Monday, December 08, 2008

No Pats on the Back for Anyone.

Call me crazy, but I just don’t think anyone deserved a Nobel Prize for Economics this year. To say Paul Krugman is brilliant, is beside the point. Alan Greenspan is also brilliant... So what?

Nobody talked about derivatives, structuring, subprime etc. until Bear Stearns suddenly found itself with a crippling amount of bad debt in its portfolios this past summer. I don’t think I’d ever heard the term “subprime” until August of this year.

Whenever a shady term like “prime” gets a negative prefix masquerading as a positive prefix like “sub”… someone is about to get hurt.

Then investment bank after investment bank panicked and called the government for help this year. They called that same government that they claimed was historically hampering its profit margins with laws, regulations and limits. Financial institutions called Washington begging for taxpayer dollars. Isn’t that ironic? Companies that have entire accounting divisions, lobbying firms and legal departments devoted to finding ways to pay as little tax to the United States as possible want to be bailed out. They’ve smartened up and are now speaking of low interest “loans,” but let’s not kid ourselves: they want our tax money.

This is not what Capitalism is supposed to be. Capitalism is not the breaking of laws, use of loopholes, or tax-backed risk-free profiteering. Monopoly and oligarchy are the only things enabled by the deregulation that L’aissez Faire economics or what I call “Lawless Commerce” bring about that normal, regulated Capitalism cannot.

David Cay Johnston, pictured at the top of this post, has been writing books on the dangers of free market capitalism, deregulation, under-the-table subsidies and the out-of-control tax breaks for the Rich in America. Johnston’s name never seems to come up when people talk about the now “suddenly broken” economy, yet he’s been writing about this for a couple of years.

The same media outlets devoted to business coverage that failed to spot the Enron and WorldCom disasters before it was too late in 2000, dropped the ball again only eight years later. Once again billions of dollars in retirement savings and investments have simply evaporated.

We are in a recession again, and I don’t see any criminal investigations or frankly any real investigative reporting going on as to why this happened again so soon across so many sectors. Why was there another bubble, another crash? The media isn’t interested because it is owned by big business.

Have I mentioned recently how angry I am at Eliot Spitzer for stupidly terminating his own career? Have I mentioned how angry I am at Ralph Nader for taking his eyes off the ball and focusing on the White House?

Nobody deserves any accolades right now. The people of the United States deserve answers and justice. They have been stolen from yet again by the banks, the corporations, big industry and all our representatives in government want to do is loan money to the thieves.

The heads of the biggest American Automakers are driving to Washington in a contrived show of humility to our lawmakers. These executives should be made to crawl up the steps of Congress on their hands and knees for all they have wrought. They lobbied to have SUVs reclassified as light sport trucks… and now they’re crying for help.


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