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In for a Penny, In for $2.98 Trillion

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Posted on Mar 31, 2009
toxic schmoxic
AP photo / Mary Altaffer

Toxic schmoxic: The ABC news ticker in New York’s Times Square on March 23, a day when the Dow average surged nearly 500 points.

By Robert Scheer

The good news on the government’s “No Banker Left Behind” program is that, according to the special inspector general’s report on Tuesday, the total handout to date is still less than 3 trillion dollars. It’s only $2.98 trillion, to be precise, an amount six times greater than will be spent by federal, state and local governments this year on educating the 50 million American children in elementary and secondary schools. 

The bad news is that even greater amounts of money are to be thrown down what has to be the world record for rat holes.

Where did the money go? Almost all of it went to the bankers and stockbrokers who got us into this mess by insisting that the complex-by-design derivatives they trafficked in should not be regulated by government since they were private transactions between consenting professionals. Sort of like a lap dance: If it doesn’t work out, that’s the problem of the parties involved and no concern of the government. 

For the government to intervene would have created “legal uncertainty” in the derivatives market, an argument that a Republican-dominated Congress and President Clinton bought in authorizing the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in December of 2000. That law brought “legal certainty” to the market, a phrase that Lawrence Summers, then Clinton’s secretary of the treasury and now Barack Obama’s top White House economics adviser, deployed incessantly as a calming mantra as the financial derivatives market swirled out of control.

Now Summers and the other finance gurus who move so easily from Wall Street to Pennsylvania Avenue assure us that those professionals who made the toxic swap deals are too big to fail and must be entrusted with 3 trillion of our dollars to save themselves from disaster. And thanks to the laws they wrote, the bankers are likely to be covered for their socially destructive behavior by a get-out-of-jail-free card.

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Well, maybe not all of them. A shudder must have run through the former Wall Street buddies of Bernie Madoff—once the highly respected chairman of the Nasdaq stock exchange—when Inspector General Neil Barofsky warned on Tuesday that “we are looking at the potential exposure of hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money lost to fraud.”

How naive. The fraud no doubt has occurred and will occur again, but the exposure part is more questionable, if by that is meant bringing the criminals to account. As opposed to welfare cheats who end up imprisoned over scams that involve hundreds of dollars, these guys have brilliant lawyers who tell them how to steal legally when it comes to billions in fraud.

But most likely the white-collar criminals, if they are high enough up the food chain, will not even be quizzed about their activities. As the independent Congressional Oversight Panel has reported, there has been no serious accounting of the bailout money. It took major pressure from a Congress reacting to an outraged public to discover that AIG, in addition to handing out hundreds of millions in bonuses to the very hustlers who created the firm’s swindles, was a conduit for at least $70 billion in taxpayer money to reimburse the banks and stockbrokers who got us into this crisis with their bad bets. 

No surprise there, given the incestuous world of finance, where the revolving doors between the Treasury Department, the Fed and executive offices in the industry have been swinging throughout both Republican and Democratic administrations. As a result, those orchestrating the bailout and those grabbing the money are for the most part friends and former colleagues, with enormous respect for each other but not for the American taxpayer and homeowner. Or for the autoworkers who had nothing to do with creating this problem but stand to lose their retiree health benefits and pensions if the Obama administration goes though with its threat to use bankruptcy to discharge GM and Chrysler from their obligations to their workers.  Why float a company like AIG to the tune of $170 billion to keep that massive conglomerate from bankruptcy but balk at a much smaller commitment to keep GM solvent?

The money involved in the auto bailout is chump change compared with what Wall Street got, and it is far better spent. As opposed to the financial high rollers richly rewarded for crawling in and out of balance sheets, the folks who crawl in and out of cars along an assembly line are left with permanent aching backs and hard-won health care and retirement plans about to disappear through their company’s bankruptcy. Where’s their bonus package? 

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By KDelphi, April 6, 2009 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

thebeerdr—this “bug” sesesm to be getting the best of me! I cant get in with my Medicaid dr this week, (next week? ), but I wanted to respond to your post, that I am greatly interested in.

Thanatos. Do you think that the uS is caught up in guilt-induced Thanatos? I am terrified of death, (nothingness, as in being and nothingness, Sartre)but, I know that everyone “will be right
behind me in the darkness”—that was from a song from a Canadian band i heard and have been trying to remember their name ever since.

Our fortunes are tied together, we have a little time, and , if you just do what everyone else does, it is criminal to be wasting the time, I think. I better shut up. Cold meds are making me silly.

Thanks for your inspirational posts…dont mind the meds…

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By everynobody, April 6, 2009 at 5:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By Crystal Clear, April 5 at 12:17 am #

Yup, pretty much sums it up for me.  smile

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By thebeerdoctor, April 6, 2009 at 2:44 am Link to this comment

re: KDelphi

On another thread I linked the transcript of an infamous exchange between Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman and then President Bill Clinton, on election day, November, 2000. What is quite remarkable in that encounter, is that President Clinton becomes petulant and angry, when he is questioned about US led sanctions against Iraq, during Big Bill’s reign as commander-in-chief. Actions that cost the lives of at least a half million Iraqi children, which the President refused to take any responsibility for. Which is quite ironic when you consider that his own Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, deemed this was tough but “worth it”, when asked about the same topic on 60 minutes.
Clinton of course, blamed everything on Saddam, and if Iraqi children died, it was all the brutal dictator’s fault. Never mind that this same brutal dictator was supported by United States intelligence operations, first as a useful anti-communist tool during the cold war, and later as the head of a Middle Eastern state who sold oil to the United States, ignoring the famous Arab Oil embargo of the 1970’s.
As far as the altruism of the ownership class is concerned, this is performed not because of pangs of conscience, but simply to reassure themselves that despite many legal but questionable dealings, they are, at least to themselves, honorable people.
Putting aside a tremendous amount of political and cultural misinformation, the vast majority of people basically just keep stumbling through life. To see through or beyond the lies in television driven public life, requires not so much additional information, but rather a change in consciousness. To know that we are all just beings, temporarily sharing time and space, would be an invalidation of the fear of death, which has been and will continue to be a very handy war mongering recruitment tool. To invalidate the fear of death… not because you have some insider information concerning the hereafter… but simply because it is a biological fact. No one, as it has been often said, gets out of here alive.

