Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fuck Wall Street

One part of my job requires that I keep abreast of financial stories, mostly so that I can make an informed comment or two when the guys at work start in with the “market” talk. To that end, I dutifully listen to Marketplace every morning and every evening on the drive to and from the office. Well, almost every evening. Some evenings, I am so stressed out from the rodent race that I have to turn off the program and crank up Kanye West’s Stronger and break that shit down as I inch along on the 134W. Yeah, screw NPR and informed citizenry! When do I get to be the Louis Vuitton Don???

Believe it or not, middle-aged white women blasting KW out the sunroofs of their sensible Volvo wagons is not as uncommon a sight in LA as one might think.

But back to the financial news, which is never good anymore. Even if there is some kind of moderate gain in the Dow, it’s offset with word that foreclosures are up, or that job numbers are down. And speaking of foreclosures, it’s now known that that piece of shit bankruptcy bill passed by our genius Republican congress in 2005 is responsible for about 32,000 foreclosures each quarter. How so? Well, under previous rules, individuals in bankruptcy were allowed to take money out for their mortgage first, and pay credit card debt second. The bill reversed the order of priority. And that 32k figure is only reflecting people who actually file for bankruptcy. Probably many more don’t bother to file, knowing that it cannot erase their credit card debt, or enable them to stay in their homes anymore.

I know, it’s hard to believe that a Republican congress would pass a bill that was essentially a big sloppy valentine to MBNA and the other credit card companies, but guess who predicted that it would have exactly that consequence? Me! Okay, it was on an older, now-deleted blog and I can’t prove it, but I did predict it. And guess what? I WAS NOT THE ONLY ONE.*

Because when you take downward economy, + rising insurance and healthcare costs + decreases in insurance coverage, what does that equal? It equals fully ½ of the people that are going bankrupt, doing so because of medical bills. Medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy, people. And that fucking bill did our fucking joke healthcare industry one better and not only ruined their finances, but kicked them out of their homes, too. Because I guess we don’t need a lot of weak invalid pansies trying to live our American dream of home ownership. If only they’d pulled themselves up by their bootstraps instead of getting surgeries and chemotherapy and things, this wouldn’t have happened. Perhaps they should think about getting their weak-ass selves and families into some government housing next time. Or better yet, perhaps they should all just die, and decrease the surplus population.

You know what that fucking Orwellian-named Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 did not “reform”? Chapter 11 bankruptcy. You know who files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy? Businesses. Apparently businesses are not abusing anything, and so do not require the altruistic reforming efforts of the 2005 heart-full-of-unwashed-socks 2005 Republican Congress.

And apparently, businesses also do not require regulation when they play with credit default swaps, and hedge their bets that other businesses unrelated to their business will fail. For those not familiar with the practice, those bets that companies make against the success of other companies are so huge, that when the bet-upon company does fail, all the companies that placed bets upon that company can fail too, because they are now required to pay out billions of dollars for their bad bets that they will not be able to pay if only one other company fails to pay them.

Sound ill-advised? It is. And the effect is what we have just seen and will no doubt continue to see: one company fails and brings down another, and then that one brings down four more, and so on. It’s basically entirely unregulated gambling, and it’s enormously lucrative when it works, and completely fucking devastating when it fails.

To say nothing of that motherfucker Madoff’s hedge fund antics and the fact that although numerous complaints have been lodged against him over the last nine years, the SEC never investigated him once. Martha Stewart, they got. Madoff, on the other hand, ran completely amok, and may have done more than 50 BILLION dollars of damage, and, well, hell, you know it’s bad when they’re thinking of renaming the Ponzi scheme after this dude instead.

Look, readers, I go back and forth on the whole bailout thing. I do. I weigh the price against the good. Somedays I’m all “Let them dangle.” And somedays I think the cost in human lives of seeing these guys go under is too high.

One thing I do know is that I am sick to death of those fucking pansy-ass motherfuckers on Wall Street, and their fucking arbitrary speculating, and their fucking squirrely dumping of stocks. I am sick of hearing about how buyers are “spooked,” and about how they can be swayed to buy or sell by a single word from some scared shitless government dude who’s probably flipping a coin over what he’s going to say anyway. I am sick of this guy, who no longer even has a straight face to attempt to say things with, claiming that his love of Wall Street is based upon “principle.” I am sick of all those guys and I am sick of the hand-wringing that goes on about what they do, and I am sick of seeing my 401k go down because of them, and I am sick of 401ks and the bullshit choices for investment that they offer, and I am really, really sick of hearing Marketplace playing “Stormy Weather” when they talk about the Dow every morning.

Those assholes should all go fuck themselves. And then when they're finished, they should go out and get a real fucking job, for fuck’s sake. Try making something for a living, or help someone besides another rich asshole get richer. Yeah, instead of speculating on the price of wheat, why don’t you try going out and fucking growing some?

