Tag Archives: financial crisis

The NYE Fiscal Cliff is a Buffalo Jump. Is your herd going to fall for it?

Fiscal Cliff is a Buffalo Jump
DENVER, COLORADO- The DC Kabuki Divas are amping up their New Years cliffhanger, the so-called Fiscal Cliff, to inaugurate domestic austerity measures meant to cement the widening income gap between the rich and everybody else. If it’s a cliff, it’s a buffalo jump off which the easily panicked are stampeded to their death. Fiscal Cliff even shares the same initials with the last economic extortion ploy, the Financial Crisis which intro’d President Obama’s preceding term.

So-called Fiscal Cliff is a Buffalo Jump

Remember the “Financial Crisis” from out of nowhere when Obama first came to office? Now it’s Bank Heist, the Sequel, branded most assuredly with the assistance of Madison Avenue as a “Fiscal Cliff”, shall we call it FC2? This time instead of extorting a so-called “bank bailout”, the oligarchs want austerity concessions. Having looted the public treasury, they’re after the public wealth we call government’s primary social benefit to which the public thought it was “entitled”. So our herders are crying FISCAL CLIFF hoping to divert the public beast to a real cliff, another Buffalo Jump, in urban terms, a shakedown.

Gandhi possessions safe from defilement

gandhi possessionsThe iconic personal possessions of Mahatma Gandhi were auctioned this week, and will remain in India. Gandhi’s poverty may have been largely symbolic, but his bowl and sandals remain unimpeachable representations of his ideals.
If there’s an upside to the banking collapse, it’s that some Wall Street or London financier was not able to purchase Mohandas’ bowl for the sole purpose of taking a shit in it.

Economic pie in the sky

Costa Rican rainbow Central HighlandsEric and I had fun in Costa Rica playing with a rainbow in the hills outside Santa Elena. We traveled down a narrow bumpy road until the bright double rainbow appeared to end in the backyard of the only house in sight. An inspiring illusion to be sure, but still only an illusion. Rainbows are like that, aren’t they? Manipulable to a point; there, but not, depending on your vantage point; seen by all, fully comprehended by few. As kids we dreamed of finding the promised pot of leprechaun gold, but we never could quite get there. The promise forever remained only a promise.

Chasing rainbows has become our financial pastime of late. Golden parachutes, speculation, valuation, debt forgiveness, creative accounting, off-book transactions, suspense accounts, slush funds, contra accounts, accruals, clean opinions, full disclosure, extraordinary items, going concerns, immateriality — I could go on for hours. We have a financial system that’s impossible to discern, is largely illusory and widely un-understood. Even by its makers.

The fractional reserve system, patently illegal not so long ago, means that our money isn’t a paper representation of what actually is, it is only what they say it is, which is whatever it is, I suppose. I’m told it’s lost 50% of its value in the past decade which means, I guess, that it’s now something other than what it was. And who knows what it will be tomorrow?

It would seem that printing off billions more crisp banknotes to give to soulless corporate people, whose paper assets and liabilities can be altered with the stroke of a pen, means little to anyone except the publicly-traded rich.

Is it any wonder that no one – which includes everyone – can get their arms around this mess? We don’t understand what’s really going on so we keep doing what we do, which is whatever that is, on any given day. Today Obama is coming to Denver to sign his economic stimulus plan into law — 1588 pages of freshly-printed unread paper that will solve our economic crisis and put us back on the road to financial prosperity.

I can’t recall where the momentous event is to take place, but I imagine it’s somewhere over the rainbow.

Apres nous, le Depression

If it matters what to call this financial crisis, what is it? Is America in a recession? When does a deep recession approach a depression? When is an economic crash revealed to be a collapse? Before we can rename the Great Depression, as we did the Great War (WWI), in deference to this latest, we would do better to address the cataclysm which left this depression.

It was not a meteor, not the foot of Godzilla, nor a collapsed salt mine. The scorched earth we see about us, this rapidly degrading economy, is the destruction wrought by a Norman raid; a blitz of rape and pillage with brutal indifference.

It wouldn’t matter what you call it except that the raiders are still among us. If your valuables are still intact, it’s because they haven’t yet been sacked. If you still have your house, it’s not because the tethers aren’t attached, it’s that they haven’t started towing it off.

When you can see this robbery for what it is, you’ll know that history can tell us that the barbarians do not leave even gold fillings unmolested.

Do you doubt a viking analogy? Look at the economic news today. Over half a million jobs lost in January, over three million jobs lost already. On the same day, the stock market rallies upward.

While you are losing your livelihood, those who invested in the long ships are heartened by the projected success of this raid.

Barack’s 1/2 measures, 1/4 measures, 1/8 measures and… his new health care ‘reform’

cancer childObama signs bill for kids health care program. But look again! Like Obama’s ‘withdrawal’ from Iraq, his ‘renouncement of torture,’ now his new health care measure is a fraud too! Everything about Barack Obama is a fraud! Here is the gist of his public pretense regarding giving kids health coverage. Obama is going to leave 4,000,000 children uncovered, even 5 years down the road!

Sure, this is better than worsening the situation as the Bush murderers did, but why such a 1/2 measure. Wait! It’s not even that, is it? These parents need coverage, too. What happened? This is not even a 1/4 measure! Might we have a 1/8 measure being announced by Obama then?

When it came to bailing out the gigantic fraudulently operating Bug Guys out, Barack Obama is not for any 1/2 measures, 1/4 measures, nor 1/8 measures or less. He goes all out at throwing public tax monies their ways. Can’t let the Big Guys suffer, he says. But he feels a little different about the poor kids, does he not? They can wait! That’s the Barack Obama con game in full measure.

Shame on you, Democrats!

The shipping news

container shipThe whining and hang-wringing about the “credit crunch” is getting on my nerves. It was this supposed crisis that led to the $700 billion bailout and we’re told every day that it must be solved quickly, no matter the cost, or we’re toast. But why? How many of us are actively seeking credit right now? Surely the developers and retailers want us to have lots and lots of it so we can keep hyper-consuming their goods; the bankers want us to have it so they can collect their interest and fees but, seriously, is free-flowing credit what the American public needs right now? Living beyond our means is what caused the credit meltdown in the first place!

Here’s a meaty statistic: the Baltic Dry Index, which measures the demand for global shipping capacity, dropped from 11,793 last May to, get this, an inconceivable zero. The complexity of the BDI is beyond the scope of this post but, suffice it to say, there are lots of cargo ships sitting at anchor today. The collapse of the BDI augurs a rapidly evaporating demand for foreign goods. Combine this with the massive deterioration in domestic consumption during the fourth quarter of 2008, and wager a guess as to the meaning of it all. We’re not buying anything and the world is following suit! So tell me, Wall Street wizards, why the continued hyperbole about a credit crunch?

How could our purchasing habits change so dramatically overnight? Currently, Americans own an estimated 250 million personal computers and 175 million iPods. There are 9 million mobile homes within our borders, approximately 102-130 million single-family homes, and countless million apartments. One could safely assert that there’s a home, an mp3 player and a personal computer for every man, woman and child in the United States. I’ll go on. Everyone has a television, a cell phone. Nearly everyone owns a car. Most have closets full of clothes they never wear, and we all have too many shoes. So when Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke or anyone else talks about freeing up the flow of credit, we should ask ourselves why.

