Tuesday, September 30, 2008

For Cryin' Out Loud, Just PASS The Bill!

I'm sure that somewhere out there (most likely in Florida) a female teacher is having sex with her students, someone who is not wearing any pants is robbing some convenience store and a large snake or stray bull, steer and/or cow has escaped from it's home and is roaming about a major freeway. I'm sure these things are happening and are extremely mockable. However, there will be plenty of pantsless robbers for me to write about in the future after the US economy completely collapses and the entire country gets to experience the 2008 version of The Great Depression, live and in person. I hope you like dust.

If you've been living under a rock for the past few days and have no idea what I'm talking about, that's actually pretty good, as shortly there is going to be a huge run on rocks to live under and you already have yours staked out and will avoid the stampede. That's good. But if that scenario doesn't take place, then you're just another uninformed, under a rock, rock-dweller. While I can't do much about the rock-dwelling (hey, who am I to judge?), I can do a bit about the uninformed part. That is, to help the 'neath=rockers become more informed. But only, only if they read. They have to pull their share. Trying to get something for nothing is how this whole mess came to be in the first place.

See, you know all of that money that we've been putting into banks for the past, oh, I'd say....always? Yeah, that money. Well, see, the problem is that the banks? Yeah, they don't have it anymore. No, they gave it away. I know, I know, you think I made a mistake and I should have wrote that they "loaned it all out" and not "they gave it away". Nope, no mistake there. They gave it away. They might have thought they were loaning it out, but when you "loan" money to someone that you know can't pay you back? That's called "giving". Big difference. But that's what happened. The banks thought that it would be a really good idea to loan people money to buy a house that they couldn't afford. Yes, I know that sounds stupid. But let me finish. Maybe it won't sound so stupid then.

So they loaned all of this money to people who couldn't afford the houses that they were buying because the banks just figured that, since real estate prices kept going up, they would assume and act as if the real estate prices would always go up and that way they could lend money to people who could just sell the house when they couldn't pay for it anymore and the banks would get their money back that way. Now does it sound stupid? It does? Well, good. That's because it still is.

Naturally, what ended up happening is that after a while, say four or five years, the banks were still waiting to get their money back. What they apparently didn't anticipate was that the real estate market would eventually be glutted with overpriced houses that people couldn't afford to buy and that people couldn't afford to live in. And since the people that bought the houses that they couldn't afford weren't exactly financial wizards, they didn't put them up for sale themselves and instead let them go into foreclosure. The foreclosure process takes quite a while to complete to the point of having the home sold. So as a ton of houses are going into foreclosure, overpriced houses aren't selling (hey, I cannot buy a home AND a tank of gas at the same time! Who can?), people aren't buying because prices are too high and there aren't any homes left anyways, and the banks don't get their money back. Sheer genius, I tell you. On the part of everyone who was involved at any level with this. Sheer genius.

So now the banks don't have any money. And it's not like it's just one bank. No, moronic banks all across the country were behaving like this. (Why? How about if I said that those who sell the houses and those who broker the loans get a big, fat commission for each one that they do? Then would it become a bit clearer? I thought so.) Now banks can't lend money to each other or to small businesses or to people who want to buy a house that they can afford, or anything like that requires loaning money. They don't HAVE anymore.

Well, no sense in staying in business if you don't have any product to sell. It would be like if KFC ran out of chicken. Unless you wanted to change the name to KFB (Kentucky Fried Batter), you'd be shuttering the doors to the deep frying coop shortly. And banks did the same thing. Next thing you know, banks are going under, people are panicking, stocks are plunging and the whole thing is just cats and dogs, living together, mass hysteria. (My thoughts? I'm expecting a huge run on shovels, so that people can dig holes in the backyard to bury their money in, and I'm expecting a huge run on mattresses so that people can hide their money under them. So invest heavily in mattresses and shovels and you'll be fine. And after you do, come see me and check to see if I still have the Brooklyn Bridge for sale, because I could probably cut you a pretty good deal. You know, since we're friends and all.)

And here's where I start to get a little testy about the whole thing. What has to happen now is that the financial institutions (known as the banks run by greedy dimwits) need to get some money. So the Federal Government wants to, essentially, loan (or give. Some say give.) the banks the money. They want to buy up all of their mortgages that are outstanding (and by outstanding I mean that no one is paying for them. I do not mean all of the "great mortgages" when I say that.) and that way the banks will get their money back and it will be business as semi-usual. What? Oh, how much? Well, for the eight of you who actually read this, you'll remember that the other day I explained that they need $700 billion dollars. Not necessarily because they really need that much, but because they needed a really large number and that's the one they chose.

