What's this Blog About?

Politics in Wisconsin as they roll up to every level... and some other thoughts that may cross my mind are explored here from my lefty point of view. My values shape my opinions. You'll always find them in here. Let's have some fun exploring why Liberal values are American values!

Your comments are both welcome and encouraged!
(The watercolor is called Magnolia Tree for Momma, by Audrey Crawford)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NO! NO! NO! and HELL NO!

Are you kidding me? $700 billion????


My shock is not lost on the general American public...

For years the financial industry has been a cash cow for the few and a gamble as much as the Superbowl for the rest of us.

The big wigs on the top took unbelievable salaries for a decade and ran their companies into the ground. The boards of directors looked the other way and everyone kept yelling the "P" word (privatization) as if it was the second coming of Christ.

McCain is deep in this. Remember as a member of the Keating 5 who raped the financial world in the 80's with the first wave of financial industry privatization under Reagan, he was exonerated for not KNOWING he was doing anything wrong, although they never did do anything about the fact that he DID do something wrong. Something really wrong that bankrupted Savings and Loans all around the country. Have you noticed there aren't any of those anymore? Banks, credit unions, and financial institutions, but no S & L's? You can thank McCain and his buddies for that.... It took 10 years, and billions to pull the banking industry out of that scandal and not until Clinton did the economy really recover.

Then deregulation/privatization rules kicked in with the help of guess who... John McCain. Now we have a complete and utter collapse of the financial industry in this country and these guys who personally stand to lose millions, no billions of dollars are running back to the same Congress who let them loose with their greed and begging for a bailout the size of the Titanic!

They are threatening the American public (we won't pay your paychecks!), they are threatening the world (we can't pay back our Iraq War debt!), they are threatening the media (this is too scary/frightening/terrifying to ignore), they are threatening Congress (do this NOW or we'll send you into an election with a new Great Depression that will make the 1929 crash look like the 2001 crash), they are threatening everyone in this country and there is a simple answer to all of this...

They COULD just give the money they stole back! I mean give me a break! Carly Fiorena got $50 mil for running HP into the ground, surely she could give back $40 of that... The investment firm CEO's make hundred's of millions annually (I'm NOT exaggerating) and surely they could do what they used to do in the past and give back their salaries this year to save the country...

I bet we could find 20 of them over $100 million annually, that would be $2 billion of the missing cash right there and we would only need to find another $698 bill more... I don't know about you, but to me $2 bill is $2 bill... more money than God in my world and $2 billion more than I'll ever see in MY lifetime.

In fact, I bet we could find 200 making that much on average and now we're up to $200 billion and with that kind of infusion, the taxpayers may not need to foot the bill at all.

Where is that $700 billion coming from by the way? They want to print more money???? Now I HATED my macroeconomics class in college, but one thing I remember really clearly is that printing money does two things.

First, it deflates the value of the dollar. Supply and demand. Simply put, more dollars in circulation means they are worth less.

Second, it creates massive inflation. You wonder why the price of milk, butter, flour, etc has skyrocketed in 2008 like never before? Because the US government has been printing money like monsters for 2 or 3 years now. The value of the dollar drops and so it takes more of them to buy anything. This was the Soviet Union's solution that brought down their empire... better buy your wheel barrels to carry the massive numbers of dollars it's going to take to buy a loaf of bread (don't say you'll use an ATM either, remember the banks are holding your money hostage...).

We are looking at a Great Depression, don't kid yourselves here... But I say let's do it. Let's roll up our sleeves as Americans and get this country back on track...

Let all those greedy bastards go down with the ships they blew holes in.
  • We need a WPA or a TVA anyway in this country to rebuild the roads, bridges, New Orleans... Let's use the $700 billion for that.
  • We need alternative energy. Let's put the money into that.
  • We need a decent school system that will train our children to make the money we'll need to get out of this mess. Let's put our cash there.
  • We need to put Americans back to work and forget about the gambling games of the wealthy (Chris Rock's definition of wealthy)
  • We NEED that money to pay for the clean up of the mess these worms put our country in over the last 10 years.

They don't want that money to save the banks by the way! They want to be able to pay off their billions in Golden Parachutes and get out of dodge before the Feds come knocking to take them all to jail where they belong (I'm still not totally convinced Ken Lay is actually dead...).

And that brings me to another point that I touched on above... Privatization SUCKS!

I'm from Wisconsin, the testing ground for the evil Bradley and Heritage Foundations racist programs and raping of the taxpayers for personal gain all in the name of that four letter word "privatization".

