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2/13/2009
IF IT WASN’T SO FRIGHTENING, I WOULD LAUGH

One after another, Obamagaffes just keep coming. Two, sometimes three times a day, we are witness to the fruits of electing someone president who quite simply, had no business running for the office in the first place.

I’m tired of writing about it except that it sets up my prescient and trenchant analysis directed at our good friends on the left:

I told ya so.

I hate to say it but we have got to find a way to right the ship at the White House. History has reached out and tapped this novice on the shoulder at a time when there is real danger his bungling will result in a catastrophic economic collapse as bad as the worst in our history.

Many historians believe that the Panic of 1837 (a speculative boom to bust combined with an inflationary crisis) was even worse than the Depresssion in the 1930’s. One third of all banks in the US failed. For different reasons, we are looking at a similar crisis today in the financial markets. It is not likely that we will see 1/3 of all banks in the country go under. But unless our unsteady and clueless Treasury Secretary can get his act together - and quickly - the dominoes will begin to topple, starting with giants like Citibank, working its way down to powerful regional banks like Fifth Third.

The idea of building up anticipation for the announcement of a plan to deal with this crisis as the White House did all last weekend and then first, delaying the announcment a day and then sending out Geithner with not much of a plan at all is shocking. Didn’t the bozos at the White House have any clue that the markets were on tenterhooks waiting for this plan? When nothing much materialized, many concluded that the White House and their financial wunderkind Geithner were stymied. They didn’t know how to solve the crisis and were fumbling around in the dark, trying to figure out what to do. The markets reacted accordingly and here we are, three days out from Geithner’s “deer in headlights” appearance before Congress where he was actually laughed at by members and Congressional staffs, and we still haven’t fleshed out many details of how this “plan” is going to work , how much it will cost the taxpayer, which banks will get more cash, which will be lucky enough to have toxic assets removed from their balance sheets, and on and on into the darkness.

We know that bank executives will have their salaries set by the Treasury Department, though so that’s something. Congratulations to Geithner and his boss for concentrating on the real important stuff like playing the class warfare game by sticking it to the rich bankers.

They’ve screwed up monumentally on the big stuff like the “Financial Stability Act” that no one knows how it will work as well as the stimulus bill that even if you believe we need to spend every dime of it, one must be concerned that this 1500 page monster of a bill will never be read in its entirety because the Democrats and the White House refuse to publish it and there isn’t enough time to read it and study it anyway.

The frightening fact that this reveals is that these guys aren’t really that smart after all. For all the talk of a “team of rivals” and the brilliance of our president and his people, the truth is a lot more prosaic; they have proven themselves to be as incompetent and thick headed as Bush ever was. Personnel problems the likes we have never seen with Judd Gregg the latest colossal blunder. Obama’s promise that if the stim bill passes, the head of Caterpillar will rehire some people has been revealed to be a lie or wishful thinking on the part of the president when the CEO - a supporter of the president - contradicted his optimistic rhetoric.

Then there’s the aggrandizing of power within the White House, marginalizing the Secretary of State and the bureaucracy. The last president that tried this? Nixon. And he was roundly criticized when it turned out the State Department never knew what the White House was doing behind its back. This led to some comical foreign policy blunders including the temporary derailment of our rapproachment with China. One could add the politicizing of the census, a tiff with the military over Iraq that had the president retreating from his campaign rhetoric about withdrawal, a rambling, disjointed press conference that resembled a question and answer session between 3rd graders and their teacher, and the general feeling emenating from the administration that no one is in charge.

All of this would be enough Obamagaffes for one term and yet we are barely 3 weeks into his presidency.

It’s time to call in some wiser heads. Obama would hate it but utilizing Bill Clinton’s knowledge and experience would probably help a great deal. Clinton, was if nothing else, a competent manager of the executive branch. One of the problems right now is that the Obama people still think they’re in Chicago. They were absolutely tone deaf to the tax problems of Geithner and Daschle as well as being blissfully ignorant of the impact that Bill Richardson’s real troubles with the law might have. Clinton might be of great help in fixing their broken personnel operation; no more lobbyists and find honest people who know what they’re doing.

Obama has done well in calling in some of the other Democratic graybeards like George Mitchell and Ambassador Holbrooke. Perhaps he can expand that list to include some other old Clinton hands. Not permanent hires but people he can call on to guide him through the maze that is Washington. God knows, we need this White House to get its act together and fast. Otherwise, Obama is going to have the shortest honeymoon in history. And there are so many challenges ahead that getting things right now is vital to his - and our - future success.

Right now, his party is still united behind him and the American people seem willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. But continuing to stumble and stagger around will cause people to lose confidence in him in a hurry. Democrats, a notoriously fractious and disunited bunch ordinarily, might return to their old ways if Obama proves not up to the job.

And if, despite all his rhetoric about his stimulus bill saving the day, the economy really begins to tank, the American people will desert him faster than you can say “Hope and Change.”

By: Rick Moran at 9:21 am
74 Responses to “IF IT WASN’T SO FRIGHTENING, I WOULD LAUGH”
  1. 1
    Mark30339 Said:
    9:52 am 

    Excellent post. Glad to see you back with such vigor.

  2. 2
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    10:59 am 

    Congratulations to Geithner and his boss for concentrating on the real important stuff like playing the class warfare game by sticking it to the rich bankers.

    I’ve got a lot of grudging respect for the rich bankers. Despite total incompetence, despite spectacular greed, despite colossal failure on a scale that’s hard to even comprehend, despite all of this, these guys still manage to continue getting paid on a bonus schedule that the lower classes would never see in an entire lifetime.

    If that’s not Americana at its finest, I don’t know what is. And you know what else? When they accelerate their bonus schedule and still manage to get their payout from taxpayer money (post failure), then good for them. I the end, they’re actually the smart ones. They successfully gamed the system, gamed the taxpayers, gamed everyone they needed to, and got paid. Handsomely.

    Good for them. No sense in trying to stick it to them now. They’ve won. We should really just stop bitching and concentrate on how we’re going to pay the bill they’ve left us with. Complaining about it now just makes us seem low class.

    All of what you say is true. But I draw the line at the government being able to dictate how much any employee - even a bumbling CEO of a huge bank - is worth.

    I suppose you wouldn’t mind if the government dictated how much you were worth, eh? And that’s the point - once the feds get in the business of figuring out how valuable or how necessary someone is, they generally like it and wish to expand it just like all other federal initiatives in history.

    ed.

  3. 3
    Mel Said:
    12:35 pm 

    the lack of leadership is appalling…and you are right on target.

  4. 4
    Sirius Said:
    12:51 pm 

    As I stated on many occasions prior to B-Hobie’s inauguration, we’re about to get a second Carter administration. So far, neither he nor any member of his administration has done anything to disprove that statement. Like you, Rick, I’d be laughing if I wasn’t crying. The only silver lining for our family is that my wife and I have enough time before retirement to recoup our losses. I can’t say the same for our daughter, though. Nearly all of the money we invested for her education is gone, so we basically have to salvage what’s left and start over.

    Of course, our ability to make up the lost ground is largely contingent on the American public coming to its senses and realizing exactly what the Democrat party is trying to do to our country. In that, I have very little confidence based on what happened in November. As unsavory as a McCain Presidency would have been, B-Hobie’s election represented the ultimate triumph of style over substance. And we’re paying dearly for it.

