Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More comments on the financial crisis

Heather Mallick has this to say about the current crisis:
"The cost of a funeral can be more than $10,000," American International Group was telling – OK, threatening – Canadians in a TV commercial on the same day the memorial service for its U.S. parent was held courtesy of the Bush administration. The cost of the funeral for the world's biggest insurer was $85 billion. Even as they expired, the insulated Canadian branch that shares the AIG name was trying to sell low-income Canadians insurance to pay for their own coffins.

These huge, shambling gambling firms haven't caused enough trouble for their sentient customers; now even the corpses are headed for a pauper's grave.
But what does one say to a fallen giant? Shame on you? You Lehman boys go straight to your rooms and think about what you've done!?

So the Lehman lads are weathering it out upstairs because they didn't technically do anything wrong and they won't suffer. They created jewels out of old chunks of sewer brick and played them in a casino. The laws that sent Conrad Black to jail were ye olde obvious ones that anyone would have been a fool to break. What Wall Street did en masse was greedy and stupid, but there are no rules against that. Quite the contrary: everything in our modern ethos encourages it.
Some people find Mallick irritating, but she definitely has a way with words.

And as to how to pay for such a huge bailout, independent Senator Bernie Sanders (from that island of civilization, Vermont) has some ideas:
Amid one of the worst financial crises in American history, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today laid out a four-part plan to cope with the collapse of financial institutions and avoid future failures of businesses “too big to fail.”

First, Sanders proposed a surtax on the very wealthy to pay for bailouts of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and American International Group.

“The wealthiest 400 families in America saw an increase in their wealth of $670 billion since President Bush has been in office. They have seen extraordinary benefits under Bush’s reckless economic policies. The middle class, whose standard of living has declined, should not be paying for these bailouts. Rather, we need an emergency surtax on those at the very top in order to pay for any losses the federal government suffers as a result of necessary efforts to shore up the economy,” Sanders said.
He has other ideas too, notably this:
Third, he said giant businesses like Bank of America should be broken up so no company in the future could bring the American economy down with it. Said Sanders, “This country can no longer afford companies that are ‘too big to fail.’ If a company is so large that its failure would cause systemic harm to our economy, if it is too big to fail, then it is too big to exist.”
Thanks to Atomicat for the link.

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