Friday, March 19, 2010

Not Again!

Greetings good citizen,

Is it a bad thing that one day is pretty much like any other? While many of us would enjoy a smorgasbord of events and activities, others would soon long for the same old, same old.

Which is to point out that when we are living in an unrelenting time of darkness, many of us will wish for a return to the (comparatively) ‘boring’ days when all we had to deal with was pesky ‘financial crisis’.

Um, will anyone appreciate the irony of the fact that the time of unrelenting darkness was a ‘foreseeable outcome’ of our failure to effectively arrest the crumbling financial system?

Why would such a thing be ‘foreseeable’? The criminals who pillaged the world’s financial sector needed to set off some kind of distraction so they could [temporarily] evade capture.

There are precedents…smart criminals, after cleaning out the bank’s vault, would set the general store on fire, giving would-be pursuers something else to keep them occupied. [This is a major reason why fire departments across the nation are separate from police departments…(although we can only wonder how long it will take for those crusading Tea Partiers to start agitating to combine them under the (oxymoronic) mantle of ‘public safety’?)]

Perhaps a bit more difficult to comprehend is my own assertion of the ‘temporary’ nature of these criminal’s success. Those who have stolen trillions have dug their own grave, as nothing is more fleeting than a currency. Once people lose faith in it, it simply disappears. (This is why there has been a ‘rush’ to hard assets, where soon to be worthless cash has been ‘traded’ for commodities like gold or oil.)

You have to hand it to those criminals, they, of all people, ‘understand’ money. (Er, the same way a capitalist understands it, which makes them just as mis-guided…but it speaks volumes about capitalists!

Not to put too fine a point on it but the term capitalist IS synonymous with the term criminal…think about it. [Legalizing theft doesn’t alter the facts. Making the central concepts of libertarianism that much more hypocritical! ‘It’s not theft if I do it! If I do it then it’s freedom!])

Er, but I digress…sorry.

Most of you are aware that what the pundits are calling a ‘recovery’ is anything but. C. K. Michaelson, of SAR fame, has this to say on the subject:

The economy runs on two things: optimism and cheap energy.

Round & Round: They say the crisis is over. They lie. The recovery, if there was one, is a 90 pound weakling. A group of experts say there will be another crisis – much worse than the current one – because we haven't fixed any of the problems, banks have resumed willy-nilly risk-taking, and investors are chasing ever higher returns in a stagnant economy. They see a "doomsday cycle" where banks use borrowed money to take massive risks in an attempt to pay big dividends to shareholders and big bonuses to management – and when the risks go wrong, the banks expect you to bail them out again. But the odds are you won't, and “a calamitous global collapse" will follow.

[Tonight’s offering was purloined from: Some Assembly Required ]

That said, let the attack begin!

Economists: Another Financial Crisis on the Way
Nonpartisan Group Led by Nobel Winner Calls for Stronger Financial Reforms
March 2, 2010

Even as many Americans still struggle to recover from the country's worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, another crisis – one that will be even worse than the current one – is looming, according to a new report from a group of leading economists, financiers, and former federal regulators.

In the report, the panel, which includes Rob Johnson of the United Nations Commission of Experts on Finance and bailout watchdog Elizabeth Warren, warns that financial regulatory reform measures proposed by the Obama administration and Congress must be beefed up to prevent banks from continuing to engage in high-risk investing that precipitated the near-collapse of the U.S. economy in 2008.

The report warns that the country is now immersed in a "doomsday cycle" wherein banks use borrowed money to take massive risks in an attempt to pay big dividends to shareholders and big bonuses to management – and when the risks go wrong, the banks receive taxpayer bailouts from the government. [Which, I don’t need to explain, means these reckless idiots make themselves ‘whole’ at our expense…but it’s not ‘theft’ when THEY do it…]

"Risk-taking at banks," the report cautions, "will soon be larger than ever." [Bizarrely good citizen, this is an ‘unending loop’ created by the ceaseless demand for ROI that isn’t there! A situation only made worse by the fact that this has become a ‘no-lose’ proposition, we’re talking about investments not in productive assets but in ‘super-safe’ government bonds…which have no way to earn the returns they ‘guarantee’. It simply isn’t there.]

Without more stringent reforms, "another crisis – a bigger crisis that weakens both our financial sector and our larger economy – is more than predictable, it is inevitable," Johnson says in the report, commissioned by the nonpartisan Roosevelt Institute.

The institute's chief economist, Nobel Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz, calls the report "an important point of departure for a debate on where we are on the road to regulatory reform." [Can this situation BE reformed? I’m guessing the answer is no…not without putting some serious kinks in certain really deep pockets. You can only imagine that in exchange for taking a ‘haircut’, the prick will demand to be made ‘king’.]

The report blasts some of Washington's key players. Johnson writes, "Our government leaders have shown little capacity to fix the flaws in our market system." Two other panelists, Simon Johnson, a professor at MIT, and Peter Boone of the Centre for Economic Performance, voiced similar criticisms.