I have watched the greedy people running the choice schools get put in prison for stealing funds from the kids/taxpayer's coffers. I've see how W2 (so called Welfare to Work) has increased the female prison population by 482% since it's inception by driving women into underground economies to survive and the devastation that has wreaked on the population in Wisconsin. We now pay 10 times as much (this is probably way understated) as welfare cost by putting women in prison, paying for foster care for their children and the destruction of the family because there is no mother in the home, and the consequences of raising a generation of children in Wisconsin with their parents in prison.

Privatization and deregulation gave us Enron and the energy crisis, the airline crisis, the telephone company crisis, the decline of the railroad system, the gas crisis (we sell drilling rights to private corporations for pennies on the dollar and get nothing back, the healthcare crisis (see the movie Sicko and Nixon chuckling about how much money they will make off our illnesses), the Prison Industrial crisis and I could even make a case for the Drug War being driven by private enterprise.

So what should we do... We should first and foremost, not privatize any other government services until further notice. We should reregulate all businesses, capping CEO salary's to a percentage of profit of the corporation that's reasonable after the company gets to a certain number of employees or maybe a certain percentage of all employee salaries with no one getting a higher salary than than the CEO.

The unchecked greed in this country in other words rivals the John Rockefeller and JP Morgan. The robber barons of the first financial disaster in American history. Only with government regulation, anti-monopoly laws, anti-trust laws and the like, and take over of previously private enterprises by governmental entities did the American economy not only get in check, but also begin to thrive.

I'm NOT advocating complete socialism. I do believe in the Capitalist market system, but without some reasonable and enforced controls on it, it's as corrupt as the people running it... and apparently American businesspeople are REALLY corrupt!

The Supreme Court has a role to play in this. Pro-corporation rulings that take away the rights of individuals (like the Exxon ruling) and the people of this country destroy perfectly good laws and allow this kind of thing to go unchecked... especially with a deadlocked Congress and a do-nothing POTUS to try to repair the damage you do regularly.

So a few other thoughts...

First, to all the people blaming the Dems. They've been in control all of 21 months. On top of that, they've had an enormously inept (I'm being nice) POTUS to deal with who was as corrupt and absence on this issue as Hoover was before the crash of '29.

Second, to all the people blaming the minorities and the poor. Are you kidding me? Seriously Neil Cavuto? Just use the "n" word and get it over with... Where's your sheet? I liked it better when I didn't know who you were...

Third, you really can't blame Congress for this ANYWAY. Congress's job is to write laws. Laws that have to be signed by a POTUS with a veto proof margin on anything anyone else wants to do. We actually have some anti-corruption laws in place that could have helped prevent this mess...

Which brings me to finally... the full and utter blame for this mess sits squarely on the shoulders of George W. Bush who will go down in history as the most disasterous robber barron president EVER. This is no exaggeration. This is so stunningly understated, there are no words to describe what this ignorant, petulant, unfocused and completely corrupt presidency has accomplished. No less that the complete destruction of a country I love. My country. Tis of thee. Sweet land of liberty. Of thee I sing... (in past tense).

I almost feel bad for both Obama and McCain. Either will inherit a mess that only true vision and passion for our country could resolve, if it even can be resolved. They will have no money left to fix it with, a world just stunned by the irresponsibility of America and tentative to step in and help fix it and a population with a large population educated to a level that is below some 3rd world countries.

The Bush Legacy will be a trail of totalitarian failures as vast as the great oceans on this planet.

That said, I'm with Obama. He doesn't have 30 years of baggage creating this mess. He's not knee deep in it. He at least understands the gravity of the situation. He does have a vision and I believe that Americans can, have, and will again accomplish amazing things if we have a visionary leader who can bring us out of our own funk and get us working again.

We are an amazing people. We deserve better than this. I believe Obama will start to repair the damage. I believe that if he is elected, the world will step up and hold out it's hand to help pick us up. I believe that if Obama is elected the people of America will again be inspired to do great things that make us the proud people we are or at least were... but can be again.

If we can get past the race baiting, class warfare and hatred of the Cavuto's, O'Reilly's, Limbaugh's, Dobbs', Warner's, Belling's and Sykes' of this world... if we can insist that our airwaves are no longer poluted by that spew... not by making it illegal, but by turning them off and refusing to listen to them anymore.

Maybe if we can reject the hatred, and listen to the message of real change, we can find a way to vote for Barack Obama in November and give hope a chance. Right now, I fear it's all we have left.


