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Was it greed? Was it capitalism? Was it super-greedy uber-capitalism?

Well, one thing’s for sure, we wouldn’t find ourselves having to bail out AIG, Freddie & Fannie, Bear Stearns, and the millions of flippers and defaulters if the real estate bubble hadn’t burst.

And, of course, the real estate bubble wouldn’t have burst if all the foreclosures and mortgage defaults hadn’t happened.

And all those people wouldn’t have defaulted and gotten foreclosed on if they hadn’t tried to buy too much house to begin with, via those vile subprime and other “predatory” (even “racist”) loans.

Which wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t all thought real estate was a “good investment” and “always goes up”, and is “The American Dream” (which it’s not, “opportunity” is).

And, it’s important to note, Real Estate wouldn’t have “always gone up” (for 5 meager years) if the tech bubble hadn’t burst and Sir Alan Greenspan hadn’t depressed interest rates for way, way, way too long.

And those securitized rotten mortgages wouldn’t have been peddled so aggressively if Sir Alan Greenspan hadn’t depressed the interest rates for way, way, way too long, either.

(interlude)

Alan Greenspan wouldn’t have depressed interest rates for so damn long if the country wasn’t heading into recession after the demise of the tech bubble.

Of course the tech bubble burst because people finally realized that tech stocks don’t “always go up”.

(end interlude)

All those bad, securitized mortgages wouldn’t have (couldn’t have) been securitized if the banks, along with Freddie & Fannie, hadn’t lobbied for Republican Senators Phil Graham and James Leach to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act (a post-Great Depression law that banned banks and brokerage houses from intermingling their finances) which was passed 90-8-1, and signed by Bill Clinton.

The banks, along with Freddie & Fannie, wouldn’t have lobbied for Glass-Steagall to be repealed if the banks, along Freddie & Fannie, hadn’t been suddenly handling an ever-increasing amount of really stupid, bad mortgages.

Freddie & Fannie wouldn’t have been able to “revamp” themselves and “back” all those idiotic loans if Clinton hadn’t installed his buddy Jim Johnson and former budget director Franklin Raines (both of whom are currently high-level Obama campaign principals).

Clinton wouldn’t have installed his cronies to head up F&F (and change their rules) if the banks hadn’t cried bloody murder (lobbied) about how dangerous, and risky all these mortgages, now sitting heavily on their books, were.

And, finally, the banks would never have partaken in these super-risky mortgages in the first place had the office of Housing and Urban Development, at Clinton’s direction, not drastically increased the home ownership quotas for “minorities” and other, “less fortunate” citizens.

And Clinton would have never demanded that “minorities” and other, “less fortunate” citizens, had it not sounded so darn good. In theory. Politically.

And, well, that’s it. That is exactly what happened.

All of this with the obvious and important fact that throughout all of this the Government willfully failed to enforce laws already on the books, like you can’t loan money to someone who can’t prove their income (bank fraud) and you can’t give junk-rate securities a AAA rating when you know full well they’re junk (securities fraud).

(interlude)

By the way, it’s not too late to enforce these laws, and even collect money from the monumental assholes that perpetuated this mess. Both in Government and in the private sector. From Congressmen, to Fed Chairmen and Presidents. From wannabe BoilerRoom Mortgage Brokers to Wall Street CEOs. These jerks owe us money, and jail time.

(end interlude)

You know what they say about good intentions?

Whoever they are, they’re right.

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Okay. Here’s the plan.

Everyone under 40 years-old… STOP SAVING FOR RETIREMENT. NOW.

That’s right.

Stop socking money away in your 401k. Stop buying stocks, bonds, CDs, whatever. Fire your broker and tell your financial advisor to take a hike.

Get all that money back… Get all your credit cards together…

And spend it. Spend it all!

Go on vacation.
Buy a new car.
Have a huge party with all your friends.
Try skydiving.
Whatever.
Just take that money you were saving for retirement, and spend it.

Have a blast!

…Yeah, I know it sounds crazy. And probably goes against some of our “gut” instincts about what’s right, and what’s not.

But you’ve got to trust me on this one.

Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned about personal, fiscal responsibility in the last few months is…YOU DON’T NEED IT!

Isn’t that awesome!

There is no reason whatsoever to keep a budget, balance your checkbook, or even pay your bills. That stuff is way overrated.

Can you smell the freedom!?

…Look, I know this sounds crazy, but we have NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. Because the Government’s got our backs. And the Government is, like, HUGE.

So no matter how stupid, or irresponsible we are with our money, and our lives (let the suckaz call it what they want), we will not starve. In fact, we’ll most definitely come out ahead. And rightfully so. I mean, what else is our Government there for? We PAY for it, for crying out loud!

