Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, Emporium!

I realize it's been awhile since I've updated this thing (or "Hulked Out," as I'd like to call it if a certain harshly-worded cease-and-desist letter from Marvel Comics Group didn't prevent me from saying that, and if a certain harshly-worded warrant for my arrest didn't prevent me from painting myself green and running around downtown wearing nothing but the tattered remains of my pants), but I've been stewing about something today that I feel bears ranting about by me, the 9 millionth person to mention it: Banks. (No, not Carlton Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. That guy was delightful. The money kind of banks.) Specifically I'd like to say this: "Hey banks, suck a bag of dicks! (Thank you, Louis C.K). Also, congress can go ahead and suck a bag, too. And the Senate...big bag for those guys over there.

Let's delve a little deeper (not into the bag of dicks, eww). So, in addition to the current clusterfuck of joblessness, houselessness, and general unhappiness and stress-induced-diarrhea...ness of the American populace at large, it seems banks are failing left, right and center. So, today, the White House (the people inside it, not the house itself...but a talking house would be AWESOME) announced it's plan to try and stem the bleeding, to keep the banks going, and basically keep us all from reenacting that one scene from It's A Wonderful Life where it turns out that the money is actually in Joe's house and Fred's house and etc. (See? My titles are ALWAYS relevant. Today's was a line from said movie. And George Bailey ran a savings & loan. Suck it, bitches.) Basically, the gub'mint is going to pony up a bunch of dough to private investors, so they'll buy up all these so-called toxic assets the banks have, given that there's very little risk involved with the government-backed cash. Worst case scenario, the investors lose a little cabbage and the government absorbs the majority of the hit, and they're already so far in the hole, they're hitting egg rolls, so fuck it (digging to China, kids, keep up here). Best case, the plan actually works, and the government and investors split the profits . These "toxic assets" are mostly bad mortgages and real estate fuck-ups and etc. (The fact that these are still even considered "assets" shows you just how screwed we really are) that are really really hard to sell to anyone ever, let alone in a market as thin and desperate as the one the country's in. Allowing the investors such a low risk opportunity will hopefully generate enough cash flow to keep the banks going, and will kick start the "Horray! We're Not Starving to Death This Week!" Bonanza and box social. (God help me, I love a good box social). The problem is, in order to do that, the government's gonna have to spend a lot more on these bunk loans then they're actually worth, which even then may not be enough to get the investors' dicks hard enough to start buying, and we're all screwed just a little harder than when we started.

Mind, this is all in order to keep the banks intact as-is. Management structure, business model, etc. etc. just chuggin' along like the fuckin' broke-down Pinto that got us into this pit of despair in the first place.

The other, better option is temporary nationalization. The goverment takes control of the banks, absorbs their losses, restructures things, fixes up the books and, once everything's viable again, re-privatizes them. Basically, the government says "Ok, banks, you drove drunk and wrecked the car, so you're grounded. And we're taking the car, fixing it up, and driving it around ourselves for a couple of weeks to teach you a lesson. Oh yeah, and suck a bag of dicks." Sounds like a viable, even intelligent option. Mention the word "nationalization," however and damn near everyone loses their shit. The phrase "Commie Pinko fuck!" is thrown around a lot. "Socialism!" is a popular one too. The fear is twofold. One: The government will like having the banks and won't give them up, and pretty soon it's 1984. (The book, not the year. I'm pretty sure they can't make 1984 happen again. Besides...you know...Rick Astley again. And Oingo Boingo. And Bananarama. Then, eventually, Quiet Riot. I can't handle that a second time.) Two: The government is no good at running banks and will fuck it up.


NO ONE involved in the economic recovery plan favors permanent nationalization. It's a temporary measure to help construct a permanent solution. They're even taking to calling it "pre-privatization" in an effort to soften it up enough for the GOP and all the scared little bunnies to swallow the pill without having it wrapped in cheese. Or, maybe that is the cheese...and it's dogs, not bunnies that like...fuck, bad metaphor. Bail!


If the last couple of years have proven anything, it's that BANKS DON'T KNOW HOW TO RUN BANKS! "Yeah, keep grinding that transmission, Junior. That's the way. No, the smoke is normal. Yup, the fire, too. What? It fell out? Well, let's put a shiny new tranny in that fucker and try again! Where's my Johnnie Walker?!?"

I get what the administration is trying to do. They're trying to gain as much support as they can by taking the least drastic measures they can see being effective. Nationalization is kind of Orwellian in scope, at least a little, and it understandably frightens people. Here's the thing: The problem got so big, so fast, that nothing but a drastic measure will provide effective enough relief. FACT: Even if no bail out or government assisted loans or anything else were done, the economy would evenually right itself. Most major economic theorists will tell you this, and the concept is supported by the principles of Game Theory (read A Beautiful Mind, you'll get the gist). Things will even out and reach some level of normalcy without any out of the ordinary intervention at all. Eventually. Say, five years time. Maybe ten.

But if the goal is to minimize the suffering of the American people, and the people around the world, then the aim is to right this fuckin' apple cart tout suite, Captain, not wait til the raccoons get at it, then get more apples from the apple trees that eventually grow from the seeds the raccoons poop out. (Now THAT'S a fuckin' metaphor!) We need results as soon as possible, and the only remotely assured way to do that is by the DRASTIC , SCARY ACTION of nationalization. FOR A LITTLE WHILE. The government logically has more resources at its disposal than private businesses, regardless of how large they may be, and can provide more immediate and guaranteed relief. It's going to happen anyway, why not just make it happen before there are two or three more failed attempts at making everyone happy? Socialism be damned, if our 401k's are gonna get better, this is how it's gonna go down. Marx my words. Oops. I mean mark....OR DID I?!?!?!?!?!

In the interest of full disclosure, I will make it known that I am, in spirit, a socialist. I'm also not a fucking moron, so I realize that Socialism very rarely exists without the sacrifice of too many individual freedoms, and as such, cannot stand. I firmly believe that, while not perfect, that the American Republic is a pretty damn good form of government at heart, and I believe enough in the resilience of the American people to say that eventually, we're going to be fine. But I also believe that we can't trust the businesses that have failed time and time again and expect them to succeed with the same way of doing things, and worse, the same fuckwits at the top who stuck it in and broke it off in the first place. Let's just bite the fucking bullet on this one, do what needs to be done to get things back on track, and then, let's all get piss drunk and sing Dropkick Murphys' songs until we vomit freedom.

Also...man, there were a lot of dick references in today's post.....Meh. Politics, I guess.