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By KDelphi, April 6, 2009 at 12:36 am Link to this comment

thebeerdr—Good points. Most people dont even stop to think about how it must sound , to those without, when they tout moneyism. That is what capitalism is.

Do you think they really still have faith in it, or do you think they just dont care if it works for anyone other than “their own”?

I suppose they “comfort” themselves that the “downtrodden” will get their “reward in heaven”.

Thats why the US “charity” system is plaugued with “sing for your supper” “refuges” like the Salvation Army and charter schools, for kids who were smart enough to pick parents smart enough, (and who have the time and education ) to pick a wonderful, “taxpayer” (ie the only people even worth mentioning, expanded from rich, white, anglo land-owning male heterosexuals) suported religious charter school for them…lol Sorry.

I guess thats a rant. But, conditions call for somewhat of a rant. Oh well…

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By thebeerdoctor, April 5, 2009 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

Is it not strange that officials in the government spend countless hours fretting over the economic troubles of those who own the most? Meanwhile, the most vulnerable and least protected are instructed to simply “suck it up” as their lives disassemble into a hapless chaotic mess, reinforced by the random violence imposed by mistakes of a mindless bureaucracy. That same bureaucracy continually recreated by an army of politically connected lawyers who codify all kinds of mean little tricks and turns, so that the corporate power structure that they service, finds all kinds of handy legal maneuvers to loot and legally steal the national treasury, often without anybody even noticing.
Those legal minds with a social conscience, are laughed at with great ridicule in the power suites of this country. They are seen as simply the too stupid counselors who do not know hot to stick their biscuits into the gravy while it is still hot.
Most of America worships money and those who accumulate it. Those who are able to find their way to the big table, whether by hook or crook, are to be respected if not outright honored. Celebrity is just a worship of wealth by proxy, somewhat crudely referred to as ‘bling’.
If money becomes the only justification for existence, then, according to that maxim, at least one fifth of the people on the earth need not bother. In fact, if the ownership class and their children become the only important ones, then those who are not a part, should only be here to serve their needs and luxuries. Perhaps this helps explain why having undocumented domestic help, seems to be a common problem in “important” households in Hollywood and Washington.
Like famous clothing designers who are shocked and offended that their name labels are discovered on tables at a Sam’s Club, the ownership class ironically,depends so much on the great unwashed to maintain their comfortable lifestyle that they often are not aware of it. Even the criminal element (and after all, does not television portray the poor as mostly criminals?) have a gift to give, because without them, how could the world’s largest prison system operate? Every factory needs product.
So putting aside any rhetorical altruism from the elected ones, the real question is, and always has been: how do they keep the masses under control? Lack of education is always an effective tool, so it is not surprising that the highest paid workers on many colleges, are the coaches and directors of sports programs. As a player for Michigan State said, glad that they are in the NCAA championship game: “we always knew we was a great team.”
The Democrats claim to be champions of education and many embrace the idea of charter schools to improve things through “competition”. Yes everybody believes that the market will fix everything. And despite the recent economic blow up, they still do.

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By KDelphi, April 5, 2009 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

TAO—Of course you are correct, but, I feel caught in a conundrum over the “cushion”-(although I realize that a capitalist style cushion will only fail and prolong the agony)-I just worked with so many people over the years, and, some just died because Medicaid or the death insurance industry just turned them away. Some died alone and frozen in parks (My caseload was just too big to keep track of them all all of the time—in NH and Cleveland, tents just dont do it in January—people who have been institutionalized al of their lives—-). It broke my heart.

I would love to sees the US Imperialist Financial CON collapse…but, wouldnt those must vulnerable pay the price? (Young, old, sick..etc)What would we do about them? (Hell, some of us might be some of them!) I just find it hard to let go of that.


Maybe I lack imagination on this one, but, any advice would be appreciated.

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By thebeerdoctor, April 5, 2009 at 4:51 am Link to this comment

re: TAO Walker

Your pertinent comments concerning the Internet brought to mind something I have observed lately. During the recent Microsoft conficker virus scare, no one mentioned open source Linux operating systems as a no cost solution to much of this stupidity. All the television would say was you should download anti-virus software or buy an Apple computer. Not a single bloody word mentioned about Ubuntu, a community based operating system that offers for free, much of the software that millions of users pay money for. This explains why the national police force of France switched from Microsoft to Ubuntu. And this also points up to a remark once made by Gore Vidal when he said: “when was the last time you heard anything good about another country, inside the United States?”
http://apcmag.com/french-police-switch-from-windows-to-linux.htm

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By everynobody, April 5, 2009 at 4:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By thebeerdoctor, April 4 at 11:10 am #

Thanks so much for that link.

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By everynobody, April 5, 2009 at 12:46 am Link to this comment
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By TAO Walker, April 4 at 5:26 pm #
A word of caution:  Many place great “HOPE!” in the “miracle” of the internet, as a helpful mechanism for resisting and overcoming the parasitic purposes of the plutoligarchy.  It will be well to keep always in-mind that the machinery generating this system is owned and CONtrolled by the same self-serving interests that run the rest of the “global” apparatus.  It should be expected they will “crash” at-least the “public” part of the ‘net’ whenever it becomes more of a ‘liability’ than an ‘asset’ to their “project.”  Those who’ve become overly dependent on it will suffer accordingly.
***************************************************

Yes, absolutely. User beware, for the internet is a trap in itself if one doesn’t exercise due diligence. The best network is people to people directly.

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By Crystal Clear, April 4, 2009 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey Everynobody:

Yes, so let’s briefly sum it up—US capitalism is run by financial gangsters, who pay off politicians.  And financial gangsters despise “non-tainted regulations”—-they balk at any hindrances that prohibit theft—-politicians are in the pocket of crooks, which are in office for one purpose to permit FRAUD.

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By TAO Walker, April 4, 2009 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

The links offered below by thebeerdoctor and everynobody are well worth referencing….the Joe Bageant “talk” particularly.  Wm. K. Black tells a perhaps incredulity-feighning Bill Moyers, in plain words, the entire “global” financial system is nothing but a mega-Ponzi-scheme….though they both seem to believe there is still some institutional method to “cushion” the impact of its on-going collapse.  Some of us old Savages saw the essential nature of this ‘thing’ millennia ago.  We have not changed our suggestion, to our tame Sisters and Brothers, that only evacuating its CONfines altogether will get them safely away from the otherwise catastrophic CONsequences of its in-process systemic failure.

