How Students Pay for the Hidden Costs of Higher Education Finance

The initial response to  has made all our work on the report and this site well worth it. We’ve received more messages of appreciation and congratulations than we can count from professors, activists, think tank leaders, elected officials, and even a former Department of Education undersecretary. The response on social media is even more encouraging. Wenn ihnen ein zitat zentral erscheint, können sie es unter angabe der quelle ebenfalls anführen; On Facebook, twenty-six hundred people have liked  explaining how students pay for the $45 billion in annual higher education financing costs uncovered in”Borrowing Against the Future. ”

The most exciting development, however, is that we’ve received several emails submitting articles and proposing blog posts for us to publish. This is exactly in line with our hope that Debt and Society will be a place for broad academic and popular discussion of debt and financialization. We won’t be able to review submissions or post more on the blog until I return next Monday from vacation. But if you have something you’d like to submit or recommend to us, please email us through the contact page or comment on this blog post. In the meantime, thank you for your interest and for helping spread the news about Debt and Society!.

Default Mode: How Ocwen Skirts California’s Mortgage Laws

This story originally appeared on

Lost documents. Incomplete and confusing information. Mysterious fees. Payments received but not applied. Homeowners waiting for a loan modification and suddenly placed in foreclosure. A nightmare of uncertainty, frustration and fear. These incidents, described to me by numerous homeowners, mortgage counselors and defense lawyers, were supposed to be a thing of the past in California. After revelations of fraud and abuse throughout the mortgage business, including tens of billions of dollars in corporate penalties, state Attorney General Kamala Harris pushed through the  (HBOR), designed to standardize conduct by mortgage servicers – those companies that manage day-to-day operations on mortgages by collecting monthly payments and making decisions when homeowners go into default and seek help. Yet one company allegedly committed all these HBOR violations: Ocwen, the nation’s fourth-largest mortgage servicer. According to the complaints, Ocwen (“New Co. ” spelled backwards) either skirts around the edges of California law or simply ignores it, causing headaches for homeowners – and potentially illegal foreclosures. (Ocwen did not respond to a request for comment for this article, but in the past, it has pointed to its track record of assisting homeowners to avoid foreclosure. )

“Ocwen is one of the worst servicers in the state,” says Kevin Stein, Associate Director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, a nonprofit advocate for low-income communities. Ocwen may not even be aware of the rules of the road. One lawyer, who requested anonymity because his client is currently negotiating with Ocwen on a mortgage, described a conversation with one of the company’s specialized home retention consultants. The lawyer asked the Ocwen representative about the servicer’s HBOR compliance efforts and the representative replied that she had never heard of the statute, had no training for it and knew of no process established to conform to it. “Ocwen doesn’t give a hoot about the Homeowner Bill of Rights,” the lawyer told me. “They ignore the statute. It’s cheaper for them to ignore than to implement. ”

Ocwen’s suspected flaunting of the law could be traced to its aggressive growth strategy. Until the past few years, the largest mortgage servicers were divisions of major banks, such as Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. After being sanctioned for their own misconduct, these banks were forced to adhere to new servicing standards that increased their costs, as well as new, higher capital requirements associated with servicing that came from the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. As a result, banks commenced a fire sale, selling off trillions of dollars in servicing rights to non-bank firms like Ocwen. These non-bank servicers don’t own the loans, only the rights to service them, in exchange for a percentage of the monthly payments.

The lawyer asked the Ocwen representative about the servicer’s HBOR compliance efforts and the representative replied that she had never heard of the statute, had no training for it and knew of no process established to conform to it.

Ocwen calls itself a “specialty servicer,” with a particular focus on subprime mortgages, loans that often come to them already in trouble. Managing delinquent loans is a “high-touch” business, demanding lots of personnel to work with homeowners to negotiate affordable payments or foreclosure proceedings. Yet Ocwen has claimed to its investors that it can service these loans at  than the rest of the industry, raising red flags from regulators. “I don’t think you can handle subprime mortgages by being efficient, with better computers,” says Benjamin Lawsky, head of New York’s Department of Financial Services. “You’re going to have a lot of people looking for help, and they’re not just a number, they’re real people with real problems who need help in real time, right now. ”

