Archive for September, 2008

Bell Orchestre - Throw it on a Fire

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Have a drink they’re buying…bottom of bottle of denial…

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Once the shit hit the fan, it was only a matter of time before the dominoes started falling. Our “elected” leaders have scrambled to pass a bailout package (estimated at $700 billion) to stabilize the market, but the taxpaying public - having been lied to by many of these officials for the better part of the last 8 years - wants none of it. There hasn’t been any substantial dialogue with the American people about why this needs to be done other than the vague ’sky is falling’ doomsday scenario that we’re tired of hearing.

Usually this wouldn’t make a bit of difference. The influence of Wall Street spans the leadership of both major political parties as well as vast majority of mainstream media outlets. Our entire economy has been calibrated to satisfy the needs of Wall Street. Any reforms that might negatively impact the stock market are generally relegated to 3rd rail status and never seriously debated. At times it’s difficult to tell where Wall Street ends, and the government begins. That’s why so many were shocked on Monday when a bipartisan Congressional coalition rejected the much ballyhooed bailout proposal.

Syndicated columnist David Sirota saw it coming

Those who are surprised by this turn of events just haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on out in the country - they haven’t been paying attention to, for instance, the social survey research showing rising rage against both our corrupt government and Corporate America.

Facing re-election in 5 weeks, members of Congress are quite sensitive to the public outcry over this mess. Conservatives don’t like the idea of the government spending $700 billion on anything, much less the public rescue of failed private enterprises. Progressives would rather see that money spread across all damaged sectors of the economy, and certainly don’t trust the Bush Administration to do anything other than con them.

Presidential hopefuls Obama and McCain would each like to see something (anything) passed to stabilize the markets (the winner will naturally stand poised to renegotiate the deal after the election anyway), but neither man is going to expend precious political capital to push such a controversial bill through so close to an election.

Call it a crisis of leadership.

Not surprisingly, the stock market tanked on the news that the bailout failed to pass. Right now the market is behaving like a spoiled brat who was told no for the first time ever. Sometimes parents have to say ‘no’ on principle just to teach a lesson. That doesn’t mean the kid is kicked out of the house or won’t continue to be relatively spoiled in the future.

There’s a general consensus that something needs to be done to stabilize the economy. No recovery can occur while confidence is low. The main problem with this recovery plan is that the primary architects of this deal are the same ones who not so long ago were telling us “everything is fine”. Additionally, there’s enough resistance from both the right and left wings of Congress that any concessions to either side will further infuriate the other. Middle ground may not be attainable until the dust has settled after the election.

The eventual solution must address the root causes of the crisis. It’s apparent that AIG (among others) were operating more like casinos than banks, without any regulatory consequence until after the plane crashed into mountain. This has been a failure of government as much as it’s been a failure of the market. We allowed the tail (Wall St) to wag the dog (the entire economy).

St Louis, September 2008

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Pearl Jam - Hail Hail, 9/20/1996

Thursday, September 25th, 2008