I can only say: I’m sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed’s first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I’ve come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.
Five years ago this month, on Black Friday, the Fed launched an unprecedented shopping spree. By that point in the financial crisis, Congress had already passed legislation, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, to halt the U.S. banking system’s free fall. Beyond Wall Street, though, the economic pain was still soaring. In the last three months of 2008 alone, almost two million Americans would lose their jobs.
The Fed said it wanted to help—through a new program of massive bond purchases. There were secondary goals, but Chairman Ben Bernanke made clear that the Fed’s central motivation was to “affect credit conditions for households and businesses”: to drive down the cost of credit so that more Americans hurting from the tanking economy could use it to weather the downturn. For this reason, he originally called the initiative “credit easing.”
My part of the story began a few months later. Having been at the Fed for seven years, until early 2008, I was working on Wall Street in spring 2009 when I got an unexpected phone call. Would I come back to work on the Fed’s trading floor? The job: managing what was at the heart of QE’s bond-buying spree—a wild attempt to buy $1.25 trillion in mortgage bonds in 12 months. Incredibly, the Fed was calling to ask if I wanted to quarterback the largest economic stimulus in U.S. history….
….The focus on trade and investment that President Barack Obama plans to bring to his second coming in Africa will be welcome both for the countries he is visiting this week – Senegal in the west, South Africa and Tanzania in the east – and for the US companies waking up to African economic potential.
They saw the World Trade Center towers crumble, and they struggled to find or keep a job in a tough economy. All before the age of 30 or so. Generation Y was born in the 1980s and ’90s—roughly those now between the ages of 18 and 34 (though experts disagree on the precise time frame). These so-called millennials are mostly the children of baby boomers, and at more than 82 million strong, they now outnumber the members of the boomer generation, according to the National Conference on Citizenship.
But the millennials have grown into adulthood with some personality problems that the boomers lacked, according to psychologists who measure such things, including high rates of narcissism, materialism, unrealistically inflated expectations and a startling lack of independence. American college students scored 30% higher on the 40-item Narcissistic Personality Index in 2006 than they did in 1979, for instance, according to a study led by psychologist Jean Twenge of San Diego State University.
Why the middle-class revolt has begun - “The protesters are performing the same role as middle classes have in developed nations,” Rohde says. “As their standard of living rises, so do their expectations of government.”
Movements in Turkey, Brazil and Iran provide a blueprint for a different kind of economic uprising.
Fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses, enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event, according to the survey of 1,000 adults. Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27% had no savings at all.
Republicans and Democrats in our nation’s capital are busy playing Check and Balance, better known as politics as usual. With jobs and the economy still the number one issue on Americans’ minds, the Republican House is pre-occupied with bills about abortion and the repeal of Obamacare, passing legislation that everyone knows is dead on arrival in the Senate. And so things go, or don’t go, in Washington. But a more interesting playing field for red and blue politics can be found in state capitals across the country. States have long been recognized as “laboratories of democracy,” according to the late Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, where “novel social and economic experiments [can be tried] without risk to the rest of the country.” And such experimentation is far more likely when a state is dominated by one political party as are both of my “home” states, Kansas and California.
Chinese stocks closed at a level unseen since the global financial crisis in 2009 on Tuesday, as analysts warned a liquidity squeeze was raising the risk of a hard landing for the world’s second largest economy. For more than two weeks, funds have been in short supply on China’s interbank market and the interest rates banks charge to lend to each other have surged to record highs. Instead of pumping money into the system, the central People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has stood firm, on Monday ruling out providing fresh cash and ordering banks to put their financial houses in order.
Five years ago, Joe Miller, then an Army Ranger captain with three Iraq tours under his belt, sat inside his home near Fort Bragg holding a cocked Beretta 40mm, and prepared to kill himself.
He didn’t pull the trigger. So Miller’s name wasn’t added to the list of active-duty U.S. military men and women who have committed suicide. That tally reached 350 last year, a record pace of nearly one a day. That’s more than the 295 American troops who were killed in Afghanistan in the same year.
Daniel Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was part of Task Force Lightning, an intelligence unit. In 2004-2005, he was mainly assigned to a Tactical Human-Intelligence Team (THT) in Baghdad, Iraq, where he ran more than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee, interviewed countless Iraqis ranging from concerned citizens to community leaders and and government officials, and interrogated dozens of insurgents and terrorist suspects. In 2006-2007, Daniel worked with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) through his former unit in Mosul where he ran the Northern Iraq Intelligence Center. His official role was as a senior analyst for the Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and part of Turkey). Daniel suffered greatly from PTSD and had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and several other war-related conditions. On June 10, 2013, Daniel wrote the following letter to his family before taking his life. Daniel was 30 years old. His wife and family have given permission to publish it. ……
I really have been trying to hang on, for more than a decade now. Each day has been a testament to the extent to which I cared, suffering unspeakable horror as quietly as possible so that you could feel as though I was still here for you. In truth, I was nothing more than a prop, filling space so that my absence would not be noted. In truth, I have already been absent for a long, long time.
