21 March, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

I just want to state for the record that moving sucks. And repair shops suck just as much. Well, some repair shops - I still swear by Willy down in Prescott, AZ. If he's still running The Carport, and you live in Prescott, consider this a not-so-subtle hint to give him a ring next time your car needs some TLC.

Now, on with the rest of the stupid.

For once, I'm going to lead with the Obama administration, because it appears that they're completely bungling their attempts to rescue the economy:

The trick, at this point, is finding someone -- anyone, really -- who thinks the Geithner plan is a wise, prudent approach to the problem.

Paul Krugman argues that "zombie ideas have won," and described what we know of the Geithner proposal as an "awful mess."

The Obama administration is now completely wedded to the idea that there's nothing fundamentally wrong with the financial system -- that what we're facing is the equivalent of a run on an essentially sound bank. As Tim Duy put it, there are no bad assets, only misunderstood assets. And if we get investors to understand that toxic waste is really, truly worth much more than anyone is willing to pay for it, all our problems will be solved.

[snip] In effect, Treasury will be creating -- deliberately! -- the functional equivalent of Texas S&Ls in the 1980s: financial operations with very little capital but lots of government-guaranteed liabilities. For the private investors, this is an open invitation to play heads I win, tails the taxpayers lose. [snip]

Dean Baker is discouraged. Calculated Risk isn't happy. And John Cole summarized the big picture this way:

The Illness- reckless and irresponsible betting led to huge losses
The Diagnosis- Insufficient gambling.
The Cure- a Trillion dollar stack of chips provided by the house.
The Prognosis- We are so screwed.

Oh my.

I see Steve Benen's "oh my" and raise him a "d'oh, shit."

At this point, the only thing to do is get my CDL, drive a bus to D.C., and invite Obama to throw Geithner under it. It would appear we need a fresh new beginning with people who know what the fuck they're doing.

While we're chucking people under buses, we might as well include the entirety of CNBC:

CNBC’s Mark Haines — who yesterday made waves by suggesting that Wall Street companies can’t “be run well” by those making under $250,000 and compared Wall Street executives to Nazis and Baathists while defending their bonuses — was at it again today.

While debating Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Haines said those who think bailed-out executives shouldn’t receive bonuses are engaged in “witch-huntery.” He also expressed dismay at the thought of Wall Streeters working for a $100,000 salary:

This is witch-huntery. I’ll be perfectly honest with you. You and people who share your opinion seem to feel that, you know, let’s hold salaries on Wall Street to $100,000. Do you have any idea what Wall Street would look like if you did that?

Yes. It would look just a little bit more like Main Street, where people generally don't get obscene salaries and XXX bonuses for fucking their companies, their country, and the entire world right up the back passage. How's about we cap salaries at a comfortable (by normal people's standards, mind) sum, and make bonuses dependent upon the quality of their work? I know that's a shocking idea to many of them, but it's time they joined us here in reality.

Rep. Sherman, in case you were wondering, ripped Haines a new one. Possibly several new ones. Ouchies.

It's getting rather crowded under our bus, but there's always room for one more:
Conservative Republican Govs. Sanford, Perry, Jindal, and Palin have already taken steps to reject federal stimulus aid. Apparently, Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons (R), arguably the nation's least popular and most scandal-plagued governor, wants to join the club.

With Nevada suffering from some of the nation's highest unemployment and foreclosure rates, no one seems to understand what Gibbons is thinking rejecting funds for extended unemployment assistance. If the governor assumed taking an uncompromising conservative stand might rally the Republican base to his defense, he badly miscalculated -- GOP lawmakers and the state's Chamber of Commerce want him to cut the nonsense and accept the money.

[snip] The governor's finance team hasn't been able to defend Gibbons' position. The state's Democratic Assembly speaker called Gibbons's position "incoherent."
That just about sums it up right there. But, of course, Steve takes the Parthian shot and nails it. Go have a look.

When you're back, you might wish to peruse an interesting chart:

In just their latest posturing for the 2012 Republican presidential race, governors Sarah Palin (R-AK) and Mark Sanford (R-SC) joined Texas' Rick Perry, Mississippi's Haley Barbour and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal in announcing they would reject some of the federal stimulus funds allocated to their states. But as the steady one-way flow of tax dollars and earmarks spreading the wealth from Washington to their states shows, de facto red state socialism is alive and well.

As a 2007 analysis (above) of federal spending per tax dollar received by state shows, the reddest states generally reaped the most green. Eight of the top 10 beneficiaries of federal largesse voted for John McCain for President. Unsurprisingly, all 10 states at the bottom of the list - those whose outflow of tax revenue is funding programs elsewhere in the country - all voted for Barack Obama in 2008.

Strange. They always told me it was the liberals who were leeching off conservatives, not the other way round.

But that's not the point of that chart and post. The point is to show that posturing by the likes of Palin, Jindal et al doesn't mean jack fucking shit - it's all for show. Of course, they're taking the bits of the stimulus they like. What they're leaving out are the bits they can't stomach, y'know, the parts that might actually help ordinary people:
Of the $288 million that Palin doesn't want, $170 million would go to education, including money that "would go for programs to help economically disadvantaged and special needs students." Other programs affected include "weatherization, energy efficiency grants, immunizations, air quality grants, emergency food assistance, homeless grants, senior meals, child care development grants, nutrition programs, homeless grants, arts, unemployment services, air quality, and justice assistance grants."
Words fail me at this point.

No comments: