Occupy Everywhere & Economic News Round-Up

Expanding the scope of the daily news round-ups, I'm going to start including economic news that's driving the now-global Occupy Movement, especially as the economic crisis in Europe worsens. As always, please feel free to drop related links into comments.

Here's some of what I've been reading this morning...

The GuardianEurozone debt crisis live: Eurozone lurches closer to recession. Check back there throughout the day for updates.

Paul Krugman in the New York TimesThe Hole in Europe's Bucket: "If it weren't so tragic, the current European crisis would be funny, in a gallows-humor sort of way. For as one rescue plan after another falls flat, Europe's Very Serious People—who are, if such a thing is possible, even more pompous and self-regarding than their American counterparts—just keep looking more and more ridiculous. ... What makes the story really painful is the fact that none of this had to happen."

Krugman, again—More Grim Euro Thoughts:
[T]he grim news from Greece is, as many commentators are pointing out, a big refutation for the doctrine of "expansionary austerity." And it's worth pointing out that European leaders, and especially the ECB, went in for that doctrine in a big way. Look at the June 2010 monthly report of the ECB (pdf), specifically the discussion of "fiscal consolidation" on page 83 and following. Basically, the ECB pooh-poohs any notion that austerity would have major negative effects on the economy, suggests that it's quite likely that the confidence fairy will make everything OK, and specifically says that
Determined action on the part of governments to undertake fiscal and structural reforms is necessary to preserve stability and cohesion in the euro area. A sustained commitment to consolidation, possibly including a speeding up of current plans and their delivery, is required from all governments to ensure that the time afforded by the exceptional measures is used to put public finances on a permanently sounder footing.
[emphasis added]

So the ECB was calling for austerity everywhere. Was any concern expressed about how that would affect Europe-wide growth? Was there any suggestion of expansionary monetary policy to offset such a coordinated fiscal contraction? No and no.

And now they're shocked, shocked that the Greek economy is plunging into a hole.
Question Austerity! Meanwhile, in the US...

Reuters—U.S. rating likely to be downgraded again: "The United States will likely suffer the loss of its triple-A credit rating from another major rating agency by the end of this year due to concerns over the deficit, Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecasts. The trigger would be a likely failure by Congress to agree on a credible long-term plan to cut the US deficit, the bank said in a research note published on Friday. ... A second loss of the country's top credit rating would be an additional blow to the sluggish US economy, Merrill said."

Right Wing Watch—Tea Party Nation Urges Businesses to Stop Hiring in Order to Hurt Obama: "Tea Party Nation sent to their members today a message from activist Melissa Brookstone urging businesspeople to 'not hire a single person' to protest the Obama administration's supposed 'war against business and my country.' Brookstone writes that business owners should stop hiring new employees in order to stand up to 'this new dictator,' the 'global Progressive socialist movement,' Hollywood, the media and Occupy Wall Street."

Matt Yglesias—Local Problems: "[Republican Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell says that halting teacher and firefighter layoffs might be nice but it's a 'local' problem so the federal government shouldn't do it."

The Michigan MessengerTraverse City becomes magnet for the homeless: "Despite bitter cold weather, homeless people are flocking to Traverse City...because of the city's exceptional network of services for people on the street. ... The churches in town have collaborated to put on a meal each night that is free and open to anyone in the community. There is a church-run house that provides warmth, showers, laundry, food, computers, telephone and other services for four hours most days, and in the winter the churches take turns hosting people who need a place to sleep. They also provide breakfast. 'This is one of the only places where there is a meal every night,' said Richard Tomey, a street outreach worker for Goodwill Industries. His mission is to help the homeless survive."

Echidne—The Fall of Versailles: "An ill-omened name for a house, Versailles. But it's the one Jacqueline and David Siegel chose for their 90,000-square-foot house. It would have been the largest private residence in the United States, except for that pesky credit crunch. Now the Siegels' half-finished house is for sale for 75 million dollars, 100 million dollars if the buyer wants it finished. I know all this because of a Wall Street Journal article about the hard times of the super-rich."

Orlando Sentinel'Miracle' man survived Joplin tornado, but now faces $2.5M in medical bills after claim denied: "By all accounts, Mark Lindquist is a hero, an underpaid social worker who nearly gave his life trying to save three developmentally disabled adults from the Joplin tornado. Both houses of the Missouri legislature honored Lindquist, the Senate resolution calling him 'a true hero and inspiration to others.' But heroism doesn't pay the bills. The tornado's 200 mph winds tossed Lindquist nearly a block, broke every rib, obliterated his shoulder, knocked out most of his teeth and put him in a coma for about two months." His $2.5 million and counting medical claim has been dismissed by Accident Fund Insurance Company of America, his company's workers' comp provider, on the basis that "there was no greater risk than the general public at the time you were involved in the Joplin tornado."

Igor at Think Progress—Bachmann: Uninsured Americans Can Rely on 'Charitable Organizations' for Health Care: "[O]n Saturday, Michele Bachmann told a woman in Winterset, Iowa that her son, who currently receives health insurance through Medicaid, could rely on charities to meet his health care needs once Republicans repeal the health care law."

And in Occupy news...

Reuters—About 130 arrested at Occupy Chicago protest: "About 130 protesters were arrested at an Occupy Chicago demonstration early Sunday after they erected tents and refused to leave a park next to Lake Michigan after its closing time, police said. The breakup of the protest in Grant Park was the second mass arrest of demonstrators from Occupy Chicago in the past week. A week ago, about 175 protesters were arrested."

Raw StoryGoldman Sachs withdraws from sponsoring credit union honoring Occupy Wall Street: "Goldman Sachs has withdrawn its sponsorship and funding of a credit union honoring Occupy Wall Street at a fund-raising event, according to The Wall Street Journal. The investment giant pulled its support for the Lowest East Side's Federal Credit Union and its 25 anniversary after learning that the protestors were among the honorees for the event. Goldman not only took its name off the event, but also declined to follow through on a pledge to donate $5,000 to the credit union."

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