Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Fraud of "Bailout"

The capitalist system that has made this country the richest and most productive in the world has been sorely blind-sided this year as the rich, haughty, and greedy have swindled the very nation of its chance to sustain the process that has inculcated success so extraordinary as to invite the envy of the world's nations. The current crisis, spawned by the "operators" who conned relatively ignorant people into believing that they could indeed buy something they couldn't afford or borrow money they couldn't pay back, is being played out in the "bailout," as a totally unprepared government (or should that be a colluding one?) puts on a show of desperation vis-à-vis the nation's economic survivability, translated as actual existence.

The government actually started this devolvement into financial chaos, whether real or imagined, earlier this year when it decreed that a "stimulus" was needed and mandated the method – paying taxpayers for doing…nothing. This is the kind of thing that makes the socialists of the ilk of Congressional democrats fall all over themselves with joy. The reason: proof positive that only government is able to decide who should and should not have money. The result: not much in the way of practical considerations as proven by the current mischief brought on by the scam artists in both business and government.

Bailing out financial institutions whose head honchos milked the system for all they could, prepared themselves some golden parachutes and then walked away in the glory of bankruptcy is reminiscent of the Clinton years when those same arrogant so-and-so's in fulfilling their greed co-opted IRA's and other pension plans, leaving the "little people" with nothing. Think Enron and WorldCom. Some of those thieves actually went to jail, and the time has come for some of the smooth operators who manufactured the current mess to join them.

Almost within hours of letting one financial institution – Lehman Brothers – sink into bankruptcy and vowing that the government should not be in the business of rescuing badly managed enterprises, Treasury Secretary Paulson reversed course when it became clear that the crooks masquerading as businessmen had delivered the nation itself – or so alleged – to the cusp of bankruptcy. The result: the nation became the owner of AIG and the $700 billion worth of worthless paper, as if anyone actually knows the extent of damage. Actually, the government owns much more, with the work-a-day taxpayers footing the bill, even though they had nothing to do with the problem.

This means, of course, that the U.S. government has nationalized this huge segment of the world's financial structure. This is called socialism in countries like Cuba and Venezuela, but it's called reaction to expediency in this country. President Truman attempted to nationalize the railroads some 60 or so years ago and his actions were no different from what's happening now. This makes democrats like Representative Barney Frank, House Finance Committee chairman, happy since it proves that nationalism can actually take place here and that it's absolutely necessary in order for everyone to have everything he wants whether or not he's entitled to it or can afford it, since the producers – the taxpayers – can be coerced into making it possible.

The die for senseless giveaways was cast in 2005 when President Bush pulled out the magic number of $100 billion and dedicated it to New Orleans to rebuild a city eight feet below sea level, still sinking, and in existence only because of more than 300 miles of levees that can't stand a Level-4 hurricane, if that – nobody actually knows. At present, the mayor of Galveston is lobbying Washington for some $2.5 billion to rebuild that city, even though it could be blown away again next year just as it was by a hurricane in 1900, when some 6,000 people died. This is foolhardiness. If the money is to be spent, let it be spent on relocation of people, not rebuilding something virtually certain to be destroyed again.

As for government, remember that Barack Obama picked Jim Johnson as a mover and shaker in finding his veep candidate. Johnson is a former Fannie Mae CEO, whose associations with sub-prime lender Countrywide Financial and other corporations touched off a controversy that led to his resignation from Obama's committee just weeks ago. Senator Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, got sugar-sticks from Countrywide, too, by receiving loans at below market rate. The lower rates saved the senator about $58,000 on his Washington residence over the life of the loan, and $17,000 on the Connecticut home. Reason for the discount: none. He just happened to be head of a very important committee.

Fannie Mae has contributed $726,650 to Congressional lawmakers, republicans and democrats alike, this election cycle. House Speaker Pelosi received $10,000, for instance. Actually, there's no telling what lawmakers have received, since there's no way of knowing about the entirely possible "underground" deals in a city known for its corruption. Think William Jefferson, who still walks the halls of Congress, notwithstanding being caught red-handed accepting money ($90,000) in a parking garage and stashing it in a freezer, where it was found by investigators. Former Congressman Abramoff at least went to jail.

There's enough blame to go around in this debacle. The lawmakers constantly yammer about their grave "oversight" responsibilities, but congressional committees will spend years unsuccessfully trying to subpoena "enemies" for partisan reasons, as in the firing of eight prosecutors, while their actual sworn duties go begging. Nobody's at home in either the White House or the Congress, and the nation is suffering for it. Reporters such as John Fund, for instance, have been on this subject for years, but the drive of Congressional democrats toward socialism and the sheer incompetence of their republican colleagues, combined with outrageous dishonesty on all sides, call for a massive house-cleaning.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

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