Recently, through the dense economic fog came a thin ray of revelation: I may actually have enough stuff. Perhaps, just maybe, I can stop buying new stuff for awhile. I can keep my slightly dented iPod for yet another year. My Toyota with 90,000 miles is probably good for another road trip or two. I won’t move to a bigger house just yet, or buy the 52″ flatscreen Santa forgot to leave under the tree. I may have to forego the spring sales and make do with last summer’s tank tops, wrong color though they may be.

I don’t mean to minimize the hardship of doing without, but we are a nation of excess inventory. Somewhere in our stuffed dressers and overfull garages, there is room to accommodate a changed perspective.

Wall Street is telling us that all will soon be well. If we just give them hundreds of billions, they’ll take their cut and loan the rest to us so we can get back to “business as usual”. But what if we don’t cooperate with their economic “recovery” plan? What if we collectively turn our backs on Wall Street and Madison Avenue and live simply, buying what we need and paying as we go, stopping to share with others along the way?

Remember, our banks and investment companies built themselves toward inevitable failure during the economic boom. Don’t expect them to act nobly in the coming recession because they won’t. You can bank on that. So stop worrying about their silly market indices and their credit machinations. Let the Federal government give them another trillion pieces of worthless paper. Help them plaster their walls with negotiable instruments. Make them eat derivatives for breakfast, sell them short against the box and leverage them to outerspace. Leave them with their excess shipping capacity and their phantom dollar bills.

It’s time for the rest of us to disembark this sinking stinking ship for good.

Who is the economy calling stupid?

Okay, I’ve had enough of our readiness to believe, about the economy, that nobody knows what’s going on. Nobody will tell you what’s going on, is what’s going on.

Even my deepest thinking friend tells me, “Eric, they really don’t know” (The game theorists, the would-be global axis shifters, don’t know.) He may be right, but that’s not who we’re talking about. Between those guys, and you and I, who have no clue about where the economy is going, is a hand-basket courier. That composite abstraction at the handlebars knows the destination, he’s being paid cost-plus for the delivery, and he knows enough to collect his fee in advance.

We thought “it’s the economy, stupid” was directed at George Bush the Senior. Who is/was stupid? I’m finding the syncronicity of Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill song “Isn’t it ironic?” superlatively ironic. The era when a mass audience un-learned the meaning of irony, was when the joke was really on us.

Today the accepted theme to describe the economy is: nobody knows. I recently heard the governor of Colorado speak to the need for budget cuts in these hard times. He introduced the subject of the economic downturn by explaining, almost as a throwaway foregone conclusion, “Nobody saw this coming.”

I thought, really? This is what Americans are satisfied to expect for leadership? Elected authority figures return our system to us, broken, with not a mea culpa, but mea confuso. And we buy it.

For me, this no-comprendo motif doesn’t play well in Adagio. Today DC’s new lawmakers want to know what’s become of the first half of the TARP bailout money, and the good-enough-for-primetime answer is “nobody knows.” Don’t you just want to stand up and beg your fellow audience members for a collective show of incredulity? “NOBODY KNOWS?!”

Whoever pocketed the 350 Billion, KNOWS.

From explanations of the graft in Iraq, we the television public KNOW that just one million dollars in t-bills weighs more than you can get past surveillance cameras.

From nighttime video of the economic collapse in Argentina, documentary footage viewers know it takes a continuous train of armored trucks to do a run on the banks before the public gets there.

By the way, I’m certain Billion is always capitalized, out of respect for its size.

“Nobody knows” where went the 350 Billion? No. Nobody who knows, intends to tell us.

Either way, we don’t get to know, but the distinction makes a difference, don’t you think? The excuse we’re given for not dwelling on this incongruity, nudge nudge wink wink, is that all misdirection is for the sake of consumer confidence.

To look behind the green curtain is to become dis-illusioned. If you explain the slight of hand, instead of building confidence, you throw fuel on consumer doubt.

The better economists opposed the bailout. Hundreds of them signed a petition to tell us what’s going on is a heist. Under George Bush, bankers have been making off with the US treasury. What they couldn’t spend pay themselves to foist a war, or give themselves in tax cuts, they are having to abscond with under cover of an eleventh hour “bailout.”

The best of the honest economists, Paul Krugman, was given a Nobel Prize. At the same time, our president-to-the-rescue is saying he’d consider the advice of “even Paul Krugman,” like Krugman is a fringe opinion.

Do we empower the American public beast with a truer education about what’s happening to their finances, or do we narrow their peripheral foresight like the gangway to the abbatoire?

P.T. Barnum said no one ever went broke underestimating the American public. Barnum saw opportunity and he took it. I’ll bet he wasn’t satisfied to invest his winnings on the advice of the public’s broker.

The economy is tanking because the Bush investment banker free-for-all is over.

The cash heart of the consumer confidence fattened-calf is already in the bloody hands of the high priests. The American consumer is what’s being thrown off the wall. And the communal wealth of America’s middle class can’t be put together again because the pieces which formed Humpty Dumpty’s actual pre-confidence-ballooned size are going to come up missing.

Not missing, exactly. Look at the corporate jets, private skyboxes, enormous estates, private island kingdoms and advance ticket sales of quarter-million-dollar fares into space.

With much recent ballyhoo, George Bush set aside for protection some nature preserves in the Pacific. Unlike Yellowstone, or Yosemite, these parks of azure coral reefs are inaccessible. To you.

Barack Obama’s spread-the-wealth-around campaign lingo had nothing to do with the mad scramble to divvy the pot. Obama represents our non-insider’s reflexive grab for the fewer spoons. If Obama represents a wisening up at all.

Beyond buy low, sell high, here’s an example of how the scam worked: If a $100K house can be made seem worth $500K, a broker gets five times the commission, say $60K instead of $12K, and collects that money in cash. When the cows come home, you’ve got just a house, and let’s admit that value is arbitrary. But the broker is free and clear, his gleaning of a cash value done.

And actually, your house is not even worth the cost to build it. As the democratic capitalist apparatus downgrades, and the wealthy lose empathy for the lower classes, your house is worth just the value of the shelter it provides. Look at the concern they show for your health care. Your well-being, food and shelter wise, is worth only as much as the value you add to your landlord’s pleasure.

Did Bush cause the financial crisis?

Did Bush cause the financial crisis? is the question that the BBC’s North America Business Correspondent in New York, Greg Wood briefly explores and his conclusion is not surprising.

Here is a summation of his argument.

‘Deregulation started long before President Bush came to power, and it was enthusiastically pursued by both Democratic and Republican administrations. ‘

‘So the image of Mr Bush as the arch deregulator and the Democratic Party as the champion of stricter rules for business does not quite tally with the evidence.’

Why is it that so many liberals are deluded into thinking that one man caused the problems our country is now facing and that one man is going to fix them? It is hard to not think of the Democratic Party voting liberals as being as much the real problem as its solution. After all, they consistently vote for a now majority group of the problem makers, the Democratic Party politicians, and these liberals have not an ounce of desire to do anything more than this it seems.

Most of the ‘voters’ simply do nothing more than ‘vote’ for their one person solution, once every four years. Or perhaps to be fair, they ‘vote’ for subordinates too to their supposed Saviours, usually a time or two in the mean time between presidential elections. They are quite simply as deluded and lazy lot when you look at them rationally, rather than through their own rose-tinged sun glasses of CHANGE that ain’t.

So when you liberals begin to lose your jobs, houses, and your families begin to fall apart from the ensuing chaos, look in the mirror, will you? You voted for the problem instead of trying to change things for the better. Your acceptance of this single See-Saw American Political Corporatized System of ‘voting’ is what caused the financial crisis. Don’t just blame Bush alone, you are the problem.

