Saturday, January 17, 2009

Doom - Part Deux

It's here. Finally. Doom. Doom Part Deux, actually, as the fine folks over there at The Wall Street Journal Online have informed us that the "TARP Funds' Second Half Set For Release as Senate Signs Off on Request".

And how is that Doom, Part Deux, you ask? This is the second half of funds. (Now, "funds" is just a nicer term, one that doesn't get you all worked up into an angry and frenzied lather, for "taxpayer money". "Taxpayer money" is just a nicer term for "your money". But if the government said "your money" every time they actually said "funds", there would be an uprising amongst the villagers, torches and all, marching upon the White House, the Capitol, the Senate and even the Washington Memorial (just because people would be that angry.) So if this is the second half, what did they do with the first half? Good question. They don't really know exactly where all the money went and who did what with it. Bad answer.

Am I surprised? No, of course not, because I predicted this. Instead of focusing on the TARP bill itself, those self righteous, egotistical and self serving members of Congress held it hostage until they could have one of their little pet pork projects (the P-cubed) added into the bill. They clearly were not paying any attention to what the bill was about, as their heads were too far up their respective arses to pay attention to anything. All they wanted was to have their needs met so that they could feel good about themselves. (They really didn't need the TARP bill to do that. These guys suck and yet they act like they are doing a simply marvelous job. Well, they're not and their approval rating shows that their delusions of grandeur are not enough to persuade the majority of the country to believe them.)

There were things thrown in the TARP bill like:
  • $192 million to Virgin Island and Puerto Rican rum producers
  • $128 million to auto racing tracks
  • $33 million for corporations that operate in American Samoa
  • $10 million for small-to-medium budget film and TV productions
  • $18 billion in clean-energy incentives so businesses can give benefits to employees who bike to work
  • An extension of credits for businesses that employ people that live on Indian reservations
  • $10,000 tax credit for training of mine rescue team members
  • $6 million to the manufacturers of wooden arrows
  • Reduction of import duties on some imported wool fabrics, transfers other duties to Wool Trust Fund to promote competitiveness of American wool

(Bummer. I was really hoping for some sort of a P-cubed for blogs.) Arrows? Wooden freaking arrows? THAT was your priority, you asshats? (And who knew that we needed to beef up the American wool market? I'm trying to remember the last time I wore anything made of wool. Actually, I'm trying to remember the last time I wanted to wear anything made of wool. Huh. That would be never. On both counts.) You wanted to borrow $700 billion from the taxpayers and the taxpayers relented because we're told that if this didn't happen that day the nation's economic situation would worse and we would be reading about the Great Depression and wishing that we had it so good! Not only did it take you over a week to pass the TARP bill (that's where the red flags went up for me. What happened to now? Oh, right. You have to write your wooden arrow proposal and shove it in there first. Good Lord. Could you please use one of those arrows and shoot it at me please?)

So while you guys were worried about yourselves and how self-important you could feel about everything when it was done, you seem to have overlooked one key element in this whole dealio. You didn't include anything about G-D accountability! There wasn't anything in there about how to track the money that was being given to the banks (so that they could have some cash flow and feel OK about beginning to lend more freely again). There wasn't anything in there about how the money was supposed to be used once it was given to the banks! And guess what happened?

Correct. You gave away the first half of the money (at least someone put some restraint on that plan) in your "effort" to help out banks that were having cash flow problems because they were too incompetent to not loan all of their money to people who can't afford to pay it back. And the banks took that money (who wouldn't?) but they don't seem to have done what they said they were going to do with it. Interesting. Oh, wait! That's right! There weren't any provisions on what they had to do with the money, that's right! They could have taken that money and built amusement parks that catered to child molesters, as there was nothing that said they couldn't and nothing could have been done if they had. Good plan! What's the plan for Round Two?

The same thing?!!? Are you effing kidding me?!

