08/26/2011 archive

Sick of being right

Cassandra Herr Doktor Professor

It’s kind of annoying when people claim that I said the stimulus would work; how much noisier could I have been in warning both that it was grossly inadequate, and that by claiming that a far-too-small stimulus was just right, Obama would discredit the whole idea?

Of course, the WSJ also said that the stimulus wouldn’t work. The difference was in how it was supposed to fail.

The WSJ view was that federal borrowing would crowd out private spending by driving interest rates sky-high, that the bond vigilantes would destroy the economy. Note that when the linked editorial was published, the 10-year rate was at 3.7%, with the Journal in effect predicting that it would go much higher.

My view was that government borrowing in a liquidity trap does not drive up rates, and indeed that rates would stay low as long as the economy stayed depressed.

How it turned out.

That’s a pretty clear test; among other things, you would have lost a lot of money if you believed the WSJ view.

Inflation is another issue; the WSJ kept telling readers that a big inflationary surge was coming. Commodity prices have muddied this issue to some extent, but even so actual developments on the inflation front have been a lot closer to what Keynesians were predicting than to the right-wing line.

Of course, I would much rather have actually had adequate policy than be vindicated by the form of our economic failure.

The Secret $1.2 Trillion

Yup, this is the Bloomberg piece everyone is talking about.

Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion in Fed’s Secret Loans

By Bradley Keoun and Phil Kuntz, Bloomberg News

Aug 22, 2011 8:19 AM ET

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s unprecedented effort to keep the economy from plunging into depression included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages. The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley (MS), got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg News compilation of data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress.

“These are all whopping numbers,” said Robert Litan, a former Justice Department official who in the 1990s served on a commission probing the causes of the savings and loan crisis. “You’re talking about the aristocracy of American finance going down the tubes without the federal money.”

The $1.2 trillion peak on Dec. 5, 2008 — the combined outstanding balance under the seven programs tallied by Bloomberg — was almost three times the size of the U.S. federal budget deficit that year and more than the total earnings of all federally insured banks in the U.S. for the decade through 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The balance was more than 25 times the Fed’s pre-crisis lending peak of $46 billion on Sept. 12, 2001, the day after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon. Denominated in $1 bills, the $1.2 trillion would fill 539 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Two weeks after Lehman’s bankruptcy in September 2008, Morgan Stanley countered concerns that it might be next to go by announcing it had “strong capital and liquidity positions.” The statement, in a Sept. 29, 2008, press release about a $9 billion investment from Tokyo-based Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., said nothing about Morgan Stanley’s Fed loans.

That was the same day as the firm’s $107.3 billion peak in borrowing from the central bank, which was the source of almost all of Morgan Stanley’s available cash, according to the lending data and documents released more than two years later by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. The amount was almost three times the company’s total profits over the past decade, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), the New York-based lender that touted its “fortress balance sheet” at least 16 times in press releases and conference calls from October 2007 through February 2010, took as much as $48 billion in February 2009 from TAF. The facility, set up in December 2007, was a temporary alternative to the discount window, the central bank’s 97-year-old primary lending program to help banks in a cash squeeze.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), which in 2007 was the most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history, borrowed $69 billion from the Fed on Dec. 31, 2008. Among the programs New York-based Goldman Sachs tapped after the Lehman bankruptcy was the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, or PDCF, designed to lend money to brokerage firms ineligible for the Fed’s bank-lending programs.

The size of bank borrowings “certainly shows the Fed bailout was in many ways much larger than TARP,” Rogoff said.

TARP is the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, a $700 billion bank-bailout fund that provided capital injections of $45 billion each to Citigroup and Bank of America, and $10 billion to Morgan Stanley.

The Best Politicians Money Can Buy

(h/t John Aravosis @ Americablog)

World of Class Warfare

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

By WARREN E. BUFFETT, The New York Times

Published: August 14, 201

Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion – a staggering $227.4 million on average – but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

(F)or those making more than $1 million – there were 236,883 such households in 2009 – I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more – there were 8,274 in 2009 – I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

The Poor’s Free Ride Is Over

They can spare it.  After all they control 2.5% of our nation’s wealth.

