Sunday, July 05, 2009

Republicons Behaving Badly (~Surprise!~)

Caribou Barbie for Prez

So, this a real surprise! Sarah abdicates her governor's mansion for nonsensical, incoherent reasons. Check Gail Collins in the New York Times:
Your ever-watchful Demon dares to opine that if running for President is on her agenda, it would be the greatest thing EVER for this country ~ the finishing nails on the coffin of a GOP that, sadly, refuses to recognize that it is dead, and persists in walking upright (loosely speaking). The uber-right-winger of Alaska made such a hash of it in the 1st go-round, we can hardly wait to see what gaffes she'll pull in the next.
More: Exhibit B: John Boehner, a sterling example of the kind of knee-jerk whinging, whining and ideological wailing denial of climate change that has irked us citizen-onlookers for years now. Not that a member of Congress should not be able to take a critical view of a particular bill, no. What offends Your Demon is that John and his ilk seem to think they still matter on the large stage. All that grandstanding and orotund oratory is just wearisome, dude. Give it a rest.
Go into the light, my misguided friends, while the rest of us go about the heavy work of mopping up after eight long years of your Unholy messes!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Bizness as Usual, No Change: Another Voice (Is Obama Listening?)

Those Cadillac-Driving Welfare Queens on Wall Street~surprise! still no accountability!
On C-span tonight, Janet Tavakoli, a very sharp, succinct financial expert, took on topics such as Tim Geithner ("part of the problem, not the solution"), "financial meth labs", incompetence at the SEC, "backdoor bailouts," and the global financial meltdown being created by the very people Obama now hopes (improbably) will "fix" it, "widespread fraud," a "bought Congress"not doing a damned thing about it, and, of course, still- unanswered questions why the mainstream media "isn't nailing them" all.
Present policies are "misguided... we're delaying fixing the problem by giving comfort to the financial system...unwarranted comfort."
"Instead of shutting them down (e.g. JPMorgan Chase), they just accelerated..."

"Hank Paulson was 'an interested man' who made decisions to the benefit of his former employer. This myth about Goldman Sachs being the best and the brightest is similar the AIG myth."

"The taxpayer is foooting the bill for a lot of malfeasance and Congress is not questioning wasn't an innocent mistake, it wasn't the 'Black Swan'..."we have a lot of 'interested men'" pulling strings to benefit themselves at taxpayer expense.

"Citigroup should have been put into receivership instead of getting $40 billion," and (still another) "non-transparent back-door bailout which propped up the price of Citi's stock."

"There is no magic bullet answer, but we need to get back to prudent finance...there are a lot of sound banks, but we have to go after the bad guys. We can't keep bailing out the bad banks...there's a lot of lying going on [regarding JP Morgan Chase's Jamie Dimon's assertions that toxic assets are somehow no longer toxic].

Click on the Flash video to watch:
What's scarier, and not at all unlikely, is more of the same in the new(er) proposal to put taxpayers at risk while encouraging privateers to buy up toxic assets ~ there is, apparently, NOT A THING preventing the same 'interested men' bidding on and driving up the price of their own stinking garbage, leaving taxpayers holding the bag--in other words, the same old shenanigans. See here: (tip o' the tinfoil hat to Anonymous Liberal):