  5. 5
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    1:35 pm 

    I suppose you wouldn’t mind if the government dictated how much you were worth, eh?

    Of course I would mind. That’s the rub. The bankers have us by the balls, and are laughing all the way to… er.. the bank. My favorite part is when they get taxpayer money, move up the bonus schedule, pay out the massive bonuses, then those people either resign or retire, millions in hand. So, congratulations taxpayers, you’ve been financially raped for a second time.

    So, are we talking about unequal treatment? That bankers are lesser creatures and deserving of government intervention while you, I and other supreme beings should remain above that sort of thing? You are kidding yourself. If you support what the feds are doing to the bankers then you support the feds doing it to you - and me and everyone else.

    ed.

  6. 6
    bsjones Said:
    2:36 pm 

    Chuck Tucson,
    Well said.

    Rick,
    Once a bank or individual chooses to take welfare or food stamps “We the people” have a right and an obligation to oversee what they do with that welfare payment.

    I remember all of the anecdotal ‘welfare queen’ stories I heard in the early 80’s when I voted for Reagan. I also remember liberals saying the government had no right to place restrictions on what recipients could do with the payment (e.g., you can’t buy alcohol with your food stamps.)

    Today, if a welfare queen gets a Section Eight housing subsidy, she never touches the money; it goes right to her landlord because the government does not trust her to use the money for its intended purpose. This makes sense.

    The appropriate conservative response to the liberal ‘no strings attached’ welfare payment policy is, “If you don’t like the restrictions and obligations required of you, then, DON’T TAKE THE MONEY.”

    This is how it should be. We have the absolute right to place restrictions and impose obligations on those who drink from the public well.

    As to the worth of these bumbling CEO’s, their banks have failed. As part of the creative destruction that is capitalism, we should be seeing them in the unemployment line or (for Paulson and Geithner) doing the orange suit perp walk. This would allow the true John Galt’s of banking to step forward with their real ability and create an improved banking system from the rubble.

    Finally, if I lose my job during this recession the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency will have the absolute right to tell me how much I am worth. They may also choose to impose other obligations as long as I take the government check. I will have to look for work, keep a record of my efforts, and check in every two weeks to report on my progress. None of this should be considered unreasonable. I will have a right to the money (what the government decides is just), but an obligation to play by government set rules.

  7. 7
    Wramblin' Wreck Said:
    2:36 pm 

    A very good article. I too believe that you are right on target.

    A prediction: one quality that Mr. Obama has demonstrated proficiency in is campaigning. I therefore predict that he will treat the job of POTUS as a campaign. What he has tried as a leadership style has not worked and he will revert to what he knows best, the one task he has succeeded in every time, the campaign.

    He has the bully pulpit but he is as yet not knowledgeable enough and too insecure to use it effectively. Not too surprising seeing how he has never served in such a situation before and he has only had this job for three weeks. So I expect Mr. Obama to resort to his campaign tactics of emotionally charged speeches, emphasizing crisis, catastrophe and urgency in every issue.

    I would not be surprised to see Mr. Obama running around the country making speeches for his interests. That he can do very effective. But it is not the making of a good president.

  8. 8
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    2:57 pm 

    So, are we talking about unequal treatment? That bankers are lesser creatures and deserving of government intervention while you, I and other supreme beings should remain above that sort of thing? You are kidding yourself. If you support what the feds are doing to the bankers then you support the feds doing it to you – and me and everyone else.

    Sarcasm noted. We loaned money to the banks. They upped their bonus schedules and used that money to pay out bonuses. The recipients of those bonuses took the money and in many cases walked away without so much as a thought as to what would happen to the bank, or how the taxpayers would get their money back. It’s literally free money for them. So, in conclusion, congratulations to them for getting so much free money from us. Done and done.

    For an example of how almost $700m taxpayer dollars can disappear like this, see Merrill Lynch before the buyout. It was a beautiful example of how to literally steal millions of dollars from your country and get patted on the back for it. I’m just sad I missed the boat.

  9. 9
    headhunt23 Said:
    3:00 pm 

    Rick - your comments to Chuck.

    I’ll disagree despite Chuck’s general populist ignorance on the causes and effects and the proper placement of blame of the crises..

    If the banks need to call in the feds and take a bunch of tax payers money, then they need to pay a price for their negligence. Most companies, we’d just let go out of business, however letting a bunch of banks go out of business would be disasterous for the economy. Money is, afterall, to businesses essentially a utility, no different then electricity or phone service.

    So, if we can’t let them fail, how should we punish failure to ensure we do not create a moral hazzard? By butting into their affairs and making it painful for them to operate.

    So, to answer your question, if your business demands taxpayer assistence, then I do favor the government dictating your worth.

    (I realize there is a bunch of different scenarios that could be played out. Perhaps exceptions could be made for bringing in an exec that wasn’t part of the melt down)

  10. 10
    bsjones Said:
    3:48 pm 

    headhunt23,
    Thanks for expecting accountability. It is a rare thing these days.

  11. 11
    bsjones Said:
    3:56 pm 

    Chuck Tucson,

    Some of the money took the form of subsidized loans, some took the form of guarantee (a potential government liability), and some money was simply a handout.

    From where I sit, these ‘banksters’ are the true welfare queens. They are just using the money for private jets instead of two Caddies in the driveway.

  12. 12
    Gayle Miller Said:
    3:56 pm 

    Meanwhile, if all you people who SAW what a disaster this infantile naif was going to be before he was inaugurated would get up off your lazy duffs, and start finding and grooming viable Congressional candidates to run against the venal and despicable crew currently squatting in office less than 2 years hence, we could at least contain some of the damage.

    I’ve actually, despite my distaste for party politics, started being active in my local Republican organization. I will endure the tedium and juvenile jockeying for preferment if it will help me identify someone who can do a decent job of reining in the sophomoric crowd current DISgracing The White House!

  13. 13
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    4:31 pm 

    headhunt23,

    I’ll disagree despite Chuck’s general populist ignorance on the causes and effects and the proper placement of blame of the crises..

    Please, teach me what you know about where to place blame. You seem well informed.

  14. 14
    sara in va Said:
    4:37 pm 

    Chuck and BS

    Defend Henrietta Hughes and the welfare “queens” who game the system. Defend the couple in front of me at Food Lion who paid for foodstuffs with their taxpayer funded debit card, and then placed two cases of beer on the counter, which they paid for with cash.

    One doesn’t have to be rich to be a cheat. Henrietta and the CEOs both are doing the exact same thing; one is doing it with hundred dollar bills, and the other with one dollar bills.

    Tell me, because I truly want to know. What is the difference?

    The rich bankers are an easy target, eh - how dare they rape the middle class and poor! I’m not defending them, what they are willing to do without guilt is unfathomable to me. But your anger seems only pointed in one direction. Your sweet Henrietta is actually raping the taxpayer too, and you won’t admit it.

    But heck, what am I worrying about anyway? Considering what Obama has attempted and been able to accomplish these past three weeks, in three years Henrietta Hughes will be giving us all pointers.

  15. 15
    Mycoma Said:
    4:55 pm 

    Rick-
    I truly enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work.

    bsjones-
    I think you have made some valid arguments, so I would like to offer you a counter-argument: Unless the banks are fully nationalized, salaries paid by a bank to a CEO are considered private contracts. Any cap imposed on the CEO’s salary would then violate Article I, Section 2 of the Consitution (contract provision).

