Ce qu'elle a dit ce soir-là
Réalisant mon espoir
Je me lance vers la gloire... OK -- Talking Heads
George Monbiot is shrill:
Monbiot avers to the classic "all poodles are dogs, but not all dogs are poodles" chestnut, which is at least intellectually honest:
Here we're getting closer to the nut. Success in the high-stakes finance world is not predicated on raw skill; there is very little chance that Jamie Dimon or Lloyd Blankfein possesses skill sets that the average college graduate could not be trained for in, say, a year or two. Yes, they are highly specialized skill sets, but not uniquely so.
More and more, it becomes clear that their defining characteristic is willingness to push boundaries, to engage in what would previously have been considered transgressive behavior.
Finally the crux of the biscuit.
Exactly. The persistent myth has been that taxes and regulations must be kept low in order to maintain robust growth and profits. Well, what of that, then? Both have been at historic lows for the entirety of this preceding decade, the paper profits of which have been wiped clean -- except, of course, for the engineers of that destruction. Securitization policies were upended to facilitate this mendacious scamboogery, and we can all see the results.
Yet again, the myth persists that if we just stay the proverbial course, the ship will right itself anon.
Taibbi, per usual, has been all up in this shiznit. Handing Social Security and Medicare over to these thieves was a dreadful idea before they monkeyfucked the world economy; it is incomprehensible that any remotely serious person would still be considering such a thing at this stage of the game.
As Taibbi points out, not only is their chicanery exhaustively documented and simple to trace (though hopelessly convoluted in scope, and hence beyond the attention span of the average 'murkin, which is precisely what they count on), but so is their incompetence. You have to give props to people who have the balls to demand to be thanked and rewarded not only for their malfeasance, but for their ineptitude as well.
Here's how I've explained the situation to people, to make it a bit less muddled, feel free to use or modify as you see fit:
Say you have an idiot brother-in-law. He fancies himself a pigskin prognosticator, and decides to take a loan out on the value of his house to bet on the Super Bowl. But wait -- not only is the bank allowing him a loan at full value, they're allowing him to "leverage" on a 30:1 margin. That is, his house is worth $200K, but Bank of Stupid is letting him borrow $6 million. Still with me? Okay, good.
You can guess what happens next -- he bets on the Steelers, who lose to the Packers, and he's on the hook for way more money than he's ever going to see in his life. The bank basically tells you and your neighbors that you get to pay for it, since your asshole b-i-l sure as hell ain't gonna cough up a thin dime for his stupidity.
Of course, there are additional layers of complexity to this admittedly feeble analogy, but the point still stands. It's public subsidy/private profit at its worst.
Now, to add insult to njury, the richies are bemoaning their lot, and pushing back against the tubthumping DFHs in the park, with their usual condescending sneer:
Here is a perfect example of why I detest bien pensant limo libs nearly as much as I despise the usual mouth-breathing, window-licking, up-to-the-fourth-knuckle nose-picking conservatards. Animals like Mike Bloomberg, who presents a media-friendly image and aligns perfectly with their socially-liberal-but-fundamentally-authoritarian impulses, know perfectly well that there's more than enough blame to go around.
As long as Bloomberg appears "progressive" enough on vital issues such as abortion and gay marriage, these putatively librul tools could give less than two shits about whether he regards the peons as human beings. Not that abortion and gay marriage aren't relevant issues, but I'll go out on a limb and stipulate that everyone's right to live a decent life commensurate with the work they put out is a tad more critical.
But Bloomberg, his proxies, and complicitly his starstruck audiences, they're all happy to lay it all at the feet of the one group that has no media or political presence whatsoever -- the working stiffs who got juked into these bullshit mortgages.
Yes, they should have known better, yes they should have done the math and figured it out. But a lot of people made -- and are still making -- a shitload of money for all that, really for taking deliberate advantage of their lack of financial sophistication.
Even worse, in addition to the foreclosed millions you hear about, there are millions more -- I count myself among them -- who did everything right, spent wisely, lived frugally, locked in the mortgage rate opportunistically, didn't use the HELOC as an ATM, and still got fucking hosed by decimated property values, reduced credit limits, fewer decent job opportunities, etc. Trust me folks, there's no reward whatsoever for doing things "right", and indeed only the finest of lines between those folks and the folks who are being jeered at by smug billionaires for their supposed stupidity and recklessness.
Really, if there's one thing that Bloomberg and his scumbag friends have proven time and again, it's that stupidity and recklessness pays quite handsomely, provided one has taken care to rent the right people ahead of time.
As the slow burn of Europe continues apace, and eventually spreads here, and shit really starts raining down, keep all that in mind when it's time to choose a side. Wall Street has the moral compass of a Mexican drug cartel. These motherfuckers would skin you alive and feed you your own nutsack if they thought it'd gain them two cents on their portfolio.
Has nothing to do with the virtues of "capitalism", the magic of the "free market", or the vicissitudes of the peons. It's just the nature of the beasts. Perhaps a viewing of Grizzly Man might jog one's perception of how this thing really works.