Monday, March 30, 2009


Cadillac-Driving Welfare Queens in the 21st Century

Right-Wing Free-Marketeers Scream "Socialism" at News that GM CEO Asked to Resign by White House
Nobody listens~
Your Demon's "quote of the day," from the Washington Post/Slate website commentary on the sudden precipitous decline of confidence in the MBA degree:
"If we ask why no one stopped these people, however, we come right back to business school. It was the market fundamentalism that dominates business school thinking that assured us that markets are self-regulating. It was the management myth—the idea that there is some specialized, teachable body of expertise that constitutes management—that confirmed the strange notion that these people were capable of regulating themselves. And it was the shareholder-value model from Business 101 that said all you need to do is load up managers with tons of stock options and they'll be sure to do the right thing. These aren't just ideas that happen to be taught at business school; these are the ideas that provide the rationale for the existence of the schools.
"The only semblance of a theory behind modern business education is that it purportedly produces 'experts' in shareholder-value maximization who are capable of forming an ideal, self-regulating market.
"It's a neat theory, of course, and pretty radical, too. But not since the fall of the Soviet Union has a system of belief woken up with so many parking tickets on its windshield."
Extra-Credit reading assignment: on the GOP's exploitation of the "Lemon Populism" eight years of their concerted efforts did so much to bring about:
"The clearest sign that the recent strain of populism may turn out to be a lemon is how quickly the GOP rushed to embrace it. Conservatives are now running attack ads against AIG bonuses—which is pretty rich, considering that the AIG bailout began under a conservative administration whose guiding economic theory was to reward risk and to lower taxes on high compensation. Republicans aren't running those ads to usher in a new era of equality; they want to poison the well against government action of any kind, from the economy to health care."


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wall Street Impervious to Self-Created Global Economic Meltdown

AIG Bonuses Threaten Wall Streeters' American Way of Life; America's "Marie Antionette Moment"?
Sad to say, it seems to this Demon that Obama's normally close-to-perfect ear for political pitch has failed him where his ongoing efforts to turn the problem over to the very people who created it are concerned, and who, Demon dares opine, counted on "helicopter Ben" to bathe Wall Street in taxpayer cash and politely look away while Geinther and Dodd tucked obscene bonuses in their tailored suit pockets.
Demon is thinking that Wall Street knew damned well that they wouldn't be allowed to go under, no matter how egregious their behavior. Thus the extreme arrogance and preposterous sense of entitlement.
Everyone, it seems, has been caught flatfooted by the "populist" outrage that ensued. Good news: It's the first time in many years that your Demon has been gratified to know that Americans ARE indeed paying attention.
Better late than never. It is the equivalent of paying a finder's fee/reward to the arsonist who burned your house down, and while it would have been much preferable to have in place prophylactic mechanisms to prevent such a thing iin the first place, it HAS happened, and somehow the privileged moneyed classes who benefitted when times were good (and they were very, very good for a long time, for certain people, at least-- I can't resist the urge to say toldja so) have managed to convince the humble taxpayer that we must throw more heaps of our cash into the funeral pyre and plague them NOT them with our bothersome requests for accountability.
Too, I am baffled and mystified that Obama isn't taking steps to discipline the Welfare Queens and strip them of their positions and the temptation that will surely cause more of the same -- oh, silly me!
I forget--THEY own the government and representatives; we don't. They own our taxpayer funds, and will"tell" us what they intend to do with them. They ruined the global economy, and they still have jobs, marshalling our money around! Quite a feat. "A" for ingenuity, boys!
Since Obama, who is normally quite astute about his press, seems to have missed it, I'm doing the public service of providing a link to Bill Moyers discussing with the former head of the International Monetary Fund how third-world-government-by-teeny-pointy-headed-and-tin-pot dictatorship- self-serving oligarchy this all feels. Hardly fitting for what was once the world's most powerful economy, and one that had supposedly learned its lessons in the Great Depression of the last century.
Keeping in mind, of course, that Democracy-for-sale got a big boost in the Clinton Administration, and "corporate Democrats," of whom Obama is rumored to be one (along with Nancy Peolosi, who was heard opining a day or two ago that there's no need to pursue the matter of the bonuses anymore because the oligarchs at AIG have surely gotten the message by now). It's head-spinning, that's what it is.
More today: from Harper's running commentary blog:
But that's not all of the scandalous story regarding the hijacking of "democracy" in service of the gluttonous rich wanting to get much, much, richer--it's the fact that such wealth has simultaneously loosed itself from any particular geographic confines, making the "construct" of a home country such as America irrelevant to anyone but the poor bastards who don't have enough money to relocate, nor a place to go that's generating real middle class jobs and less economically perilous ground. The world has been made safe for Cannibal Capitalism.
And that's what really scares me, as well as the fact that, just when we need to put our heads together and arrive at a solution, somehow make our politicians (who are, after all, OUR employees) as well as the cannibal captains of commerce understand that they cannot expect us to rescue them when they've also destroyed the economy and our ability to work our way out of this mess for a long time to come, we're still hampered by the fact that we're fighting "culture wars" over "wedge issues" invented by the extreme right-wingers whose political greed matched, if not exceeded, that of the cannibal capitalists themselves.
So, while I support Obama generally, I also think his political instincts tend toward finding a center--but, what was the "center" is nonexistent now, thanks to the extreme right wing and their dogmatic (often comically so) positions on everything over the past eight years. They have arrogantly overplayed their hand, and most people are sick to death of their whining, their ideology-trumps-reality stance, and their unpatriotic obstructionism. I have hope that Obamawill soon realize that to a certain (but unusually vocal) minority of them he absolutely can't do anything right, so he may as well write them off and go forward rather continue to try fruitlessly to appease them.
I also have the sense that, if he thinks he has political will behind him, he will move more boldly -- he is no one's definition of a coward. I am heartened, but I still wish he'd move more quickly to clean house where the self-serving and self-interested Wall Street oligarchy is concerned.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Ponder this electoral map and consider how close it was:


As Nation Waits With Bated Breath, Bushco Pursues Nefarious Last-Days To Do List

We'll all be glued to our tubes tonight, on this, the most important Presidential election eve in recent memory, waiting for the early election returns--more than half of us, your Demon ventures to opine, ready to leave the country, or at least seriously contemplate it--if the man above wins, others ready to mourn and tear their clothes if he doesn't, with some religious types opting to sit this one out in protest (if my admittedly inexpert polling holds true).
But the current occupants of the White House aren't sitting on their keisters, oh no (for a change).
Besides securing access to Iraq's oil for friends and contributors a month or so ago (sorry, your Demon has been so harried of late she forgets where she read it, but is certain Cheney had a paw in it), today's New York Times points out that "President Bush’s aides have been scrambling to change rules and regulations on the environment, civil liberties and abortion rights, among others — few for the good. Most presidents put on a last-minute policy stamp, but in Mr. Bush’s case it is more like a wrecking ball. We fear it could take months, or years, for the next president to identify and then undo all of the damage.
Here is a look — by no means comprehensive — at some of Mr. Bush’s recent parting gifts and those we fear are yet to come."
If you're not sufficiently motivated to get out and vote (and there's time enough to do it) read this:


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Protection For Irresponsible Free-Marketeers

But Not, Necessarily, For YOU, Plebe!
With today's news that Paulson is about to funnel taxpayer funds to more insurance comapanies, despite the fact that he really doesn't have the authority to do so (but since when does the absence of Congressional authority mean anything to a neocon corporate capitalist--just ignore valiantly all signs that fantastical ideologically-based thinking hasn't worked and then run to Congress with a three-page proposal and they'll have to pass it or risk losing their jobs along with the rest of the plebes!), we get a clearer sense of how neo-socialism is going to work--more robbing from the middle and working classses to distribute upwards, with no or few apparent consequences for the abject profligacy of the neo-robber barons of the past eight years.
Again, your Demon wants to know, where are the protections for the plebes whose wallets are being raided and futures mortgaged--you know, girls and boys--reworking of bankruptcy laws, usury laws on the terms and conditions of credit, and investigating whether insurance companies are going to continue to be able to charge average joes higher premiums based on problems with credit in the past--and what did that ever have to do, really, with insurabilty where products aimed at average people--home, auto, life--are concerned, anyway?
While you're at it, Congress, start considering how credit problems affect average people looking for jobs--if a position doesn't involve handling of or direct access to money, why is it relevant, why is it perfectly legal (still?) With the number of layoffs sure to be coming and the disastrous effects sure to be experienced by ordinary people, whatever their political affiliation, ignoring these problems even while funnelling taxpayer funds into a never-ending bailout of the politically connected wealthy interests who caused the problems in the first place would be a move fraught with danger to the pols who attempt it as well as the health of whatever democracy we have left.
I'm jus' sayin'...