Joe Bageant describes to-a-T the sickening hologramatic virtuality in which the domesticated peoples of the world are enmeshed, and hints at what their (presently only) half-lives will come to be like, as the apparatus of its “projection” CONtinues its always inevitable break-down….something already proving exceptionally traumatic for “exceptionalist” allamericans.  He sees the same growing natural immunity among young people (even young ‘americans’) to the CONtraption’s manufactured “appeal,” as do us free wild Native Peoples here on Turtle Island….and elswhere.

A word of caution:  Many place great “HOPE!” in the “miracle” of the internet, as a helpful mechanism for resisting and overcoming the parasitic purposes of the plutoligarchy.  It will be well to keep always in-mind that the machinery generating this system is owned and CONtrolled by the same self-serving interests that run the rest of the “global” apparatus.  It should be expected they will “crash” at-least the “public” part of the ‘net’ whenever it becomes more of a ‘liability’ than an ‘asset’ to their “project.”  Those who’ve become overly dependent on it will suffer accordingly.

Meantime, examples of THE viable alternative are still present in the so-called “underdeveloped world,” with more-and-more likely ones appearing everyday in such places as the “tent cities” popping-up all over america.  However difficult it is right now, the newly dispossessed are actually ‘ahead-of-the-curve’ of what’s coming.  Those still trying desperately to hang-on to the instruments of their captivity and abuse are actually ‘behind-the-eight-ball.’

Plenty of room here in Indian Country for every “nobody” who finds The Way.

Hokahey!

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By KDelphi, April 4, 2009 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

I ordered the book, used, and, subscribed to the site. A very comforting person, even though disconcerting…

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By KDelphi, April 4, 2009 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

thebeerdr—Very beautiful. I certainly hope our ending is what he hopes.. I would quote, but I am a little speechless. Read every word. Now, I’m going to go read it again.

Worth checking out, if youre sick of all this crap…
Thanks…

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By KDelphi, April 4, 2009 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

big1—Well, for one, there was the Congresional Black Caucus alternative budget. It supports most of Pres. Obama’s budget, but adds alot in social spending and cuts the military budget. I dont have the details. I watched it at c-span.org. (I suspect that this was not the type of “disagreement” you were looking for..lol)

There is Michael Steele.There is the Conservative Brotherhood http://www.conservativebrotherhood.org/


“Black caucus calls for more diversity in bailouts
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Monday criticized the lack of minority participation in the government’s financial bailouts and suggested that President Barack Obama isn’t doing much better than his predecessor to ensure diversity.”

By BEN EVANS

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON —

Giving Obama some leeway with only two months in office, the lawmakers voiced their concerns during an all-day summit on Capitol Hill that drew several hundred minority- and female-owned business leaders to hear guidance from federal officials such as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2008951045_apbailoutsminorities.html

I never heard of the Conservative Brotherhood before but you wanted specific examples. Middle class white women also were a core constituency of Obamas’s.


Folk—Right, I didtn say “all”. I just said Hayden, but, I think that there are others. I just loathed his article about Afghanistan policy after he was a delegate and knew fully well what Pres. Obama planned to do…I dont think that the soccer moms HAVE stayed engaged, really.

Outraged…I would agree, that the US has the worst of both worlds (you know, socialized risk, privitized profits). But, if we do NOT change our system and just bail out the rich, what would you call it? (The EU was in disagreemnt over regulation, as well as “stimulus”)

That being said, I still fail to see, other than greed, why the US cannot have a Socialist Democracy like the EU. (since we have so many values in common, ala NATO, as they say)They have a higher standard of living and have a better coushion against blows like we are experiencing now. One reason that here is no call for a “stimulus” there is that people have a social safety net! (When they become unemployed, they still have health care, child care and a myriad of other social services) They want regulation to prevent it form happening again. We do not see that yet. If we keep giving the banks money, without regulation, without nationalizing them, when will it stop? (Believe me, we WILL nationalize—it is just how much money we will pour down the Black Hole first)When China says? I dont know. I just think that the poor and working classes have paid for a crime that they didnt commit.

Lukewarm solutions will grant a lukewarm recovery.The only thing as big as the “crisis”
so far is the size of the Bailout. The Banks are dictating everything, which will continue with people like Geithner and Summers at the helm.

After all, as Pres. Obama said, he trusts the bankers…

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By thebeerdoctor, April 4, 2009 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

re: KDelphi

Here is a link you might want to look at:
http://www.joebageant.com/joe/2009/04/escape-from-the-zombie-food-court.html

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By everynobody, April 4, 2009 at 5:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Did you like “The Sting” (movie)? If so, you gotta watch this Bill Moyer’s Journal. I couldn’t stop laughing; he’s interviewing William K. Black who was a regulator during the S&L crisis in the 80’s. You’ll love it, trust me, it’s so funny. Especially if one can laugh at ones self. Here’s the link;

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04032009/watch.html

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By Outraged, April 4, 2009 at 3:19 am Link to this comment

Re: KDelphi

In response to your post regarding capitalism.  Today and truthfully for quite some time, America has NOT been an ACTUAL capitalistic entity.  We were quasi-capitalism, since strict capitalism would not EVER entertain the notion of libraries, fire depts….etc.

Currently, it appears, we find ourselves mired in a fascistic type of business and industrial model, although this does not necessarily hold true socially, at least as a model.  The attempt of the religious right to attain this HAS been utilized, but the reality has not materialized in their favor.

As it was with Hitler and Mussolini, they USED each other to their own ends, hoping to “off” the other in the end.  And this is what is the conundrum we are witnessing.  Several factions are vying for the “prize” so to speak, yet they all are hoping to materialize the victor.  This fact is our strength, because “honor among thieves” is for the most, a fairytale.

I personally, do not consider ANY supposed economic or political theory sacrosanct, but hold to the premise that it is a BALANCE of these philosophies which will be our “saving grace”.

It’s like a palatible recipe….. broccoli may not “sound” good as a drink, well….. unless of course you offset it with oranges, bananas and heavy cream….etc.

There is no reason to suppose that fascism today would inherently “look” like fascism of the 30’s or 40’s.  There IS reason to suppose that the model or rather the premises would be similar.  We are seeing this and this is all the MORE reason to veer FROM specific ideologies and rather work toward the common good.  “Twenty-first century style”.

