G20 and economic crisis

The G20 London summit failed to adopt the demands of either the US and Britain, which advocated coordinated global fiscal stimulus, or a European bloc led by Germany and France, which called for international regulation of major financial institutions: here.

This is a video about auto workers near Detroit in Michigan, USA.

USA: Wall Street celebrates accounting rule changes designed to hide losses: here.

The Detroit Public School District’s “emergency financial manager” has announced that up to a third of the city’s schools will be shut down over the next two years, with thousands of layoffs of teachers and staff: here.

Recession Takes Hold in France: here.

3 thoughts on “G20 and economic crisis

  1. Drop the debt, say US activists

    US: A US-based anti-poverty group called on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on Wednesday to scrap the $300 billion (£204bn) of illegitimate debt owed by African countries.

    Africa Action director Gerald LeMelle said: “Shrinking markets combined with the credit crunch means that governments will have less money to spend on important sectors such as education, health, and women’s empowerment, as economic survival becomes their number one goal.”



  2. Apr 3, 2:38 PM EDT

    Fannie, Freddie worker bonuses total $210M

    AP Real Estate Writer

    Loan modifications rise; many don’t pare payments

    Mortgage rates at record low for 2nd week

    Thornburg Mortgage plans to file for Chapter 11

    Huntington eliminates problem subprime loans

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac plan to pay more than $210 million in bonuses through next year to give workers the incentive to stay in their jobs at the government-controlled companies.

    The retention awards for more than 7,600 employees were disclosed in a letter from the companies’ regulator released Friday by Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. The companies paid out nearly $51 million last year, are scheduled to make $146 million in payments this year and $13 million in 2010.

    “It’s hard to see any common sense in management decisions that award hundreds of millions in bonuses when their organizations lost more than $100 billion in a year,” Grassley said in a statement. “It’s an insult that the bonuses were made with an infusion of cash from taxpayers.”

    Fannie and Freddie declined to comment on Friday. Fannie had disclosed that it plans to pay four top executives at least $1 million each in retention payments that run through February. Freddie has yet to report on which executives are in line for the awards.

    The two companies, hobbled by skyrocketing loan defaults, were seized by regulators last fall and operate under close federal oversight with new chief executives installed by the government. Since the takeover, Fannie Mae has received $15 billion in federal aid, while Freddie Mac has received nearly $45 billion.

    The companies’ federal regulator, James Lockhart of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, defended the bonuses in a March 27 letter to Grassley, noting that the collapse of the company’s stock prices “destroyed years of savings for many” workers. The companies’ stocks now trade below $1, down from more than $60 in fall 2007.

    Lockhart denied a request Grassley made last month to release names of employees receiving at least $100,000 in bonuses, citing “personal privacy and safety reasons.”

    More than 70 percent of new loans in recent months have been backed by Fannie and Freddie. They own or guarantee almost 31 million mortgages worth about $5.5 trillion, more than half of all U.S home loans.

    Keeping the companies “operating at full speed was best for the housing markets and best for the economy,” Lockhart wrote. “That would only be possible is we retained the Fannie and Freddie teams.”

    But many lawmakers have little sympathy for that argument amid a public outcry over roughly $165 million in bonuses paid out last month by bailed-out insurance giant American International Group.

    Earlier this week, the House passed a bill that aims to keep bailed-out financial institutions from paying their employees hefty bonuses after lawmakers had second thoughts about their vote two weeks ago to tax the bonuses away. The bill would allow the bonuses if the Treasury Department and financial regulators determine they are not “unreasonable or excessive.”

    Initially after the AIG flap, President Barack Obama had said he would “do everything we can to get those bonuses back.” But the White House later backed down as it worked to ensure any restrictions on bonuses didn’t alienate the banks and investors needed to help clean up the financial mess.


  3. Release Wall Street Protest Arestees Now!
    Drop All Charges!
    Arrest Criminal Bankers, Not Workers!
    Sign the online petition

    As we write (3:00 pm Friday), thousands of activists, students, youth, trade unionists, and community organizers are marching through the streets of the Wall Street financial district demanding “Bail Out the People – Not the Banks!”

    Police have arrested 4 protesters so far, and they are being held at the 1st Precinct. All of them are members of the youth group FIST (Fight Imperialism Stand Together).

    Please take action now to support the Wall Street protesters – demand that they be released and all charges dropped. The real criminals are in the executive offices and boardrooms of the banks and investment firms, not on the streets.

    Here’s how you can help:

    1. Call the First Precinct at (212) 334-0611

    2. Sign the online petition:

    To: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NYC City Council, NYPD
    CC: NY Congressional Delegation, Congressional Leaders, the NY Legislature, President Obama, Attorney General Holder, members of the media

    I am writing to demand the release of all individuals who were arrested at the Friday April 3 protest on Wall Street.

    It is not a crime to demand that our money be spent on meeting people’s needs, not for massive corporate bailouts. Marching for jobs and housing is not a crime!

    The real criminals are in the boardrooms and executive offices on Wall Street, not the people marching for jobs, healthcare, and a moratorium on foreclosures.

    Release ALL arrestees!
    Drop the Charges!
    Arrest Bankers Not Workers!

    Sign the petition online

    3. Please consider making an emergency donation at http://bailoutpeople.org/donate.shtml

    Back to the streets!

    Saturday April 4 – Rally at 12:00 pm at Williams & Nassau (near Wall St.) Then march

    APRIL 4: 12 noon – Rally on Wall Street followed by march
    Saturday, April 4

    Gather with chanting, drumming and music: 12 Noon to 1:00pm on Nassau between Wall Street and Pine – over looking NY Stock Exchange and in front of the Federal Reserve and Chase Bank (map) Enter area at Pine and Broadway go East one SHORT block to Nassau This is just a block from the Friday Rally site.

    We will join United for Peace and Justice as they come by at Pine and Broadway, about 1:00pm. One block further at Wall and Broadway the whole march will turn Left down Wall Street, turn Right at Broad Street and the NY Stock Exchange, then turn Right on Exchange and go back to Broadway. From there the march will proceed South to Battery Park.

    Bail Out People will have a table, displays and literature at Battery Park, along Eisenhower Way, going West toward Castle Clinton. Be sure to come by our table.

    SATURDAY Bus Drop-off:
    Broadway, between Wall and Pine on the West Side of street (map)

    SATURDAY Bus Parking and Pick-up
    Water Street between Broad Street and Old Slip
    This is about 3 blocks EAST of the ending site at Battery Park

    Endorse April 3 & 4 | Find an Apr 3-4 Organizing Center Near You


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