    Another argument would be that salary caps also violate the Ninth Amendment (unenumerated rights) and the Fourteenth Amendment (due process). By imposing a salary cap, the government is, in fact denying the CEO his right to property without due process of the law.

  16. 16
    Wramblin' Wreck Said:
    4:55 pm 

    One part of the banking puzzle that has not been discussed very much is the Congress enacting legislation forcing the banks to make all kinds of NINJA loans (no income, no job, no assets.) I believe that if the banks were able to make just the loans that they felt were qualified, we would not be in this situation.

    In other words, the Congress said, “You must make these loans even though the client will not pay back the money.” So the banks did, they lost money and not Congress is crucifying them. Its not a level playing field. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Whats a banker to do?

  17. 17
    Bald Ninja Said:
    5:45 pm 

    So, how does capping Banker’s pay fix the problem?

  18. 18
    Bald Ninja Said:
    5:47 pm 

    ‘Once a bank or individual chooses to take welfare or food stamps “We the people” have a right and an obligation to oversee what they do with that welfare payment.’

    This is the best argument I’ve heard for never having socialized medicine.

  19. 19
    bsjones Said:
    7:36 pm 

    Mycoma,
    Thanks for the thoughtful response and compliment.

    A strong argument for nationalizing the banks can be found here:

    However, I am not taking a position on bank nationalization.

    This is my answer to your question.
    No bank is being forced to participate in the bank bailout program, so at this point any guarantee, subsidized loan, or handout that the failed banks accept from the taxpayers is COMPLETELY VOLUNTARY. In my mind, concessions that individual banksters make to access the taxpayer bailout are completely voluntary. (Don’t want to phone in every two weeks, then don’t take the unemployment check,)

    Don’t make any concessions, that’s ok, you just won’t participate in the bailout with the rest of your failed industry.

    At this point, I think this is the position of the Ford Motor Company. They refuse to voluntarily conform to the obligations of the auto bailout package (as weak as they were), so they are not taking any of the bailout money.

    Summary:If you voluntarily choose to meet the obligations imposed by the bailout program, then stick your maw in the trough. Don’t like the terms? Don’t accept the money.

    The Hank Reardon’s of the bank world don’t need the taxpayer funded bailout anyway. They will refuse to participate on principle.

  20. 20
    bsjones Said:
    7:53 pm 

    Sara,
    I thought everyone here was in agreement about their condemnation of the “traditional” welfare queen.

    To me what is new and interesting about our current crisis is this “new breed” of welfare queen. That’s right Virginia, this new bloodsucker has no interest in his and her gold town cars. This bloodsucker with “a big brain” forgot what his professor’s taught him about moral hazard.

    Sara, I believe you are right about how both types of bloodsuckers are more similar than different. The only difference I see is that the banksters have traditionally been role models, but, I have never met anybody who wants to grow up and be an “old school” welfare cheat.

  21. 21
    bsjones Said:
    8:01 pm 

    Bald Ninja,

    Pay caps for accepting taxpayer handouts does nothing to solve the problem of a collapsed banking industry.

    Pay caps for accepting taxpayer handouts is NOT symbolic.

    Pay caps for accepting taxpayer handouts is a very weak form of accountability for those smartest M.B.A.’s in the room at the investment banks who created and then sold the investment instruments that have collapsed the global banking and investment systems. (I am talking about Henry Paulson of Goldman Sachs.)

  22. 22
    bsjones Said:
    8:13 pm 

    Sorry,
    The link for getting tough on the banks is here:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2009/02/get_tougher_please.html

    It is the second part with Adam Posen. He argues in favor of getting tough with the welfare queen banksters.

    He works at the Peterson Institute. Their website can be found here:

    http://www.iie.com/

  23. 23
    P. Aaron Said:
    8:21 pm 

    This bunch just approved the spending of a trillion dollars without lookin’.

    I could throw my 2 cents worth of advice in, but I oppose these guys, so why give ‘em any chance at true statesmanship?

  24. 24
    P. Aaron Said:
    8:34 pm 

    Quote:He has the bully pulpit but he is as yet not knowledgeable enough and too insecure to use it effectively. Not too surprising seeing how he has never served in such a situation before and he has only had this job for three weeks. So I expect Mr. Obama to resort to his campaign tactics of emotionally charged speeches, emphasizing crisis, catastrophe and urgency in every issue.

    I think the public (& maybe even the Obot-media) will tire of this if we accept your statement (& I do) that the big ‘O’ has no skill for leadership. He lacks any philisophical depth, other than the typical class warfare stuff. So the “on the stump’ rhetoric will get old fast.

    And we still got the rest of that big ‘ol world out there doin’ their thing that typically occupies the greatest part of a president’s time & efforts.

  25. 25
    Postagoras Said:
    8:43 pm 

    Well, Rick, you had basically declared the Obama Administration a failure after a week… so you are just repeating yourself. Get a grip, man. These weekly declarations of disaster are getting boring.

    Then there’s the aggrandizing of power within the White House, marginalizing the Secretary of State and the bureaucracy. The last president that tried this? Nixon.

    Hello McFly??? Where the hell have you BEEN for hte last eight years??

  26. 26
    headhunt23 Said:
    8:47 pm 

    To Chuck:

    People made the choice to buy homes they couldn’t afford. They when then abetted by a mortage industry (mortage brokers more than traditional banks) which didn’t enforce loan standard, and those loans were sold to banks who were too lazy to check the loans, verify income or even apply common sense, as they assumed the mortgage brokers had done so.

    Those loans were then bundled together by the Wall Street types and sold to people looking for mortgage exposure. THIS IS NOT BAD. These people/institutions looking for mortage exposure are who inject liquidity into the market and allow people living in poorer areas to have access to more captial (as opposed to the old days when banks could only access the capitals available in their community and therefore captital was much harder to attain).

    But of course, the problem was the individual loans were crappy. And, the rating agencies were criminally negligent and kept slapping A and AA ratings on these funds without any due dillegence, leading investors to believe these loans were safer than they were. Most of the crap about Wall Street being to blame is just that - crap. What Wall Street did was SPREAD the virus, but they weren’t the cause of the virus. The cause of the virus was the stupid people that took loans they couldn’t afford, the mortgage brokers who falsified (either by commission or ommission) a lot of documents to get those loans thru, and the federal auditors who flat out weren’t doing their jobs.

  27. 27
    Larry, your brother Said:
    9:14 pm 

    I haven’t been here for a few weeks so it’s comforting to note that nothing’s changed.

    Stick to politics and away from economic policy. I think you have a better take on the former and don’t fully understand the latter.

    3 weeks. This government is in place for 3 weeks and you, like so many conservative voices, are predicting (hoping for?) utter disaster. So Geitner didn’t have a fully fleshed out economic program to solve the biggest economic problems in 70 years 10 days into his term. What an idiot! How can we trust him? If you did any more than watch the stock market (which if you haven’t noticed is populated by traders with itchy trigger fingers these days and NOT long term investors) you may have seen that he’s proposing private funds, and NOT JUST THE GOVERNMENT, trying to solve the problem of of these toxic assets. Sure, the government is promising a backstop, but they did that with Chrysler (and got paid back, by the way). Does any one remember the S&L crisis? It’s hard to say exactly, but I’ve seen comments that the government actually made money taking assets and selling them over time. I’m not sure I believe it, but you can bet it was close either way. And by all means, let’s limit the benefits of those companies we give money to. That, by the way, WOULD BE EVERY COMPANY AND FARMER IN THIS COUNTRY. Why should we tell Wells Fargo and not 3M how to compensate people since they both benefit from government largesse? I’m reminded of the scene from Casablanca. “Corporate welfare? I’m shocked, shocked that corporations receive any kind of government assistance!”