To do this requires inclusion but not delusion.  It also requires a paradigm shift from common norms to a more appropriate “reality check” mentality, at least for the interim.  A measure of this is already in play, but the “heat” needs to be increased, NOT maliciously, but adamantly.

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By bg1, April 3, 2009 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

KDelphi - “there are some Af Ams who are openly criticizing Pres. Obama’s cow-towing to Wall St now.”

Well, if that’s true then maybe there is some cause for hope, because Af Ams are one group whose support is indispensable to Obama and that he therefore cannot afford to ignore. Could you please point me to some examples of this open criticism.

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By Folktruther, April 3, 2009 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

That’s interesting, KDelphi, about the soccer moms.  I wouldn’t think that they would be very attentive to policy once the elections are over. After all, they won! But sooner or later they may realize that Hope n Change ain’t gonna happen.

Not all the SDS groups are sellouts.  The one at Eveergreen near Tacoma, Washington, where Rachel Corrie went to school,helped stop ships bringing military supplies to Iraq.  Students tend to detonate the working class in crisis situations.

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By KDelphi, April 3, 2009 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

bg1—I guess I am glad that exposed your racism, in your otherwise decent post about Pres. Obama by constantly referring to “the blacks”?? He sure as hell wasnt put in the WH by “the blacks”—Af Ams dont make up a large enough portion of the uS pop.!

Around here, he was put in office by suburban soccer moms who campaigned for him to get closer to their kids! (Some actually took the show on the road, quitting jobs to go out with their kids and campaign—you wouldnt believe how many times I heard people say, “my sons and I support Obama”—this is a youth phenomenon, but, also, I think , a guilt phenomenon—-these parents are afraid that their kids are being handed a bum steer in this world and that they shouldve tried to change things more and not caved to the almighty dollar) Also,by Wall St, who financed his campaign. It is true that most Af Ams back Pres. Obama. , but that is not really surprising, consdiring US history…there are some Af Ams who are openly criticizing Pres. Obama’s cow-towing to Wall St now.

The biggest sell-outs of the century, on this front, concerning many other neo-liberal policies, too numerous to mention, are the former Left, like Tom Hayden, who have decided to settle for Students for a Sortve Democratic Society…

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By bg1, April 2, 2009 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well Bob Scheer was one of Obama’s prominent boosters throughout the election campaign, when I and others were trying to warn people about Obama and were frozen out from posting on the prominent websites.  Oh well, now Wall Street has their shill in the White House, and if anybody criticizes Obama, the blacks will circle the wagons around him.  Obama is in Wall Street’s pocket, the blacks are in Obama’s pocket, so now the blacks are in Wall Street’s pocket.  Good work.  So now the left is totally marginalized, not even the blacks are on board (they’ll support Obama no matter what) and the rest of the population will vote GOP.

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By Crystal Clear, April 2, 2009 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Two trillion three trillion what difference does it make, the dollar is “backed” by faith—“In God we trust.”  If we lose faith in the value of our money, then it will become worthless. Money is simply an efficient “medium of exchange.” Rather than being paid in commodities, we’re paid with money to purchase goods and services. So it’s all “make believe”—the dollar is worth what we want it to be worth—let’s pretend; anyone for a game of Monopoly?

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By KDelphi, April 2, 2009 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

I hate to sound like a broken record, but, when will the uS realize that unregulated capitalism doesnt work?, for the majority of people, instead of offering money we dont have to the so-called Intl Monetary Fund?? Can someone please explain to me what it is about capitalism that you love so much? What are its greatest achievements? Please dont say that it has created the most wealth for the most people. Its simply not true. Ask 90% of the world’s population. Is it Cold War fears? fears of Marx or Mao or Stalin or what?? Why is it that even mentioning de-globalization brings up cries of “protectionism”? Are we to remain victims of this jingoistic language?

Even the “regulation” being “proposed” is mere window dressing. You would think that USAns were enjoying this…what, do we have a guilty conscience or something?? This is no way to assauge our “guilt”.

http://www.marxist.com/g20-capitalism-has-failed.htm

“These ‘statesmen’ of the G20 offer no answers because they are administering the capitalist system which produces unemployment, deep inequalities and poverty for the many as readily as it produces coca cola. The system can’t survive without keeping the many poor. Profound inequality is built in to its foundations. The G20 represents the rich, and is a forum for the rich nations to bully the poor….

Capitalism is incapable of solving the problems of ordinary working people at the best of times. A billion people, almost a sixth of the world’s population, have to make do on a dollar a day. Around 2.6 billion, nearly half of us, have to survive on less than $2 per day. The poor spend 50-80% of their income on food just to keep body and soul together…

At the same time capitalism is poisoning the planet with its pollution and wilful misuse and guzzling of natural resources…. it even threatens the future existence of humans on earth. Basic resources such as water are becoming unaffordable and unavailable .. 17% lack clean drinking water and 37% lack water for hygiene. 4,700 die every day because they have no access to clean water…
.. 1999 marked the beginning of the anti globalisation movement…. a movement against the symptoms of capitalism. It was a protest about what capitalism is doing to the planet, both to its people and to the earth as our home. We must set as our aim the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement by socialism, planned production for social use, not private profit.

The world is more than ever dominated by large scale capitalist industry and large scale capitalist agriculture.  Marx summed it all up when he said in Capital, “Large scale industry…lays waste and ruins labour power and thus the natural power of man, whereas industrially pursued large scale agriculture does the same to the natural power of the soil.”

Capitalism has failed. It offers humanity nothing but hardship and insecurity. It is high time we got rid of it.”

I am sure I’m wrong…and capitalists have the answers, right? When will we stop trying to put sugar on shit?

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By Amon Drool, April 2, 2009 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

outraged…good to see one of the more cool and logical minds at TD has recognized the need to democratize the process of money creation.  besides cook,  stephen zarlenga, ellen brown and the right-winger g. edward griffin all have interesting things to say about the matter.  a commenter “henk r.” over at information clearing house provides useful links on the history and power of the private world-wide banking cartel.

i wasn’t aware of it ‘til recently, but money creation and banking have been contested issues through much of american history.  only after WW2, when american hegemony became firmly established, did it recede into the background…altho i do recall some new deal populist types (like wright patman) railing on about it in the sixties.  we’re paying the price for our ignorance of that history now, but hey…better late than never.