What Ocwen calls efficiency has already led to significant misconduct. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and 49 states, including California,  $2. 1 billion last December for “violating consumer financial laws at every stage of the mortgage servicing process. ” Many of the stories from California homeowners mirror the charges in the CFPB settlement – overcharging homeowners, misplacing documents, illegal denials of loan modifications and more. And Ocwen also violates HBOR, the controlling state law for mortgage servicing. Janice Spraggins of NID Housing Counseling Agency says that Ocwen failed to honor prior agreements that her clients secured with their old mortgage servicers. This is consistent with a  from CFPB citing numerous problems with mortgage servicing transfers, including lost documents, unapplied payments and homeowners who, having already started down the road to fixing their problems, have had to start all over again. “The homeowner goes to the back of the line,” Spraggins says. “For whatever reason they’re not on the same page [as Ocwen]. ”

Other homeowners complain about how Ocwen satisfies the state requirement for a “single point of contact” — the one individual who is aware of their unique situation and who they can consult for timely updates on the status of their loan. Ocwen designates a “relationship manager” to handle these cases. But homeowners say they get no specific email or phone number for their relationship manager; they must call the main customer service line, schedule an appointment and wait to hear back. The relationship manager, Ocwen clients allege, doesn’t always call at the designated appointment time, meaning the homeowner must go through the process all over again, dealing with customer service reps who frequently give out contradictory or misleading information. “It doesn’t appear to be in compliance,” says Lauren Carden of Legal Services of Northern California, when describing Ocwen’s procedures. “They give you a single point of contact, but if you can never reach them, effectively you don’t have one. ” Carden cited one client who tried for four months to reach their relationship manager, and only got the person on the phone once. Saleta Darnell, a Los Angeles County child-support officer who lives in South Los Angeles, criticized Ocwen for adding charges to her loan, which the company took over from GMAC. “I had a $1,389 monthly payment. When it got to Ocwen, the payment went up to $1,469,” Darnell says, adding that Ocwen had increased the total loan balance by $60,000 without explanation. Darnell immediately requested a loan modification. Some professional economists had complained for years over the faults of the old tax code and that high rates discouraged investment. After several weeks of waiting, Ocwen notified Darnell by mail that she didn’t qualify for anything but an “in-house” modification. The in-house mod lowered the balance to the original amount, but with a significantly higher monthly payment of $2,316, more than half Darnell’s take-home pay. LaRue Carnes, a Sacramento homemaker, needed a loan modification after her husband lost his job nearly two years ago. OneWest Bank transferred her loan to Ocwen last August. She had trouble getting her relationship manager on the phone, and had to deal with customer service representatives, often located overseas with limited English proficiency, who, Carnes says, never told her the same information twice. “Dealing with the people answering the Ocwen line has been some of the most frustrating conversations of my life,” Carnes says. Carnes says Ocwen lost the financial documents she submitted for her loan modification application on four separate occasions, which would violate state HBOR prescriptions for timely responses. Meanwhile, in the months of waiting, the family’s arrears ballooned from $11,000 to $54,000. And Ocwen would not post the payments Carnes did send in on time until as late as the 18th of the month, triggering additional hits to the couple’s credit report. “How can you not process a check within your own system?” Carnes wondered. “I don’t understand how a company can do business like that. ”

One reason is that Ocwen has a captive audience. Homeowners have no say in who services their loan. They get passed around from one company to the next, with the servicer having enormous power to tack on fees, deny loan modifications or pursue foreclosure. Homeowners experiencing difficulties must still work with Ocwen to keep their homes, creating pressure against speaking out. One lawyer had an Ocwen representative respond to a threat of a lawsuit for HBOR violations by asking, “Does your client want a modification or not?”

The homeowner who requested anonymity because of an ongoing negotiation submitted a completed loan modification application to Ocwen, only to find a notice of default taped to his front door. A completed loan application is supposed to freeze the foreclosure process while the servicer decides on eligibility, preventing a practice called “dual tracking,” perhaps the most serious HBOR violation. The homeowner, in this case, said he never received a letter required by California law, confirming receipt of the initial application, and was not assigned a single point of contact for months. In December, while waiting for an answer on a second application, the homeowner received notice of the pending sale of his property at auction. This led to the phone call, where an Ocwen representative claimed to never have heard of HBOR. Attorney General Harris has urged homeowners to file any HBOR complaints with her office. That information goes to the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force and a state-appointed monitor for foreclosure-related matters, who spots trends and works with servicers on compliance. This can help at the margins but homeowner advocates are seeking stronger measures. “There have been good reports about the monitor resolving problems on individual cases,” says Kevin Stein of the California Reinvestment Coalition. “But we would love to see the Attorney General more involved. ”

