Archive for November 12th, 2011
This time, make a real choice.
The catcalls are beginning now, as is the “circling of the wagons” inside the Republican party: Do they “endorse” Mitt Romney and try to “swing” his position on things like abortion, or do they abandon him wholesale and find one of the other members of the field, toss their support behind him en-masse, and try to de-throne what appears to be a foregone conclusion as to who the nominee will be to face Obama in 2012?
I find this sort of debate infuriating, along with the generalized meme from the Republicans and “Tea Party” in general, which goes something like this: Vote for us or you’ll get another four years of Obama!
Well, maybe I will and maybe I won’t, but let’s examine the truth of the choice presuming that what you put forward is true.
We’ll start with Joe Walsh and his screaming at his constituents who were quite upset that he had sold out to the banksters, protecting them from their frauds:
Now Joe believes that financial responsibility is the buzzword, right? Perhaps Joe would like a spoonful of his own medicine then, since he has a very nice salary as a Representative, yes?
Freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, a tax-bashing Tea Party champion who sharply lectures President Barack Obama and other Democrats on fiscal responsibility, owes more than $100,000 in child support to his ex-wife and three children, according to documents his ex-wife filed in their divorce case in December.
Ah, this is fiscal responsibility you see, Republican-style. Joe’s ex-wife has asked the court to suspend Joe’s driver license until he forks over the money; Joe in reply asks the lawyer “Have you no decency?”
Hmmm…. now I don’t know what the truth of this matter is; family court is a messy business and as someone who’s had some personal experience with it I can tell you that it’s not a lot of fun. People hurl mud all the time and sometimes get away with truly awful things; a good percentage of the judges are somnolent behind the bench and more than once I’ve wondered if the waterglass contained vodka ala Cheech and Chong. But I can also tell you that if someone’s right then it’s usually not all that hard to look at the data and find out if they really got screwed (and it does happen) or whether they were playing a game. In this case it appears that while Joe couldn’t pay his child support due to lack of gainful employment sufficient to pay the order he did have $35,000 to loan his own campaign fund to try to be elected a Representative — a quest that was successful. Of course this begs the question: Which was the more-important endeavor and what legitimate source did the $35 large come from if he had it for that purpose?
Nor is that all; there apparently were liens filed on his property by campaign staffers who were not paid. It’s not actually important to pay people that work for you either Joe? Ordinary folks like me, when we attempt this, have the Department of Labor come and padlock our businesses!
Ah, the party of personal responsibility, accountability and of course all things American provides us one more awesome example of those grand American values. I would argue that what we’re really seeing is the actual values of the Republican party on display: Screw people, rip them off, then argue that nobody did anything wrong and that we can’t actually regulate their conduct when it all blows up in their face — indeed, we can’t even force them to eat their own cooking.
Now this could be just a singular campaign story and a Santelli-style scream from someone who was redistricted out of a job (he’s trying to figure out how deal with that, incidentally) but unfortunately it’s not. No, it’s actually a story of both parties you see, as illustrated here:
As the European financial crisis worsened during the first half of 2011, U.S. banks increased sales of insurance against credit losses to holders of Greek, Portuguese, Irish, Spanish, and Italian debt. Guarantees provided by U.S. lenders on government, bank, and corporate debt in those countries rose by $80.7 billion, to $518 billion, according to the Bank for International Settlements.
Oh, I’m beginning to understand now. US Banks, which had the same thing happen when they made loans to anyone who could fog a mirror without regard to ability to pay cried poor-mouth and “imminent Depression” if they were not bailed out. They got bailed out, despite later admitting to knowingly selling crap paper to people as “good investments” that internally they described as “crap”, “vomit” and words you can’t use on television.
But then having done that, they next wrote credit guarantees on the very same crap over in Europe, and yet they all claim to this very day that their exposure is “minimal.”
So said MF Global, you remember. That smoking hole over there is what was MF Global.
