What Are They Doing About All This?

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

The answer is Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  Zippo. Zero.  They haven’t got a clue.  They are going to let it all come down, however it comes.

Permit me some extreme grouchiness.  And anger.  And despair.

People I know were evicted today from their home in the wake of not being able to pay their mortgage.  A long legal battle ended.  They lost.  The Sheriffs were there.  There was the cliche, the spectacle of having the young children sit on the curb while the furniture was deposited on the lawn. I don’t have $30,000+ to loan them to stop it.  Nor do their friends or family.  And I don’t see Congress or anybody else stepping in to do anything about this.  Maybe later on, when they’ve moved out and lost their home and are living somewhere else.  Maybe then there will be some “relief.”  For somebody else. I wish they lived in Chicago, but they don’t.

And then there’s this:


One Year of the DJIA

The Dow, which indicates (gross generalization ahead) what’s happening to money my retired father has saved throughout his long career as a teacher and principal, is now at a new, extremely low level, and my father has lost, by all accounts, more than $200,000. He stands to lose even more.  A whole lot more.  Maybe everything.  So the money he worked his entire life to save is disappearing in thin air.  It’s not his fault in any way.  To the contrary, he did what people are supposed to do: save your money, invest your money responsibly, don’t live on credit, don’t borrow.

Nobody has any real idea how to stop the fall of the market. I don’t see Congress or anybody else stepping in to do anything about this.  Maybe later on, when my dad’s lost an insurmountable amount, there will be some “relief.”  For somebody else.

The candidates say they have “plans.”  Right. McSame says, my friends, he knows how to fix this problem. That, of course, is total nonsense. If he knew how to fix anything, and putting the Country First, where the f*ck has he been, where’s his fantastic plan, and why isn’t the problem fixed right now?  If he could fix the problem, he wouldn’t have to run the negative, horsesh*t campaign he’s engaged in.

And Barack Obama, who says he’s really, really, really concerned about my friends who were just evicted and my father who’s losing money more rapidly than he could ever make it, hasn’t really got anything that can solve the problem either.  If he did, we’d have it in hand right now.  We’d know what he says to do. It’s not about short term versus long term.  He doesn’t know how to fix the problem.  Or how to stop it in its tracks. Does anybody?  He’s got nothing that can help. I don’t see him stepping in to do anything about this.

It seems hopeless.  It makes me despair.  And it can make you crazy.  So you have my nomination for “Song of the 2008 Crash”:

At least we can still rock out, while we try to find out what, if anything, can be done.

Is there anything that can be done in the short run?  I have only two ideas.

First, like Russia or Indonesia, the Government could suspend trading on the stock exchanges across America.  Give the exchanges a holiday until Tuesday.  They’re closed Saturday, Sunday, and Monday anyway. That would at least stop the precipitous fall for now.  Until something could be worked out, maybe this weekend in Washington.

Second, the Government could right now enact a freeze on foreclosures and/or foreclosure evictions for a while, while it gets in place something real, an actual safety net, to help people who are losing or have lost their homes.  McSame’s plan, which bails out lenders who made crappy loans, is not even a partial answer.  But a freeze, a stop gap, at least stops the bleeding while something gets figured out, while legislation is enacted.

Doubtless you, dear reader, might have other, productive ideas.  Please share them in the comments.  I wish I had better ideas. I wish our leaders did.  I wish, I wish, I wish.

I’m painfully aware of how much suffering there is in America tonight.  I’m aware of the gigantic number of people who are losing their homes.  I’m aware of the huge number of people who don’t have work.  I’m aware of all of the sick people who cannot get health care for acute problems.  I’m aware of a vast ocean of suffering in America.  Call me crazy, but I’m looking for the same thing as the Buddha looked for, the cessation of suffering.  But I just don’t know what can be done.  I don’t have a clue.

Is this what it feels like when your heart’s going to break?


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  1. It’s no surprise that the 8 Fold Path does not mention “correct politics.”  It does talk about right speech, right thought, and right action.

    Thanks for reading.

    • Robyn on October 10, 2008 at 05:07

    Hire more consultants!