In addition, under HBOR homeowners have a “private right of action” to hire legal counsel and sue Ocwen over violations. However, a California State Bar ruling stipulates that lawyers cannot collect fees for their services in loan modification-related cases prior to their completion. While this protects homeowners from foreclosure rescue scams, where lawyers would take money up front and skip town, it has significantly damaged HBOR enforcement. Though the HBOR statute includes provisions for attorney fees, the Bar ruled that HBOR suits are related to loan modifications, meaning that lawyers must for a period of time litigate for free against legal teams working for deep-pocketed servicers. “I’m aware of many lawyers who have said, I can’t do this,” says one lawyer. “What appears to have been a good idea is now about as dangerous [for Ocwen] as wading into a pond and getting bitten by a guppy. ”

The CFPB continues to investigate violations of its federal mortgage servicing laws. And Lawsky, the New York banking regulator,  to transfer $39 billion in mortgages from Wells Fargo to Ocwen, citing concerns about Ocwen’s capacity and its  that profit off Ocwen foreclosures, raising the possibility of conflicts of interest. Ocwen executive chairman William Erbey said on an earnings call that this has , stunting the company’s growth. Erbey runs four separate subsidiary corporations, including Altisource, which buys foreclosed properties to turn them into rentals. that this gives Ocwen incentive to push homes into foreclosure, so Altisource can profit from them. But without new mortgage servicing rights to purchase, Erbey’s grand scheme will falter. In fact, Ocwen’s first-quarter earnings  and the stock has sunk as regulatory scrutiny has increased. But this doesn’t comfort those homeowners stuck with Ocwen, who have labored for years to get clarity on whether they can keep their homes. Some of these homeowners may yet get the modification they need – one Ocwen client I’ve spoken to is about to start a trial payment plan and another is negotiating terms. Still, the struggle exacts a real toll, both in financial terms with late fees and increased arrears, but also on an emotional level. Waking up day after day without knowing if you’ll have to pack up all your possessions and leave your home creates feelings of humiliation and shame that can’t be measured in dollars. “We need to start repairing our credit, our good name,” says LaRue Carnes. Meanwhile, homeowner advocates grumble that Ocwen executives, and their counterparts at other servicers, do not share such worries, because violating the law makes more financial sense to them than following it. “All the power resides in the servicer,” says the anonymous lawyer. “Plainly they don’t care. ”

 photo: , Creative Commons, some rights reserved. .

Univ. of CA Interest Rate Swaps Back in the News

has been back in the news the last couple months. The in February after University accountants updated estimates, saying that UC stood to lose $136 million over the next 34 years. Shortly afterwards, the following up on the interest rate swap losses. Both the OC Register and AP stories neglected to mention that UC sued 20 Wall Street banks last year for losses stemming from manipulation of LIBOR rates — to which interest rate swaps and other derivatives are indexed. Public banking advocate, Ellen Brown, however, picked up this thread in  and several other outlets on April 13th. Finally,  as UC CFO Peter Taylor departed his position at the end of April. Taylor was a UCLA Foundation Board member and the Managing Director of Public Finance for Lehman Brothers when the investment bank sold UC one of its most costly swaps. Taylor then assumed responsibility for UC’s continuation of the swaps when UC hired him as CFO in 2009. Taylor vehemently defended UC’s use of the swaps even as UC filed the LIBOR suit against banks that sold UC the swaps. Backup options available in double driver include structured folders, compressed zip phone tracker online archives, and even a self-extracting utility. Taylor is leaving UC to lead a foundation funded by a student loan debt collection agency.

