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Friday, September 26, 2008

Tellin' it like it is

You ''good values people'' have had the country for eight years, and done an unbelievably s---ty job. Let's find some bad values people and give them a shot, maybe they'll have a better take on it....

McCain said, ''The fundamentals of our economy are strong'' and ''Our economy is at risk.'' One was at 9 a.m., the other was 11 a.m. Our joke was, ''You can be strong and at risk, too. Like, a muscleman who wouldn't wear a condom. What's the worst that could happen?''...

We were in this huge credit crisis, out of money. Then the Fed goes, "We'll give you a trillion dollars," and all of a sudden Wall Street is like, ''I can't believe we got away with it!'' Can you imagine if someone said, ''I shouldn't have bought that sports car because it means I can't have my house,'' and the bank just said, ''All right, you can have your house. And you know what? Keep the car'.' [He throws up his arms joyfully and shouts] ''Yeaaaaah, I get to keep the car! Wait, do I have to give the money back?'' ''No, it doesn't matter.'' ''Yeah, I'm gonna get another car! I'm gonna do the same thing the same way, except twice as f---ed up!''

Comments (42)

We, the public, have become complacent. After eight years of the government shouting "CRISIS," we've all become numb to it. Taliban forces on both sides of the Afghanstan-Pakistan border gaining strengh? Figures. More conflict in Iraq? Figures. Economic collapse? Yeah, got it.

We've been living at a simulated DEFCON 5 for so long, when the "real deal" comes along, we can't panic anymore. We're all panic'd out. DEF-ECON 5 is no different from the crisis mantra we've been hearing for the last eight years.

I think Chris nailed it. The sky has been falling for eight years now. If it ever reaches our heads we won't even see it bearing down.

Jack, I hope your friday gets a better. I do agree with you about the economic stuff going down. And so does my 25 year old nephew. My wish is that we Americans learn a deep lesson from this, but without suffering too much as we did during the depression.

Instead of $700 Billion for a corporate bail out of Wall Street investment firms, maybe the federal government should pay off all existing student loans.

(1) As a matter of public policy, I would rather use tax payer money to bail out a wide range of tax payers rather than a few tax avoiders. Middle class families pay a disproportionately higher percentage of their gains on taxes than most corporations.

(2) Families with student loan debt assumed the debt in an effort to be responsible by attending higher education. The distressed financial firms assumed their debt irresponsibly to gamble on higher profits and corporate earnings.

(3) Paying off student loans would provide immediate relief to families struggling to pay their mortgages.

(4) Paying off student loans is more productive than a blanket tax stimulus package.

(5) Families will have more discretionary income to pay down other debt, invest into responsible accounts, or purchase goods and services.

Travis, the difficulty with giving people money to pay off loans is that they can then just borrow again, and be back in the soup. If you're going to give people money, I'd say give them the discretion to spend it. I'd much rather, though, see money invested in our crumbling infrastructure and in alternative energy development. Those things (unlike new loans or imported electronic toys) would cause hiring in the US and would give us something of value for our money. We could even provide health care for the uninsured -- that funds domestic jobs too.

If we could buy these bad banks at 3 cents on the dollar like the WAMU deal the bailout could work pretty well.

Let me guess - Travis has student loans.

Where can I vote for Travis? I, too, have student loans.

Travis, I don't want to pay for the higher education of other people's kids. I paid for my own higher education. I received a couple of small scholarships, but the rest came out of my wallet. My folks didn't have the money and it never occurred to me to expect anyone else to pay for it. I have three degrees: AS, BS, and JD. My undergrad degrees were obtained on a pay-as-you-go basis. I took out loans for law school and paid them off myself. I worked - a lot. I did without - a lot. If I can do it, so can other people. This "someone else can pay for it" mentality is what got us into the mess we're in.

"Families with student loan debt assumed the debt in an effort to be responsible by attending higher education."

"Attending higher education" = "an effort to be responsible"?

Quite a leap of logic, and the exact reason that so many twentysomethings are $100K in the hole before they even begin their careers.

Molly, I think you should ask for a tuition refund.

My parents were also poor-ish, and I (and my five siblings) went to school on scholarships, federal grants, and student loans. All the loans have been paid back. And the federal grants? Paid back over, and over, and over again in tax revenue from our healthy earnings. Of course, that was in the 1970s before we all became deluded into thinking that the government had no role in these kinds of programs.

Bottom line: taxpayer investments in college degrees are good investments. But Travis, I did also have to pay off my student loans on my own.

