Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Strike One!

Most people don’t understand why the US Government should give failing financial institutions nearly a trillion dollars of taxpayers’ money. A number of those people happen to be members of the House of Representatives and the US Senate. That doesn’t mean that they’re incompetent, the economy is complicated. Just because your neighbor starts every sentences with the phrase It’s Economy 101, doesn’t mean that the basic principals taught in remedial courses at your local junior college have any impact on the market forces that move our nation’s economy. The people who came up with the idea of this massive bail out are economic scientists who have made economics their life’s work. It’s not something normally people are supposed to understand.

So politicians panicked. There’s an election coming up and 750 billion dollars is a lot of money. Voters could be upset. Polls indicate that public opinion of this bailout is low and what’s worse, George W. Bush said we needed to do it. That guy hasn’t been right about anything.

To the untrained eye it looks like a bunch of CEOs screwed up and want some free money to fix things. Millions of Americans are facing dire financial problems and nobody is there to help them. Regular folks have endured layoffs and foreclosures in addition to revolving debt and inflation. Times are tough and people are being forced to scrape by. So why should the fat cats who got us into this mess get a life line? It’s probably not fair or productive to expect the government to cover the debt of 200 million Americans but it certainly doesn’t seem fair to provide assistance to a handful of companies that simply failed to manage their businesses better. The American public doesn’t trust this proposal and given the circumstances of the past 8 years, you can’t blame them.

The Bush Administration has been consistent in one thing and one thing only: deceit. Congressional leaders have stood idly by and watched while our own version of Nero set fire to the empire. Even if this country wasn’t facing a financial crisis the mess Bush has made of our diplomatic relations, national security and our civil rights would take years to correct, but Bush and his cronies exploited their power to give big corporations a free pass to circumvent responsible business practices. It almost seems as though the plan was to let the crap hit the fan when the next president took office. It would appear that, just as they did with Iraq, Bush’s advisors “misunderestimated” the hole they were digging.

Maybe this bailout is necessary. Stabilizing the economy makes a lot of sense but where does Bush get off thinking his support of this issue is going to win us over? Most Americans are so fed up with Bush they can’t express how they feel for fear of being arrested. If you want to convince the American people that this bail out is necessary you need it presented by somebody they respect and trust more than Bush like OJ Simpson.

More importantly, you need to address the anger the American people are feeling. You don’t just ask for 750 billion and not offer up a sacrifice. Who screwed up and what are we going to do to them? Heads need to roll…first born need to be sacrificed…wives and daughters need to be sold into prostitution. We just need to know that the people who made this happen aren’t being rewarded for their incompetence. It would be a real shame if the CEOs who signed off on those bad financial practices end up eating caviar-stuffed lobster for Christmas dinner while the rest of us slurp pork and beans straight from the can.

That’s been the problem all along with Bush and his administration. Nobody gets held accountable. They haven’t even taken Bin Laden to task for 9-11 yet. Dick Cheney shot a guy in the face and didn’t even apologize. All the glaring problems, the huge mistakes, the lives lost and the money wasted but yet nobody has been punished. Now they want a trillion dollars and they don’t want us to ask where it’s going or why? No, that’s not going to stand. You’ve got to give us something.

Finally, and only because of impending Election Day accountability, elected officials listened. Most of the politicians who voted against Bush’s bail out vocally supported it, but when it came time to pass it they had to pass. They knew that their constituents wouldn’t allow it. It’s too bad the voters only matter when the election is a month away, but for once the system worked. Lincoln was right, you can fool all of the people come of the time but you at least have to try. The American people are stupid, but they’re not idiots. You have to pander to them if you want to screw them over.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


We’re not in a recession.

Forget about the fact that the US Government, in debt beyond anybody’s ability to fathom, is coming up with hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out banks and insurance companies that have fallen on hard economic times.

We’re not in a recession.

Pay no mind to the cost of fuel, the loss of jobs and the stasis of wages.

We’re not in a recession.

Foreclosures? Housing crisis? Lending Crunch?

We’re not in a recession.

Apparently they covered denial in the more advanced economics courses I didn’t take in college because all of these so-called experts and politicians absolutely refuse to use the “R” word. Well I have another “R” word for them: retarded.

I’m just a regular working stiff like everybody else. I don’t know that much about the economy but I do know a thing or two about bullshit and that’s what all of these experts seem to be feeding us. For some reason they seem to believe that admitting that the economy is in dire straits will make matters worse. So they refuse to attach the word recession to our current state of affairs.

To me it’s insulting. So it’s my fault I haven’t seen a significant raise in three years? It’s my fault that I haven’t been able to build my personal savings outside of my 401(k)? There’s nothing wrong with the system, it’s me that’s broken. That’s what they’re saying, right?

All the people I know who are out of work, the realtors who haven’t seen a commission check in eight months and the people lining up outside the temporary services office are all victims of their own stupidity then. We’re just experiencing a minor “adjustment” everything is fine. Go back to work, live long and prosper.

