Tuesday, March 24, 2009

WHO’S TO SAY NO? AND OTHER MYSTERIES OF TODAY’S TOO BIG TO FAIL MENTALITY

The Federal Reserve, announced a week or so ago, is poised to inject $1.2 trillion (whatever that means) into the economy (whatever that is).

Well it’s a big number, that’s for sure. And it’s not as if we actually have it in an account somewhere, to transfer as we might from some federal savings account to checking, nor are we taxing ourselves in order to create it. God, or Heaven, or Bernanke forbid. There is no one forbidding and that’s probably just as well, because the number and the event and its eventual outcome are all fictions—works of the imagination.

I have some experience with that, as a writer of fiction. But  have rather none at all of economics, but for standing up to my knees against the current of some eight decades and trying to cast the fly of my own modest life in a way that might bring security safely to the net.
Security is a wary adversary these days and not quite the farmed and eager fish of recent years.

But it will not work, this dynamiting the rivers of opportunity with trillions. We chant the mantra of ‘too big to fail,’ while failure is upon us. The solutions that could work are long-term and require patience, but we’re out of patience and we’re scared and it’s getting dark and our boot is leaking. We elected Barack Obama to solve it, no matter that the engines of our financial demise have been running full-tilt for decades. Not able to solve it in this 1st quarter of his presidency, our president’s stock may slip and his (and our) hopes for a successful IPO may fail as well.

Probably will, which is a very long way from the hopes of the Rush Limbaughs of America that it actually will fail, allowing conservatives another chance to dynamite the pond. But we’re in for a long and difficult haul. We’re not yet halfway there. The AIGs and the Bank of Americas and Goldman Sachs, who claim to have underpinned our financial security in these frenetic decades are not too big to fail. Fail they will, fail they must, to rid themselves of fraud and preserve what is worth keeping.

This online pitch comes up #2 if you Google “bank of america customer base:”

Announcing the Bank of America Preferred Real Estate Broker NetworkTM and the Bank of America Real Estate CenterTM.

Bank of America continues to reinvent the real estate partnership model by adding cutting edge technology and innovation to our suite of business building opportunities for real estate companies.

The Bank of America Real Estate Center™ enables millions of our online banking customers to connect with our Preferred Real Estate BrokersTM. Bank of America has the largest online customer base of any financial services company worldwide and is willing to leverage it to help our Preferred Real Estate Brokers grow their bottom line.

They actually wrote that and promote it online. Does that sound even remotely like the public interest is at stake? Bank of America’s boldly stated willingness to leverage is not even suggested as being in your or my interest, but instead to help our Preferred Real Estate Brokers grow their bottom line. I don’t know about you, but I have had my fill of their preferred brokers bottom-feeding to grow their bottom line. I have another suggestion for their bottoms and that is to toss them out into the street and begin prosecution.

Too big to fail is phrasing directly from the swamp of Wall Street, a non sequitur rivaling

  • too fat for a heart attack
  • too good to be true
  • too essential to be let go and
  • too old to die

The public interest is best served we are told, by hooking an already addicted investment community to a seemingly endless intravenous drip of public money. Just because these trillions do not exist does not mean they are not ours to pay off. The treachery of Wall Street got us used to the idea that the music would never stop. The continuing treason of Congress whispers in our ear that they (now) have the wisdom and character to steer beyond their own self interest.

Time out for a moment as I lightly drop this fly on the stream of gullibility and float it off in your direction: Does it make sense to you that a Senator will spend $6-8 million (expanding toward $25-30 million) to get himself/herself elected to a position that pays a $169,300 annual salary? None but the most credulous would swallow that. Bribes to Harry Reid in the past five years totaled over $12 million. Chuck Schumer, that paradigm of financial blowhardiness, sucked up more than $13 mil during the same period.

So, who’s to say no? Certainly not those with a line in the water. Apparently not the paid-off legislators, Mark Twain’ famous ‘only native American criminal class.’ Twain and a pair of Roosevelt presidents fished in these same murky and senselessly unregulated waters.

Yet here we are again