My only, and futile, hope is that the Washington Elites will do away with the Federal Reserve System and instigate a National Banking System, with all private banks answering to this National Bank. What a wake up call to Wall street, and only a start.

Don't forget this has never been about you and me, and our mortgage loans, or student loans or about anything we do. It is all about the cartel that owns the FED and what actions benefit the cartel. It was a terrible day in 1913 when the FED was created and probably equal to that day if we pass a bailout bill!

And don't forget the posse comitatus!

A trillion here, a trillion there...

I wasn't making a serious case; I was only pointing out that the priority for this $700 billion is questionable.

Kathleen Parker in the National Review is calling for Palin to step asside "for the good of he nation", saying she cannot do the job of POTUS.

she cannot do the job of POTUS

Fat chance. That didn't stop the current guy.

Kathleen Parker in the National Review is calling for Palin to step asside "for the good of he nation", saying she cannot do the job of POTUS.

I guess McCain will have to go back to his alternate choice...Harriet Miers.

Allan L.: I'm clearly too dense to understand your comment. Was it a shot?

I know the righties like to throw around the term "patriot" alot. Here is my challenge to them: Can you in good faith call yourself a patriot if you vote for Palin?

To vote Palin would be to endanger the very future of our nation. The only good thing about Palin is that she has singlehandedly ended any future the GOP had in it's current form.

Here are some opportunity costs for the 700 billion:

28,000,000 Toyota Priuses @ $25,000 each
70,000,000 homes retrofitted with energy conservation measures @ $10,000 each
28,000,000 homes with solar panels installed @ $25,000 each.
70,000,000 American families have their yearly health insurance premiums paid @ $10,000 each.

Some combination of the above.

I could go on, but you get the point...

Was it a shot?

Pretty much, I'm sorry. I just think an unwillingness to invest in education for our society is pretty dumb.

Molly, I'm with you - I returned to school for a business/accounting degree, paid for with work (and many hours of it), a few grants, and loans. I've also not taken equity out of my nearly-paid off house, run up massive credit card debt, or purchased a new car every three years - instead, keeping a car for 8-10 years and paying a bit for maintenance (which keeps our local mechanics in business.)

While the rich folk running Wall Street have certainly put our economy into a tailspin, many individuals in this country also have that sense of entitlement and/or get-rich-quick-greed that has played a role in our current state. We have met the enemy . . .

The fundamentals of our economy remain strong in that Monday most of us will have a job to go to.

So what if its only to pick up our stuff.

There are many folks to blame, not just the "family values" gang....The list is long. It includes the banking industry leaders, Congress, the Presidents (and not just Bush....this started before him), as well as the people who thought their homes were their own personal money gumball machines and bought things and homes they had no business buying. Just because someone offers me "free" money, doesn't mean that is is a good idea.

This is a disaster. And we trust the government to fix it? Scary...

As for student loans: Yeah, they suck, but eventually they do get paid off. Hopefully those who took them out chose an occupation that will bring a good income for the long run. Otherwise, ummm, that Doctorate in Underwater Basket Weaving might not have been the best decision.

Repub or Dem, it's still a mess.

Our economy is such that what once appeared as a safe investment, bank stock, has become a risk not worth taking.
CD's were once considered almost risk free. Does the name Indy Mac ring a bell? (I wonder if all the account holders have been reimbursed yet?)
T-bills are now the only safe investment.
In today's news we learn the FDIC has only 45 billion in claims coverage.
Looks like Teasury will soon need to bail out the FDIC. Economic reality - on a Saturday? Time to get away, far, far, away.

Pretty much, I'm sorry. I just think an unwillingness to invest in education for our society is pretty dumb.

Allan, you missed the point. Molly did have a huge willingness "to invest in (her own) education". She endured much hardship to get her education. It is always more valued when you have to pay for it yourself, rather than expecting others to foot the bill. As Molly said: "This "someone else can pay for it" mentality is what got us into the mess we're in." The Constitution gives us 'the pursuit of happiness', not a handout of happiness. Molly pursued her happiness, just like anybody else who could have, since all had the same choice.

The current myopic view that a 4 yr college education is the best for everybody is nonsense. We need to have better 4 year universities, but also better Community Colleges, better technical schools, better vocational schools, better trade schools, etc. But only if the students are willing to pay their fair share, instead of always looking for 'somebody else to pay for it'. To blame society is actually pretty dumb.

Maybe you should look for a tuition refund from your liberal, elitist school.

This bailout won't give you a new car, or solar panels, or erase your student loans. It won't buy your groceries, or carry them to your car. It doesn't slice, dice, chop or peel. It doesn't reward anybody for taking out mortgages they couldn't afford.

