17 April 2011

Sunday Morning Rant

I’ve been reading a little about the origins of the financial crisis of 2008-09. I say a little because so much of the conceptual framework eludes me: I took macro-and micro-economics in college, but that was not a few years ago, and besides the times have changed. As have the concepts and the products.
I remember when we bought the house and we went to the local bank to acquire a mortgage. The process was fairly intimate: we filled out the forms with help from the bank personnel, they took care of the business endsin Wisconsin there is no need for the involvement of lawyers—and when the time came for signing the papers we all sat around and conversed on a first name basis. The bank had lent us the money for our home. We repaid the bank every month.
But at some time the rules changed. I recall making some query to my personnel banker and discovering that my mortgage had been sold! I guess I didn’t pay too much attention to the details because nothing about my monthly payment had changed. But it turned out that this sale of mortgages was part of the impending financial crisis in ways I only partly understand. I still can’t comprehend the business end of selling mortgages to make money. And as for hedge funds and derivatives . . . well, I’m not going there.
I know from reading the articles that I can hardly make any sense at all of the ‘products’ and ‘methods’ Wall Street and the banking community has employed to maximize their profits even at the expense of the people whom they were supposed to be working. I know that some of the ‘products’ and ‘methods’ are comprehensible only to those who invented them, and that investigators actually require the Wall Street crooks to explain the means by which they robbed the poor to pay the rich. And to even make some of the wealthy not so rich. The financial crisis from all that I have read was caused in large part by greed and deception, and I can honestly say that I was not part of that crime. 
And then there were the two wars started by George Bush, wars now almost ten years old. I cannot even begin to measure the monies we have spent in Afghanistan and Iraq and now in Libya.
And now the Republicans (“Curse you, Red Baron!”) are blaming the unions and the teachers (at least) for the financial state the country now suffers. Entitlement programs, education, medical care, social security, retirement pensions, the arts and sciences are all subject to dramatic budget cuts because the deficit has become too large, they say. I was not part of that crime. Wall Street bankers continue to make record salaries, oil companies remain profitable as gasoline prices rise, and the politicians (Republican and Democrat) demand that the working and middle class population suffer in the repair of the economy while the culpable continue in their immoral practices. Tax breaks and bonuses (!) for the rich continue to proliferate as salaries and benefits for those who honestly work in lives of mostly quiet desperation continue to decline.
I wonder how they can look at themselves in the mirror? I open the papers and I am nauseated by the demagoguery of the politicians and pundits who would rather blame the victims than offer them aid, and who cannot punish the guilty for fear of retribution from their power.
The willing blindness is criminal, and they should be made to suffer for their behaviors.  I want to see somebody complicit in all of this go to prison. I want to see the rich and famous pay our way out of this situation. I’m tired of buying their ease. And I want to hear someone in government call out these dissemblers for what they are: cruel and self-serving demogogues. Some one has to stand up and say, “Jane, you ignorant slut . . .”
Where is my President?


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