Friday, September 19, 2008

I guess 'moral hazard' will not be imposed on the financial corporations who are 'too big to fail.'  Only on those of us who are too small to worry about.  I wonder what all the morally righteous bloggers who were against any proposals to bail out homeowners with fraudulent or near-fraudulent mortgages or borrowers whose credit lines were exhausted will be saying now.  My question is--how much are we, as taxpayers, going to be on the hook for? Can anyone even begin to say?  I am not a great fan of classical capitalism and I find the modern brand as practiced in this country abhorrent; but I would love some consistency. If people like me are held responsible for and expected to bear the consequences of our decisions, I want the CEOs and CFOs of these companies held equally responsible for the consequences of their's.  And I would like to responsibility to filter all the way down the line in these companies.

For some cogent comments about the effects of the Wall Street situation see Roni Bennett's post on Time Goes By today.  And don't assume that everything is going to be alright simply because the market seems to be erasing its earlier losses.  Unlike John McCain, who thought that the 'fundamentals' of the economy are strong (at least before the second day's market losses and Obama's calling him out on it), I think the economy is out of whack and has been for sometime.  We have an economy that rests on consumers (70+%).  I have asked, for the last dozen years or so, 'What happens when the consumer can no longer consume?'  We have been told not to worry about globalization and the jobs we have lost here because companies have shipped them 'over there.'  No one has bothered to ask, much less answer, the question 'who is going to buy the goods these companies produce when we don't have jobs that produce enough income to allow us to consume as heroically and patriotically as we once did?'  We tried--really we did.  But after maxing out half a dozen plus credit cards and tapping out our home equity lines of credit while the value of our homes fell and prices rose and our jobs disappeared or hours were cut, we can't do it any more.  By the way, where the hell is the money for these bailouts going to come from.  How do you pay income taxes on little or no income?  Especially since I don't see anyone in power, or contending for power, suggesting that we cut our losses and expenses by ending our military operations. 

I think Obama is right when he says that McCain's proposal to simply fire one man (Cox, I think it was) doesn't go far enough and that we should conduct a wholesale firing of the entire Republican establishment, including McCain.  I agree even more with his notion that we need a whole new philosophy he but only rails against the philosophy he attributes to the Republicans. He doesn't really tell us what he would replace the old one with.  I am not sure he is advocating the kind of philosophical change I think is needed.  Worse, I am fairly sure that short of a psychotic break in this society we won't get the kind of change we need.  We need a shift away from consumerism and the notion that our self-worth is summed up by the number and cost of the things we own.  Martin Luther King, Jr. hoped that his children would be judged by the contents of their characters but as he was speaking our society was already changing from one in which certain people were judged by the color of their skins to one in which the measure of the man was balance of his bank accounts and the stuff he owned.  Every now and then I see a little evidence of this on the individual level but so far none on the larger social level.

1 comment:

Elaine said...

Great post Mary!! I don't see where all this is going to end. This morning I heard that the Big 3 in Detroit is asking Congress for 50 billion in low interest loans. It seems morally wrong to me that our government continue with these bailouts when these CEO's and CFO's became richer and richer while running a company into the ground.

“The forces in a capitalist society, if left unchecked, tend to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.” -Jawaharlal Nehru