On this week’s show:
- House prices are going up. Sounds like a good thing, right? The picture is a little more complicated than it appears. We talk about it with Laura Gottesdiener
- Honduras has just completed its election cycle. In 2009, the country’s left-of-center President Mel Zelaya was overthrown in a military coup that was heavily supported (and, according to Zelaya, organized) by the United States government. After six months and a lot of political repression, the coup government was re-established with an election that almost the entire hemisphere — except, you guessed it, the United States — rejected as illegitimate. Four years later Honduran voters went to the polls again but the result is in dispute. We discuss the election with Mark Wiesbrot
More about this week’s guests:
Laura Gottesdiener is a journalist, social justice activist, and author of A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home published by Zuccotti Park Press. She is an associate editor for Waging Nonviolence, and she has written for Rolling Stone, Ms. magazine, The Arizona Republic, The New Haven Advocate, The Huffington Post, AlterNet, and other publications. She lived and worked in the People’s Kitchen during the occupation of Zuccotti Park. Gottesdiener just wrote the piece “The Empire Strikes Back, How Wall Street Has Turned Housing Into a Dangerous Get-Rich-Quick Scheme — Again,” which states: “You can hardly turn on the television or open a newspaper without hearing about the nation’s impressive, much celebrated housing recovery. Home prices are rising! New construction has started! The crisis is over! Yet beneath the fanfare, a whole new get-rich-quick scheme is brewing…Wall Street’s foreclosure crisis, which began in late 2007 and forced more than 10 million people from their homes, has created a paradoxical problem. Millions of evicted Americans need a safe place to live, even as millions of vacant, bank-owned houses are blighting neighborhoods and spurring a rise in crime. Lucky for us, Wall Street has devised a solution: It’s going to rent these foreclosed houses back to us. In the process, it’s devised a new form of securitization that could cause this whole plan to blow up — again.”
Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. He has written numerous research papers on economic policy, especially on Latin America and international economic policy. He is also co-author, with Dean Baker, of Social Security: The Phony Crisis (University of Chicago Press, 2000).
He writes a weekly column for The Guardian Unlimited (U.K.), and a regular column on economic and policy issues that is distributed to over 550 newspapers by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. His opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times,Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and almost every major U.S. newspaper, as well as for Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de Sao Paulo. He appears regularly on national and local television and radio programs. He is also president of Just Foreign Policy. He recently wrote the piece “South American Governments Should Support Hondurans’ Rights To Sovereignty and Free Elections“