It will defrost the current freeze in bank's willingness to take risk and extend credit. That helps all of us by allowing our capitalist system to resume functioning.

Without access to business credit and consumer financing, it will be 1930 all over again. Members of both parties know that presiding over the next Great Depression will not further their political careers, and they know their friends and families will suffer, if only indirectly due to social unrest and envy. That's why they are working over the weekend.

"It will defrost the current freeze in bank's willingness to take risk and extend credit. That helps all of us by allowing our capitalist system to resume functioning."

Banks are borrowing 188 billion dollars a DAY just to keep going. Shouldn't you write, "HOPEFULLY, the bailout will defrost the current freeze in bank's willingness to take risk and extend credit"?

If I was borrowing 188 billion a day to stay afloat - more than the 700 billion just last week - then it would take me a hell of a lot more than 700 billion to start feeling like taking risks and extending credit.

Martha, you're surely entitled to your cramped, narrow, selfish, myopic opinion. But don't go saddling me with labels and a bunch of rubbish I didn't say and don't represent.

bank's willingness to take risk and extend credit

Gosh, Mister Tee, is that all it is? They just don't feel like lending? Even when we ask nicely? Maybe it's time to bring out that concealed weapon.

if only indirectly due to social unrest and envy.

Ohhhh noooo social envy!!!

Recall that GD1 let to the new deal and one of the periods of greatest shared prosperity ever.

It will defrost the current freeze in bank's willingness to take risk and extend credit.
No it won't.
Banks will horde cash because their assets are not bein properly valued. No amount of government liptick can transform the pig into a princess. This is just another massive transfer of taxpayer wealth to the rich who hold bonds and securities. F*** them.

The Scandinavian RTC-like plans proposed by Stiglitz and Roubini would recapitalize the banking system without rewarding the crony capitalists who caused the problem in the first place.

The chinese government is ridiculing american financial practices:


Where's MY bailout?

Where's MY bailout

Don't know about you, but I am definitely too big to fail.

The problem originated with mortgage finance, then spread to consumer finance, and now to commercial finance activity.

But there hasn't been a spike in commercial defaults. Not yet anyway.

Those lenders that survive the current shakeout will emerge stronger, and many (like J.P. Morgan) are picking up valuable assets and client relationships for a song.

Besides my mortgage, I have no debt. If the libtards, libertarians, and radical right want to test a purely free market solution, I'm willing to test the hypothesis that doing nothing may be less than catastrophic.

I'm not sure most ideologues can afford to test that hypothesis if it means 40% unemployment for the next few years. A 50% drop in stock prices might get the attention of those who believe they are well prepared to survive a downturn.

If you have 10 years worth of living expenses sitting in t-bills, you probably don't have anything to worry about. Except an 80% decline in purchasing power over the next decade. And hungry neighbors who are better armed.

Mr. Tee,
I guess you are one of those who buy into republican fear mongering every f***ing time.

Besides my mortgage, I have no debt. If the libtards, libertarians, and radical right want to test a purely free market solution, I'm willing to test the hypothesis that doing nothing may be less than catastrophic.

I am a SOCIALIST and I believe there are better things to spend a trillion dollars on than the holders of risky securities and financial stocks.

But there hasn't been a spike in commercial defaults. Not yet anyway.
And you would be wrong again.

I'm not sure most ideologues can afford to test that hypothesis if it means 40% unemployment for the next few years. A 50% drop in stock prices might get the attention of those who believe they are well prepared to survive a downturn.
This sounds like its straight out of the talking points of someone employed by a bank or "financial services" company. In any case, for the majority of middle class investors a precipitous drop in stock will be ameliorated by dollar cost averaging on the way up. This crisis is a "crisis" merely because it disproportionately effects the RICH.

Interesting story on CNN this AM about how the media is failing us once again on this issue. They are more than willing to challenge the bailout, but they take the "crisis" at face value.

Just because some dudes with fancy degrees say there is a crisis is good enough for the journalists. NO ONE is questioning whether or not there even is a crisis.

They did the same thing with Iraq and global warming.

Squeezed (a Socialist) AT LAST! Somebody admits they're rooting for capitalism to fail. Your dollar cost averaging plan should be profitable in at least 15 years (assuming this is 1929 and not 1930).

I just wish they were nearly as honest at

Remember, if Bush said it, he must be lying. The Socialists said so.


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In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
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Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
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Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
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Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
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Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
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Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
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Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
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Keith Richards - Life
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Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

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At this date last year: 3
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In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
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