Face it....warning cynicism ahead

wil

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Face it.

There are the elite. And then there are the privileged few that serve the elite. And then there are the rest and we fight over whatever we can get.

Most politicians and business execs are not the elite, they are part of the privileged few who get to get close enough to sniff the power and get the crumbs and see why they need to keep everything as it is because they dream sometime they or their kids will get up the chain.

Then there are us, most lemmings eeking out a living, some of us lemmings thinking we are doing quite well. Where ever we stand in the caste system we are cogs.

This was more obvious before the dawn of the darn middle class test and it didn't work at all.

So it has to go.

So do most of us.

We are getting automated enough that we don't need so many peons gotta eliminate most of them, and then we won't need so many of the privileged few. Without 80-90% of them we can take care of the elite quite nicely, and not have to worry about feeding so many of the lemmings, they are way to many and producing to rapidly and sucking up to many services and making too many demands.

It is just a pain. You've got to go. So is it war, disease, famine, political imprisonment, economic collapse? Or a combination of all?

hmmmmmm
 
Gollygeez, wilikers, I'm not used to you being cynical! ;) The financial meltdown allowed you to take off the rose-colored glasses, eh? That's good.

Don't get too down about it though, bro. The collapse is inevitable, yes. It is a crisis of global and historic proportions, yes. Let us not forget however that every crisis is an opportunity. That is, if we allow ourselves to perceive the opportunity in the danger, and then act.

Forgive me if I do not wax sympathetic here about the plight of Americans. Look, I don't want a global financial meltdown, but what do you expect to get when you have an economy that is run on virtually nothing that comes from your own damn country? What can you expect your economy to do when you outsource jobs to cut financial corners and import cheaply-made goods marketed by cheap big-box corporate stores with no accountability? What do you really expect is going to happen to a country run on entitlement; run with an arrogant attitude that, to paraphrase Roseanne Barr in Michael Moore's new free movie Slacker Uprising, constantly repeats, "the world is my bitch and if she don't give me what I want, I will bust a cap in her ass?" Some of these questions have moral implications, and I'd argue that morality is embedded in good economic sense--"right livelihood" and all that. But even from a purely economic standpoint, this crisis has been waiting to happen for some time, exacerbated by an irresponsible and just plain greedy cultural ethos of rugged individualism against the world.

I could rail on like this for a little longer. You know I could. :rolleyes: But that's not what I want to do right now. This is a time for Americans and our elected representatives to ACT in a way that corrects the culture of greed and irresponsibility and brings a genuinely renewed sense of economics into the sphere of public life.

I strongly believe in local communities and their economies. The current pyramid scheme of wealth and power squelches communities and small-scale economies in favor of massively concentrated wealth for the elite and, as wil says, the privileged few. Whether anyone believes this is as it should be or not has suddenly become irrelevant because the system is not working. President Bush said it himself last night, "The market is not functioning properly." Well, that's obvious.

Or maybe it is functioning properly, but it's just reached its limit. At any rate, the crisis is a clear indication that now would be a good time to think about alternative ways to structure economies--plural economies, with a focus on local and regional levels, not on corporate CEOs and their global fantasies.

People are talking about this, you know; proposing alternative visions and plans for an economics that doesn't continue to follow the same failed patterns of robbing from the poor to prop up the economic wet dreams of the conscienceless elite. Dennis Kucinich has criticized the proposed bailouts: "Our first trillion dollar compression bandage will hardly stem the hemorrhaging of an unsustainable Ponzi scheme built on debt 'de-leverages.'" He's got more to say, and it should surprise none that I think people should read this stuff:

kucinich.us - Protecting the public interest in any economic "bailout"
kucinich.us - Kucinich's Main Street Recovery Plan

Others have come forward with their own ideas, and as long as Congress doesn't bend over for Paulson, Bernanke, CheneyBush, and Company, I feel we'll have a right proper slow-paced discussion of what to do and how to proceed. I like the ideas proposed by Chuck Collins and Dedrick Muhammed:
Funding the Bailout: Basic Principles
  • Wall Street and speculators should pay now for the mess they created.
  • Instead of borrowing from the super-wealthy beneficiaries of the casino economy, we should tax them.
  • Any bailout should stimulate the real economy with investments in Main Street, not just Wall Street.
Pagan activist Starhawk has also written an excellent essay on the economic collapse and presented a vision for government aid now as a short-term solution to empowering local communities and economies. It should be up on her website within the next few days.

