Monday, September 29, 2008

The Economy


By now, you're feeling as nervous as...well, we all are.

The Dow was down more than 300 points in late morning trading Monday but fell more than 700 points in late-afternoon trading after the House failed to pass the bailout bill.

If there is a light in the darkness, we can't see it yet. So obviously there is a lot of danger, no matter which way we sail. And financial institutions like Wachovia aren't out of danger yet.

The good news is that (astonishingly) the dollar rallied and looked a little better than the Euro, which seems to indicate that the market feels the dollar is still a better investment. However, an expert has said that the move into the dollar and bonds Monday isn't as much a flight to quality as it is a "flight to refuge."

I hope this continuing difficulty signals the McCain campaign that the bailout isn't enough: Obviously, the war is a very bad hobby to continue to indulge in. If we want to protect ourselves and our investments, then the protection needs to start at home.

At home, we can shore up our border defense and ferret out the illegal aliens (some of whom are undoubtedly terrorists). At home, we can put our soldiers to work a little closer to their families. At home, the slaughter of our troops will not continue at the same pace that it is now. At home, the defense of American interests becomes a little more plausible.

The government needs to get it's priorities straight. Until people demand accountability and true leadership, that will never happen. And up to this point, the people have not really spoken, or we would not have the two poor candidates that we have now.

We are left with two weak candidates: One is an inexperienced socialist, and the other is too much of an experienced Washington insider. Neither one is equipped to drag our country out of this quagmire.

At this point, even Ron Paul is starting to look good.


daveawayfromhome said...

Too much borrowing: government, businesses, individuals, everyone. We went too far, and now we're going to have an unpleasant time while we pay it back (or an unpleasant time while we default and learn to live on what we earn 'cause no one's going to loan us anymore). We're going to feel the pain, I'm thinking, and feel it hard.

We based our ecomony on expansion rather than stability, even though any idiot knows that expansion cannot be maintained indefinitely. We then compounded that foolishness by borrowing based on that expansion. Do you see how that might be a recipe for disaster.
Worst of all, the Republican Party, the party that should have been the voice of reason in this debtors-fest, were in fact our worst offenders, slashing taxes (which they said would be "made up" by the "expanding" economy) and pouring money down a military rathole (as if destruction, which is all a military is really good for, could build our economy). Where, exactly, was the conservatism in that?

Yeah, we're screwed.

As for the dollar, it's not getting stronger, everyone else's currency is getting weaker as the fallout from our bad debt starts to affect the foreigners who've been buying it up. Sucks to be them, almost as much as it's gonna suck to be us.

The Lazy Iguana said...

The dollar gained a little over other currencies for one simple reason.

There are less of them now. POOF! A few trillion were gone. Removed from the equation. Just like that.

And which candidate is the "socialist"? The candidate that suggests continuing the policy of balancing the budget on the backs of the middle class, so that the wealthy can continue to get more tax breaks so they can "continue too build their business"?

And yes, I heard Palin say that. What a TOTAL TWIT she is. Really. This fantasy world they live in is not the reality I live in!

One would think - after all these years of "business building" - that the economic outlook would be really good.

But it is not. And seeing as how 6 of those 8 years were under one party rule, and the other two years saw only a weak majority in the House and close to a dead even tie in the Senate - and a President who magically discovered his veto pen (after misplacing it for the first 6 years)...well lets just say I do not get this whole "blame" thing.

Her simplistic views on everything remind me a lot of another goober who got "elected". And wow! How simple it all is! Black or white! There is never any gray. NOPE! Just right and wrong. The whole universe is one of absolutes.

Where as in my universe, the only absolute comes in the form of a bottle of vodka.

McCain picked a twit running mate. I have a theory as to why. For one, the old man has ALWAYS been a womanizer. And Palin looks all right. Caribou Barbie. In his Navy Academy days his reputation was that of a party boy who always got chicks. And then he marries a model. When he comes home from the POW camp his once hot wife turned ugly, as the result of a car crash. So he cheats on her with a few much younger chicks. Then he finds a younger rich chick that he marries - while not exactly divorced from wife 1.

Is that about right? I think so.

And then look at his running mate.

Reason 2 is that she was an unknown that would play VERY WELL to the evangelical base. For she is one of them, and they know that.

Kind of long, but worth it. The snake oil salesman in a suit praying for Sara to be protected from witchcraft? And praying for her to get financing? Classic. Because Jesus needed financing.

Anyhow - this is who Sara is. Even further out than Huckabee - who by the way lost the primaries. But the evangelical "base" demanded McCain pick someone they liked.

