Unlike in Europe, crude redistribution from rich to poor is still highly unpopular in America—and even more so in the last few years. Americans still rightly want merit to be rewarded and don’t like class warfare. But raising taxes on those who have benefited the most from the past 30 years to help reduce the debt is not class warfare. It’s an obviously pragmatic attempt to get some fiscal sanity back, which is why the Republicans have been sounding a little less intransigent on Capitol Hill lately. In that sense, Occupy Wall Street is also Restore Main Street. Some on the fringes seem skeptical of capitalism as a whole, but most seem to believe that what we currently have is not real capitalism, but a mixture of debt, cronyism, and corruption. The collapse of faith in big government is hard to distinguish from the collapse of support for big business—especially when the tax code reads like a conspiracy between them against the rest of us. And once the public loses trust in the core fairness of the economic and political system, we’re in deeper trouble than we realize.
There is simply a limit beyond which economic inequality threatens democratic life, when the majority suspect that a tiny minority has fixed the system beyond repair through the existing institutions, and when the powerful minority begins to think of its own interests as distinct from the interests of its compatriots. That moment is one of real danger, especially when those elites can move themselves and their money more easily across the planet than ever before, and it is a sign of responsibility, not irresponsibility, to focus on it. Among the oldest authorities insisting on just such an issue was Aristotle, whose emphasis on the middle classes as the core strength of a viable democracy remains as true today as it was thousands of years ago. And Aristotle was not a hippie. Nor were Disraeli or Bismarck, two 19th-century conservatives who deployed government to prevent their countries from splitting into alienated haves and have-nots, and fearful of real radicals who could come along to exploit the gap.
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Rejects deregulation and trickle-down economics. Wonder that Newt and Little Ricky will have to say about this!
Are you really getting what you order? Far too frequently, no.
Still nibbling around the edges of the problem — but at least it’s addressing the right problem:
The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced on Monday morning new rules that will allow many more “underwater” homeowners – who owe more than their properties are worth – to refinance at today’s ultra-low rates.
FHFA estimates up to a million borrowers will use the program, which was originally rolled out in early 2009 and has fallen far short of the number of people it was supposed to help.
Only mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be eligible.
In the past, borrowers who owed only more than 25 percent more than their homes are worth could participate in the program. Now, there is no cap on how much a borrower owes.
You have no idea how hard it is for the “volatile 1%”. I can hardly see through my tears…