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Jean Ziegler: This World Order is not just murderous, it is absurd

Dandelion Salad

Sent to DS by the author, thanks, Siv.

by Cathy Ceïbe
Translated By Siv O’Neall
axisoflogic.com
Nov 23, 2008, 07:56

INTRODUCTION

Jean Ziegler is a senior professor of sociology at the University of Geneva and the Sorbonne, Paris. He is one of the leading protagonists in the world for the anti-globalization movement and has taken a continued stand for human rights, the right to food and a decent livelihood for all people. In 2000, he was appointed by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

Big Green Tomatoes

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

He kept this position until March 2008 in spite of much hard criticism from the neoliberal leaders of the U.S. and the UN for his categorical stand for equal rights for all people. His continued fight against poverty, hunger and chronic malnutrition in the world has been a constant embarrassment to the West. He is now the Swiss member of the UN Human Rights Council. His is one of the very few voices heard on the international scene speaking out loudly against the criminal financial system that has put the world in its present tailspin with hunger and lack of human rights, devastating a continually increasing mass of the world’s 6.6 billion population. Unfortunately he is not very well known in the Anglophone world, where, for obvious political reasons, his humanitarian message is hushed up.

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Bewitched, Baffled and Bewildered By William Bowles

By William Bowles
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Creative-i
26 November 2008

“Whatever else yesterday’s great budget gamble aspired to do, one thing was left unattended to: the thing which is the central disaster at the core of the financial crisis. That thing is, of course, the lack of credit coming from the banks. And there’s no sign that anyone is going to be able to force the banks to do anything. But tonight we’re asking why.“ Indeed, there are an awful lot of “whys” when it comes to the banking sector. I’m beginning to wonder whether I’ve been in some way asleep for some portion of it. Did I miss any senior bankers being arraigned in front of the Commons treasury select committee? Have I missed the attorney general sizing up who she can move against in the criminal law courts?

“It seems that whilst these activities have been going on across the Atlantic, nothing is to happen here. Faisal Islam is looking at how credit might be got moving, and we’ll see what we can do on the other matters. — Snowmail, Channel 4 News, 25 November, 2008

Now who is speaking with forked tongue here? Let me get this straight: is Jon Snow giving us his opinions on the cause of the capitalist crisis, or is this the editorial line of Channel 4 News, because I know I’m baffled by this admission of total ignorance of the facts of the situation?

Either, Snow is saying that Channel 4’s ‘news’ mavens, have, over the preceding years, misled the viewing public into thinking that the economy was solid, when in fact they had no idea one way or the other what the economy would do, except on a day-to-day basis, and even that could go pear-shaped.

Or, he’s admitting to the editorial bias implicit in every piece of news ‘analysis’ as being fixed from the getgo, simply because ‘news’ is a business, just like every other business and hews to the line in its almost mystical belief in the power of the ‘market’. ‘Cept when it fails of course.

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Obama’s New Economic Team & Stimulus Plan

Dandelion Salad

Democracy Now!
Nov 25, 2008

Naomi Klein, Robert Kuttner and Michael Hudson Dissect Obama’s New Economic Team & Stimulus Plan

On Monday Obama named New York Federal Reserve Bank President Timothy Geithner to the post of the Treasury Secretary. Former Treasury Secretary under Clinton Lawrence Summers was named the Director of the National Economic Council in the White House. Obama also called for a stimulus plan that will “give a jolt to the economy.” We host a roundtable discussion about Obama’s latest economic moves [includes rush transcript].

Real Video Stream

Real Audio Stream

MP3 Download

via Democracy Now! | Naomi Klein, Robert Kuttner and Michael Hudson Dissect Obama’s New Economic Team & Stimulus Plan

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Russian analyst predicts decline and breakup of U.S.

Dandelion Salad

Updated: Jan 1, 2009 Added map and link to another story and another video report

Updated: Nov 27, 2008 added video

MOSCOW, November 24 (RIA Novosti)
19:31 | 24/11/2008

A leading Russian political analyst has said the economic turmoil in the United States has confirmed his long-held view that the country is heading for collapse, and will divide into separate parts.

Professor Igor Panarin said in an interview with the respected daily Izvestia published on Monday: “The dollar is not secured by anything. The country’s foreign debt has grown like an avalanche, even though in the early 1980s there was no debt. By 1998, when I first made my prediction, it had exceeded $2 trillion. Now it is more than 11 trillion. This is a pyramid that can only collapse.”

