Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What were we THINKING?

It has begun. The great unraveling.

As banks that lent money to people with no way to pay the money back (but it looked good on the bottom line) are suddenly realizing that they can't squeeze blood money from a homeless person (the homeless will tell you that you can get blood from a homeless person - sometimes the only way they can afford food is to sell their plasma), the country is beginning to understand what uncompromized deregulation looks like - a f**king disaster.

Through various things called leveraging, or futures forecasting, or reading the bones, or perhaps there are more technical terms for the shell games they've been pulling since Phil Gramm (John McCain's former financial wizard) gave them the cake they're eating, too, our economy has become, suddenly what it really is: a house of cards, built on fake money, or (even better!) the promise of fake money, and everyone is asking, "Can we have our real money back?" And the banks have to answer, well, no, we're not sure who has it.

All the while trying to sound like Jimmy Stewart in It's A Wonderful Life. All that money is tied up with the various developments and investments that each of these large financial institutions owns. Except the housing market is going into the tank, thanks to subprime mortgage swindlers, and house-flippers (a pox on them all). And the investments? Well, Bank A loans Bank B money in order for Bank B to grow Bank A's money through investment in housing. Bank B's housing market collapses, and Bank A loses some or all of that capital.

I have two cheap illustrations of how our financial markets are at the mercy of every idiot (including me): The Current Occupant of the White House, George W Bush, recently lifted the ban on offshore oil drilling, and the price of oil went down - based on what, exactly? That oil was really cheaper, or that oil might get cheaper soon, or that my tummy hurts and I don't feel like bidding? The other story was when American Airlines was going bankrupt and their stock price went way down in a single day. The person that said they were going bankrupt was American Airlines, but six years ago. The mis-reporting of this fact sent the stock market into a down-bid frenzy, and AA ended up at something like $0.50 a share.

So, meaningless news and old news can make something suddenly worth less, down to almost nothing. This is our financial system. Live with it.

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