Remember, Dodd-Frank was a hole-ridden piece of crap, but the tiny little bill called Glass-Steagall, if in force would have prohibited all of this, as both the Commodity Futures Modernization Act and Gramm-Leach-Bliley could not co-exist with it — and without those two, both Republican actions, the credit bubble would have never formed in the first place.
Joe, and the rest of the Republican Party, including the so-called “Tea Party”, seems to think that this repeated financial rape is some sort of joke. The problem is that the joke’s on us and we’re getting hosed by it. Everyone wants to go back to what we had in the 1990s and 2000s, but we can’t. The reality of the 90s and 2000s is found right here:
This is a scam ladies and gentlemen. What you’re seeing in that chart is debt being used to pull upward GDP – that is, economic growth. You have reported that red line as “progress” but in fact it’s not, because you must subtract back out the blue line, as that’s nothing more than promises to pay tomorrow — it is not economic surplus today. That chart is the consequence of Gramm-Leach-Bliley and the CFMA, both of which made legal the writing of unbridled credit without any evidence that the borrower could pay back the money lent and without demanding security for same in the form of actual hard collateral or capital behind the loans. As such the behavior of these financial institutions is exactly identical to that of someone who naked shorts a stock, except in this case the naked short was on the currency of the United States and the injured parties are all 330 million Americans who got serially financially raped by these latter-day robber barons.
Or, to put this in terms Joe should understand, it’s a mounting child support obligation that he’ll pay “some day.” But when “some day” comes instead of forking over the check he delays, prevaricates and lawyers up.
The latest insult however is on the so-called “Deficit SuperCommittee” or as I have named it, the “Stuporcommittee“, in honor of what it really is. Obama is out “warning” the members with:
President Obama and top budget analysts are warning the so-called debt Super Committee not to take the easy way out of their mandate to cut the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion, as lawmakers have yet to reach a deal ahead of a Nov. 23 deadline.
There is, of course, no “easy way out.” But this is not stopping people like McCain, traitorous bastard that he is, from saying things like this:
McCain said Monday that the automatic cuts are “not expressed on golden tablets,” suggesting they could be reversed.
What an ass. First, $500 billion out of defense over 10 years is $50 billion/year. Defense is currently about $750 billion, so we’re talking about less than 10%. Need I remind everyone that to bring the budget into balance we need some 40% in spending cuts or tax increases assuming no pass-through of economic change from those cuts and tax increases, which is of course pure folly. There will be impacts on the follow-through and they won’t be small.
Through October the run rate for this calendar year is a $1.162 trillion fiscal deficit. This is likely understating the case, as historically both November and December are bad months; last year they totaled about $350 billion between them, which is considerably worse than average. But even if it’s not and the $1.2 trillion is about right, this still represents a false demand in the economy of about 8% of the total — that is, this is a demand for goods and services that would not exist but for the government borrowing the money.
Remember that taxing and spending money simply transfers the economic output from one place to another; you cannot spend or save (invest) what is taxed away, so the government makes the choice for you. This is economically neutral assuming there is no more waste in government than in the private sector (ha!)
But when someone borrows and spends they send a false demand signal into the economy. This is usually ignored by economists because they assume that errors in the computation of the risk of repaying will show up in interest rates or economic loss to the lender when they don’t get paid back. But that only works when those who lend imprudently go bankrupt along with those who borrow imprudently.
Both major political parties simply refuse to allow that to happen. Not with houses, not with student loans, not with anything. Both are not only complicit they are willful and intentional participants in the scam.
Jack Abramoff was out this week talking about Congressional insider trading and made quite a stir. I don’t know why — I’ve written about this extensively and the fact that it’s not illegal for Congress to trade on inside information — while for you and I, it is.
* At least one representative made significant stock purchases the day after he and other members of Congress attended a secret meeting in September 2008, where the Fed chair and the treasury secretary informed them of the imminent global economic meltdown. The meeting was so confidential that cell phones and other digital devices were confiscated before it began.
