Author Archives: Matt Stoller

Why Corporate Subsidies in the Fiscal Cliff Bill Matter: We Can Stop Corruption If We Understand It

Matt Stoller is a fellow at the Roosevelt institute. You can follow him at http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller.

Three days ago, Naked Capitalism published a story, Eight Corporate Subsidies in the Fiscal Cliff Bill, From Goldman Sachs to Disney to NASCAR. Basically, when everyone else was focused on taxes for the wealthy or spending cuts, we actually looked at the underlying bill. And loh and behold, the corporate extenders were egregious and included cash for NASCAR, Hollywood, mining companies, GE, Citigroup, and so on. The reaction has been swift, and is useful to understand, because it points to an underlying political dynamic. And that is, change is possible, and “the system” isn’t inherently dirty. We can make a difference, if we try.

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Lazy Corporate Monopolies Are Why America Can’t Have Nice Things

Matt Stoller is a fellow at the Roosevent institute. You can follow him at http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller.

Throughout much of the United States, cell phone service is terrible, just like broadband and banking services. This is a result of a lack of competition and increasingly poor regulatory policies.

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Eight Corporate Subsidies in the Fiscal Cliff Bill, From Goldman Sachs to Disney to NASCAR

Matt Stoller is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can follow him at http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller. Throughout the months of November and December, a steady stream of corporate CEOs flowed in and out of the White House to discuss the impending fiscal cliff. Many of them, such as Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, would then publicly […]

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Obama Administration Seeks to Strengthen Rupert Murdoch

Matt Stoller is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller

Earlier this year, Obama Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed relaxing media ownership rules to allow Rupert Murdoch to buy the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. It’s not something you’ll see discussed much, because Republicans like the fact that Murdoch is going to get more power, while Democrats don’t want to admit that Obama is helping the person framed as their arch-nemesis. This is part of a larger pattern – media consolidation is one of the many structural problems that Obama promised to deal with. And indeed, this is the real arena where the battle over free speech is being fought. Corporate control over our communications infrastructure is the free speech question of our time.

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Lawmakers Call for Stricter Gun Control Even As They Subsidize Gun Industry

By Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can follow him at http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller

One of the consequences of the tragedy in Sandy Hook is an ardent debate over gun control laws all over the country. In Massachusetts, for instance, which has an assault weapons ban, Governor Deval Patrick, along with members of the legislature, is now trying to figure out how to close gun loopholes. Rep. David Linsky says he wants to go over “every single line, every single comma of our gun laws” to prevent ownership of the kinds of gun used in Connecticut. These debates are interesting mostly for what they leave out – the economics of the gun industry itself and its subsidization by the state through various tax credits, direct spending, and legal forbearance.

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How Many People Will Die if We Raise the Medicare Age to 67?

By Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can follow him at http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller.

In a 2009 speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, Alan Grayson said that the Republican health care plan consists of two steps. One, don’t get sick. Two, if you do get sick, die quickly. Raising the Medicare age to 67 is the same sort of plan for those who wind up uninsured, and we can take a stab now at how many they will be and how many will die.

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DOJ Refuses to Indict HSBC For Money Laundering Explicitly Because It is Too Big To Fail

By Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can follow him at http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller

This is a straight up admission.

State and federal authorities decided against indicting HSBC in a money-laundering case over concerns that criminal charges could jeopardize one of the world’s largest banks and ultimately destabilize the global financial system.

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Barbara Roper Weighs in on the SEC Vacancy

Matt Stoller is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can follow him at http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller.

In the comments of my last post on the SEC nomination issue, director of investor protection for the Consumer Federation of America, Barbara Roper, laid out a rationale for different choices at the SEC. R

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Matt Stoller: Why It’s Worth Fighting Over Who Runs the SEC

Matt Stoller is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can follow him at http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller

I’ve been trying to figure out what is going on with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the past month or so, because it is the biggest weakness in our regulatory apparatus. In an interview with Neil Barofsky at Salon, he says that he would take the SEC job if offered. His plan for reform would involve rearranging enforcement priorities at the agency, and reexamine the policy whereby the SEC does not bring cases against corporations but settles without forcing an admission of guilt on particular facts.

This policy has turned the SEC into an agency that issues parking tickets.

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The False Dodd-Frank Narrative: Occupy Wall Street Attacks Huge Hot Money Loophole in the Law

Matt Stoller is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can follow him at http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller.

Proponents of Dodd-Frank have an incentive to argue the law is a tough crack-down on Wall Street. It’s a core part of Barack Obama’s narrative, that he bailed out the banks, but then did what FDR did in the 1930s with a series of tight regulations. Of course, it was immediately obvious that Dodd-Frank was an afterthought of the Bush/Obama administrations, that the real policy framework involved three key fights – the Fannie/Freddie bailouts under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (the so-called bazooka law), TARP, and the reappointment of Ben Bernanke. These fights were supplemented by Eric Holder’s decision to give legal forbearance to Wall Street executives, to not prosecute for rigging the CDO market or any number of illegalities in the foreclosure space.

After this radical consolidation of banking power in the hands of bailed out Too Big To Fail institutions, the Obama administration went to work on Dodd-Frank, which was essentially a 2000 page mash note to regulators saying “please don’t let that crisis happen again, it was awkward’. And now the evidence is beginning to trickle out that Dodd-Frank is a nothingburger. 

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A “Fossil-Fueled Storm” Calls for an Immediate Crash Course on Climate Change

by Matt Stoller (http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller)

If you’ve been following twitter, you’ve probably seen a bunch of pictures of various parts of the Northeast subjected to the climate nightmare known as Hurricane Sandy. This storm is not a natural disaster, it is a result of us pumping huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere for over a century. As the fantastic new group Forecast the Facts notes, this is a a fossil-fueled storm.

So how is the organizing going? Well, the climate change related group 350.org did a climate action before the storm in Times Square, asking for an end to the climate silence during the Presidential debate.

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Modern American Economic History in a Few Charts

Matt Stoller is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can follow him at http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller.

The big economic strategy for the next term of whoever is Presidenti is essentially, “turn those machines back on”. It’s fracking to replace cheap oil and a new real estate bubble in housing.

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