Review of “Capitalizing on Crisis”, by Greta Krippner

I just got done reading the wonderful book by University of Michigan historical sociologist Greta Krippner. I say wonderful for a reason – Krippner brings enormous and very necessary depth to the financialization of America, a subject which has been treated with far too much superficiality since the financial crisis of 2007-2009. To understand why this is such an important book, it’s useful to start with how our understanding of deregulation informs today’s political debates on finance. The financial crisis was such a momentous event, and the various blame games going around among politically interested parties, left a vacuum for a historical narrative. There are several popular theories about why the crisis happened. Most start with this undefined thing called financial deregulation. There’s a right-wing argument about the Community Reinvestment Act and how the crisis began with Fannie and Freddie, but there’s no empirical basis for that thesis, so I won’t touch it in this review. So let’s start with deregulation. Krippner in her account really defines her terms and brings us through the narrative step-by-step. Her attentive account shows how financial deregulation – the removal of laws key to the New Deal system of political economy – started in the late 1960s. Much of the architecture of the political economy of financialization, the decision-making that would or could take place when credit markets were ascendant – was in place by 1980. She shows howthis architecture was designed by state actors, with a meticulous grounding in original sources. According to Krippner, deregulation wasn’t a nefarious set of choices by Reagan and his Republican banking cronies, it was a response by a policymakers (a Democratic Congress and Democratic President) to the failures of the liberal state. After it was put in place, Reagan of course was a key player in setting its direction. Along with Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan, Reagan took financialization in unexpected directions, but the basic contours were clear before Reagan came to power. In my conversations with policymakers who were working at the time, such as Jane D’Arista, and in my readings of 1960s and 1970s Congressional hearings, the timing seems accurate. For example, long before usury caps were removed in 1980, Nixon pushed for their removal and Congressmen like Wright Patman complained about how credit cards were making usury caps obsolete. The Supreme Court’s 1978 Marquette decision, which helped deliver the death knell to the old regulatory model, was a move by the judicial branch, not regulators or politicians. And the plaintiff, Marquette bank, sued as far back as the early 1970s. Change to the New Deal political economy was in the air, due to inflation. Perhaps a President less conservative than Carter would have wrought a different kind of change, and Carter did face a Kennedy primary in 1980. But Krippner’s book is the first account of changes in our political economy that actually explains the roots of financialization in terms of the inflationary periods of the 1960s and 1970s. This is in slight, though not entire, contrast, to several other strains of thought. The argument popularized by Inside Job filmmaker Charles Ferguson and Roosevelt Institute fellow Jeff Madrick in his book is that financialization occurred because of a nefarious set of players who sought to reorganize society on a social darwinian model. This is the Gordon Gecko narrative, that greed is good. Another argument, broached by Tom Ferguson and Sidney Blumenthal in the 1980s, and then popularized in the 2000s, is that the conservative movement was the result of a group of far-sighted and well-funded businessmen who saw in the 1970s rise of Ralph Nader politics an implacable set of enemies who needed to be defeated in the realm of ideas. But this isn’t entirely fair – one thing I learned from Krippner’s book is that Ralph Nader, among other consumer advocates, supported financial deregulation, specifically the end of Regulation Q, which capped interest on savings accounts. A simple way to state Krippner’s thesis is follows. In the 1970s, politicians got tired of fighting over who would get what, and just turned those decisions over to the depoliticized market. Ein fast immer anzutreffender vertreter in den heimischen seen, teichen und langsam fließenden bächen und flüssen ist? This is known as ‘financialization’. Then political leaders didn’t have to say “no” anymore to any constituency group, they could just say “blame the market”. It’s very much akin to the rationalization for inequality one hears from elites these days, that it’s globalization and technology, as if those are just natural trends with no human agency or decision-making involved. To state her thesis in a less glib manner, it is as follows. The state, in the 1960s, was confronted with three interrelated problems – social, fiscal, and legitimacy crises – and that financialization provided an inadvertent mechanism to deal with them. After World War II, the United States was the only industrial base standing, so its corporations had pricing power and could pass on labor costs to the rest of the world. Social problems could be solved with the standard American lubricant of growth and then dividing the spoils among the groups grasping for them. But as American competitiveness declined in the 1950s and 1960s, and due to the “guns and butter” strategy of LBJ’s financing of the Vietnam War, this growth model began failing. The result was that inflation kicked up, and inflation provided the means by which the state could effectively deny resources to constituency groups without explicitly doing so. In other words, dealing with fewer resources created severe pressure on the New Deal liberal