Basically, yes, that's the plan. This time, they are asking for the other half, the rest of the $700 billion of our money to be released so that they can use it to "spend $50 billion to $100 billion on a "sweeping" foreclosure-prevention effort." But they seem to be keeping the "how" part of that plan a secret, because I can't find any details on what they plan to do with that boatload of money. It wouldn't matter anyway, as their plan is flawed based upon that statement quoted above.

Everyone seems to be acting as if those who are being "foreclosed upon" and are "going to lose their home" are those who have been victims of these terrible economic times. They act as if every single foreclosure that is occurring is happening to someone who was perfectly capable and able and willing to pay for their mortgage and did...right up until the s-storm hit the financial sector. They act as if no one took out loans that they couldn't afford to pay back and now their home is in foreclosure. They act as if no one bought several houses with the intention of flipping them and making a profit and, unfortunately, did so right as everything finally started to fall apart and now they're stuck with a bunch of houses that they can't sell. They act as if no one bought houses with falsely (yet unknown at the time) inflated prices and when the price of the home dropped, they were then upside-down on their mortgage and decided to just walk away from it. All of those things are happening more often than people who are just hit with "troubled economic times".

You can't lump all of those situations into just one big pile and call it "the foreclosure problem" and then throw money at it to try to fix it. Do any of these Senators, Congressmen, Representatives have any sort of background or history in economics? Do any of them have any sort of economic education? Economic degrees? Anything at all relating to how the economy works? The answer is approximately 15%. That's not enough.

But you know what would be even better than those guys having any sort of knowledge about how the economy works and how banking systems work? What would be better is if any of them had the slightest hint of what reality looks like. If any of them could just come back down to earth for a while and see what's really going on, they might be able to craft a better solution than to simply bellow out, "More money, please!" (I picture them doing so dressed like kings, with a big turkey leg in one hand and a goblet of grog. Wait, grog was for pirates, right? What did kings drink? Ah, we'll pretend they captured the pirates and stole their grog.)

"The Obama team hasn't detailed where it will direct the next $350 billion beyond foreclosure efforts. It is expected to continue purchasing equity in financial institutions and might also buy troubled assets clogging the financial system." But wait. They already did that! That didn't work! Why are you going to keep doing it?! This doesn't sound very much like "change", Barry! I distinctly remember being promised "change"!

In case you have been too busy swooning over Barry to realize this, let me point out that he makes more statements that say absolutely nothing, yet you think that he's said something! And not only that, you think that he's said something brilliant and important! But in reality, he's just given you a bread sandwich. Two pieces of bread, a little bread sauce, bread in the middle, that's it. Nothing to it.

You want to have the American people have "faith" in you, Barry? You need to first figure out WHY the economy is the way it is BEFORE you throw more money at it. You also need to figure out WHY the first half of the TARP money didn't do any good. While you're at it, figure out where that first half of the TARP money went. Then, before any more perfectly good cash gets thrown out the window, start holding people accountable. Start putting provisions in place so that this won't happen again. This pile-o'-crap that the country is in right now didn't just blow in like Hurricane Katrina. This was man-made. Greed made this s-storm happen. But has anyone been held accountable? No. No one. If there aren't any consequences, what's to stop this from happening all over again? Nothing. Which, coincidentally, is exactly what we will all have left by the time you're done spending all of that money without knowing what in the world you're doing.

Doomed. Our doom-ation is upon us. I'm serious. This will not end well. Take those wooden arrows and shoot me with them. Dip them in poison, set them on fire and shoot me with them. The agony from that will be a lot less painful than how this TARP thing is going to turn out.

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Ruth@VS said...


Same thing happening across the pond here - a second bailout on the way, equivalent, it is said, to £33,000 per taxpayer.

Good to know all the money I have paid in taxes is being put to good use...

Mare said...

Ugh. I didn't need to know that. At least if only the US were doomed, I figured there was always the UK to defect (or return) to.

Yes, if your bailout money has been spent at all like the bailout money over here, well, welcome to Doom!

~ M