Actually this is a pretty easy calculation.  We can do this.  The bottom 50% it’s just simple math.  In dollar figures the bottom 50% of this country have $1.45 Trillion in everything they own on this earth.  So let’s see, they have $1.45 Trillion, so what do you say we take, I don’t know, half of that.  That’d be, oh look at this- $700 Billion.  Why does that figure sound so familiar?

Resident Expert

You can’t wipe your ass with an iPad.

Democratic Bloodbath

If you pay attention to economics it’s hard not to predict a Democratic defeat in 2012 of epic proportions starting at the top with Barack Obama.

Fact:  The US economy has just entered or is about to enter the second leg of at least a Double Dip Recession.

Second-quarter growth cut on inventories, trade

By Lucia Mutikani, Reuters

WASHINGTON | Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:43pm EDT

(Reuters) – U.S. economic growth in the second quarter was slower than previously thought and consumer confidence sank in August, further reducing prospects of a strong pick-up in output in the second half of the year.

Gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 1 percent, the Commerce Department said on Friday, as business inventories and exports were less robust. That was a downward revision of the government’s prior 1.3 percent growth estimate.

Separately, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell to 55.7 this month from 63.7 in July.

The economy advanced just 0.4 percent in the first quarter. Economists had expected second-quarter GDP to be marked down to a 1.0 percent rate.

The second GDP estimate for the quarter confirmed growth almost stalled in the first six months of this year.

Chance of Recession Is as High as 80%: Study

By: John Melloy, Executive Producer, Fast Money & Strategy Session, CNBC

Published: Thursday, 25 Aug 2011 | 6:55 PM ET

The Philly Fed puts a recession probability at 85.7 percent, while the consumer survey puts contraction chances at 80 percent, according to Bank of America’s probability model, which uses a so-called Bayesian technique that “tests if the economy is in a recession based on the interaction of variables that are associated with turns in the business cycle.”

According to their data, the Philly Fed has accurately forecast four of the last seven recessions. The older Michigan survey has accurately signaled three of the last eight recessions.

“It’s a 100 percent chance,” said Peter Schiff, CEO & Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital. “In fact the recession might have already started.”

World Facing 50% Danger of Another Recession, Nobel Laureate Spence Says

By Robyn Meredith, Bloomberg News

Aug 25, 2011 7:00 PM ET

“I’m quite worried,” Spence said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Hong Kong yesterday. “A combined downward dip in Europe and America, which is a good chunk of the industrialized economies, I’m quite sure will take down growth in China particularly, and that will then immediately spread to the rest of the emerging economies.” He put the likelihood of such a scenario “at about 50 percent.”

China “cannot make up for the kind of loss of demand that would go with a downturn in the advanced economies,” Spence said. Because Chinese inflation is running at an official rate of 6.5 percent, a figure many economists say is understated, Beijing would be “pretty close to nuts” to fuel further credit growth, he said.

QE3 Is Coming by Year End: Roubini

By: Margo D. Beller, CNBC

Published: Thursday, 25 Aug 2011 | 5:49 PM ET

Roubini, also known as “Dr. Doom,” puts the chance of a double-dip recession at 50 percent.

While bad economic data on housing, jobs and home sales suggests a double-dip in the U.S., Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Spain “are already back in recession or never got out of the first one.” Data also suggest France and Germany are in “borderline contraction” while the U.K. “has not had any economic growth for three quarters.”

With Economic Pessimism Rising, Americans Move Towards Keynesianism

By: Jon Walker, Firedog Lake

Friday August 26, 2011 9:30 am

(T)here is now a slim plurality of the country ready to embrace real spending on jobs programs. A five point increase over two months is a rather impressive amount of movement on what could be considered a fairly fundamental question of government ideology.

