20 September, 2008

The Republicans have long insisted that the existence of regulations and oversight, not the lack there-of, was the albatross around the neck of the economy.  The deregulation of industry has long been touted as the backbone of lasseiz faire capitalism. 
Even after the the debacle of Enron (a Texas based company, while GW was Governor of that state…), they insisted this.  Even after the cankered practices of these plunderbunds caused a devastating energy crisis in California, they shouted ‘hands off the economy.’ 
Even when it was shown how the Enron traders were laughing about the poor old ladies trying to pay their electric bill, they shouted that the market could police itself.  Even after the CEOs of these corrupt organizations took huge exit bonuses while their workers saw millions of dollars in pensions go down the drain, Republicans worked to deregulate even more.
I think the invisible hand of the market was inside these guys’ pants, jerking them off.
Capitalism doesn’t work right any more.  But that is for another rant. 
I will not blame this on banks for giving bad loans to the little guy.  If they want to take risks with their money, so be it.  I will not defend the masses for trying to live an inflated lifestyle.  This country is decadent in its desire to live above its means, and Madison Avenue tries its best to keep it that way.  The banks and credit card companies have long since made their money on late fees.  The practices feed on each other.  Everyone in the country knew that we were extended, both as individuals and corporations. 
The problem happened when they started trading these risky loans as though they were not risky. 
And the deregulation let it happen.  There used to be enforced standards on banks to help keep our money safe.  They used to regulate the accounting methods by which a bank had to show risky loans.  There is only a percentage of risky loans a bank could hold and still qualify for FDIC.  These regulation were some of the first things the Republicans stripped away under Reagan.  And now we have to pay for it again.
Yeah, this happened before, back in the early nineties.  And guess who was feeding at the trough then, too?
The deregulation of the banking industry under Reagan led to the Savings and Loan Crisis.  The crisis led to the Keating Five (which included John McCain) investigation.  It investigated the allegation that these senators received bribes to help the S&Ls resist regulations, and it uncovered a systemic lack of oversight as well as large scale corruption and, at the very least, poor judgement.
Oh, yeah, so don’t be fooled this time that it is all a suprise.  It isn’t. 
And, even more ironic, is the language Bush is using.
He is requesting the treasury department and the administration be granted immense powers with no congressional oversight.  He is also assuring the American people we will get our money back.
From the New York Times:
So, according to Bush, the situation is dire though unavoidable, the action is necessary, it is drastic, it is unprecedented, the risk is small compared to doing nothing, and we will get our money back.  Sound familiar?

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