BTS 3/24/08: Jim Hightower; Financial Meltdown

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The media has finally admitted what economists have been saying behind closed doors for weeks now: the economy is in a formal recession, actually something deeper, something the usual tampering instruments can't seem to fix. So how deep, how long, and when does it globalize? And when will the politicians say what everyone else already admits? Tonight we talk to Jim Hightower, who says the checks for $600 won't fix our economy, we need a real stimulus package. He's in town for a Poverty Matters fundraiser sponsored by KPFK and we talk to him about the economy, the fix, and his new book Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow.

Then Max Fraad Wolff joins us to untangle the complex financial instruments in the shadow banking world of hedgefunds, derivatives, Credit Default Swaps and Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) and more, the new forms that are somewhat impervious to monetary policy manipulations. Max says last week the structure of American finance shifted, and beneath the smoke few are asking what caused the fire. We also talk to Rick Wolff (Max's father) about what is behind the financial meltdown, buyouts and class based policies that have brought us to this major disequilibrium that threatens the world economy.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the forthcoming book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. He was twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner. He broadcasts daily radio commentaries that are carried in more than 150 commercial and public stations, on the web, on Armed Forces Radio, and on Radio for Peace International. He also does a weekly video blog that is carried on many popular websites. Each month, he publishes a populist political newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown," which now has more than 135,000 subscribers and is the fastest growing political publication in America.

2. Max Fraad Wolff is an economist and free lance researcher/writer. His work regularly appears in the Asia Times, The Prudent Bear and many other international outlets. His work can also been seen regularly on his site www.GlobalMacroScope.com. Based in NYC, Max does contract research on international financial risks and opportunities while teaching in the New School University's Graduate Program in International Affairs.

3. Richard D. Wolff is professor or economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His latest book is New Departures in Marxist Theory (Routledge), co-authored with Stephen Resnick, with whom he has collaborated for decades, producing seven books and dozens of articles. He teaches at the Brecht Forum and serves on the Editorial board of Rethinking Marxism.