More government spending to create jobs is exactly what Keynesian economics prescribes. The fact that, without realizing it, more Americans are open to the idea of Keynesian spending to help the economy is remarkable given how the top leadership in both political parties have trumpeted the importance of deficit reduction over all else for so long. And Republicans have been openly disparaging Keynes, just as they did in the Great Depression.

This change in attitudes is a reflection of just how seriously worried regular people are right now about what they perceive as the worsening state of the economy. Since the last time Pew asked this (my link- ek) question the number of people who think the economy is getting worse has increase by over 10 points according to Gallup’s tracking poll.

AP-GfK poll: Views on economy, Obama role sour

By TOM RAUM, Associated Press

22 hrs ago

The survey found that 86 percent of adults see the economy as “poor,” up from 80 percent in June. About half – 49 percent – said it worsened just in the past month. Only 27 percent responded that way in the June survey.

As the public’s outlook on the economy dips, so has approval for the president’s economic stewardship.

More than 6 in 10 – 63 percent – disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy. Nearly half, or 48 percent, “strongly” disapproved. Approval of his economic performance now stands at just 36 percent, his worst approval rating on the issue in AP-GfK polling.

Among Democrats, 58 percent approve of the president’s handling of the economy, down from 65 percent in June. Among Republicans, approval dipped to 9 percent from 15 percent.

Just 51 percent consider Obama a strong leader, down from 60 percent in June and 65 percent following the capture and death of Osama bin Laden in May. In June, 85 percent of Democrats in the poll called him a strong leader. Now, the number is down to 76 percent.

Some 75 percent in the poll said the country is heading in the wrong direction, up from 63 percent in June. Among Democrats, 61 percent chose “wrong direction” – up from 46 percent in June.

In a new high, 52 percent of all adults said they disapprove of his overall performance – 52 percent, up from 47 percent in June. Among Democrats, approval fell 8 points, to 74 percent from 82 percent in June. Among Republicans, it fell to 11 percent from 22 percent.

Unemployment increased to 9.2 percent in July, up from 9.1 percent in June. And most economists don’t expect it to decline much below 8.5 percent by the November 2012 presidential election. No president has won re-election with a jobless rate that high since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936.

Stock Tip: Be Worried. Workers are Consumers.

Robert Reich

Friday, August 19, 2011

We’re slouching toward a double dip, and the stock market is imploding, because consumers – whose spending is 70 percent of the economy – have reached their limit.

It’s not just the jobless who can’t spend. It’s mainly people with jobs. Median wages continue to fall. Weekly wages in July for Americans with jobs were 1.3 percent lower than eight months before.

Many on Wall Street are scratching their heads, trying to understand why the stock market is plummeting. After all, they tell themselves, corporate earnings are still near record highs.

But it’s becoming clear those earnings can’t be sustained. Corporate earnings are the highest they’ve been relative to worker wages and benefits since just before the Great Depression. And the richest 1 percent of Americans are getting a higher percent of total income since just before the Great Depression.

Get it? It was only a matter of time before the boom on Wall Street turned into a bust. Economic booms cannot continue without American workers participating in them.

What will happen to the Dow Jones Industrial Average when corporate earnings revert to their historic average relative to American wages? I’ve seen various estimates. They’re not pretty.

Bernanke “optimistic.” Philly Fed says another recession 85% sure; Roubini says it’s coming

by John Aravosis, Americablog

on 8/26/2011 10:40:00 AM

Anyone who votes to cut any spending this year or next, or signs such legislation, shouldn’t be re-elected.  Period.  This is criminal that Congress and the President just cut spending, and now plan on doing it again in the super committee.  It’s equally criminal that the President refused to adequately defend the stimulus (and refused to push for a big enough stimulus the first time), then embraced deficit reduction over a year ago, when the economy was still teetering on the brink.

Every single one of them, the Democrats in Congress, the Republicans in Congress, and the President own this double dip recession if it comes, as they do the already crappy economy we have.  And I don’t know how you vote for anyone who is supporting legislation that will literally depress the economy further.

