Monday, January 21, 2008

Big tits, bubble butts, and free-market economies

Have to admit: I wasted my time and money going to college and gradual school. No offense to Mr. N, who is an absolute saint as well as a walking baseball encyclopedia, but I should have emptied my head, stuffed my tits and ass with silicone, and gone hunting for a wealthy Swiss husband and then a really good EU divorce lawyer.

Oh, well, forks in the autobahn and all that.

What’s got me brooding is talk of an impending deep recession, stagflation, and a Resolution Trust Corporation-type bailout of mortgage lenders and/or their insurers.

More frightening than barbarians at the gate is the sight of the panic-stricken neo-laissez-faire, fucked by their own perfidy, all over the TeeVee calling for the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department to rescue banks, bondholders, currencies, hedge funds, or whatever crap financial product they’ve alchemized this time.

For a free market economy, we sure have a lot of visible hands rattling the public coffers. Remember these follies?

* US Federal Reserve and Treasury relief package to Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil during their debt crises (1982-1992)
* $4 billion Federal Reserve, Treasury, and FDIC rescue package for the Continental Illinois Bank (1984)
* $250 billion bailout of hundreds of mismanaged/insolvent Savings and Loans (1989-1992)
* $4 billion bailout of the Bank of New England plus government help in infusing Saudi money into Citibank (1990-1992)
* US Treasury-arranged rescue of the Mexican peso in support of US investors in high-yield Mexican debt (1994-1995)
* Asian currency bailout, in which the US government pressured the International Monetary Fund to rescue East Asian currencies to save American and other lenders (1997)
* Greenspan-arranged bailout of the shaky Long-Term Capital Management hedge fund (1998)
* Y2K Federal Reserve liquidity extravaganza, which helps to inflate the final Nasdaq bubble (1999)
* Federal Reserve interest rates cuts, reaching nearly 50-year lows, to reflate US financial and real estate assets (2001-2005)

The bailouts and rescues are bad enough, but it’s the unabashed and unhinged free market/deregulation boosterism that sends me into a rage. Like nobody knows the game is rigged, and who’s always on the losing side. There are days when I really do feel like mailing in the keys of my citizenship.

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