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By TAO Walker, April 2, 2009 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Looks like lots of commenters here see much more clearly than Robert Scheer the real ‘anatomy’ of what’s being done by the plutoligarchs and their professional/political retainers….and HOW, as they loot not only present but several (increasingly unlikely) “future” generations of ‘the lower orders.’  Everything liquifiable is being off-shored as fast as possible.  The Chinese (and maybe some others) will be here to redeem their otherwise worthless IOUs by dismantling and hauling-away all the hardware….and maybe trying to stake a “claim” on some “raw materials.”  “The most heavily-armed civilian population on the planet (outside the middle-east),” is expected to decimate their “selfs” fighting over the scraps.

That’s The-Grand-Plan, anyhow….and who can argue it won’t succeed, given the already panic-stricken CONfusion prevailing among a subject/citizenry who, even having their noses rubbed in it for years now, still can’t see that they are “....all livestock!” to the owner/operators of the CONtraption right now well into the skinning-and-gutting stage of its “process.”  Theirs is the same industrially abusive fate they visit so carelessly upon those of their “lower animal” Relations unfortunate enough to’ve been domesticated….and the tame two-leggeds are about as oblivious to their actual tormentors as feedlot “yearlings” are to the board-of-directors of Burger-King, f’r instance.

There is one, and only one response to all this that has a chance of foiling the designs of these conscience-less thugs.  Dead-meat “individuals” will have to give-up what they’ve been tricked into thinking-of as their “most precious possession”....their false IDentity, their make-believe “self” itself.  Persons belonging to Living Human Communities will have access to Natural resources that are today, and will remain, completely inaccessible to Humans who are still trapped in their “individual”-ity (AND the “corporate entities” which exploit that so efficiently, too).  No blame….just Natural Fact.

As the shape and dimensions of the “global” pyramid scam, and its programmed CONsequences for 98% of its domesticated Human surplus, becomes clearer day-by-day, the perpetraitors’ objective will be to turn growing outrage in directions where it can’t harm the “elite-of-the-elite,” leaving theamericanpeople, for example, nowhere to turn their assault rifles except upon each other….and maybe a few foolish Mexicans and Canadians who wander into the cross-fire.  There is a better Way.

HokaHey!

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By Folktruther, April 2, 2009 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

Outranged- I think that you are right.  the ruling class has given up not only on the US economy but on the US power system and simply wants to siphon off as much money as it can and invest it someplace else.  And the function of Obama is to help do it as quickly as possible.

Anarcissie and I were puzzled a while back on why the American ruling class appeared so short sighted.  It appears that they are getting out.  The US power system is barbaric, corrupt, delusional and obsolete.  It is not long for this world.  So they are simply stealing all they can before it collapses.  Their long range interests have been swamped by the short range predation that defines their existence.  As detailed in a new book by Kenneth Gailbraith’s son, also an economist, THE PREDATER STATE.

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By Kaelieh, April 2, 2009 at 10:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As I understand it, this are not even real assets! They’re either just gambling debts run amok or an insurance policy that refuses to pay out. They aren’t backed by anything tangible/physical.

Yeah, there’s some defaulted loans and foreclosures out there, ones the bankers knew were likely to happen because of a borrower’s credit history or yearly income. But is this 2.98 trillion dollars in these debts? No! It’s all this crap in insurance against loan defaults, CDOs, and credit default swaps. They banks and AIG were trading debts back in forth. They make Bernie Madoff look like an amateur.

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By Crimes of the State Blog, April 2, 2009 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

TRY NEARLY $13 TRILLION.

Bloomberg News spins as follows:

  “The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have spent, lent or committed $12.8 trillion, an amount that approaches the value of everything produced in the country last year, to stem the longest recession since the 1930s. “

  “The money works out to $42,105 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. and 14 times the $899.8 billion of currency in circulation. “

This is theft. This is debt servitude. This is not much different than selling your grandchildren into slavery in order to give money to multi-millionaire gamblers today.

Obama has continued egregiously fraudulent “bailout” practices started by Bush. Previously they bailed out the Savings and Loans which were raided back in the late 80’s under poppy Bush, with brother Neil Bush profiting handsomely from that looting spree.

This is as blatantly immoral as it is criminal and destructive to the nation. They are using the cover of a “rescue” to dump shiploads of our tax money on the lawns of billionaires. There is no kind, innocent way of spinning this, unless one is willing to turn off all powers of critical thought and become the mindless drones who believe whatever is told to them on their televisions.

This is pure madness, and by design, will enrich the vulture class oligarchs while destroying the lives of most of the population, already under siege for decades since Nafta, the stagnation of wages, the crushing of unions, the rotting of the education system, etc.

It’s last call for America. What happens from here on out will be unrecognizable.

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By Jason!!, April 2, 2009 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

lol.

I guess we could say the system is rigged in their favor much like vegas. The house always wins.

Turn out to protest on Tax Day!!!!

Here is a google map with all confirmed protest locations. Find one near you.

http://tinyurl.com/cghcfm

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By thebeerdoctor, April 2, 2009 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

re: Jason!

Thanks for mentioning H.R. 682. Perhaps we can make a bet (a credit default swap?) as to whether this piece of legislation every gets out committee.

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By Jason!!, April 2, 2009 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

Insider Trading: Illegal For You, But Not For Congress! - H.R. 682

A 2004 report from Georgia State University showed that United States Senators received annual investment returns that were approximately 25% higher than what typical Americans were able to achieve.

Under current law, Congress and staff who have access to the privileged “non-public information” gathered through official oversight proceedings, are NOT prohibited from using that information for personal benefit in securities and commodities trading. The SEC does not have the authority to hold employees of Congress, or the Executive Branch, liable for using insider information gained from official proceedings for insider trading. Equally as abhorrent: there are lobbyists and traders who haunt the halls of Congress seeking insider tips from staff, and are known as “political intelligence consultants.” They may also enrich themselves and their clients using this confidential information.
“Insider trading” is HIGHLY illegal for you, me and every other person who trades in the securities markets.

Why is it legal for government officials?

The system is CORRUPT!

