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Week of 11.13.09

Elizabeth Warren on the Economy

Stocks are up, but so is unemployment. What's wrong with this economic picture and what's being done about it?

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Web Features

The Bankers' Turn
The banking industry's response to credit card regulation.

Behind the Credit Card Act of 2009
Five ways the new consumer protections will affect you.

Urgent Insight: The Economy
See the latest analysis on the state of our economy.

Elizabeth Warren previously on NOW: Credit Crunch and Debt and the Middle Class
What exactly is going on with the economy? Stocks are up and big bonuses are back, but while they're throwing parties on Wall Street, there's pain on Main Street. One out of every six workers is unemployed or underemployed, according to government statistics - the highest figure since the Great Depression.

This week NOW gets answers and insight from Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, who's been heading up the congressional panel overseeing how the bailout money is being spent. NOW Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa talks with Warren about how we got to this point, and where we go from here.

What will it take to put both bankers and American businesses on the same road to recovery?

NOW Shows Featured

Credit Crunch
Is your credit card company overcharging you?

Help for the Homeowners?
Is there a solution to the foreclosure mess that's destroying communities?

Credit and Credibility
Two high-level industry insiders tell us what was going on inside the Wall Street firms that once generated billions in profits.

Mortgage Mess
As millions of homeowners face foreclosure, NOW investigates sleazy tactics of mortgage lenders.

Viewer Comments

Commenter: Candy
It is time for my children move to Europe, this plutonomy run by the Plutocracy is unfixable. The lobbysists will never be outdone.I am afraid for my children's future so afraid I tell them that we need to figure out how to leave the country.


Commenter: Luis Maldonado Lince
Blunt, clear and heartwarming. E. Warren puts things on the right perspective. To save real democracy, and a decent and happy level or standard of living., we must turn to the basic and simple normas that rule the real economy.


Commenter: Pete Bolds
Now that congress has passed legislation, run a followup program on the legislation. Thanks.


Commenter: Michael Russell
It seems that our votes are overpowered by all the money used to lobby our representatives, the same money we are paying the banks with our credit card fees. What would happen if we all decided to strike, and stopped paying our credit card bills?


Commenter: CR Donaldson
On Friday, Nov. 13, 2009 I saw and listened to NOW's guest, Elizabeth Warren on the Economy. I found her presentation to be captivating. She answered the questions with gusto and talked to her audience in plain language. This enabled all listening Americans to understand and come to grips with their economy. I am so upset with the American citizens and their government. We will have to do much better, a lot better, if we are going to maintain our position of leadership in the world. Elizabeth Warren makes that very clear and America needs to heed her words.


Commenter: Mark
Your government IS THE RACKET. The Banksters bought "your" congress a long time ago. The only solutions are either blood in the streets or a new 3rd party.

Obama is one and done. Bank on it.


Commenter: Shirley Farley
My comment is actually about the veterans who have experienced brain injuries and have family members taking care of them. I voted that the caregivers should receive compensation but I wanted to make a comment and did not find a place to do so.

When a veteran with a serious head trauma is being cared for by a female, she should have immediate assistance when she has to take the veterans home because she is not physically strong enough to do what is needed. The V. A. hospitals need to recognize this and get their heads out of the sand as should the federal government. If we expecgt the veterans to fight our wars, wherher they are declared or not, we need to take care of their physical needs after they return home.

Thank you for forwarding this to the proper person.


Commenter: Kevin Rochlitz
Get this woman in the White House as Secretary of the Treasury NOW! Because Geitner is workinng for the big boys on Wall Street.


Commenter: Cathy Lynn Littrell
I could ask many, many, questions about the big bonuses, and the state of America? What I will say, we are slaves, living in a free society? There is nobody in government that will help us, we are on our on! Then we can ask our self? What are our KIDS doing, fighting 2 illegal wars, and a covert war in Pakistan? They aren't there for our way of life? We have on life! Oil, is the name of the game to them! They will say something like, "We're here to protect the american people, to preserve our way of life" Bull.... Stop buying all that stuff you don't need! Save your money! Right now we need to 'STOP' 'THINK' and 'FIGHT' to get our country back! It belongs to 'WE THE PEOPLE' not to big corporations that run there businesses in other country's. Where they can play by different rules. Its like that movie, 'The Manchurian Candidate' but in our story, our government is giving America away, Why? WHY DO THEY NEED SO MUCH MONEY TO LIVE? WHY... ????????????


