Busted: Bankers and The Global Economy

January 8, 2009

How Will Obama Create a Wall Street Miracle?

obama-discusses-stimulus-2009Throughout America’s history, there have been some years that simply rolled into the next without much notice or fanfare. Then there are the years that come along once in a generation – the kind that mark a clean break from a troubled past, and set a new course for our nation. So started Barack Obama’s “stimulus speech” today. Perhaps Obama’s opening statement is somewhat understated, but certainly well placed in the realm of psychology.

The emphasis of his speech was largely inspirational in nature, but held a few small pearls where ideas are concerned. One area is of special concern:

“…it means reforming a weak and outdated regulatory system so that we can better withstand financial shocks and better protect consumers, investors, and businesses from the reckless greed and risk-taking that must never endanger our prosperity again. No longer can we allow Wall Street wrongdoers to slip through regulatory cracks. No longer can we allow special interests to put their thumbs on the economic scales. No longer can we allow the unscrupulous lending and borrowing that leads only to destructive cycles of bubble and bust.”

obama-big-brotherSafety in America is rarely a hard sell for a people obsessed with their own security. How is President Obama going to accomplish this miracle of financial national health that not a single man in existence has dared to attempt to act on? How will America create the miracle of coveted and elusive financial transparency without creating a “big brother” situation in the realm of business, privacy and the American Dream? How can a system be created that doesn’t limit freedom while making runaway theft and abuse a topic of the past on Wall Street and in financial circles. Much like Bush’s “war on terror” seemed like a good idea when the twin towers fell, a dramatic change in course including an invasion of privacy where Corporate America and Wall Street are concerned could be a slippery slope.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Federal Government is not a bastion of transparency in any regard, which leaves many Americans pausing to consider: “What will I have to give up to keep America safe from reckless greed and risk-taking that must never endanger prosperity again.” Is America preparing itself for another “war on terror” in the name of financial literacy? What new technology and control system will we use to create this mandated financial transparency or is this a resolution that will fall neatly into the hands of global finance ministers?

Nancy Pelosi and the elected lawmakers are about to make more bailout history in the hope of abating the tide of recession with the intention of avoiding economic depression. There will be no Congressional vacation without a legislative solution for bettering the economy. So far, throwing money and liquidity a la Milton Friedman has done little to help the situation. In desperation, the Feds are looking to avoid the specter of an 25% American unemployment rate and the resulting unpopularity, misery and perhaps rebellion against established authority as millions bite the economic dust in a nation ill equipped to deal with any blight. What America has now is nothing less than political panic.

January 6, 2009

Another Great Depression?

Milton Friedman persuaded many economists that the Federal Reserve could have stopped the Depression once and for all by providing banks with more liquidity, preventing a sharp fall in the money supply. Thanks to the economic practice of Ben Bernanke, Friedman has been proved incorrect. Preventing an economic depression is a mind-numbing, difficult affair, likely because a depression is systemic in nature, sometimes in ways mere mortals often fail to grasp.

darling-obamaNevertheless, liquidity has done little to quench the economic fires of recession this round. Banks aren’t lending. Businesses and consumers aren’t spending. The nation is in a vicious or self-feeding cycle. Barack Obama prophesied this week that “we could see a much deeper economic downturn that could lead to double-digit unemployment.” You think?

Do we throw money at the situation or hold back the horses and let nature hold its course? So far, the timing of economist and politicians has done little to stem the tide. More than a year into the most spectacular financial calamity in modern experience, nothing has been done to change that, or any of the other issues that led the nation to this point in the first place. The government has tried all manner of provisions. Consistency hasn’t been a strong suit. Meanwhile, banks are sitting on all your hard-earned taxpayer money designed to prevent a financial event that may be unavoidable considering the limited knowledge and human resources at hand. Even the old classic economists are being thoroughly tested. ~ E. Manning

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