My body has become nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems. The illness I have has caused me pain that not even the strongest medicines could dull, and there is no cure. All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture. My mind is a wasteland, filled with visions of incredible horror, unceasing depression, and crippling anxiety, even with all of the medications the doctors dare give. Simple things that everyone else takes for granted are nearly impossible for me. I can not laugh or cry. I can barely leave the house. I derive no pleasure from any activity. Everything simply comes down to passing time until I can sleep again. Now, to sleep forever seems to be the most merciful thing.
You must not blame yourself. The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.
Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.
Other locations on the IG’s Top Ten list for singular addresses that were theoretically used simultaneously by thousands of unauthorized alien workers, included an address in Oxnard, Calif, where the IRS sent 2,507 refunds worth $10,395,874; an address in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the IRS sent 2,408 refunds worth $7,284,212; an address in Phoenix, Ariz., where the IRS sent 2,047 refunds worth $5,558,608; an address in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., where the IRS sent 1,972 refunds worth $2,256,302; an address in San Jose, Calif., where the IRS sent 1,942 refunds worth $5,091,027; and an address in Arvin, Calif., where the IRS sent 1,846 refunds worth $3,298,877.
“The main results are of the first rank,” one of the referees wrote. The author had proved “a landmark theorem in the distribution of prime numbers.”
Rumors swept through the mathematics community that a great advance had been made by a researcher no one seemed to know — someone whose talents had been so overlooked after he earned his doctorate in 1992 that he had found it difficult to get an academic job, working for several years as an accountant and even in a Subway sandwich shop.
“Basically, no one knows him,” said Andrew Granville, a number theorist at the Université de Montréal. “Now, suddenly, he has proved one of the great results in the history of number theory.”
Mathematicians at Harvard University hastily arranged for Zhang to present his work to a packed audience there on May 13. As details of his work have emerged, it has become clear that Zhang achieved his result not via a radically new approach to the problem, but by applying existing methods with great perseverance.
“The big experts in the field had already tried to make this approach work,” Granville said. “He’s not a known expert, but he succeeded where all the experts had failed.”
As best scientists can tell, lobsters age so gracefully they show no measurable signs of aging: no loss of appetite, no change in metabolism, no loss of reproductive urge or ability, no decline in strength or health. Lobsters, when they die, seem to die from external causes.
There is exciting news out of the Green Mountain State this week: folks in Vermont are so fed up with patent troll abuse that they are taking matters into their own hands. With trolls filing thousands of lawsuits every year and blanketing the country in threat letters, states are looking for ways to protect victims—especially small entities that lack the resources to defend against a patent suit. Vermont is tackling trolls on two separate fronts…
In a previous article, I detailed how the number of new businesses (and the number of jobs those businesses create) has been steadily declining. In particular, this decline has accelerated dramatically under the Obama administration. According to an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data performed by economist Tim Kane, the following is how the decline in the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration…
Bush Sr.: 11.3
Bush Jr.: 10.8
Is that a good trend or a bad trend?
It doesn’t take an advanced degree in economics to figure out where things are going.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently warned that sequestration would cause “suspension of important activities, curtailed training, and could result in furloughs of civilian personnel” but the spending cuts haven’t killed the green fuels program, as the Pentagon has continued purchasing renewable fuel at $59 per gallon.
Somewhere between a fifth to a third of the million students graduating out of India’s engineering colleges run the risk of being unemployed. Others will take jobs well below their technical qualifications in a market where there are few jobs for India’s overflowing technical talent pool. Beset by a flood of institutes (offering a varying degree of education) and a shrinking market for their skills, India’s engineers are struggling to subsist in an extremely challenging market.
China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Securityreports that 6.99 million students will graduate from institutions of higher learning in the country this year. That’s the biggest class in the history of China, 190,000 more than in 2012.
Chinese leaders aren’t smiling, however. There are not nearly enough jobs for all the fresh-faced talent, and the lack of opportunity reveals much about China’s faltering economy.
A Batavia High School teacher’s fans are rallying to support him as he faces possible discipline for advising students of their Constitutional rights before taking a school survey on their behavior.
They’ve been collecting signatures on an online petition, passing the word on Facebook, sending letters to the school board, and planning to speak at Tuesday’s school board meeting.
Students and parents have praised his ability to interest reluctant students in history and current affairs.
But John Dryden said he’s not the point. He wants people to focus on the issue he raised: Whether school officials considered that students could incriminate themselves with their answers to the survey that included questions about drug and alcohol use.
Dryden, a social studies teacher, told some of his students April 18 that they had a 5th Amendment right to not incriminate themselves by answering questions on the survey, which had each student’s name printed on it.
Losing our freedoms little by little and damn you if you inform the youngsters of their rights. Today’s educational system is a disgrace.
“I could never have felt so confident about showing off my body if it wasn’t for the support I’ve had from the NHS. I’d have collapsed in tears a couple of months ago if I’d had to go topless in front of a photographer — but now I can’t wait to do more.”