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Friday, December 2, 2011

Political Economy: The Powers of Cash, Voice, to The People

Chapter 12 of My Life and Times at Purdue University

I skipped over Chapter 11 here at the blog. It can be found at: www.docstoc.com, Titled: Super Committee. Today, we get to a couple articles and the response to each.

The Power of Cash
First, via Bloomberg business, we find out $7.7 Trillion in Fed facilities were made available to the MegaBanks - JPMorgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and 56 others, only - to prop up their existence. This lending facility or liquidity was provided at .01% while they could switch it over to higher yielding T-notes, to a tidy some of earnings of $13 Billion.  This was discussed on Jon Stewart's Daily Show who called the U.S. Government:"The World's Dumbest Loan Shark":

That's a ton of cash, really, several hundred (maybe a few thousand) tons of cash. It was necessary; it was vital; it was secret. That irks: the secrecy. Then, top that by such a massive influx of capital into a closed system, since the Banks never took any risk, and therefore, NEVER LOST money. None. Here's the quick tale of the tape, from the Bloomberg report:
  •   $1.8 Billion - Citigroup
  •   $1.5 Billion - Bank of America
  •   $1.2 Billion - Royal Bank of Scotland
  •   $878 Million - Wells Fargo
  •   $642 Million - Barclays
  •   $458 Million - JPMorganChase
  •   $348.5 Million - Dexia
  •   $338 Million - HBOS
  •  Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Wachovia, Key, UBS, Societe Generale, and a few others, were over $100 Million to the good from what amounts to a carry trade (interest rate swap).
Meanwhile, the rest of us real risk takers, your mom and pops, street vendors, burger joints, retailers, manufacturing plants, auto retailers, mechanics, farmers, and oh, the average 9-5er, had to go on thinking they would be no Xmas for them. The sky was falling - and their work was basically, worthless.

I get it now. Capitalism failed. And is failing in Europe. (Wonder how much secretive propping up the ECB is going to do?) And that is the irking part - secrecy. The common man - as populist as he is - is wondering, "do any of these assholes know how scary it is to be at the bottom anymore?" While I have my computer to tell you this (I did not always have it, and no guarantee I will in the future), I am still wondering what tomorrow will bring. These banks have no regard for moral hazard; and had the power to par back risk (those that understood it swept it away because the money was to be made - then), but alas, they carried on without sitting down to logical fix the problem.

No need: the Fed just printed more money. Paper over the losses. Kick the problem down the road.

The Power of Voice
Let a man cry in the town square that the world is coming to an end, he's labeled, "a crank, a crackpot, or crazy." But give him a platform or a radio station(s) to say what Rush Limbaugh does, he gets paid for his overinflated self-righteous and biased opinion. Again, the free market at work. His rant posted here.

Recently, this, um, human, decided to paint the portrait of America as "working white families" versus "the losers in life" and the elites, artists, actors, musicians, academia, who don't think they have to work in regards the 2012 election strategy of Obama. "It's not racial," was his reiterated comment. Oh yes, you never make it racial, Rush. That thought never came to mind. When someone tells you it's not about that, it is about that.

Sadly, a poor soul took to calling him an asshole. Rational enough to me. But to a higher plane soul, not so much. He said, he would not stoop to that level. I would, and did. Here's my pointed reply:

Was Hitler an asshole bent on humanity's enslavement and/or destruction? The higher plane argument is all fine and dandy if the parasitical human actually can be made to see the error of their ways. Calling a public figure an asshole is not wrong when he's being an ASSHOLE. (Though, being a bit too upset about his miserable life will not help yours to become more noble or moral.)
For the most part, say 95-98% of the time, we should be above petty name calling. That said, calling a spade a spade, or a nefarious cocksucker a motherfucking, race-baiting, dimwitted fool bent on America's failure (just because a black Democrat happens to be in the White House) has its place in daily life. We all have points of truth: couching it well-intended, logical arguments meant for academia is all swell. But sometimes, if you want to label (the LCD - lowest common denominator), truly wants you to give it to them straight. No Bullshit.
Rush and Hitler are quite similar: top propagandists of their eras. Luckily, Rush has not step out behind the mike to be a 'real leader'. Likely, because his power is pretty great where he is. And he actually has NO interest in solving anything. More to be made from criticizing than fixing anyways.
Such is the malignant nature of our country: people with power to make such a difference use it for negative, destructive purposes. Sadly, the "I can make a difference my own way" is not quite cutting the mustard. YOU ALWAYS have a few people that have to roll in the mud with these bastards to actually win. (The name calling is irrelevant - your down to life and death.) David did with Goliath - could have let someone else or run scared - instead, he laid that motherfucker out. That's the rant. PEACE!

I could have gone on. But you get the point. I am not defending Obama either. His David moment has come, and most likely, gone. That said, smart asses like Rush need to be checked. Like a hockey goon taking out the best guy on the other team. Except, this is not a game or just a competition of marginal importance. This one is about .the fabric of our life. Let these guys keep pumping their vomit out without comment, and we saw, with toxic results what it did to Europe circa 1932-1945.

The Power to The People 
The final word on all of this: We do have a choice to voice our consternation with these salient parts to our Political Economy. While we lost $16 Trillion in net worth at the worst, we now are only down $7.7 trillion (the same amount we pumped to the banks). (June 11, 2011 report above.) 

It is more than about the money. Sadly, we had a whole American livelihood based on the premise that worship of goods, gadgets, or dead Presidents, would give us some solace, or secure some future. (To say it is not that way, is to lie about the problem. We do have a problem with our priorities. Deals. Honesty. Openness. Life. Family. Home. And lastly, the existence of what is next after this race is run...Afterlife.)

All of us choose a path daily. Whether to be happy with what we got, or complain about what is missing. Some are dreamers, doers of the future, and builders of what is next. And nothing is wrong with all of our contributions if they are made in a tangibly sound, and beneficial end. For some, it is greatly more beneficial to whine, posit some evil based on the demographic information checked in your forms from a big, bad government that can't pave roads, or design a healthcare or economy, but can fight costly wars, craft foreign policy ad infinitium, or some other not-so-intrusive personal aspect we like to make-believe exists. As Americans, we exist for our families; our friends;our community; our nation; and, as world citizens.

These make for conflicts. Difficult to weigh the needs for some of us. Those that say it is easy to choose, probably do not see the conflict. Better to ignore, or better yet, to set any other being not connected directly to us as the evildoer, the aggressor, or a foil, thus the cause of all our ills.

But we do have a voice, and a destiny. God - what one I believe in - did not just make this merry-go-round for the purposes of demonstratively negative folks. That would indeed be a tragic, and endlessly fruitless. I suspect he hoped we would set aside differences, work to a common good, ignore (or harness) the gulfs between us (culturally, appearance-related, or otherwise) and, be human, and be aware of: our flaws.

Be a People. Have a Voice - but give it a Purpose.

Well thought out is the POWER.

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