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Foreclosure sale, NYC

Profiting from another’s misery is, of course, an old story.  Read the spam you get sent.   In the news of late have been some interesting stories on how America ” works.”  One of them is about Penny Mac, a new company which has arisen out of the ashes of an older one, Countrywide.   The latter did mortgages, and was one of the instigators of the present housing bubble crash.  Executives from it have managed to borrow a mess of money and are now buying up defaults cheap, refinancing, and, well, making more money based on the mess they produced and from which they profited earlier, though leaving others to hold the empty bag.  Now that is capitalism!!

“In an insane world, the person who is rational has the problem. Money is as addictive as cocaine.” — Andrew Lo, a professor of financial engineering.

For some decades now, in the economics departments across the academic landscape, it has been the “Chicago School,” (Milton Friedman, most famously) which has ridden high in the saddle, espousing the kind of economics that has landed us in this mess.  These are those of “the short sharp shock” of  Thatcherism.  Leave it to Ivory Tower “thinkers” to get very detached from reality and in due time have their theories, brought into practice in the big real world, bring ruin to all.   Back in the 60’s it was the Best and Brightest (aka Robert McNamara et al) who ushered in the Viet Nam war, sure they knew better than everyone how to manage with up to date methods the nasty matter of war.  More recently Mr. “Stuff Happens” Rumsfeld followed precisely in the same footprints.  So now, as the unfolding economic debacle reveals the hollowness of theory, and these economists (Greenspan, Paulson, etc.) scamper to lay blame anywhere but at their own feet, doubtless we will be treated to arcane new theories and numbers which won’t, of course, do a damn thing for those recently booted from their houses thanks to the glories of plain old fashioned socially and politically encouraged greed in the form of con-men high and low issuing sucker loans and mortgages, and credit card issuers jacking up their %, all to a deliberately dumbed-down and now numbed-out unterclass, which bought into the slick promotions that promised everything for nothing down and a little tiny print about something later.

Economists seem in general not to be into morals.  And their practitioners – businessmen – seem not to be into ethics.  Every man for himself.  Darwinian blah blah.   He who dies with the most toys wins, says the bumper sticker.

Calvin Coolidge

“The business of America is business.”

And you can trust assured that for Republicans, this statement is the god-almighty truth, and they make sure they practice it as a religion.  In fact, as many recent mega-church pastors have said, sort of following in the statement of a recent Chinese communist premier (Deng Xiaoping) who said “To get rich is glorious,”  being filthy rich is a sign that God loves you and you are doing right.  Indeed.

Robert Schuyler’s Crystal Cathedral, Orange County Ca.

Meantime back in the numbers racket, this:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Freddie Mac, one of the two main U.S. mortgage companies that the U.S. government is depending on to help stabilize the housing market, said on Wednesday it needs $30.8 billion from the Treasury to survive after a massive fourth-quarter loss.

Interestingly, in the NYT article saying this they fail to actually mention how much money old Freddie Mac has already gobbled up in US taxpayer largesse:  $284 billion to 150 billion, split between Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (don’t you love these folksy names) – I can’t find an actual figure for Freddie in a quick Google search.  So Joe Public coughs up another 30.8 billion or Freddie goes under.  Where, to whom, why, how all this money goes remains a matter of opaqueness, along with the other estimated 3-9 trillion bucks being used to prop up our glorious system, pride of the nation, or at least of the 1% of the filthy rich part.   The rest are being played, as usual, for suckers.

Ah, but Mr. Schuyler will be happy to pray for you up there on his television monitor while you sit in the sun-splashed SoCal pews, and, deep in Orange County, surely vote Republican.

The national news meme for our two permitted slightly different political parties is that Republicans, The Grand Old Party, are the guardian of thrift, of small government, of national security, etc.  Re the matter of national security – on just whose watch, and given ample forewarning of imminent threat, did the 9/11 attack occur?  And of the former items, see the below.

natl_debt_chart_2004Thanx to Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

For more on this, see cinemaelectronica.

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