to potential reviewers states that Dr. Wolff “predicted the economic meltdown years ago.” The book does not contain specific predictions of the meltdown beyond the omnipresent Marxist prediction that capitalism is inherently unstable. Dr. Wolff’s articles take note of the bubble and nonprime assets in the articles in the book after the collapse of the bubble and after the crisis in nonprime assets were obvious. Readers interested in the scholars that predicted the specific crisis should consult Jamie Galbraith’s article.

Dr. Wolff’s emphasis is explaining his overall Marxist critique of capitalism’s defects. The articles can be read easily by the general reader. No economic expertise is required and Dr. Wolff writes in English without the Marxist jargon that non-specialists find confusing.

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Upcoming FDL Book Salons

Saturday, August 30, 2014
2:00 pm Pacific
The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It
Chat with John Dean about his new book.

Sunday, August 31, 2014
2:00 pm Pacific
Imagine: Living In A Socialist USA
Chat with Pau LeBlanc, Debby Smith, and Michael Steven Smith about their new book. Hosted by Deena Stryker

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