Monthly Archives: September 2008

David Cay Johnston on the Bank Bailout as Corporate Socialism

David Cay Johnston
David Cay Johnston

The meltdown on Wall Street has many people asking, how come the government can find hundreds of billions to bailout the guys who brought us this mess–but always claims there’s no money to save homeowners from foreclosure, provide health insurance to those who can’t afford it, or clean up the environment?

Today’s guest David Cay Johnston says it’s all part of an endemic pattern of “corporate welfare”, where government policy is rigged to benefit the richest Americans at the expense of the rest of us. Johnston’s latest book is Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill). Johnston was an investigative journalist for the New York Times before becoming an independent reporter. He won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing loopholes and inequities in the U.S. tax code.

CWR Headlines:

Millions of new green jobs could light up a gloomy economic horizon
The devil’s in the details on the bailout bill’s CEO pay provisions
Al Gore wants you to commit civil disobedienceto save us from climate collapse

The Road to Economic Recovery: Potholed, or Paved in Green?

The market meltdown is spurring an urgent response from Congress, with both houses debating and revising versions of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bill on an hourly basis. The bill revises the President’s proposed bailout of financial institutions, which some call “Cash for Trash.” CWR co-hosts Francesca Rheannon and Bill Baue interview US Representative (D-MA) Barney Frank, chair of the House Financial Services Committee that is now ushering the Troubled Asset Relief Program bill, or TARP, through Congress. While many question whether this bailout is the best path out of the market meltdown, others are proposing a road to recovery paved in green. Bob Pollin of the Political Economy Research Institute co-authored a report on the Green Recovery that was released last week with the Center for American Progress. Francesca and Bill interviewed him here at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst the day after he testified before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming at a hearing entitled “The Green Road to Economic Recovery.”

Barney FrankRepresentative Barney Frank

Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bill as of 1:09 p.m. on September 22, 2008

Bob PollinBob Pollin

Green Recovery

House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming hearing: “The Green Road to Economic Recovery”

Listen to the full 25-minute interview with Bob Pollin

CWR ViewPoint:  read

Commentary from futurist Hazel Henderson of Ethical Markets on the market meltdown called Chicago Boys’ Curse Comes Home to Wall Street.

Hazel HendersonHazel Henderson of Ethical Markets.

Barney Frank on the TARP: Troubled Asset Relief Program (Special Preview)

barney frankIn this special preview edition of this week’s show, CWR co-hosts Francesca Rheannon and Bill Baue interview US Representative (D-MA) Barney Frank, chair of the House Financial Services Committee that is now ushering the Troubled Asset Relief Program bill, or TARP, through Congress. The bill revises the President’s proposed bailout of financial institutions to the tune of $1 trillion, which has been labeled “Cash for Trash.” The bill is changing practically by the hour, and we caught Rep Frank today as the bill makes its way toward debate in Congress.

Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bill as of 1:09 p.m. on September 22, 2008

Check back and tune in Wednesday for the full show, which will include this interview, as well as a conversation with Bob Pollin of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in his new Green Recovery report, and the CWR ViewPoint from futurist Hazel Henderson of Ethical Markets on the market meltdown.

Market Meltdown

We woke up this week to find Lehman Brothers, the venerable bank founded over a century ago, belly up, and Merrill Lynch merged with Bank of America in a shot-gun wedding. And late last night, the Fed announced it had taken control the mega-insurer American International Group, or AIG. As the subprime meltdown continues, it feels as if the market is crumbling around us. What caused this crisis, and where do we go from here? To address these questions, we speak with three experts. Economics Professor Jim Crotty of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst explains the underpinnings of the problem. Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility Executive Director Laura Berry talks about how the faith-based lens exposed problems in predatory subprime lending a decade-and-a-half ago. And independent economic analyst Chris Martenson gazes into his crystal ball to project the likely trajectory of the credit crisis.

Laura BerryLaura Berry of ICCR

Chris MartensonChris Martenson

Jim CrottyJim Crotty of the University of Massachusetts

Extended interview with Jim Crotty: part 1 and part two.

In place of CWR headlines, this week we hear extended comments from Steve Adamske, communications director of the House Financial Services Committee, about Chair Barney Frank’s plan to create a new federal entity to oversee government management of companies collapsing due to mortgage debt.

Frank Says Financial Crisis May Call for Government Entity

Michael Conroy on Activist Campaigns and the Certification Revolution — Rebroadcast

Michael Conroy

This week CWR rebroadcasts a show from earlier this year that got great feedback. CWR co-host Bill Baue spoke with Michael Conroy, author of Branded! How the “Certification Revolution” is Transforming Global Corporations. Conroy discusses how activist campaigning for improved corporate social and environmental practices has gotten companies to respond. The two sides moved from antagonism to tense collaboration in the creation of certification schemes that solved activist concerns while preserving–and often boosting–companies’ profitability. Conroy brings a hands-on view to the story as a program officer at the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund, where he helped fund the activists NGOs as well as the resulting certification processes. He also serves as chair of TransFair, the Fair Trade certifying body in the US, as well as serving on the board of Forest Stewardship Council, which certifies lumber and paper practices.

Michael Conroy

Branded!

SeaChange store

CWR Headlines:

The Bush Administration Rushes to Weaken Workplace Health and Safety
UN Climate Panel Reaches Out to Business to Green the Economy
New Report Says Fish Can Be Farmed Sustainably

The Billionaires’ Club — and the Rest of Us

Chuck Collins

In June, the Century Foundation and the The New York Times Foundation invited Corporate Watchdog Radio to a seminar for a select handful of journalists on “Billionaires and Their Impact.” There, CWR co-host Francesca Rheannon heard Chuck Collins speak on a panel about the “Billionaires’ Club” and the impact of extreme wealth on the rest of us. A co-founder of United for a Fair Economy and a senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Collins wrote the lead article in a special issue of The Nation on “The New Inequality” that helped frame the seminar.

Chuck Collins

ExtremeInequality.org

“The Rich and the Rest of Us” by John Cavanagh and Chuck Collins in the June 30 edition of The Nation

The Century Foundation and New York Times Foundation Seminar: Billionaires and Their Impact

Chuck Collins’ Century Founation Presentation — The Billionaires’ Club: Taxation of Accumulated Wealth

CWR Headlines:

California Bails on Bisphenol-A Ban
Companies Calculating Carbon Toe-Prints
CEO Pay Continues to Soar — at Taxpayer Expense

CWR ViewPoint:  read.

The ViewPoint from BEN — the Business Ethics Network — comes from Bjorn Claeson of Sweatfree Communities about its recent report, Subsidizing Sweatshops: How our tax dollars fund the race to the bottom, and what cities and states can do.

Sweatfree Communities

Chuck Collins