Rather than feel cynical and disempowered, why not step up and agitate for changes that will benefit not only Americans, not only the global economy, but the entire actual living Earth? This could be a historic opportunity for a reconceptualization of economic life, or we can stay the course, painfully grinding our way to an economic bottom that is far, far, far down from where we are floating in the haze of a corrupted American Dream.

Choices.
 
President Bush said it himself last night, "The market is not functioning properly." Well, that's obvious.
Hi Pathless, actually no: it's not obvious.

I'd suggest it is working exactly as you'd expect given the tolerance for risk that the government has been encouraging.

The large financial institutions got greedy and pushed their loan programs to the limit. Now that the limits have become apparent, these people expect everyone else to buffer the impact of their undue tolerance for risk.

The bailout is objectionable on philosophical grounds alone. What it means is this: greed and poor judgment will be rewarded. No one is going to forget this precedent.

Take it easy buddy.
 
Hi Pathless, actually no: it's not obvious.

I'd suggest it is working exactly as you'd expect given the tolerance for risk that the government has been encouraging.

The large financial institutions got greedy and pushed their loan programs to the limit. Now that the limits have become apparent, these people expect everyone else to buffer the impact of their undue tolerance for risk.

The bailout is objectionable on philosophical grounds alone. What it means is this: greed and poor judgment will be rewarded. No one is going to forget this precedent.

Take it easy buddy.
I would have to agree with you there.

You know the popular maxim of bureaucracy: "In a bureaucracy, one rises to their level of incompetence, and remains there." :rolleyes:
 
The large financial institutions got greedy and pushed their loan programs to the limit. Now that the limits have become apparent, these people expect everyone else to buffer the impact of their undue tolerance for risk. .
I'd have to say the large greedy financial institutions didn't push anything. Our greed demanded more loans, zero interest, reverse mortgages, negative interests, balloon payments, adjustable rate...we unable to pay a fixed 15/30 flocked to these things and bought homes bigger than we could afford. I've seen $600,000 McMansions with sheets hanging in the windows for drapes...
 
I'd have to say the large greedy financial institutions didn't push anything. Our greed demanded more loans, zero interest, reverse mortgages, negative interests, balloon payments, adjustable rate...we unable to pay a fixed 15/30 flocked to these things and bought homes bigger than we could afford. I've seen $600,000 McMansions with sheets hanging in the windows for drapes...
Wil, have you considered that short selling the stock market on credit might be greater driving force, especially the one behind this proposed bail out? ;)
 
Since we're changing the market, what would happen if we capped real estate prices? That might curb price speculation in real estate, putting it back to use.
 
Since we're changing the market, what would happen if we capped real estate prices? That might curb price speculation in real estate, putting it back to use.

Easily available credit that only goes through minimal investigation before it is given out is what drives up real estate prices...imo.

Capping real estate prices would not make it worth the effort to keep your property maintained.
 
While I agree that it was, in part, consumer greed that drove this situation, it is also a number of other factors.

$600K was not just for McMansions in southern California. In many communities (not beach ones, just normal run-of-the-mill ones) starter 2 bedroom/1 bath homes were approaching $400-500K. Middle class people and even two-income upper-middle class people could not really afford houses. Yet, we are told that owning a home is the cultural marker of success in this nation.

What was happening in my area and company was that there were severe hiring problems because they couldn't pay enough for people to buy homes, and people wouldn't move there if they couldn't buy a house, given their advanced education and experience levels. Basically, people found it impossible to accept having financial success and yet be kept at a level of an apartment renter along with the working classes. Housing was exorbinant. But to move away from the centers of jobs and out to the desert where the housing was affordable increased your transportation costs.

When the **** hit the fan, people were either stuck with huge mortgages living near their job, or huge gasoline bills living in the affordable areas. The crazy subprime mortgages were not all for people with bad credit. They were also for people who couldn't get into a starter home because 20% down would be $100,000.

Subprime mortgages were, in part, a way to deal with a real crunch in hiring in certain areas where companies couldn't afford to pay highly educated and experienced employees enough to sustain a middle-class lifestyle with a home. Even with them, some companies experienced a very big gap in new hires vs. needed hires.

I suppose everyone should have just rented an apartment indefinitely, but realtors contributed to a scare that the prices would never fall, and apparently investors believed the same thing. This meant that people were looking at price tags indefinitely jumping up and outpacing their capacity to ever save enough money for a traditional mortgage. People were scared they'd never get a home at all. Now, maybe it is greed, but we can't deny that the basic "American Dream" is home ownership and that our culture puts forth that if you go to college, delay gratification, work hard, and so forth... you can raise a family in your own home.

