So -- I have
lost money. Less than I thought, though. My consolation remains that I couldn't have had any of it for another thirty-five years anyway. Barring total apocalypse* -- does apocalypse even COME in degrees? -- it'll probably recuperate.
(A glimpse into the convolution that is my brain: I am worried about the fact that I am not scared. =/)Ai. My nice new bank now bought out by the bank I thought I'd ESCAPED
New York Times: "Is My Money Safe
?" (login necessary)
Musing, meandering: A couple years back when my salary was less -- in fact, while I was NOT salaried but still freelancing and health-insurance-less, a couple people suggested to me that I (a single woman with no children or drivers' license, freelancing, and tethered to a large, expensive city by profession) should buy a house, which I found utterly...well mindboggling, to be quite honest. (And implausible, and not quite worthy of serious consideration.) I am so, so glad that my ingrained and possibly not-entirely-accurate neuroses (houses are for mommies and daddies!) are stronger than my peer pressure. =/ My neuroses may not be healthy, but at the moment they seem to be safer.
Hmmmmm... I wonder if NYC rents will go down?An anti-bailout politician speaks
. (Lively debate in comments. Standard warning: Internet anonymity distills bile; go forth, thou wary pilgrim.)
So I've got my friend (who is in the "Marxist Theory" portion of her PhD program) writing to me that we should TAKE TO THE STREETS and DEMAND
I regret to inform those who care that I'm simply not that cut-and-dry yet in my outlook.
Aiyahh. I remember back in 2004 or thereabouts, I had a coworker who supported Bush like Bush was his sainted mother. This was a lovely man in many other respects. Supported the Iraq war as well. (I'm not judging that, at least not here in this post -- it's not my point, and also hindsight is 20-20. Hell, after a period of extreme nonsupport in the form of "what the HELL??" I
supported it for about a month, or at least considered the other side, based on articles written by expat Iraqis, as well as two protests by same on the Mall in D.C. that the press pretty much ignored. Then I stopped.) What I'm judging is this -- at one point in the year, a Bushian tax cut kicked in and my coworker rushed over to show my his pay stub that had gone up by about six dollars. I was meant to appreciate this, you see, as tangible evidence of Bush's wonderfulness towards the working man. What I did NOT see, and tried to point out, was why wasn't my coworker willing to give up that ever so precious $6 to buy a soldier a flak jacket?
With all the railing against taxes there is still a larger-than-I'd-like contingent of Americans who don't seem to get that in order to SPEND money, you have to HAVE money, and the money for what you
want and support doesn't appear by MAGIC just because the nation runs on a larger scale than your household/neighborhood/city. "Big" does not equal "theoretical." It's not a case of "the money for the programs that I oppose because they benefit
lazy promiscuous foreigners
people who are not like me comes directly out of my own personal pocket, whereas the money for the things I
want is a mystical sky-gift from heaven and a just reward for national righteousness."
I don't pretend to be an expert. I am not an expert. But I think the bailout is primarily a placebo, and I'd be in favor of it more if I could be made to believe that it 1. will actually have an effect on consumer/investor confidence (which is a necessity when you have a science-fiction economy based on "profession of faith
") and 2. whatever effect it has BEYOND the temporary soothing of ruffled feathers won't actually make everything worse. I am not assured of this.
The anti-bailout opinions floating around suggest that the case is, quite simply as follows:
The Bush administration -- the Federal government headed by it -- spent money at record levels. (Libertarians and Republicans, this is your cue to get pissed, and hang your head that you didn't yell louder, and also for certain of your less-pleasant numbers to quit blaming
the minorities and disenfranchised for not properly appreciating your "largesse". I might have more to say about that later. Also, we need to cut some bamboo switches for Congresspersons who allowed this to go on.) Shocking levels. Levels sort of flying in the face of public will, from where I'm standing. Mostly war, some domestically. I still consider that two-time $300 tax incentive bullshit to be a transparent effort to buy my vote.
(Sigh. The feds have always been lousy at spending. I remember being in eighth grade and hearing reports of purchases of $25-dollar nails. Not a box of nails.)
The spending has been financed by debt (a LOT of predatory lending has gone on, in my opinion) -- purchases being paid for with theoretical future money. Interest rates have artificially been kept low (hasn't Greenspan been bitching about this for years now? In which case why was it still done?). Lots of easily-obtainable credit kept all this in semblance of balance.
Thing is, when easy credit is available, people are going to TAKE it. It's no good bitching about human nature. This is exactly
how I feel about abstinence-only sex education -- it's no good waiting for the majority of people to be paragons when it flies in the face of aeons of DNA programming: FOOD HERE! MAYBE NOT TOMORROW! EAT NOW! FATTEN UP! WINTER COME SOON! Stop whining about "everything will be fine when we all exhibit perfect virtue" as if you were waiting for goddamn Godot, and create a situation that minimizes harm in the long term to the largest amount of people here and now!!
So back to the current situation -- would a bailout actually help, or exacerbate the problem? Is the bailout not essentially more credit? Propping up bad investments, using Mastercard to pay Visa, and wholly at the taxpayers' risk? If we let things run their course, will they get bad in the short term here and then pick up, as opposed to a prolonged period of badness later on? Maybe it would be best to let bad investments flop and be bought out by new investors, spawning better investments in the long-term?***
Back in the day when I was teaching ESL, I had a LOT of Japanese students complain to me about the government pouring cash into badly-run business where the CEOs were pretty much the kids of former CEOs, regardless of competence. It didn't work out for them. I am very, very wary of this idea.
*points to Sweden again*
I've been to Sweden. It's a LOVELY PLACE. So clean! (Even though people tend to let doors slam on you in the mall...)Thought for today -- China's governmental officials/equivalent-of-congresspersons/parliamentarians are predominantly political-science PhDs. Our governmental representatives are predominantly lawyers. Discuss.
* I've had to use this phrase entirely too often this year.
** This is not fair, actually. Rereading: She's not pro-bailout, she's anti the whole situation and us getting shafted, but I'm still not going anywhere to hold up a sign and shout -- that's simply not effective and I'm tired of pretending it is. Let's repeat it one more time, people -- the Civil Rights Movement did not succeed because there is something inherently magical about signs and loud poetry in unison. It succeeded because it was a stark, televised and publicized contrast between very obviously innocent, calm, well-dressed and orderly persons being blatantly attacked with excessive force in public by the establishment, therefore turning public opinion in their favor. These were people who were willing -- no, whose very modus operandi was the willingness to be unquestionably victimized in full view of the public. And before they marched/did sit-ins/chanted, they TRAINED. They trained for MONTHS to be utterly stoic and utterly above suspicion. That is civil disobedience, my friends, not just spontaneously gathering together to yell and storm police barriers. Regardless of what that substandard film version of "V for Vendetta" told you. Also, read the book. PLEASE.
*** ag_caint Look, woman, just take for granted I'm assuming a certain level of transparency, non-corruption, and not-outright-eviltude for this to work, 'kay? *wink*