Sure, it's a buttload of money. It's several buttloads of money. (Because you could never fit all of that money in one butt.) But the US is a pretty rich country and with "rich" comes buttloads of money. But here's the thing: If the banks don't have any more money, they can't lend money. That means that people, like small businesses, etc., can't get money. If they can't get money, they close up shop. If they're closed, their employees get laid off. With people being laid off, the free spending of money as if someone had opened up a freaking spigot stops. When money spending stops, then the cycle continues to repeat itself until we're all wearing barrels or sandwich boards. (Actually, the only people who will be wearing the sandwich boards will be morons because they thought that they could eat it when the next food shortage came along.) For reals.

So all of the lawmakers congregate in Washington, DC to try and hammer out a deal. Originally, it was a 2 page document that gave the $700 billion to Henry Paulson to do with what he would without any oversight from anyone. Of course, the anal retentive, control freaks in Washington flipped out when they heard that and thus began two days of negotiation which turned the 2 page document into a 132 page document that was to be up for a vote on Monday. And remember, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and many, many economists are all saying that if something isn't done soon, everything will fall apart. AND also remember that, just to show that they weren't kidding, Washington Mutual, which has been around since 1889 (which is almost as long as John McCain has been around) folded over the weekend while everyone was working on their "deal". Gone. The end.

So a company that had been around for 119 years couldn't wait TWO days until this Financial Assistance package was completed and had to go out of business and sell off it's $31 billion dollars in assets to JP Morgan for $1.8 billion. And that's without a coupon! Naturally, that would persuade some of the lawmakers to just pass the thing, whatever it is, just pass it so that our economy, which is now starting to resemble a Jenga tower towards the end of the game, doesn't collapse into shambles, right? Oh, please.

They thought it was done. They thought it would pass. It didn't. And what do you think happened? Exactly. The Dow plunged 777 points, the largest one day drop EVER. Nice job, Reps. Nice job. What in the hell is wrong with you people? (Mark my words, if they do not agree on this thing on Tuesday, the drop will be twice as much.) And here's where I go ballistic.

Do you know how many freaking committees there are to regulate and supervise the very departments and sectors of the financial systems of this country? Let me list a few. We have:

  • The governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • The Board of Directors of the FDIC
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission
  • The Federal Advisory Committee
  • The Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
  • The Committee on the Budget
  • The Committee on the Finance of the Senate
  • The Committee on Financial Services
  • The Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency

The various members of these various committees and boards (and I've just listed TEN of them. There ARE more.) are made up of members of the House of Representatives! These committees and boards are supposed to oversee the financial system of the country and regulate it so that disaster doesn't strike. Well what in the hell have they been doing the past four or five years?! And NOW they're all concerned that something might be done without their oversight? Are you kidding me? You're already supposed to be overseeing things? What have you people been doing??!

Clearly, people weren't doing their jobs. That's nothing new when it comes to elected officials. But what burns my toast is that these people have the freaking nerve to, once again, act all concerned about the situation and what they can do to save it when they were the ones that created the mess in the first place by doing NOTHING! Don't show up NOW and tell me that YOU want oversight. That's what you should have been doing, you morons, you! AND on top of that, those who know their economic stuff are telling you that it is going to be financially disastrous if the now 100+ bill doesn't pass and something isn't done. So what do you do? Do you pass the bill? Hell, no! Instead, you make it so the bill does NOT pass and the stock market drops like the rocks that must in your heads.

So when all of the fraud was going on in the real estate and mortgage lending game, you didn't want to listen then. When you're on these committees to oversee the industry and you learn about these things, you didn't want to listen then. And then after you're told that not giving Federal help to these banks will significantly damage the economy, you still don't listen and don't pass the bill because NOW, suddenly, YOU want to start doing your job? Screw you and don't let the door hit you in your cowardly ass on the way out. (The cowardly ass, by the way, was originally slated to be one of the three characters that accompanied Dorothy on her magical journey to Oz and then was unceremoniously replaced by that lion fellow.) Once again, you showed that you only care about yourselves, being as how a whole lot of you are up for re-election in November and you saw a "yes" vote as being not as politically productive for you as a "no" vote.


Come November on Election Day, I've decided to simply vote for whoever the challenger is to any seat in the House of Representatives that is up for grabs. I don't care if it's a goat rapist running against the incumbent, I'm voting for the goat rapist! And I encourage everyone else to vote against the incumbents as well. Don't worry about what your party affiliation is; just always vote for the goat rapist! I want all of them booted out and I want to just start over. What a bunch of jackasses! If you people wanted to do your damn job so badly, why didn't you?! What was stopping you?!! Oh, that's right, because you're jackasses! Once again, I remind those folks that their JOB was to make sure that NONE of this could HAPPEN! And they're worried about votes? Grand.




Stay tuned and see if either a) the House passes the bill tomorrow, or b) if I have a coronary if they don't. Either one, a fair to partly cloudy possibility. (In the interim, I'd like to apologize to all of the goats out there that I may have offended or frightened by participating in and encouraging the electing of public officials prone to fornicating with members of your species. Sorry 'bout that.)

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