Hey, look! Oktoberfest!
(essence of Oktoberfest from farbfilm)
I BEEN busy. I been the kind of busy that's already busy when it has two big projects dumped on it with less than twelve-hours' notice, resulting in yesterday's first-ever un-proofread (no, it's true!) posting, and, mostly, leaving out my central thesis, which was that if you wanna talk about Irrational Bush Hatred, start talking about the millions of Extrapolated Americans who used to cheer for this guy and now think he's a bum. If a Foolish Consistency really is the hobgoblin of little minds America can rest easy on the Hobgoblin Problem, and maybe go straight to work on the microencephally thing.
I did find the time to watch all of Chimpy McDisaster's Address to the Chumps last night--a first for me since 9/11, or 9/12, or whenever it was he actually poked his head above the desk he was hiding under and smirked at the adoring throngs. In fact, I was hoping he'd reach for that bullhorn again, but no such luck; the first casualty in these sorts of things is always the phony iconography that used to wow 'em in the Sticks.
And now I'm sorry that I didn't have the constitution (sorry) to endure any of his other speeches, since there was a definite Zen quality I'll forever wonder if I missed all along: I didn't know anything about economics before his speech, and now that it's all been explained to me, I don't know anything about economics. For instance, I'm a little unclear about how the people who applied for the loans they later defaulted on helped create the problem when, y'know, the lender wound up with the property, plus everything that had been paid on it to that point. Seems to me there was something, I dunno, missing in the middle there.
We have a mortgage. Back when it was formulated, I'm pretty sure whoever did it understood a) compound interest and b) return on investment. And even though we used a mortgage broker, and thus had a professional working to get us the best deal, my distinct impression at the time was that the Lender had the Upper Hand. I'm pretty sure they didn't single us out to pay off substantial chunks of interest first, before they applied any payments to the principle. And yet our mortgage was sold twice in its early days. That is, they made a deal for what was, ostensibly anyway, a reasonable rate of return, and then they decided they wanted their money back. And this is not Pete down the Street selling to Joe from Kokomo; it's major banks and lending institutions, and presumably they were not caught short by child support payments or laid up with a bad back.
Again, they didn't single us out; they were churning this shit. Maybe it's economically defensible to have these sorts of secondary markets in play, but does it make $1 trillion worth of sense? The value of the loan didn't change, while, if anything, our credit rating went up. The only thing the game was taking notice of was macroeconomic trends. Supposing this was actually guarding against something, other than boredom on the part of financial industry brigands, it doesn't seem to have done a very good job.
Now, all I know about economics is what Simian McPretzelchoker taught me last night, but, again, my wife and I need to pony up $5500, with no security, in order to assure somebody'll loan us money for a new car? Thanks, I'd just as soon walk. Seems like Lowe's is still taking my credit card; when they stop I'll start watching paint peel. I'll live on ketchup soup and iodine-flavored creek water. It seems to me it's the wealthy fuckers who are running scared (since when does the G notice anyone else?). So why do they get to dictate the terms of the surrender? So small businesses won't be able to borrow money to expand. Maybe they shouldn't be expanding if they can't finance it themselves. Thing is, this business of holding jobs and economic expansion over the heads of the American people ought to have been laughed off the screen before the man finished a sentence. (Well, in truth, we should have lined him up against a wall in 2004 sometime--that's allowing for consensus, not my personal opinion--but laughing it off seems the next best thing.) What th' fuck has economic development done for the average American over the past thirty years? Sure, an economic downturn is painful--it's already been, since this current bunch took office. Just as it was throughout the 70s, and when the bill came due for Reaganomics. It's also painful getting fucked over by the money interests when Times are Good. It's painful to pay my health insurance every month. So at this point I'm willing to bet they blink first. $2500 apiece--for this deal, not counting the rest of it--or else they're gonna do what? Delay the next iPhone? Close a Wal*Mart? Fuck it--let's go all in. Show the fuckin' cards, dicks, or eat your loss. This is what the Republican party has had us dancing on the brink of for three decades, and now Mike Fuckin' Pence gets to go on FAUX and say Wait, we need to be intellectually pure. Where was the fucking concern while all this was going on? Nobody sold this shit as a devotion to intellectual purity; it was the Cure-All, the Shining Light on the Hill, Fuckin' Daybreak in Fuckin' America. And it turned out to be a cover for the most massive criminal operation in history. Wow, nobody saw that comin', huh?
Really, in a country dominated politically by people who claim a 2000-year-old reanimated carpenter watches them go to the bathroom, wouldn't you think superstition alone would be enough to make people run from anything that George W. Bush proposed, at this point?
My favorite moment in the whole Pooches Were Screwed routine was the bit about the poor 21st century being regulated by the outmoded regulatory systems of the 20th. George W. Fucking Buck Rogers Bush. It's what's left of the sensible first-half of the 20th century regulatory structure that saved us, to whatever extent it did, from the rapine of the late-20th-century deregulators.
I was driving home from one of my enforced errands yesterday afternoon when I happened to yank the Wailin' Jennys CD and turn on NPR, just in time to hear Urban Bäckström, the former governor of the Swedish Central Bank in the 1990s, when they recovered from a banking crisis brought on by intemperate deregulation. Asked how they'd solved the problem, Bäckström said they'd looked, above all, to 1933 for inspiration. (He had to explain to the host, whose name escapes me, that yes, while the Wall Street crash was in 1929, it was left to the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which occurred in 1933, to begin the solution. Perhaps it's too much, expecting Americans to solve their current problems when it takes Scandinavians to explain their history to them. Pass the ketchup.)