Commenter: Jeanette Shearer
I've listened and watched Ms. Warren on the economy over and over and was so impressed I sent it to various people who I knew would be as interested in what she had to say as I was.

Thank you so much for having her and for making it possible to share it with others who might have missed it. What a brilliant woman.

Many thanks to "PBS" and "Now".

Sincerely,
Jen Shearer


Commenter: Denny Soatikee
Greed, Greed and more Greed! the system is broken.


Commenter: Erik
Elizabeth.....THANKS!!!!!!
This is Tea Party stuff and the Republicans better get on board or they'll permanently be stuck with the evil banker business supporter govt. The people are pissed and don't care whether it's republicans or Dems that fix this crap.


Commenter: Stella
"What will it take to put both bankers and American businesses on the same road to recovery?"

Seriously? Who cares about bankers?

Democratize all hierarchies, now! All workplaces should be cooperatives.


Commenter: John Stump, Portland, OR
I am glad that you interviewed Elizabeth Warren. I only wish you had asked her " Is your message getting to President Obama? "


Commenter: Randy
Honestly, the whole oligarchy/trickle up thing is kinda ho-hum because a lot of people already know it.

Think about it, why do the so-called smart people apply for medical school. Is it to "help" people or to have an AMA guaranteed six figure job? And likewise, why do half the graduates of MIT apply for work in finance or management consulting instead of pure engineering work, like it was only a mere decade ago? I think it's clear that we're an oligarchic system and the kids are simply getting in line for their place in it.


Commenter: Matthew Bouchard
I have an issue with this as it shows the fundamental problem in the idea of debt in the US, and unfortunately this show actually underlines just how much people need those big banks that this program seems to hate so much.

Theres a feeling of entitlement in the US that debtors need to overcome. No one should love credit cards. No one should be going hungry while they have a mortgage of their own (sell the house). I dont understand people who are angry with credit cards - if you do not like them do not have them. The way people view debt in the US is a big problem. Credit cards started as a way of paying for dinners that might cost more than the cash in your pocket.

A key part of the problem is the belief that living beyond your means is just not ok, its american. Living the american dream was a right and not a privilege. The false beliefs that everyone should have a home. Or that SUV. Or the big screen TV. How many of these foreclosures is from people using their home as an ATM to live in the now and not the future?

Of course there are problems with the system as well, as other commenters have mentioned. I am just trying to highlight that the consumers are very much a part of this fiasco - maybe not you, but probably your neighbor :)


Commenter: J yarbrough
Disgusting,immoral,outrageous,meanspirited,robbery!!!!! The American System, still!!!!! Is something being done about this??????


Commenter: Sharon V
I am in full support of Dave's idea except let's bypass the corporations as they will just step over us. Let's go to Mr. Obama's house and sit there. Elizabeth's interview filled me with doom and gloom and I want to find action - is there anything? Letters, okay but they aren't read by the people who matter...warm bodies...how can they ignore that? Anything would be better than feeling like a lame duck...


Commenter: dsr
Love E Warren! I hope Obama is listening to her!


Commenter: Jo Wade
Elizabeth Warren is my hero. I am sending this link to all my friends and to every congress man or woman that I can possibly get an email address for. I want everyone to become involved quickly, before it is as Elizabeth Warren said, "too little too late".


Commenter: Dave Corsello
Alene, I'm with you. I just wrote letters to Congress. I would be all for mass sit-ins on the steps of the corporate headquarters of companies like Goldman Sachs. Facebook worked for Iranians during their election protests. It should work for us in this equally egregious climate of corruption and abuse of power.

Elizabeth, thank you for stating the problem so clearly and eloquently.


