Friday, April 29, 2011

Inside Job...

If you see this film, then you know that de-regulation is one of the main causes of our current economic crisis. I only wish that were true, but it's complete bunk.

Government was not only complicit in this whole deal, but caused much of it by law and regulation. I was enraged as I watched the film makers interview Barney Frank and treat him as a complete innocent, "Barney Frank's talking points notwithstanding, mortgage lenders didn't wake up one fine day deciding to junk long-held standards of creditworthiness in order to make ill-advised loans to unqualified borrowers. It would be closer to the truth to say they woke up to find the government twisting their arms and demanding that they do so - or else." The Boston Globe

In addition, all this began back in the 90's when Herb Moses, a gay activist and Barney Frank's lover took an influential job at Fannie Mae. Herb Moses, "who was Fannie’s assistant director for product initiatives. Moses worked at the government-sponsored enterprise from 1991 to 1998, while Frank was on the House Banking Committee, which had jurisdiction over Fannie." Fox News

Then Fannie Mae started giving generous campaign contributions to Mr. Frank... but I'm going too long on this. It is important to understand the Frank/Dodd portion of the travesty because it shows that deregulation was not the culprit here. It doesn't decrease the sludge, it just makes it higher and thicker.

Then, the film holds up George Soros as some kind of a saint who warned, but wasn't listened to... complete garbage. I won't go in to George's machinations.. it would take far too long.

The film makes some leftist claims like tax cuts have killed the middle class and kept people out of college. I was laughing at the graph that showed how the price of college tuition had gone up, but it didn't show that wages have gone up also. In addition to that, when America wisely passed the G.I. Bill and granted those who have served a college education, they didn't attend in fancy buildings with air conditioning and plush seats. State Universities have, like everyone else, spent far beyond their means and the expense has been passed on to the end consumer.

Then, comes the worst part of all. In Utah there is no excuse because we are encouraged to be financially responsible, to purchase modest homes etc... and yet the bankruptcy rate in Utah is appalling. Our lack of personal financial responsibility and our greed is every bit as dishonest and irresponsible as the Wall Street bankers... it's just a matter of degrees because when we are financially irresponsible, other people pay. My brilliant friend Marilyn Kline Ackerman had this to say, "If people are "spending" then the economy is healthy, right?............... But, what people were spending was the EQUITY in their HOMES. Or, they were simply speculating on a housing market they thought couldn't possibly ever fail them. Housing prices just go up, right? Wrong." It was a bubble like so many we've seen, only this time it was a big one. And, what makes me really sad about it... The rest of the world is so dependent on our economy and in this the film was right on.. When the economy collapses, it is the poorest who suffer most. In this, our greed has crippled the world.

The scary part... The film ends on a high note. Things are getting better, it's a bummer that Timmy Geithner and company are still in power, but hey... We can regulate, regulate, regulate next time around. Wrong again. The TARP was all that money meant to clear the bad paper off the books, yeah.. well it was never used for that. It was spent on everything else in the world including frogs. All that bad paper is still there. Banks don't know the values on their balance sheets and at some point the piper will have to be paid.

Worse still, as Marilyn puts it, "What we are seeing now is that fewer and fewer entities (countries, mainly) are refusing to absorb our debt. We have had to buy it ourselves. How? Issuing bonds and buying them. How does that happen? The treasury just prints up money (out of thin air, with nothing backing it up) to BUY the treasury bonds that the government "issues". In essence, we create debt, then we print money up (out of nowhere - thin air) and buy our own debt - because no one else wants it anymore (not the Chinese, not nobody). We're toast, as they say. So when we can't pay our national debt - it is because we are defaulting on a ourselves."

This, my dear friends, is why I don't sleep well at night. I don't see how there are not rough times ahead. Got food storage?