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Friday, October 24, 2008

The Dress-Me Caribou Barbie Special

Conspicuous consumption, excess focus on the superficial to the detriment of substance, silly distractions, a cynical circus of the bizarre? Just biz-as-usual for the GOP, especially as Wall Street melts down and takes the global economy with it.

All of the hullabaloo over Sarah Palin's ginormous wardrobe expenses (including high-end baby clothes for the adorable special baby who's kept up way past his bedtime in order to be a campaign stage prop) has your Demon all atwitter today. After all, I am a woman, and nothing can ever be more important than looking good in the bright light of public opinion, most especially if one is a woman, and one who's had to bear 10 children in the frozen tundra at that (although having a ruggedly handsome snowmobile-racing, moose-shooting baby-making-machine of a husband who'll lie for you to avoid a Troopergate scandal ameliorates such harsh circumstances greatly).

So, take this post with a grain of salt, Sarah, all of us are just jealous cats--mmrrrow! hsss! spit!--and all of us women out here would not at all mind breaking our manicured nails to have your looks, your man, your babies, your God-given superstar status, and Tina Fey mocking--er, imitating, us on national TV (singlehandedly reviving Saturday Night Live to its halycon status for a nation that hasn't watched it since the '70's). And, now, your $150K wardrobe. Face it girls--we all want to be Sarah Palin--it's a fantasy sequence come true! We're just in mass denial and some feminist consciousness-raising is in order!

That's what the McCain campaign thinks, anyway, and the real reason they brought an empty-headed far-right wingnut on board, surfaces in force, finally, today. If anyone attacks you they can portray it as an attack against an historically disadvantaged minority, thereby stealing any thunder the opposition might be able to rally--if only he'd pander to his "natural" constituency, which he has assiduously so far avoided--and if only a McCain campaign aide hadn't been caught lying when she accused a big bad though unfortunately NONEXISTENT black man of robbing her and carving a backwards "B" in her face in supposed retaliation for her support of McCain.

"[McCain campaign spokesperson] Wallace said the media storm about Palin's wardrobe was a terrible disservice to her and said there seemed to be a 'double-standard for women in politics.'
'That any aspect of her shoes, clothes or appearance has become a distraction is a terrible commentary on the state of the media and politics. Let's get on with our great debate about the best direction for the country in these challenging times for our economy and our nation's security' she said. "

The politics of divisiveness is alive and well in the GOP, thanks to you, and they're hoping it will stoke the fires of the closet anti-affirmative action activists still buried deep within the GOP nut-wing hatchery base--those who imagine themselves the oppressed victims of all those liberal years of government affirmative-action regulations: you know, hiring preferences and all. It was really political all along, an attempt to displace white men from positions of centuries of entrenched power and influence (which they rightfully held). Sure, women and other-colored people can achieve things, but not more than the rest of the rabble and hoi-polloi who have to come to resent it, and mightily.

Or maybe the real reason they had to spend all that money to clothe you, Sarah, was that this photo got out: you definitely need some help dressing yourself if you think this outfit makes you look like anything but a streetwalker in desperate need of some grownup sartorial direction.

RNC Shells Out $150,000:

McCain Camp Bemoans "Double Standard for Women in Politics:

Dollop of Lagniappe: McCain Volunteer Admits She Made Up Robbery Story:

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Another "Business" Too Big To Fail

