Politics in the Zeros , one of the few Bloggers I know of that was following bank failures before it became fashionable, talks about the human side of this most recent round of bank failures involving AIG, Merrill Lynch and Lehman:
Bob is 100% correct here. This country has gone well beyond normal and healthy capitalism and is now a Plutocratic state. This really isn't any form of socialism. But try explaining that to the average American that has been spoon fed in sound bytes of "liberal," "conservative," "socialism" and "communism." And never mind the fact that they are starved of the big (you could even insert that nasty Global word here!) economic picture by the traditional media because that American story would not be pretty at all.
One report said employees were walking out of Lehman today (Sunday) crying, angry, dazed, their jobs and retirement funds vaporized. Would it be that only the fat cats got singed when capitalism has a crisis. But that’s not what happens. Lehman employs janitors, cooks, secretaries, clerks, etc. too.
I’ve been making it a point to post on financial blogs (as well as here) when someone screams that what’s happening is socialism that, no it’s not, it’s plutocracy.
Unless you live in the top 1% income earners in this nation (maybe even top 5%?) you are living in a completely different world than the people that live in the "richest nation in the world" that some conservatives howl about in lockstep at any mention of the American economic realities.
For the employees this will probably be like Enron all over again - with or without scandals and fraud. All of the workers, the little people, will get shafted but the “fat cats” will jump golden parachutes and all intact.
In cases like these, what is Plutocracy if it isn’t socialism for the rich?
Corporate and Wall Street welfare queens with their limousine lobbyists driving up to get their government handouts.
I know it is framing, and a bit dishonest at that. But it makes a point that Joe and Suzy Sixpack can understand. Everything else goes in one ear and out the other.
Unfortunately, most Americans don’t have a clue as to the meaning of Plutocracy, nor would they ever admit to its existence here if they even cared - "FREEDUMB!" - and some in the conservative spectrum would gladly accept it as long as the Plutocracy were Theocratic in its leanings.
And all it is going to accomplish is reward the failure of the corporate elite and punish the taxpayer. Where is the incentive be a fiscally responsible corporation in America today? There is none.
Too many of these corporations have gotten so big in this (insert that nasty Global word again!) economy they can demand the right to be failures. A right for corporate "personhoods" that the average American person - you know? Living, breathing human beings - will never have.
Welcome to Plutocratic America...
In somewhat related news:
- 1. Wall Street banks falter Andrew Sorkin, NY Times
- 2. Bank meltdown wallops campaigns Mike Allen, Politico
- 3. McCain supports Bush's economic policies Jonathan Cohn, TNR
- 4. Treasury will have to protect the banks Editorial, WSJ
- 5. Blame Treasury Secretary Paulson Paul Krugman, NY Times
- 6. To win, stop attacking Palin Clive Crook, FT
- 7. McCain's press bashing is cynical Al Hunt, Bloomberg
- 8. Wal-Mart moms may be the key John Heilemann, NY Magazine
- 9. Insiders are best at reform Norm Ornstein, Washington Post
- 10. GOP victimized by elites Greg Rodriguez, LA Times
[update] A few more links and commentary via Think Progress:
Once in a century, Mr. Greenspan? Last century it was called The Great Depression...
Markets sank in Europe and Asia today, stock index futures slipped sharply on Wall Street, and the dollar plunged as two giant investment banks, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, collapsed over the weekend. Compounding the financial uncertainty, insurance giant A.I.G. “sought a $40 billion lifeline from the Federal Reserve, without which the company may have only days to survive.”
Former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan said the U.S. credit squeeze has brought on a “once-in-a-century” financial crisis that is likely to claim more big firms before it eases. “Indeed, it will continue to be a corrosive force until the price of homes in the United States stabilizes,” Greenspan said.
[update deux] It appears that both bush and McCain are in Florida today. McCain is there denying the true scope of the economic collapse:
Speaking in Florida this morning — the very day that two of Wall Street’s major banking institutions collapsed — Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) declared he “still” believes “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.” Watch it:
John McCain is a documented and fact-checked liar... McCain is also a self professed idiot when it comes to the economy. And I wonder if McCain was scheduled to show up at the same Florida fund raiser as bush was?
In other Florida news:The location of a Bush fundraising event in Florida has been changed after event planners realized that the original host is under an IRS investigation. The event was originally scheduled to be at the home of John Boswell, whose Boswell House Ministries is undergoing an IRS probe.
[update trois] Crooks and Liars notes that this is a chance for Obama to take back the news cycle and focus it squarely on one of the big issues of today:
It's the economy, stupid! A freakin' no brainer that anyone with dwindling purchasing power (about 95 to 99% of America) can understand.
The financial markets are collapsing and it’s because of conservatism. McCain’s policies are the same as Bush and when McCain says that he is a reformer has no bearing on fixing the failing financials. Republicans do not want regulations. Period. McCain will not fundamentally change anything regarding our economy.
Obama’s camp:They need to immediately produce a series of ads attacking McCain on conservatism and that puts the blame squarely on his shoulders for this latest Wall St. meltdown.
Today of all days, John McCain’s stubborn insistence that the ‘fundamentals of the economy are strong’ shows that he is disturbingly out of touch with what’s going in the lives of ordinary Americans. Even as his own ads try to convince him that the economy is in crisis, apparently his 26 years in Washington have left him incapable of understanding that the policies he supports have created an historic economic crisis,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.