« September 2008 »

Memo to the Bailout Barons: YOU ARE CRAZY.

I will freely admit that I am not an economics expert. For quite some time, I've pretty much kept all my money in commodities - specifically, fake plastic instruments and slightly upscale sandwiches. I think it's safe to say that I have at least as good an understanding of financial markets as John McCain, and while that's in no way impressive or worthwhile, it'll have to do.

That said, I've spent some time and done some reading, and I think I have a pretty good grasp of what's been going on with the current financial crisis. Let me give it a shot.

First, Ronald Reagan got elected. This served a a signal to start dismantling every single part of the United States regulatory system they could get away with. Since then, most of the rules put in place since the New Deal that kept rich people from either taking people's money, or inventing exciting new ways to pretend they had money, vanished. Republicans called this "creating wealth", because it was a hell of a lot easier than, say, creating actual things actual people actually wanted to buy.

The most recent example of this was the housing bubble. How it works is this. Someone loans you $200,000, on the promise that 30 years later, you'll give them $400,000. That person then turns to someone else and says, "Hey, I have $400,000. If you give me $250,000, you can have the $400,000." Person C agrees, then turns to persons D through ZZZ inclusive and says, "Hey, I've got $400,000. If you all chip in and give me $300,000, you can have the $400,000."

This continues until Person Z to the Zth Power suddenly realizes that they don't have $400,000, they have a set of keys in a mailbox outside a boarded up house filled with squirrels and/or meth addicts. But they don't want meth, they want $400,000. In fact, they NEED $400,000, because their entire life revolves around telling people they've got $400,000, and if they DON'T have $400,000, then they are fucked.

Now multiply that by billions. That's where we are right now.

And as far as I can tell, here's what Bush, McCain, Paulson, and Bernanke are proposing. The government will hand the desperate people $400,000 and get, maybe, if they're lucky, a few stashes of meth and some acorns in return. This will allow the people who lied about having $400,000 to suddenly prove they had $400,000 all along. This will also allow them to feel a great sense of relief for having escaped the consequences of thinking they had $400,000 the whole time.

Making sure these people don't experience those consequences will cost one trillion dollars, but we have to do it and we have to do it RIGHT NOW because if we don't, we will all die of starvation or shot for the gold fillings in our teeth. And we know this because the Bush Administration, with its amazing track record of picking dangers to eliminate with a trillion dollars, says so. The trillion dollars will just be added to the pile we owe China, because raising taxes is wrong.

Oh, and if you think any of this is in any way rushed or suspect, eat shit and die. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." - From the proposed bailout legislation. That's the Secretary of the Treasury, by the way. Oh, and if you think that perhaps, in exchange for spending a trillion dollars on a monumental pile of nothing, perhaps the government should exert some control over the people they're handing the $400,000 to, eat shit and die. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"We need this to be clean and to be quick, and we need to get it in place. We don't want to make it punitive." - Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who gets to buy all the meth houses he wants and you can't say a goddamned thing about it when he's done. Oh, and while I'm here:

"There are a lot of well-meaning, well-intentioned ideas out there, but they don't need to be part of this package. We don't need 535 members of Congress adding their best ideas to this bill." - House Minority Leader John Boehner, continuing his incredibly successful 18-year-long fight to keep good ideas out of Congressional legislation.

Eat shit and die. It's THIS close to being literal. Wall Street have shit themselves, and Bush has decided that if all of us eat some of the shit, his friends who shit themselves won't have to eat any of it. And next year, when President Obama takes a stab at maybe providing some half-assed health care reform to uninsured Americans, it'll be "Whoops, sorry, there's no money, we have to be fiscally responsible". That's where the dying comes in.

This would be an awful, awful idea no matter who proposed it. But when the least trustworthy motherfuckers in the history of motherfuckery are proposing it, trusting them on this plan's urgency, efficacy, or the typeface it'll finally be printed in is madness, and anyone in Congress who goes along with it is insane.