But McCain had to maintain his "maverick" costume in order to have a chance of winning.

So, he picks Sara. One of "them", but not a well known one of "them". So he can continue to say he is a maverick, while at the same time doing EXACTLY WHAT THE BASE wanted.

But I am not buying it.

And the "socialist" would not be the man who proposed the bailout now would it? Last time I checked, the "blank check" proposal was made by a former CEO of Goldman Sacks (turned Treasury Secretary) and the goober who appointed him to the job (Curious George).

No, the "socialist" is the other guy.

I am not really buying that either.

daveawayfromhome said...

socialism: working together for the common good

capitalism: working the system for your own good

feudalism: working the commoners for the aristocracy's good.

Which one sounds about right for our times?

We've had two periods of relatively unfettered capitalism in my lifetime. Both periods ended in financial disaster. So maybe we ought to give socialism a chance. I fail to see how it could be worse for anyone but the millionaires, and I'm afraid I cannot find any sympathy for them right now.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I'm not going to comment on your commenters, except that Dave has a real point when he says that we built our economy on expansion which is silly (not capitalist or socialist, just silly, as a number of pretty socialist countries in Europe are finding). If I can figure out how to use it (as a certified computer nincompoop) I would send the e mail attachmentI received today advocating a write in presidential campaign for Bill Cosby. The platform advocated tempts me a lot.

daveawayfromhome said...

I'd vote for Bill Cosby.

Ed Abbey said...

Although I said I wouldn't "throw away" my vote this year, the Balwin/Castle ticket is looking more and more attractive.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Ed, I so agree with you!!!

Dave & 3Score, I'd vote for Bill Cosby too.

Dave, You are completely correct and your point about basing our economy on expansion is accurate and well-said.

Lazy, Obama is a socialist. On the other hand, as Dave pointed out, socialism isn't always bad.

But here's where EVERYone makes a huge mistake:

All policies that go wrong have one intrinsic error: The belief that humanity is ultimately good and wants to do good and help each other.

When we throw that Pollyanna belief out the window, we will finally be able to make some significant progress.

We must put programs in place that watch out for the little people because no one individual, or individual corporation, will. That is socialism and it's correct as far as it goes.

But we also must allow people to make money. Making money isn't evil. Rich isn't necessarily evil. Poor isn't necessarily evil. But everyone should realize that society has certain obligations to the needy.

Still, we all know the poor people who are poor because they are lazy or self-indulgent. We also know the rich people who are rich because they are also self-indulgent. So restrictions on the bad practices of BOTH sides would help tremendously in this.

The Democrats and socialists (Barack is both) would like to view the poor as saintly people who are down on their luck. Not an accurate picture.

The neo-cons and some Republicans would like to view the rich as saintly people who will always throw money to the peasants. Also not an accurate picture.

But yes, Barack is a socialist. I don't know what you're referring to with Palin - maybe she said the same thing. If so, she's correct. I can give you numerous examples to back that up - just ask.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Glad the deal didn't go through to help out the corrupt banks.

And can I say that if Obama is a socialist then I'm a child killer...

undergroundlogician said...

Saur, Dave, Lazy, et al:

Are you all either pondering or advocating Socialism?

Tell me you're all kidding, please. You want to cease private ownership, usher in government ownership and give government total control over everything? You want government to have big tits (sorry for the profane idea) so that we can roll up to her and suck to our hearts content? Sheesh.

Hell, why don't we just flush the Democratic Republic we have down the damn toilet and usher in a World government? Since we're considering doing something we haven't tried before. Then you can have your damnable government "big tits" socialism, plus, we can all be unified in our misery together with all the other nations of the world. Then, all the envy and hatred against America will stop, and we'll all sing "Kumbayah" in 124 different languages until our respective regional world government sanctioned soup kitchens open for supper. Oh, and don't forget to not say grace.

I can't believe this...

Oh, Daniel,

I know this may seem weird, but you and I agree on canning the Bailout. Wow. It's not often you and I agree. I wonder what's next. By the way, Barry is both a socialist and a child killer. What does that make you now?

Anonymous said...

I like to look at it as a sale on money and that the sale will end soon when the knee jerkers on Wall Street continue to live hour by hour. Best thing we could ever do is stop trading so much stock and start making loans a lot less common.


daveawayfromhome said...

Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; give a man a fishing pole, he can feed his own damn self.

