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Angelo Matera | 09.29.08

Issues

The Right’s Hypocritical Crusade against Wall Street

I almost never agree with First Things on economic policy, but Robert T. Miller was right last week when he warned that “those on the political right need to make sure that the Republicans in Congress do not through ignorance or stupidity misunderstand conservative economic principles and so lead us into economic disaster.” Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Republicans in the House did today when they tanked the President’s $700 billion financial bail-out bill and sent the stock market plunging to its biggest one day loss ever.

They say timing is everything. In this case, the Republicans picked the worst possible time to start crusading against Wall Street greed—where have they been for the past thirty years? Everyone knows where—standing aside, in the name of the “free market,” as laws and regulations enacted after the Great Depression to restrict dangerous and unproductive speculation were peeled away for the sake of “deregulation” (thank you Ronald Reagan).

As a result, investment banks, hedge funds, private equity firms and other speculators, operating without any oversight, and looking for outsized profits for themselves and for investor clients not satisfied with merely average rates of return on their money, were able to invest trillions and trillions of dollars in ever more complex and opaque financial instruments, turning the credit markets into a monstrously high-risk, high-leverage, financial Casino. (See Ben Stein’s article on this.)

When the subprime mortgage market ran into problems last year, due to the end of the housing boom and other reasons having to do with fraud and usurious practices, it started a chain reaction that now threatens to bring the whole shaky structure crashing down (It’s important to realize that financial bets worth $62 trillion were made on $1 trillion worth of subprime mortgages. That’s what’s causing such huge problems. For the most detailed, definitive analysis of the crisis, see Charles Morris’ The Trillion Dollar Meltdown).

I said I agreed with First Things that the bail-out should go through. But I don’t agree with R.R. Reno’s analysis that “we’re all to blame” for the crisis because so many Americans happened to benefit from rising home values. That’s like saying the Sunnis were all as much to blame as Saddam Hussein for the Baathist tyranny because they held a privileged position in Iraq. Sure, Americans in the top 50% of the income scale profited from the booms of the last thirty years—the junk-bond and S&L-driven eighties, the internet bubble-induced expansion of the nineties, and the recent housing boom. The middle and upper-middle class played the game, and participated in the culture of greed. But they’ve had little choice in the matter; they didn’t make the rules. The rules were imposed from the top down, with the most obscene rewards going to the rule-makers on Wall Street.

As for the election, the pyrrhic Republican victory today in the house, along with Sarah Palin’s continuing cluelessness, and John McCain’s erratic leadership and inability to convince anyone that he’s ever been against the “fat cats,” has driven me away for good. In the end, the pro-life cause is hurt by association with such cranks. In dangerous times, there’s no substitute for character and judgment, and McCain/Palin are just too unstable and scary. Not surprisingly, I’m hearing the same sentiment tonight from some of my orthodox Catholic friends as well.

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TOPICS:    bailout | republicans | wall street
(18) COMMENTS

By zorozero AT 09.30.08 06:59AM Not Rated

zorozero

So now because of greed, abortion stays part of our national landscape as well.

Maybe if we didn’t allow the murder of infants, first and foremost, we would not have gone down these economic roads either.

We live in darkness. There is a light if we choose to see it.

Jim Oliver


By chassup AT 09.30.08 09:51AM Not Rated

chassup

Angelo, your visceral, anger makes me think you lost a lot yesterday.  Your blatant desire to fix blame on your political enemies, as well as attempt to find yet another “justification” for Catholics to vote for the most ardent supporter of abortion on demand, exposes, to me anyway, that your politics enlightens your faith, and that’s backward.

I must be a real weirdo… When the Republicans in Congress, along with a bunch of Democrats who get it, killed the bail-out I cheered.  When the market tanked I cheered.  My hope in the American people was restored, because they pushed this, they were represented in Congress, at least by enough in the house to avoid a gigantic wrong turn.  These brave Americans are like the 101st holding Bastogne, now McCain can look like Patten if he has the guts to back the right kind of solution to this problem and lead the charge.  I’m not convinced he will.

Today, I woke up, the sun had risen, the birds were singing, the sky hadn’t fallen and my life hadn’t changed one single bit.  I thanked God, as I do each day, that I have the gift of life and family and the chance to do His Will.

