Monday, March 31, 2014

Are We Revisiting the 1920's?

Here's an article from Think Progress that cites some evidence that income inequality is at 1920's levels.  I don't think anyone would claim those days to be worth repeating.  Thirty years of policies favoring those with the highest incomes have taken their toll.

The following graph is from the article.  The whole thing is worth reading.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Meaning of "Rent" That Many Aren't Familiar With

In his post at Triple Crisis, James K Boyce quotes one of the clearest explanations of the economists'  term "rent" that I've seen:

Rent isn’t just the monthly check that tenants write to landlords. Economists use the term “rent seeking” to mean “using political and economic power to get a larger share of the national pie, rather than to grow the national pie,” in the words of Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, who maintains that such dysfunctional activity has metastasized in the United States alongside deepening inequality.

When rent inspires investment in useful things like housing, it’s productive. The economic pie grows, and the people who pay rent get something in return. When rent leads to investment in unproductive activities, like lobbying to capture wealth without creating it, it’s parasitic. Those who pay get nothing in return.
The entire article is worth reading and can be found here:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Our Financial Security Depends on It

Do you know about Americans for Financial Reform?

From their web site:
Americans for Financial Reform is a nonpartisan and nonprofit coalition of more than 250 civil rights, consumer, labor, business, investor, faith-based, and civic and community groups. Formed in the wake of the 2008 crisis, we are working to lay the foundation for a strong, stable, and ethical financial system – one that serves the economy and the nation as a whole.
Checking out AFR's Issues and Quick Links topics is an easy way to learn about the many facets of financial reform.

Auto Lending
Consumer Finance Issues
Debt Collection
Fiduciary Duty
Forced Arbitration
Swaps Pushout

Executive Compensation
Foreclosures & Mortgages
Investor Protection & Corporate Governance
Mortgages, Foreclosures & Housing
Payday Lending
Public Opinion
Systemic Risk
Wall Street Speculation Tax

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Housing Finance Reform - Keep an Eye on This One

A new proposal for replacing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has emerged in the US Senate.  An essential part of any such reform should be requiring banks to have capital to cover a reasonable percentage of those loans.

Here's a recent article on the proposal:,0,2529598.story#axzz2vlQi0TJb

I will add other links as they come to my attention.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Focus for Involved Voters Blog

The new focus for this blog comes largely from my recent reading of The Bankers' New Clothes: What's Wrong with Banking and What to Do About It.

This 3 minute video clip by co-author Anat Admati will give you an idea of what the book contains:

It's my aim to help all of us understand how essential reform of the US (and global) financial system is to our economic health and stability, and get involved by applying political pressure for reform.  I'll be posting links to groups and resources related to financial system reform.  Your suggestions via email are welcome.