Financial Reform

You remember Simon Johnson’s “The Quiet Coup” we discussed awhile back? Here is Johnson talking about the “doom cycle” this past March.

Simon Johnson on the Doom Cycle (MMBM) from Roosevelt Institute on Vimeo.

We learned today that the House and Senate have agreed on a finance reform bill and are prepared to pass it into law. Tim Fernholz has a brief explanation of the major provisions. I will keep an eye out for other analyses of the bill.

Fernholz believes the bill really does diminish the likelihood of future “bailouts” of the financial sector. Andrew Leonard calls the bill a “deeply flawed success” that is worthy of guarded optimism.

BTW, do you remember a time when we didn’t have to guard our optimism? I certainly don’t.

10 thoughts on “Financial Reform

  1. Guard my optimism?

    When you ain’t got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose.

    I find myself agreeing with the interviewee more every time I take stock of where we are.

  2. I’m ok with a “Doom Cycle.” As long as some of the rich join us in the doom.
    But they never do, do they? They ‘doom’ everyone else while they seem to continue to ‘boom.’

    My outlook on life has changed in the last few years.
    I once believed in peaceful protests and civil disobedience to manifest change. Violence was out! “Change has got to come!”
    But watching this, my, ‘generation of swine’ (thanks, Hunter S. Thompson), I see that greed knows no bounds. We passed any educable moments last year and this early this year. They thought big bonuses were their due after ruining our national and other international economies, and their own companies, whose survival depended on us, the “SMALL” people, coming to bail their sorry, failing asses from world-wide Armageddon with our, NOW THEIR, money. Their take on this? “Well, that went well, wouldn’t you say? Time for bonuses and magnums of Rothchilde, boy! Oh, and on YOUR tab, again. Thanks! Now, piss the fuck off, will you!”
    I have reconciled myself to the knowledge that I have no future. I’m about beyond the point of help. I’m not looking anymore for a career. I just want a job. Somthing to give me the bare essentials. I can’t expect more at this age.
    This country has no future either if we don’t stop these greedy bastards, and stop them hard and fast and soon.
    In the overall scheme of things, was the legislation that was passed yesterday an improvement? Yes. But a pitiful one. It may hold off the next fall caused by greed a little bit. But, as sure as the sun rises in the east, and conservatives may have something in their chests that beats (but it isn’t a heart), the next catastrophe is around the corner, and will only be worse. I’m sure Mr. Dimon will continue to do ‘God’s work,’ which is apparently to fuck over anyone making less than 6 figures in this world, which is the vast, vast majority of us, and rewarding the greediest among us with double digit profits, rather than 9X9 foot cells in maximum security on Death Row (If you execute someone for killing a few, how about doing the same for these people who have caused unknown numbers of deaths). They have the best God money can buy!
    Rip America.
    The American Dream is dead.
    Long live the New American Dream. The 2nd French Revolution. And, yes, I’m totally fucking serious.
    I won’t care how much the market ‘spikes’ up or down in a given day, as long as I can sit there and watch your rotting fucking head on a pike Mr. Dimon, from sun-up to sun-down, I’m a happy fucking camper. It won’t substitute for a meal. It won’t be ‘Sports Center’ or Stewart or Colbert, but, it’ll fill my heart and soul with joy.
    As I said. My outlook has changed over the years. May God, if he/she/it exists, forgive my soul. And if not, I still won’t be anywhere near as hot a place as these greedy swine. Something makes me thinks Satan likes pork cracklin’s, so these folks skin, roasted fresh every day, will, I’m sure be on a plate near him, his favorite BBQ dipping-sauce nearby.
    Eat the rich, as P. J. said. But don’t order them rare or medium-rare. These vermin are full of vermin. So, well-done or stewed millionaire/billionaire, is the way to go. With a fine chianti, and some fave beans…

  3. Attempting to negotiate with the banking industry is like negotiating with someone burglarizing your house. We’ve got to stop being nice with the finance industry and just take it back to the 1950’s woodshed for a good ol’ whoopin’.

  4. cundgulag – ?this should make you feel better? The Senate has decided that ‘we’ can’t afford to extend, with a time limit, unemployment insurance which will cost far less than 1% of the budget, and the same Senate will fight until its dying day to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich which will, over a period of 8 years, gouge a fucking $6 trillion out of the budget.

    What’s happening to you and millions of the rest of us is tragic and very real. Oh, and by the way, a billionaire with an estate worth billions recently died and not a penny of those billions was taxed thanks to the Kings of Mean, read the United States Senate.

  5. The Doom Cycle: Nothing new, but interesting. I looked up ‘extortion’ recently and found this: when a criminal element terrorizes (the local ma and pa owned corner deli) threatening ma and pa’s (deli) with extinction if they don’t pay protection money it’s called extortion. It’s illegal.

    When the financial sector sends thousands of lobbyists to Congress threatening members with political extinction if they don’t pass legislation favorable to the Street – or at least not unfavorable to the Street – it’s called business as usual. It’s perfectly legal.

    Another strange dichotomy: If I damage someone’s property, according to the law I must pay damages to the owner. If a corporation, think BP, damages property there is no law in place requiring it to pay damages. But I’m a person and SCOTUS has ruled that a corporation is a person? Obviously, equality before the law is a fiction in America.