Commenter: Jim Francis
I viewed this recent interview on PBS and was impressed beyond words. She has total grasp and comprehension of the situation, is articulate and conveys the message in a clear and concise manner that can be understood by a lay person such as myself. What impressed me the most is that she is forthcoming, honest and obviously of strong moral character. I personally think she should go into politics and would go so far as to say that she has presidential qualifications. Jim Francis, 1906 - 155A St South Surrey, B.C. V4A 6M5 Canada. Phone 604-541-2630.


Commenter: KenJ
We keep on hearing that what happened last year was unprecedented, unpredictable... What happened was not new. Federal Reserve bailing out Wall Street at the expense of main street for similar scenario is not new. In 1998, then FED Chairman Greenspan and Federal Reserve Bank of New York (sounds familiar) organized a bailout of Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) for $3.625 billion by the major creditors to avoid a wider collapse in the financial markets. Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-Term_Capital_Management and see for yourself if there is any difference between what happened then and last year!


Commenter: Arthur Gonzales
Thank you for the truth!


Commenter: Carolyn Hinshaw
It's too late for me but thank you Elizabeth Warren for your superb efforts to call a spade a spade. And thanks to Maria Hinojosa for very pointed and appropriate questions. It's way behind time for banks to own up to their damaging effects on the taxpayers in the face of having a "right" to make a profit. All in business do and that includes the little guy as well. Too many little people are out on the street due to the greed of banks supported by them.


Commenter: John Cappola
Elizabeth Warren's observation is clear. Moral hazard. Too big to fail. Repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act. MBS's.CMO's CDO's.CDS's.ARS's GIC's. Corrupted ratings agencies. Hoards of lobbyists representing the financial interests. Bonuses rewarding failure.
Maybe David Sirota ("The Uprising") has the solution.


Commenter: J McKay
We love your program - especially Friday, Nov. 13, 2009. Your guests tell it like it is. Thank you.


Commenter: Deborah Lowery
Americans need to wake up Now--and listen to Ms.Warren. The worst is yet to come.


Commenter: Jeffrey Slott
After Elizabeth Warren expressed her outrage over the coercive and unscrupulous tactics employed by the banks in squeezing out every last cent out of credit card users, your reporter asked, "Why are you against credit cards?"
My mouth dropped at the outrageousness of this question. Worse, Ms. Warren hurriedly tries to defend herself, "Oh, I'm not against credit cards! Why I carry two..."
Well, now hear this: I am against credit cards. I have never had any, I don't have any now, and I do not intend to carry any in the future. I say credit cards are morally corrupting, manipulative, and do nothing for anybody's benefit. They serve only the criminal financial organizations, and allow them to further extort the American population.
I say to each and every person out there to destroy your credit cards. If you need to buy something, take the actual bits of green paper (you remember, the ones with the faces of past American presidents) out of your account and use them. If you don't have the cash to buy something now, DON'T buy it now. Learn how to properly budget yourself. Take some time out to figure out your priorities, your material needs and wants, and plan accordingly. Yes, you might have to do without buying a new iphone, or big-screen plasma T.V., or going out to that fancy new French restaurant that just opened. At least you won't necessarily be putting yourself in even deeper troubled waters when you're faced with not having the money to buy medicines, or food, or paying your rent.
We are all in a big mess here, ladies and gentlemen. Allowing the criminals who have run our economic and political systems into the cement, who have enriched themselves at our expense, to continue to pull the strings and dictate our lives is not very smart.
Ronald Reagan once demanded of the Soviet Union to 'tear down these walls.' It's time to shout this to the faces of the creeps and crooks of Wall Street and Washington, D.C.


Commenter: John Besselievre
I have always been very impressed with Elizabeth Warren. I like her tough and straight talk about how the credit card companies have no scruples and do not follow contract law.
I would really like to see people like Elizabeth Warren and Shiela Behr run the Fed, as the good ol boys running the Fed now just seem to keep the Bankers and Wall Street High Rollers at status quo. Please help middle america organize with tools to combat the lobby money and help our voices be heard by our self serving congressional and senate representatives.
We have to break the back of greed, bring back common sense, civility, thinking what is good for America and provide help the middle class who have made this country great;


Commenter: Ann Slaby
It irks me that this program is on at 11PM Friday in the SF Bay Area, with reruns for those who have
Comcast. It needs to be prime time!