Time to use the word DEPRESSION again

One of the most ridiculous of the utterly false and phony positive thinking talking points used by the US’s Right Wing corporate daily press and the talking heads of their TV stations is their constant babble about whether we have entered into a ‘recession’ or not? The correct word to be used is depression, it ‘s an ECONOMIC DEPRESSION we have been entered into worldwide, and there is nothing left to debate about it either. It’s here. End of discussion. Go take a hike, Clowns@!

Today, stocks fell almost 7% and that now is a drop of about 25% from the DOW all time high just 2 years ago. That is a depression. Further, this Friday morning Japanese stocks have already fallen 11% of their value in just a few minutes of trading. That is an economic depression.

Let’s cut to the quick on this. Bush and his clown clones are through. They are out of here. This presidential election will turn out to be a rout of McCain/ Palin, because they are more of the same, and The Same just flushed itself down the toilet via a whole shitload of corruption finally coming home to roost. But there is yet more here than the rout of the neocon corruptionists that will occur. If we in America are fed up with this crew, the rest of the world is even more so.

Yes, the rest of the world is going down the drain with us and our stupid economy where thieves rule the rest of us. They are going to hate the US for the misery we have delivered them into. In fact, they already do. Afghanistan to Iraq to Somalia to Pakistan and flush, flush, flush. They can put it together, even if your dumb Republican neighbors can’t.

It’s time to use the word depression once again, because we alhough we all thought the thought that ‘communism’ self destructs, we had all but forgotten that capitalism does just that in an even much worse way. We have been entered into a worldwide economic depression by all those that fed us the total line of crap that it was all running so very smoothly. Pompous stupid, arrogant twits they were, and now the world has once again had its eyes opened to the dangers that capitalism constantly puts the human race into. The unemployment to come will soon see to that.

The rich everywhere will say that The Treasury has no money to stop it. You can bet your 401K retirement funds on it! And the whole world will correctly blame the US government, AND the stupid American people themselves, for what is being done to them. Get used to really being hated, My Friends. And we will be hated rightly so, for playing stupid so long.

Good luck, Democratic Party. Just because everybody holds the Republican Party to be hugely responsible for this mess, don’t think that they won’t also begin to see you as the Republican’s cohorts. Hell! That’s what you have always claimed to be actually, isn’t it? People played stupid though and didn’t take you people at your own word. You are now in a BIG, BIG, BIG… BIPARTISAN MESS. We got it. You earned it!

Yes, it’s time to once again use the word DEPRESSION once again. It will be hard on us all (save the Capitalist rich who always profit off human misery).

How a ‘credit crunch’ can help kick an economic depression into place

jenny_and_marx.jpg In a system…where the entire continuity of the…process rests upon credit, a crisis must obviously occur — a tremendous rush for means of payment — when credit suddenly ceases and only cash payments have validity. At first glance, therefore, the whole crisis seems to be merely a credit and money crisis. And in fact it is only a question of the convertibility of bills of exchange into money.

But the majority of these bills represent actual sales and purchases, whose extension far beyond the needs of society is, after all, the basis of the whole crisis. At the same time, an enormous quantity of these bills of exchange represents plain swindle, which now reaches the light of day and collapses; furthermore, unsuccessful speculation with the capital of other people; finally, commodity-capital which has depreciated or is completely unsaleable, or returns that can never more be realized again.

The entire artificial system of forced expansion of the [ecomony] cannot, of course, be remedied by having some bank, like the [Federal Reserve], give to all the swindlers the deficient capital by means of its paper and having it buy up all the depreciated commodities at their old nominal values.

Incidentally, everything here appears distorted, since in this paper world, the real price and its real basis appear nowhere, but only bullion, metal coin, notes, bills of exchange, securities. Particularly in centers where the entire money business of the country is concentrated, like London [or New York]…the entire process becomes incomprehensible.

Senators give Paulson keys to treasury

The Senate has signed Paulson’s blank check for the Wall Street ransom payment. Band of Thieves, Murder of Crows, Goddamn Jerk of Senators!
democrat-republican 
Overheard on the radio about Obama/McCain: “It’s amazing such similar solutions for the economic crisis can be coming from such vastly different candidates.” Not so amazing if you consider you’ve only assumed the red and blue are opposites. Both candidates colluding with the Banking oligarchs could be a tipoff that both parties represent the same interests. Time to wonder how the American people’s interest might have been represented by an alternative third [sic] party?

How well are you reconciling Barack Obama’s theme of “change” as he stumped for the Wall Street money grab. Obama likened the crisis to your neighbor’s house being on fire. Besides the implication that no one would want to be uncharitable, you might also deign to pitch in for the selfish motive of keeping your neighbor’s fire from spreading to your house. That was Obama’s clever pitch, but is that what the failing investments represent? The bankers’ homes? Hardly. I can’t even think of an analogy to represent what the jeopardized assets represent to the hierarchy of needs of the super wealthy.

Assuming they are your neighbors. Would it be their twelfth snow-machine that’s on fire? Their son’s floozy’s uncle’s twelfth snowmobile on fire and threatening your house. You need to what, pay him to buy another so that the burning one can be safely drenched without pissing him off, since the thrill he gets from that snowmobile is to keep it ablaze for the thrill of endangering you and your family.

Try that one on us Obama.

UPDATE FROM MICHAEL MOORE:

Tonight, the Senate passed an even worse “bailout” bill than the one the House defeated on Monday night. Only 25 Senators (and most of them for the wrong reasons) voted “No.” It now moves to the House for a vote, possibly on Friday. Why did Obama and Biden vote for it? I think we all know the answer. Let’s keep our eye on the ball of removing the Republicans from the White House, but let tonight be our first reminder that our work is not finished on November 4th when Obama wins. The struggle between what is best for the people and what is best in order to line the pockets of Wall Street will continue. 150 million Americans combined can’t even match the wealth of the richest 400 Americans. All we have is our vote. And there will always be more of us than them. We will all need to become more politically active if we are going to get our democracy back.

Credit crunch is a symptom of US economic malaise, not the cause of it

Texas A and MTaxpayers gifting the rich with $7,000,000,000 will not stop the coming capitalist depression at all, because it simply does not address the root causes of anything. We have been told that this crisis is merely the fault of toxic debts piling up from an American ‘housing bubble’, which happened due the crookedness of a few bad apples. Yes, its true, they add a few more details to this sob story but that is essentially all there is to the story line, with none of the American corporate ‘leadership’ class taking any personal or political responsibility at all. That is not too surprising about these moralizing immoralists at all. It is par for their course.

But the root cause of the capitalist downturn is about much more than a credit crunch cause or a real estate mortgages beginning the collapse. It is actually about the deficit military spending that corporate America has led us into with their stupid and asinine wars against shadows of their own making. Despite the destruction caused on that fateful day termed ‘9/11’, it could have been nothing more than a temporary and unfortunate side show for our country, but instead it was seized on by the military, policing, and corporate communities to justify skyrocketing their budgets, incomes, and profits. They went on a borrowing spree using foreign credit!

They did not buy anything of real value or substance though, and they progressively bankrupted the bulk of Americans by doing their borrowing, all the time while waving Old Glory and talking of American pride and national security, which they were busy undermining. ‘USA, USA, USA’ became the cry of the dunces they had marching behind them. They tortured not only Pentagon held POWs, but the American soul itself. The big guys total control over political life is what got us down into the pit.