    Is this stimulus package going to work? I haven’t a clue, but to hear the outrage of the Republicans about “generational theft” after doubling the national debt in 8 years makes me nauseous. I really can’t take these guys seriously. Especially that slime ball Boehner.

    Enough. You can all hope for failure. I just hope you can hunt squirrels if you’re right.

    1. The stim bill had nothing to do with economics. It was entirely in the realm of the political. And you don’t have to have a PHD in econ to know that $30 million for wetland preservation and protection for the Harvest Mouse has nothing to do with economic recovery and everything to do with fulfilling the wishes of a powerful politician.

    2. If Obama and his people had played down Geithner’s appearance on Tuesday instead of building it up as the answer to the bank’s problems, no one (including top econmists who have referred to the incident as “amatuer hour) would be complaining. Forget the street (except that his bungling resulted in a 5% loss in one day for the market) and listen to economists - the ones I’ve read are extremely uneasy not just because they announced a plan, gave Geithner a big buildup, and then didn’t have one but because even the bare bones outline he gave shows that the government is going to be making a riverboat gamble with whatever they come up with and no one has any confidence in them based on their performance so far.

    3. I can’t believe you want government determining how much your job or you are worth to your company. What possble reason would the government have to stop at just ordering CEO salaries. Give me one reason why they couldn’t just logically continue that process until they determine everyone’s pay? This isn’t a slippery slope it’s a cliff.

    4. So you think poor people who get government assistance shouldn’t be able to own fancy cars or HD TV’s? Shouldn’t we limit their benefits too since they get “government money?” Oh! The shame! My own brother a racist!

    5, Puhleeze don’t talk of hypocrisy with regard to Republicans (and the smear that conservatives want Obama to “fail”). After running a campaign that promised “transparency” and “reform” we get a 1000 page bill, crafted behind closed doors with no Republicans, a bill no one has read, no one knows the details, and a president who lied through his teeth about “no earmarks,” the opposition’s position (”all they want is tax cuts”), and even the salubrious effect the bill would have immediately (caterpillar workers hired back immediately contradicted by the comapany’s CEO).

    6. How’s those personnel choices going, Barack? Yeah - real smooth. No incompetence there.

    7. The GOP mouthed the same crap about Democrats wanting us to lose the war and wanting the economy to go in the tank. Stop with the talking points. They are unbecoming of anyone with more than a third grade education.

    ed.

  28. 28
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    9:42 pm 

    Bald Ninja

    So, how does capping Banker’s pay fix the problem?

    It doesn’t necessarily fix the problem, but it gives bankers massive incentive to pay back the taxpayer loans, or forgo them completely. The faster they do that, the faster they can go back to their sweet big money gigs.

    This is the best argument I’ve heard for never having socialized medicine.

    So, you’re concerned that taxpayers and government will tell you how healthy you need to be? That’s a cool argument. I like that.

  29. 29
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    9:50 pm 

    One doesn’t have to be rich to be a cheat. Henrietta and the CEOs both are doing the exact same thing; one is doing it with hundred dollar bills, and the other with one dollar bills.

    Tell me, because I truly want to know. What is the difference?

    On a purely logical level, there is little difference. When you add real people and real money to the equation, things change drastically.

    Perhaps you should ask all people who have lost huge chunks of their retirement and life savings what the difference is. I’m guessing that the hundred dollar bills will win out every single time.

  30. 30
    cdor Said:
    10:37 pm 

    Hey, I thought these bankers were the epitome of Democratic elitists. Didn’t most of them graduate from Yale, Harvard, Princeton, or Wharton? I’ll bet 75% of them voted for the One.

    And how many trillions have we spent on welfare since the Great Society? So does one wrong make another wrong right? Bankers and welfare queens, who’da thunk the similarity abounds? Yet they all vote for Obama. What a great country this used to be.

  31. 31
    Political Blog Weekly: 13 February 2009 | U.S. Common Sense Pinged With:
    12:20 am 

    [...] "If It Wasn’t So Frightening, I would Laugh" Originally published:  13 February 2009 Submitted by:  U.S. Common Sense Summary:  Comparing the economic crisis of 1837 to today’s economy, and how the current tone from the White House isn’t helping. [...]

  32. 32
    sara in va Said:
    6:59 am 

    Chuck #30

    There are thousands more welfare queens living off the taxpayer. The amount society pays to them is far greater. I will restrain myself from mentioning birth rate comparisons, I’m not that tacky.

    A banker flies a private jet to ask for more money. A welfare queen takes publicly provided transportation to the mall, where she signs up for Angel Tree, so well-meaning suburbanites can buy her kids nice presents. She takes another publicly provided bus to the city council meeting, where she complains that the suburbanites treat her badly.

    Until you recognize that tilting the playing field towards the welfare queens only makes more welfare queens, we will only get more Henrietta Hugheses.

    Oh, whatever. Obama is off on his new campaign for “fiscal responsibility.” I can’t wait to see who he’s going to target with that.

  33. 33
    JB "WHEELS" WEGENER Said:
    7:18 am 

    As a fmr sgt usmc who fought in the nam ,wounded etc. and watched our world go by sence then it was easy to catch the first big mistake made by a pres in my time , bush in Iraq because Saddam once took a shot at his daddy, bigbush !

    Then he and his admin stood or sat by while the bankers did whatever they wanted with our loan system and the credit card co’s giving out cards to those who could not back fast enough and got their payments raised !

    loaning money on houses to folks who could not make the payment on a steady basis and at the end of a short time period had to come up with a baloon payment they could never pay and now the world crumbles down around our asses because of that and the polititions like Waters and Frank who said a while back that motherhubbard or whoever was in great shape and then watched it fall recently !!!

    And now along comes a black man who family goes back to the slavers, not slaves,who is backed by all the people who do not have much in life and will follow him into hell to get a peace of the socialist pie while caring nothing about the state of america as a FREE COUNTRY !!!

    AND SOON ENOUGH THEY WILL BE SLAVES AGAIN IF WE AND THEY ARE NOT STRONG ENOUGH AT THE RIGHT TIME !!!

    I THINK ALL OF THIS WAS SET UP BY BOTH PARTIES MANY YEARS AGO SO THE (ONE WORLD ORDER FOLKS ) CAN TAKE CONTROL AND KEEP THEMSELVES IN POWER !!!

    SFS
    WHEELS

  34. 34
    sara in va Said:
    7:32 am 

    Rick,

    How are you feeling today. It is more frightening today than yesterday, I think. Today, it’s done.

    Last fall, I had friends who refused to vote for McCain. Their reasons were many, and valid. Mostly, they wanted to make a point. They all reasoned that Obama’s inexperience would result in a disgruntled country voting a conservative candidate into office in 2012.

