Monday, September 15, 2008

A Market of Whiners

The nation of whiners now witnesses corporate whining of epic proportions. What are we supposed to do? Feel sorry for these people, these free marketeers with a great big problem?

I haven't read or heard any of the official numbers yet, only a guy on NPR who mentioned that the Dow was off 500 points today. [It actually turned out to be 504.] I've been reading for several months that the state of the financial institutions and the banking industry in this country is extremely shaky, and that the dismal economic situation is not going to get better, only worse. Well, this does appear to be so, doesn't it?

OK, I'm a historian of US history And I know that markets go up and down. And I've got two sons in banking who are telling me that markets go up and down. I've got a financial advisor who says markets go up and down. But, I'll tell you, I'm afraid of this shit that's happening now. As a historian, I also know that this country is not immune to economic cataclysms, and I think we're on the brink of one. I was greeted this morning on the radio on the way to the doctor with the news that Lehman Brothers, an investment bank that's been around since the Gilded Age, went belly up this weekend. [So their link is going to wink out soon also, and they'll just be a memory on the Wayback Machine.] They pleaded with the government to bail them out like it did for Bear Stearns, but the Fed refused to do it this time. Also Merrill Lynch, in danger of going belly up itself, managed to dodge the bullet. Bank Of America bought them. And, from what I understand, these financial giants are not the only ones in serious trouble. There are more where these came from.

And on top of this -- something else that heard before -- the US automakers want the US government to grant them a $50 billion low-interest loan to get their financial asses out of trouble. They are losing their shirts, you see. And they want the taxpayers to save them. According to the radio, they say they need this money so they can produce hybrid automobiles much faster than would ordinarily be possible. What they're really saying is "we didn't do a damn thing about building hybrids while we were making all that money on SUVs, and now we're behind all those smart guys making cars in Japan and S. Korea. We need to get into the Federal cookie jar right now . . . please."

Now, these are the same jokers who have opposed every single bill in Congress to increase fuel efficiency; these are the same guys who have wallowed in obscene profits they have made off of gas guzzling SUVs for years now. And now they want the taxpayers to take care of them. You've got to be kidding me! I don't think you want me to get started on tirade about market forces, so beloved by our politicians and businessmen but especially by our Republican friends who think government should do nothing at all except function as a sugar daddy for defense contractors and the military. And who've deified untrammeled market forces as the answer to everything that ails us. And now these same people are coming with their hand out to the United States government, which they loathe, and to us taxpayers, whom they have sodomized at every opportunity, to bail their asses out of trouble. Trouble, mind you, that they got into themselves by poor management, greed, and more greed.

Stop! I said I would not go on a tirade. I think at this point, you can read my mind. If not, let me know.
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