Commenter: Philippe Orlando
Elizabeth Warren is amazing but she failed to realize why the bankers are actually paying themselves such big bonuses. She says at exactly 15:38 minutes into the show that the big banks and financial institutions didn't understand that the world changed when they had to take money from the tax payers to stay alive.
Wrong, they got that all right?
What they also got is that the majority of Americans are doing only one thing: Drool in front of sports. Right now most of them are drooling in after the tight asses of the NFL players. Yes sir, I know what I'm talking about. Have you heard anybody talking about how they are outraged about those big bonuses? Nope, you haven't. The only conversation you've been able to catch between two grown up males is about football. The top 1% of the population making more than one million a year is aware of that and so are the big guys distributing bonuses to themselves.


Commenter: Dedicated Viewer
Enjoyed the show. Sorry the right people don't watch it.
I have a Bank of America VISA card that had a 7.99% interest rate. Over two or three years, I ran up the balance to about 12,500 dollars, and had regular payments set up on the BOA Website. I got a call (or letter, I forget) from BOA that my card had been compromised (lots of numbers stolen), so they were replacing my card. I got the new card and thought nothing about it. Next thing I know, BOA informs me they are raising my interest rate to 27% because I missed a payment. When I called them, their agent said that when they replaced my card, I had to re-enroll in online payments, and I didn't. They did not tell me at any time before then that I had to do that. I don't think it would be paranoid to suggest that no credit card numbers ever were lost, and BOA was simply using this as a ruse to cheat their customers.
Fortunately, I was able to pay off the balance after a couple of months of ridiculous interest.
I regret ever having dealings with Bank of America.


Commenter: curlingriver
FIVE SIMPLE SOLUTIONS:

(1) REMOVE TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR VACANT HOUSING UNITS.

(2) Make landlords/sellers REDUCE RENT/SELLING PRICE 20% every two months the unit is vacant.

(3) OFFER ASSISTANCE (church volunteers, for instance) to individuals too poor or infirm to bring individual units up to code.

(4) STIFF PENALTIES for noncompliance.

(5) After 6 months of nonrental or nonsale, ALLOW HOMELESS FAMILIES TO OCCUPY at community assistance rates.

Does anyone have the courage to enact these measures at federal level?


Commenter: fatbrit
Poor Liz. Almost there darling ! She called for statute on exec pay because the market cant be relied upon, but still won't renounce capitalism. Instead calls TARP money scam "socialism". Shame. I'd heard she was smart.


ps:
my 2 word captcha for this post is "millions kaput" !!


Commenter: Nils Sorensen
A root cause of our dysfunctional democracy is our "Honorable" US Senators, each taking taking $ millions in contributions (BRIBES)from abusers of our economic system and tax payers for propaganda purposes; and then pay them back with sabotage of legislation that would correct/eliminate practices by the very same abusers. Examples: Healthcare & Malpractice Reform. Finacial Reform. Military/Industrial Complex Constraint. Elizabeth Warren should have emphasized this with available facts and figures. Nils


Commenter: Rosemary Dudley
This interview of Elizabetn Warren by Maria Hinojosa is one of the best EVER on regulation of US financial regulations, including the shyster actions of credit card banking. I am going to send this link to all of my friends and ask them to contact their govt. reps. to make the crimininal or unwise
banking practices illegal. SUGGESTION: Why not have a list availale on your website, giving all the states and their House of Rep. and Senatorial officials and their email contact lists? AGAIN, THANK YOU!


Commenter: David J. Harris
Before I wrote something I wanted to see some comments and it said there are no approved viewer submissions.

Makes me realize "We the people" have not been approved yet.

Why is this so difficult? Go all out to have our
state governments create a state bank as North Dakota

All the bail out money that is more than twice the cost of all American Wars was created on the credit
of "We the people" We can do this again for main street and why would we need to pay interest on borrowing our own money as we are now doing with the
private Federal Reserve? Getting the word out
about Ellen Brown's book Web Of Debt may be our
last chance to end self-destruct. If there is any
hope it is understanding how money is created and
get so outraged that we elect leaders that uphold our Constitution.