  6. felicity,
    It’s like that blue-eyed v. brown-eyed experiment done in a school years ago. Two equal groups are told one is inferior and the other superior. The ones labeled superior began to believe it, and treated the other group as vastly inferior. The other group began to act more and more inferior, and many felt they actually deserved it.
    This is our US Senate today, and this is what many believe: The unemployed are lazy leeches, who don’t want to work.
    Never mind that there are 5 applicants for every job, high or low paying. And let’s be frank, they’re mostly low-paying.
    That this ostracism of the unemployed has become some part of the zeitgeist is amazing. It should be counter-intuitive, but it isn’t.

    This county is in an irretrievable downward spiral. IRRETRIEVABLE.
    Any people who see an end to this Re-depression are either naive, lying outright, or both.
    Jobs are one thing. But, how do you live on the low wages? Due to the number of people for every job, there is NO incentive for companies to pay a living wage (and yes, I think this IS part of the plan).
    Also, now companies don’t want to hire the unemployed. They only want to hire those currently working. As if we, the unemployed had, not just a social stigma attached to us, but some physical malady that would spread laziness to their own overly worked, under-paid staff. Why, bringing in unemployed riff-raff might affect productivity.
    Unemployment is the new AIDS!

    I’m waiting any day now for some dimbulb Whoreporatist politician, of either party (but practically guaranteed to be a Republican), to demand that the only way to save Capitalism and the Whoreporations upon which it is based, is to lower the minimum wage, if not eliminate it totally!

    There can be no dent in the deficit while people are either in low-paying jobs or unemployed – less tax revenue, duh! But, we, the unemployed, and poor, have, in the Senate’s view, the wrong eye-color, whatever that color may be.
    And so, we are doomed.

    What the Democrats should have done to make this economic stimulus bill pass, with unemployment, etc, in it, was to pitch it as an ANTI-CRIME bill.
    Out of work, homeless people may not want to starve to death quietly. They may decide to carjack the nearest Hummer or BMW or Jag, to see who’s in it, and how much they have on them.
    Or to see ‘what’s’ edible in the nice house up on the hill. Or, ‘who’ is…

    I still have some optimism:
    The middle class may prove to be the new poor.
    But the rich may prove to be the new lunch.

    PS: Obviously, I’m kidding about this.
    However, there are many examples of cannibalism committed by the starving people in many countries in the world. That it might happen in the ‘richest’ industrialized nation may seem inconceivable to many. They may want to to reconsider that.
    In Ukraine, during the forced hunger in the ’30’s, people ate their neighbors. My father told of one family nearby that seemed pretty well fed. When the authorities (my Grandfather among them) decided to see why, they found out. At first, the family killed vagrants, then neightbors, and then their own children to make kielbasa out of them, to keep from starving to death. You may want to laugh and think this is some joke, but don’t. My father told me this story just once, and cried so hard, I thought he was going to die.
    Hungry people do desperate, irrational things.
    Can’t happen here? I hope you’re right.

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  8. do you remember a time when we didn’t have to guard our optimism?

    I remember.

    JFK inaugural address : “The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it–and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.”

    JFK at Rice : “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

    Of course, guided by this same unguarded optmism, JFK got us into Viet Nam.

    Unguarded optmism feels good, but I think it’s dangerous.
    Reagan was able to induce it at will in fellow Republicans; that’s why they still revere his memory, despite the realities.
    I think it’s only available to the very young, or to the deluded.

    Yes, I’m calling John F Kennedy deluded, at least about intervention in SE Asia.

  9. C U N D – History seldom repeats itself but patterns DO repeat. As I understand the leadup to the Civil War, the abolitionists were not winning. Lincoln was willing to tolerate slavery but limit it’s spread – Lincoln was a moderate like our current Prez. So the new states admitted to the US were coming online as ‘free’ not ‘slave’ states and the South felt their power erroding.

    The circumstances are parallell. Moderate reform in DC – partial measures being which partially curb the spread of abuses. The threat of further reform. Conservatives losing power, facing the prospect of becoming a permanent minority.

    Look at HCR, imperfect but a huge step, Wall Street reform, also imperfect, the prospect of regulation against Big Oil – the prospect of immigration reform – which in the mind of the rightie will make the GOP (the party of the old rich white guy) a permanent racial & political minority. There’s no rational scenario that will overturn Roe v Wade for the fetus people – and nothing less will satsify them.

    IF the teabaggers get slapped down in 2010 – IF they put up SP in 2012 and are humiliated – expect insurrection in 2013 in the form of domestic terrorism. If you are ready for violence, just wait. You may see more than you want. This war won’t be fought by geographical bounds (North vs South) – it will be an insurgency which I HOPE is infiltrated to the degree it can be taken down hard and fast. The problem with effective interdiction before violence is that it will portrayed as political repression, which will bring out even more domestic terrorist groups not infiltrated.

    As long as I going out on a limb with wild speculation – the result of real domestic terrorism may be an eventual hard swing to the left – after there are enough dead bodies. The radical political polarization isn’t going to fizzle out peacefully – righties are going to reject the will of the people at the ballot box. In the end, and before we old guys die off, we MIGHT see something much closer to a democracy which represents the people.

  10. There’s no rational scenario that will overturn Roe v Wade for the fetus people

    Really? There’s a good chance that Kagan will be Obama’s last nominee, and there’s also a good chance that the R’s will complete the destruction of the middle class they’ve been engineering since Reagan, and will continue to succeed in pinning the blame on “tax and spend Democrats” — and retake the White House in 2016.

    One more nominee in the mold of Roberts or Alito and Roe is toast, IMHO — and not just Roe, but Griswold.

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