torches and pitchforks
Well, maybe not fine, since the global economy is completely, totally, and irredeemably fucked (only a household debt jubilee can save us!). As we've been saying for a while around here, the future holds two decades, or more!, of deflation, defaults, bankruptcy, sovereign restructuring their social program obligations (Note that in the lingo of dominant creditor class, this is called "austerity" instead of "default" because the people they're fucking are poor and middle class). But let's start with a comment from the Economist magazine: Read more about It's The End Of The World As We Know It, And I Feel Fine
There is a fundamental disconnect among many people about what they think is a "bailout," and what a bailout actually is. This disconnect is well represented by the following bumper sticker. The simple fact is that, with the exception of a couple people who had their notes cancelled by the courts due to fraud, bad faith, a lack of standing, or other misconduct, no mortgage holder anywhere in the United States have ever received a government bailout. Period. Read more about What A Bailout Is And Is Not: Or Why You Should Run Away From Your Debt
People are flawed, in fact pretty much everybody is completely fucked up in one way or another. It's human nature, it's always been that way, and it will always be that way - not a goddamn thing we can do to change it. But there are things that, as a society we can do to make lives better. For example, I'm all for a broad social safety net, and I think that Social Security and Medicare are, for the most part good programs. Read more about Of Bananas and Oligarchs: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World
[Welcome, C&L readers! -- lambert]
Charles Wilson, the President of General Motors once famously said during congressional hearings that, as Secretary of Defense, he would be able to make a decision adverse to the interests of GM but that such a situation was virtually inconceivable "because for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa". For decades, Charles Wilson has stood alone as the Platonic ideal of corporate whores and douchebags who have no compunction about plundering the public and the Treasury to serve their corporate ends, because, well, hey if it's good for us, it's good for the America. Read more about Lloyd, You're Confusing "America" And "Goldman Sachs" Again
A survey released by the National Federation of Independent Business ("The Voice of Small Business"), showed that optimism among small business owners declined in March (h/t Financial Armageddon). Bloomberg covered the survey's release and it ain't a pretty picture:
The National Federation of Independent Business’s optimism index dropped to 86.8 last month from 88 in February, the Washington-based group said today. Seven of the index’s 10 components declined last month and two were unchanged from February.
Who knew that the AFEP had this kind of rhetorical power? Only days after telling Krugman to stop acting like a dipshit, our man Paul has come around, sort of. He pretends that those who argue, strongly, in favor of reducing the size of the too big too fail banks are actually arguing this: Read more about Krugman Goes To Battle With A Strawman, Wins
The only reason I can afford some pretzels, beer, and if I'm feeling really frisky, some chicken wings, is because I'm not sending any goddamn money to the vultures holding my debt. So, putting this thought in the category of "provocative" is perhaps a bridge too far:
Here’s a provocative thought: what if ‘extend and pretend’ within our nation’s troubled mortgage markets is actually providing a lift to consumer spending? It’s not as far-fetched as the idea might initially sound, and it might help explain some interesting data we’ve seen as of late — and it also might explain why the statistical recovery we’re seeing now doesn’t really feel like a recovery to most Americans.
Or as I might say, "no shit Sherlock!" This is exactly what's going on. Fuck, the only reason I'm not out there starving in the street right now, is because I can't be thrown out of my house under my state's law for another 7 months. As Yoda might say, "Some big fucking mystery, it is not."
But this is what it all comes down to, isn't it? The rich get bailed out by the government securing all of the securitized debt "assets," so when I go broke, whoever holds my mortgage, credit card debt, and/or student loans doesn't share in my misery. Meaning they have no incentive to negotiate down the amount that I owe them - why the fuck would they? They get their money no matter what. At the first sign of trouble the government steps in to secure the payment stream, and nobody says boo about that monumental plundering of the public treasury to protect the rich. Read more about The Poor Man’s Stimulus And The Rich Man’s Plunder