Wheels

Wish you’d never even loved me/ Makes it so hard to live without love now.

What a song. She may as well rip out her heart and throw it on a charcoal grill. Lone Justice:

Helicopter Ben’s QE3

At this point, I think anything that the Fed does is like voodoo. It almost doesn’t matter if it works, as long as the market thinks it does:

The Federal Reserve said it will expand its holdings of long-term securities with open-ended purchases of $40 billion of mortgage debt a month in a third round of quantitative easing as it seeks to boost growth and reduce unemployment.


“We’re looking for ongoing, sustained improvement in the labor market,” Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in his press conference today in Washington following the conclusion of a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. “There’s not a specific number we have in mind. What we’ve seen in the last six months isn’t it.”


Stocks jumped, sending benchmark indexes to the highest levels since 2007, and gold climbed as the Fed said it will continue buying assets, undertake additional purchases and employ other policy tools as appropriate “if the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially.”


Ezra Klein seems to think the new round of quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve is a BFD, and will send an encouraging signal to the markets:

The Federal Reserve’s announcement Thursday is a big deal.


It’s a big deal because of what they’re doing. They’re buying $85 billion in assets every month through the end of the year, and then they’re potentially going to keep doing it in 2013. They’re promising to keep interest rates low through the recovery, and then keep them low after the recovery strengthens.


But it’s a bigger deal because of what they’re saying. Thursday, the Federal Reserve said, finally, that they’re not content with 8 percent unemployment and a sluggish recovery, and they’re willing to actually do something about it. If you’re an investor or a business owner trying to decide what the market is going to look like next year, you just got a lot more optimistic.

That’s the weird thing about the Federal Reserve. We don’t just care about what they do. Because their power is so vast — the ability to make as much real, American money as you want is quite a superpower — we care about what they want in the future. And, until Thursday, we weren’t getting much clarity on what they wanted in the future, or how far they were willing to go to achieve it.

Ian Welsh says no, it won’t help the people who need it the most:

The Fed has announced its third quantitative easing program. To state what should be obvious, the effect on the economy for ordinary people will be minimal, as with QE1 and 2. It will help banks, financial firms most, other large corporations will also benefit. If you work at the executive level in one of those organizations, it will help you and raise your salary or bonuses. It will not significantly raise demand for goods and services and will not do much for the rest of the economy. Remember, 93% of the gains of the Obama recovery went to the rich, and that was not by mistake.

Atrios is not quite as gloomy as Ian, but close:

So we’re going to have more goosing of financial asset prices. Bernanke said something about how we’ll all go spend money when we see that our 401Ks are doing better. So a lot more money for rich people, a tiny bit more for some of the rest of us, and some hopey that it causes the economy to go WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Wheee

Rebuilding the Big Shitpile! See what letting bankers off the hook gets us?

Starting next year, new rules designed to prevent another meltdown will force traders to post U.S. Treasury bonds or other top-rated holdings to guarantee more of their bets. The change takes effect as the $10.8 trillion market for Treasuries is already stretched thin by banks rebuilding balance sheets and investors seeking safety, leaving fewer bonds available to backstop the $648 trillion derivatives market.

The solution: At least seven banks plan to let customers swap lower-rated securities that don’t meet standards in return for a loan of Treasuries or similar holdings that do qualify, a process dubbed “collateral transformation.” That’s raising concerns among investors, bank executives and academics that measures intended to avert risk are hiding it instead.

Adding to the concern is the reaction of central clearinghouses, which collect from losers on derivatives trades and pay off winners. Some have responded to the collateral shortage by lowering standards, with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange accepting bonds rated four levels above junk.

“We just keep piling on lots of operational risk as we convert one form of collateral into another. The dealers look after their own interests, and they won’t necessarily look after the systemic risks that are associated with this.”

Wingnut ‘stink tanks’ and the schools privatization plan

What the teachers in Chicago are fighting is a right-wing agenda that’s been in play for a long time, secretly and heavily funded by right wingers and carefully messaged. They’re pretty effective, too, since I hear so many “liberals” repeating right-wing talking points about this strike:

Cato Institute, 1997:

Like most other conservatives and libertarians, we see vouchers as a major step toward the complete privatization of schooling. In fact, after careful study, we have come to the conclusion that they are the only way to dismantle the current socialist regime.”


Bast spells out the agenda,


“Vouchers zero in on the government school monopoly’s most vulnerable point: the distinction between government financing and government delivery of service. People who accept the notion that schooling is an entitlement will nevertheless vote to allow private schools to compete with one another for public funds. That fact gives us the tool we need to undercut the organizing ability of teachers’ unions, and hence their power as a special-interest group.


…Because we know how the government schools perpetuate themselves, we can design a plan to dismantle them.

Right-wing billionaire Dick DeVos speaking at the Heritage Foundation, 2002:

And so while those of us on the national level can give support, we need to encourage the development of these organizations on a state-by-state basis, in order to be able to offer a political consequence, for opposition, and political reward, for support of, education reform issues.


That has got to be the battle. It will not be as visible. And, in fact, to the extent that we on the right, those of us on the conservative side of the aisle, appropriate education choice as our idea, we need to be a little bit cautious about doing that, because we have here an issue that cuts in a very interesting way across our community and can cut, properly communicated, properly constructed, can cut across a lot of historic boundaries, be they partisan, ethnic, or otherwise.


And so we’ve got a wonderful issue that can work for Americans. But to the extent that it is appropriated or viewed as only a conservative idea it will risk not getting a clear and a fair hearing in the court of public opinion. So we do need to be cautious about that.


We need to be cautious about talking too much about these activities. Many of the activities and the political work that needs to go on will go on at the grass roots. It will go on quietly and it will go on in the form that often politics is done – one person at a time, speaking to another person in privacy. And so these issues will not be, maybe, as visible or as noteworthy, but they will set a framework within states for the possibility of action on education reform issues.”

They couldn’t be any clearer about their agenda: They want to destroy teachers unions and the public school system. This is what the Chicago strike is about. Stand up for public education. Stop falling for the right-wing spin.

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