Monday, September 22, 2008

Deregulation Meltdown

Europeans on left and right ridicule U.S. money meltdown

Los Angeles Times:

It's a rare day when finance officials, leftist intellectuals and ordinary salespeople can agree on something. But the economic meltdown that wrought its wrath from Rome to Madrid to Berlin this week brought Europeans together in a harsh chorus of condemnation of the excess and disarray on Wall Street. [snip]

The spectacle across the ocean has left a lasting impression on many Europeans. Hanna Evers of Berlin, a cellphone retailer interviewed in the shopping district of Wilmersdorfer Street, said she was angry about the amount of money that had been "burned" in recent days.

"And I'm furious when I see the pictures of Americans who thought they were on the sunny side of life and now have lost their homes and have to live in their cars," Evers said. "I definitely do not feel sorry for the bankers who lost their jobs in the last couple of days. I can't believe that a country like the U.S.A. could have been so careless on a money issue!"

"I was taught that the U.S.A. is the motherland of moneymaking," she added. "And now all I can see is a herd of headless chickens running around on Wall Street."

Meltdown and Bailout:
Why Our Economic System Is on the Verge of Collapse

Joshua Holland, AlterNet:

The immediate cause of our financial meltdown is unchecked, unbridled greed. Mainstream newspapers and the business press are doing a fairly good job of explaining how the lack of regulatory oversight led us into this nightmare.

But you have to dig down one layer to find the cause of that situation. Under cover of the ideological euphemism known as the "free market" and with enormous cash investments over the past four decades, business elites have captured the regulatory organs of powerful democratic states -- nowhere more so than the United States -- and promoted their own narrow economic agendas for short-term gain.

The $700 Billion Bailout:
One More Weapon of Mass Deception

Richard W. Behan, AlterNet:

Not since the Bush administration's lies about Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" have the American people been so despicably misled.

The Bush administration's proposal to buy, with taxpayers' money, $700 billion of toxic liabilities from the corporate financial titans of Wall Street is a fraud. It is by no means necessary, as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson claims in the agency's Fact Sheet, "to promote market stability, and help protect American families and the U.S. economy."

It is necessary only to assure the financial survival of Wall Street banks and brokerages, the administration's most loyal supporters and its greatest political contributors -- and in large measure the cause of the financial meltdown the country is facing.

These financial corporations lobbied ferociously to be free of government regulation. Had they not succeeded, they could not have done what they did next: They created and leveraged trillions of dollars of complex "derivatives" -- mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps -- all riding on an unprecedented real estate bubble stimulated by their frenzy of creative finance. When the bubble burst, as bubbles do, many of these financial titans faced bankruptcy, their obligations far exceeding their assets.

Connect The Dots


John McCain may be confused about the need to keep companies like AIG solvent. But as DevilsTower laid out in his spectacular post, Three Times is Enemy Action, there is no doubt it was the intentional actions of people like John McCain and his economic advisor Phil Gramm over the years that created and nurtured the intricate web of shortsighted stupidity that directly enabled this enormous mess:

This is a bullet deliberately fired into the economy by men willing to exercise their ideology regardless of the cost to taxpayers. John McCain may not have had his finger directly on the trigger, but he was there. He assisted. He not only cheered them on, but claimed until last month that he was also "primarily a deregulator."

McCain: I’m glad I deregulated Wall Street.

Think Progress:

In the wake of last week’s financial meltdown, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has been calling for more regulation and criticizing lax oversight of Wall Street, despite the fact that he and former senator Phil Gramm passed much of the deregulatory reforms that led to the current crisis.

Now, John McCain wants to deregulate the healthcare industry:

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