Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Originally posted on on Wednesday, November 26, 2008.

Why CNN Struggles to Cover The Economic Panic

November 26, 2008 8:06am

I feel like a man who has spent seven years in a bomb shelter, who is now opening the hatch into a new, strange world.

I haven't watched TV or flown on a plane since the year 2000. I stopped listening to radio in 2001 when a favorite Sunday morning radio piece on NPR was shrilly, angrily calling anyone who questioned Bush's war on Iraq a traitor. And that was the LIBERAL. I knew my country had gone insane.

Point: I am in a world of people who can't process data.

At least America, some of them, are figuring out that there is no "terrorist" threat that requires our complete and utter devotion and treasury.

While America was looking for box cutters like a vampire counting beans, I watched the debt climb into Death's country. I watched the tax cuts and the insane military spending drive us into China's newly moneyed arms. I watched a Forever War making many rich and bankrupting the nation.

I watched the housing bubble and cried havoc. I warned people that it would burst and take out all the "wealth" that we thought we had made since 2000.

I saw the derivative market grow; I heard Buffet warn us that it would destroy us. Where were my people? Watching Iraq being destroyed in yet another Friedmanite takeover of a foreign market.

I didn't know about the re-re-re-leveraged mortgage debt, but I should have guessed, watching my mortgage change hands so many times.

This wasn't a surprise, this depression. Not only have we made our castle of money on a hill of derivatives sand, but we happily sent our industry overseas while giving the finger to the unions. Pension funds were outright stolen to fund corporations to overwhelming approval. Bankruptcy was made almost impossible for a normal human to use. All it took was a match. And the oil companies and the traders that finance them lit the match.

We watched in puzzlement as oil and commodity prices, set by casinos, when into the danger range. We watched jobs disappear, and almost no one connected the next dot, which was a wave of default and foreclosure. The match lit the can of gasoline.

Financial engineers had packaged mortgage debt and sold it as AAA rated investments to the entire world, and everyone made out like bandits. But the insurance company, AIG, which was Too Big To Fail, was unregulated and did not have to actually have the ability to cover losses if a wave of foreclosures hit. The gasoline can started the neighborhood on fire.

Everyone assumed bubbles go on forever. For the Smartest Men in the Room, who got out early and are now posed to buy our country for pennies on the dollar, this has been a raging success. You all are not processing this: this is Disaster Capitalism. They made a fortune, and now the disaster they made is the opportunity to buy us cheaply. And here's what is making people so surprised and puzzled: they are being gifted with 8 trillion of our money,with no strings, to buy us up with. Truly, it is good to be Milton Friedman's Chicago Boys. After Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, Indonesia, Poland, China and Russia, the United States of America is now similarly poised in shock, waiting for the Brick, the book the free-marketers used so many times in other countries, to be opened and used against us. We're about to be Russianized, kids. Shock them until they're dazed and uncomprehending, then hit them with "reforms" too fast to follow until that perfect market is achieved, and half the country - actually, more - is made destitute and invisible.

At least, that's how it usually went. Here's hoping Obama doesn't listen to the Chicago School Boys, as so many did before.