Monday, October 13, 2008

News of the "Death of American Capitalism" grossly exaggerated

As there is further evidence of the bills on the unsustainable becoming due, let me remind you, humbly, of this:

Eight billion in farm subsidies. (Federal budget, 2006)
One trillion in oil company subsidies. (est.)
One trillion in nuclear energy subsidies. (est.)

Now, please explain to me where the capitalism part comes from.

For all of the blaming of the "free market's" role in the economic correction (say "meltdown" like you're out of breath or something), let me remind you that there isn't one, at least in America.

Much of the subsidies are returned to Washington in the form of fees paid to lobbying firms, probably a quarter in all.

Things to be said to consumers:

Nobody made you sign the leases, loans, and mortgages at variable interest rates.

Nobody told you that signing the leases, loans and mortgages absolved you of following a sound financial course.

So why did you?

Why make the rest of us pay?

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Handout/bailout passes, markets plunge even more

Bound to happen. Why you ask?

Because the markets weren't afraid of the correction. They were afraid of government's reaction to a healthy correction.

It just goes to show you that Congress is really run by CNN hype-mongers.


Washington Post's Howard Kurtz looks at this, and comments on how journalists are told that "well, you don't have an MBA. Trust us." Had I been there I would have shot back and stated "well, you people seem to think that leveraging synergies in the enterprise is always a good idea."

The point is, this crisis is MBA and press-made. While the mortgage and investment derivatives markets were deregulated during Clinton's first term, there is blame for both parties here, and just as much blame on consumers for signing mortgage contracts that they either didn't read, didn't understand, or being so desperate that they'd bet their dream on a bubble. But you can't blame the consumer. Unless you don't want to win the election.

Think of this way. 50 years ago, it took a working family (that would be one bread winner) about 10-20 years to pay off a single family home. Today, it takes two bread winners 40 to 60 years, and was rising ever faster. Measuring costs and prices in working family years or average income years does put the prices of things into a clearer perspective.

Alas, this does not fit the view of neo-classical economics, nor does it fit the hype-and-hype strategies of the press or the MBA corps.

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