9/23/08

An event in which some people find out that they have been hung out to dry, to their astonishment.

First off, let us consider the hinterlands, the great unwashed, the American people who have been forced to pay for the Iraq War and its consequences with their ever-stagnant salaries. What do they think about all this brouhaha?

The American people blame the GOP 2:1 for the unfolding economic disaster.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The financial turmoil that has rocked global markets appears to be benefiting US presidential hopeful Barack Obama, according to a new poll released Monday that finds the Democratic candidate pulling ahead of his Republican opponent John McCain with a 51 percent to 46 percent lead.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll also finds that by a two-to-one margin Americans blame Republicans for the current financial crisis.

Forty-seven percent of registered voters say Republicans are more responsible for the state of the economy, compared to 24 percent of registered voters who say Democrats are more responsible.
Yes. Of course we do. We may be flouridated and gamma-rayed into bright smiling idiocy, but we're not dead yet. A few brain cells yet have the working synapses, ruthlessly connecting the Bush dot with the economic misery dot, over and over again.

Now let us move up a few socio-economic clicks, to the bustling corridors of Wall Street.
The title character of my 2007 novel, Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy, was inspired by a real-life shoeshiner who plied his trade among the Guccis and Ferragamos of the financial district. What a view he had! From the very bottom rung of the economic ladder, he watched Wall Street insanity of outlandish proportions: the shady world of unbelievable hedge-fund profits, the supermodel girlfriends, $5,000 bottles of wine, cocaine-fueled trading and partying, the jaw-dropping castles of the new superrich being erected in Greenwich and the Hamptons.

...Few people on the trading floor were inclined to make small talk with menial workers last week, one such worker told me, because 90 percent of the staff had put in full days over the weekend, trying to figure out the latest repercussions for their company. All day, he saw people staring at their monitors in disbelief, pausing only to yell, "What the [expletive]?" or "This is a [expletive]-show." There was none of the usual horseplay or joking around. Instead, people were screaming into their phones and then slamming them down.

Many of the traders who were used to receiving six-figure annual bonuses have started brown-bagging their lunches instead of ordering in sushi or eating out at local restaurants. "Dude, we already passed the recession," one trader explained to the worker. "This is the Depression. Save your money."

The trading floor had always seemed, to one observer, rock-solid Republican -- until recently. One staunch Republican stood up in his trading group's row and announced, to the amazed stares of his colleagues, "I'm voting for Obama. I don't care if I have to pay more taxes. I just want things to be fixed."

Oh dear. Dear dear dear. My goodness gracious. This is just terrible. Brown-bagged lunches?? What is the world coming to?

And a step about them, many in the Republicans in Congress have been left bewildered.
Last week’s deepening financial crisis and the string of bailouts engineered by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke left Republicans bewildered, whipsawed and divided over how to respond....Some members of the Republican Study Committee, which represents conservative stalwarts, were decrying the bailout plan as a step closer to "socialism," according to Roll Call.
No comment. But even farther up, in the hallowed halls, walk the people who are not confused, and not bewildered, and not upset. For these people, everything is under control and proceeding apace.

What happened on September 18-19 took years of preparation, capped by a faux ideology crafted by public-relations think tanks to be broadcast under emergency conditions to panic Congress - and voters - right before the presidential election. This seems to be our September election surprise. Under staged crisis conditions, Pres. Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson are now calling for the country to come together in a War on Defaulting Homeowners. This is said to be the only hope to "save the system." (What system is this? Not industrial capitalism, or even banking as we know it.) The largest transformation of America's financial system since the Great Depression has been compressed into just two weeks, starting with the doubling of America's national debt on September 7 with the nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (My computer's spellchecker will not permit me to use the euphemism "conservatorship" that Mr. Paulson applied to bailing out the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fraudsters.)

Economic theory used to explain that profits and interest were a return for calculated risk. But today, the name of the game is capital gains and computerized gambling on the direction of interest rates, foreign currencies and stock prices - and when bad bets are made, bailouts are the calculated economic return for campaign contributions. But this is not supposed to be the time to talk of such things. "We must act now to protect our nation's economic health from serious risk," intoned Pres. Bush on September 19. What he meant was that the White House must make the Republican Party's largest group of campaign contributors whole - Wall Street, that is - by bailing out their bad gambles. "There will be ample opportunity to debate the origins of this problem. Now is the time to solve it." In other words, don't make this an election issue. "In our nation's history there have been moments that require us to come together across party lines to address major challenges. This is such a moment." Right before the presidential election! The same guff was heard earlier on Friday morning from Sec. Paulson: "Our economic health requires that we work together for prompt, bipartisan action." The broadcasters said that half a trillion dollars was discussed for this day's maneuverings.
Yes. This is an emergency. It's time to ram some new dictatorial powers down the American people's collective throat quickly. OR ELSE!

Or Else WHAT, exactly? We could be somehow less screwed?

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