Zach W. said...

Yeah, we shouldn't be in the practice of rewarding bad business practices and poor decision-making by millionaire CEO's looking to fatten their wallets and their bottom lines.

patrick said...

Where did financial problems start? Fannie May & Freddie Mac. Housing, right. Who proposed a law to curb the excesses of these semi-private institutions? McCain. Who voted agains it? Obama and his Acorn buddies who wanted credit extended to those who didn't deserve it. Remember. People cried racism when fewer minorities were qualifying for loans. The result? Financial institutions lowered the standards of creditworthiness, this began our current crisis. So while the republicans deserve blame too, lets dispense with the hysterical ranting and look at the world as it is.

That being said, I believe governemnt should think long and hard about what is in the interest of the taxpayer. It is funny, though, that the only time you seem to feel for the taxpayer is when you can twist it around your bush-rage. All the projects you mention are foolish too. We might as well spend the 700 billion on securing the health of the golden egg. All the CEO's you want to hang--and liberals always want to hang CEO's--have created more wealth and jobs for more people that what government could do.

Crawford's Take said...

Patrick! You're back! I've missed you. LOL

Listen to blame this mess on minorities and poor people for wanting their piece of the American dream is ludicrious. First and foremost the people who mortgaged homes and created this mess were not the few minorities and poor people who bought a home for the first time in their lives...

The people who's mortgages caused this mess are the developers and real estate magnets who built more homes/condos than the market could handle and didn't build affordable housing, but somehow thought every baby boomer in the country was going to retire and spend their life savings (their home equity) on a condo on the Milwaukee River... sigh... have you ever seen a Milwaukee River rat? The size of a small dog...

The glut in the housing market of $300,000+ homes has driven down home costs, developers cannot sell for what they built the homes for and are declaring bankruptcy leaving the banks with these homes they cannot sell...

On top of that money used to be loaned out by the banks (and still is if they are FDIC insured) at a 1 to 9 ratio. In other words if you put $10 in the bank, the bank was allowed (and capped at) loaning $90 off the equity of the $10 they actually had. That worked well for oh about 65 years... The McCain and Graham and the gang step in in the late 1990's and pass what we hear in the media described as deregulation.

This was nice...

Instead of the money being insured and loaned out at the 1 to 9 ratio, the banks merged with the financial institutions and the banks would take in the same $10, but then the financial institution would use it to buy stocks and equities at a ratio of 1 to 30!!!

No that's some funny money. It doesn't exist. It's not secured by insurance, and in the end... That $10 turns into $300 ratio of unsecured lending is what now has crashed those institutions!

On top of it all, the CEO's (yes, I'm going there again) instead of taking real equity and putting it back into the company, saw the windfall of lending funny money at a 1 to 30 ratio and decided it was payday for themselves. They took all the money they could, put it in foreign banks to secure it and in the end they now want $700 billion (and actually it could end up being trillions) of our money to make up the difference in that 21 point difference in the ratio of funny money lending that now has our country on the brink of financial disaster...

Go back and get a finance degree and then tell me this wasn't the biggest scam on the American Public in the history of this country....

Crawford's Take said...

oh and what wealth and jobs are you talking about??? are you wealthy?

patrick said...

Ms. Crawford--

I wish I was wealthy, but there aren't too many wealthy teachers. But we both know wealth doesn't make one happy; look at how the real rich people keep chasing more money. But 'to each his own.' Yet there is a useful place for these sorts.

I don't totally disagree with everything you're saying. Every time I go downtown some new highrise is mushrooming out of the riverbank. You don't need an MBA to see that can't last.

One the one hand I have no sympathy for people who signed loan agreements for properties they couldn't afford. Let them lose their damn houses--they certainly haven't paid for them.

Likewise, I'm pretty fine with some big banks or investment firms paying the price for their stupidity--or "greed" if you like.

But we can't pretend that these greedy banks and financial institutions and individuals serve no purpose other than to line their own pockets. They line the pockets of the shareholders--little guys like me who try to set aside a little money each month into a 401K or something, or jonny lunchpail (I actually use a lunchpail everyday)who has a pension to depend on.

This crisis isn't the fault of the poor; it did begin with changes to regulations forced on banks in the wake of the "redlining" scares of the eighties. The changes to the rules made then were the seeds that made these future abuses possible. It's what we call "unintended consequences". Consult your economic history on that one.