    At the time, I tried to reason with them. Obama would do irreparable harm to this country! We would not be able to change it back, as easy as they were believing. This guy is not just a Jimmy Carter, there’s more to him than that. Carter was a fool. Obama is not.

    In three short weeks we have become a different nation. We have loaded a tax burden on our children and their children that is meant to redistribute the wealth in a very unapologetic fashion. (Taxpayer money for ACORN? So?)

    We have a government that enjoys singling out businessmen for ridicule while plying gifts and honors on the homeless.

    This is how we equalize society, by making us all slaves to our government.

    Chuck, BS, Michael - it’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air! So, here’s my “capitalist” valentine to you.

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    If you were on the side of the road, hungry or hurt
    I’d probably kick you
    Before I gave you ten dollars.

    Alright children. Let’s play nice. No more of that, please.

    ed.

  35. 35
    sara in va Said:
    7:42 am 

    I said I would give them ten dollars. I thought that WAS nice.

  36. 36
    jharp Said:
    9:35 am 

    “But unless our unsteady and clueless Treasury Secretary can get his act together – and quickly – the dominoes will begin to topple, starting with giants like Citibank, working its way down to powerful regional banks like Fifth Third.”

    So what do you propose should be done. More wingnut welfare? Hate to break the news to you but the banks are insolvent now and have been for many months.

    I like how our Treasury Secretary is handling it. Let them fail. Wipe out the common shareholders (they gambled and lost) and let the healthy banks pick up the pieces.

    You’re not proposing more corporate welfare are you?

  37. 37
    jharp Said:
    9:42 am 

    “There is real danger his bungling will result in a catastrophic economic collapse as bad as the worst in our history.”

    It’s already happened. And the bungler was George Bush.

    It will take very creative ineptness to turn what was a deep recession into a depression. Obama seems to be doing fine in that regard.

    ed.

  38. 38
    jharp Said:
    9:56 am 

    “It will take very creative ineptness to turn what was a deep recession into a depression.”

    And the GOP has given it their best shot. Thank God they are pretty powerless and couldn’t muster enough votes.

    And it’s still gonna be a long deep recession. Bush mucked things up the worst in our country’s history. $5 trillion in deficits. $1 trillion on an unnecessary war that got us zero.

    Bush was the worst President ever and it’s gonna take a long time to fix.

    Your ignorance of American history is embarassing. Please don’t come here spouting your talking points. If we wanted to read them we would go to DNC.org.

    ed.

  39. 39
    jharp Said:
    10:09 am 

    “Please don’t come here spouting your talking points.”

    I gonna post my thoughts, just as everyone else. And if you don’t it like simply ban me.

    But I will not be influenced by a meaningless jab that I’m only posting talking points.

    We are not a lefty blog here. We don’t ban people unless they get hateful or obscene. (or annoy me) We have a high level of commenter here - people who can think and write rather than parroting what they hear on other sites. To wit:

    Duh…….George Bush, he’s uh….duh….da woist prezident in da histry.

    How original. And how embarassing for you that you don’t know enough history to realize how stupid that statement is. My cat knows more American history than you do, as you prove by making an observation that you’ve seen on other websites that are equally bereft of any proof whatsoever.

    ed.

  40. 40
    jharp Said:
    10:50 am 

    “And how embarassing for you that you don’t know enough history to realize how stupid that statement is.”

    Just as you are entitled to your opinion I am entitled to mine.

    And when the President inherits a surplus turns it into $5 trillion in deficits, ignores the 4th amendment and spies on Americans, tortures our prisoners, ignores habeas corpus, launches an unnecessary war, ignores the warnings and allows the worst terror attack in U.S., and politicizes the Justice Department, to me that adds up to the worst President ever.

    And you have the nerve to criticize Obama for spending less than 1/5 of what Bush frittered away. And Obama’s spending is to pull out out of the worst economy since the depression. And is also when no other tools are left(feds fund rate is 0%).

    Thanks for your input but I’m standing behind my original post.

    Worst President Ever.

  41. 41
    michael reynolds Said:
    10:52 am 

    It’ll be so great when we can finally bury Hope and Change and get back to the GOP’s message: Despair and Stasis. Ah, life will be good then.

  42. 42
    Mycoma Said:
    10:59 am 

    bsjones-

    Your point: “Summary:If you voluntarily choose to meet the obligations imposed by the bailout program, then stick your maw in the trough. Don’t like the terms? Don’t accept the money.”

    This makes perfect sense in the private sector where there are different bargaining rules than those imposed in the public sector where specific settled law applies.

    In particular, the doctrine of unconstitutional conditions. It basically says that the government cannot compel a citizen to waive his constitutional rights as a condition of government assistance. For example, what if Congress required, as a condition of a bank receiving TARP money, that they first be allowed to rummage through the bank CEO’s sock drawer to see if he’s stashing extra cash in there? This would require the CEO to waive his Fourth Amendment rights and, therefore, violates the unconsititutional conditions doctrine.

    For lack of a better source, this is a decent paper on the doctrine: http://www.rbs2.com/duc.pdf

    It is a point for debate, but there is a decent case that Congress is requiring CEOs to waive their rights under the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments if they accept government assistance. In your previous example of welfare queens, the Constitution does not afford the right to buy liquor, so the doctrine doesn’t apply in that case.

    Now, there is no way I’d want to be the CEO or the lawyer of a CEO to take this complaint to a court. But I’d lay odds you’ll hear of at least one challenge to this provision in the stimulus bill from a CEO who doesn’t care about his public reputation.

  43. 43
    mannning Said:
    11:17 am 

    Rich Moran:
    An excellent post, worthy of being published in all of the media, but I doubt it will go very far there. Liberal editors have the first cut.

    Knowing as I do what happens when the government initiates any kind of building project, we can confidently forecast that the current 787 billion dollar authorization will grow by overruns to the tune of at least another 400 billion dollars in the next 4 to 8 years. One could also project that the “tax credit payments” to people that do not pay taxes will grow as well by double in a short time.

    The Navy practiced the art for years of selling Congress on their need for a new set of buildings for a base or two, then building them to the halfway point, usually minus the roof, and then going back to Congress for more money in a few years, pleading that the buildings simply had to be finished, or there would be a total waste…

    Depression government economics at work!

  44. 44
    bsjones Said:
    12:11 pm 

    headhunt23,
    Re: post #26
    The Wall Street investment banks knew everything you described. They, then, created and sold these C.D.O.’s and all the other junk they created anyway. The collapse of the global financial system was done with complicity by everyone involved. No one link in the chain could have collapsed the global economy all by itself.

    A funny explanation by two comedians of the role of London investment banks in the sub prime banking mess can be found here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UC31Oudc5Bg

  45. 45
    bsjones Said:
    12:20 pm 

    mannning ,
    As far as I am concerned, this is (part of) the media.

  46. 46
    mannning Said:
    1:05 pm 

    OK, but it is not the whole show.

  47. 47
    jharp Said:
    1:08 pm 

    Why I like Obama and why the wingnuts should think again about the value of the stimulus.

    Today in his latest YouTube address Obama says: “Now, some fear we won’t be able to effectively implement a plan of this size and scope, and I understand their skepticism. Washington hasn’t set a very good example in recent years.

    Ouch! Anyone else here thinking permanent minority for the GOP?

    You know, you don’t sound old enough to be commenting on this site. What is your age?

    ed.