architecture of decision-making, which first revealed itself as inflation. Krippner is careful with definitions, and she’s interested in financialization – or as she puts it, “the growing importance of financial profits in the economy. ” She first establishes that this is a real trend. Financialization is not just the rise of the mega-banks, or private equity firms, but the increasing importance of financial profits to non-financial firms. Ford and GM in 2006 made more money on auto lending than making cars, which is an example of financialization. It’s a clear trend, and one she establishes persuasively. Not only did American financial corporations take in 40% of all aggregate profits in 2006, but finance is a critical profit source for many other firms like GE. Her story accords with what many of us now know. Firms like Google and Apple aren’t just technology firms, they are also financial, and use sophisticated money management techniques to manage large cash hoards. I once asked the President of Darden Restaurants whether his firm used derivatives, and he told me, of course. It turns out his background was in investment banking, not restaurants. As Barry Lynn once told me, American companies used to be managed by engineers, today they are managed by bankers. That is the story of modern corporate America, but it wasn’t the story before the 1980s. Krippner goes on to describe why the old financial system fell apart. The New Deal system of finance had a series of speed bumps and firewalls across it, so that credit for certain activities had to come from certain institutions. The most well-known of these firewalls was the split between investment and commercial banks, or Glass-Steagall. But there was a far more comprehensive structure involved, which set in place interest rate caps on savings accounts (Regulation Q), deposit insurance, centralized monetary policy in the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and implemented a slew of disclosures in the securities market. The net effect of this was a heavily partitioned and regulated financial sector. If you wanted a mortgage, you got it from a savings and loan, or thrift. Businesses borrowed from commercial banks, companies underwrote securities and bonds through investment banks. Finance companies delivered consumer credit, retailers offered installment loans, and so forth. There was some blurring of lines, but not much. Regulation Q, or the cap on interest on savings accounts, was, as Krippner put it, “at the heart” of the system. By prohibiting banks from bidding for deposits, Regulation Q prevented the creation of a credit market, where supply and demand determined the interest rate. What Krippner doesn’t mention, but should have, is that this was due to how the banking system collapsed in the run-up to the 1929 crash. Banks at the time were parking their excess funds in high-yielding accounts of New York banks that were in turn making call loans to stock market speculators. This daisy-chaining of the banking system allowed the stock market crash to cascade throughout the entire system, leading to runs on banks as depositors feared their money had been lost. It was the 1929 version of systemic risk, and paralleled what happened in 2008 with mortgage-backed securities and money market funds. Regulation Q was designed to prevent this from ever happening again. What Regulation Q also did, according to Krippner, is that it provided a ‘balance wheel’ for the economy. When the economy did well and interest rates went above Regulation Q caps, people withdrew deposits from savings accounts and put them in Treasury and corporate bonds. As deposits fled thrifts and banks, credit to the consumer economy was shut off. This could work in reverse as well, savings returned when interest rates dropped. Inflation, however, destroyed this system. Inflation caused credit crunches routinely. Savers were getting wrecked as their savings yielded less than inflation, prompting anger. Consumer borrowers were also angry when they couldn’t get credit at any price, simply because they were trying to borrow off-cycle. Similarly, state and local finances were hamstrung because they couldn’t borrow at particularly high rates, so capital to those entities dried up even when riots and violence were routine. There were serious problems on the supply side as well. With inflationary-induced instability in the credit markets, banks and financial institutions innovated to get around Reg Q to fund lending. They used the Eurodollar market, commercial paper, and certificates of deposit. The government tried to stabilize the mortgage market by creating Freddie Mac and mortgage securitization in 1968, the first in a series of attempt to help the less-nimble thrifts that had long-term mortgages on their books. But with high inflation, financial institutions kept finding new ways of bidding for credit, and policymakers were continually forced to decide on whether to bring those new instruments into the regulated financial sector or allow the creation of a national free credit market. There were abortive attempts at a variable mortgage, an early precursor to the adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), but these brought fierce consumer opposition. As this struggle continued throughout the 1970s, consumers began taking up a larger and larger role in the struggle for deregulation. The Consumer Federation of America, Public Citizen, and the AARP argued that with inflation over 10% a year, the public was losing money on deposits, and would gladly accept higher borrowing costs in return for higher savings rates. So in 1980, Jimmy Carter was persuaded to simply gradually eliminate Regulation Q in the The Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act. This was also the bill that formally ended usury caps. The