Furthermore, it is likewise true that McCain sponsored a bill that would have taken at least a few steps to address these abuses before the crisis reached its current state. Obama voted against this bill--as did many republicans and other democrats. Now, I'm sure you're asking yourself why he would do this (since I'm sure you have already confirmed that what I'm saying is true). The reason is that Fanny Mae types have been spoon feeding the old campaign kitty. Now, I'm not saying that McCain's financial donors are pure, nor am I saying that he is beyond being influenced by their contributions from time to time. Who is? But the real question is: Where has Pelosi and the "most ethical congress ever" been on this issue? I tought they were going to clean up all this corruption--the type that seems to afllict members of both parties equally? Where is your anger at them?

And so the game goes on--same as ever and we wait for change. Obama speaks a lot about change, but I've yet to see one example where he has taken a stance which has cost him something politically. Can you name one? McCain, despite being a human politician prone to the occasional flip-flop, has demonstrated time and time again the willingness to piss-off the members of his party and base to do what he thinks is right. And while I can't think of an issue where Obama has demonstrated that he would work toward a position dear to his republican friends, McCain has actually been an agent of compromise. Consider his position regarding the confirmation of judges, for example. Given these assertions, who is more likely to look out for the interest of the taxpayer when issues of this type come up next?

Finally, while we do need to make sure that our financial institutions continue to be confident enough to make loans (all those rich people sending their money and capital to people who need that to start or grow their businesses--because both sides profit) to keep our economic system running.

To blame Bush is a reactionary position. Lets look carefully at the next step and if people have broken the law, lets get them. If people have exploited the laws, we need to consider further safeguards.

Glad to see you are back up. I thought you closed down shop, being too busy.

How about getting rid of that word verification thing. I have terrible eyesight and always screw it up like twice before my comments go through.

Crawford's Take said...

Sure, I'll get rid of the word verification thing...

First, Obama voted for the FISA/Telecom Immunity bill... certainly not a hard line lefty postition there... I could come up with more, but too tired right now to think about it.

Actually, Obama is much more moderate fiscally than many Democrats and that's one of the things I like about him Common sense solutions to really difficult problems are what we need now. He's certainly not immune to being wrong, no politician is, but that said, I'm at a point now where "hope and change" are all I have left to fall back on... I predict they will bail out the banks and we'll all be ticked (both sides of the aisle and everyone in between) as a result of it. Little or no oversight, no accountibility, all the same stuff we keep seeing over and over from both sides of the aisle.

Let me clarify something here though... Run a search on Pelosi and Reid on my blog... http://www.crawfordstake.com/search?q=pelosi

I have little or no love for either of them as you can tell from my constant and consistent attacks on their lack of balls in Congress. It is true that they don't have a veto proof majority and that makes things difficult with a Bush Admin, but that said, they roll over all the time and infuriate me wildly...

Honestly, I know Obama is not the savior. I know he's not going to pass 100's of great things and recreate an America where all of us are equal and all of us have the same opportunities and all of us have the basic things we need to survive and thrive in life. That said, the past 8 years have convinced me that unless we START this country in an entirely new direction, this country is dangerously close to Rome and the Soviet Union and teetering on total collapse, so why not try something that we don't know will work when we know what we've been doing is an utter failure?

I think you and I are much closer than our party and political labels say we are... I think most Americans are much closer than we pretend to be on issues. What chaps my ass is that so many people vote against their own self interest. You talk about your measley 401K. Well that was a republican idea. Before that, companies provided pensions and the government backed that up with a low cost program called Social Security. My grandma had both of those and had her healthcare and finances set when she retired.

Now we have 401k's and my mother in law had one of those and the market crashed the year before she retired and she ended up having to work until she got too sick as a result.

Nice trade off huh?

Keep putting your money in the stock market and watching the fatcats at the top steal it every 10 years... just hope to god you don't retire when the feeding frenzy is peaking.

A lot of the New Deal and the promise of America has been undone in the last 30 years... America will never be the secure dream our grandparents enjoyed again.

We can however, take back our country.

And I was forced off the internet... I'm not allowed to talk about it though. If you read carefully between the lines, you may be able to find some clues!

I am really happy to be back though and its always fun to have you out here to banter with about this stuff...even when I totally disagree with you, you do force me to justify what I believe and that's a good healthy discussion I'm willing to have LOL!

Thanks for reading and posting!

Doug said...

One thing. I believe that the foreclosure rate is only about 3% nationwide, so that's not what caused the major tipping point in our economy today.

Crawford's Take said...

Patrick, while I appreciate the courtesy, I prefer Renee or Rae. :-)