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By thebeerdoctor, April 2, 2009 at 6:56 am Link to this comment

re: outraged

Hearing all of this talk about bringing calm to the market got me wondering. Now as everybody knows who reads my comments, I am certainly not the brightest bulb on the holiday tree, but I can’t help thinking that there is something terribly flawed in this assumption.
Some years ago, I got involved with the stock market during what could now be called the fiber optic fraud, created by Global Crossing, Enron, Tycho and such. As far as I know (which is not much) the stock market has always been driven by 2 factors: Fear (of losing your money) and Greed (which is not getting more money when the stock price goes way up). Fear and Greed, or Greed and Fear, are not exactly conducive to the most rational behavior, yet we keep hearing about regaining “calm” in the market, when by its very nature, the workplace environment is its opposite. Such devices as trading curbs, which are designed as temporary breaks to the pace of trading, are an obvious acknowledgment of this volatile process.
With all this in mind. it is not surprising that the economic cabal that Obama employs, such as Lawrence Summers, made damn sure that credit default swaps were not listed as the gaming instruments that they actually became.

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By Outraged, April 2, 2009 at 1:47 am Link to this comment

Quote: “That law brought “legal certainty” to the market, a phrase that Lawrence Summers, then Clinton’s secretary of the treasury and now Barack Obama’s top White House economics adviser, deployed incessantly as a calming mantra as the financial derivatives market swirled out of control.”

“Legal certainty”(calm) and “undermining confidence”(fear), my….... how they do run on so.
 
The hearings came under fierce criticism. Wall Street bankers charged that they were “undermining confidence.” Some senators scorned them as running a “circus,” and in fact, some of the excesses deserved the tag.

Yet Pecora was deadly serious. By the time the hearings ended in May 1934, they had generated 12,000 printed pages of testimony—providing the source that historians have mined ever since to fuel their descriptions of the era. And they paved the way for reform: the Securities Act of 1933, the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. In recognition, Roosevelt named Pecora to be a commissioner of the new Securities and Exchange Commission.

We need the same fearless investigation now.”

http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2009041401/time-grand-inquest-financial-crisis

I agree.

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By Outraged, April 1, 2009 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment

Considering the issue of greenbacks should be taken seriously.  There was this at wiki:

“The Treasury Department issued these notes directly into circulation, and they are obligations of the United States Government. The issuance of United States Notes was subject to limitations established by Congress. In order to stimulate the economy, the Currency Acts of July 10, 1862 and March 3, 1863, and May 3, 1878 (among other legislation) established a statutory limitation of $346,681,016[1] on the amount of United States Notes authorized to be outstanding and in circulation. This currency was not backed by any deposit in any bank or government reserve, in contrast to the gold certificates at the time. They also do not bear interest, unlike the appropriately titled Interest Bearing Notes of 1861 to 1865. While $346,681,016 was a significant figure in Civil War days, it is now a very small fraction of the total currency in circulation in the United States.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Note

While this appears an issue, It seems unlikely a monumental hurdle(well aside from the greedy 1% of bankers) Since laws are to be interpreted for their INTENT, a premise exists that these same “dollars” could be translated to “real dollars”..... and the president does have signing statement capability to interpret law (thanks to Bush) and a requirement to protect the country.  Oddly enough, according to this article Milton Freidman also advocated a government issued currency as this article states:

The “Federal Reserve Act of 1913” could be repealed.

“Despite this vast mushrooming, Patman’s analysis of the underlying banking dynamics remains accurate and his remedies even more effective. Patman would recommend:

  1. That the Federal Reserve Act be repealed and the legitimate functions of the Fed be made a division of the Treasury Department.
  2. That the U.S. Government be the sole “coiner” of money and that it simply issue Greenbacks as needed to make the economy flourish, and to pay for public projects.
  3. That fractionalized reserve banking be abolished. Local banks would be permitted to loan only on a 1 to 1 ratio of what they had on deposit and then only for a low rate of interest.
  4. That local Banks be regulated again.”

The article also had this to say:

“Wall Street banks used to be overly concerned about inflation of their dollars. Our market economy was then fairly stable and the wealthy wanted the purchasing power of their dollars preserved. They restricted the creation of money and raised interest rates, a “tight money” policy. Now, strangely enough, Wall Street is going all out to inflate dollars beyond measure. This must mean that Wall Street has secretly given up on our market economy, and now seeks to siphon off as many dollars as it can as quickly as it can. The wealthy can then invest their dollars in land, gold, silver, platinum, oil reserves, and in gated castles for themselves. They can thus reduce those of us who survive to the level of feudal serfdom where we eke out an existence by working their land.

Wall Street’s plan to rescue itself is a covert class war by the top 1% against the rest of us. Wall Street seeks to solve the problem of the huge public debt to China by inflating the dollar so that each of our dollars buys less and less. This will put us into poverty. China is well aware of this Wall Street strategy which involves cheating China also.”

We have what appears to be a power grab, and we are required to do something to stop it. (and does this have something to do with all the propaganda to FEAR CHINA….cause the bankers’ NEED us to be “on their side”...?)  I’m all ears, what is the best thing to do?  I agree with the many now and throughout history who see that we HAVE TO REGAIN CONTROL OF OUR CURRENCY. 

(I know, I know…. you’re thinking…no shit, Sherlock!)

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By Jon, April 1, 2009 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The looting continues right in front of our eyes and it still goes on.

The bonuses handed to bankers are more than GM and Chrysler have asked for as LOANS.

What accounts for the fact—the fact—-that Congress and Obama have handed trillions to the banks with no strings, but have allowed US heavy industry and manufacturing in particular to be shut down, outsourced, American workers vilified as ‘whiners’ (Phil Gramm), and marginalized? 

America is being deindustrialized and looted by corporations and banks while Congress and the White House enable this.  What does this imply for where we are headed?  Better get in line for American Idol or World’s Top Model I guess, eh?

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By wildflower, April 1, 2009 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment

RE Robert Scheer: “. . . the bankers and stockbrokers who got us into this mess by insisting that the complex-by-design derivatives they trafficked in should not be regulated by government.”

Believe taxpayers need to be closely monitoring what is happening in regard to this issue. In all probability these same bankers, stockbrokers and their friends on Capital Hill will continue to minimize the need for regulations.