debates and fights in the 1970s were the most interesting part of the book to me, since no one has really covered them comprehensively. Krippner effectively tells a (slightly) more well-understood story of finance in the 1980s. Reagan cut deficits and raised defense spending, which Paul Volcker feared as inflationary. So Volcker slammed on the monetary brakes, pushing interest rates to nearly 20% to crimp inflation. With no regulatory firewalls or speed bumps, it was all up to monetary policy. Policymakers feared that high government deficits would lead to massive inflation, because Reagan was even more than his predecessors not making choices about social priorities. But high interest rates, plus the recent deregulation of the Japanese financial system, led to a massive inflow of capital into the United States from Japan. This meant that Americans could buy credit in any amount they wanted, even though it would be quite expensive. There would be no more credit crunches, just high interest rates. Of course, the international capital flows and high interest rates had other consequences. The dollar spiked as the Japanese bought dollars, leading to the destruction of American manufacturing. And companies could make more by putting dollars into financial instruments than investing in their businesses. American finance profited, and non-finance companies like Sears tried to become finance giants. Credit was big business again. Aside from these trenchant observations about the Reagan economy, Krippner also analyzes decision-making at the post-1970s Federal Reserve. She notes that Paul Volcker disingenuously adopted ‘monetarism’ as a method of shielding the Fed from political blowback from its induced harsh recession of the early 1980s. This kind of avoidance of explicit responsibility continued during the Greenspan era, as Greenspan sought to position the Fed as ‘following’ the markets rather than leading them. One gem in a footnote is a Krippner interview with Janet Yellen, in which Yellen says she heard Robert Rubin in the 1990s arguing the Fed was irrelevant. The era of financialization was not letting the market decide, it was, as Krippner argues, a specific form of ‘neoliberal statecraft’. It was governing without consent of the governed, by depolitizing decisions to a state-constructed market. And for a time, it did defray the social, fiscal, and legitimacy crises that politicians in the 1960s and 1970s couldn’t solve. But that time, as our episode of bubbles and crashes and frauds suggest, is over. We will have to create an architecture of decision-making once again, to solve the problems earlier politicians wouldn’t and couldn’t. The fight over resources, as Occupy Wall Street reminded us for a time, is perennial. Sociologists at their best are detail-oriented scholars of technocracy, people who can play in the sandbox that economists set up but explicitly choose to recognize modern economics as the giant power-ignorant witch-doctor con that it is. Krippner is polite about this, but she’s also clear that politics and not efficiency was the motivating factor behind the rise of finance in America (and the global) political architecture since the 1970s. But for all her superb work, which includes reading every single public meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee and it seems like every single hearing in Congress in the 1960s and 1970s, I found myself unconvinced on two fronts. One, as Jeff Madrick noted in The Age of Greed, the era of financial deregulation started with National City’s development of the CD in the 1950s, and the Eurodollar market at roughly the same time. The regulators allowed these ‘innovations’, but they didn’t have to let these first cracks in the dam to remain un-repaired. Similarly, one could note the same thing about the explosion of bank cards in the 1960s, which the bank regulators ardently defended throughout the era. It’s obvious they wanted a national credit market, and they wanted their banks to control it. And two, Krippner argues that the shift to finance as dominant was an inadvertent response by policymakers to a difficult set of circumstances. Surely, pushing inflation into the financial architecture of the 1960s and 1970s caused massive problems, and created the preconditions for inevitable reform. But she doesn’t prove that financialization was inadvertent. People like Citibank’s Walter Wriston were empire builders and had been working at financialization for decades, and organizers in the industry like Andrew Kahr (who invited credit card data mining) were intent on tearing down financial regulations for ideological reasons. Perhaps some of the politicians that made these decisions didn’t know what they were doing, but that doesn’t mean that all residual memory of the 1920s and 1930s was gone. It wasn’t. And it certainly didn’t mean that the traditional American suspicion of the banking industry just ended in the 1970s. Finally, it’s not like people didn’t know that Alan Greenspan was involved in overlooking accounting fraud during the Savings and Loan scandal, before he was appointed Fed Chair. He was a well-known social climber and charlatan in DC. To believe that financialization was inadvertent is to take the same leap of faith required when asked to believe the financial crisis was due to a lot of greedy lenders and borrowers all getting greedy at the same time instead of recognizing manipulation in the capital markets. Nonetheless, this book is a spectacular achievement, empirically grounded and remarkable in its depth and historical scope. Capitalizing on Crisis, is a discussion of the rise of finance in America since the 1970s, and is one of the first satisfying accounts I’ve read of why it happened. I enjoyed it immensely and learned a great deal. Congrats to Professor Krippner.

