Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I'm by no means what you'd call a student of history, but I've read a bit here and there. Take the French Revolution. Oppressed people rising up to overthrow a decadent aristocracy. Chaos taking over and people marching through the streets with heads on pike staffs. I've never really understood how human beings could reach that sort of irrational level.
Then I watched Henry Paulson today on This Week.
Again, I didn't major in economics, but I think even a layman like myself can see that our current financial clusterfuck was created in large part by the massive deregulation set in motion by Reagan and the conservatives who've had the bulk of the political power for the last two-and-a-half decades. Wall Street and friends were freed to make as much money as they wanted without all that pesky government oversight and, oh brother, they did.
Now, even hypocritical assholes like John "Remember the Keating 5" McCain are trying to distance themselves from this mess while at the same time refusing to hold their corporate buddies accountable.
So you can imagine how my blood pressure shot through the fucking roof this morning as I listened to Hank Paulson explain that there simply wasn't time to make sure that this legislation bailing out A.I.G. and sundry other financial entities included provisions to put a cap on executive compensation. In other words, a bunch of assholes got to carjack the American financial system and crash it into a wall to see how cool airbags look when expanding and now they get out of going to jail while we're stuck with a trashed Chevette.
Lame analogy, but you get the point.
And not only do these douchebags get to keep their diamond-encrusted platinum parachutes, but Paulson says we shouldn't be doing anything to help out the people who got suckered into taking out loans they couldn't really afford.
Listen, I understand the meaning of personal responsibility. I do. But when you approach a relatively unsophisticated person--let's say someone who has, at best, a high school education--who's spent their entire life eking out a living in one crappy, low-paying job or another and you tell that person that you can give them the chance to buy their own home; if you set things up so that, if this person doesn't know enough to dig a little past the shit you're feeding them to find out what actual risks they're taking; when you do all this because it helps you and your company make a shitload of money no matter what happens to the borrower, then the little guy isn't at fault. You (the predatory lender) are.
But that's not how Paulson sees it. He said--and I'm quoting--"We want to help people who want to stay in their homes and have the financial ability to do so." He said that these borrowers don't want to "stay in their homes and face up to their responsibilities." Yes, you're right, Mr. Secretary. Most of these lazy fucks only bought their homes because they were hoping to get kicked out of them. Who wants to stay in their home?
So I can kind of understand now what drove the mobs during the Reign of Terror to drag assholes like Paulson up to the platform and introduce him to Lady Guillotine. I'm not, mind you, saying that I honestly feel that violence is the solution here. But let's try to keep things somewhat equitable here and not just take care of the wealthy while suggesting that the victims of predatory lending practices should just eat cake.