Friday, February 18, 2011

What Are Your Plans for 2012?

Via David Ruccio's blog, I just found the following quote that summarizes the feelings of many people in this country:
You want to win elections, you bang on the jailable class. You build prisons and fill them with people for selling dime bags and stealing CD players. But for stealing a billion dollars? For fraud that puts a million people into foreclosure? Pass. It’s not a crime. Prison is too harsh. Get them to say they’re sorry, and move on. Oh, wait — let’s not even make them say they’re sorry. That’s too mean; let’s just give them a piece of paper with a government stamp on it, officially clearing them of the need to apologize, and make them pay a fine instead. But don’t make them pay it out of their own pockets, and don’t ask them to give back the money they stole. In fact, let them profit from their collective crimes, to the tune of a record $135 billion in pay and benefits last year. What’s next? Taxpayer-funded massages for every Wall Street executive guilty of fraud?
We all understand it, we are all upset about it. Now the question is: what can be done to change it?  Both the Republicans and the Democrats have demonstrated very clearly since the crisis started that their only allegiance is to their rich lobbyists. A brainless idiot who is so inept at business that he drives his Wall Street company into the ground will be bailed out with the money of those of us who are used to bearing the responsibility for our own actions. Immature fools keep getting the entire country into trouble, and we are expected to bend over backwards to pay for their idiocy.

2012 is coming, people. is there anybody we could vote for to make this insanity stop? Or will we be choosing between the lesser of two evils yet again?

15 comments:

Patrick said...

What is your solution to "stop the insanity". I hear many people complaining about the 'rich people' and 'those companies' without defining who they are or what they would want to do differently.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Change for the sake of change is what got Ontario the NDP gov't in 1990, and Canada the PC Gov't in 2005. If you don't know what you want, you'll always complain about not getting it.


- posted to the wrong comment section originally. sorry 'bout that. Obviously, this post had nothing to do with mercy killing.

Anonymous said...

It will take more than votes to end this occupation of our country.


-Mike

Patrick said...

I prefer to separate the idea from the execution. I don't necessarily oppose the bailouts (depression era bank failures wouldn't have helped the average person either) but I certainly oppose the manner in which they were done - relief for corporation, and foreclosure on the individual. There is obviously an imbalance there. But the idea of creating a safe floor for the economy is itself not a bad concept.

What we lack in North America (particularly more so in the US, because of the election cycle) is long term vision from the political leaders. Everything is about the here and now, and the impact it will have on the election next year. It's perpetual campaigning, rather than perpetual governing. Perhaps the root of the problem lies with the design of the system itself - one which encourages partisan sniping and shortsighted, short term rewards.

Clarissa said...

My firm belief is that the Soviet style economy should be abandoned. I lived in the USSR and I can tell you with all the certainty in the world that this type of economy does not work. Capitalism is not perfect but it works a lot better. In order for capitalism to work, however, people who can't make their businesses stay solvent should be allowed to go bankrupt. This will permit more promising new entrepreneurs to take the place of those failed businesses. Investing government money into keeping solvent those companies that have driven themselves to the brink of bankruptcy time and again is what I call insanity.

Clarissa said...

"What we lack in North America (particularly more so in the US, because of the election cycle) is long term vision from the political leaders. Everything is about the here and now, and the impact it will have on the election next year. It's perpetual campaigning, rather than perpetual governing."

-I couldn't agree more!! An intelligent long-term vision is completely absent here. Support and arm the Taliban, then fight the Taliban, and so on - what sense does this make?

Patrick said...

Once we've started a fire though - don't we have an obligation to help put it out? (metaphorically)

Clarissa said...

Not by throwing more matches into the fire, though. Sometimes when you mess up, it's better just to step aside and not to aggravate things any further.

Rimi said...

"Capitalism is not perfect but it works a lot better."

Regulated capitalism does. What has happened in the US for decades now and is merrily happening in my country is not capitalism, it's instituionalised piracy. And I don't see how rich people are to be blamed, unless by rich one means the board members and directors and CEOs of corporate houses and their extended circle, who effectively enjoy a life above and beyond the law.

A political system that allows a marauding company to shift overnight to a foreign country so they cannot be prosecuted by public courts, or one that allows free speculations re. such basic amenities as foodgrain and healthcare, is not one that will be changed by mere votes. The people casting the votes have ceased to matter a long time ago.

Rimi said...

Might I politely offer that the USA is not even remotely helping "put out the fire" in Afghanistan and Pakistan, merely fanning it? I know the US media plays up its image as the sole victim of the Taliban, but apart from the one catastrophic and tragic incident, the Taliban or Al Quaida has not been able to touch the US at all. It is the subcontinent and the Middle-East that bears the brunt of their extremist annihilation vendetta. The amount of America-hatred is palpable in the region, but since the USA is unaccessible, it's the local liberals and moderates and even neutrals who pay with their lives, much to the detriment of the entire global system.