Yes, UL, I'll advocate socialism, provided it's the right kind of socialism. Your nightmare scenario is what is commonly called "communism", and that does not work well at all.
I'm talking about the government providing the tools for all the people to use, not only those who can afford to buy the tools. Tools like a college education, or good health, or child care.
Imagine what the country might be like in ten years if the government announced a program to give full scholarships to anyone who would study science, engineering, math or physics.
Imagine how productivity would be affected if people could get medical care when they were sick, instead of having to work on despite illness. Better yet, imagine what the housing market might be like had so many people not lost their homes because they had to choose between medical care and mortgage payments.
Imagine if single mothers were given free day-care rather than being paid per child. How many would then work (or perhaps attend school and study medicine or something on the free scholarships)? Imagine if children came into kindergarten having spent their early childhood in preschool classes eating nutritious lunches rather than spending that time watching Nickelodeon and eating cheetos.

This is the type of socialism I'm talking about, and it benefits everyone. Using the collective power of the government to give people the tools to compete that they need, then letting them loose within the capitalistic system, which works really, really well for making money, but sucks for taking care of human needs. It also needs to be monitored for abuses, just like any other system. Capitalism does not confer sainthood, any more than attending church does.

This mess came partially because we've been held under the spell for the last few decades that the stock market is the be-all-and-end-all of investment, when in fact it's just a bunch of gamblers playing poker with stock certificates instead of cards. It may serve a purpose, but it's not nearly as good for the economy as actually putting money into something new, be it an IPO, or start-up capital, or infrastructure. And as we see, when speculation gets out of hand, it can be quite detrimental.

UL, I like handing money to people who've made bad decisions simply because they've made bad decisions no more than you do. But even more than that, I hate handing my hard earned money to people who already have had more money pass through their hands in one year than I and my entire family will see in a lifetime. Fuck them, they had their chance, and if they blew it, tough luck (especially since they often still have more money and goods left over than I will ever see). Let 'em start over again, just like the rest of us.

Uncle Joe said...

This is good stuff.
Better than anything on TV.

undergroundlogician said...

Dear Dave:

Actually, Socialism is government ownership and government control. Fascism, or National Socialism of 1930's Germany was private ownership and government control. Communism was brought to bear by Vlad Lenin who put together a political machine to implement socialist policies. Communism is the political arm, Socialism is the economic arm.

I said what I mean. To have government own real estate, or to control the market, which is a foolhardy idea in the first place, is a Socialist policy.

As to systems themselves, systems do not take care of people...people take care of people. People in a capitalist system can be just as caring, and there are resources at hand to do the caring.

Sorry, your "government is the answer" politics has been tried and doesn't work. Ideologues who have more imagination than sense are going to ruin this country. Plus, government sanctioned mortgage lending in Freddie and Fannie has turned into a real disaster within the capitalist system. More later.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

UL: you don't know what socialism even means, so don't start talking about how bad it is, read books first then speak.

A classic sign of someone who has NOT THE SLIGHTEST IDEA WHAT IT IS when they think that National Socialism had any basis in socialism whatsoever, when in reality it did not.

That's like expecting Republicans to be Plato inspired philosopher kings who want separation of church and state, when clearly they do not.

You're in above your head UL..again.

undergroundlogician said...

To the Master Economist and Political Scientist Daniel:


daveawayfromhome said...

Well, gee, guess I'm a socialist then. And since we're supposed to have a government "of the people and for the people", then there's no reason that the government cannot take care of the people, except when you choose people to run the government who dont care about people.
As for government ownership of real estate, why do you hate national parks? Is the government allowed to own it's own capital building, or would it be more "efficient" to rent that from a private contractor?

Sorry, your "government isnt the answer" politics has been tried and doesn't work. Ideologues who have more imagination than sense are going to ruin this country. Plus, lack of government regulation in the financial district has turned into a real disaster within the capitalist system. More later.

undergroundlogician said...


You're more a conflicted socialist. You make a moral equivalency between Government owned property and National Parks and owning 700 Billion in personal property. Once the Gov owns these homes and cannot sell them, should it charge rent? And if the poor proletariat souls can't pay up, then what? Should they be evicted, or should they stay for free?

I think you like the "teats" of Socialism, but you think we can have 'em without losing the freedoms we now have. Well, I'm not willing to experiment with socialism to see if you're right. If history is right, the experiment will fail, and we'll have Government as our Landlord, and Hospital, and Food Distributor, and Employer.

As to your "lack of regulation" charge, you may want to see how mortgage give-aways by the Dems through ACORN and Freddie and Fannie put us in this mess in the first place. Gee, don't want to regulate quasi-government agencies to give away the farm, do we? People who like sucking the government teats might get mad.

