Posted in Americana on November 5th, 2008 by Дмитрий

I likes me a nice bloodbath. Especially one that is so well-deserved. Even if it’s too late to save the country from the disaster caused by my parents’ generation, I’m glad that generation is moving out of power.

Of course, not all is peachy: California’s bigots carry the night, Winston-Salem retains its resident devil-lady.

Now the big question is: Which media companies will go under first now that Obama isn’t giving them millions in ad dollars every night?

Poor McCain. You know he was cringing at the monsters he’d created in that audience tonight, who heckled and booed in shameless viciousness in a way never before seen in concession speeches. It goes to show what a sham his whole life is now. Eight years ago he was John McCain - a Republican I canvassed for and voted for as a registered Republican (which I still am). Now he’s a sour old geezer inhabiting a body that looks like the old McCain but really bears no resemblance in any other way.

A Message for My Generation:

Posted in Economics on November 6th, 2008 by Дмитрий

He’s a fab guy, but he isn’t going to fix the horrible things we’ve done to our society and our species.

We have a lot of shit to do. Our nation’s balance sheet stands somewhere in the region of -$50 Trillion. With a ‘T’. That’s over $10 Trillion in federal debt, about $10 Trillion in state and local debts, $20 Trillion in cash borrowed from the Social Security and Medicare trusts to fund war and corporate subsidies, and well over $10 Trillion in consumer and commercial debt.

The point is, we owe a shitload of money. Our society has been living on its credit cards for a generation and the party is over. Asset-price bubbles can no longer support this fake wealth, exhausted Chinese and Russian workers can’t keep paying us to buy their cheap plastic junk and hydrocarbons, and now our parents want to retire, and they actually expect that they’ll be able to liquidate all that wealth they’ve tied up in stocks and houses by selling them to us kids who are weighed down with more student loan and investment debt than any other population in history.

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Gay Gay Gay… Yay!

Posted in Get In My Head, Sods on November 9th, 2008 by Дмитрий

It’s odd… I have had the luxury over most of my adult life of spurning the idea of a “gay community” as something that I was alienated from and wanted nothing to do with. I felt a huge superiority complex over most homosexuals who felt the need to spend a large portion of their lives (specifically their social lives) in the presence of other homosexuals.

On the one hand I still feel this way - I feel that if I’m to have any sort of sustainable and productive life that the majority of people I meet will be straight, since the majority of people are straight. I also am still somewhat anti-social and socially inept and the idea of going to any of the events or gatherings that typify ‘gay life’ makes me shudder with dread. On the other hand, I’ve started to see that most homos have sort of ‘come of age’ with the advent of partial large-scale tolerance and the recent issue of same-sex marriage and partnership rights.

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Bailing Out the Bailout

Posted in Economics on November 12th, 2008 by Дмитрий

I find it amusing how straightforward even its major supporters are about calling the nationalization of global financial risk a ‘bail out’, with its implication that criminals are getting out of jail. It’s pretty fitting considering how much they’ve screwed up our country/world.

What is especially destructive about the shenanigans in Washington is that they are rewarding the fuckups and punishing prudence, quite splendidly and candidly. I really wish that those who were still working hard to keep up and managing to stay above water would get a bone here and there.

Since we’re already nationalizing risk and converting ourselves into a command economy, maybe we could do a few small things to encourage still-employed taxpayers to keep going to those jobs and funding the bailouts for the fuckup businessmen? Here’s a few things I’d propose:

  • Cut a point off the interest rates of all mortgages that have been consistently paid on time.
  • Bump up 6-month+ CD rates by a point to reward savers who are keeping the banks solvent with their miniscule savings.
  • Give one cent tax credit for every dollar of cash worth an individual with zero debt and zero equity investment has (especially good for older savers from our more prudent Depression-era past).

Big Business Socialism - Individual Capitalism

Posted in Economics on November 25th, 2008 by Дмитрий

Exactly what makes a business ‘too big to fail’? The Treasury has tapped more than two trillion dollars in new public debt over the past few months to save failing businesses, businesses that will still have to take drastic measures to stay open, such as cutting thousands of jobs and fire-selling assets.

One has to wonder: is this an investment in our industrial and financial stock, or a fleecing? Executive pay has never been higher, while individual wealth has hardly been lower for decades. We are definitely wasting our national wealth.

This is not a short-term blip on the economic screen. Every pundit and most administration and government officials acknowledge this now. It’s just the start of a long readjustment to more sustainable levels of debt and the remonetization of global commerce and asset prices.

In such an environment, reinflating debt leverage is not going to result in any long- (or even medium-) term retrenchment or recovery - this wealth will be destroyed or simply expatriated into sealed Swiss vaults for the filthy rich that are still heading these companies.

I say let them go bust. Let the economy shrink by half. Let the dollar crash. We will have to inflate our way out of this once it does anyway. Let the time that’s left before we become Zimbabwe be used to shovel money into schools, technical training, health care, and intellectual property documentation, preservation and protection. I’m not opposed to ballooning the public debt for the sake of trains, schools and a new green grid. But the current use of the Federal credit card is the equivalent of foregoing a trip to the doctor in favor of buying a new cathode-ray tube analog TV at twice the MSRP. What a waste this country’s enormous potential is becoming. We need to reeducate ourselves as a society with new, useful skills in the “other third” of the economy that is not dependent on ever higher levels of consumer spending and debt.

I actually started out as a fan of the idea of buying distressed mortgage-backed assets from banks (the original purpose of the bailout, and something which really was never actually done) because it would stabilize the market and eventually we could re-sell them a few decades from now when they were worth something again. But the administration is now using that cash like confetti at a wedding, tossing it about with no real plan or rationale or long-term idea of how to get it back. It’s mostly just landing in firm’s bank accounts and allowing them to throw out fat bonuses and continue to burn money and delay the inevitable crash (whilst turning it into a super-crash for the Treasury).

I’m not necessarily in favor of mortgage rescues for the ‘little guy’ or handouts for the newly destitute. I’m not against it, either. But I think the best stimulus we can give this economy is a solid investment in the productivity of the next generation: education, green infrastructure, and geopolitical retrenchment. It’s sad when I find myself agreeing with my odious home congresswoman, but these unending bailouts are a bad deal for America, and for the world economy.