Patrick said...

I guess knowing the difference is true wisdom.

Clarissa said...

""Capitalism is not perfect but it works a lot better."

Regulated capitalism does."

-Exactly. Capitalism is a living system that finds ways of regulating itself and resolving some of its own problems. Trying to impose the early XIXth century model of capitalism onto the XXIst century is massively wrong.

" unless by rich one means the board members and directors and CEOs of corporate houses and their extended circle"

-That's exactly whom I meant. A rich person who worked hard and made a fortune through their perseverance and hard work deserves nothing but respect from me.

"A political system that allows a marauding company to shift overnight to a foreign country so they cannot be prosecuted by public courts, or one that allows free speculations re. such basic amenities as foodgrain and healthcare, is not one that will be changed by mere votes."

-Mike, Rimi: what is to be done, then?

Patrick said...

"That's exactly whom I meant. A rich person who worked hard and made a fortune through their perseverance and hard work deserves nothing but respect from me"

Implicit in that quote is that CEO's and BOD's haven't worked hard for their wealth and position. That it has somehow been bequeathed to them by the 'corporate gods'. If you think it's 'easy' to be a CEO, then I might respectfully suggest that you go get yourself a 15M/yr job, and see how 'easy' it is.

Anonymous said...

Patrick, I don't have a problem with a CEO making a lot of money if he actually improves the lot of his company.

However, lately that has largely not been the case. Many of the malefactors directly responsible for crashing the economy walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars.

And however not "easy" it is to be a CEO, I am sure it's a hell of a lot easier than making poverty wages as many Americans do and not being able to feed your family.

And many CEOs have pretty much been handed their wealth by means of privilege and connections rather than merit -- especially those in financial firms.

Being a CEO is one of the few jobs where you can utterly fail and walk away with $20 million.

If I fail in my job, I get shown out the door right quick and I'm lucky to not be personally sued.

-Mike

Rimi said...

"And many CEOs have pretty much been handed their wealth by means of privilege and connections rather than merit -- especially those in financial firms."

That's the crux, Patrick. We're none of us grudging Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg their billions (although valuing FB at its current worth is a function of our spurious valuation process). Neither are we bitter about the original chaps who started multinationals in their garages (was that the Hewlett-Packard story?)

The people we're criticising -- and I'm a little surprised you didn't cotton on to this -- are people who start as assistant [insert high admin post name] in their family firms or family friend's firms. This especially happens in finance and law, but another area whether this happens frequently is politics. Old and new moneyed families who have had sterling educations -- or educations from sterling universities, anyway -- produce men (and occasionally women) who run for office, but their concerns are shaped by their own social class.

My friend from Harvard Business School keeps telling me HBS led to the crash of the world economy because every single incompetent (or deliberately exploitative) CEO lately had been through that institution, but although he means it as a joke, stellar universities do play a role in the networking of heirs apparent. Ivy Leagues are the new country clubs for some, apparently. And the result may not be actively wicked or depraved, but our countries are certainly not being run by people who quite "get" how the greater nine-tenths of the world lives.

Tony said...

I've never emphasized with arguments for wealth at the tails of the wealth distribution. That is, that one should look into soul, culture and life course of a winner or a loser and say yes, they should be super-rich or not, or super-poor or not. THE TAILS ARE DIFFERENT.

If you're immiserated and at the bottom, you may have reasons for that position that are foreign to others who are better off. And if you're the pharoah of a hierarchy so your small decisions make great waves, and you have the influence to enrich those nearby, then everyone you enrich will urge you to enrich yourself, in expectation of their enrichment. So one end of the tail is lose-lose and the other is win-win. People misattribute to personal value the multiplier effect of position in a workflow.

People also misattribute to personal value effects of changes in technology. Low-hanging fruit reaper firms in finance had nothing to do with development of search and disk technology. When the ability to create a ridiculous bubble ballooned, they were there to do what they do. Search raised the fog, so more low-hanging fruit could be seen.

Alas, we have a system where people who make ridiculous amounts of money for no reason of their own making other than doing what they do are compelled to describe what they do as heroism and further to deny they were just "being there" a la Chauncey Gardner. When common scams only previously attempted on other rich people suddenly become available to be tried on all and sundry, the perps aren't really different in nature, or character, because the scale of crime is larger. By their not being different or special, they're humanized in the discourse.

The opening for these extremities of looting and suffering is a belief that because tails are like you or I, they shouldn't be regulated, insofar as, if you and I had their opportunities, we'd steal too. Nor would we accept handouts, so why would the poor?

Russia and the US are joined in dumb worship of only simplest scalable belief systems which can be mass-explained. At the tails, such worship can be fatal.