You see, for many years I have refused to rely on debt to fund my lifestyle.  We do have a good fixed rate mortgage on our modest suburban home where we’ve lived for 20 years.  I pay cash for everything else, and if I don’t have it, I go without.  My children have never been to Disney World (nor will they) and some years we have no vacation.  We drive 15 year old beaters, I fix them myself if I can.  We have one TV in the house and only basic cable.  My wife has no income, we didn’t inherit any money, we have 8 precious gifts from God, most of whom came at the same time we couldn’t “afford” another mouth to feed, 2 of whom doctors recommended aborting.  Since the public schools teach secular humanism (root cause of the current crisis) they all attend Catholic schools which cost me more than my mortgage.  Four of my children have gone off to college, all but one on full scholarships.  My kids work every summer to pay for things scholarships don’t.  We are happy, and free.

Many of my fellow parishioners (sporting Obama stickers on their cars) are as angry as you Angelo, some have interest-only mortgages so they could “afford” larger more luxurious houses and new cars.  Most of them did not freely accept children from God (secular humanism again) opting instead for careers and income, new homes, new cars, travel, and investments to create personal wealth… none of which are bad things in of themselves, but how many made the same kind of “justification” to break a marriage vow they all made?

I’m afraid, Angelo, that you may be suffering from the same nasty hangover many Americans have this morning after a binge.  Blaming the bartender for pouring you too many drinks that were just too easy to swallow is pathetic.  He’s the bastard, right?

ZOROZERO is right, the root cause of all our miseries is turning from the Light and making deals with the master of darkness, voting for more darkness (Obama/secular humanism) will not ultimately solve our problems as a society.


By Dave AT 09.30.08 08:57PM Not Rated

Dave

“Chesterton, however, simply points out that the weakness of capitalism is that you cannot have a virtuous system that is based on a vice, and the weakness of both the systems of Adam Smith and Karl Marx is that they reduce all of human behavior to a totally materialistic explanation. Both capitalism and communism manipulate the masses and disregard that key factor that is not only the great variable, but is also the essence of human dignity: free will.”

COMMON SENSE 101 By: Dale Ahlquist Pg. 158


By chassup AT 10.01.08 09:24AM Not Rated

chassup

Great point ROBERTSDAVID50!  It all comes down to individual liberty, and true human liberty isn’t the freedom to do what you want, it’s the freedom to do what you ought.  At least capitalism, the best we have, allows personal liberty, socialism (Marxism and fascism) deny personal liberty in preference to the state.

I still think it’s funny, keeping this thread in context to the original opinion, that the same people who have screamed for 7 years that we rushed to war, we’re only protecting the rich, are now complaining that Republicans are dumping on poor Wall Street and that we need to rush to pass this legislation… maybe Pelosi and Barney Fwanks should get Colin Powell to use satellite photos to help sell the plan.


By Debra Murphy AT 10.01.08 02:34PM Not Rated

Debra Murphy

Where are the Jesuits when you need ‘em! I am at this moment lamenting the absence of Rhetoric as a commonly taught subject in American schools, especially those “rules of engagement” for public discourse that enable readers or listeners to distinguish, in s debate, between a reasonable argument and a non sequitur, or even personal attack. Still, in this wonderful digital age of ours, there are any number of sites that can give interested parties at least a quick brush up on those “logical fallacies” that are too often used nowadays in lieu of rational, let alone charitable, disagreement.

For example, if you go here you will find a university debate team’s page on the most common logical fallacies: 

http://www.csun.edu/~dgw61315/fallacies.html#Straw man

I would draw readers’ attentions particularly to the the “Argumentum ad hominem”—an argument directed at the person, “attacking the character or motives of a person who has stated an idea, rather than the idea itself.”

An example of this commonly-used fallacy would be arguing against someone’s criticisms of the Republicans no-vote on the Bailout, not by giving reasoned arguments why the no-vote was prudent, but by implying that to criticize it must be motivated by having taken a hit on Wall Street, or having financed a lifestyle by heavy borrowing, or in wishing to give Catholics a justification to vote for Barack Obama—-this latter is especially ill-conceived, I think, when one considers that the original poster, who is the editor of this site, has put up any number of posts arguing that Catholics cannot support Obama, much as they might like, because of the abortion issue.

For the record, I lost no money on Wall Street t’other day, other than that which is tied up in my husband’s retirement account, which is tied to his job and over which neither of us have any control. And as for grieving over this financial disaster—which it is or soon will be for many many innocent people of meager means—because I must have financed a lifestyle by debt, it so happens that we live in a thousand square foot mobile home we paid for in cash, and our “mortgage” consists of a small monthly space rental payment. We live in this extravagant fashion so we can afford to help our six children, and buy books, and go to the theater, and subsidize a Catholic press, all without getting into debt.

