Capitalist Absurdity of the Week #2 - Well, of course, the meltdown, "regulation" etc.

In various ways, millions of people are registering their rejection of the proposed $700-billion-plus bailout plan to temporarily save capitalism. Whatever the ostensible arguments put forward from the hallowed halls of Capitol Hill, the obvious 'hump' Congress cannot climb over is that they're collectively terrified of returning to their districts and states to campaign for re-election after have approved such an clear swindle of the majority of us.

With almost every hour, the criminal venality of Washington and Wall Street is exposed in new aspects. Lessons are being learned by many of the toilers, and the false shroud of legitimacy that cloaks this system's operations is bit by bit falling away. The bourgeois press devotes page after page to this mess each day, dissecting for us the failures of capitalism and offering insight into the true character of our government.

Here's one example. 'S.E.C. Concedes Oversight Flaws Fueled Collapse' (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/27/business/27sec.html?em)

The article contains the following gem, a quote from SEC Chairman Cristopher Cox, which deserves to be quoted at length - "The last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work. [It] was flawed from the beginning, because investment banks could opt in or out of supervision voluntarily. The fact that investment bank holding companies could withdraw from this voluntary supervision at their discretion diminished the perceived mandate" of the program, and "weakened its effectiveness," he added.

REALLY?! Oh, this is a good one folks.

Imagine an economic policy which says that there is a only a "perceived mandate" for me to pay off my credit card debt, but in which I have to "voluntarily" submit myself to such "mandate", or actively agree to pay my bills.

We learn a little about Chris Cox and the world he inhabits here. Either
1) he really believes in the words that are coming out of his mouth; in which case, he's pathetically stupid and it's makes you retch that supposedly 'regulatory' agencies are headed by dunces like this. Or
2) he knows he's spinning a bunch of bull, and is displaying the ugliness and lies that rule in Washington-Wall Street for all to see.

Either way, we've got to thank him for these words.

I invite all of you out there to share things you've read or seen that make you say "oh wow, I can't believe what they just asked me to take that seriously" in these carnival days.

Not that the new "regulations" and "oversight" being proposed for the bailout means we will have any democratic control over the finance and investment regimes currently making a hash of our economy. For the real meaning of "oversight", it's enough to watch C-Span or Congressional hearings to get a taste of festival atmosphere of glad-handing, corruption, smirkness and self-congratulation that counts for "democracy" for the ruling class.

I don't want a "bailout", but a "hollowing-out" program that would wither away Wall Street - a democratically controlled fund based on taxing the rich out of existence that would re-train all those employed in the speculative and paper-trading finance "industries" to work as construction workers to rebuild the Gulf Coast communities and as agricultural workers to work on organic farms (which would replace the corporate plantation agriculture we have today).

a couple more ideas

Ok, my favorite quote was from the anonymous US Treasury spokeswoman who told Forbes that the $700 billion was "... not based on any particular data point. We just wanted to choose a really large number." Some say that the $700 billion may well balloon to a trillion (once Bush smashes the free market fundies in the Republican Party to get the thing through.)

A FAQ from OutlookIndia explains:
How much is a trillion anyway? Apart from being a large sum of money?
As figures keep getting tossed around, one begins to suffer from number fatigue. How does one make sense of these large values? Here’s one way to imagine a trillion dollars. Let’s say you have a magic machine that spits out a $100 bill every second, all day and all night long. In the first minute, you’d have $6,000. In the first hour, $360,000. In the first 24-hour day, you will possess more than $8.6 million. A year later, you’ll have a little more than $3.15 billion. In other words, it will take you and your machine more than 317 years to produce a trillion dollars.


Now think about the stated "value" of some of the bullshit markets that have been invented by the finance "industry." I've been hearing $81 trillion for derivatives, $62 trillion for credit default swaps. But if you search Google for "trillion derivatives market" you get even wilder figures. Somebody guessed $596 trillion! That's like $100,000 for every person on the planet!

One of my favorites was an

One of my favorites was an Oct. 10th NY Times article that discussed a meeting between NYC elected officials and CEOs. The meeting was organized partly by the Wall St Journal and the ostensible purpose was to address the financial crisis' effect on NYC.

It describes the CEOs crying plaintively about NYC's high taxes.

One guy from JPMorgan Chase gave the following heartwretching testimony: "New York tries to tax everything we do around the world. If you have a choice where you put a job, it will not be here. That's a terrible thing to say."

Another delicious tidbit: many these same corporate executives are Bloomberg's big supporters in his bid for a third term.

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