Not much thought goes into what the kiddies should learn either, eh?
The article is focused on Georgia’s Sixth District, today. It speaks volumes about the mediocre state of US education. Draw your own conclusions about a political party that gets little support from folks with more than a high school education.
These are the fifteen Congressional Districts in the whole of the United States with at least 50% of adults holding a college degree.
Thanks, Bloomberg Politics
‘They should have let Bear Stearns fail,” Sheila Bair said.
It was midmorning on a crisp June day, and Bair, the 57-year-old outgoing chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation — the federal agency that insures bank deposits and winds down failing banks — was sitting on a couch, sipping a Starbucks latte. We were in the first hour of several lengthy on-the-record interviews. She seemed ever-so-slightly nervous.
Long viewed as a bureaucratic backwater, the F.D.I.C. has had a tumultuous five years while being transformed under Bair’s stewardship. Not long after she took charge in June 2006, Bair began sounding the alarm about the dangers posed by the explosive growth of subprime mortgages, which she feared would not only ravage neighborhoods when homeowners began to default — as they inevitably did — but also wreak havoc on the banking system. The F.D.I.C. was the only bank regulator in Washington to do so.
During the financial crisis of 2008, Bair insisted that she and her agency have a seat at the table, where she worked — and fought — with Henry Paulson, then the treasury secretary, and Timothy Geithner, the president of the New York Federal Reserve, as they tried to cobble together solutions that would keep the financial system from going over a cliff. She and the F.D.I.C. managed a number of huge failing institutions during the crisis, including IndyMac, Wachovia and Washington Mutual. She was a key player in shaping the Dodd-Frank reform law, especially the part that seeks to forestall future bailouts.
Since the law passed, she has made an immense effort to convince Wall Street and the country that the nation’s giant banks — the same ones that required bailouts in 2008 and became known as “too big to fail” institutions — will never again be bailed out, thanks in part to new powers at the F.D.I.C.
Just a few months ago, she went so far as to send a letter to Standard & Poor’s, the credit-ratings agency, suggesting that its ratings of the big banks were too high because they reflected an expectation of government support. If a too-big-to-fail bank got into trouble, she wrote, the F.D.I.C. would wind it down, not bail it out…
She didn’t spend a lot of time fretting over bank profitability; if banks had to become less profitable, postcrisis, in order to reduce the threat they posed to the system, so be it. (“Our job is to protect bank customers, not banks,” she told me.) And she was a fierce, and often lonely, proponent of widespread mortgage modification, for reasons both compassionate (to help struggling homeowners stay in their homes) and economic (fewer foreclosures would help the troubled housing market recover more quickly).
I’m just giving you a taste of the beginning of this interview. It’s quite long, detailed, and near as I can tell an accurate picture of the individual who acted throughout the crisis of the Great Recession to defend local community banks, the historic integrity of banking regulation – how this was corrupted and almost destroyed along with our national economy – and as an aside, a reminder to younger folks who know only the deceit and corruption of Bush, Cheney, the racism of Nixonian Republicans, the nutballs of the Kool Aid Party – what a traditional American conservative used to sound like.
The French state is not famous for sensitivity and tact, but the parliament has voted unanimously for a remarkably imaginative measure to make dying easier there. People who take time off to look after a relative or partner close to death will be entitled to an payment of €50 a day for 21 days. At a time when English politicians argue about a death tax, the French have got on and established a subsidy for the dying.
At a time when American politicians aren’t even convinced we should be alive.
It’s not a huge sum of money. I don’t think that’s the point. There are incidental expenses and inconveniences when someone is dying but they are seldom immense. They matter far less than the grief and exhaustion which attend almost every deathbed. What the payment does is to register the state’s belief that to tend a dying friend or relative is a worthwhile activity, which should be honoured and not needlessly impeded.
This is a much more practical approach, and more compassionate, too, than grandstanding about principles and rights as we have been doing in this country for the last few weeks. Discussions about euthanasia in Britain are mostly conducted on the basis of individual hard cases, but the French law takes account of the fact that even a death that ends well can be hard and terrible for the people around. It is also work. To that extent a subsidy for the work done at the end of life is something the state – society – should pay just as it pays us around the time our children are born.
We don’t do that, either.
Like funerals, the French arrangement recognises that death affects the living all around the dead person, and they require help and acknowledgement to carry on. That may sound cynical, but I think it is purely realistic. We no longer have clear periods of socially supported mourning and this is thoughtless cruelty for the bereaved. Although the British like to think of themselves as pragmatists and the French as airy-fairy theoreticians, in this instance the balance is reversed; we should acknowledge this, and remedy it.
I think I’ll pass this post along to one [of the very few] American politicians who cares about humanity. I’m fortunate that Tom Udall represents me in the Senate. He carries on the family tradition of progressive politics, environmental activism – and backbone.
It won’t stand the chance of a snowball in Hell of getting anywhere in Congress.