Now, the only economic ‘security’ left for Americans is in the seeming ability to drag others down economically with us. Since we were such fat consumers here in the land of milk and honey, many depended on supplying us. However that market is about to collapse. Add to that that the whole world is left holding much of the valueless paper that our ruling class force fed to them at guns length. And, of course, we still have the biggest arsenal around. That almost makes our Federal Government just like any insane neighbor with an insanely huge gun collection, but barely living while dependent on food stamps to eat some fast food Chinese once and a while. Sarah and Dick to go hunting with perhaps?

Look around? The American auto industry just asked and got close to $30 billion in ‘bailout’ loot, too. It’s about to sink. And the biggest economic sink of them all is about to sink in the days ahead, also. Quite simply, our military is not sustainable. That is the cause of our economic malaise, not the housing market getting squeezed. All industry and finance got dragged down together in mass, and not just car sales and real estate.

The idiots of our country continue to want to wave the flag. They continue wanting to pump borrowed money into fighting unnecessary foreign wars like it is all some sort of crazed football game being played on the pro level! They like that corporate logo of Old Glory just as they do not mind all the corporate advertising hanging all over the place at the stadiums they hang out at weekends. They like the political and corporate cheerleaders, same as they like the young coed types with bonbons. at their games. This is their None Entiendo game done ever so Grande. Beep, beep, beep beep… Fireworks display!

The root cause of the economic downturn is deficit spending and deficit thinking by our neighbors, especially so in our White Conservative Christian neighborhoods, church on every other block. To sum it up, throwing $700,000,000,000 of tax money at the failed businesses solves nothing. It’s like throwing more weight on that old football bonfire.

Remember that collapse of the Texas A&M bonfire pileup several years ago? That’s the type of thinking America has on board at present. The economic bonfire stack is merely being set for collapse with this stupid bailout that they will eventually put through, because our nation is too dumb to have stopped it when we could. That picture of the Aggie bonfire before it collapsed is just like the Federal deficit debt pileup that is due to come crashing down on all of us. They constructed it out of vainglory.

Stop the Senate of would-be thieves!

wallstreet-bailoutCall your Band of Thieving Senators now to tell them you don’t want to give $700 Billion –more honestly likely to be $5 Trillion– to the robber bankers of Wall Street! Telephone Colorado Senators Ken Salazar at 202.224.5852 and Wayne Allard at 202.224.5941 NOW. Why not call OBAMA too! (phone: 202-224-2854) Tell them you want them to consult with at least ONE economist of repute! At least one analyst not on the corporate payroll. As he promised yesterday, Michael Moore suggests a 10 PART PLAN, only IF pressure can be brought to bear right now to stop the Senate bill.

Friends,

The richest 400 Americans — that’s right, just four hundred people — own MORE than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. 400 rich Americans have got more stashed away than half the entire country! Their combined net worth is $1.6 trillion. During the eight years of the Bush Administration, their wealth has increased by nearly $700 billion — the same amount that they are now demanding we give to them for the “bailout.” Why don’t they just spend the money they made under Bush to bail themselves out? They’d still have nearly a trillion dollars left over to spread amongst themselves!

Of course, they are not going to do that — at least not voluntarily. George W. Bush was handed a $127 billion surplus when Bill Clinton left office. Because that money was OUR money and not his, he did what the rich prefer to do — spend it and never look back. Now we have a $9.5 trillion debt. Why on earth would we even think of giving these robber barons any more of our money?

I would like to propose my own bailout plan. My suggestions, listed below, are predicated on the singular and simple belief that the rich must pull themselves up by their own platinum bootstraps. Sorry, fellows, but you drilled it into our heads one too many times: There… is… no… free… lunch. And thank you for encouraging us to hate people on welfare! So, there will be no handouts from us to you. The Senate, tonight, is going to try to rush their version of a “bailout” bill to a vote. They must be stopped. We did it on Monday with the House, and we can do it again today with the Senate.

It is clear, though, that we cannot simply keep protesting without proposing exactly what it is we think Congress should do. So, after consulting with a number of people smarter than Phil Gramm, here is my proposal, now known as “Mike’s Rescue Plan.” It has 10 simple, straightforward points. They are:

1. APPOINT A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO CRIMINALLY INDICT ANYONE ON WALL STREET WHO KNOWINGLY CONTRIBUTED TO THIS COLLAPSE. Before any new money is expended, Congress must commit, by resolution, to criminally prosecute anyone who had anything to do with the attempted sacking of our economy. This means that anyone who committed insider trading, securities fraud or any action that helped bring about this collapse must go to jail. This Congress must call for a Special Prosecutor who will vigorously go after everyone who created the mess, and anyone else who attempts to scam the public in the future.

2. THE RICH MUST PAY FOR THEIR OWN BAILOUT. They may have to live in 5 houses instead of 7. They may have to drive 9 cars instead of 13. The chef for their mini-terriers may have to be reassigned. But there is no way in hell, after forcing family incomes to go down more than $2,000 dollars during the Bush years, that working people and the middle class are going to fork over one dime to underwrite the next yacht purchase.

If they truly need the $700 billion they say they need, well, here is an easy way they can raise it:

a) Every couple who makes over a million dollars a year and every single taxpayer who makes over $500,000 a year will pay a 10% surcharge tax for five years. (It’s the Senator Sanders plan. He’s like Colonel Sanders, only he’s out to fry the right chickens.) That means the rich will still be paying less income tax than when Carter was president. This will raise a total of $300 billion.

b) Like nearly every other democracy, charge a 0.25% tax on every stock transaction. This will raise more than $200 billion in a year.

c) Because every stockholder is a patriotic American, stockholders will forgo receiving a dividend check for one quarter and instead this money will go the treasury to help pay for the bailout.

d) 25% of major U.S. corporations currently pay NO federal income tax. Federal corporate tax revenues currently amount to 1.7% of the GDP compared to 5% in the 1950s. If we raise the corporate income tax back to the level of the 1950s, that gives us an extra $500 billion.

All of this combined should be enough to end the calamity. The rich will get to keep their mansions and their servants, and our United States government (“COUNTRY FIRST!”) will have a little leftover to repair some roads, bridges and schools.

3. BAIL OUT THE PEOPLE LOSING THEIR HOMES, NOT THE PEOPLE WHO WILL BUILD AN EIGHTH HOME. There are 1.3 million homes in foreclosure right now. That is what is at the heart of this problem. So instead of giving the money to the banks as a gift, pay down each of these mortgages by $100,000. Force the banks to renegotiate the mortgage so the homeowner can pay on its current value. To insure that this help does no go to speculators and those who have tried to make money by flipping houses, this bailout is only for people’s primary residence. And in return for the $100K paydown on the existing mortgage, the government gets to share in the holding of the mortgage so that it can get some of its money back. Thus, the total initial cost of fixing the mortgage crisis at its roots (instead of with the greedy lenders) is $150 billion, not $700 billion.

And let’s set the record straight. People who have defaulted on their mortgages are not “bad risks.” They are our fellow Americans, and all they wanted was what we all want and most of us still get: a home to call their own. But during the Bush years, millions of them lost the decent paying jobs they had. Six million fell into poverty. Seven million lost their health insurance. And every one of them saw their real wages go down by $2,000. Those who dare to look down on these Americans who got hit with one bad break after another should be ashamed. We are a better, stronger, safer and happier society when all of our citizens can afford to live in a home that they own.