  2. This is some loose thinking… Call it brainstorming to get some ideas out there. I make no claim that they are good ideas, but just ideas to kick around.

    At this point, it seems like no matter how much money we borrow to keep the markets inflated, they are going to correct themselves. Borrowing more money to prop up the markets is part of the problem.

    The collapse is horrible and people, including people close to me like my parents, have already or will likely lose most or all of their life’s investments. Across the country, people are feeling pain.

    We must have accountability for the people who caused this financial mess. We should seize the assets of those who have profited from America’s downfall to help pay for America’s recovery. We need to demonstrate that their crimes shall not pay.

    We need to help our fellow Americans in pain, because these people are us. We’re all in this together. Now is not the time to be talking about tax cuts. Sorry Obama. Sorry McCain. Sorry America. Part of the problem is we borrowed money to give tax cuts. In order to recover and help people out we’re going to have to raise taxes to pay for it. To recover, America must raise taxes on those who can most afford it. Capitalism has failed.

    We need to have universal, single-payer health care. Health care for profit is no longer a luxury we can afford. By recognizing health care is a right, we will allow people to take risks. Not risks with their health, but risks as starting a business and not worry what will happen if they or they family get sick.

    We need to decouple a basic, honest retirement from having to gamble with “investments” on Wall Street. If Social Security is not enough today, then we must raise the payments to America’s retired. We must eliminate the income cap on Social Security to pay for this. The Obama “doughnut hole” solution is not sharing the burden.

    We must nationalize the banks, maybe permanently. There is little reason now to put public money into private banks. If public money goes to private banks, then the public deserves a voting equity stake in that bank. We should be able to earn from our public investment.

    We must regulate the markets and eliminate abuses that have led to this crisis in solvency. Banking should be boring. Investments should be encouraged for the long term. The vicious cycle of making the quarter hurts our ability to deal with long term strategic problems such as moving to sustainable, renewable energy production.

    We must place a moratorium on foreclosures. Our nationalized banks should be able to refinance in sane, reasonable terms a 30 year loan for most homeowners now in difficulty.

    We must rapidly develop a green economy to replace the fossil-fuel economy we have now. If we do not, this crisis will seem small in comparison to dealing with severe climate change. We must rebuild America and create jobs for Americans doing so. We need to dramatically improve our rail infrastructure and high-speed networks, and fix our nation’s roads system. Parks, schools, libraries need help too. We must bring back the C.C.C. and the W.P.A. We need to focus on rebuilding for the next generations of Americans. Better schools and more teachers.

    Instead of a life spent trying to get ahead, we must should spend our time building equality. We’re all in this together.

  3. … effect last week – 1 Oct – and absent a President, the current Resident certainly won’t take action.

    The Frank-Dodd housing bill has only been in effect since Oct. 1. It gives lenders who own mortgages ample incentive to work out deals with distressed borrowers and avoid costly foreclosures. It also provides liability protection for loan originators who sold their mortgages to Wall Street. These lenders are authorized to work out deals on behalf of investors in mortgage-backed securities (of which the U.S. government is soon to be the biggest).

    Its less than we ought to have, but even if the moderate wing of the Corporate party is confused and working in half measures, the radical reactionary wing still in charge could have done real damage … they seriously has a cut in capital gains tax as their “fix” at one stage, as if there are any capital gains to tax this year.

    There are worse positions for countries to be in. Our country could be doing so much better with political will … while there are some economies among low-income nations where the painfully muddling through is the optimistic scenario. And while we metaphorically sleep while our beds are burning, turning a blind eye to the massive environmental refugee crisis we have already put into motion … though not yet reaped … there are the countries that are going to be the source of those millions of environmental refugees.

  4. …right before the boomers needed to start to draw it down.  Not to mention the folks who derive their fixed incomes from investment now.  

