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Friday, July 17, 2009

Krugman On Regulatory Progress

Generally I try to stick to commenting on local issues on this blog.  I am a firm believer that building stronger individual communities and endowing them with sustainable concepts eventually leads to a sound working whole national system.  However after reading Paul Krugman's Editorial in this morning's New York Times I thought I'd put my blog into the service of broadcasting his concepts. A couple hundred people hit this blog daily and perhaps some of you will consider sharing the information also. Information is a good thing for a well armed citizen. And it doesn't cost as much as membership in the NRA. 

The economist Krugman is reflecting on what the Goldman Sachs record profit posting indicates. His take on the astounding profit posting making the rounds and being touted in some circles as economic progress has deep, and disturbing, implications for the rest of American society.

Regulation is a necessity in a strong democracy.  I often harp on my own ideas of how citizens have an obligation to uphold the check and balances in the system through the power of their single vote.  At the same time it is sad and difficult to watch the power players in the game distort and game the system so dramatically in their own self-interest that it makes it increasingly difficult to have faith in the power of restoring balance to the system.

My Mary Poppins Good-Ship-Lollipop world would like to think that by restoring a high priority on integrity and social value for nurturing the tribe as well as the self might make a difference.  But then I wake up and read columns like Krugman's and reality invades.  I strongly suggest clicking on the link and reading the entire piece--regardless of partisan political views.  This situation applies to everyone.

Op-Ed Columnist - The Joy of Sachs - NYTimes.com
First, it tells us that Goldman is very good at what it does. Unfortunately, what it does is bad for America.

Second, it shows that Wall Street’s bad habits — above all, the system of compensation that helped cause the financial crisis — have not gone away.

Third, it shows that by rescuing the financial system without reforming it, Washington has done nothing to protect us from a new crisis, and, in fact, has made another crisis more likely.

Let’s start by talking about how Goldman makes money.

Over the past generation — ever since the banking deregulation of the Reagan years — the U.S. economy has been “financialized.” The business of moving money around, of slicing, dicing and repackaging financial claims, has soared in importance compared with the actual production of useful stuff. The sector officially labeled “securities, commodity contracts and investments” has grown especially fast, from only 0.3 percent of G.D.P. in the late 1970s to 1.7 percent of G.D.P. in 2007.


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