Wednesday, September 24, 2008

25 Observations On The Great Financial Meltdown Of The Year Aught Eight

(1.) It's no surprise that senior citizens are among the most vocal opponents of the $700 billion financial bailout plan. Only they can recall first hand the privations of the Great Depression, the last great systemic collapse of American financial institutions.

(2.) Efforts by both Republicans and Democrats to the contrary, the meltdown does not have partisan roots. Both parties must share in the blame.

(3.) Some shameless commentators are hinting that it's all the fault of colored people.

(4.) The last major U.S. financial scandal was the Keating Five. It is obvious that we learned little from the $160 billion savings-and-loan bailout (300 billion in today's dollars), least of all John McCain.

(5.) Yes, George Bush is a lame-duck president. But he has so little credibility that his cheerleading seems like so much background noise, and his cancellation of a fundraising trip so he could lead the bailing was appropriately greeted with derision.

(6.) American's faith in its financial institutions has been shattered, while the approval rating of the man who will sign the bailout plan legislation is now lower than Richard Nixon's the week that he resigned.

(7.) And that man's record when it comes to must-have emergency measures with no strings attached is awful.

(8.) It is, in fact, Henry Paulson who is running the show. That means that the Treasury secretary has an obligation to be absolutely clear about the course he is charting. Instead, he has been absolutely vague except when it comes to fear mongering, including the inane claim that the U.S. might slide into a recession if there isn't quick action.

(9.) While there remains some question about whether the U.S. is technically in a recession, most Americans will tell you that it sure feels like one.

(10.) While the recovery of Wall Street and world financial markets late last week was greased by a big down payment on that $700 billion, it was predicated on the belief that the bailout plan will work.

(11.) There is no guarantee that the bailout plan will work.

(12.) The bailout plan punishes the sharecroppers and rewards the plantation owners.

(13.) Beyond malfeasance on the part of the titans of the financial industry and government, the biggest reason for the meltdown is that there is way too much debt. The bailout plan does not address that.

(14.) As it now stands, the bailout plan contains no provisions for judicial review, oversight or pay limits on the executives of firms that would be bailed out. Senator Christopher Dodd's alternative plan does all that and more.

(15.) As well as no punitive measures for the companies being bailed out because, as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke explains, anything short of a handout might discourage them from participating. Duh!

(16.) The meltdown is a pungent illustration of how a free-market economy suffers when the government colludes with and fails to regulate financial institutions.

(17.) As tempting as it is, the bailout plan must not be loaded down with stimulus measures although they are badly needed.

(18.) Homeowners holding the short end of the stick are getting trampled in the mad rush to bail out the bigs. A one-year mortgage foreclosure moratorium on primary residences as part of any bailout package makes sense.

(19.) Pardon me for asking, but how am I and other taxpayers going to be paid back? And no I Bailed Out Wall Street & All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt jokes, okay?

(20.) Iraq is sitting on $80 billion in oil profits. Al-Maliki: can you spare a dime?

(21.) The next president will inherit a $500 billion budget deficit and the costs of the bailout plan. Barack Obama says his spending plans may have to be delayed as a consequence, while John McCain, who also wants to keep the Forever War going, says he will cut taxes.

(22.) But, hey, here's some good news: The collapse of the housing market slowed last month.

(23.) But, hey, here's some bad news:There's still no bottom in sight.

(24.) Unlike the 1929 Crash, there have been no suicides reported, let alone leaps from the windows of bank buildings.

(25.) The Great Financial Meltdown of 2008 is fraught with irony, but none is bigger than the fact that the conservative architects of the deregulation movement have become what they long railed against -- socialists.

1 comment:

jj mollo said...

How do we know what the likely outcomes are? Why shouldn't we trust the money men? I mean, after all, we should be aware by now that these events are endemic to capitalism. No one really understands how to predict or prevent them. How do we know Paulson isn't hiding the worst of it from us in order to prevent a public panic?