Tuesday, February 16, 2010
A friend alerted me to a new iPhone game that is enthralling his kids: "Bailout Wars," in which the objective is to defend the White House against greedy bankers seeking government assistance.
The right sucks at this sort of thing, and will lose the culture wars as long as it ignores the fight for popular culture. How hard would it be to write an app called "Bust That Union!," in which you, the entrepreneur, have to hunt down and "terminate" lazy employees who insist that "work rules" allow them to avoid actual work? But nooooo. All we get are "greedy bankers" besieging the White House.
The actual game is more like the White House is besieging the greedy bankers, or has everybody forgotten where O raised most of that $ 750 million?
The rest of this is just window dressing from the Chicago Machine for public consumption. The democratic party doesn't want the greedy bankers to go away, it wants them to donate.
"The right sucks at this sort of thing, and will lose the culture wars as long as it ignores the fight for popular culture. How hard would it be to write an app called "Bust That Union!," in which you, the entrepreneur, have to hunt down and "terminate" lazy employees who insist that "work rules" allow them to avoid actual work? But nooooo. All we get are "greedy bankers" besieging the White House."
TH, I love your blog and agree with you on 90% of the issues, but every now and then you post something that makes my blood boil. This statement is outrageous, betrays cluelessness or a willing suspension of disbelief, and perpetuates elitist stereotypes that cost the Republican party elections.
Public anger at bankers and politicans is wholly and completely justified. In fact, it is woefully inadequate.
Let's be very clear about what has taken place in this country. In the time period between 2001 and 2008 bankers, politicians, and regulatory authorities colluded to blow a massive credit bubble. The proceeds from this credit bubble were directed primarily into the mortgage market through a combination of lax underwriting standards and blatant fraud. This, in turn, drove a housing bubble. The future cash flows of these mortgages were securitized and sold at grossly inflated values, again through a combination of lax underwriting and blatant fraud.
When the housing bubble burst, as all bubbles do, greedy bankers did, in fact, overrun the White House for bailouts. And they got them--in the trillions: direct support from the treasury/fed, interest on reserves, access to the Fed's discount window, TARP--the guarantee or purchase of risky assets by the Treasury through Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, which have now been given a blank checkbook drawn on the U.S. Treasury. This credit risk has been transferred from the private sector to the public sector. The fact is that profits were privatized and losses were socialized. This is NOT capitalism.
The bursting of this credit bubble guarantees that we will experience a depression, the initial phases of which we are currently calling the Great Recession. Further, the magnitude of our federal debt now presents a credible threat to the future of this nation.
Face the facts: the American treasury has been a** raped by a cabal of bankers, politicians, and regulators. To somehow suggest an equivalence between the economic rape of a treasury and inefficient union work rules is the height of hypocrisy. You can't be remotely serious about this??
Posts like this are incredibly damaging to conservatives and Republicans because they (justifiably) alienate working people--the Reagan Democrats. You're from Iowa. Put yourself in the shoes of a worker at John Deere or Caterpillar reading this post. If this is the position of the Republican party then who the hell can blame them for abandoning the Republican party? The Republican party is toast as long as the public perceives that the Republican party is married to the bankers who drove this process.
Don't you see this???
The above comments by an anonymous poster state that the following is obvious "bankers, politicians, and regulatory authorities colluded to blow a massive credit bubble" however, I disagree completely.
The housing bubble arose from the following.
- Belief that everyone "deserves" to own a home
- Willingness of buyers to pay any price the market requested
- Willingness of bankers to back any loan regardless of true value
- Politicians who forced banks to make risky loans
Yes, bankers and politicians are on my list but they are certainly not at the top. If people had simply refused to pay too much for real estate then the bubble would not have occurred. Personally, I had the money to buy and eager loan offers but did not see the value the market demanded. Rental was the better option at the time and I have since purchased a home after the market correction. Home ownership is not for everyone and it's not for anyone when the prices are so absurd. Lack of personal financial responsibility is the reason for the bubble.
Lately Americans have a sense of entitlement that is thoroughly out of place and TH's comments about unions are spot on. I experienced this same feeling when working in a union factory where employees with no education felt they deserved higher pay and premium benefits simply because it cost so much to train them. In one case a worker's job became defunct so they paid him $80k a year to mow the lawn because they couldn't lay him off or retrain him.
I would pay 99 cents for a "bust the union" app.
Blame for this mess rests with government interference in the market, who decided to make it public policy to encourage home ownership and supply easy credit to people who didn't deserve it. That the banks are the ones who supply such credit is wholly incidental.
But TH, you place way too much value on pop culture which is 1) transient, 2) mostly without value, and 3) gets a lot of its appeal by going against the grain. So long as conservative values are 'the grain' then they will *always* be on the short end of pop culture.