The paper said Panarin’s dire predictions for the U.S. economy, initially made at an international conference in Australia 10 years ago at a time when the economy appeared strong, have been given more credence by this year’s events.

When asked when the U.S. economy would collapse, Panarin said: “It is already collapsing. Due to the financial crisis, three of the largest and oldest five banks on Wall Street have already ceased to exist, and two are barely surviving. Their losses are the biggest in history. Now what we will see is a change in the regulatory system on a global financial scale: America will no longer be the world’s financial regulator.”

[...]

He predicted that the U.S. will break up into six parts – the Pacific coast, with its growing Chinese population; the South, with its Hispanics; Texas, where independence movements are on the rise; the Atlantic coast, with its distinct and separate mentality; five of the poorer central states with their large Native American populations; and the northern states, where the influence from Canada is strong.

He even suggested that “we could claim Alaska – it was only granted on lease, after all.”

[...]

via RIA Novosti – World – Russian analyst predicts decline and breakup of U.S.

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Update

“There will be civil war in US in 2009″

RussiaToday

The break-up of America into six pieces? Alaska joining the Russian Federation? Will Russia survive the crisis? Igor Panarin, a Russian professor of economics, discusses these questions when he dropped by the RT studio on Thursday.

`There will be civil war in US in 2009`

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Updated

Divided United States map

More: Barack Obama: the United States of America’s forty-third, and last, President? – OPERATION ITCH

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Russian Professor Predicts the USA Disintegrates

heathr456

CNN talks to Prof. Igor Panarin who theorizes that by 2010 the United States will fracture.

Russian Professor Predicts the USA Di…

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You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet By Mike Whitney

Federal Reserve announces new $800bn boost to strengthen US economy

Colossal Financial Collapse: The Truth behind the Citigroup Bank “Nationalization” by F. William Engdahl

$20 billion here, $20 billion there… by Josh Sidman

Kucinich: Bankers party while America burns

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

The System Implodes: The 10 Worst Corporations of 2008

Dandelion Salad

by Robert Weissman
Multinational Monitor

2008 marks the 20th anniversary of Multinational Monitor’s annual list of the 10 Worst Corporations of the year.

In the 20 years that we’ve published our annual list, we’ve covered corporate villains, scoundrels, criminals and miscreants. We’ve reported on some really bad stuff — from Exxon’s Valdez spill to Union Carbide and Dow’s effort to avoid responsibility for the Bhopal disaster; from oil companies coddling dictators (including Chevron and CNPC, both profiled this year) to a bank (Riggs) providing financial services for Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet; from oil and auto companies threatening the future of the planet by blocking efforts to address climate change to duplicitous tobacco companies marketing cigarettes around the world by associating their product with images of freedom, sports, youthful energy and good health.

But we’ve never had a year like 2008.

The financial crisis first gripping Wall Street and now spreading rapidly throughout the world is, in many ways, emblematic of the worst of the corporate-dominated political and economic system that we aim to expose with our annual 10 Worst list. Here is how.

[...]

Companies:
AIG
Cargill
Chevron
CNPC
Constellation Energy
Dole
General Electric
Imperial Sugar
Philip Morris Int’l.
Roche

via Multinational Monitor

h/t: Global Research

see

Who Is A.I.G. And Why Should You Care? By Mike Ruppert (2001)

The Burmese Regime’s Lifeline – Chevron’s Pipeline By Amy Goodman

Eaten Up By Ed Pilkington

Colossal Financial Collapse: The Truth behind the Citigroup Bank “Nationalization” by F. William Engdahl

Dandelion Salad

by F. William Engdahl
Global Research, November 24, 2008

On Friday November 21, the world came within a hair’s breadth of the most colossal financial collapse in history according to bankers on the inside of events with whom we have contact. The trigger was the bank which only two years ago was America’s largest, Citigroup. The size of the US Government de facto nationalization of the $2 trillion banking institution is an indication of shocks yet to come in other major US and perhaps European banks thought to be ‘too big to fail.’

The clumsy way in which US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, himself not a banker but a Wall Street ‘investment banker’, whose experience has been in the quite different world of buying and selling stocks or bonds or underwriting and selling same, has handled the unfolding crisis has been worse than incompetent. It has made a grave situation into a globally alarming one.