And yet, astonishingly enough, I still agree with Angelo’s original post…


By chassup AT 10.01.08 03:34PM Not Rated

chassup

DEBRA MURPHY,

I reject the accusation of argumentum ad hominem, my speculation about the author’s obvious anger was hardly personal attack, I didn’t call Angelo a hypocrite, ignorant, clueless or a crank, words he uses to describe those who disagree with him.  Angelo’s use of inflametory rhetoric to cultivate false conventional wisdom requires vigilant and aggressive response. 

To answer your question, “Where are the Jesuits when you need ‘em!”  You’ll find many at places like Georgetown University and other Catholic schools in the auditorium enjoying the Vagina Monologues, at America Magazine, liberal think tanks, institutions, funds, councils, and all kinds of community organizations promoting pro-abortion candidates like Obama.  You might run into a couple while campaigning.


By RickCross AT 10.01.08 10:27PM Not Rated

RickCross

I don’t want to commit any logical fallacies, so let me stick to the facts.
1. The Republicans did not sink the vote on the bill on Monday, the Democrats did. Nearly 1/3 of the Democrat caucus voted AGAINST the bailout.  The Democrats hold a majority in both houses. If Nancy Pelosi wanted the bill passed she could have strong-armed 12 of her caucus members to change their votes…. evidently she didn’t or she failed.
2. Members of the Congressional Black causus voted 21 for and 18 AGAINST the Bailout on Monday—this according to CNN. If just 12 members of the CBC changed their votes, the bill would have passed.
3. Obama did not acknowledge speaking to any member of the Congressional Black Caucus. So, what’s up? Here’s a conjecture: that Obama and the Democrats wanted the bill to fail in order to blame McCain and the Republicans. Angelo seems to agree with Obama.
4. No one really knows if the bailout as originally conceived will work. Many learned economists argue that the bailout as currently conceived is a very bad idea because it will continue to encourage risky lending, and it will reward people (rich and poor) who made foolish decisions.
5. We can’t take it with us…. it’s only money.
6. The greed within Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac is widely acknowledged as the epicenter of the credit earthquake.
7. Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac are creatures of the socialists in the Democrat party. This is well documented.  (If there were a Republican who was at the center of this credit market collapse, the Democrats, who control both Houses of Congress, would have had him in jail by now.) Some have asked why the Democrat controlled House and Senate aren’t holding hearings.  It’s because there are not enough mirrors in the hearing chambers.
8. The really big Wall Street credit folks who were part of the subprime lending mess are mostly liberal Democrats. Let’s start with Treasury Secretary Paulson’s friends at Goldman Sacks (Paulson is a Democrat at heart, and he’s proposing to bailout mostly Democrats.)
9. The Republicans tried to call attention to the crisis at Fannie Mae as far back as 2004 (when they still controlled the House and the Senate) but were brow beat by the liberal Democrats, and afraid to being called racists by members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
10. Chris Dodd and Obama are the largest recipients of campaign contributions from Freddi Mac and Fannie Mae.
11. Follow the money.


By zorozero AT 10.02.08 07:24AM Not Rated

zorozero

This is a quote from the Bible I read everyday to help guide my actions in regards to my goals and plans for generating income and working at a career as a songwriter. Somehow I think it applies to our economic issues:

James 4:13-17 (New American Standard Bible)

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.”

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”

But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.

Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.


By Debra Murphy AT 10.03.08 12:01AM Not Rated

Debra Murphy

Rick Cross: Facts are good, facts can be discussed and debated. I’m no expert on the financial meltdown, but like many Americans have been trying to educate myself. From what I am reading and hearing there is plenty of blame to go around in both parties, and In this context I would just like to mention Republican Sen. Phil Gramm, McCain advisor, former Senate banking committee chair, and co-author of the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which went a long way, so I’m told, to de-regulating the banking industry and permitting the complex repackaging and reselling and leveraging of toxic loans which has put the entire economy in danger, not just the wallets of wealthy Wall Streeters.

On this subject there was recently a very interesting discussion on Larry King Live between pro-Obama Dem Robert Reich and Republican McCain backer and abortion foe Ben Stein:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_akSPSoId8

Chassup: Rejection noted, but my objection to your method of argument stands. You don’t have to call someone names to commit ad hominem; in fact, calling someone a name (like “liar”, for example) may be very much to the point if you have the evidence to back it up. But ad hominem is also achieved when one neglects to address a person’s ideas directly and takes aim instead on your interlocutor’s hypothetical motives, particularly when one has no concrete evidence to support the charge…unless of course you’ve somehow obtained access to Angelo’s stock portfolio or credit history.

