Saturday, February 15, 2014

Despite Excuses the Economy Still Sucks


The state-corporate media continues to generate spin and excuses for the ongoing dismal state of the U.S. economy which despite the big Wall Street bailout has yet to generate a real economic recovery for those outside of the elitist enclaves and the Lower Manhattan state-subsidized gambling casinos. It has now been nearly six years since the pigs choked on their own greed triggering the implosions of Bear Stearns, AIG and Lehman Brothers and the subsequent drop in the stock markets that proved that modern finance capitalism as practiced in our rotting land of at one time plenty is a gigantic fraud. The moneychangers and their over leveraged scams including subprime loans, mortgage backed securities and derivatives that should be illegal went up like a flaming bag of dogshit and both the incumbent administration of George W. Bush and his eventual successor Barack Obama rushed to stamp it out. The banksters got burned by their own bad bets and it was the American taxpayer that got the shaft with the gargantuan bailout of the big con game under the threat of the imposition of martial law.
Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson went on bended knee to the Weasel Queen Nancy Pelosi who was at the time Democratic Speaker of the House to beg for the government to rescue him and all of his crooked buddies from the consequences of their scams. The initial House rejection of the $700 bailout plan sent the crack whore markets into full convulsions with a nearly 800 point drop in the DJIA and the American taxpayers have been on the hook ever since in providing the monthly heroin infusions to keep the junkie banks in business. The bailout has always been a con job and today despite the billions of dollars pumped into the big banking casinos the job market still sucks and not one lesson was learned other than that by the banksters that they will continue to be allowed to get away with the whole damned heist until the day that the arsonists finally succeed in burning the whole thing down. That day is coming too as the too big to fail banks are even bigger than before, getting back into the subprime and securitization business with a vengeance and all with the tacit approval of the Obama administration.
In true capitalism poorly run businesses are allowed to fail, that is what the entire thing is about the theory is that the cream will rise to the top and those who build the proverbial better mousetrap will dominate the market based on their hard work and ideas. That is unfortunately not the system that we live in and those who are honest are placed at a competitive disadvantage by the racketeers who have parlayed their ill-gotten loot into insider access to the highest levels of government. This is fascism quite plain and simple and the state is in the business of picking winners with the reigning champs being the criminal class on Wall Street. Not only do we not have a system of true capitalism nor free markets but we also have one where crooks aren't prosecuted and thrown into prison - while the most obvious example of this would be the pathological liar that is Director of National Intelligence James Clapper you can just as easily swap him out with the heads of the big banks the point being that when you have enough swag to buy political juice, influence judges and have a crackerjack media propaganda machine to back it up you are above the law.
So here we sit in February of 2014, the Saturday after Valentine's Day and we still haven't been kissed after being fucked. While the stock markets continue to soar courtesy of the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve's ongoing socializing of the losses while privatizing the gains the job market is dismal and the propaganda machine is starting to run out of reasons to point the finger at for the continued economic malaise to duck their own collective guilt for destroying the economy. The latest excuse being that it is the bad weather that is responsible for a lack of demand and not stagnant wages, a chronically piss poor job market, long term unemployed, inflation (the calculation of "core inflation" omits food and energy costs) and the need to keep shoveling money into rigged markets. This from CNBC, home of the deranged Jim "Mad Money" Cramer the top shill for the banksters and their schemes:
Severe winter weather this season may have cost the economy as much $50 billion and 76,000 jobs.
A CNBC Fed Survey of 19 Wall Street economists, strategists and fund managers puts the total weather impact at about a third of a percentage point on the $16 trillion US economy, or roughly $50 billion.
The big hit to the economy comes this quarter, where survey respondents estimated that bone-chilling cold and driving snow shaved about four-tenths of a point off total growth, including lost work hours and lost sales.