There are already signs of backsliding in regard to the AIG “bonus” issue.  Two weeks ago, we saw “outrage” on Capital Hill and a bill that levy a 90 percent tax on bonuses handed out to participants of the bail outs. 

Today, there is the Grayson-Himes bill, which essentially bars participants in the Troubled Asset Relief Program from paying out anything except payments based on performance standards.

Interestingly, many of the same House Republicans that voted on the first “bonus” bill have overwhelming opposed this second “bonus” bill:

“Some Republicans characterized the Grayson-Himes bill as a slippery slope toward a Soviet-style command economy – and worse.

“This bill claims to be about executive compensation. What it’s really about is another step in an overall effort underway this year to expand the size, involvement and control of the federal government into not just the private sector but into all aspects of our lives,” said Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee.” 

[Victoria McGrane-Politico]
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0409/20781.html

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By Outraged, April 1, 2009 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

Whoops! I guess that petition was for the other G-20.  Sorry, didn’t mean to give you a bum steer.

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By Outraged, April 1, 2009 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

What we need are “permanent structural changes” in our monetary system, as Richard C. Cook explains:

This is the summary video (part 6 of 6 )of his plan and is about 30 minutes long.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2945437690287937254

Parts one through five are here:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12932

According to the link:
Richard C. Cook is a former U.S Treasury analyst who also worked in the Carter White House and for NASA and writes on public policy issues. His new book is We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform (Tendril Press 2009). His website is http://www.richardccook.com. He is a member of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network and has been an adviser to Congressman Dennis Kucinich and the American Monetary Institute.”

A MUST SEE VIDEO. There is also a link at Cook’s site for an “open letter” petition to the G-20…. oh nevermind…., here’s the link.

http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2008/11/11/sign-petition-for-a-monetary-system-that-puts-people-first-open-letter-to-g-20/

Additionally, from Cook’s site he is described as follows:

“He was instrumental in exposing multiple layers of cover-up in the wake of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. As a witness to the incident and a participant in the subsequent investigations, he received the Cavallo Foundation Award for Moral Courage in Business and Government for his testimony. In 2007, his memoirs of the tragedy were published in a book entitled: Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age. It has been called by one reviewer, “The most important space flight book in 20 years.”

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By jackpine savage, April 1, 2009 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment

Look, just because there are a few positive signs means nothing…especially since those positive signs are coming from Wall Street which has been gaining on the banks buying up all the toxic assets that they originally created (with only 15% of the price…the other 85% is coming from us).

I realize that the media’s been saying “since the Great Depression” every fourth word for months now, but the important factor is that the GD didn’t come out of nowhere.  In 1924-25 there was a massive recession that prompted governments to step in and attempt to solve the problem.

It looked like it worked for a couple of years, and then the bottom fell out.  The response to that recession was a lot of borrowing/printing to try and reinflate the economy…sound familiar?

Several learned economists have warned that what we are facing now is probably not the ultimate crisis but only the penultimate crisis.

It’s also interesting to note that the Europeans seem intent on not making the same mistakes of the 20’s, while the US (ever ignorant of history and banking on its own exceptionalism) appears ready to whole heartedly follow the path that led to the GD.

But anyway, keep on cheering the bear rallies…hell, put what money you have left in to help it along.  Odds are good you’ll lose all of it, but what do economists know…i mean, they’re not politicians.

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By racetoinfinity, April 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

“Folktruther,” - great comment at 2:11 pm.  Well said, and I totally concur.  We’ve been had again, I fear. 

Good post Mr. Scheer.  You all but named Obama, so what’s the difference, and carping in these comments.  We still have a chance to move the agenda forward in some areas with him; of course, compared to Bush, he’s enlightened, but who isn’t.  I’ve been vocal very early on (since he announced the appointments of Summers and Geithner [I could see the import of that - they were both Rubin acolytes]) about my steep disappointment in Obama.

One question to consider (for history and understanding).  You wrote:  ” You wrote: “For the government to intervene would have created “legal uncertainty” in the derivatives market, an argument that a Republican-dominated Congress and President Clinton bought in authorizing the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in December of 2000.”

Did they “buy in” to this specious argument or were they bought and paid for (maybe a bit of both)?

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By felicity, April 1, 2009 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind - I concur.  Too many of us have become too used to instant gratification - hell, we don’t even have to get off our asses to change channels - so to expect too many of us to be able to tolerate a long-term process which just might lead to a solution to our present economic crisis is to expect a miracle. 

If it doesn’t happen tomorrow, it won’t happen.  I smell a kind of effeteness, a chorus of snarling, whimpering whiners who feed their egos by snarling and whimpering and little else.  Someone said that the American boomer is like a child playing at adult life.  I also concur with that.

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By Ribald, April 1, 2009 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While it’s true that there have been a few positive upticks recently, it’s short-sighted to hold them up as evidence of policy success. Stock market prices are poor reflections of the economy (For instance, they rise with inflation and during stock bubbles). Other measures are affected by a complex array of variables.

  More importantly, I’d be suspicious of any significant short-term recovery, simply because it suggests that current policy has begun to create a new bubble economy, rather than a sustainably restructured one.

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By freeyourmind, April 1, 2009 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

The inability of the colonists to get power to issue their own money permanently out of the hands of George the third and the international bankers was the prime reason for revolutionary war. Now I’m hearing that this bail out is good. you sheeple have lost your minds. I want my currency back. Fuck the Fed

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By Folktruther, April 1, 2009 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

Obama’s betrayal of the people who voted for him is more massive than is usual in Dem history.  In the first half of the 20th century Dem presidents ran on peace platforms and then went to war.  As Obama is doing.  But they also attacked the rich to some extent, not giving them taxpayer money to the extent Obama is doing.

And his punitive attack on the GM is intended to damage and destroy the auto union.  Nothing Obama could do in the US would be more important than making it easier to organize unions.  It would increase the power of the population in the face of onslaught of the US power regime to increase the enormous economic and political class inequality.

But in his usual way, he states the rhetoric for such an act and lets the legislation die in Congress. He is letting big business lobby it to death without any resistence on his part.  This is even worse than his bailout swindle.

What Obaama is doing bailiout-wise is giving trillions of dollars of options to the stockholders of the banks.  The stockholders win when some of the shares go up and they don’t lose when they go down.  We do. Stigliz spells it out in a column in today’s NYTimes.