As for the Jesuits, I invoked them because for centuries their formation was heavy on apologetics and rhetoric, skills which, in my opinion, are too much lacking in today’s civil (and uncivil) discourse, whatever one’s political and religious allegiances. So what, I have to ask, in the context of this discussion, does the fact that their order has had “issues” since Vatican II have to do with the topic at hand? Just about every other religious community has had the same issues.

However, your focusing half your response on my Jesuitical comment-in-passing and your subsequent characterization of “many of them” (Jesuits) may at least, perhaps, serve to illustrate several other spurious forms of argument, particularly the “dicto simpliciter” (sweeping generalization or stereotype), the “red herring” (introducing irrelevant facts or arguments to distract from the question at hand), and that wonderful old chestnut, guilt-by-assocation—-which is, I believe, at root, another form of ad hominem. I mean, what, exactly, were you proposing to say with this paragraph, that I’m out campaigning for Obama? This whole line of argument is so non sequitur that I considered not dignifying it with a response, but why not when the response is so easy: I’m not out campaigning for Obama, with or without Jesuits.

Evidence and rational argument can be defended or refuted, but as William Paley so famously observed, “Who can refute a sneer?”


By RickCross AT 10.03.08 09:21AM Not Rated

RickCross

Debra Murphy:  I like Ben Stein. An all-around good guy, and a tremendous pro-lifer.  However, at this moment when he and his closest friends have taken a terrible beating in the market, I would think it ill-advised to take his advice on whose head to lop off. You know the old saying: “Never take advice from a guy over 60 whose just lost 90% of his wealth.”  (actually, I just made it up   ; > ) )  As for Reich, he’s the bobcat who has just been given the keys to the chicken coup—never saw a big government he didn’t like, and a longtime supporter of GSEs, which are what precipitated the current crisis.  Barak Obama’s economics are decidedly left-wing, even socialist leaning. McCain appears inept, Barak will be much worse. 

Since we’re into posting links on how to think our way through this mess without lapsing into economic despair, I’ll contribute two. The first is by Henninger, who has written a lot going back years on the problems of Fannie and Freddie (He’s also Jesuit trained, by the way, back when Jesuits actually taught logic) and he puts the current crisis into a broader perspective that should ring true for those who are students of human nature and traditional Christian moral principles:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122290454416296295.html

The other is by a far-sighted economist of the stripe that contribute to organizations like Heritage Foundation and the Cato institute.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122299032640300401.html

The danger that attends any fix in a crisis of this magnitude is to settle for a short-term fix that balloons into a giant long-term nightmare. This is, of course, the pervasive and systemic vice of the political class.

On the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, it may not be at the center of our current crisis, and has actually helped calm things down. I think a number of acquisitions have been made possible because of it, for example, Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch. (not that I’m a fan of BofA or ML, just that the acquisition calmed the markets at a particularly delicate time.)
Cheers!


By chassup AT 10.03.08 10:08AM Not Rated

chassup

DEBRA MURPHY: “my objection to your method of argument stands”

I get it, you want to have that kind of debate, “apologetics and rhetoric,” and avoid spurious forms of argument.  I don’t, and Angelo’s original opinion hardly conforms either.  I am responding in context to his words.  Perhaps you like a different kind of discourse, I’m cool with that, but not likely on this thread. 

If I offend your sensibilities,  then Angelo’s opinion must be as offensive.  I submit: the RIGHT’S HYPOCRITICAL CRUSADE,  Republicans…through ignorance or stupidity, lead us into economic disaster, Sarah Palin’s continuing cluelessness, McCain/Palin are just too unstable and scary,... is this the rhetoric you’re looking for?  It is what I was responding to, and had no intention of conforming to rules not used by Angelo, I believe he set the tone.

I agree with you that rhetoric should be taught in American schools, and I suggest we replace sex-ed with logic and philosophy.


By Debra Murphy AT 10.03.08 03:06PM Not Rated

Debra Murphy

Thanks, CHASSUP, for clarifying your position that you aren’t interested in the kind of debate that avoids spurious forms of argument. That noted, I’ll take a pass in future on commenting on your posts, analogically for the same reason that I don’t willingly get into cars driven by fellows who aren’t interested in stopping at red lights or yielding to pedestrians; or that I don’t sit down to a chess match with players who like to make the rules up as they go along. At best it’s a waste of time—-heads I win, tails you lose—-at worst somebody gets hurt.

