Halloween is the time for ghoulish tales:
Really, you could call it suicide, but it isn’t suicide when you’re as worn-down and weak as I am. It’s euthanasia; putting me out of the misery of my rotted-from-the inside, barely-breathing corpse of a body. I have nothing left to give.
The cruelest joke played on my once-muscular body is that my atrophied muscles and degenerated veins can barely prop me up or allow the blood to flow anymore. My great love, who stood by me for decades, has turned on me; ratted me out as “flawed” and trashed me in the public square, saying, "I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well" (referring to our relationship). Still, to just live each day, I require more and more help, and, parasite that I am, I’m not worth it; I know my time is up.
I’m not entirely sure I really ever was a person at all.- Advertisement -
Goodbye to all those suckers who loved me.
Cheap shot? Not really. In fact, the death of our previously robust, once well-regulated Capitalist economy by reckless deregulation has already been eulogized, so we at least deserved an airing of the note. Laissez-faire is gone, and its purveyors are only first beginning to recognize that brutal truth many of us have known all along: it doesn’t work, never should have happened, and its proponents were frauds and thieves who are only now beginning to admit their crimes, yet still are eager – at this late date - to shove their snouts in the trough to snort up just one last bonus, because, evidently, even now they’re still not rich enough!
Bank after bank, brokerage after brokerage, and corporation after corporation is still paying multi-million dollar bonuses to executives for this last spectacular year, as the companies are reflecting losses in excess of these same actual bonuses! Huh? Who’s been minding the store, you ask? Why, no one, of course! They are actually paying bonuses using the government bail-out money. If that isn’t the definition of chutzpah!
Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D-CA) hearings are exposing the venal greed of the gilded sultans of Wall St., and only from these hearings is there any call to stop this last grab before the clock runs out. Boldly, they are taking their last ill-gotten gains with the lights on. It’s as if a second story cat burglar decided that the diamond brooch in his pocket wouldn’t be enough – so he’ll crawl across the roof with a couch on his back, too. Who’ll notice? Not this administration. They don’t even have the staff to look!
In two of the last six years (fiscal 2003-04 and 2005-06), under Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) had hiring freezes. In 2003, the FBI’s Corporate and Securities Fraud Unit was working only 436 cases, but right now, in 2008, they are pursuing 1,400 cases. Sound good? Perhaps – but according to Reps. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Chris Carney (D-PA), the number of agents assigned to the unit has remained exactly the same at 261. They have formally written to FBI Director Robert Mueller, requesting that he triple that staff. Don’t expect action anytime soon, at least not for four months.
Meanwhile, back in the hearings being held endlessly and tirelessly in Rep. Henry Waxman’s Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, there he was, Deregulated Capitalism’s greatest and most loyal sugar daddy, Alan Greenspan, proving that the invisible hand of the market was, in fact, just his own grizzled, pruney fingers (he famously sits in and works from the tub all day – if I had a comfortable one, I might, too).
The man was beyond being the active manipulator of policy, he was more like the leader of an international cult. For decades millions waited for his any and every pronouncement, and no matter how vague and oblique they often were, they were considered to be brilliant, motivating pearls of wisdom. There always seemed something of Being There's Chance Gardener in the utterances of Greenspan.
Well, evidently, so did Greenspan, himself – at last. I almost (almost!) felt sorry for him, as Free-market Capitalism is dead on the vine, and the grief of the loss was visible in his defeated face and withered body language as he testified and admitted his “flaw.” He was shocked that devoid of regulation, greed and avarice surely would find a home. The damage done by Greenspan and the rest of the parade of market manipulators and con-men sitting before Waxman brought out our indignation: Why isn’t every one forced to open his briefcase, take out that Hermes checkbook and the Dietrich Edition Mont Blanc pen – and write a 7- or 8-digit check, damn it! Right there!
So, there was Greenspan, giving the old “who could’ve known” line, yet in those same chambers, in 2002, Sen. Bernie Sanders confronted him with his fraud, and Greenspan was simply appalled at that only known public confrontation. Who could’ve known? Enough eminent, well-respected economists were foreseeing problems years ago. Many saw that the back-to-back double-whammy repeal of Glass-Steagall and deregulation of commodities, written by then-Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), endorsed by Greenspan (which, at that time, meant: do it), and signed by President Bill Clinton (D-The Middle). One of the many who questioned the wisdom of these moves was Paul Krugman, who, this month, received the Nobel Prize in Economics. Serendipitous timing, I say. And time to find a future direction in economic minds like his.