Friday, September 26, 2008

Betting Billions on a Bailout Bullet

A gnawing sense of frustration and seething anger sweeps America. The realization that they will have to risk their future and those of their children to rescue the very people who robbed them of this future runs counter to their instincts. Yet it is presented as a bullet they would have to bite, by a President they are unsure they can trust, for a purpose they had no part in deciding, to save the American economy from collapse. The lameduck President who lured them into two wars, whose main target is still loose, and whose lies, cover-ups, and constitutional maneuvers have wrecked the nation's image internationally; is telling its citizens to rally behind this "patriotic" call once again - a call that will lead them to financial ruin, penury, and impoverishment - more than they already are.

Even a degenerate gambler would realize that betting his present and future existence on a bailout plan where feasibility is in doubt, where the amount of $700 billion cannot be ascertained as sufficient, and where its return and profitable gain is based on their highest hopes, must be insane. And sanity is exceedingly becoming a rare commodity in financial and political circles globally. This prompted Congress to invoke principles that would include provisions on home ownership preservation, oversight functions, limits on executive compensation, and taxpayer protection - the only sane thing they could possibly come up with in an already wildly crazy situation.

America's national debt stands at $ 53 trillion, including the cost of benefits to retiring baby boomers beginning 2010, which translates to roughly $ 38,000 for every man, woman and child in the country today. This excludes the bailout costs for Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and AIG, plus the bailout plan for the banks asked by Mr. Bush. Even if the economy recovers in the years ahead, all the revenues would be pre-allocated to service these debts. With the economy in dire straits and recovery uncertain, regardless of a bailout plan in place; the US economy is hard pressed to provide any alleviation to its citizens in the next 3 years at least; at worst, in the next 5 years. The opposition expressed by Republicans to the principles behind the bailout plan could further delay the uncertain solution to the crisis, which could exacerbate the already dire straits that the country has dug itself into. This is a no win situation for America, and perhaps, the rest of the world.

Bourses in the US, in Europe and Asia, have been swinging wildly into degrees of confidence and doubt, based on the implementation or non-passage of the bailout plan. The prospects of its success or failure are not even at play. This is the most tragic element of this situation. The bailout is a temporary relief that is accompanied by overwhelming hope to succeed. Its failure will have to be faced by the leaders who will emerge from this catastrophe and the generations that will suffer its consequences. What the world is witnessing may be the beginnings of the end of the American Empire. What will follow in its stead is too mind boggling to contemplate. It may even spark a second American Revolution. Whatever form it takes is too scary to speculate. But it is in the process of fruition if Americans don't come together to save their nation and its future.



Kim said...

I think your revolution prediction could be on the cards Durano...
it seems the poor American citizens are going to be the losers on all counts....

Tapline said...

Good post,Brad,,,,,,Answers are not forthcoming. I hate to see if my Retirement egg is gone, as I know I must......stay well....

Anonymous said...

The American Empire has been slowly dissolving for some time now, but since it is based largely on the dollar, the current financial implosion is a far more visible form of decline.

Some might say we deserve our financial failure due to our own complacency regarding our perceived abundance of riches and the thoughtlessly ridiculous but all-be-it comforting cumulative attitude that no matter what goes wrong, some person in a position of power will fix it, sooner or later (most likely later).

This continues, of course, since so many eagerly await a "bailout" which, like the proverbial 'get out of jail free' card, will be able to render no real effect except as a stop-gap measure. But, it will make people *think* they are safe, or that things are on their way to getting better.

The patient is suffering from multiple stab wounds, infections, and massive blood loss -- he needs far more than band-aid with a cute happy face on it. And maybe the only useful release from our incarceration by currency and its misuse is to raze the jail and have its keepers strung up by the ankles, so their pirated loot falls from their pockets like so many gold sovereigns.

We need a change in system and a change in attitude, so that both the citizenry and its chosen leaders no longer take the future for granted by "charging it forward" (rather than paying it forward). This is the sort of systemic evolution that won't come easy, and it may indeed require a little revolution to see it effected even in the smallest form.

Tommy said...

What folks seem to be missing, though Asia is already experiencing the bounce back is that when it comes to these speculatory markets, If America falls, so too does the world....We may be able to curtail the pain whereas others won't....This isn't an American problem...It's a world issue. I find it interesting that there are those who kind of wish to see America suffer, yet in the end they too will suffer right along with us....

Artbeat said...

That's telling it like it is Durano. The poor example set by the Fed rubbed off on big business who were consumed by the short term success of their greed.

The very people who got rich out of the process are asking the American public, who were prejudiced by their self-indulgence to ensure they maintain a lifestyle of excess.

What ever happened to the capitalist way?? It does not normally reward failure, let alone condone it.

The financial malaise that is so predominant in the US today can only be cured by going back to sound business practices.