We need another massive stimulus now. Or a lot of people are going to lose their jobs and their homes, and it will be the fault of every single politician in Washington, from the White House to the Congress.  The President’s constant pandering to conservative Dems and Republicans is no longer academic.  It’s  having real world consequences.

A lot of Politicians are going to lose their jobs too, including Barack Obama.

Electoral victory my ass.

The Week In The Dream Antilles, Hurricane Edition

An Offering to Chaac And Kukulkan



Chaac is the ancient Maya god of rain and lightning. He is usually depicted with a serpentine axe (lightning) in his hand. His body is scaled and reptilian. He is worshipped at sacred wells and cenotes. He is in charge of life-giving rain needed for agriculture. At the dawn of time Chaac split apart a sacred stone with his axe, from which sprung the first ear of maize. When he is not in the clouds, he is near falling waters.


Kukulkan at Chichen Itza

Kukulkan is the ancient Mayan feathered serpent and represents both the Earth’s wish to ascend to the sky and sky’s descending to Earth. Through Kukulkan chaos becomes order. Kukulkan represents the merging of opposites and the end to dualism.

As I post this, the map of Hurricane Irene seems to have announced the storm’s arrival on the East Coast of the US, between North Carolina and Massachusetts some time this weekend.  This is what the computer models are saying:


And so right now an offering (I recommend burning copal and/or sage and/or palo santo or a candle or a fire), a petition, a propitiatory prayer seems especially in order, an offering to Chaac, who controls the rain, and Kukulkan, who creates order from chaos, for the safety of all people in the Eastern United States:

May Chaac and Kukulkan exercise restraint. May all be safe. May all find shelter. May destruction be averted. May peace prevail. May the rains be moderate. May the wind be temperate. May divine tranquility be preserved. Let it be so!

This Week In The Dream Antilles is usually a weekly digest. Sometimes, like now, it is not actually a digest of essays posted in the past week at The Dream Antilles. For that you have to visit The Dream Antilles. Please leave a comment, or click the “encouragement jar” so that your Bloguero will know that you stopped by. Your Bloguero thanks you for visiting.

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

Another Shot In The Dark: Mass Mortgage Refi Plan

The Obama administration has proposed a plan to refinance millions of mortgages that are held by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and would not require congressional action. The plan being to boost the housing market by helping “a broad swath of homeowners, stimulate the economy and cost next to nothing”:

One proposal would allow millions of homeowners with government-backed mortgages to refinance them at today’s lower interest rates, about 4 percent, according to two people briefed on the administration’s discussions who asked not to be identified because they were not allowed to talk about the information.

A wave of refinancing could be a strong stimulus to the economy, because it would lower consumers’ mortgage bills right away and allow them to spend elsewhere. But such a sweeping change could face opposition from the regulator who oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and from investors in government-backed mortgage bonds.

Administration officials said on Wednesday that they were weighing a range of proposals, including changes to its previous refinancing programs to increase the number of homeowners taking part. They are also working on a home rental program that would try to shore up housing prices by preventing hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes from flooding the market. That program is further along – the administration requested ideas for execution from the private sector earlier this month.

But refinancing could have far greater breadth, saving homeowners, by one estimate, $85 billion a year. Despite record low interest rates, many homeowners have been unable to refinance their loans either because they owe more than their houses are now worth or because their credit is tarnished.

There are some questions and stumbling blacks to implement the program. One major question is how this would apply to homeowners who are delinquent on their mortgage payments or in foreclosure.

But before there is even an answer for that, the real obstacle is getting the program approved by acting director of the Federal Housing and Finance Authority, Ed DeMarco, who oversees Freddie and Fannie. DeMarco is a holdover from the Bush administration and as Ezra Klein of the Washington Post points out may not be inclined to approve such an audacious program:

   The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under the control of the newly created Federal Housing and Finance Authority.