Even if the 'business of America is business' (and your Demon takes issue with that postulation--the true 'business' of America is looking out for the commonweal, of which moneyed interests are only a part),the bailout is nothing short of a bloodless coup.
~ Massive transfer of wealth from 'the people' threatens to succeed only in bankrupting America, cannibal capitalists win--all y'all can all go home (if you have one). Absolutely nothing to see here, folks , move on~
So, is it supremely fitting that the American Administration destined to be remembered only infamously as the worst, most unAmerican ever bestows as its parting gift a crippling deficit too big to be imagined, or what?
Of course, the Bush administration is not entirely to blame for creating such a huge debacle--its roots go back to Mr. Morning in America himself, Reagan--but for perfecting it and taking it to its logical and disastrous conclusion, and consistently treating the federal taxpayers' monies with an approach that amounts to "friends and contributors welcome to back the trucks up to the Treasury door and take it all away," and to years of conservative think tanks, letting lobbyists write legislation and appointing foxes like Paulson to guard the henhouse, we have years of concerted and tireless Republicon efforts to thank.
Wall Street has succeeded in extorting its bailout, mostly on its own terms. Where is legislation to help the little people--say a complete repeal of the dastardly bankruptcy legislation the credit card companies managed to push though, just for starters?
Face it, America--the worst President ever and his maleific friends have just succeeded in completely subverting democracy in the name of 'capitalism'--except that, like everything else in this Administration, with its penchant for trying to convince us that up is down and other disingenuous misnomners, the fact is that 'capitalism' has somehow succeeded in privatizing profits and socializing losses, the precise opposite of what we all supposed it to be.
And don't look now, but when you lose your job, and the creditors who are the beneficiaries of this bailout-shakedown come after you, there won't be any social services left to help you get back on your feet, nor any particularly effective laws to prevent them from coming after anything you might manage to salvage.
If you're not outraged, you haven't been paying attention, as the old saw goes, and yeah, what about the plan that Sweden successfully implemented when faced with the same situation, described in a New York Times article not so long ago?
As the WaPo reports, the amount of the bailout must be borrowed because, er, we really don't have that much money on hand: "What is clear is that the Treasury will have to borrow the money: The bill increases the legal debt limit by $700 billion, to $11.3 trillion."
So what if America turns out to be "too big to fail?" Who's going to bail us out, and incidentally, own us?


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Nancy Change a l Her Mind About Something, At Least

~ but not about anything that would have any immediate effect ~

Okay, it blows your Demon's mind, the extent to which Democrats are NOT doing a very good job of wresting the country's direction back from the belligerent, bellicose neocons who have done such a thorough job of undermining and eviscerating American democracy such that all but the hard-core dead-enders can see it clearly now.

What's to argue about, Demon wants to know? There couldn't be a clearer popular mandate to head away from the bankrupt policies by which the neocons have led (more like forced) us into our own destruction, nor a more important election, nor an opposition candidate who stands more clearly for McSame.

And still the Dems can't seem to get their shit together. On any position or policy matter you can name, instead of finding a way to articulate a position and STAND by it for more than a few brief seconds of a news soundbyte, they behave as if they're scared of their own shadows--and perhaps that's more truth than metaphor, because, at root, what's wrong with the Republican party is what's wrong with the Democratic party, only less so in this particular iteration circa 2008. That's why we're so hopelessly stuck in this either/or cycle, and WILL be until somebody comes along who has the courage to dream up something new and the facility to articulate it (hopefully with the nuanced complexity it deserves).

I had hoped, now that the Republicons have been in power so long they've been thorougly and completely corrupted by it, to the point that it's almost comical ~you can be certain at this point that anything issuing from a GOP mouth is spin, propaganda, a gross oversimplification, and, most commonly, all of the above. And still the Dems regularly fall into the trap Republicons set: the extremely dumbed-down policy debates that can be encapsulated in moronic, but pithy, electioneering slogans of which Karl Rove is master.

So it is with the absurd "drill here, drill now" mantra issuing recently from McSame in Sturgis, South Dakota, and the empty play-acting of those GOP Congresscritters who would have us believe that by merely talking about it, they made gas prices fall!

Of a piece with "the recession is all in your heads" and never mind the reality on ground~ which is, all but the most menial jobs have been outsourced abroad, you may not be able to stay in your home, you may have to sell your big-ass SUV, because otherwise you may not be able to afford groceries and your healthcare premiums. And oh, by the way. while you weren't looking, we did away completely with the social safety net, which you won't realize until you fall rudely to the ground, breaking all your metaphorical bones.

