Busted: Bankers and The Global Economy

May 12, 2009

Wall Street Giddy with High Times to Come

economic crisisWe live in exciting times. The stock market is up 100 points… or who knows what goodness corporate investors are blessed with today. Wall Street mavens and financial wizards are feeling giddy with delight. They want good times so badly that they are already deluding themselves that the recession is over and that runaway prosperity is in the wings. It’s time to start making money all over again the way “we” used to. After all, nothing has changed beyond massive cast infusions to hold up the system. Multitudes of banks, corporate mongers, financial wizards and wishful investors are convinced that we are about to relive heady good times without an ounce of reform or correction in the system that jack built. They may be right.

bear stearns collapseThe longer reform takes, the less likely reform is to happen, at least if financial and corporate simple simons have their way. It’s time to stop pretending that the Wall Street economy is the same as the real economy that everyone lives in. Wall Street hasn’t met with total and final meltdown because the Wall Street economy has been rescued. They have lived to see another day because of government bailout, presumably at taxpayer expense. Yep, Wall Street seems to be showing signs of life along with the giddiness that goes along with having a future without any reform or consequences. A real party is set to ensue at the expense of all. The real economy that the rest of America lives is another matter altogether.

What is truly important where the economy is concerned is whether real Americans can find work. If Americans can’t find work or create work that they use to survive, the country is in trouble, pure and simple. 539,000 Americans lost their jobs last month after many months of ongoing successive unemployment disaster. Since the recession officially began in December 2007, 5.7 million jobs have been given the write off by government employment statistics. The reality is actually even worse.

Still, there has been plenty of impressive talk about the new world of reform that America will enjoy, but little has been done beyond the talk. Regulatory reform is dying on the government vine of important projects.

Geithner has quipped, “We are being dramatically more aggressive than I believe any serious government has ever been, certainly in generations, in responding to financial crises. So if you look at the scale of action, look at the quality of initiative we’ve taken, I think it dramatically exceeds even the best-managed crises we’ve seen before.” Ple-e-ze. The system continues just as before, but without any reform or any real ideas for reform that hold any substance. The Masters of the Economy can’t seem to wrap their minds around the banking deluge that has brought us to our knees, much less figure out a way to reform it. They just don’t want to rock the boat of monetary largess. Geithner told Congress that fixing the system would be accomplished not by “modest repairs”, but by “new rules of the game.” I agree that what is playing out between government, corporate bankers and central bankers is a game. That much is obvious.

People are watching. Are you? ~ E. Manning

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May 8, 2009

The New Brand of Corporatism: Unemployment

unemployedThe fruits of the ‘new brand’ of corporatism have squarely placed the nation and world where it is today. Corporate cheerleaders and government experts are now combining forces to create a new outlook that fully accepts policy of the last few decades. For many decades, government has quietly adjusted record keeping to massage public statistics.  Once again, corporatism and a fully complicit government is seeking to adjust the future of the United States by redefining full employment. This vanity seeks to install the idea that we don’t need economic health or reasonable employment to enjoy record profits or the ideal of prosperity. If we can’t have prosperity the way the leaders of corporatism want, they will simply redefine that definition of prosperity to fit their own mold while continuing to blow their own horns.

The experts want the nation to bite off on the notion that “post-recession America” will be stressed with high unemployment even after the good times return. Good times for who? Obviously, the outlook of good times without a sizable portion of the United States participating involves only the outlook of corporate bodies and the capability of maintaining or promoting profits for the structure of the current system in place. The economy of the whole of the nation isn’t being considered, at least not realistically.

unemployment4Millions of jobs have vanished forever. Most will find it harder than ever to get hired again. The idea is being promoted that we will be required to accept lower earnings and a diminished economic role in the country as the rich get richer and the poor and disenfranchised fall off the economic map and into government assistance. As it stands approximately 54% of America that is employed is paying for the rest of America’s unemployed, disabled, retired and imprisoned.

unemployed1The ‘new brand’ of corporatism considers that employment has nothing to do with economic prosperity. Politicians and ‘economic corporatists’ console themselves and hopefully the populace by stating that the natural rate of unemployment neither accelerates or decelerates inflation.  They want us to accept a markedly higher ‘natural rate’ of unemployment by disassociating employment from the economy.

All this is drizzled by the news media with the admission that there is no relief in sight for the unemployed. By the admission of many, like Laurence Ball, it will be a long time before the nation sees 5 percent unemployment rates.

Then the media fully deploys the most heinous part of the corporate plan. The more time that workers spend without a job, the less attractive they become. Why? Ostensibly because the unemployed are not keeping up with ‘new technology’. This skewed outlook of corporatism is expected to keep the unemployment rate elevated. In the same breath, the experts say that the unemployed become discouraged and change lifestyle. Corporatism has dealt America a very nasty blow indeed and isn’t finished yet. Should Americans continue to bite off on the same old political and social wisdom of the past? We have a right and the privilege to reinvent ourselves. I encourage you to get on the road to reinventing yourself and standing on your own two feet without being dependent on corporatism. Otherwise, you have very little to look forward to beyond spending endless amounts of cash on dubious college training to continue to tickle corporatism’s insane fancies. ~ E. Manning

May 7, 2009

Finance Experts Double-Minded and Fearful

Fed ever hopeful

Fed ever hopeful

Desperate to be a financial cheerleader during the recession, Ben Bernanke insistently paints an economic picture of future light and in almost the same breath debate about the biggest “what if” about the so far dubious recovery. It isn’t that the American public doesn’t long for good news, but we aren’t going to be conned either. Records numbers of jobless Americans point to a real problem where recovery is concerned.

Experts continue to be fearful about government banking stress tests, as if banks are the only importance for a future recovery. Certainly, that is where the bulk of taxpayer money has been placed to keep the system operational and the American power structure in place.

The media easily reports both sides of the economic story, but mostly focuses on the negative and no wonder. The greatest reality is that an economic recovery is mostly in the minds of a few visionaries at this point. If the economy worsens, “big lenders” do not have enough money to survive. The media points the inevitable need to raise cash as a precaution. Now that is confidence in a recovery.

Government stress tests for finance put banks through two appraisals. One appraisal reflects expectations about the recession as it is and the other forecasts a recession deeper than what experts predict. The reality of the current recovery isn’t strong enough to be called that, but any glimmer of economic light has corporate promoters banging their gongs and playing the marching band in the hopes of stirring sentiment for a recovery.

Experts just can’t wait for the recovery as they now invent ways that the nation will recover and prosper while record numbers of Americans remain unemployed and homeless. The idea of home sales being on the increase has moneychangers truly excited for an abbreviated recovery and future corporate good times.

Investors and the public have been quite realistic about corporate finance. Stock prices, especially for banking institutions, have taken a beating. This has spurred the requirement for more capital to keep banks operational as investor sentiment continues to ruin them. The government has been there all along to prop up the system. As a result, there would seem to be little immediate fear for the system. The bottom line for investors and the public-at-large is the main concern and truly the main force behind ‘recovery’. The new brand of corporatism can’t stand the thought of needing the little guy for anything. They have a philosophical quandary on their hands.

What is truly sad is that economic cheerleaders want to convince us that the United States can have a recovery and enjoy good times again with record numbers of permanently unemployed Americans. The reality has set in that we are enjoying the fruits of our corporate policy of job exportation over the last two decades. Cheerleaders don’t want to acknowledge this reality.  The new brand of corporatism and government wants to redefine unemployment and prosperity to fit a new mold that belies any logic. I’ll post more about this tomorrow.

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