   The FHFA is not like, say, the Treasury Department. It’s an independent agency, and right now it’s under the care of acting Director Edward DeMarco, a holdover from the Bush administration. Senate Republicans blocked the Obama administration’s nominee, Joe Smith, after he expressed some support for using Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to heal the housing market. Any plan would either need to go through him or through Congress. And both DeMarco and the Republicans in Congress seem mostly interested in limiting Fannie and Freddie’s short-term losses so they can be spun off from the government.

Since DeMarco is only an acting director, he could easily be replaced by a recess appointment by President Obama. The problem there is that Mr. Obama, being disinclined to confront congress, will most likely not use the authority of his office to do so.

But speculate, as Klein does, if this were to pass, there are other issues:

The next big issue is known as “reps and warrants.” The short way of explaining this is that when the banks hand a loan over to Fannie and Freddie, they basically swear that the loan was properly constructed. If that later proves untrue, Fannie and Freddie can force the bank to buy it back.

David Dayen st FDL says that DeMarco has been good at forcing the banks tom refinance bad mortgages.

Klein continues with another hurdle, closing costs:

When you add up loan-level adjustment costs, title insurance, reappraisal, and all the rest of it, it’s often more than an underwater homeowner can bear. You can solve this problem the same way you can solve the rents and warrants problem – either make the banks eat the costs, in which case they may not participate, or get the government to eat the costs – but you’ve got to figure it out.

Dayen quotes Adam Levitin who doesn’t think that this will do anything for the homeowner who is in foreclosure or seriously delinquent:

   So in the end, it’s really not clear who this would help. It ignores that there’s already been lots of refinancing at low rates since 2008-it’s not clear how much more refinancing some new initiative will possibly produce, much less how many foreclosures it will prevent. The refi idea seems to do nothing on either negative equity or unemployment. Any program that fails to address those just isn’t serious. I get that the administration has a MacGyver problem given that it can’t move anything in Congress, but that necessitates much more creativity, financially and legally, not rewarming old ideas. My prediction: this ends up accomplishing about as much as FHAShortRefi or Hope4Homeowners.

   We need a TARP for Main Street. This isn’t it.

Somehow this is being touted as a stimulus for the economy but it doesn’t really put any extra cash in the hands of the homeowner. Nor does it address the underlying real problem that created this mess in the first place, unregulated bundling of mortgages though credit default swaps and derivatives along with fraudulent title searched and foreclosure fraud.

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Paul Krugman: Bernanke’s Perry Problem

As I write this, investors around the world are anxiously awaiting Ben Bernanke’s speech at the annual Fed gathering at Jackson Hole, Wyo. They want to know whether Mr. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, will unveil new policies that might lift the U.S. economy out of what is looking more and more like a quasi-permanent state of depressed demand and high unemployment.

But I’ll be shocked if Mr. Bernanke proposes anything significant – that is, anything likely to make any serious dent in unemployment or offer any serious boost to growth.

Why don’t I expect much from Mr. Bernanke? In two words: Rick Perry.

O.K., I don’t mean that Mr. Perry, the governor of Texas, is personally standing in the way of effective monetary policy. Not yet, anyway. Instead, I’m using Mr. Perry – who has famously threatened Mr. Bernanke with dire personal consequences if he pursues expansionary monetary policy before the 2012 election – as a symbol of the political intimidation that is killing our last remaining hope for economic recovery.

To see what I’m talking about, let’s ask what policies the Fed actually should be pursuing right now.

Robert Reich: This Labor Day We Need Protest Marches Rather than Parades

Labor Day is traditionally a time for picnics and parades. But this year is no picnic for American workers, and a protest march would be more appropriate than a parade.

Labor Day is traditionally a time for picnics and parades. But this year is no picnic for American workers, and a protest march would be more appropriate than a parade.