  48. 48
    bsjones Said:
    1:08 pm 

    Mycoma,

    Thanks for the link. I was not familiar with the idea of unconstitutional conditions before today. The idea, as you point out, is that the government cannot force a person to waive a constitutionally guaranteed right to obtain a benefit.

    After reading the linked document I came away with two points:

    1. The doctrine of unconstitutional conditions is vague, that is, it has never been defined by the Supreme Court. When making an exception to the doctrine the Supreme Court usually just ignores the doctrine completely.

    2. “The government CAN require the surrender of a constitutional right as an openly published condition of a benefit when:

    A) There is an “essential nexus” between the right being surrendered and the benefit

    and

    B) the values of the surrendered right and the benefit are approximately equal.

    In your case of government officials looking at the bank’s balance sheets(publicly available information b.t.w.) the “essential nexus” seems to be there because the government wants to ensure the banker is broke before giving the handout. So, if the TARP money received was roughly equal to the amount being stolen by the cap on the CEO salary, it would appear to be legal.

    Clearly this is a point for debate and, as you state, would have to be decided in the Supreme Court, but I believe (based on the linked document) that it would be legal.

    Thanks for the interesting information!!

  49. 49
    jharp Said:
    1:11 pm 

    Update. I left off a sentence. Sorry.

    Why I like Obama and why the wingnuts should think again about the value of the stimulus.

    Today in his latest YouTube address Obama says: “Now, some fear we won’t be able to effectively implement a plan of this size and scope, and I understand their skepticism. Washington hasn’t set a very good example in recent years. And with so much on the line, it’s time to begin doing things differently.”

    That’s twice you’ve posted the same quote.

    Look - you are new so I will give you a little slack. But holy jesus christ how can someone with more 1/2 a brain not recognize what just happened on Capitol Hill as politics as usual. How can anyone say with a straight face that this guy is doing anything - anything different than his predecessors?

    I have never banned anyone for being ignorant but you are coming close.

    ed.

  50. 50
    jharp Said:
    2:11 pm 

    “But holy jesus christ how can someone with more 1/2 a brain not recognize what just happened on Capitol Hill as politics as usual.”

    Politics as usual? Surely you jest.

    When was the last time an $800 billion stimulus bill was passed in three weeks?

    It is an unprecedented bill passed as a result of an unprecedented disaster of a President left our economy in ruins.

    And what appeared to be a double post was because I left off this sentence. “And with so much on the line, it’s time to begin doing things differently.”

    I thought I made it clear.

    Geez. And you’ve the guts to call me ignorant?

    1. A bill negotiated behind closed doors (transparency under the bus)

    2. A bill with zero Republican input - he even lied about what the GOP counter proposal was (bi-partisanship under the bus)

    3. There is about $250 billion dollars in this spending bill that goes directly to Democratic constituencies (”New politics” under the bus).

    Please don’t get into an argument with me. Especially when you show such monumental stupidity about the campaign promises this jamoke has already broken. You can’t see it because you are so far gone, you’ve lost the capacity for rational thought.

    I don’t think you are quite old enough yet to play with the adults who visit this blog. I won’t ban you but you will not be able to comment until you grow up.

    ed.

  51. 51
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    3:17 pm 

    There are thousands more welfare queens living off the taxpayer. The amount society pays to them is far greater. I will restrain myself from mentioning birth rate comparisons, I’m not that tacky.

    The amount of waste, fraud, and abuse in the welfare system pale in comparison the fraud that the financial industry has perpetuated upon the American taxpayer.

    It’s good to see though, that the term “welfare queen” is still used just the way it was intended. It’s appalling how those minority women keep having fatherless babies and gaming the system for profit, right? Don’t forget to mention the Cadillac they drive.

    Your grasp of how the social safety net functions in comparison to how much it costs taxpayers could use some polishing. Especially when held to the light of the current financial meltdown. If done with intellectual honesty, you’ll discover that they are completely unrelated and on vastly different playing fields.

  52. 52
    Mycoma Said:
    3:25 pm 

    bsjones-
    Good point about the court’s selective application. I wonder if they would apply the doctrine if this case were brought up. The shape of the court would also influence whether they ascertained an essential nexus. There is also the issue of the government providing funds to the “corporation” while limiting certain individuals’ compensation. While the individual is a representative of the corporation, there is still a question as to whether the government can impose restrictions on that invidividual’s earning potential.

    In the long run, I still think a case like this could be better argued on the Constitutional language (Article I, Section 2, the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments), rather than doctrinal. Like you say, the salary caps may indeed be legal, but I, for one, would like to see the Court weigh in on it. I doubt we’ll get that chance.

    Thanks for the dialogue and your point of view.

  53. 53
    bsjones Said:
    5:26 pm 

    Mycoma,

    In a way, I see this whole discussion in the light of my new mantra: accountability.

    A CEO is accountable to his Board of Directors whose job it is to monitor corporate performance, select a CEO, and/or replace that CEO when warranted. I firmly believe that a bank CEO that lies about his bank’s balance sheet or can’t keep his bank’s balance sheet in balance should be replaced. (It is also my understanding that an unbalanced bank balance sheet is against U.S. law.) If the Board of Directors had met their responsibility and discharged the negligent banksters I am referring to, they would not be heading these multi-national banks anymore. There would be, therefor, no need to seek caps on CEO salaries as a way to get accountability for their radical malfeasance. New, responsible bankers would take over and make things right. It is important to remember that in a properly functioning banking industry this would have been done long ago.

    Summary: If the CEO bansters were held accountable for their performance by their Board of Directors, they would be out of a job and there would be no need to impose accountability from the outside. Then our discussion of the legality of pay caps for banksters would never have come up.

    Since it is the weekend, I am posting a long piece (33 minutes) about the role of a bank’s balance sheet has in contributing to the global financial crisis.

    Here it is:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2009/02/hear_how_to_save_a_bank_1.html

  54. 54
    headhunt23 Said:
    9:36 pm 

    bsjones…

    “The Wall Street investment banks knew everything you described.”

    I’m not saying you are wrong here, but I’d like a link with an insider saying this. I just find it rather hard to believe that Wall Street Investment bankers were pulling out 50 or so of the mortgage packets on every bundle of 20K mortgages to check the income and the appraisals for verification.

    Did the bankers know the mortgages were “subprime”? Absolutely - that’s what they were billed as when they were resold. The problem was the investment bankers assumed that those mortages were verified by the lending institutions for the necessary income and enough equity in the property. We now know it was a bad assumption, but I think if I was an investment banker it might be one I’d make too.

    Yes, there had to be failures at multiple levels - as I very clearly stated in my post. But the further up the loan chain you went, the failures were less and less (although the repercussions of those failures kept becoming greater and greater).

  55. 55
    Maggie's Farm Trackbacked With:
    4:17 am 

    Sunday morning links…

    Inflationary warning above from People’s Cube via Moonbattery
    The WaPo is in love with Obama. But is it love or lust? 
    Rick Moran isn’t:

    I hate to say it but we have got to find a way to right the ship at the White House. History has rea…

  56. 56
    bsjones Said:
    2:08 pm 

    headhunt23,

    There are so many examples, some going back to 2006. I have a pretty busy day today and my internet connection is acting funny so I am only including one example of Wall Street cover up.

    This one is from June of 2008. It is the story of a Wall Street Bank auditor who was paid by the bank to investigate the loans that were being purchased for resale.