4. IF YOUR BANK OR COMPANY GETS ANY OF OUR MONEY IN A “BAILOUT,” THEN WE OWN YOU. Sorry, that’s how it’s done. If the bank gives me money so I can buy a house, the bank “owns” that house until I pay it all back — with interest. Same deal for Wall Street. Whatever money you need to stay afloat, if our government considers you a safe risk — and necessary for the good of the country — then you can get a loan, but we will own you. If you default, we will sell you. This is how the Swedish government did it and it worked.

5. ALL REGULATIONS MUST BE RESTORED. THE REAGAN REVOLUTION IS DEAD. This catastrophe happened because we let the fox have the keys to the henhouse. In 1999, Phil Gramm authored a bill to remove all the regulations that governed Wall Street and our banking system. The bill passed and Clinton signed it. Here’s what Sen. Phil Gramm, McCain’s chief economic advisor, said at the bill signing:

“In the 1930s … it was believed that government was the answer. It was believed that stability and growth came from government overriding the functioning of free markets.

“We are here today to repeal [that] because we have learned that government is not the answer. We have learned that freedom and competition are the answers. We have learned that we promote economic growth and we promote stability by having competition and freedom.

“I am proud to be here because this is an important bill; it is a deregulatory bill. I believe that that is the wave of the future, and I am awfully proud to have been a part of making it a reality.”

This bill must be repealed. Bill Clinton can help by leading the effort for the repeal of the Gramm bill and the reinstating of even tougher regulations regarding our financial institutions. And when they’re done with that, they can restore the regulations for the airlines, the inspection of our food, the oil industry, OSHA, and every other entity that affects our daily lives. All oversight provisions for any “bailout” must have enforcement monies attached to them and criminal penalties for all offenders.

6. IF IT’S TOO BIG TO FAIL, THEN THAT MEANS IT’S TOO BIG TO EXIST. Allowing the creation of these mega-mergers and not enforcing the monopoly and anti-trust laws has allowed a number of financial institutions and corporations to become so large, the very thought of their collapse means an even bigger collapse across the entire economy. No one or two companies should have this kind of power. The so-called “economic Pearl Harbor” can’t happen when you have hundreds — thousands — of institutions where people have their money. When you have a dozen auto companies, if one goes belly-up, we don’t face a national disaster. If you have three separately-owned daily newspapers in your town, then one media company can’t call all the shots (I know… What am I thinking?! Who reads a paper anymore? Sure glad all those mergers and buyouts left us with a strong and free press!). Laws must be enacted to prevent companies from being so large and dominant that with one slingshot to the eye, the giant falls and dies. And no institution should be allowed to set up money schemes that no one can understand. If you can’t explain it in two sentences, you shouldn’t be taking anyone’s money.

7. NO EXECUTIVE SHOULD BE PAID MORE THAN 40 TIMES THEIR AVERAGE EMPLOYEE, AND NO EXECUTIVE SHOULD RECEIVE ANY KIND OF “PARACHUTE” OTHER THAN THE VERY GENEROUS SALARY HE OR SHE MADE WHILE WORKING FOR THE COMPANY. In 1980, the average American CEO made 45 times what their employees made. By 2003, they were making 254 times what their workers made. After 8 years of Bush, they now make over 400 times what their average employee makes. How this can happen at publicly held companies is beyond reason. In Britain, the average CEO makes 28 times what their average employee makes. In Japan, it’s only 17 times! The last I heard, the CEO of Toyota was living the high life in Tokyo. How does he do it on so little money? Seriously, this is an outrage. We have created the mess we’re in by letting the people at the top become bloated beyond belief with millions of dollars. This has to stop. Not only should no executive who receives help out of this mess profit from it, but any executive who was in charge of running his company into the ground should be fired before the company receives any help.

8. STRENGTHEN THE FDIC AND MAKE IT A MODEL FOR PROTECTING NOT ONLY PEOPLE’S SAVINGS, BUT ALSO THEIR PENSIONS AND THEIR HOMES. Obama was correct yesterday to propose expanding FDIC protection of people’s savings in their banks to $250,000. But this same sort of government insurance must be given to our nation’s pension funds. People should never have to worry about whether or not the money they’ve put away for their old age will be there. This will mean strict government oversight of companies who manage their employees’ funds — or perhaps it means that the companies will have to turn over those funds and their management to the government. People’s private retirement funds must also be protected, but perhaps it’s time to consider not having one’s retirement invested in the casino known as the stock market. Our government should have a solemn duty to guarantee that no one who grows old in this country has to worry about ending up destitute.

9. EVERYBODY NEEDS TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH, CALM DOWN, AND NOT LET FEAR RULE THE DAY. Turn off the TV! We are not in the Second Great Depression. The sky is not falling. Pundits and politicians are lying to us so fast and furious it’s hard not to be affected by all the fear mongering. Even I, yesterday, wrote to you and repeated what I heard on the news, that the Dow had the biggest one day drop in its history. Well, that’s true in terms of points, but its 7% drop came nowhere close to Black Monday in 1987 when the stock market in one day lost 23% of its value. In the ’80s, 3,000 banks closed, but America didn’t go out of business. These institutions have always had their ups and downs and eventually it works out. It has to, because the rich do not like their wealth being disrupted! They have a vested interest in calming things down and getting back into the Jacuzzi.

As crazy as things are right now, tens of thousands of people got a car loan this week. Thousands went to the bank and got a mortgage to buy a home. Students just back to college found banks more than happy to put them into hock for the next 15 years with a student loan. Life has gone on. Not a single person has lost any of their money if it’s in a bank or a treasury note or a CD. And the most amazing thing is that the American public hasn’t bought the scare campaign. The citizens didn’t blink, and instead told Congress to take that bailout and shove it. THAT was impressive. Why didn’t the population succumb to the fright-filled warnings from their president and his cronies? Well, you can only say ‘Saddam has da bomb’ so many times before the people realize you’re a lying sack of shite. After eight long years, the nation is worn out and simply can’t take it any longer.

10. CREATE A NATIONAL BANK, A “PEOPLE’S BANK.” If we really are itching to print up a trillion dollars, instead of giving it to a few rich people, why don’t we give it to ourselves? Now that we own Freddie and Fannie, why not set up a people’s bank? One that can provide low-interest loans for all sorts of people who want to own a home, start a small business, go to school, come up with the cure for cancer or create the next great invention. And now that we own AIG, the country’s largest insurance company, let’s take the next step and provide health insurance for everyone. Medicare for all. It will save us so much money in the long run. And we won’t be 12th on the life expectancy list. We’ll be able to have a longer life, enjoying our government-protected pension, and living to see the day when the corporate criminals who caused so much misery are let out of prison so that we can help reaclimate them to civilian life — a life with one nice home and a gas-free car that was invented with help from the People’s Bank.

Yours,
Michael Moore

P.S. Call your Senators now. Here’s a backup link in case we crash that site again. They are going to attempt their own version of the Looting of America tonight. And let your reps know if you agree with my 10-point plan.

Who not to blame for failed bailout

wall-street-bailout protest
COLORADO SPRINGS- We held posters that read SEIZE THE FED, JAIL NOT BAIL-OUT, FORECLOSE ON WALLSTREET, NO REWARD FOR HIGH RISK, and of course NO BUSH BAILOUT. When we got rebuttals, it went like this: “Why do you bring Bush into this? Bush doesn’t have anything to do with the bailout.” We needed to complain to Barack, apparently.

Bush supporters come in either the biggest pickup trucks or the rustiest. There’s probably no socio-economic divide between the voters who wanted Bush for a drinking buddy.

