Saturday, March 21, 2009

A blogging hiatus, Geithner, AIG, and Suburbia

It's been almost a month since I last wrote anything on here, which is in bad form for a political blog.

But I've noticed that since I've become angrier and angrier as this financial mess drags on, it's been harder to verbalize my rage. So I took a break from blogging. I hoped that maybe there would be some progress. I was naive.

Jon Steward crushed Jim Cramer on The Daily Show, but there hasn't been a change in the corporate media's attitude towards cheer-leading the banks.

The Obama administration has finally revealed itself to be anti-progressive, and their financial plan has Paul Krugman saying this:

To this end the plan proposes to create funds in which private investors put in a small amount of their own money, and in return get large, non-recourse loans from the taxpayer, with which to buy bad — I mean misunderstood — assets. This is supposed to lead to fair prices because the funds will engage in competitive bidding.

But it’s immediately obvious, if you think about it, that these funds will have skewed incentives. In effect, Treasury will be creating — deliberately! — the functional equivalent of Texas S&Ls in the 1980s: financial operations with very little capital but lots of government-guaranteed liabilities. For the private investors, this is an open invitation to play heads I win, tails the taxpayers lose. So sure, these investors will be ready to pay high prices for toxic waste. After all, the stuff might be worth something; and if it isn’t, that’s someone else’s problem.
I could write about my disappointment with Obama on not listening to sane economists, but this music video does it for me:

And AIG. It's time to call bullshit on their "contractual obligations" to pay millions of dollars in bonuses. They knew damn well where their company was headed at this time, and now taxpayers are accounting for greed.

But Geithner helped them do it of course. Chris Dodd should have taken more of a stand against it, but I suppose with the President and the Treasury-Secretary against you, you do what they say. From FactCheck.Org:
The public record shows Dodd authored an amendment that would have prevented "any bonus" being paid to top executives of firms getting bailout money. It was the White House and the Treasury Department that insisted Dodd's amendment be watered down to apply only to bonuses paid under agreements signed in the past five weeks. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has taken public responsibility for that.
It's so cliche, but the Democrats and Republicans really are two sides of the same coin, which happens to be in the pocket of...the banks? the corporations in general?
The capitalist superstructure.

Obama's appeal to populist rage was the perfect example of a government's manipulation of people's collective feelings through the prevailing hegemony. He can go on Leno all he wants, but the public is going to see through this smokescreen. We have to.

On a completely different note, I wasn't sure if I should bring in my personal feelings about suburbia into this blog, but since I am a suburban radical, it wouldn't make sense not to. I recently experienced a revelation that makes me remebmer why I call myself a Marxist in the first place.

I am in a half-year economics course in my high school, which basically serves as an introduction to modern capitalism. We have briefly studied the "supply" side of things and the "demand" side. I am forced to argue on Keynesian talking points, because there is no room, I realize, for a "labor" side of things. That's why Marx was and is so important. There is no branch of economics that doesn't reify workers except for those influenced by Marx.

Suburban schools are the most obvious products of capitalism and the false consciousness that accompanies it.

Just a thought.

No comments:

Post a Comment