Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wall Street is broken, but so is Washington

All is not quiet in the halls of Congress. Here is an example of the kind of discussions that are going on there.
I don't really want to trigger a world wide depression (that's not hyperbole, that's a distinct possibility), but I'm not voting for a blank check for $700 billion for those mother fuckers.

Nancy said she wanted to include the second "stimulus" package that the Bush Administration and congressional Republicans have blocked. I don't want to trade a $700 billion dollar giveaway to the most unsympathetic human beings on the planet for a few fucking bridges. I want reforms of the industry, and I want it to be as punitive as possible.

Henry Waxman has suggested corporate government reforms, including CEO compensation, as the price for this. Some members have publicly suggested allowing modification of mortgages in bankruptcy, and the House Judiciary Committee staff is also very interested in that. That's a real possibility.

We may strip out all the gives to industry in the predatory mortgage lending bill that the House passed last November, which hasn't budged in the Senate, and include that in the bill. There are other ideas on the table but they are going to be tough to work out before next week.

I also find myself drawn to provisions that would serve no useful purpose except to insult the industry, like requiring the CEOs, CFOs and the chair of the board of any entity that sells mortgage related securities to the Treasury Department to certify that they have completed an approved course in credit counseling. That is now required of consumers filing bankruptcy to make sure they feel properly humiliated for being head over heels in debt, although most lost control of their finances because of a serious illness in the family. That would just be petty and childish, and completely in character for me.

I'm open to other ideas, and I am looking for volunteers who want to hold the sons of bitches so I can beat the crap out of them.
I'm glad to see that not everyone in Congress is bought and paid for. At least not completely.

At the moment I would have to say that no one on Wall Street can be trusted, no Republican can be trusted, and Democrats better shed their blue dog coats or join the crowd of the untrusted.

This is a Washington insider -- Wall Street mess. It is based on the uncompromising view that Washington is the problem, not the solution -- which is true except that Wall Street is even worse. Free unregulated financial markets are always a disaster waiting to happen. This is a fact that the current credit crisis proves again.

The reason that Washington is part of the problem is that American politics runs on money, and Wall Street is a major source of that money. When Wall Street wants to avoid regulation, they throw money at Washington politicians. In fact, Wall Street has its own party - the Republicans. (Allied with the social conservatives.) That's why Washington is part of the problem.

Wall Street needs to be restructured and brought under control. But to do it, the Washington political scene also needs to be brought under control in ways that reduce the power of money over the government.

Wall Street is broken but so is Washington. The current mess clearly shows how dysfunctional they both are.

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