No really? You just figured this out now eh? Four and a half years of The Market Ticker pointing this out hasn’t been enough? Remember that in October of 2010 I reported on a specific instance of exactly this practice right here:
The Journal analysis showed that an aide to a Republican member of the Senate Banking Committee bought Bank of America Corp. stock before results of last year’s government stress tests eased investor concerns about the health of the banking industry. A top aide to the House Speaker profited by trading shares of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in a brokerage account with her husband two days before the government authorized emergency funding for the companies. Another aide to Republican lawmakers interested in energy issues, among other things, profited by trading in several renewable-energy firms.
The aides identified by the Journal say they didn’t profit by making trades based on any information gathered in the halls of Congress. Even if they had done so, it would be legal, because insider-trading laws don’t apply to Congress.
Of course now that Jack says it, people pay attention. Well, for a day or two anyway. Better late than never I suppose, for at least a day.
And note the punch line of that story: Neither party in Congress will do anything about this.
Of course now that it’s silly season we have the usual crooners from the right screaming about Occupy Wall Street and telling us that we must vote Republican or the Democrats will get another four years.
My retort to this is quite simple: If you’re telling me that it’s bad that I’m getting screwed by a donkey, you’re not telling me anything I don’t already know. The problem is that you’re presenting me with the alternative of getting screwed by an elephant which is still a bestial act and I’m not willing to consent to either any longer, thank you very little.
This, incidentally, is why I am supporting and working with Bill Still for President and Calen Fretts for Florida Rep, 1st District, both of the Libertarian party. You may call these “long shots” or even worse, “no chance to win”, but I call it refusing to vote for getting screwed by an animal. I’ve had 16 years of it now sequentially which is 12 more than I, and the rest of the nation, should have put up with; discernment should have been possible for everyone after Bush’s first term.
I can make the reasonable argument that Bush’s second term was all about terrorism and that Obama’s election was about the promise to stop the damage that was done through ridiculous deficit spending, bailouts and lies. After all, that’s what was promised and I voted for him since McCain’s campaign people told me to my face at an event in Washington DC that they were well-aware that the entire subprime mess was all about greed and corruption — making clear they intended to do nothing about it, and then McCain subsequently ratified the acts of his staffers by turning TARP into a campaign event.
But literally within days of being elected and prior to the inauguration Obama turned around and did what he said he wouldn’t do, documenting his intent to screw the entire 330 million US Citizens by appointing Geithner to Treasury.
Well folks, you can screw me once and then promise a fix but if you screw me a second time it’s my fault, and you won’t get a third opportunity.
Both Democrat and Republican parties as they exist today are unworthy of your support, vote, or continued consent as part of the governing body of this nation so long as we have promises that are instantly broken the moment the election is over.
My standards have changed: Acts are all that count; promises are in fact worse than worthless; they’re instantly deemed lies as we have so-called “Tea Party Republicans” who not only lie about banks and their role in this mess it appears they can’t even be bothered to be straight with their own kids or pay their campaign staffers on time.
And that’s a fact.
U.S. Bancorp was sued by an Oklahoma police pension fund over allegations investors in mortgage bonds were hurt by the bank failing to ensure that securities were backed by loans.
U.S. Bancorp knew mortgage loans underlying the bonds weren’t properly transferred to trusts and caused investors to suffer millions of dollars in losses, Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System said in a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Manhattan.
The argument that US Bancorp will probably raise is that their duties were “merely ministerial” and that they’re not responsible even if they knew or should have known that the securities were defective.
There has been limited success with this argument too.
The point I’ve been raising for more than four years stands: Public-service employee pensions are not going to be paid. Not only were these people sold unicorn-style rates of return which cannot possibly be sustained the losses that were generated by all the scams and frauds are real and will be recognized — and when they are, you’re going to get a truly ugly surprise.
The police and firefighters should be marching with the Occupy folks, not opposing them.