    Warren has worked in the mortgage business for 25 years, the past five in quality control. Most recently, she was a contract worker for a company called Watterson-Prime, which did loan audits for investment banks. She says their biggest client was Bear Stearns, which recently all but collapsed because of its exposure to bad loans. It was her job to dig into the loans and ferret out problems. By 2006, they were easy to find.

    Warren thinks her supervisors didn’t want her to do her job. She says that when she would reject, or kick out, a loan, they usually would overrule her and approve it.

    About 75 percent of the time, loans that should have been rejected were still put into the pool and sold, she says.

    Auditors like Warren basically were hired to find the bad apples in the barrel and pull them out: borrowers with payments they couldn’t afford, houses with inflated appraisals, people lying about their income.

    But Warren says her bosses were taking a lot of those bad apples and putting them back in. And Peterson says he thinks the investment banks had a strong financial incentive to do that.

    “There’s a name for this — it’s called ‘passing the trash,’ ” says David Grais, an attorney getting ready to sue Wall Street firms on behalf of investors — big pension funds and others — who bought the bad loans.

    Get the whole thing here:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90840958

    Read the article, then listen to the story.

    Enjoy!!

  57. 57
    Larry, your brother Said:
    2:13 pm 

    As to your reply to my comments:

    1. “The stim bill had nothing to do with economics.” I wasn’t talking about the stim bill. I said later I had no idea if it would work. I was talking about your take on the financial crisis: “But unless our unsteady and clueless Treasury Secretary can get his act together – and quickly – the dominoes will begin to topple, starting with giants like Citibank, working its way down to powerful regional banks like Fifth Third.” I guess I should have been more clear. Your comment doesn’t’ reflect reality. Ciitibank has been a “wounded giant” for at least a decade; it’s probably insolvent now, but nobody can figure out how to wind it down. Fifth Third is a third rate bank and has been for years; if it went away nobody would notice.
    2. I love the way you refer to “top economists’ who said it was amateur hour. I read a variety of news sources and didn’t see that comment. Of course, I suppose the Hoover Institute economists that comment in the WSJ didn’t like it, but show me someone who’s a little less biased. And again, a 4% market action (and it was 4% not 5%) in the last 9 months is not unusual, strange as that sounds. It happened 9 times in October, four times in December, and a few time since the beginning of the year. Again, don’t focus on the traders. The Dow has been trading in a range from 7800 to 8600 since last summer. When it get up to the upper band, it trades down.
    3. You misread my comment about salaries. I’m saying exactly what you’re saying. Why stop at bank CEOs since everyone else receives some sort of corporate welfare? If you want to save them, save them, but we don’t need 300 million bank executives now telling banks how they should run their business. What we need is to figure out how better to regulate the financial instruments that got everyone in trouble (which, I believe, someone proposed about 4 years ago and was told to sit down and be quiet).
    4. I have no idea where this comment came from. BTW, I love the way “welfare cheaters” are always put up as a straw man. Have you ever met someone on welfare? Have you ever known anyone who has been able to benefit from a time on welfare and become a useful member of society? And no, I don’t see myself as a racist.
    5. My one very brief comment about conservatives hoping for failure was a gentle tweak. The hypocrisy I was referring to was listening to that twit Boehner looking horrified at the debt we’re going to leave our children and grandchildren. Where was he the last eight years? And why are Republicans all of a sudden calculating the cost of things with the future interest payments included? I’m not saying that’s incorrect (it certainly makes sense) but why is this the first time we hear it? Aren’t we paying interest on all the amassed debt in the last eight years? I haven’t seen a calculation of what that would come to, but it certainly result in a MORE than doubling of the national debt. So yes, I will talk about hypocrisy.
    6. Again, three weeks (OK-almost four). Come back and talk to me when they have actually had a chance to do something.
    7. You seem to believe we all get an email with “talking points.” Doesn’t happen. We actually think for ourselves.

  58. 58
    jharp Said:
    5:02 pm 

    “A CEO is accountable to his Board of Directors whose job it is to monitor corporate performance, select a CEO, and/or replace that CEO when warranted.”

    And most importantly, the Board of Directors have a fiduciary duty to the shareholders to maximize shareholder wealth, you know, the people who own the company.

    And there are a hell of of a lot of Boards that have done a terrible job.

    I, for one, believe the shareholders need more power and be able to hold the boards accountable. How that is done, I have no idea.

  59. 59
    headhunt23 Said:
    8:57 pm 

    bsjones - thanks…I appreciate that.

    I’ll have no problem saying that the people who put the bad apples back in should be held accountable (although I must confess I’m not sure what that means as i don’t know the law in this area).

    Throw them, the borrowers and the mortgage brokers in jail.

  60. 60
    bsjones Said:
    10:45 pm 

    jharp,

    Good post!!

    As I see it, the problem with these Boards of Directors is that too many of the members of the board are banksters working for other corrupt institutions. Board members have huge conflicts of interest and they would rather protect each other than their shareholders.

    It’s a huge cover up. Right now share holders and employees should be paying for the years of negligent, unethical and (often) illegal behavior of the CEO’s and their Boards. Instead the taxpayer transfer of wealth to the failed banksters started by the previous Congress and Presidential administration is continuing with the current Congress and Presidential, administration.

    The failed policies of the past are being carried over into the future by the current gang.

    There was no accountability in the past, there is no accountability now, and I doubt there will be any accountability in the future.

    Vote All the Bums Out!!

  61. 61
    bsjones Said:
    11:27 pm 

    headhunt23,
    I’m back at the keyboard….

    I was thinking about what you wrote in post #54.

    Specifically: The problem was the investment bankers assumed that those mortgages were verified by the lending institutions for the necessary income and enough equity in the property. We now know it was a bad assumption, but I think if I was an investment banker it might be one I’d make too.

    Wouldn’t the Wall Street investment firms be negligent if they did not verify the loans they were repackaging (as gold) to investors?

    If the Wall Street investment firms just assumed “Hey! It’s all good! The originators know what they’re doing.” How should the stock holders in those investment firms react? Should shareholders have expected more?

    Maybe it’s just me, bit it stinks of negligence.

    In the link I posted, the person in charge of ensuring that the loans met underwriting standards was consistently overruled by her superiors. That sounds like fraud and complicity.

    Finally, as your post points out, the way the whole thing was set up with originators selling loans to banks, banks bundling loans to sell to investment houses, and investment houses selling pieces of these loans to thousands of investors living all around the world just seems disastrous.

    Do you think a more robust government oversight is necessary?

  62. 62
    JB "WHEELS" WEGENER Said:
    6:49 am 

    QUESTION…

    I WOULD LIKE SOMEONE HERE TO EXPLAIN WHY WE ARE NOT BEING TOLD WHERE THE MONEY IS GOING !!!
    IF ANYONE HERE THINKS THAT THEY KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION PLEASE EXPLAIN !!!

    SFS
    WHEELS

  63. 63
    JB "WHEELS" WEGENER Said:
    6:54 am 

    Maby this is the answer..?

    Mortgage-backed securities are like boxes of chocolates. Criminals on Wall
    Street stole a few chocolates from the boxes and replaced them with turds.
    Their criminal buddies at Standard & Poor rated these boxes AAA Investment
    Grade chocolates. These boxes were then sold all over the world to
    investors. Eventually, somebody bites into a turd and discovers the crime.
    Suddenly nobody trusts American chocolates anymore……worldwide!