RICKCROSS: Thanks for the links, they’re helpful for understanding the “free market” case, as it were. I agree with much of it, but also feel that, insofar as I understand these matters, the Republicans are as adept as the Democrats in ignoring the beam in their own eye as they gouge at the splinter in their opponent’s.  And some of the more committed free marketers, I’m afraid, may be committing a sort of “the perfect is the enemy of the good” mistake in this crisis. The perfect would certainly be a much smaller government, both at home and abroad, but the good in this case may be nothing short of avoiding global, not just American, financial/economic collapse. Or so it seems to me at this moment, given the information that is available to me.

BTW, for another take on Fannie and Freddie, here’s this:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/14/opinion/14krugman.html

Too bad this all had to happen in an election year, for as usual, this seems like a both/and rather than either/or situation. Some elements on the far Left, who have no problem with “regulating” and “redistributing” wealth, nonetheless cry “hands off my body!” when it comes to sexual activity and reproduction, even though greed in both fields of activity wreak havoc on the body politic. The reverse is true, of course, for elements on the far Right. The Church, in her wisdom, sees the need for “regulating” activity in both arenas, while aiming to support as much of that all-important human freedom, particularly freedom of conscience, as can be permitted while still assuring the common good.

As for the idea that it would be ill-advised to pay heed to people like Ben Stein who have taken a beating in the market, I see your point but can’t say I agree with it, not in these circumstances. Reminds me of some Iraq war defenders who complain about the protests of families who’ve lost sons in the battle. There’s certainly a time and place for avoiding conflicts of interest, but we’re talking here about situations that potentially affect every American family, and on a profound level—most of us, after all, whether direct investors or not (I’m not) have stakes of some sort or another in this situation—-small businesses, retirement plans, mortgages, etc. And goodness knows, what with three draft-age boys, I’d like to have something (a lot!) to say about whether our country required their services in a battlefield in Iraq or Iran.


By RickCross AT 10.05.08 01:42PM Not Rated

RickCross

DEBRA MURPHY:
My problem with the Ben Steins of today is not about their desire to do something, (obviously something must be done) it is in the misdirected focus of lopping bankers heads off while offering no understanding of the role that the US govt played. Knowing exactly what to do is equally important with doing something because, as the great depression showed us, a “cure” can be worse than the disease.

There is this strange falsehood circulating all over the mainstream media and in the political classes, that it was (1) unbridled greed and (2) too little regulation of the banking industry that caused the crash we are witnessing today. 

All I can say about the greed factor is that it is a constant in human nature. You can punish it after the fact, but you can’t legislate it out of existence. To point to greed is almost akin to pointing to the air we breath and claiming that if the bank robber hadn’t been breathing, there would not have been a robbery.  True for sure, but hardly enlightening.

But the second falsehood, that there was too little regulation of private businesses, contradicts the facts as I understand them. The facts are that (a) there was too little oversight of government entities, Fannie and Freddie, (b) who purchased bundled paper from private banks that were REGULATED BY FEDERAL LAW to lend to very-high-risk borrowers under the auspices of the Community Reinvestment Act. Both points are critical to understand the problem because government created businesses (so called, Government Services Enterprises) that were UNDER-REGULATED and were deeply entrenched in political machines (mostly Democrats), and these GSEs helped force private banking businesses to ignore standard banking practices on loan risk assessment. It is untrue to say (as Krugman claims) that Fannie and Freddie were “private” companies. They played on a completely different playing field than private companies because they were established by government and they were backed by the tax payer. Their accounting and oversight rules are not the same as other companies.  They are not private, they are government.

Some economists have noted also other factors that contributed to the crisis, including the very low interest rates by the Federal Reserve over too long a period, that made money cheaper to borrow than the prevailing rate of inflation—a big no-no for those of us who remember the late 1970s.

Here’s the bottom line, from my perspective: banking must always account for a recognition of lending risks—as the Henninger article points out.  Fannie and Freddie absorbed the risks of the private bank loans to high risk borrowers, effectively distorting standard banking prudence. Thus the government directly distorted the normal banking practices (making a few bankers really rich).  Also, another government entity, the Federal Reserve Board, had a low interest rate policy that encouraged private banks to lend more, especially to high-risk borrowers; the risk pool grew beyond sustainability, and collectively this pushed major credit holders into insolvency.