‘Spitting into the wind’

A case in point is the secretive manner in which Paulson has used the $700 billion in taxpayer funds voted him by a labile Congress in September. Early on, Paulson put $125 billion in the nine largest banks, including $10 billion for his old firm, Goldman Sachs. However, if we compare the value of the equity share that $125 billion bought with the market price of those banks’ stock, US taxpayers have paid $125 billion for bank stock that a private investor could have bought for $62.5 billion, according to a detailed analysis from Ron W. Bloom, economist with the US United Steelworkers union, whose members as well as pension fund face devastating losses were GM to fail.

That means half of the public’s money was a gift to Paulson’s Wall Street cronies. Now, only weeks later, the Treasury is forced to intervene to de facto nationalize Citigroup. It won’t be the last.

Paulson demanded, and got from a labile US Congress, Democrat as well as Republican, sole discretion over how and where he can invest the $700 billion, to date with no effective oversight. It amounts to the Treasury Secretary in effect ‘spitting into the wind’ in terms of resolving the fundamental crisis.

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$20 billion here, $20 billion there… by Josh Sidman

Josh

by Josh Sidman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Josh’s Blog Post
November 25, 2008

The late Senator Everett Dirksen famously quipped, “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money.” Times have changed. Nowadays a billion is a mere rounding error, ten billion elicits little more than yawns, a hundred billion might start to raise a few eyebrows.

In the latest of a never-ending series of public bailouts, today the government injected $20 billion into Citigroup (on top of a previous infusion of $25 billion). In response, the stock price of the company surged 60%, representing an increase in shareholder wealth of approximately $13 billion. In other words, while increasing numbers of Americans are crushed by a financial crisis caused in large part by companies like Citigroup, the government saw fit to take another $20 billion of taxpayer money and give it to the very people who caused the problem in the first place.

Now, I agree with the notion that a company like Citigroup may be “too big to fail”. The consequences of letting an institution like Citi go under would be dramatic and far-reaching, but this is no argument for rewarding shareholders. Those who profited from the excesses of the lending bubble ought to bear the full brunt of the crisis they helped to create, and if that means that the stock price goes to zero, so be it.

Let’s think about what we could do with $20 billion if we decided not to use it to reward the very people who caused the problem in the first place.

We could open the phone book and select 20,000 people at random and give each of them a million dollars. I bet that would stimulate the economy. Or we could select 400,000 high school seniors and give them each $50,000 to put toward a college education. Or we could identify 20 companies that are likely to play a leading role in the “green economy” of the 21st Century and give each of them a billion dollars to invest in research and development.

And that’s just one bailout. Imagine what we could have done with all of the money that has been plowed into AIG, Fannie, Freddie, etc., etc. I guess all of this should come as no surprise given that the man in charge is the former CEO of Goldman Sachs. And, hopeful as I am that President Obama will deliver on his promises of change, his appointments of such establishment figures as Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers, Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, and Tom Daschle doesn’t instill a great deal of confidence that his administration will represent a true changing-of-the-guard.

Aw hell, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. I think I’m just gonna try to figure out which will be the next mega-corporation to receive a $20 billion bailout and buy their stock. Heck, I might even see if I can put it on my credit card.

see

Is Citigroup Thankful for Corrupt Government and Robbed Taxpayers? by Cindy Sheehan

Kucinich: Bankers party while America burns

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet By Mike Whitney

Federal Reserve announces new $800bn boost to strengthen US economy

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Kucinich: Bankers party while America burns

Dandelion Salad

RussiaToday

A Democratic Congressman in the US has launched a scathing attack on some bank executives, who he accuses of throwing parties while the US economy goes up in smoke. Dennis Kucinich added that restoring good relations with Russia is vital for the recovery of the American economy.

more about “Kucinich: Bankers party while America…“, posted with vodpod

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Dennis Kucinich on Fox Business 11-18-2008

Kucinich2008

more about “Dennis Kucinich on Fox Business 11-18…“, posted with vodpod

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You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet By Mike Whitney

Federal Reserve announces new $800bn boost to strengthen US economy

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
November 24, 2008 “Information Clearinghouse

“The problems we face today cannot be solved by the minds that created them” — Albert Einstein

Obama hasn’t even been sworn in yet, and already the Wall Street cheerleaders are celebrating his first great triumph. According the pundits, the stock market staged a surprise 494 point rally on Friday because–get this–it was announced that Timothy Geithner would be appointed Obama’s Treasury Secretary.