    Congress made American taxpayers buy up and hold all these boxes
    of turd-infested chocolates for $700 billion dollars until the market for
    turds returns to normal. Meanwhile, the Wall Street criminals who stole
    all the good chocolates are not being investigated, arrested, or indicted,

    nor are their aiders and abettors in Congress.

    Mama always said: ‘Sniff the chocolates first, Forrest’.

    Quote of the day from a fund manager: “This is worse than a divorce… I’ve
    lost half of my net worth and I still have my wife..”

    The bailout, a different perspective.

    Back in 1990, the Federal Government seized the Mustang Ranch brothel in
    Nevada for tax evasion and, as required by law, tried to run it. They failed
    and it closed. Now we are trusting the economy of our country to a pack of
    nit-wits in Congress who couldn’t make money running a whore house and
    selling booze? Run, Forrest, run!
    __________________

    SFS
    WHEELS

  64. 64
    sara in va Said:
    8:05 am 

    #62 Wheels

    The money is going to China and foreign governments. We need to prop them, keep em liquid so they can turn around and buy more of our treasuries. The top dogs can’t say it, the average Joe would not understand, the average Joe has no clue about trade wars and such. Buy American! sounds perfect to him.

  65. 65
    bsjones Said:
    12:53 pm 

    I believe that many of the politicians and bureaucrats who run Washington view ordinary American citizens with contempt. The power brokers I am speaking of do not think we citizens deserve anything other than child-like explanations (and outright lies) when they justify their policy decisions to us. The electorate is treated like two year old children that will be told we are moving next week because of daddy’s job.

    This, in my view, is a central fact of American political life. There are so many examples of this contempt for ordinary Americans that I will leave it to others to post examples.

    WARNING!!

    This is a test. Both parties are guilty of this contempt for America’s people. Anyone who can only find examples from the “other guy’s” party, will expose him or herself as an ideologue who is unwilling to accept the reality of how our government works.

  66. 66
    headhunt23 Said:
    2:41 pm 

    bsjones - I wrote that based on the assumption I was operating on earlier (erroneous) that the investmetn houses were just acting as clearing houses and not spot checking the individual loans. As you pointed out my fallacy, I no longer agree with that statement.

    As to your follow on question, it is my understanding that the federal oversight was authorized, but just not exercised - the rating agencies were just slapping “AA”, “A” and “BBB” ratings without adequate checking. So, kind of like lots of other crimes, it is more of a matter of government properly executing their duties rather than creating new laws and agencies to respond to the question (not that the SEC couldn’t/shouldn’t be expanded [although I'm not saying that]).

  67. 67
    bsjones Said:
    11:24 pm 

    Exactly!!!

    The agency that monitors these transactions already exists!! However, even after that agency is repeatedly warned about corruption, lies, and malfeasance from insiders, the agency insist on doing nothing. Then, when all the horses have left the barn, a Congressional Subcommittee holds a show trial with silly charts and other childish props.

    Why? Why does our government work this way?

    I believe it because both parties are on the payroll.

    It works like this:

    Congresswoman Y (D) has a husband who needs a job. He gets a six figure job from the industry that that she regulates.

    Senator X (R) wants a new house. The company that wants a natural resource contract in X’s state have a fully furnished house that they don’t happen to need right now. Of course, Senator X is grateful and wishes to show his appreciation.

    Congressman Z’s (D) subcommittee controls investment banking regulation. Congressman Z likes male prostitutes. (He’s really straight, of course. Not like Barney fag.)

    and on, and on, and on…

    In the words of Don Corleone: “Good. Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me. But, until that day, accept this justice as a gift on my daughter’s wedding day.”

    Summary: Our government has been sold to banksters and other special interests for a freezer full of Omaha steaks.

    TRUE CONSERVATIVES:
    Go ahead. Explain to me about “free speech” and the vital role these special interests play in preserving our Republic.

    last jab: If it’s free speech, why does it cost so damn much?

  68. 68
    Rick Moran Said:
    8:33 am 

    WEGNER:

    IF YOU STOPPED WRITING IN ALL CAPS, YOUR COMMENTS WOULD BE PUBLISHED.

    ED.

  69. 69
    JB "WHEELS" WEGENER Said:
    8:58 am 

    Sara…

    I think that we average Joe’s would understand very well whats going on if the powers that be would print , what they don’t want us to know, and thats why they do not print it !

    If they did we would have a chance to ,and indeed wouild, vote them out of office and that is the main reason they keep the average Joe the voter in the dark !!!

    SFS
    WHEELS

  70. 70
    JB "WHEELS" WEGENER Said:
    1:18 pm 

    Ed…I have been a member of an old warriors club for a long time and we do not care about spelling etc. but I will try hard to get it right for your fine blog !
    Thanks for allowing me to stay , you and the blog are very interesting and will comment where I can !

    I can understand everything that is being said but cannot write to it the way you young college folks can !

    Thank you !

    SFS Wheels

  71. 71
    AST Said:
    6:41 pm 

    You’re not the only one who’s worried.

    I was reflecting recently about all this, and it occurred to me that the leaders of my church (LDS) have been preaching all my life that we should avoid debt like the plague. A few years back, I finally took them seriously, and quit using credit cards and we paid off our home.

    But the government has been luring people, especially young couples into assuming huges debts for houses bigger than I could ever afford. And now they’re defaulting in droves, the banks who bought those mortgages are tanking, and the government is trying to fill the empty hole in the economy with borrowed money. We have too many sophisticated terms for debt and too many sophisticated ways of making money through borrowing. There has always been a safe point in this game, but I think that we blew past it quite a way back.

    We have built a house of cards and the wind is blowing.

    Great piece, Mr. Moran, even if it does leave me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

  72. 72
    bsjones Said:
    12:56 am 

    Headhunt23,
    In comment 61, I asked if you thought more robust government oversight and regulation were necessary in light of the current global banking collapse.

    Allen Greenspan,a self-avowed disciple of Ayn Rand, thinks so!!

    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2009/02/greenspans-updated-doctrine.html

    This Is So Huge!! Not only because it is a 180 degree turn and a mea cupla for Greenspan, but because I think it is an illustration of refusing to look at the world through our ideological glasses when they no longer help us see. As Rick said, “And until we can show we are making a serious effort to examine where we went wrong and embrace the world as it is and not as we wish it to be in some alternate reality” we conservatives will continue to be in the political wilderness.

    Greenspan is pointing the way to a new dynamic conservatism that is based on current facts and circumstances. How? Simply by accepting what is.

  73. 73
    THE SAD REALITY « THE NORTHERN SPY Pinged With:
    11:37 pm 

    [...] change, ’cause they ain’t very bright. I don’t care where they went to school, as RWNH explains with startling clarity. I couldn’t have said it better [...]

  74. 74
    headhunt23 Said:
    12:29 pm 

    bsjones:

    I don’t necessarily have a problem with regulation, surely there are portions of the financial markets which are under regulated (and there are undoubtably portions which are over regulated). I just have a problem with dumb and/or non-sensical regulations or regulations being applied without proper common sense.

    I’m not so foolish as to believe that people will usually do the wright thing, particularly when information is asymetrical as it is in financial markets. It’s just that the pesky question of “how” keeps popping up.

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