[Bush administration appointees] Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner "oversaw policy as the bubble was inflating," write Johnson and Boone, and "these same men are now designing our 'rescue.'" [It obviously isn’t ‘our rescue’, we can only wonder who will benefit from this ‘crime of the century’?]

The study says that "In 2008-09, we came remarkably close to another Great Depression. [Close?] Next time we may not be so 'lucky.' [Er, Lucky?] The threat of the doomsday cycle remains strong and growing," they say. "What will happen when the next shock hits? We may be nearing the stage where the answer will be – just as it was in the Great Depression – a calamitous global collapse." [Speaking for myself, the word ‘calamitous’ doesn’t even come close to describing the horrors that will be inflicted upon us by this massive theft. But fear not, once the destruction is widespread enough and the body count reaches catastrophic proportions, those directly responsible for this crisis will ride in to ‘save’ us! (so they can continue to avoid doing any ‘heavy lifting’.) Understand, these predators really ‘can’t conceive’ of a social model not founded on slavery!]

The panelists call for major banks to maintain liquid capital of at least 15 to 25 percent of their assets, the enactment of stiffer consequences for executives of bailout recipients and for government officials to start breaking up firms that grow too big. [Um, it’s been two years…what do you suppose the odds are that any of this will happen BEFORE what passes for our banking system collapses, taking our civilization down with it?]

In the report, Elizabeth Warren, who was chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, reiterates her calls for an independent agency to protect consumers from abusive Wall Street practices. [Sadly good citizen, it is unlikely such an ‘independent agency’ will be in place before what passes for civilization tears itself to pieces…]

"While manufacturers have developed iPods and flat-screen televisions, the financial industry has perfected the art of offering mortgages, credit cards and check overdrafts laden with hidden terms that obscure price and risk," Warren writes. "Good products are mixed with dangerous products, and consumers are left on their own to try to sort out which is which. The consequences can be disastrous." [This reflects directly upon our failed justice/legislative system which wasn’t placed far enough beyond the reach of those who would manipulate it for their personal benefit.]

Frank Partnoy, a panelist from the University of San Diego, claims that "the balance sheets of most Wall Street banks are fiction." [Claims? You mean this ISN’T a statement of fact?] Another panelist, Raj Date of the Cambridge Winter Center for Financial Institutions Policy, argues that government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have become "needlessly complex and irretrievably flawed" and should be eliminated. [There goes the ‘housing market’!] The report also calls for greater competition among credit rating agencies and increased regulation of the derivatives market, including requiring that credit-default swaps be traded on regulated exchanges. [Where reality tells us that anything short of abolishing the world’s stock markets is suicide!]

With the Senate Banking Committee, led by Chris Dodd, D-Conn., poised to unveil its financial regulatory reform proposal sometime in the next week, the report calls on Congress to enact reforms strong enough to prevent another meltdown. [Um, I hate to repeat myself good citizen but ‘tick-tock’, it’s been two freaking years now and they have ‘done’ absolutely nothing!]

"Sen. Dick Durbin once said the banks 'owned' the Senate," says Johnson. "The next few weeks will determine whether or not that statement is true." [Um geez Simon, what difference will two weeks make when we have had ample proof of this pitiful fact for the past two years?]

In response to the report, a spokesman for the Treasury Department told ABC News that the administration's regulatory reform proposals would be the most significant Wall Street overhaul in generations. [But it’s taken two years, with ‘zero investigation’ to come up with them? Color me doubtful…but let’s flip that rock over and look at what they’re really saying. ANY ‘new regulation’ would constitute an ‘increase’ considering the past forty years has seen nothing but ‘de-regulation’. Do any of you expect a meaningful ‘reversal’ of forty years of financial, er, manipulation? (I don’t)]

"We laid out our strong principles of reform last June and we have been fighting every day since to see them enacted in law," said Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams. "While we have a tough fight ahead, we are getting close to seeing Congress pass the most significant overhaul of the financial sector in our lifetimes."

Let’s reflect for a moment on just how ‘responsive’ our politicians have been over the past forty years. How well have they safeguarded the common good? How vigorously have they defended the rights of the ‘common man’? (Sorry, our political speech is inherently ‘sexist’…’common individual’ just doesn’t convey the proper depth of meaning. We may as well be referring to ‘dogs’.)

Now let us contemplate just how far reaching and in depth these hereforeto unseen proposed regulations will be?

There’s a reason why in the two fucking years since this crap started we haven’t heard so much as a whisper of their existence.

How much do you want to bet that our ‘oh so smart’ legislators are already aware that the vast majority of us will think the proposals don’t go far enough. (And most of us will be right! It will take yet another financial disaster to correct these, er, ‘oversights’!)

Um, I’m doing it again. Here I am, condemning MSM reports as ‘eyewash’…which leads us to a more disturbing question…are we really faced with prospect of ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same?’

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


No comments:

Post a Comment