...the Brooklyn Bridge is falling dow-owwwn!
September 26, 2008
September 25, 2008
George W. Bush does not have a shred of credibility left, but that does not silence him. The only person in the country who doesn't realize how ridiculous his role as titular leader of the country has become is George W. Bush. That is the secret of his deep, inner happiness, the happiness that drives so many of us crazy. He keeps talking, still seeking to persuade, his narrow forehead crinkled, his dead eyes staring blankly, his immobile upper lip opening and closing like a tropical bird's beak, in the dim recesses of some hallway in the White House, where, improbably, surrealistically, he continues to reside.
September 24, 2008
I confess that I like Ben Bernanke and refuse to believe that he's actually "in on" the Conspiracy to Fleece America. I don't see him as a crypto-member of the Illuminati or co-author of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He's an academic, a very smart and reasonable guy, and in some ways he's our last best hope to emerge from the financial crisis more or less intact, that is, with most of us still living indoors. Henry Paulson, on the other hand, is a former Goldman Sachs operative who no doubt sought unfettered latitude to administer the Big Bailout precisely because he could guarantee that his colleagues and future partners on Wall Street could maintain their gilt-edged lifestyle undiminished by any of these crazy, Socialist ideas of lowering their annual take to a measly minimum wage of $400,000 per year or something. Just because the federal government is saving their fat white asses does not mean the G-Men can bring them down to their level. What next? Do you expect them to drive Fords?
September 22, 2008
So this analogy seemed to work for some of my fellow American peasants over the weekend, as we ate breakfast and kicked around the extraordinary specter of America's financial collapse. Indeed, these particular serfs are related to me by blood, brothers not of another mother but of the same mother. Beyond that, I will retreat into the mysteriousness which seems so much in vogue these days, such as when Henry Paulson describes, in dark and somber tones, the reason we need an immediate infusion of a sum representing about 25% of the entire annual federal budget in a mass give-away exercise. And he needs it this week. Odd, considering how often, and how recently, Bush has mentioned that the "fundamentals of the economy are sound," except, I guess, for all the fundamental parts. You'd think, when you're talking about that kind of money, and raising the debt ceiling over $11 trillion while you're at it, that you could risk a little candor. Just spell it out. Not a five-minute, vague overview full of the same cliches we keep hearing. "Liquidity," "credit crisis," "financial markets." Just tell us, Colonel Klink: what gives? Ist Amerika kaput oder nicht? Without $700 billion, or $1 trillion, sprayed around Wall Street, is the system really going to collapse? So far you've put American "taxpayer" money (as if any of it is ever going to be repaid!) behind the Bear Stearns buyout for $30 billion, AIG for $85 billion and backed up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's obligations in the American mortgage market to the tune of about $5 trillion. Now you want to throw another trillion at the problem, whatever it is. Do you see a pattern here? I think I do. The palpable sense of complete failure is so great that it's driving a desperate need to believe the United States has the wherewithal to keep the game going, that we have not bankrupted the financial system while at the very same moment experiencing the first gut-clutching premonitions that our foreign creditors have had it with us. And without them, there is no money, there is no ability to do any of this. Isn't there some rational upper limit to the capacity of the United States government to bail out private enterprise, and haven't we already passed it? Is George W. Bush's emotional security so important that we all have to pretend that his deregulatory madness and his insistence on grotesque military spending is not part and parcel of this calamity and that we can't allow Great Depression II, The Sequel to begin during his final four months in office?
I believe it was a distant relative of mine, Aristotle, who observed that it was the fate of democracy to devolve into oligarchy. It certainly happened here. The final push was the abandonment by the United States of even the trappings of social democracy in favor of a devil-take-the-hindmost capitalism without restraints of any kind. Human nature being the immutable thing it is, a greedy competitiveness became the ethos of the Hollow Men of the Bush Era. They ran scams, Ponzi schemes, swindles, the whole gamut, settling on the securitization of America's last great asset, its actual land, as the final play.