William Rivers Pitt: War: Too Big to Fail

A pair of vitally important news reports were lost recently amid a blizzard of stories about the gyrating stock market and a rogue East Coast earthquake. The first came from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who announced that a deal had been struck to keep US forces in Iraq beyond the oft-publicized December 31st withdrawal deadline and into 2012, contrary to Mr. Obama’s promises. Not long after, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki came forward to say hold on, wait a minute, nothing along these lines has been agreed upon as yet, and negotiations are still ongoing.


A few days after this announcement came a report from the UK Telegraph that is nothing short of staggering:

   America and Afghanistan are close to signing a strategic pact which would allow thousands of United States troops to remain in the country until at least 2024, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

   The agreement would allow not only military trainers to stay to build up the Afghan army and police, but also American special forces soldiers and air power to remain.

   Both Afghan and American officials said that they hoped to sign the pact before the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan in December. Barack Obama and Hamid Karzai agreed last week to escalate the negotiations and their national security advisers will meet in Washington in September.


More than twelve years from now.

(emphasis mine)

Daphne Wysham: Obama, Earthquake Is a Wakeup Call on Dirty Energy Standards

A 5.9 earthquake – the strongest in over 100 years to strike the East Coast – forced the evacuation of personnel from the White House and U.S. Treasury. Some protesters outside the White House joked that Mother Nature was just trying to jolt President Obama awake to take action on climate change and stop relying on dirty energy. Too bad Obama was vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard and couldn’t have heard the joke first-hand.

The protestors’ comments said in jest may not be too far from the truth. In his State of the Union speech this year, President Obama declared support for a so-called “clean energy standard” which he said would include natural gas, nuclear power, and so-called “clean coal.” And the energy options being pursued under the “clean energy standard” endorsed by President Obama may have synergistic and potentially catastrophic consequences that we narrowly escaped in this quake.

Eugene Robinson: MLK’s Vision of Justice

As the nation honors the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with a stirring new memorial on the National Mall, let’s not obscure one of his most important messages in a fog of sentiment. Justice, he told us, is not just a legal or moral question but a matter of economics as well.

In this sense, we’re not advancing toward the fulfillment of King’s dream. We’re heading in the opposite direction.

On This Day In History August 26

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

August 26 is the 238th day of the year (239th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 127 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1920, The 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. The amendment was the culmination of more than 70 years of struggle by woman suffragists. Its two sections read simply:

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” and “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

America’s woman suffrage movement was founded in the mid 19th century by women who had become politically active through their work in the abolitionist and temperance movements. In July 1848, 200 woman suffragists, organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, met in Seneca Falls, New York, to discuss women’s rights. After approving measures asserting the right of women to educational and employment opportunities, they passed a resolution that declared “it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.” For proclaiming a women’s right to vote, the Seneca Falls Convention was subjected to public ridicule, and some backers of women’s rights withdrew their support. However, the resolution marked the beginning of the woman suffrage movement in America.

n January 1918, the woman suffrage amendment passed the House of Representatives with the necessary two-thirds majority vote. In June 1919, it was approved by the Senate and sent to the states for ratification. Campaigns were waged by suffragists around the country to secure ratification, and on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land.

The package containing the certified record of the action of the Tennessee legislature was sent by train to the nation’s capital, arriving in the early hours of August 26. At 8 a.m. that morning, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed it without ceremony at his residence in Washington. None of the leaders of the woman suffrage movement were present when the proclamation was signed, and no photographers or film cameras recorded the event. That afternoon, Carrie Chapman Catt, head of the National American Suffrage Association, was received at the White House by President Woodrow Wilson and Edith Wilson, the first lady.

The 26th of August was proclaimed “Women’s Equality Day” in 1971 when a joint resolution, that was introduced by Rep. Bella Abzug, was passed. Each year the President issues a proclamation recognizing women’s equality.

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex;

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have designated August 26th, the anniversary date of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, as symbol of the continued fight for equal rights: and

WHEREAS, the women of United States are to be commended and supported in their organizations and activities,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that August 26th of each year is designated as “Women’s Equality Day,” and the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote, and that day in 1970, on which a nationwide demonstration for women’s rights took place.

Load more