Commenter: Michael Hoefler
This was excellent. Elizabeth Warren is articulate and dead serious about what we as an economic society need to look at and forge ahead with. Why she isn't in more of a leading role in this administration, I don't know. She is, IMO, a strong voice for change and fairness in this country. Thanks for having her on your program. How can we get a transcript of it?


Commenter: Alene Cisney
What is the most influential online organization I can join to promote the reforms described by Elizabeth Warren? I would like to help make a difference with petitions, phone calls, emails, letters, protest rallies, or whatever it takes.


Commenter: Henry L. Tillman
One must take into consideration the Federal Reserve System, the power they now have
------------------------------------
and is that power appropriate.
------------------------------------
Senator Dodd like him or not is NOT the issue.
------------------------------------
The power of the Federal Reserve Bank is at issue -- See: http://explodingmortage.net to see
the "Humphrey-Hawkins" Testimony which could shed some light on this issue.


Commenter: Erik Roth
Good program, but bad news, yet thanks for the timely interview relating reality. (Interesting that Elizabeth Warren refrained from mentioning Larry Summers.) Let me add that on November 7, 2009, Louise Story published an article in the New York Times under the headline: "Windfall Seen as Bank Bonuses Are Paid in Stock." In that, she notes,"The Treasury Department declined to comment when asked if these bank executives were being set up for windfalls." You can bet (we already have, suckers) that Timothy Geithner is laughing all the way to the bank. Anyone still have the audacity to hope for change? How about begging for spare change? We need a revolution. Nothing short of that will do.


Commenter: BOYCOTT
Stop fooling! Persons with addictions don't sudenly change overnight when given access t o more drugs or more money, especially when it is free! When sacred cows are allowed to roam free they foul the streets until they are penned up or put out to poasture where they belong!

People can stop paying the interest, toss the cards or stop using them. Remove their money from the Mega -banks that raise interest rates and give uncalled for lavish bonuses. Put them out of business! Stop supporting them! Temporarily place funds in a credit union. Risk losing a good credit score. The financiers care little about theirs! Stop feeding the beasts and expecting they will lose their appetite for more flesh!


Commenter: Tony Zinnanti
Gee. I think I'll write to my congressman.

America was pretty good while it lasted.


Commenter: Sally
Excellent show. Thanks for highlighting what's happening with our taxpayer money and how the rules that Congress writes now will affect our countries future for the next 50 years!


Commenter: Cougarhutch
"So far, no Republicans have signed on."

I 'bout fell out when I heard this statement. The little game of pretending that our national government is functional is getting old. What year do you think this is?

Here this woman is telling you, straight up, who we're all working for, and you continue to pretend that it isn't so. Why are you there? What purpose do you serve, anyway?


Commenter: Hugh Sansom
The importance of public airing of the dissenting views of Elizabeth Warren and others like her cannot be overstated.

Obama, Geithner, Bernanke, Summers and the majority of the Harvard-Chicago School of Economics have stopped just short of damn lying. They have done the same thing with the economy of the United States that Bush & Co did with the war in Iraq: "IF you knew what we do, you would agree with us, but we can't tell you." Obama's openness and transparency is that of Orwell's 1984.

Representative Marcy Kaptur and a handful of elected officials, a number of prominent economists like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, and others across the US have said what is increasingly obvious. The US is no longer a democracy, it is an oligarchy. A constitutional oligarchy. We are locked into the "two-party" system that many clearly think is constitutionally mandated. The effect of this is to render our votes irrelevant. Democratic or Republican, the government will serve the oligarchs at our expense. The housing crisis, the financial crisis, health care, endless war abroad -- on all counts, first consideration (often the only consideration) is given to the demands of the oligarchs.

In an interview with Bill Maher, both Paul Krugman and Eliot Spitzer agreed that the "American dream is dying pretty fast." Krugman noted that, if the US were a third world country or one like Russia, the IMF and others -- especially the US -- would be saying "You have to stop the oligarchs."

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