That is the excuse of the season, next up will be unseasonable heat, rain, drought, hurricanes, earthquakes etc etc. In an election year there is little taste for truth telling nor anything short of the standard cultural populist bullshit that so serves our owners and keeps their whores firmly in place running the government. As the late George Carlin so nailed it in his classic three minute diatribe The American Dream - "it's a big club and you ain't in it".
The peasants are however getting restless or at least are perceived to be by the filth that has bought the system, take for instance the poster boy for persecuted billionaires vulture capitalist Tom Perkins. The Silicon Valley billionaire, the latest of the high-rolling whiners doesn't bother to waste time with false pretenses anymore:  the rich deserve more votes according to this slimy bastard. Perkins is the same shameless chiseler who recently compared criticism of the fractional one percent of the uber rich to the Nazi persecution of Jews leading up to the Holocaust.  Not that it hasn’t already been made evident by the penultimate ugly American Donald Trump but money can buy everything but class.
Hell, I don’t like taxes either and I especially resent two things in particular concerning the money that gets taken from me by Uncle Sam and they are 1: Using my money to finance wars, murder of innocent foreigners and the surveillance state at home and 2: backstopping scum like Perkins by the government issuing what amounts to an insurance policy with billions pumped into the failing financial institutions that vampires like Perkins feed on. So fuck Tom Perkins. If anyone deserves to be nicked to pay a bit more it should by he and his elitist class, the way that I see it it’s the least that they can do to finance a U.S. military that opens new markets for their exploitation, keeps shipping lanes open and the financial embeds in D.C. that keep redistributing wealth in order to finance their ‘investor’ schemes. Every time that  I hear one of these ungrateful bastards engaged in their self-serving bemoaning of the same democratic system that made it possible for them to use their wealth to rig the game in their favor I long for the day when the guillotines will finally be rolled out. Meanwhile, despite the official story of the bad winter being a drag on growth the backstopped stock market only continues to thrive.
The barometer for the looter class, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (a constantly changing basket of the biggest winner stocks) has cracked the 16,000 barrier and continues to rise. This is a distortion of the true economic state of the country yet the sheeple are constantly hammered by a corrupt media that has for decades pimped for Wall Street while failing to provide context of the lives that are ruined as a direct result of rampant speculation. The strip-mining of America includes homes lost to foreclosure, jobs lost to offshoring (crack cocaine to corporate America), predatory lending to the economically disadvantaged, soaring property and health insurance rates, spiking energy prices, food costs rising and packages shrinking and the systemic dismantling of the “American dream”.  Entrepreneurs must be forced to compete with mammoth corporations and the costs associated have broken the backs of the small businessperson upon which this once great county’s economic might was built.
Look at the just announced merger between Comcast and Time Warner – you can rest assured that this is going to just be another running kick in the crotch for Americans as they are faced with even less competition and will assuredly be gouged by this new monopoly.
True capitalism is dead in America. In closing I will reference a New York Times op ed that is runner up to the hated Russian leader Vladimir Putin's calling out the horseshit that is "American exceptionalism" that ran on September 11, 2013. Former Reagan administration official David Stockman was absolutely vilified by the state-corporate press and all of its Wall Street shills when he had the temerity to publish a piece in the New York Times entitled “Sundown in America” last year. I excerpt the following:
Over the last 13 years, the stock market has twice crashed and touched off a recession: American households lost $5 trillion in the 2000 dot-com bust and more than $7 trillion in the 2007 housing crash. Sooner or later — within a few years, I predict — this latest Wall Street bubble, inflated by an egregious flood of phony money from the Federal Reserve rather than real economic gains, will explode, too.
Since the S.&P. 500 first reached its current level, in March 2000, the mad money printers at the Federal Reserve have expanded their balance sheet sixfold (to $3.2 trillion from $500 billion). Yet during that stretch, economic output has grown by an average of 1.7 percent a year (the slowest since the Civil War); real business investment has crawled forward at only 0.8 percent per year; and the payroll job count has crept up at a negligible 0.1 percent annually. Real median family income growth has dropped 8 percent, and the number of full-time middle class jobs, 6 percent. The real net worth of the “bottom” 90 percent has dropped by one-fourth. The number of food stamp and disability aid recipients has more than doubled, to 59 million, about one in five Americans.