Given that people leave grad or professional school saddled with student loan debt at 25-30 years old, have 5-10 years of prime time to have children... you can see where I'm going with that. By the time you save up enough money for the 20% down on a $500,000 starter home... your kids have spent a good chunk of time in a rented apartment. To many folks who worked hard and "did things the right way" (according to mainstream culture) and sacrificed for their career, it feels unacceptable to *still* be (de facto) working class.

Compounding the issue are things like cut-backs in middle management in many companies, leaving people with few other skills in the lurch.

Surely, there were some who bought McMansions and should have bought the $400K starter home instead. But there were an awful lot of people who bought the starter home, at the lowest price they could find... and still were unable to make it.
 
Since we're changing the market, what would happen if we capped real estate prices? That might curb price speculation in real estate, putting it back to use.
you wouldn't be able to sell your house. the real estate market would completely dry up.
 
I'd have to say the large greedy financial institutions didn't push anything. Our greed demanded more loans, zero interest, reverse mortgages, negative interests, balloon payments, adjustable rate...we unable to pay a fixed 15/30 flocked to these things and bought homes bigger than we could afford. I've seen $600,000 McMansions with sheets hanging in the windows for drapes...
I have to agree with this point. But I will add that the financial institutions did encourage the "customers'" greed to continue, knowing full well the capacity would run out, and they would take the money and run.

Even today I get calls from said financial institutions, wanting to know if everything is alright (and if I was interested in using my home equity for things to make my life easier/better/convenient). They don't like the words "no thank you".
 
you wouldn't be able to sell your house. the real estate market would completely dry up.
When I bought my home and property in 2001, it was for $140,000.00 (and quite reasonable). As of 2006, the value jumped to $408,000.00 with no major upgrades. Last fall it fell to $300,000.00, and has remained steady.

In a moderately aggressive but healthy market, it should be at $175,000.00 to $200,000.00.

You can't sell your house now...
 
Again I say the private banks are now hoarding 100s of billions in pilfered money, a lot of it transfered very recently in deliberate insider self protectionist circumstances. Hit them.


tao
 
Again I say the private banks are now hoarding 100s of billions in pilfered money. Hit them.
Private Banks, Federal Reserve a group of private banks. Those that will evidently dispense the 700 billion. If and when our Sec of Treasury or a non partisan comittee is established to oversee, when they decide to bail out someone the Fed will provide the funds, of course there are transfer papers and oversight and the cost of the transaction...transaction management fee I heard today...9.8%??? I know nothing about this just heard it discussed...but 70 b..b..bbillion in closing costs?

No tao they aren't taking it from the banks, they are giving it to the banks...

What is it...if you gonna do that will you at least kiss me first?
 
Even today I get calls from said financial institutions, wanting to know if everything is alright (and if I was interested in using my home equity for things to make my life easier/better/convenient). They don't like the words "no thank you".

Exactly. I'm still getting credit card offers and I know I shouldn't be. Yeah, I have good credit but I am totally maxed out given a mortgage, car payment, and student loan on a middle-class income. It's ridiculous. Yet they are still doing it even during this crisis.
 
Exactly. I'm still getting credit card offers and I know I shouldn't be. ....It's ridiculous. Yet they are still doing it even during this crisis.
The worst are the ones sent to high school kids on their 18th birthday or to colleges as soon as the students enter the dorms...got them away from home, just sign the dotted line you are preapproved.

Teach your children well...
 
Exactly. I'm still getting credit card offers and I know I shouldn't be. Yeah, I have good credit but I am totally maxed out given a mortgage, car payment, and student loan on a middle-class income. It's ridiculous. Yet they are still doing it even during this crisis.
An old habit that started 10 years ago. Too bad they don't learn as fast as the consumer does...
 
The worst are the ones sent to high school kids on their 18th birthday or to colleges as soon as the students enter the dorms...got them away from home, just sign the dotted line you are preapproved.

Teach your children well...
Did one better...they never saw the mail (oh I didn't open or destroy it, I just moved it elsewhere...). Still sitting here after five years... :rolleyes::mad:

I'm still dad, damn it.

lol gotta tell you though, when my dog got an invite to apply for a credit card, that simply took the cake (and took me away from a certain pet store).
 
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