Oh well!

Your Demon is more than usually irate and excercised today because both Barack Obama and now, Nancy Pelosi, are being drawn into the same old traps, letting Republicans set the terms of the debate and being drawn into meaningless quibbles about effects while completely ignoring causes.

Nancy changes her mind re offshore drilling, from a U.K. paper,which seeks to explain why to a European audience why short-sighted Americans care more about gas prices than anything else, and how the illusory chimera of hope way, WAY down the road can possibly throw the most important American election in a century to a candidate who promises only to stay a disastrous worldwide course. They get it half-right:

"But energy policy has rapidly become the hot topic of the election, overtaking even Iraq or Georgia. In a country whose cultural and economic life is dominated by the car, there are no more passionate debates than over the doubling of petrol prices in the past couple of years."

The other half of the story, the part that really matters to those of us who have to live here and watch wearily as our Dems snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory yet again, is that, for some reason that escapes me entirely, the Dems aren't apparently able to take hold of the gift that so many years of GOP dominance and arrogance have delivered right to their doorsteps--and that is pervasive corruption on a scale that truly boggles the mind and should, in any sane and healthy democracy, be on the front pages every damned day.

That the multiple and still unresolved scandals generated by the Bush Administration over the past 8 years are left to fester, grow and infect the democratic process is a travesty that can be laid directly at the spineless Democrats' feet, including and especially Pelosi and Obama. Corruption and no-nonsense proactive proposals to clean it up should be the Democrats' rallying cry from here.

"Centrism" is not a political position so much as it is a survival strategy, a way of treading water while unbelievably vicious and nasty rightwingers have made of EVERYTHING a partisan issue. WAKE UP! The worst of them are gone now, marginalized, their theories and dire predictions completely discredited, having left everything in utter disarray. There could not be a better time to begin to turn things around, while the memories are fresh and the detritus lies in heaps around our feet.

Instead we get Dems who've internalized the empty rhetoric of their abusers and can't seem to find the courage to do anything more than tinker at the edges of disastrous neocon policy and practice in every last area that matters.

Update: Truthout, the indie news organization that's doing such a wonderful job of picking up news & keeping it alive for those of us not easily distracted by garbage and fluff ( a la Fox), reports today that the upcoming Democratic Convention will move more boldly to the left--even into dreaded progressive positions (*gasp*) that have been treated as political poison for the past several decades. Is there hope after all?

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's The Absence Of Regulation, Stupid

