post #666 !

How appropriate! I did not know it was 666 when I was preparing all the financial crap that follows page 3 of 8 below...

Here is a good, easy-to-understand This American Life episode from last weekend that goes into some detail about some of the financial crisis. I know, BORING, but how can you not want to understand why your savings are evaporating? I want my rage to be directed at the proper people!

Also, a liberal friend asked me to listen to it. She wanted to know what my "conservative take" is on the whole thing. I'll cut-n-paste my take below, assuming somebody will ask in the comments. What the hell, it's all typed up, so I may as well use it.

ALSO, I have been curious to understand more about the regulations that "the Left" blame "the Right" for not having in place. So it was interesting to me to learn a bit more about that.

I questioned that in a post on MyRant a few weeks ago, and I have to applaud Mr. Bissette for posting lots of links on the subject. But that was when I had to drop everything (well, lots of things) and focus on the September project, so I lost track of that whole exchange. I'm sure it's all still over there, but I haven't been able to get back to it.

Anyway - LISTEN TO THIS if you are interested. It's a pretty good show.

My jabbering about it:

OK, first segment over.

I have not heard all that "commercial paper" stuff yet. But I have heard what that last guy said, which is the reason Lehman couldn't cover the paper is because they made a buncha of risky no-good loans. Which is the root of it all. And I think that is a HUGE problem for USA, and the world. Pandering politicians have made everybody think it is their RIGHT to own a home, and have pressured Fannie & Freddie etc to make such loans. On the other side of the aisle you have Republicans beating their chest and crowing because "housing starts are UP!" while ignoring the fact that people who can't really afford them are gettying crap loans to buy the houses.

Now, if anybody talks about all this, they are seen as uncaring and wanting to take away the poor's houses. Barney Frank even calls it racist to face the reality that poor people can't make payments on exploding mortgages. You can force CEOs to make less money etc, but if they are still bundling up tons of risky loans trying to make everybody feel good, you still got a problem.

That idiot Bush and those idiots in the Senate majority are the last people I'd trust to fix the mess.

Part two, same thing - "Bad mortgages got the financial system sick, credit default swaps made the sickness an epidemic".
To me, it sounds like it all goes back to the bad mortgages.

OK, so now I understand CDSs, and these are at least one of the things that liberals think the big bad neocons should have regulated more. AND I AGREE. 100%. But I have to say that the root of it all still goes back to the bad mortgages, and those are the things that Barney Frank and crew fought to NOT regulate.

I'm not hearing This American Life saying that - yet. They talk about the bad mortgages, but they don't look at them under the same microscope that they apply to the CDSs. They seem to think they just happened...

Personally I think both sides of power in US govt had their own piece of action going and are equally culpable. And it makes me sick to hear both McCain and Obama saying we gotta pass that stupid bailout bill and trust those crooks to fix things.

part three - more of the same, focusing on how we should regulate the fatcats, and ignoring the root problem of bad mortgages. I was at least glad to hear the guy say the Clinton admin resisted regulation, and it was a bipartisan failure to regulate in the halls of congress, so they're not totally blaming the Evil Bush Admin, the way most on the left do. But they (This American Life) do seem to be repeating the mantra that failure to regulate "the rich" is the basic problem. It's only part of the problem.

part 4 - Stock injection plan sounds okay, and if their info is correct, I'm glad it's at least an option in the final signed bill. But I am astronomically cynical about the 21st century US govt doing the right thing in nearly all circumstances.

THANKS FOR SHARING. Very interesting and I learned some stuff.

I'm sure you are like me, and not like that moron who wrote in begging Ira Glass to tell him what to think. We just heard what the problems and solutions are, according to this one set of economists. Another set of economists would have a different spin. But I think these guys were pretty accurate.

I still think there is a root cause of all these symptoms, and that cause is societal.

Here's another good article that another different liberal friend sent me.

"Four are the usual suspects -- Nevada, Florida, California and Arizona, boom states where regional housing bubbles were fueled by an irresponsible alliance of house-flippers, predatory lenders, fraudulent borrowers and notoriously politicized federal laws like the Community Reinvestment Act, which forces banks to give mortgages to poor people and even illegal immigrants who can't afford or qualify for them."

This guy must be a racist! (That's MY comment, not my friend's...)



Benny said...

Perfectly stated.
It all boils down to greed. And the minute you try to regulate greed in the private sector, it will be carried out by a greedy regime in the public sector.


Jed said...

The strip is fun so far, though it looks a little too photoshoppy in places, like the very computery pattern on Sinatra's coat, and, you know, the gradients. Gradients have this annoying habit of always looking like gradients--I prefer less mechanical looking airbrushed effects to gradients. Also the typography is a little overbearing, and I wish you hadn't reused and tweaked the Deathwatch 2000 lettering on page 2, and, like most of this, it's just a matter of personal taste, but reused artwork is often distracting.

I like the swirls on the Stiffy comic strip though--I like when people do spontaneous stuff with computers without trying to emulate wet media necessarily. And this is a parody of some comic strip that is familiar but so underwhelming I can't place it.

But this is all formal stuff, the coat of paint on an otherwise nicely drawn and entertaining strip.

And I'll get back to you on the economy stuff. Maybe. I'm getting so tired of all of it I'm tempted to hibernate under my school desk until I can relax with the knowledge that they've gotten on already with the apocalypse, so I can settle in to nuclear winter with a sigh of relief. That or cling with all my might to the shin of a fundamentalist as they get raptured up.

Kerfuffle said...

WOW, if you drink, stop it, you don't want to hurt a cell of that brain......leave it just the way it is ;-)

Mark Martin said...

I s she talking to me or Benny or Jed???

Hey kerfuffle, the dirty lowdown on the Stipe Incident is coming. I think it will be serialized. S-L-O-W-L-Y.....

I'm gonna try to get it going in the next week or two

HemlockMan said...

Here's the deal, as near as I can figure it and state it. All of us by now have learned that capitalism is here to stay and that it's probably the best way to go for humans since we left the system of small tribes behind.

Okay...given that we should allow capitalists to go about their business figuring out ways to make money, what we stopped doing, and something that must be done (because we're dealing with greedy wankers), is to regulate these guys.

And by regulate I don't mean just watch them. Apparently, we have to regulate them so heavily that their balls hurt. We have to put their nuts in a vise which--if they break the rules--we can use to crush those nuts.

So, in a nutshell (haha), Reagan was a flipping brain-dead cretin. Libertarians are dead wrong. Apparently, some form of heavily regulated capitalism (what some may term democratic socialism) is the only way to proceed.

(I used a few borderline bad words here, Mark, for which I hope I will be excused.)

Mark Martin said...

Serious question, not a joke, so please answer:

When you say "bad words", are you talking about "balls" or "socialism"?

Either way, no problem.

HemlockMan said...

I knew you were going to say that. Really. I really did.

The bad words were "balls" and "wankers" and "nuts".

I don't consider democratic socialism to be all that bad. Apparently it's a lot better than laissez-faire capitalism. As near as I can tell from observation, anyway.