As I predicted in last week’s laugh-fest, the administration has begun cracking the heads of those guilty of the crime of being all too visibly poor. The first of the New World Order (NWO) new century Hoovervilles to be attacked was homeless settlement in Seattle, Washington, known as "Nickleville." Following the government thrashing, the homeless residents fled to a nearby parking lot to await their next beating. Just like the rest of us.
Also, having had a week to digest the predigested news they are force-fed, the rightwing would-be wonkettes who hang out at my workplace watercooler have begun to regurgitate neo-con pundit pap like -- “As much as I hate it, we’ve got to bail out Wall Street, but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna give MY money to help out some knucklehead down the street who wouldn’t make his house payments.” (I swear, actual quote.) Of course these are the same people who are still feeling obligated to go ga-ga over how funny and smart Sarah Palin is.
As I type (evening, 9/29/08), led by the recurring unholy alliance of Dennis Kucinich and the House GOP with their ever predictable Blue Dog tagalongs, Congress has turned down round one of the Bush Bailout. In response, the Market dropped an inconceivable one point two TRILLION dollars in worth today alone. That translates out to about twice what we’ve spent thus far on the Iraq War. Imagine: Iraq Times Two. And it didn’t really kill our country even once. Yet.
Though to listen to the Bush line, all loyal Americans should have died last week of anaphylactic shock when Congress failed to pass his conveniently timed bailout bill on Friday Sept. 26. Yet, somehow, even when Congress again failed with the slightly refined version of the bill on the following Monday, the TV kept selling me cars, movies and hemorrhoid creams.
To hear Kucinich tell it, the Bush Administration’s recent harassment of banks might’ve been the final precipitating agent in the hot new fashion of bank collapse. Interviewed Monday morning by Democracy Now! just prior to the House discussion and ultimate "down" vote on the bill, Kucinich noted, “A former head of the FDIC [told] a group of congressmen yesterday that the Bush administration has been going around the last few weeks, actually, so tightening up on the practices of banks that they were forcing them to have bigger reserves, which …would … create the kind of tight money policies that we’re saying we’re trying to alleviate with this bill…. There’s a possibility that this crisis has a little bit of manufacture to it.”
Imagine that -- like the Iraq War, sold with phony urgencies and covert provocations. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson wonders why Americans were outraged over his demand for zero oversight and accountability. Why don’t we trust “Good Ol’ Hankie-Wankie”? I’ve got just four letters for you Mr. Bush Cabinet member -- Weapons of Mass Destruction.
From the WMD point on, even the most loyal American had the right to challenge the pronouncements of this administration. Not just the right, but the obligation; that is if they were loyal Americans in the first place. And who should we trust, among these players? Perhaps Padre Paulson, of late of Goldman-Sachs, who first helped create the collapse from both ends (both Wall Street and the White House) and now will benefit from the aid he is attempting to empower himself to bestow?
Maybe we should trust Nancy Pelosi, who has so much riding on the rest of us saving her stock at AIG. How about Bush? Should we trust him? Ok, just kidding; after all, this is a comedy column. According to Paul Begala on The Daily Show, Bush is up to an 82% disapproval rating, which puts him right up there with anal injection of habenero paste.
I say don’t trust any of them. None of them are talking about holding folks accountable, especially George “The Uniter” Bush who succeeded in throwing us all into debt back in 2001 when he pressured the mortgage industry to target minority and low-income buyers; or John “The Great Deregulator” (his own moniker) McCain who, in 1999, basically undid oodles of the Roosevelt-era protections that were made so Americans would never have to find themselves in this predicament again. Thanks fellas!
Nobody, not even my neo-con water cooler workmates, is talking about the evil financial instrument that has undone so many Americans over the last few years and is the citizen’s side of this mortgage-financial crisis -- the ARM, or the Adjustable Rate Mortgage. People sign-on a loan at one rate and, in a couple of years, the rate changes whether they can pay it or not.
Also a true story -- I lost some friends not long ago who had to move to a new town after having lost their home. He’s a fireman, she’s a teacher, supposedly American bedrock professions, but the house they purchased at a manageable $1000 per month ballooned to $1600 a month after two years and they were screwed. I guarantee you the ARM is the biggest villain in this psychodrama, which is so not about Wall Street investment bankers taking a giant soaking and losing 90% of their wealth, leaving them with mere hundreds of millions, like poor Hank Paulson.
And that is the biggest, ugliest truth in this week’s situation comedy that nobody is acknowledging: the fact we the people have let our leaders tie the fate of our country of hundreds of millions to the gambles made by the few to joist with each other with levels of unimaginable money such as the rest of us will never see -- except incrementally as it leaves our pockets in taxes to subsidize their gamesmanship.
And don’t give me that nonsense about the Stock Market not being some sinister plutocracy, but instead it’s the millions of Americans who have our money tied into the market through various retirement accounts and what all. We’re for the most part just mindless sheep that have been told to trust and did so. This is how we’re rewarded for believing in our country.
We’re not the ones who created half a quadrillion dollars worth of derivatives so hedge fund managers could gamble with the whole world’s life savings the way the Dutch once gambled away Europe’s wealth in the Great Tulip Mania of the 1630s. Nor did we dream up predatory lenders, nor are we the ones trying to give away our country to them. This is just another case in a long series of occasions where the rich decide to collapse the market to see how much more dough they can shake loose.
But they aren’t the ones winding up in Hooverville, nor are they the ones who will get their heads cracked when being poor becomes too annoying for the people in power. Please, if we really have 700 billion available to help the economy, let's spend it on the people and invest our energies, instead of our dollars, on re-regulating the markets, eliminating ARMs, and prosecuting Wall Street billionaires for so defrauding our public.
Then let's look into the efforts of the Bush administration to precipitate this crisis -- and Paulson should be at the top of the list. That is Wall Street reform that would do Americans some good.
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