Saturday, September 20, 2008

Great Discussion of the Current Crisis on This Weekend's Bill Moyers on PBS

For great discussion and perspective on the sources of the current crisis, check out this weekend's Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, featuring an interview with Kevin Phillips, author of Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism--

Kevin Phillips: "What we're seeing here with the actions of the Federal Reserve Board is the people who were the arsonists--the people who pumped it all up, who blew up the bubble--are now racing to show up in firemens' hats, and say, 'We're gonna solve it, we're gonna take care of all this. Oh, and by the way we're gonna keep pumping in the gasoline that we pumped in before that made a good flame, but, you know, nobody knows that....' "

"We are on the wrong track . . . . The British were absolutely top dog in the world in 1914. Two world wars and 35 years later, they were having food rationing, the pound sterling crashed, dukes were giving guided tours of their castles because they couldn't afford to maintain them otherwise. It doesn't take long, and I'm afraid the United States is coming right into that period which marks a couple of decades coming up that are going to be very difficult...."

And don't miss Moyers' wonderful zinger of a critical commentary at the end of the show, in which he discusses the replacement of New York's dear old Yankee Stadium, opened in 1923, by the brand new gilded age "pleasure dome" for the wealthy, subsidized by taxpayers, where seats behind the dugout will cost $850, and behind home plate will cost $2500, and where more luxury sky box suites (rented for $600,000 to $850,000) will take up space for 5000 fewer seats for the common folks. As Moyers observes, this new gilded age stadium will "cast its shadow" over one of the country's poorest neighborhoods, "whose residents will watch from the outside, as suburban drivers avail themselves of 9000 new or refurbished parking spaces. Never mind all the exhaust, even though in this part of town respiratory disease is already so high they call it 'asthma alley.' "

Way to go Bill!-- Please keep your amazing commentaries and critical journalism coming! Now, more than ever in this era of corruption and crisis, we need your critical work and insights to help us stay informed.

And just as the Gilded Age of the 1920s was followed by the Great Depression of the 1930s, we now have to wonder: Who will fill all the expensive seats in the new gilded age Yankee Stadium in the coming decade?

Bill Moyers sits down with former Nixon White House strategist and political and economic critic Kevin Phillips, whose latest book BAD MONEY: RECKLESS FINANCE, FAILED POLITICS, AND THE GLOBAL CRISIS OF AMERICAN CAPITALISM explores the role that the crumbling financial sector played in the now-fragile American economy.

NEW YORK TIMES business and financial columnists Gretchen Morgenson and Floyd Norris discuss who wins and who loses in the financial turmoil.


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