What Roosevelt railed against was ‘malfactors of great wealth.’  Now they have their sevant in the White House.  A servant who looks and sounds really good on tv.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 1, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

You don’t need to “grow a set of balls” to post here, even an outrageous, outlandish idea.  It’s just a blog site.

I don’t LIKE that the banks are getting all this money but the signs are that the WHOLE package is working.  The Dow had a good month of March, credit is loosening up, many of the leading economic indicators are improving.  Only the big trailing indicator, unemploymentis worse for March than Feb.

NOTHING works overnight and that’s been the utter stupidist and most continual criticism of Obama, who hasn’t been in 2 1/2 months yet and, if we are very, very lucky, will get the economy going in a positive direction in a year—and no less than that.  Not fixed, just moving the right way in a year.  If we are lucky.

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By Thomas Mc, April 1, 2009 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Obama is just as guilty as Bush in this Great American Heist!

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By felicity, April 1, 2009 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

Either Summers and his ilk are really stupid or they’re getting ‘paid’ under the table (probably both) in their pursuit of bank deregulation forgetting or never knowing what happened to banks during the early years of the Depression - all their own doing, by the way.

According to Richard Goodwin in his fine book, ‘Promises to Keep’ this isn’t the first time the banks have brought our economy (and themselves) to its knees. They won their immediate battle against regulation near the onset of the Depression but it was a hollow victory.  There followed an average of 120 bank failures a month for 48 months in succession, which prompted FDR’s remark that the banks had to be regulated to “keep them from comitting suicide.”

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By NYCartist, April 1, 2009 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

Wait a minute:on alleged “welfare cheats”, What percent of government budget, in any recent year, has gone to welfare COMPARED to the amount of money given to the banks, et al since last Sept. (or any time before, aka “corporate welfare”).  Unfair to use “welfare cheats” since it was/is a tiny faction, even if Mr. Scheer meant to show something of silliness of it.  Look how far Ronald Reagan got with the lie about “welfare queens…”.

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By bilejones, April 1, 2009 at 8:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just as the Russian Oligarchs with the active support of their politicians looted Russia in the Mid 90’s so the financial Oligarchs are looting the economies of the West with the active support of the politicians they own including that scumbag Obama

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By bert, April 1, 2009 at 6:07 am Link to this comment

Jason, astute comment. As I was reading I was marveling how Scheer could condemn the policies yet miracously not name Obama, but yet still manage to get a dig in against Clinton.

As usal in my rare visits to TD these days, I relish telling Mr. Scheer - TOLD YOU SO!!!!

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By Jason!!, April 1, 2009 at 5:56 am Link to this comment

Sheer,

you seem to play both sides. On one hand, Obama is the answer. On the other his policies suck.

Get off the fence man and grow a set of ...

He sucks. He lies. He manipulates and he is putting others intrests above “main street”.

call it like it is.

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By Gloria Picchetti, April 1, 2009 at 5:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A car is still a car if it’s bought or not. Someone can use it someday. The derivatives are sort of product maybe if the timing works out. The other bank products they made up are simply shell games we were forced to for and will continue to pay for. I would rather see my little piece of the pie pay for a car even if a couple lives in it rather than see a penny go to a banker/broker/insurance scammer. I will buy the blindfolds and cigarettes when Congress does the right thing; set up the firing squad.

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By MainerInTheWorld, April 1, 2009 at 5:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The county would do much better to simply shut down the un-regulated derivatives market.  First because there is some limit how much the State can do sending cash and credits to the financial system; remember that the Government is expending in the “Bs” (billions) and the derivatives market is measured in the “Ts” (trillions). Second because Federal monies going into the banking system is simply going out again to derivatives . If there is a clear case someday that derivatives have a net positive social benefit, then they can be instituted in a regulated market. 
The Government can take this action through a combination of regulate-them-out-business,  tax- them-out- of- profits , criminalize-the back- street transactions , and, as an AIG’s owner, walk-out-of-the- market.  Simply take away all the supposed private advantages of derivatives until the broader goal of market stability is achieved.

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By jackpine savage, April 1, 2009 at 4:34 am Link to this comment

And Obama’s latest nominee for Treasury is right up there in quality with the likes of Geithner and Summers…he even received the highest award that Treasury gives (from Summers) for his work in writing deregulation legislation.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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By coloradokarl, April 1, 2009 at 4:32 am Link to this comment

I saw some economist the other day, they called him “Dr. Doom” because of his morbid predictions of five years ago. All of them true,of course. He says that our problems are from the Overuse of credit and this is a Natural cycle. By letting “nature” take it’s course through the elimination of credit and the fluff jobs that this false sense of prosperity created is the natural ebb and flow, the Yin and Yang of the business cycle. By pumping cash into the system we artificially smooth the short term and curse the long term with the debt that needed purging to begin with. Your screwed,folks!! Buy a supply of canned food, medicine, a big dog, grow a garden (Start Now !) , Know your neighbors, a good knife, a generator,gas….....

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By thebeerdoctor, April 1, 2009 at 3:33 am Link to this comment

Dialog for a movie: “Why are you wrecking General Motors?” answer: “Because it’s wreckable!”

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By jopool, April 1, 2009 at 3:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Remember trickle-down?
This is trickle-UP!
With a vengence.

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By Ribald, April 1, 2009 at 1:35 am Link to this comment

My heart sank a bit when I read about the administration choosing to withdraw from the automaker bailout. I wasn’t particularly a fan of it in the first place, but, indeed, it’s chump change.

  The problem is that this massively inconsistent decision suggests that Obama is dealing with the economy on a selective basis. Rather than using broad brush strokes, as one would expect from a president motivated more by principle than by knowledge, he’s using discretion. The logic of exposing the automakers to the consequences of their mistakes is diametrically opposed to the logic of the bank bailout schemes, though. If Obama wants GM to take it’s lumps, by the same reasoning he should have begun restructuring the banks a while ago.

  This sort of event, in my view, is unsettling political foreshadowing.

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By Paul, April 1, 2009 at 12:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Perhaps your next story could be the $10,000 spent per child.  Assuming a pretty good standard of 25 students per class, and a teacher salary of $50,000, that means $200,000 is going on overhead per class.  Clearly some of that overhead is literally over head (a roof), but it’s hard to justify why classes are bigger than 10-12 kids.

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