The bailout won't cure the cause, but rather delay even bigger problems on the horizon.

What then???

Another bail out funded by the American taxpayer??

Ben C. said...

Are North Americans so deluded as to keep on believing Bush and the Republicans? I shudder at the thought that McCain will win.

Zhu said...

I'm not sure what to think of the bailout. I hate seeing the people bailing out companies which have just been greedy and selfish.

On the other side, isn't good from an economic point of view?

I'm lost myself...

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hello Kim,

At least in the attitude towards spending and on the way they are so used to living on credit; and in having more savings, these are revolutionary changes that would benefit the American consumers themselves.

On the political and economic arenas, the banking sector may undergo structural changes, and the days of too little oversight on free market activities that have national and global impact will come to an end. Demands on government to increase regulation may develop into an intense political issue - where solutions may need changes in some of the basic tenets of the Constitution. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Tapline,

I hope your retirement egg is safe and sound, undamaged and undiminished.:-)

No one can give definitive answers, hope is the only constant in this equation. I hope it works out well. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi "r",

A revolution of sorts, in attitude, way of life, and perhaps in some structural form that would impact on the free market system that has always been subject to manipulation and abuse by a few.... that has duped and impoverished the many.

The term you used "charging it forward" is quite apt, an attitude of living on credit is one that needs some change. All those who profited from this mess should be made to pay through their teeth - I agree with you here.

The complacent attitude you mentioned is also true - that someone will work to fix it. This time however, it's too big for a single person and requires all of its citizens to take part. But complacency remains, because this is what the operators and all those involved in the stock markets want... "restore confidence" whether its real or imagined - workable or not - succeeds or fails - these are in the future. These guys are only concerned with now..."get the confidence up so there could be trading, we could continue, and our existence is assured".

Perhaps it is also good that everyone gets to be pinched by the crisis, to provide some awareness about reality and to think about making some adjustments, at least in their personal perspectives, that most of the time borders on indifference.:-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Tommy,

I agree with you that everyone will suffer too if America goes down, that's why I stated that this is "a no win situation for America, and perhaps, the rest of the world".

I also have 2 sisters and their families, cousins and friends spread all over the US mainland who have become citizens,and all are faced with the same difficult predicament. It seems so unfair to bailout these companies but it has to be done.

Americans must come together to save their country and perhaps the global financial system from collapse. The alternative is unimaginable even if the plan is based on "best hopes". New leaders and generations throughout the world will suffer if this is not met head on - and sacrifice is the only viable option.

I'm glad it seems to be moving along and is supported by Republican Congressmen. But this whole event could have changes in national attitude that would be for the better. I sincerely hope it works. :-) __Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Caroline,

I agree with you that the bailout won't cure the cause. It is merely a temporary band-aid or torniquet that would stop the bleeding while they fix the mangled body of the financial markets.

The direct impact on the lives of Americans,as well as its effect on the entire global economic system may create some changes in the way that free markets are operated and in the means by which unmitigated greed and outright deception are regulated, limited and punished.

There will be a sort of revolution in the structure of markets and how these operate as well as safety nets and oversights. Those that the Congress have seen fit to impose on this bailout may become permanent fixtures in the future - and attitudes of Americans and their way of life may undergo some revolutionary changes too. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Ben C.,

There are no clear explanations from the White House why no oversight activities saw this disaster coming during the Republican watch. President Bush has an 11% acceptance and is hardly believed...but this situation is felt by the people where it hurts most - in their pockets, dining tables, gas tanks,and way of life. So they will believe it is true and the bailout plan a necessary sacrifice. But they will protest nonetheless.

However, John McCain can no longer extricate himself from his association with the Bush administration's stupidity and incompetence. Recently, his actions to leave the campaign purportedly to go to DC where he is needed illustrates how idiotic the act and the subsequent justification for it is. His "straight talk express" now reads "crooked doublespeak". If America votes him, then they are just the same as he is, they deserve each other. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Zhu,

It is a hateful scenario, but there is no other way but for the taxpayers to bailout the greed of a few that brought this on.

The lawmakers have inserted provisions that would protect taxpayers, stem the tide of homeowners being foreclosed and provide opportunities for those who've lost their homes, remove the profit for executives who will take part in this bailout and ensure no one walks away benefiting from it by removing their golden parachutes and taxing their incomes (beyond 500K or 750K i'm not so sure)by 20%.

The entire bailout plan is not a fixed amount, has no time frame for maturity, and is not guaranteed to succeed - but it is the only logical thing that can be done. The alternative is certain collapse which would create chaotic conditions that would be harder to control.

Planners also add "confidence" to the equation to retain some normalcy in the daily activities, rather than see panic or tension which are negative behavioral indicators leading to abnormal situations. Spend wisely, save money, borrow less. You'll be okay. :-) --Durano, done!

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