Get real. We are in a recession and you can hang that on George W. Bush. His economic policies have stimulated greed and economic stagnation and the massive debt he is running up will make it impossible for future presidents to provide Americans with significant tax relief.

When Bill Clinton took office in the early 1990s we were in the midst of a recession. George H W Bush took the heat for the failures of Reaganomics and Clinton focused on economic change when he ran for office. He fought to have his economic policies enacted and by the time his second term began things were much improved. The economy was fantastic from the mid through the late 90s.

Things cooled off quickly when George W. Bush took over. A Republican Congress forced a deregulation bill through that effectively created the loopholes necessary for things the Enron disaster. High level executives were simply able to fudge numbers and shift assets in a manner that eventually hurt the economy. Even before the 9-11 attacks in 2001 the economy had drastically cooled because Bush’s economic plan had stymied growth in favor of greed.

Unfortunately Bush has managed to avoid being held accountable for his economic policies. He was able to hide behind 9-11 and religious values throughout his presidential career and most people bought it. Now, at the end of his term we’re seeing economic pillars topple before our eyes and Bush doesn’t have to do a thing about it. Worse, as a lame duck president he is in a position to do even more damage and leave the next president holding the bag.

You don’t have to be an economist to realize just how bad things have become. These are tough times and it looks like things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. Not calling it a recession isn’t going to change that.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dirty Liberals

Republican spin doctors don't want to make Sarah Palin available for interviews until they feel that the press can be trusted to show her respect. They believe that the liberals in the media are only going to twist her words and make her look bad. Republicans have mastered the art of turning every criticism into liberal bias. Now they're playing that card to protect their shiny new VP nominee. Why? What are they hiding? Surely in Sarah's vast experience she's mastered the art of public speaking. Oh, right.

The reality is that Sarah Palin is there for two reasons. She's a neo-conservative fascist who can rally the short-bus wing of the Republican party to McCain's ticket and she's a woman which will make the militant feminists happy. Plus she's pretty attractive so she might score a few boner votes along the way. It's worth a shot. McCain doesn't want Palin talking to the mainstream audience because she's rude and a little naive. If she is put in the cross hairs of the international media she will put her foot in her mouth, which, if done literally, could be kind of hot but we're not talking about how limber she is.

So instead, the blame is falling on the media. They'll be mean to Sarah. Pretty little Sarah with her family values, high powered firearms and relentless hunger for raw moose. Those liberals can't be trusted.

Go ahead and label me a liberal. I think that providing tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations actually causes the economy to slow down. These practices encourage greed. When the middle and lower class have their tax burden eased they spend the extra money and everybody is better for it. This has been proven time and time again. I also believe in protecting the environment, providing sensible support for the poor and disabled, and, while I believe in the second amendment, I think gun control is necessary. Don't like it? Tough cookies.

That being said, Sarah Palin is a fraud. Not only is her experience limited, she ran campaigns based on polarizing issues. She rallied social conservatives to her cause in Podunkia, Alaska by focusing on issues that mayors have no business focusing on. In fact most of those issues nobody should focus on. Tend to the plank in your eye and all that. She used her charisma (looks) and her outlandish conservative platform to sneak in to the Governor's office and has not even completed a full term at the level. To top it all off, it would appear that she has abused her power in that short period of time. Palin is also a liar several times over with her “Bridge to Nowhere” denials.

Obama's experience is not as limited, he's more educated and he didn't kick start his career path as a beauty pageant contestant. As far as McCain's vast experience goes I have reservations about his rather limited list of accomplishments in his lengthy political tenure. He fashions himself as a maverick but he’s really just a blowhard…a fuming old man who stomps his feet and sucks on his dentures for a while before he finally toes the party line. He’s a buffoon. His military experience and years as a POW are worthy of respect but they have no bearing on his ability to lead. In fact, McCain was a legacy case who attended the Naval Academy because his father and grandfather were notable Navy officers. If anything McCain was mediocre throughout his military career.

For me this election isn’t about being a liberal. It’s about who has the country’s best interest at heart. Barack Obama is focusing on drastic changes. He wants to cultivate our international relations to find peaceful ways to improve our national security. McCain is insulting and rude. Obama has dynamic economic plans that will help this country become a major player in the changing global market; McCain wants to invest in the status quo. He believes our economy is fundamentally sound and you almost believe him until the phone rings and some telemarketer from India tries to sell you a subscription to Soldier of Fortune.

Obama’s not perfect but he’s consistent, he’s strong and he’s willing to recognize the obstacles we face as this country tries to get back on track. McCain’s been in Bush’s back pocket since the 2004 election. That’s obvious. The way I see it, McCain is an aged political hack. A grouchy old ne’er do well who lacks class and charisma. Sarah Palin is a loud-mouthed beauty contestant who only brings looks and rhetoric to the table. She’s done nothing in her career other than pay lip service to lip service issues. Beauty on the Beast…yeah, they know what’s best for America.