A Vectra Bank representative came outside to ask us if we could move from under their sign, so as not to give the false impression we were protesting their bank, particularly at a time when depositors might easily be spooked into a run on the bank. We moved nearer the Wachovia Bank, perhaps a better juxtaposition anyway.

We were prepared for the inevitable, can you suggest something better? From Karl Denninger at Market Ticker, who credits Janet Tavakoli:

1–Force all off-balance sheet “assets” back onto the balance sheet, and force the valuation models and identification of individual assets out of Level 3 and into 10Qs and 10Ks. Do it now. : (In other words, no more Enron-type accounting mumbo-jumbo and no more allowing the banks assign their own “values” to dodgy assets)

2–Force all OTC derivatives onto a regulated exchange similar to that used by listed options in the equity markets. This permanently defuses the derivatives time bomb. Give market participants 90 days; any that are not listed in 90 days are declared void; let the participants sue each other if they can’t prove capital adequacy. (If trading derivatives contracts can damage the “regulated” system, than that trading must take place under strict government regulations)

3–Force leverage by all institutions to no more than 12:1. The SEC intentionally dropped broker/dealer leverage limits in 2004; prior to that date 12:1 was the limit. Every firm that has failed had double or more the leverage of that former 12:1 limit. Enact this with a six month time limit and require 1/6th of the excess taken down monthly. (Ed: The collapse in the “structured finance” model is mainly due to too much leverage. For example, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had $80 of debt for every $1 dollar of capital reserves when they were taken into government conservatorship.)

JUST SAY NO to the WS Bailout Bandits

Plaza of the Rockies brokersMEET -AFTER WORK- TUESDAY at the corner of SMITH BARNEY and MORGAN STANLEY, where DAIN RAUSCHER meets BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON at the Plaza of the Rockies Building. That’s where Colorado Springs needs to voice its objections to a bailout for the Wall Street extortionists. Don’t hand over America’s wealth to the money traders! Scribble your sentiments on the back of whatever poster-board is lying around your office and meet at TEJON & COLORADO from 4:30-5:30PM. Bring determination to tell them NO! (You can RSVP with TrueMajority.)

Some poster suggestions from ML:

Eat the Rich
Eat the Oligarchs
Eat the Plutocracy
No Corporate Welfare
Socialism for the Rich
Bailout is a Sellout
Fight them on Wall Street so we don’t have to fight them on Main Street
Scrape the GOP off the Treasury
No welfare surge for the rich
Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?
Let the Banks Burn
Jail (arrest) Paulson
FEDup USA
Give bankers bail-not Bailout
Rescue Main Street not Wall Street
Back-STABilization
Private Debt=Private Liability
$1 Trillion Bailout = 20% Inflation
No cash for crooks!
Don’t blame me- I voted for Kucinich
Leverage This
Bailout: The Audacity of DOPES
No Cash for Trash
You Broke it- You Bought It

Seven hundred times N,OOO,OOO,OOO!

Is the strategy to pay this ransom, then have the robbers intercepted as they make their escape? What other excuse will Democrats Pelosi and Reid offer for coming home with a bag full of 140,000,000,000 wooden nickels? That money’s gone if we don’t STOP THEM! STOP THEM NOW!

We hear pundits say the bailout sum is beyond comprehension. Nonsense. It’s our prosperity, our health, the pursuit of happiness we offer our children and take for granted. Gone. Unless there is still time to shout down the miscreants in Washington. As we see the politicians of every stripe complicit in this heist, and insufficient outcry in the streets, isn’t it hard not to conclude Americans are getting what they deserve? If you have any gut feeling that you DO NOT WANT TO STAND IDLY BY, listen to Michael Moore: (although the DC email/phone connection appears to have been pulled.)

Friends,

Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies — who must soon vacate the White House — are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.

No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday’s New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:

“Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

“Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

“At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

“Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury’s proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions.”

Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to “consult” in the bailout.

The problem is, nobody truly knows what this “collapse” is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn’t know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can’t figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.

And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Falling for whom? NOTHING in this “bailout” package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.

Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What’s this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?

It has everything to do with it. This so-called “collapse” was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people’s home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it’s because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn’t afford. Here’s the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage “crisis” may never have happened.

This bailout’s mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It’s to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It’s to make sure their yachts and mansions and “way of life” go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!

I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something — NOW! Here’s what you can do immediately:

1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they’ve made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what’s the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.

2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).

3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.

When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!

Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com

P.S. Having read further the details of this bailout bill, you need to know you are being lied to. They talk about how they will prevent golden parachutes. It says NOTHING about what these executives and fat cats will make in SALARY. According to Rep. Brad Sherman of California, these top managers will continue to receive million-dollar-a-month paychecks under this new bill. There is no direct ownership given to the American people for the money being handed over. Foreign banks and investors will be allowed to receive billion-dollar handouts. A large chunk of this $700 billion is going to be given directly to Chinese and Middle Eastern banks. There is NO guarantee of ever seeing that money again.

P.P.S. From talking to people I know in DC, they say the reason so many Dems are behind this is because Wall Street this weekend put a gun to their heads and said either turn over the $700 billion or the first thing we’ll start blowing up are the pension funds and 401(k)s of your middle class constituents. The Dems are scared they may make good on their threat. But this is not the time to back down or act like the typical Democrat we have witnessed for the last eight years. The Dems handed a stolen election over to Bush. The Dems gave Bush the votes he needed to invade a sovereign country. Once they took over Congress in 2007, they refused to pull the plug on the war. And now they have been cowered into being accomplices in the crime of the century. You have to call them now and say “NO!” If we let them do this, just imagine how hard it will be to get anything good done when President Obama is in the White House. THESE DEMOCRATS ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE BACKBONE WE GIVE THEM. CALL CONGRESS NOW.

This American Life -live it in fear

This American LifeDid New York City based NPR need to hype fears of an economic collapse to Main Street USA, who’s so far not spooked by the bogeyman in Wall Street’s closet? NYC called in help from partners in the Chicago, the radio program THIS AMERICAN LIFE. Together they fashioned a monster to scare the heartland.

TAL Reporter Alex Blumberg collaborated with NPR in creating a story defining “commercial paper,” the money market, and the cryptically un-ominous “Breaking the Buck” to an audience who might not otherwise be standing on their chairs. They interviewed a treasurer in Arizona who had been trembling in the privacy of his office at the prospect of a Wall Street meltdown. He was monitoring the signs as they crossed his computer screen in the form of zillions of numbers. We were made to imagine a Matrix-like cascade into which, if you peered closely, perhaps with eyes unfocused, you could hear Godzilla’s heartbeat outside your door.

They even referred to the looming danger as a monster. Was this a reflection of American life, or a projection?

EAT THE RICH!

Wall Street protestMy favorite visual from Thursday’s Wall Street action: EAT THE RICH, invoking Peter Richardson’s Class War cult classic. The bastards are making a grab for $700 BILLION in this salvo. Which proposition is the more preposterous?
 
What’s with the Wall Street building garbed in the Stars and Stripes? Odd enough that the architecture impersonates a courthouse or mausoleum. Is the stock market a federal agency? Draped in Red, White and Blue it looks like the command center of the Capitalist empire.

No blank-check bailout for Wall Street

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Organizations in Southern Colorado will participate in a National Day of Action in opposition to the no-strings attached, $700 billion corporate bailout plan advanced by President Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson. A press conference will take place 2PM on Thursday, Sept. 25 in front of the Department of Human Services Sand Creek Office at 1635 South Murray Blvd., Colorado Springs.

