Dean Baker

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Developing the New "Capitalists' Man"
In the wake of revolutions in Russia, China, Cuba, and elsewhere, there was talk of creating a new type of person with a socialist mindset. The idea was that people in the prerevolutionary capitalist societies had been educated to be individualistic and greedy. The post-revolutionary societies would instead educate people to be socially minded and to consider the collective good in their actions.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Sanctity of Contracts: Mortgages and Credit Cards
Momentum is building in Washington for a large-scale housing bailout. It is virtually certain something will happen. The big questions are how large will the package be and will it be designed to help homeowners or to bailout out the banks?
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Tuesday, April 08, 2008
The Foreclosure Prevention Act (aka the Bank and Builder Bailout Act)
Conservatives used to complain liberals always wanted to throw money at problems. While there may have been some truth at times to this charge, Congress decided to literally take this path in its approach to the housing bubble last week.There are many villains in the story of the housing bubble, but the homebuilders and the mortgage industry would go on almost everyone's list. The homebuilders rushed ahead with new developments under the delusion the bubble would last forever. The result is an unprecedented glut in housing.
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Financial Meltdown: Time For a Holiday From Progressive Politics?
Progressives usually fight for the interests of those at the middle and bottom at the expense of those on top. However, during this period of unprecedented financial crisis, when the Wall Street rich are begging for the helping hand of the government, most progressives appear to be on the sidelines. Rather than taking advantage of this extraordinary opportunity to reduce inequality and educate the public about how the economy really works, progressive voices have been unusually quiet.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Does Ben Bernanke Have to Go?
This is a question that members of Congress should be asking right now. It is becoming increasing clear that we are facing the worst financial meltdown since the Depression, and Mr. Bernanke was caught asleep at the wheel.
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Thursday, January 17, 2008
Year of the Fat Cats
One of the standard year-end rituals is to assess the stock market's performance for the year. Many people noted the Dow Jones index rose a respectable 7.5 percent in 2007. Before anyone celebrates this modest achievement, it is important to remember the Dow includes just 30 blue chip stocks. The much broader S&P 500 index rose by just 3.5 percent, slightly less than the rate of inflation in 2007. In other words, the real return for most stockholders was roughly equal to what their stock paid out in dividends, not a terribly good story.
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Wednesday, January 02, 2008
The Cost of Living: Healthcare costs are about to skyrocket for US senior citizens
What better way to celebrate the New Year than to sock it to grandma and grandpa with big prices increases? That may not have been the exact nature of the conversation at the US insurance companies that participate in the Medicare prescription drug plan , but it sure was the outcome, as premiums are scheduled to rise by an average of almost 25% in 2008.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Hostage Taking Bankers and Subprime Borrowers
There is little public support for using taxpayer dollars for protecting the richest people in the country from bad investment decisions. For this reason, when the government goes to help out those rich investors who cannot fend for themselves, it must come up with some alternative explanation.
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Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Pete Peterson Doesn't Need His Social Security
He has said so himself many times. Peter Peterson first came to national prominence more than three decades ago as commerce secretary in the Nixon administration. However, he is far more widely known in his reincarnation as a crusader against Social Security and Medicare.
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Tuesday, October 02, 2007
From WMDs to Social Security: More Bush Stories
You remember George W. Bush, the guy who tricked the country into a never-ending war in Iraq with stories about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and links to Osama bin Laden. Well, he still has 16 months left in the White House and he's determined to do yet more damage with his famous "Bush stories" before he leaves town.
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