When You Say “It’s the Economy” You Are Buying Into Deregulation

Liberals don’t remotely understand their own history, they are intentionally misled by their leaders so they misplace blame for bad governing decisions. Take financial deregulation, a central tenet of modern governance. The main point of financial deregulation, which happened from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, wasn’t to shift wealth upwards, though that was a consequence that later became central. It was to get the public to stop believing that the government could do anything about the economy. Greta Krippner’s book makes the point. Here’s her thesis, from my review:

The era of financialization was not about letting the market decide, it was, as Krippner argues, a specific form of ‘neoliberal statecraft’. It was governing without consent of the governed, by depolitizing decisions to a state-constructed market.

I constantly see liberals arguing that there is this thing called government, and it is essential that a Democrat control it. There is also this thing called the economy, which has innate characteristics like rampant inequality, joblessness, financial crises, and so forth. And never the twain shall meet (unless it is the GOP is in charge). That line of thinking among the natural opponents of deregulation is basically the victory of the bad guys right there. The people who run our financialized state want you to think the economy is a thing with agency, a thing beyond human or political control. They want you to believe that in the face of this God, the President is essentially powerless. But that’s false. It’s all a choice. The government is intimately involved in all aspects of markets and economics, it is inherent. Da x2+2x+2 0 keine reellen lösungen besitzt, hat also die gegebene kubische gleichung ghostwriter in nur die oben ermittelte lösung x 2. Who to prosecute, who to subsidize, who to meet with, which rules to pursue, what to sell, etc. It’s all statecraft. Deregulatory statecraft is just about making the natural constituencies of social justice believe that there’s nothing to be done, except on the margins. Which is crazy. Even changing that belief would make a big difference. The economy isn’t a real thing, it’s just a tally of all transactions counted by economists. And policymakers make a thousand choices a day about the transactions in our society, whether those transactions tilt towards justice or tilt away from justice. And political expectations matter. If liberals began to expect more justice from their society, they would get more justice. And that’s why they are taught to expect only what this deity called ‘the economy’ delivers. The man behind the curtain knows better, if you know he’s there.

No, America Is Not an Oligarchy

A lot of people are misreading on the political influence of the wealthy and business groups versus ordinary citizens. The study does not say that the US is an oligarchy, wherein the wealthy control politics with an iron fist. If it were, then things like Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, veterans programs, housing finance programs, etc wouldn’t exist. What the study actually says is that American voters are disorganized and their individualized preferences don’t matter unless voters group themselves into mass membership organizations. Then, if people belong to mass membership organizations, their preferences do matter, but less so than business groups and the wealthy. Furthermore, the study says that the only mass groups that truly represent citizen preferences are labor unions and advocacy groups like the AARP. Another implication from the study is that citizens can get what they want if they want the same things that business groups or the wealthy want, or if they want to preserve the status quo. The verb game is derived from the noun, which has cognates in other germanic languages, principal site but whose further etymology is uncertain. Change is hard for everyone, even the rich. Citizens helped stop cuts to Social Security that the elites wanted, and may derail trade agreements.

“The rich have been doing it to the poor since the beginning of time. The only difference between the Pyramids and the Empire State Building is the Egyptians didn’t allow unions. ” – Martin Sheen in the movie Wall Street