And here’s the beautiful part: the worse we make it, the BETTER it’s going to be! Because if only a few of us throw caution into the wind and live life to it’s fullest NOW, then the chances of Uncle Sam coming to our rescue aren’t so good.

But if ALL of us do it… TENS of MILLIONS of us do it… it can’t fail!

Think about it. 35-or-so years from, there we are, millions of us, all of a sudden either retired or (gasp) layed-off from our jobs. With no where to go. And more importantly, no money to PARTICIPATE IN THE ECONOMY with!

How SAD is that!? And that’s when the news stories start pouring in.

I mean, what plucky up-and-comer at your local news station WOULDN’T do a story on the BIGGEST, SADDEST CATASTROPHE EVER?!? (We won’t call it a “crisis”, that’s so 2008).

Think of the headlines! Think of the empathy!

Then all we have to do is sit back, and let the bailout come to us.

“But wait” you say, “Isn’t that just OUR tax dollars being used to bail us out?!”

Aha. And that’s the real beauty here. It’s not OUR tax dollars, it’s our CHILDREN’S tax dollars.  Let THEM figure it out.

Hey, the Government always finds a way, right?

So, my fellow Americans, who’s with me!?!?

Here’s to living in the present. And living life to it’s fullest.

Here’s to 2042 !!!

Huzzah!

e

Well Bear Stearns, you did it.

Sure, there were a lot of greedy bastards in all of this, both on the bank side and the consumer side. But you, sirs, somehow managed to be such monumentally large douches, you’re actually taking the rest of the World down with you.

“Too Big To Fail” is the term that’s been bandied about.

And of this, I’m fairly sure you were well aware. I mean, why else would you ignore just about every news report for the last 3 years and somehow decide that actually *buying* these rotten loans was somehow actually a *good* idea?

Okay, you’re right. You were not alone. But you weren’t satisfied with merely being one of the pack. No sir ree.

Not only did you hold you nose and drink the tainted subprime tequila shot-for-shot with those other greedy douchebag banks, you chased it with a 4-foot bong of northern lights, a whippet, and then went streaking.

And before you say that’s the worst analogy you’ve ever read, let me clarify. …A little back story.

When I was in college there “the rich kids” and the “rest of us”. The rich kids were lucky enough, to have their parents pay for everything: school, food, housing, and even a little spending money for booze. Whereas the “rest of us” had to pay for everything ourselves, either through school loans, or if we were smart, actual jobs.

Well, somewhere between freshman and sophmore years, there was this rash of rich kids who went nuts with their parents’ money. They bought booze, drugs, music, clothes, and everything else you can think of like it was going out of style. Drunk with their first taste of freedom, and a little gratis spending money, they let loose.

And there was always that one kid who took even that way to far. And I knew one of those kids.

On top of the booze, drugs, clothes, music and what have you, this kid signed up for a bank account, and a credit card, and in a desperate attempt to gain some ephemeral small time fame, went and spent as much money as he possibly could buying booze, drugs, clothes and anything else he could think of, for anybody and everybody.

He threw parties. He took other kids on shopping sprees. And for about 3 full months, nobody on campus had to buy any beer or weed because he had it taken care of.

This lasted for several months, and by various accounts he owed well into the tens of thousands of dollars when it was all said and done. And when I asked him why the hell he did that… why, when his other friends were topping out at, say, $1,500… why he had to go so overboard?

It was simple, he explained. You see, those other kids ended up having to pay for their debt themselves, because it was relatively minor. He, on the other hand, was more conniving.

Or was it smart?

Since he had made his situation so bad, so untenable, he was in a unique position. And his parents were in an unenviable one. Since the level of damage was so great, their unfortunate choice was simple: either “teach their son a lesson”, and insist he pay for his monetary misdeeds, which would surely mean dropping out of school, a mountain of mind numbing legal problems, possible criminal charges, and assured bankruptcy? Or, in lieu of “ruining his life”… reluctantly bail him out, but with a stern talking to?

You know what happened.

And who can blame these parents for bailing out their son? As much as they probably wanted to see him suffer because of his idiocy, they couldn’t let his entire future get thrown out the window with the proverbial bath water. So they bit the bullet and did what they had to do.

This kid is Bear Stearns. And the Government is, once again, the parents.

And you thought that was a bad analogy.

So bravo Bear Stearns. Your plan worked perfectly. And only time will tell if you  threw the World’s entire future out the window with your dirty bathwater.

Okay that was a bad one.

e