~ While McBush tries valiantly to convince us the recession is all in our heads, those of us still dwelling in the reality-based community know better~
For those of you out celebrating the fine summer evening weather who missed it, Bill Moyers on his Friday night Journal had an excellent show about how the subprime mortgage debacle has ravaged Cleveland, Ohio, how the Fed ignored it, leaving the city, after trying to pass banking regulations that the Ohio state governor and legislature ~ all Republicans, natch ~ defeated, to ultimately to file suit against lenders whose irresponsible pursuit of profits (in the complete absence of federal regulations) had them joining in the frenzy to bundle and sell shaky mortgages, reap profits, and divest themselves of the burden of carrying the loans before entire neighborhoods (and social structures) collapsed. TV well worth watching.
Last Thursday, E.J. Dionne wrote about the collapse of Reaganomics that "the biggest political story of 2008 is getting little coverage. It involves the collapse of assumptions that have dominated our economic debate for three decades.
"Since the Reagan years, free-market cliches have passed for sophisticated economic analysis. But in the current crisis, these ideas are falling, one by one, as even conservatives recognize that capitalism is ailing.
"You know the talking points: Regulation is the problem and deregulation is the solution. The distribution of income and wealth doesn't matter. Providing incentives for the investors of capital to 'grow the pie' is the only policy that counts. Free trade produces well-distributed economic growth, and any dissent from this orthodoxy is 'protectionism.'
"The old script is in rewrite. 'We are in a worldwide crisis now because of excessive deregulation,' Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said in an interview. He notes that in 1999 when Congress replaced the New Deal-era Glass-Steagall Act with a looser set of banking rules, 'we let investment banks get into a much wider range of activities without regulation.' This helped create the subprime mortgage mess and the cascading calamity in banking.
"While Frank is a liberal, the same cannot be said of Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve. Yet in a speech on Tuesday, Bernanke sounded like a born-again New Dealer in calling for 'a more robust framework for the prudential supervision of investment banks and other large securities dealers.' Bernanke said the Fed needed more authority to get inside 'the structure and workings of financial markets' because 'recent experience has clearly illustrated the importance, for the purpose of promoting financial stability, of having detailed information about money markets and the activities of borrowers and lenders in those markets.' Sure sounds like Big Government to me.
"This is the third time in 100 years that support for taken-for-granted economic ideas has crumbled. The Great Depression discredited the radical laissez-faire doctrines of the Coolidge era. Stagflation in the 1970s and early '80s undermined New Deal ideas and called forth a rebirth of radical free-market notions. What's becoming the Panic of 2008 will mean an end to the latest Capital Rules era.
"What's striking is that conservatives who revere capitalism are offering their own criticisms of the way the system is working. Irwin Stelzer, director of the Center for Economic Policy Studies at the Hudson Institute, says the subprime crisis arose in part because lenders quickly sold their mortgages to others and bore no risk if the loans went bad. 'You have to have the person who's writing the risk bearing the risk,' he says. 'That means a whole host of regulations. There's no way around that'"
"While some conservatives now worry about the social and economic impact of growing inequalities, Stelzer isn't one of them. But he is highly critical of 'the process that produces inequality'. 'I don't like three of your friends on a board voting you a zillion dollars,' Stelzer, who is also a business consultant, told me. 'a cozy boardroom back-scratching operation offends me.' He argues that "the preservation of the capitalist system" requires finding new ways of "linking compensation to performance."
"Frank takes a similar view, arguing that CEOs 'benefit substantially if the risks they take pay off" but 'pay no penalty' if their risks lead to losses or even catastrophe - another sign that capitalism, in its current form, isn't living by its own rules.
"Frank also calls for new thinking on the impact of free trade. He argues it can no longer be denied that globalization 'is a contributor to the stagnation of wages and it has produced large pools of highly mobile capital.' Mobile capital and the threat of moving a plant abroad give employers a huge advantage in negotiations with employees. 'If you're dealing with someone and you can pick up and leave and he can't, you have the advantage.' 'Free trade has increased wealth, but it's been monopolized by a very small number of people,' Frank said. The coming debate will focus not on shutting globalization down but rather on managing its effects with an eye toward the interests of 'the most vulnerable people in the country.'"
"In the presidential campaign so far, John McCain has been clinging to the old economic orthodoxy while Barack Obama has proposed a modestly more active role for government. But the economic assumptions are changing faster than the rhetoric of the campaign. 'Reality has broken in," says Frank."
Your Demon would add ~ and with a crash.
The funny thing about the terms of economic debate in America since Reagan, certainly, is that discussions about its effects seem never to take into consideration the tendency of go-go capitalism to override and obliterate concerns about whether a functioning democracy can really survive in the face of it. Our founding fathers warned against the very thing.
But by now, I suppose, we all know that was the point, at least in the Bushworld version of radical neocon corporate capitalism.
Big Money=Big Campaign Contributions=Access, Influence and Favorable Policy Toward Big Money.
Bad Karma Lagniappe: Yesterday's MarketWatch online newsletter warned potential buyers that it's getting harder to get a mortgage, and cited as anedotal evidence the example of a Bear Stearns employee:
[...]"Case in point: One of his clients, an employee at Bear Stearns, was recently required to get a statement from the human resources department indicating continued probability of employment at the firm. The statement could not be obtained, and the mortgage wasn't approved, he said. 'They're trying to be a lot smarter than they were three, four or five years ago,' he said. "