Risks that were pushed by regulation onto a back-burner have now come to a full boil. If the Federal Reserve interests rates were a few points higher over the course 2001 to 2007, the insolvency crisis may not have been realized for many years into the future. But there is no doubt that even with low interest rates,  if not for the CRA—a government policy—and Fannie and Freddie—government businesses—we would NOT have today’s credit crisis.

Therefore,  it was too much Federal interference that was a major factor in the crisis.  This is not to say that there should be no regulation (especially of the way the loans were bundled and securitized) but it simply acknowledges the CENTRAL role that bad regulation of the CRA had in the crisis.

Now get this, there are news reports that the “Bail out” bill that was passed and signed by Bush on Friday, Democrats had a provision inserted into the bill that will make it even harder for a bank to foreclose on a sub-prime borrowers property. Banks will still be required to continue to lend to high-risk mortgage holders in addition to being forced via court order to lower the homeowners principal along with lowering interest rates below market rates, in the event that the loan goes bad. This is worse than the status quo.  Not only does government have the power to force banks to accept high-risk borrowers, the govt now has a new power to determine the interest rates the bank charges and the value of the house that the bank puts on its books. This is breath taking overreach. If these provisions are not changed, I fear the mortgage business in the US will have been effectively socialized.


By Dave AT 10.06.08 02:29AM Not Rated

Dave

I have finally decided to vote straight Constitution Party ticket this November 4th. :D


By salindger AT 10.06.08 11:38PM Not Rated

salindger

So.. Back to frozen markets.  We await the development/un-development of the economy in the next 3 months as the effects of the bailout take place.  What do we do in the meantime?  Remind people that you cannot put your faith in the market, or the government, or capitalism?  Remind people that everything in this world is going to turn to dust?  That only Christ can truly bring you purpose and fulfillment? 

In the last 100 years, we have experimented with complete socialism and saw it fail; we have experimented with rather unbridled capitalism and saw it fail.  I am curious to see what we will try next - perhaps we will find a decent balance. 

To echo Jim Oliver’s point, the society that values human life over profits will do us much good, in many ways, including in things like abortion. 

It would be nice if the current events will act to flush out the bad things in this society - will it?  Let’s pray that it does.


By chassup AT 10.07.08 10:25AM Not Rated

chassup

SALINDGER, you ask, “It would be nice if the current events will act to flush out the bad things in this society - will it?”

The big flush will only happen if enough Americans lose enough “stuff” to not worry about losing any more.  In other words, when a majority have nothing to lose, they will see virtue as more important than vice.  The market flame-out this week is beautiful, it is the medicine America needs.

I thought it was refreshing what the Pope said recently, that the world financial system is a house built on sand.

When will Americans stop worrying about so much about their lifestyles and wake up to see that the government is stealing everything, including their liberty. 

BTW,  What you call “unbridled capitalism” is actually a form of socialism called fascism.  Real unbridled capitalism is not being practiced in any western country today.  The “bailout” is a perfect example of the government nationalizing an entire industry with the full approval of the industry.  Mussolini would be proud.


By jmedaille AT 10.10.08 01:00AM Not Rated

jmedaille

“Real Capitalism” is not being practiced because it has never been practiced. Real Capitalism has no history and hence has no present. It has no history for the same reason Real Communism has no history: it can’t be done. It’s an abstract system with little relation to reality. All Attempts at Real Capitalism (or Real Communism) end in social chaos and economic ruin.

We have been closer to real capitalism then we are today, but the closer you get, the worse it looks. For example, in the period between 1853-1953, the economy was in recession 40% of the time. Since then, we have been in recession only 15% of the time. And the pre-war recessions were generally much stronger and longer than anything since the war.

Until now. Eight years of pure capitalist rhetoric may return us to 1929. Or worse. Read Dmitry Orlov’s Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects.

It’s a chilling comparison.


By chassup AT 10.10.08 10:23AM Not Rated

chassup

You should take a wider historical perspective, large swings between human prosperity and poverty are the norm.  Our “evil” system has flattened these swings dramatically, while also providing opportunity to create wealth, far better living standards and individual liberty. 

The reason real Communism has no relation to reality is because it overlooks the good in human nature, and can’t work as a human system by design.

The only reason capitalism fails is evil human nature which corrupts the system.  To suggest these two systems are somehow equal is wrong, capitalism is capable of moral good, communism is not.

Our current corporate/state hybrid is hardly capitalism.  Americans have allowed this cozy union in exchange for a utopian dream—“the promise of happiness” as a replacement for the “pursuit of happiness.”  The “promise” is a lie, and it overlooks the good in human nature designed by God to overcome the struggles of life.


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