Other bits and pieces

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hail to the State

Over a number of years, Americans have gone gleefully prancing around a financial playground, having it all, jacking up prices, and truly believing that all you need to make money is a little bit of money; and that everyone can do it. We vastly reduced the amount of real product we produced in this country. We sent thousands of jobs overseas because it was cheaper. We hedged, schemed, flipped, and short sold anything and everything in the ongoing quest to become wealthy without doing any real work. Then, when it all blew in our faces, we did exactly what you would have expected--blamed the government and cried like wounded lemurs for the government to get involved and make it all better. Well folks, their involved, but it's not going to be like a visit from your rich uncle. It's likely to be more like getting a prostate exam by an anteater.

Your Uncle Sammy, with your support (and by support I mean the mob of torches and pitchforks), has obtained controlling financial interest in some the largest and most powerful corporate institutions in America. Wow, now isn't that just the awesomest thing from awesome land. Just this morning, President Obama announced a plan to increase oversight of executive pay at ALL banks. Last week, congress drafted legislation targeted at taking away 90% of the bonuses paid to AIG employees. But, isn't all this a good thing?

The bonuses paid to AIG employees were contractually obligated in those employee's contracts from well before the financial crisis. AIG was legally bound to pay those bonuses, but when an angry mob and media get behind the force of change, the rule of law gets trampled. Legislative restraint? Are you kidding? Congress took longer to take a collective dump than it did to churn a brand new law aimed specifically at individual bonuses. Did you read that? Your government drafted a law specifically to take money from specific individuals because people were just mad about it. That should scare the ever-loving shit out of you.

We were so willing to let the government bail out all these industries. That is to say, we were willing to let the government take a bunch of our money and give it to the companies who's products we weren't willing to buy. Think about that! General Motors is in trouble because you won't buy their cars--trade your money for their goods. No problem, your government will trade your money for...uh...nothing. Well fuck me in the conservatory with the led pipe! That's a hell of a deal for GM! Oh wait, no, the gov didn't trade for nothing. That money didn't come without strings. No, now the gov can tell GM how to run it's business--and many, many other companies.

So who's asking for and getting the money? Pretty much everyone. Banks, automakers, insurers, media companies, towns, home owners (hard to use that word and not laugh, owing $400k on a $200k house hardly makes you the owner of anything), etcetera. And with each dollar comes a measure of government control. So, the government, also known as 'the state', has controlling interest in all the aforementioned industries.

We used to make fun of countries with state run media.

©Raymond Smith- 2009

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