From the LOCAL PRESS RELEASE:

“We believe the bailout is wrong headed – it’s low-wage working families struggling to make ends meet, who will most suffer the consequences of this kind of bad economic policy,” said Dennis Apuan, community leader and Democratic candidate for Statehouse, District 17. “We must press on our elected officials to ensure that families do not have to make impossible choices between feeding their children, heating their homes and filling their prescriptions. We need leaders who know how to respond to the growing need in our communities – lost jobs, threatened homes, and surging food and energy prices,” Apuan added.

The National Day of Action will feature more than 75 press conferences, demonstrations and other public events throughout the United States. Some of the events are being held by local and national organizations; others will be citizen-organized, involving taxpayers angered by the proposed corporate bailout, as introduced in Congress. The local event will include a voter registration drive and sign-up opportunities to volunteer in community civic engagement.

“With so many of the citizens and residents of House District 17 suffering from the downturn in the economy, it is important that they have a voice in these ill-advised corporate bailouts,” said Rosemary Harris, President of the Colorado Springs Branch NAACP. “This is a diverse community, with people from all racial, social and economic backgrounds. Our lives matter. Our voices matter. And our vote is our true voice. Registering voters who will determine the future policies and future leaders of this House District, this state, and this country is perhaps the best way to respond to the actions of those in Washington,” Harris added.

Among the leaders of the national organizing effort are TrueMajority.org, US Action Education Fund, ACORN, Campaign For America’s Future, Coalition on Human Needs, Military Spouses For Change, National Priorities Project and many others.

From the INDYPENDENT’s Arun Gupta, the ORIGINAL EMAIL CALL-OUT:

NO BAILOUT FOR WALL STREET
Protest on Wall Street this Thursday at 4pm!

Call to Self-Organize

This week the White House is going to try to push through the biggest robbery in world history with nary a stitch of debate to bail out the Wall Street bastards who created this economic apocalypse in the first place.

This is the financial equivalent of September 11. They think, just like with the Patriot Act, they can use the shock to force through the “therapy,” and we’ll just roll over!

Think about it: They said providing healthcare for 9 million children, perhaps costing $6 billion a year, was too expensive, but there’s evidently no sum of money large enough that will sate the Wall Street pigs. If this passes, forget about any money for environmental protection, to counter global warming, for education, for national healthcare, to rebuild our decaying infrastructure, for alternative energy.

This is a historic moment. We need to act now while we can influence the debate. Let’s demonstrate this Thursday at 4pm in Wall Street (see below).

We know the congressional Democrats will peep meekly before caving in like they have on everything else, from FISA to the Iraq War.

With Bear Stearns, Fannie and Freddie, AIG, the money markets and now this omnibus bailout, well in excess of $1 trillion will be distributed from the poor, workers and middle class to the scum floating on top.

This whole mess gives lie to the free market. The Feds are propping up stock prices, directing buyouts, subsidizing crooks and swindlers who already made a killing off the mortgage bubble.

Worst of all, even before any details have been hashed out, The New York Times admits that “Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it,” and its chief financial correspondent writes that the Bush administration wants “Congress to give them a blank check to do whatever they want, whatever the cost, with no one able to watch them closely.”

It’s socialism for the rich and dog-eat-dog capitalism for the rest of us.

Let’s take it to the heart of the financial district! Gather at 4pm, this Thursday, Sept. 25 in the plaza at the southern end of Bowling Green Park, which is the small triangular park that has the Wall Street bull at the northern tip.

By having it later in the day we can show these thieves, as they leave work, we’re not their suckers. Plus, anyone who can’t get off work can still join us downtown as soon as they are able.

There is no agenda, no leaders, no organizing group, nothing to endorse other than we’re not going to pay! Let the bondholders pay, let the banks pay, let those who brought the “toxic” mortgage-backed securities pay!

On this list are many key organizers and activists. We have a huge amount of connections – we all know many other organizations, activists and community groups. We know P.R. folk who can quickly write up and distribute press releases, those who can contact legal observers, media activists who can spread the word, the videographers who can film the event, etc.

Do whatever you can – make and distribute your own flyers, contact all your groups and friends. This crime is without precedence and we can’t be silent! What’s the point of waiting for someone else to organize a protest two months from now, long after the crime has been perpetrated?

We have everything we need to create a large, peaceful, loud demonstration. Millions of others must feel the same way; they just don’t know what to do. Let’s take the lead and make this the start!

AGAIN:
When: 4pm – ? Thursday, September 25.
Where: Southern end of Bowling Green Park, in the plaza area
What to bring: Banners, noisemakers, signs, leaflets, etc.
Why: To say we won’t pay for the Wall Street bailout
Who: Everyone!

PETITION LETTER from 200 ECONOMISTS:

To the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate:

As economists, we want to express to Congress our great concern for the plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Paulson to deal with the financial crisis. We are well aware of the difficulty of the current financial situation and we agree with the need for bold action to ensure that the financial system continues to function. We see three fatal pitfalls in the currently proposed plan:

1) Its fairness. The plan is a subsidy to investors at taxpayers’ expense. Investors who took risks to earn profits must also bear the losses. Not every business failure carries systemic risk. The government can ensure a well-functioning financial industry, able to make new loans to creditworthy borrowers, without bailing out particular investors and institutions whose choices proved unwise.

2) Its ambiguity. Neither the mission of the new agency nor its oversight are clear. If taxpayers are to buy illiquid and opaque assets from troubled sellers, the terms, occasions, and methods of such purchases must be crystal clear ahead of time and carefully monitored afterwards.

3) Its long-term effects. If the plan is enacted, its effects will be with us for a generation. For all their recent troubles, America’s dynamic and innovative private capital markets have brought the nation unparalleled prosperity. Fundamentally weakening those markets in order to calm short-run disruptions is desperately short-sighted.

For these reasons we ask Congress not to rush, to hold appropriate hearings, and to carefully consider the right course of action, and to wisely determine the future of the financial industry and the U.S. economy for years to come.

Signed (updated at 9/25/2008 8:30AM CT)