The lesson here is to organize. Citizens can matter, but only if they make themselves matter. Change won’t be distributed like consumer products, wherein high polling numbers just seamlessly translate into policy change. There are a number of other implications. One is that the decline of labor unions doesn’t just reduce economic bargaining power, it reduces the political representation of ordinary citizens. If mass membership organizations are the only way for ordinary Americans to represent themselves, and labor unions are the only mass membership organizations that express the preferences of ordinary Americans, then labor unions are popular democracy. This makes sense. The groups pushing for broadly popular policies – equal pay, foreclosure relief, preserving Social Security and Medicare, etc – are unions. Unions want more stuff for normal people. Anyway, that’s what the study says. America is not an oligarchy. But it is becoming one as unions die. I’m not sure I agree with the methodology of the study. There are a lot of acknowledged gaps, like the influence of ordinary people on the elites, and vice versa, and unacknowledged ones, like the importance of the security state or ideological competitiveness. The study doesn’t distinguish between policies that are important, like TARP or the bailouts, and those that are not, like the cap on credit union lending. It doesn’t distinguish between policies in the news, and those not in the news. It doesn’t deal with media consolidation, or examine the link between economic elites and ordinary citizens. I mean the New Deal financial system worked really well because it established such a political alignment, while deregulation snapped this political unity. And it doesn’t address change over time – clearly there was more influence from ordinary citizens in the 1930s and 1940s. Why? The American political system isn’t static. Different leaders have different styles and believe different things. Really though the biggest issue with the study is that it is both obvious and derivative work – political scientist Tom Ferguson has been writing about this problem since the early 1980s. And anyone with eyes, ears, or any observational skill knows that the rich matter. Money is power, as Adam Smith noticed a few hundred years ago. This study is part of the whole Piketty movement, wherein what Chris Hedges calls the liberal class begins to notice that the distribution of resources matters to them. One could argue it’s good that people notice the obvious, but I’m not so sure. If it takes Princeton political scientists six years after the biggest financial crisis in history to notice that money is a thing, that’s not really progress. Real progress would be a wholesale rejection of political science and economics as blind and corrupt. But then, I suspect that would require people to organize. UPDATE: I should note that the study says that wealthy elites only get their preferred policy 45% of the time. That’s not even a majority. The status quo is powerful, even when the elites don’t like it.

When Universities, Not Just Students, Take On Debt

Our friend Josh Freedman of Forbes and the New America Foundation breaks down by Moody’s and Fitch. In a list of three or more items, use a comma before a final extension phrase such as etc. “My name is Bond — General Revenue Bond,” Josh writes as he explains how the shift to general revenue bonds has more broadly collateralized tuition and tax dollars for amenities like UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium. Check out the full story !

“The Black Bruins”

250,000+ people on YouTube have now watched “The Black Bruins,” Sy Stokes’ spoken word expose of UCLA’s failure to enroll qualified black men, unless they are athletes.  Check it out now:

Just 3.3% of male undergrads at UCLA are African American.  UCLA has increased tuition and reduced enrollment for all qualified Californians to boost revenue.  At the same time, executive spending and perks have soared.

One can only hope that this short article has helped to make some of this homework helper online unfamiliar lexicon clearer and encourages readers to delve into the emerging genre of south african science fiction represented by zoo city

Hidden College Fees and Student Debt in California

UC Berkeley Student Senator Briana Mullen and UC Berkeley sociologist Charlie Eaton have  that have been increasing despite a UC tuition freeze. The op-ed ran in the Sunday edition of the San Jose Mercury News,Oakland Tribune, and other Bay Area newspapers. Consider Briana’s story:

Briana… is among the students that pay more than $34,000 even though they are maximum financial aid recipients. To meet the growing work and loan obligation, Briana has worked 20 to 35 hours a week on top of serving as a student senator. She has never failed a class. But she also hasn’t been able to take the four classes a semester that she would need to graduate in four years. In großen räumen oder in einleitung masterarbeit psychologie den bergen kann man echos hören. As a result, Briana has had to take summer classes. And, as you probably guessed, summer classes require yet more “campus” and “document” fees that are not covered by financial aid.

Students at California State Universities have similarly been hit hard by campus fee increases. The forthcoming “Borrowing Against the Future” report details how these fees go to pay off large debts for amenities like dorms and recreation centers that are intended to attract students willing to pay higher fees and tuition. Solutions to college affordability and access will need to address fees and the amenities they pay for as well as tuition.

Inequality at UC Demands More Aggressive Action from New President

In , I argue that we must tackle persistent inequality at UC much more aggressively than proposed by new UC President Janet Napolitano. I’m one of those patient canadians can withings activite track without a phone nearby who waited for the iphone to offered in canada, and then instantly bought one when it came out up here. UC is. Meanwhile, UC is failing to fund enough spots for all of the qualified but underprivileged students from California who require financial aid to cover their tuition, room, and board.