Or at the very least, try this on for size: Country First. Yeah, you guys were all McCain supporters, weren’t you? All hopped up that patriotic claptrap, right? Well, why don’t you try walking the fucking walk just a tiny little bit? Huh? Heaven help this country when I become an example, but I’m not dumping my pitifully small amount of stock, and you know why? Because then I would be part of the problem.

Did that ever occur to you? Could it? Or is the part of your wiring that considers the collective good completely bypassed by now?

C’mon, write me and tell me I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about, and that my grasp of economic issues is weak, and that I don’t understand the potential of market forces blah blah blah. Do it. I want you to. Defend it. Please. I’ve got my response all ready for you, and it’s very economical.

It’s only two words. Care to speculate what they might be?

*Barack Obama voted against the bill, as did both CA senators, Kennedy, Kerry, Dodd, and holy shit…Lieberman! Senator Clinton…was the only senator who did not vote. See? This is why I always had a problem with her. Joe Biden voted for the bill, which pretty much sums up my problems with Joe Biden as well.

**Thanks to Josh P for the tip.


Larry Jones said...

I think your... positions are widely held these days, and maybe the only good thing that will come out of this will be enhanced regulation and increased skepticism about the crazy, selfish and downright unconscionable behavior of our monied class, at least for a generation.

Fucking rockin' post, though, Vikki.

dguzman said...

Fuckin' A, Vik. I think you hit the nail on the head when you asked whether they give a shit about "the collective good" -- no such animal, not to these guys. It's all about themselves and their rich friends. The rest of us can starve and die for all they care.

And Chimpy Bush believes the same thing.

SkylersDad said...

I couldn't agree more Vikki, the upper crust sells their soul for their riches and the rest of us get dumped on.

GETkristiLOVE said...

The two words... they are the title of your post, right? Do I get a prize or something?

SFNative said...

"It’s only two words. Care to speculate what they might be?"

First one ain't "Happy"?
Second one ain't "Birthday"?

Anonymous said...

The Mailman works with at least three people that have gone bankrupt because of medical bills, and these are guys with medical insurance.

Grant Miller said...

I consider myself a lefty, but I was disappointed no one - except for you - on the left noted Joe Biden's position on the bill. I'm still upset he's VP...but I'm willing to deal with it.

deadspot said...

I hate, hate, hate, those Marketplace motherfuckers and their cutesy musical cues that go with their stock reports.

I'm really tired of their elevator-music version of "Don't Mean A Thing If It Aint Got That Swing" that they play for mixed markets.

But even more than I hate "Stormy Weather", I hate the tune they play when the stocks go up, because they're usually playing it when their announcing terrible news for the rest of us. There's nothing like playing "We're In The Money" while announcing job cuts to assure yourself a cozy spot in hell.

Marketplace is just one more reason for me to stop donating to NPR.

Distributorcap said...


that was great --- those fuckers in DC - both sides -- have no idea what medical bills are doing to this country. and the bankrutcy laws!

and your grasp of economics is SUPERB!

as much as i like Biden, Senator MBNA areally burned me with this bill.

and the fucking pundits still get 'mad' when people say we dont have a class society -- becuase they are are the privileged class

Dad E said...

People that rely on a dogmatic view of things are always behind the times because times are always changing. They use phases like "free market", "traditional marriage", "god's plan", etc. and add to the dumbing down of conventional wisdom, reducing realistic investigation and creative thought.

What I see from the last 8 years is blind obedience to dogmatic principles that haven't have any consideration of the consquences that follow.

This is kind of a metaphor for the way Bush has stumbled through life. When things go wrong, there were never any consequences to face, always a bail out available.

It will take a long time to undo the studity that we have been subject to almost daily.

This post should be a economic primer for where to go to fix things. Well done!!

Dad E said...

"stupidity" that is

Music Pro said...

Excellent Rant! The whole concept of credit default swaps, short selling, and derivatives are all BS. Made up out of whole cloth, virtual; to use the hackneyed phrase from the days. These "financial instruments" represent nothing: No product, no service, fucking nothing. Nothing is what they have contributed to America. Greenspan, and now Geithner have done nothing about eliminating this financial mischief. Those financial devices caused our crumbling economy more than sub-prime loans. Main Street gets screwed while Wall Street gets propped up without any house-cleaning. Geithners' appearances in front on Congress have been totally unconvincing: He talks too fast, side-steps questions, and protects his cronies on the street. I'm predicting that over the next two years foreclosures will continue, jobs will decline more, and then the Chinese will be successful at devaluing our currency. What's gonna happen then? The service sector BS jobs wil not support homes and new cars. Fasten your seat belts, folks. The temporary bump in the market is just that. Now it's going to get really bumpy. The folks at the town hall meetings are just the first signs of a leak in the dam, just a trickle. Just wait. It won't be pretty. Corporatism has supplanted democracy, and the average "Joe" is waking up, and he's not enthused. Not one bit.