Tag Archives: housing bubble

Of Groupthink, Financial Bubbles, and Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong got away with ringleading what now looks like a vast doping conspiracy, in part because the sports media refused to investigate what was right under their noses. Why? Because they were too invested in the heroic image that congealed around the Tour de France winner. In much the same way, groupthink in the financial media has repeatedly led our most prominent journalists to valorize hucksters and ignore scandals until they blow up into full-scale catastrophes.

Today’s New York Times includes a fine column by David Carr, taking the mainstream sports media to task as not-to-silent partners in the selling of the Lance Armstrong Legend. Carr gives the sports desk a good spanking. But the problem he describes is actually much bigger, extending deep into the business and economic coverage that is arguably the most critically important information we get from the media nowadays

Let’s review a bit of history. Continue reading Of Groupthink, Financial Bubbles, and Lance Armstrong

What’s the Matter with Chisago County?

The solid middle class citizens of our economically beset nation are sorry that their growing dependence on government handouts is bankrupting the federal government. If they could possibly send the money back, they would. But they can’t, and so the poor get less. That seems to be the message of a major New York Times feature on the American social safety net. Reading between the lines, it tells us something quite different, and more interesting.

The New York Times ran an informative, engrossing, and very long front-page feature last Sunday on who gets the most from the social safety net. The basic, though muddled, message was that middle class households are sopping up more of what were intended to be anti-poverty programs. In so doing, they’ve become a danger to the nation’s future solvency. But they need the money and don’t know how to stop.

The article misrepresents these programs in a variety of ways – quite a few, in fact. For one thing, it lumps in Social Security and parts of Medicare, which are fully paid for by workers’ contributions, with programs like school lunches, food stamps, and Medicaid, Continue reading What’s the Matter with Chisago County?

Eric signing “Understanding the Crash” at America’s Future Now! June 8

Understanding the Crash, my new book with Seth Tobocman and Jessica Wehrle, is now available from Soft Skull Press. Seth and I will be signing copies at the America’s Future Now! conference, Tues., June 8 at 3 p.m. at the Omni Shoreham Hotel (Regency Ballroom) in Washington, DC.

Understanding the Crash explains the collapse of the housing bubble and the subsequent financial crisis and recession in graphic format. Most other books that have appeared since the crisis of September 2008 concentrate on the Washington-Wall Street drama of the bailout. Understanding the Crash tells the other side of the story too: the financial devastation of millions of Americans caused by banks’ reckless and unethical lending practices, and the grassroots effort to fight back. The graphic format makes the story easy to read and understand.