So the Main Street economy is failing while Washington is piling a soaring debt burden on our descendants, unable to rein in either the warfare state or the welfare state or raise the taxes needed to pay the nation’s bills. By default, the Fed has resorted to a radical, uncharted spree of money printing. But the flood of liquidity, instead of spurring banks to lend and corporations to spend, has stayed trapped in the canyons of Wall Street, where it is inflating yet another unsustainable bubble.
When it bursts, there will be no new round of bailouts like the ones the banks got in 2008. Instead, America will descend into an era of zero-sum austerity and virulent political conflict, extinguishing even today’s feeble remnants of economic growth.
THIS dyspeptic prospect results from the fact that we are now state-wrecked. With only brief interruptions, we’ve had eight decades of increasingly frenetic fiscal and monetary policy activism intended to counter the cyclical bumps and grinds of the free market and its purported tendency to underproduce jobs and economic output. The toll has been heavy.
As the federal government and its central-bank sidekick, the Fed, have groped for one goal after another — smoothing out the business cycle, minimizing inflation and unemployment at the same time, rolling out a giant social insurance blanket, promoting homeownership, subsidizing medical care, propping up old industries (agriculture, automobiles) and fostering new ones (“clean” energy, biotechnology) and, above all, bailing out Wall Street — they have now succumbed to overload, overreach and outside capture by powerful interests. The modern Keynesian state is broke, paralyzed and mired in empty ritual incantations about stimulating “demand,” even as it fosters a mutant crony capitalism that periodically lavishes the top 1 percent with speculative windfalls.
AND
THE state-wreck ahead is a far cry from the “Great Moderation” proclaimed in 2004 by Mr. Bernanke, who predicted that prosperity would be everlasting because the Fed had tamed the business cycle and, as late as March 2007, testified that the impact of the subprime meltdown “seems likely to be contained.” Instead of moderation, what’s at hand is a Great Deformation, arising from a rogue central bank that has abetted the Wall Street casino, crucified savers on a cross of zero interest rates and fueled a global commodity bubble that erodes Main Street living standards through rising food and energy prices — a form of inflation that the Fed fecklessly disregards in calculating inflation.
These policies have brought America to an end-stage metastasis. The way out would be so radical it can’t happen. It would necessitate a sweeping divorce of the state and the market economy. It would require a renunciation of crony capitalism and its first cousin: Keynesian economics in all its forms. The state would need to get out of the business of imperial hubris, economic uplift and social insurance and shift its focus to managing and financing an effective, affordable, means-tested safety net.
All this would require drastic deflation of the realm of politics and the abolition of incumbency itself, because the machinery of the state and the machinery of re-election have become conterminous. Prying them apart would entail sweeping constitutional surgery: amendments to give the president and members of Congress a single six-year term, with no re-election; providing 100 percent public financing for candidates; strictly limiting the duration of campaigns (say, to eight weeks); and prohibiting, for life, lobbying by anyone who has been on a legislative or executive payroll. It would also require overturning Citizens United and mandating that Congress pass a balanced budget, or face an automatic sequester of spending.
It would also require purging the corrosive financialization that has turned the economy into a giant casino since the 1970s. This would mean putting the great Wall Street banks out in the cold to compete as at-risk free enterprises, without access to cheap Fed loans or deposit insurance. Banks would be able to take deposits and make commercial loans, but be banned from trading, underwriting and money management in all its forms.
It would require, finally, benching the Fed’s central planners, and restoring the central bank’s original mission: to provide liquidity in times of crisis but never to buy government debt or try to micromanage the economy. Getting the Fed out of the financial markets is the only way to put free markets and genuine wealth creation back into capitalism.
Such words of wisdom are mocked and scorned in our great star-spangled lemming colony - it is always easier to just blame it all on the weather, at least the rubes can understand it that way.