    But, but…went to see Jamaica Kincaid talk and read tonight.  Nice older lady with a quiet voice slightly bent at the shoulders, head slightly bent in a green stocking cap, whose writing is like a diamond knife on the skin…and while she’s a treasure of the West Indies, she’s an American treasure as well.  We have many of them, or at least, a few…shining lights.  Over generations!  An unimaginable wealth.  And have in every generation, rich or poor.  The quote that kept running through my head, parking at the u, gettin’ the good seat behind the grad students, was…

    “We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods. We cannot measure national spirit by the Dow Jones Average, nor national achievement by the Gross National Product. For the Gross National Product includes air pollution, and ambulances to clear our highways from carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and jails for the people who break them. The Gross National Product includes the destruction of the redwoods and the death of Lake Superior. It grows with the production of napalm and missles and nuclear warheads…. It includes… the broadcasting of television programs which glorify violence to sell goods to our children. “And if the Gross National Product includes all this, there is much that it does not comprehend. It does not allow for the health of our families, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It is indifferent to the decency of our factories and the safety of our streets alike. It does not include the beauty of our poetry, or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials… the Gross National Product measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile, and it can tell us everything about America — except whether we are proud to be Americans.”

    (sorry about the cheesy video, at least they got the voice in…):

    • robodd on October 10, 2008 at 09:30

    but I think the problem is 60 trillion dollars of derivatives on less than 10 trillion dollars of actual assets.  This is impossible.  This is betting and pure speculation based on and in nothing.

    The solution is declaring the derivatives null and void.  It may take years before the government will accept this conclusion at unbelievable costs to ordinary peoples’ lives.

  5. it NEVER needed to happen at all!

  6. loss of jobs, illness (often bankrupting people), loss of homes, it looks like the government is concerned about the “general public,” just in a very different way.  

    U.S. Army Prepares to Invade United States

    Naomi Wolf has written about this as well, “Thousands of Troops Are Deployed on U.S. Streets Ready to Carry Out “Crowd Control””— note my comment here

    Talk and urban martial law training exercises have been going on for quite some time now.  It seems clear the government is anticipating some kind of response by Americans and they are ready, willing and able to “help” us!!!

  7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    • on October 11, 2008 at 08:03

    • banger on October 11, 2008 at 18:37

    The collective we is not us. The government, banks and markets are run by private interests for private benefit.

    Our form of government is imperial not republican. “We” have virtually no say in the matter. Elections are, to me, a spiritual exercise I do everytime I can to say symbolically that I am part of society. I have no hope that my vote will be counted or that electing one person over another will make much difference in the real power arrangements in society.

    Power is power and when there are mechanisms of power they are used by those with the resources to hire the right muscle. Mind-control systems exist called the mainstream media. These systems exist, and I challenge anyone to contradict that, as mechamisms whose fundamental purpose is to attempt to get into people’s minds and manipulate them using scientific principles and best practices honed over the years. Also, mechanisms of terror exist to make sure we are very wary of speaking our minds and organizing our communities to take action. We all know that if we were to plot some kind of civil disobedience that had real consequences that we would be infiltrated, put on watch lists and be unable to fly. We could, legally, be jailed and tortured without recourse to justice. Now this sort of terror need never be used but we all know that it can be and we can do little or nothing about it.

    The financial system is controlled by competing interests. The current world financial meltdown is an opportunity of certain factions to take complete control over the global Empire. The Empire is not the “United States of America” but something quite different owned by international players who are currently battling for supremacy. The method Paulson chose was strictly created for the express purpose of giving power and money to Paulson and his clique. He has no interest in it “working” or not working. That’s not what it is about at all.

    Americans are allergic to understanding and studying power and therefore politics. Americans are afraid of the dark side. But there is nothing to fear–we each have a darks side and need to come to terms with it, i.e., give the Devil his due. When we understand the Devil within we can understand the devils that are playing with our financial system and begin to discern their game. When that happens we have a chance to act collectively despite the state police structures–there’s always a way around this stuff as long as we have a sophisticated view of the poltics of power, i.e., the factions, their spokesmen/women, and how to play one off the other.

    All we can do is ride this out and make the best of it. No “plan” is possible the only hope is to support a faction of the oligarchy that is less cruel than the others.


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