Acemoglu Daron (Massachussets Institute of Technology)
Adler Michael (Columbia University)
Admati Anat R. (Stanford University)
Alexis Marcus (Northwestern University)
Alvarez Fernando (University of Chicago)
Andersen Torben (Northwestern University)
Baliga Sandeep (Northwestern University)
Banerjee Abhijit V. (Massachussets Institute of Technology)
Barankay Iwan (University of Pennsylvania)
Barry Brian (University of Chicago)
Bartkus James R. (Xavier University of Louisiana)
Becker Charles M. (Duke University)
Becker Robert A. (Indiana University)
Beim David (Columbia University)
Berk Jonathan (Stanford University)
Bisin Alberto (New York University)
Bittlingmayer George (University of Kansas)
Boldrin Michele (Washington University)
Brooks Taggert J. (University of Wisconsin)
Brynjolfsson Erik (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Buera Francisco J. (UCLA)
Camp Mary Elizabeth (Indiana University)
Carmel Jonathan (University of Michigan)
Carroll Christopher (Johns Hopkins University)
Cassar Gavin (University of Pennsylvania)
Chaney Thomas (University of Chicago)
Chari Varadarajan V. (University of Minnesota)
Chauvin Keith W. (University of Kansas)
Chintagunta Pradeep K. (University of Chicago)
Christiano Lawrence J. (Northwestern University)
Cochrane John (University of Chicago)
Coleman John (Duke University)
Constantinides George M. (University of Chicago)
Crain Robert (UC Berkeley)
Culp Christopher (University of Chicago)
Da Zhi (University of Notre Dame)
Davis Morris (University of Wisconsin)
De Marzo Peter (Stanford University)
Dubé Jean-Pierre H. (University of Chicago)
Edlin Aaron (UC Berkeley)
Eichenbaum Martin (Northwestern University)
Ely Jeffrey (Northwestern University)
Eraslan Hülya K. K.(Johns Hopkins University)
Faulhaber Gerald (University of Pennsylvania)
Feldmann Sven (University of Melbourne)
Fernandez-Villaverde Jesus (University of Pennsylvania)
Fohlin Caroline (Johns Hopkins University)
Fox Jeremy T. (University of Chicago)
Frank Murray Z.(University of Minnesota)
Frenzen Jonathan (University of Chicago)
Fuchs William (University of Chicago)
Fudenberg Drew (Harvard University)
Gabaix Xavier (New York University)
Gao Paul (Notre Dame University)
Garicano Luis (University of Chicago)
Gerakos Joseph J. (University of Chicago)
Gibbs Michael (University of Chicago)
Glomm Gerhard (Indiana University)
Goettler Ron (University of Chicago)
Goldin Claudia (Harvard University)
Gordon Robert J. (Northwestern University)
Greenstone Michael (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Guadalupe Maria (Columbia University)
Guerrieri Veronica (University of Chicago)
Hagerty Kathleen (Northwestern University)
Hamada Robert S. (University of Chicago)
Hansen Lars (University of Chicago)
Harris Milton (University of Chicago)
Hart Oliver (Harvard University)
Hazlett Thomas W. (George Mason University)
Heaton John (University of Chicago)
Heckman James (University of Chicago – Nobel Laureate)
Henderson David R. (Hoover Institution)
Henisz, Witold (University of Pennsylvania)
Hertzberg Andrew (Columbia University)
Hite Gailen (Columbia University)
Hitsch Günter J. (University of Chicago)
Hodrick Robert J. (Columbia University)
Hopenhayn Hugo (UCLA)
Hurst Erik (University of Chicago)
Imrohoroglu Ayse (University of Southern California)
Isakson Hans (University of Northern Iowa)
Israel Ronen (London Business School)
Jaffee Dwight M. (UC Berkeley)
Jagannathan Ravi (Northwestern University)
Jenter Dirk (Stanford University)
Jones Charles M. (Columbia Business School)
Kaboski Joseph P. (Ohio State University)
Kahn Matthew (UCLA)
Kaplan Ethan (Stockholm University)
Karolyi, Andrew (Ohio State University)
Kashyap Anil (University of Chicago)
Keim Donald B (University of Pennsylvania)
Ketkar Suhas L (Vanderbilt University)
Kiesling Lynne (Northwestern University)
Klenow Pete (Stanford University)
Koch Paul (University of Kansas)
Kocherlakota Narayana (University of Minnesota)
Koijen Ralph S.J. (University of Chicago)
Kondo Jiro (Northwestern University)
Korteweg Arthur (Stanford University)
Kortum Samuel (University of Chicago)
Krueger Dirk (University of Pennsylvania)
Ledesma Patricia (Northwestern University)
Lee Lung-fei (Ohio State University)
Leeper Eric M. (Indiana University)
Leuz Christian (University of Chicago)
Levine David I.(UC Berkeley)
Levine David K.(Washington University)
Levy David M. (George Mason University)
Linnainmaa Juhani (University of Chicago)
Lott John R. Jr. (University of Maryland)
Lucas Robert (University of Chicago – Nobel Laureate)
Luttmer Erzo G.J. (University of Minnesota)
Manski Charles F. (Northwestern University)
Martin Ian (Stanford University)
Mayer Christopher (Columbia University)
Mazzeo Michael (Northwestern University)
McDonald Robert (Northwestern University)
Meadow Scott F. (University of Chicago)
Mehra Rajnish (UC Santa Barbara)
Mian Atif (University of Chicago)
Middlebrook Art (University of Chicago)
Miguel Edward (UC Berkeley)
Miravete Eugenio J. (University of Texas at Austin)
Miron Jeffrey (Harvard University)
Moretti Enrico (UC Berkeley)
Moriguchi Chiaki (Northwestern University)
Moro Andrea (Vanderbilt University)
Morse Adair (University of Chicago)
Mortensen Dale T. (Northwestern University)
Mortimer Julie Holland (Harvard University)
Muralidharan Karthik (UC San Diego)
Nanda Dhananjay (University of Miami)
Nevo Aviv (Northwestern University)
Ohanian Lee (UCLA)
Pagliari Joseph (University of Chicago)
Papanikolaou Dimitris (Northwestern University)
Parker Jonathan (Northwestern University)
Paul Evans (Ohio State University)
Pejovich Svetozar (Steve) (Texas A&M University)
Peltzman Sam (University of Chicago)
Perri Fabrizio (University of Minnesota)
Phelan Christopher (University of Minnesota)
Piazzesi Monika (Stanford University)
Piskorski Tomasz (Columbia University)
Rampini Adriano (Duke University)
Reagan Patricia (Ohio State University)
Reich Michael (UC Berkeley)
Reuben Ernesto (Northwestern University)
Roberts Michael (University of Pennsylvania)
Robinson David (Duke University)
Rogers Michele (Northwestern University)
Rotella Elyce (Indiana University)
Ruud Paul (Vassar College)
Safford Sean (University of Chicago)
Sandbu Martin E. (University of Pennsylvania)
Sapienza Paola (Northwestern University)
Savor Pavel (University of Pennsylvania)
Scharfstein David (Harvard University)
Seim Katja (University of Pennsylvania)
Seru Amit (University of Chicago)
Shang-Jin Wei (Columbia University)
Shimer Robert (University of Chicago)
Shore Stephen H. (Johns Hopkins University)
Siegel Ron (Northwestern University)
Smith David C. (University of Virginia)
Smith Vernon L.(Chapman University- Nobel Laureate)
Sorensen Morten (Columbia University)
Spiegel Matthew (Yale University)
Stevenson Betsey (University of Pennsylvania)
Stokey Nancy (University of Chicago)
Strahan Philip (Boston College)
Strebulaev Ilya (Stanford University)
Sufi Amir (University of Chicago)
Tabarrok Alex (George Mason University)
Taylor Alan M. (UC Davis)
Thompson Tim (Northwestern University)
Tschoegl Adrian E. (University of Pennsylvania)
Uhlig Harald (University of Chicago)
Ulrich, Maxim (Columbia University)
Van Buskirk Andrew (University of Chicago)
Veronesi Pietro (University of Chicago)
Vissing-Jorgensen Annette (Northwestern University)
Wacziarg Romain (UCLA)
Weill Pierre-Olivier (UCLA)
Williamson Samuel H. (Miami University)
Witte Mark (Northwestern University)
Wolfers Justin (University of Pennsylvania)
Woutersen Tiemen (Johns Hopkins University)
Zingales Luigi (University of Chicago)
Zitzewitz Eric (Dartmouth College)

The Stop the Foreclosures and Evictions Movement arises

ForeclosuresPeople are losing the houses they live in, the jobs they depend on to pay the rents and mortgages, and the retirement pensions they thought secure. Michigan and Florida are especially hit hard, as well as the Gulf Coast areas hit by tropical storms and left half way abandoned by Federal relief agencies. The formation of Michigan’s Coalition to Stop Foreclosures & Evictions is a clear sign of our times, and we shall see coalitions like this one now begin to form in area after area almost everywhere around the US. You can bet on it.