It's socialism that put us here, it's capitalism that'll get us out. More later, bub.

daveawayfromhome said...

I'm not conflicted. I'm quite sure that I'd like the government involved in my health care. I'm quite sure that I'd like a relatively transparent organization like the government handling my money, rather than an opaque agency more interested in profit than me.

"Moral equivalency"? Whatever, Mr. Reductio.

What will the government do with all these properties? The same thing it did last time we let banks run rampant: Sell them through HUD (though maybe this time we'll get lucky and the purchasing rules wont be set up in favor of developers and people with lots of cash).

"Food Distributor"? I dont recall anything about socializing restaurants.

Look, if you think it's okay to put your life in the hands of organizations whose primary concern is extracting money from your wallet while providing you as little service as they can get away with, well, you're free to do so. Dont expect me to go along with it though. I prefer to put my life in the hands of an organization whose primary concern is to provide service, and while they may try to extract money from my wallet, they'll do so through the agencies of people that (hopefully) I elected to those positions, in a transparent manner, and who, if any shady deals are taken, can be prosecuted by the law, or at least removed from their positions.

As for your "mortgage giveaways", check your facts. Those programs have a pretty good success rate. What's killing a lot of homeownerships is medical bills, the product of another fine example of the bounty of capitalism.

I'm not saying everything ought to be socialized, just as (I hope) you're not implying that everything ought to be privatized, but some things ought to be, and more things need to be regulated to protect the general interests of all Americans, yes, sometimes at the specific expense of a few (who can generally afford it).

undergroundlogician said...


You think government is transparent? How can you see so clearly? Let me guess, through our Mainstream Media, right?


I guess we can all dream, can't we?

daveawayfromhome said...

How about FISA? Assuming that Republicans arent cutting funding or classifying laundry lists.

The MSM? Hardly. They're not part of the solution, they're part of the problem.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

UL is back and playing comment ping-pong.


And going umm...nah doesn't hide rhe fact you think the Nazi part were socialists WHICH THEY WERE NOT IN ANYWAY SHAPE OR FORM.


Saur♥Kraut said...

Everyone, Thanks so much for the interesting debate that I got to read! I'm sorry I had to be absent this week - the job search has me tied up.

undergroundlogician said...


Tell me, from all the movies and comic books you've read, the vast amount of information about the National Socialist Party of Germany. I'm all ears...

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

UL: you can't be serious? Everyone with a brain knows that the Nazi party had nothing to do with socialism, read Mein Kampf, read the constitutional documents of the Nazi party; nothing in their make-up was socialist. They even persecuted and exectued socialists, communists, marxists and anyone else slightly left of spectrum.

As I said, don't let the word confuse you, just as the Labour party in the UK has nothing to do with women's pregnancy and the Conservative party have nothing to do with being uptight in dress sense and just as the Democrats in the US don't hold a monopoly on democracy.

Don't let a word confuse you on the ideology of a party, the Nazi's dispised socialist ideals, please see the death camps for evidence.

I can't believe you think that the two are even connected, such is your McCarthy-esqe 'reds under the bed' hatred of anything slightly left-wing.

Has this been brought on by the re-nationalisation of so many companies in the US, are you scared that America might go 'commie' on you?

undergroundlogician said...

1. Was there ownership of private property in Germany during the time of Hitler?

2. Did the German government regulate private property and economic output in Germany during Hitler?

If you answered "yes" to both, you have National Socialism, private property ownership and complete Government regulation. It was not Socialist, as I have said, but it is close. It is a cousin to Socialism, and I KNOW that the Nazis HATED the Socialists/Communists.

Now as to the US going Commie, yes. It won't happen over night, but we'll have a Democratic Fascism develop first, then who knows. Freedom is not natural in our world, totalitarianism is. We have to fight for freedom. And it begins with ideas.

The idea of the bailout that Bush proposed is absolutely farcical. I despise it. I think he's cowtowing; he's acting scared; and he's willing to allow the Federal Government to own a bunch of crappy Mortgage backed securities so that bankers who greedily created them, won't lose their ass, and subsequently, the entire U.S. economy. Really pisses me off. There, I had to say it.

I will check into what you have said though, Daniel. If I discover something otherwise, I will stand corrected and let you know about it. Fair enough?

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

1. Yes, remember I am part German and one half of my family grew up there.

2. To some degree yes they did, just as all governments at some time or another have to do, see America for reference.

You can ask both those questions and replace Germany with United States and Hitler with Bush, that doesn't make America Nazis or socialist.

I do however agree with you that the bailout is disgusting, normal people get no respite yet corrupt business does?