Timothy who?

What nonsense. The sudden turn-around in stocks had a lot more to do with short-covering than anything else, but don’t let that get in the way of a good story. Even so, the last minute surge on the NYSE couldn’t stop another week-long bloodbath that ended with the Dow and S&P 500 tumbling another 5 percent. That’s not to say that Geithner is not bright and talented guy. He is; and so is his White House counterpart, Lawrence Summers. But the media hype is way overdone. Geithner doesn’t drive the markets and he isn’t “change you can believe in”. In fact, he’s a protege of Henry Kissinger, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has the same political pedigree as his predecessor, Henry Paulson. They’re both part of the ruling fraternity and their views of the world are nearly identical. There’s no doubt that Geithner will be more competent and effective than Paulson but, then again, who wouldn’t be? Paulson may be the biggest flop at Treasury since Andrew Mellon steered the country onto the reef during the Great Depression. The recent flap over the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) just proves the point. After convincing Congress to pass a $700 billion bailout plan–by invoking the specter of economic Armageddon and martial law–the former G-Sax chairman proceeded to set up a program for buying back mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and other junk paper from his banking buddies. Paulson argued that removing the crappy loans would help the banks get back on their feet and start lending again. Of course, no one could really figure out how the process was going to be executed, but maybe that’s just nit-picking. Fortunately, Paulson never got a chance carry out his plan. He was torpedoed by the stock market which plunged seven days in a row losing nearly 20 percent of its value until Paulson threw in the towel and did what 200 economists had suggested from the very beginning—buy preferred shares in the banks so they could rev-up their credit engines again.

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Federal Reserve announces new $800bn boost to strengthen US economy

Dandelion Salad

http://www.telegraph.co.uk
25 Nov 2008

The money will be used to buy mortgage- and asset-backed securities to try to get banks lending to consumers again, in the form of car and student loans, mortgages and credit cards.

The vast sum is in addition to the $700billion bank bailout announced last month.

US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said: “Millions of Americans cannot find affordable financing for their basic credit needs.”

He added that the boost could grow “over time” to cover other types of assets.

The loan system for this type of debt in the US came to a near-standstill in October.

The Fed will lend up to $200 billion to holders of AAA-rated asset-backed securities for a term of at least one year, with holders of the securities expected to accept “a haircut” reflecting the reduced market value.

via Federal Reserve announces new $800bn boost to strengthen US economy – Telegraph + video

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Federal Reserve

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Rich countries launch great land grab to safeguard food supply

Dandelion Salad

by Julian Borger, diplomatic editor
guardian.co.uk, Saturday November 22 2008

Rich governments and corporations are triggering alarm for the poor as they buy up the rights to millions of hectares of agricultural land in developing countries in an effort to secure their own long-term food supplies.

The head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, has warned that the controversial rise in land deals could create a form of “neo-colonialism”, with poor states producing food for the rich at the expense of their own hungry people.

Rising food prices have already set off a second “scramble for Africa”. This week, the South Korean firm Daewoo Logistics announced plans to buy a 99-year lease on a million hectares in Madagascar. Its aim is to grow 5m tonnes of corn a year by 2023, and produce palm oil from a further lease of 120,000 hectares (296,000 acres), relying on a largely South African workforce. Production would be mainly earmarked for South Korea, which wants to lessen dependence on imports.

[...]

via Rich countries launch great land grab to safeguard food supply | Environment | The Guardian

h/t: CLG

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Noam Chomsky: What Next? The Elections, the Economy, and the World

Dandelion Salad

IWantDemocracyNow
Nov. 24, 2008

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Is Citigroup Thankful for Corrupt Government and Robbed Taxpayers? by Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Nov 24, 2008

They should be, because Citigroup, which was already a huge winner in 1999 when then Secretary of the Treasury, Larry Summers worked with the Clinton administration and Congress, repealed the Glass-Steagall Act so Citicorp could become Citigroup, has today received another gift from the US government. The Glass-Steagall Act was a reform instituted during the Great Depression to prevent financial concerns from consolidating and becoming “too big to fail.” The Graham-Bliley-Leach (bi-partisan) Act that repealed Glass-Steagall was a gift to Wall Street which has wreaked so much havoc today.

