Several Shorts

Wall Street Bailout Exceeds Cost of All US Wars Combined: And you can throw in the New Deal, Marshall Plan and Moon Shots as well

(The Creek) — Casey Research, of Vermont, has analyzed the costs of the government bailouts of the housing crisis, the credit crisis and others and has concluded that the total is $8.5 trillion, which is more than the cost of all US wars, the Louisiana Purchase, the New Deal, the Marshall Plan and the NASA Space Program combined.

According to CRS, the Congressional Research Service, all major US wars (including such events as the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, the invasion of Panama, the Kosovo War and numerous other small conflicts), cost a total of $7.5 trillion in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars.

From: The Intelligence Daily

Four Reasons to Get a Doctoral Degree in the Humanities:

1. You are independently wealthy, and you have no need to earn a living for yourself or provide for anyone else.

2. You come from that small class of well-connected people in academe who will be able to find a place for you somewhere.

3. You can rely on a partner to provide all of the income and benefits needed by your household.

4. You are earning a credential for a position that you already hold — such as a high-school teacher — and your employer is paying for it.

Those are the only people who can safely undertake doctoral education in the humanities. Everyone else who does so is taking an enormous personal risk, the full consequences of which they cannot assess because they do not understand how the academic-labor system works and will not listen to people who try to tell them.

It’s hard to tell young people that universities recognize that their idealism and energy — and lack of information — are an exploitable resource. For universities, the impact of graduate programs on the lives of those students is an acceptable externality, like dumping toxins into a river. If you cannot find a tenure-track position, your university will no longer court you; it will pretend you do not exist and will act as if your unemployability is entirely your fault. It will make you feel ashamed, and you will probably just disappear, convinced it’s right rather than that the game was rigged from the beginning.

From The Chronical of Higher Education: January 30, 2009
Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don’t Go

Where you shop, the company you took out your mortgage with, even the falling real estate values in the homes around you are all being used to cut your credit card limits, even if you charge little, pay on time, and have a perfect credit score.

Where you shop? Yep. If you shop in a place where “deadbeats” shop, you may find yourself not only with a lower line of credit, but with a lower credit score, as it is based on what percentage of debt you have vs. available credit. American Express admits to the practice, but says it is doing nothing illegal. It is merely “data mining” your world, and making decisions based on what they find.

Dollar Store, anyone?

It’s Tough Being Uber-Rich…

The average tax rate paid by the richest 400 Americans fell by a third to 17.2 percent through the first six years of the Bush administration and their average income doubled to $263.3 million, new IRS data show.

That’s a tax rate is a bit over someone making $35,000 a year.

But that’s just dandy, according to Rudolph Guilani, who believes that Wall Street bankers, who received $18.4 billion in bonuses in 2008, will trickle that money down to help out NYC:

“Those bonuses, if they are reversed, are going to cause unemployment in New York,” the self-described fiscal conservative said. “I remember when I was mayor, one of the ways in which you determine New York City’s budget, tax revenue is Wall Street bonuses. “Wall Street has $1 billion, $2 billion in bonuses, the city had a deficit. Wall Street has $15 billion to $20 billion, New York City had a $2 billion, $3 billion surplus, and it’s because that money gets spent. That money goes directly into the economy. First of all, it gets taxed as income. Secondly, it gets taxes again when somebody buys something with it.”

This was my point exactly, about how job loss will effect States, cities and towns. Without job, we can’t spend $14,000 on a pair of Manolo Blahnik alligator boots, and a matching classic Chanel shoulder bag, with the iconic Chanel “Cs” encrusted in a staggering 334 diamonds (a total of 3.56 carats) set in 18-carat white gold. The alligator skin is farmed and treated with a matte finish. Price? $260,150. Or, famished, stopping in for some “barely touched” seafood at le-bernardi.

You’ll also know that your Amex card won’t be altered when you shop this way…

We have to stop thinking about ourselves, and start thinking about the good of the nation!

About Kathy McMahon

Kathy McMahon Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist who is internationally known for her writing about the psychological impacts of Peak Oil, climate change, and economic collapse. She's written for Honda Motors, and has been featured in American Prospect, Greenpeace International, the Vancouver Sun, Freakonomics, Itulip, Ecoshock Radio, and Peak Moments Television.


  1. “Casey Research, of Vermont, has analyzed the costs of the government bailouts of the housing crisis, the credit crisis and others and has concluded that the total is $8.5 trillion, which is more than the cost of all US wars, the Louisiana Purchase, the New Deal, the Marshall Plan and the NASA Space Program combined.”

    That just sounds so implausible to me. My guess is they underestimated the total cost of those wars. Of course, I could be wrong…

    As for a doctoral degree in the humanities… Here’s another reason for getting it:

    5. You have no previous debt, you are on a fellowship (and so aren’t paying for the degree), you love what you’re doing, and you’re willing to deal with never getting an academic job.

    It does help if your PhD is in English or in one of the major foreign languages: that way, you’re pretty much guaranteed to land a job in some private school or other, should you look for such a job. A PhD in philosophy: oh, I don’t know…

  2. I think you have a point there, about having the scholarship ahead of time. Otherwise, that private school salary won’t cover your student loans.

    I’d also caution you on that line of thinking, as the private schools will contract as fewer of us have the $10,000 a year for our 10 year old’s education.

    English also used to land you in publishing on some rung of the latter, but even there, they are feeling the impact of the economy.

    As far as buying everything, keep in mind what war and space ships used to cost. I don’t know if they are comparing those costs in current US dollars or not…

  3. Kathy,

    The question of education (primary and secondary) is a most interesting one. Of course you’re right that fewer and fewer people will be able to spend $10K a year on their 10-year-old’s education. On the other hand, those mega-schools that rely on kids being ‘shipped in’ from within a 30 mile radius are patently unsustainable. So we’ll see how that plays out. Small private schools that offer solid basics but not much else might just be able to find a niche for themselves. I mean, what constitutes a good education after all? (I’m talking about traditional book learning here, not the post-peak skills, important as those are.) You pretty much need to have kids read a lot, write a lot, do lots of math problems, and study a foreign language. Set up a basic lab (nothing fancy, just enough to give kids an idea what a scientific experiment is; in fact, thoroughly non-fancy is probably more educational, as it can teach resourcefulness), and you’re pretty much set. All it takes is a few dedicated teachers and a few classrooms (which can, after all, be provided by some kid’s parents who find themselves stuck in a McMansion, in exchange for a tuition waiver). As long as student-to-teacher ratio is not too low, this should all be relatively cheap (cheaper than ‘shipping’ the kids to that dilapidating public school on a daily basis, once the price of gas goes through the roof again).

    Just my $.02.

  4. And another thought on the cost of war vs. the cost of this bailout. Wars are costly in terms of real, tangible, physical wealth. I mean, they blow things up, use up real steel, real oil, real human blood, etc. The dollars used to fund the bailout, on the other hand, largely represent hallucinated digital wealth. If I’m right about this, the comparison is not quite valid.

  5. Yes, you are indeed right. Frightening but true, all of Hoover’s efforts to toss around dollars to solve the problem, and FDR’s efforts at job creation, didn’t have even a FRACTION of the effect on turning around the last great depression like a war did, for exactly the reasons you point out, Isis: war means real, tangible income created by killing things and blowing things up.

  6. We do need to re-shape education, absolutely. I also support the notion of private schools. I just think fewer of us will be able to support them, financially. Perhaps the wealthy, as they always have…

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