Thursday, February 19, 2009

Two thoughts about Capitalism… and a rant

I had two thoughts about capitalism today.

One is this notion people started promoting in the last several months to defend capitalism in light of deregulation: “well, it’s not capitalism that’s bad, it’s unregulated capitalism that’s bad.” Well, what do you call it when government allows these things to run amok, then bails them out? Is that deregulated? In the true sense of the term “regulation”, I imagine it is, but I am just wondering, when we’ve never seen the real results of just letting the idiots who got themselves into a mess deal with their shit—and be held personally accountable by shareholders—will markets ever regulate themselves? That might be the key we’re missing to a truly “free” market.

The other thought I had is, if Henry Paulson, Bernanke, Geithner, or any of these other guys talking about a “global meltdown” is right, then did we ever have a free market at all? Or do we just have what’s essentially a Ponzi scheme, controlled by an oligarchy? Because, in theory, a good chunk of the population of the world will come out on top of this thing. Most people I know never overspent and they have money in the bank. I happen to be one of these people. If prices collapse, that would actually be a good thing for people like me, and it should be relatively indifferent for people who have 30 year fixed mortgages in homes they actually intend to live in for a while. Why is this bad?

And yet, Obama wants to bail out the people who bought houses they can’t afford…. with our tax dollars (sorry – grand children’s tax dollars, since this is all borrowed). I just don’t get the logic behind this if we live in a “free market.” And I certainly don’t get why people are happily going along with all of this. Every one of these bailouts should have been stopped immediately. Bailout 1.0, aka Paulson’s gravy train, aka T.A.R.P., had a lot of people calling their congressmen and complaining. It got voted down once. Since then, we haven’t seen anything but more bailouts go right through. Obama’s newest one is the homeowners who bought overpriced homes with not enough income.

Furthermore, the programs that Roosevelt set up in the New Deal, which failed in their own right, were already going to bankrupt this country! Now we’re enacting even more programs, borrowing even more money. Soon the US will be borrowing to pay the interest on this debt. Our government will be rescuing all of the clowns who took out Option-A “Pick your Payment” mortgages by taking one out on itself.

If I wasn’t just so shocked that people are ok with this, I’d be angry. Now I’m just resigned to all of my earnings, children’s earnings and grandchildren’s are going to be pissed away into the black hole of irresponsible debt they formed. That’s capitalism? Sounds like socialism to me.

Oh well. Who is John Galt?

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