Today, Citigroup received another 25 billion influx of capital (I am still waiting for my bailout) and a guarantee of 300 billion to salvage the company from having to pay the price for their failing mortgage backed securities. It still makes more sense to me to save homeowners from losing their homes, but that’s just me. Citigroup were definitely the big winners today, after GM and Ford were sent back to Detroit empty-handed. I don’t think any capitalists should be bailed out, but it is hard to figure out the “Plan.”

We have decades of economic, security, environmental and war problems to solve and President-Elect Obama is filling his nascent administration with Blue-Tinged Neo-cons (Clinton and Biden, so far) for his foreign policy team and blatant Economic Hitmen for his financial team. These Economic Hitmen like Larry Sanders and Timothy Geithner who have been practicing their neo-liberal policies of “Shock economics” all over the world and have been instrumental in our current financial crises, now they will be part of the governmental institution that will give them more legitimacy in some eyes for further destruction.

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Home of the Brave? (An Alternative to Capitalism) by John Steinsvold

Dandelion Salad

Sent to DS by the author, thanks, John.

A thought-provoking “utopian” article, entitled “Home of the Brave?” which appeared in the American Daily which was published in Phoenix, Arizona on March 14, 2006.

by John Steinsvold
Athenaeum Reading Room
John’s post
14th March 2006

Economists concede that economics is an inexact science. What does that mean? Perhaps it means their economic forecast is better than yours or mine. Recently, economic indicators have been rising and people have their fingers crossed. Economists have given us reason to hope that the job market will improve and that the stock market will continue on a steady climb. Yet, the newspapers continue to report more layoffs and more jobs going overseas.

Meanwhile, our economy is getting more and more complex. We associate complexity with progress for some ungodly reason. The following problems, however, have become inherent in our economy. What does that mean? It means they will be around for a while:

Needless poverty, unemployment, inflation, the threat of depression, taxes, crimes related to profit (sale of illicit drugs, stolen IDs, muggings, bribery, con artists, etc.), conflict of interest, endless red tape, a staggering national debt plus a widening budget deficit, 48 out of 50 states in debt, cities in debt, counties in debt, skyrocketing personal debts, 50% of Americans unhappy at their work, saving for retirement and our children’s education, health being a matter of wealth, competing in the “rat race”, the need for insurance, being a nation of litigation, being subject to the tremors on Wall Street, fear of downsizing and automation, fear of more Enrons, outsourcing, bankruptcies, crippling strikes, materialism, corruption, welfare, social security, sacrificing quality and safety in our products for the sake of profit, the social problem of the “haves” vs. the “havenots” and the inevitable family quarrels over money.

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Citizens’ Economic Stimulus Plan: Stop Paying Credit Card Debt by Richard C. Cook

excerpt on current

by Richard C. Cook
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
richardccook.com

November 24, 2008

Now to the Wall Street bailouts, the plan for the government to purchase preferred shares in banks, and the takeovers of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG, may be added the intention announced last night that the government will throw another $20 billion at Citibank, the nation’s largest financial institution.

The announcement came after Citibank’s stock fell 60 percent last week to $3.77 a share. Of course it won’t help the 50,000 people Citibank is laying off, but, what the hey, no plan is perfect.

Meanwhile, almost nothing has been done to help the consumers within the producing economy who have lost trillions of dollars in the stock market crash, seen the value of their homes fall in many cases below what they owe on their mortgages, and lost jobs or health benefits through the escalating recession. Fannie Mae, which over the weekend sponsored a Walk for the Homeless in Washington, D.C., an event that drew thousands of participants, had announced the previous day that it was placing a moratorium on further home foreclosures until after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Wow, thanks.

But what then? Everyone agrees that the recession will be long and deep, not only in the U.S. but in nations that export to us. The Federal Reserve can only go so far in cutting interest rates, because at a certain point nations such as China which have floated the Federal deficit will no longer lend.

Besides, what good are low interest rates if borrowers can’t even afford to repay the principle, which is the situation so many of us find ourselves in today? Japan found that out in the 1990s, leading to a recession that lasted a decade.

So what are ordinary people to do who have families to feed, rent or mortgages to pay that are still inflated from the collapsed housing bubble, unmet medical or insurance expenses, or may be trying to get their kids through college? Should we go deeper into debt when U.S. households, businesses, and government already owe in the neighborhood of $60 trillion (excluding federal unfunded debt liabilities), almost five times the GDP? Banks have cut back on lending anyway.

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