Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · There Should Be Hell To...
. . . .

There Should Be Hell To Pay

Robert Downes - October 6th, 2008
Back in college economics 101, we learned that the Great Depression could never happen again because our wise legislators had enacted many iron-clad regulations and safeguards to ensure that the stock market would never again reach such a state of peril.
But, like the chaos theory taught by the mathematician in Jurassic Park, you can never say never -- the destruction of those market regulations over the years has let the T-Rex out of its cage.
Thus, the rampage on Wall Street last week and terror plastered across the media. Let’s hope we don’t all get eaten alive by this thing.
Now, millions of Americans are of the opinion that the gamblers on Wall Street should bail themselves out. Why should we contribute a nickel to help these pirates? They can sink or swim.
But unfortunately, we are chained to the pirates. In some pirate navies, if you killed another sailor, your ankle was tied to his corpse and it was shoved overboard.
So, if you oppose the bailout, consider that you’re likely to go under too.
Why are we chained? Because as the pirates have pointed out, they are the dispensers of credit. And when they run dry, they don’t have money to lend. They want us to pay off $700 billion in their bad debt.
In a sense, they‘ve got us by the throat: without access to credit, the business you work for may not be able to get its annual short-term loan to keep operations going (ie: paychecks), or buy inventory for the coming year. And you might not receive a student loan; or get the loan you need to buy a used truck for that snow-plowing business you’re planning to start, now that you’re out of a job...
So, that’s the boat we’re in today.
How did we get here? It started with the “Reagan Revolution” in the 1980s, otherwise known as the “Decade of Greed.” That’s when deregulation fever swept our government (lubricated by the oil of cash from lobbyists). It was felt at the time that those bothersome old regulations from the 1930s were getting in the way of business; we put our faith in a “free market” ideology of economist Milton Friedman, believing that the wisdom of the captains of industry would steer us to safe harbors, with a hefty cargo of earnings onboard to boot.
Regulations on banking, the stock market, and other financial institutions were ignored, deep-sixed, or went unenforced by the Reagan administration, with that trend continued by Clinton and the Bushes.
This fever reached its height in 1999, when Senator Phil Gramm (R-Texas), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, authored an act which repealed regulations in the financial services industry. Gramm and his supporters said the regulations were no longer necessary because we‘d grown so much smarter and more sophisticated.
This is the guy, by the way, who said Americans were a “nation of whiners” back in July when he was serving as John McCain’s chief financial advisor.
Gramm’s legislation opened a Pandora’s Box of “wild, casino-type operations” to gamble with the money that you and I have placed in the trust of the banks and Wall Street, with today’s sick results.
There’s not enough space here to go into the pros and cons of the bailout. You could wallpaper Wall Street with all of the opinions generated on this subject over the past two weeks.
But conservative
financial wizard Ben Stein (who made the casino analogy above) likens the bailout to throwing the Constitution out of the window, and possibly ranking as “the most dangerous attack on the law in my lifetime.” Stein says that raiding the U.S. Treasury and the taxpayers to bail out Wall Street gamblers takes America down the same communist/socialist road blazed by Vladimir Lenin or Fidel Castro.
Many people on the Left feel the same way, while those in the middle seem inclined to bail out the mess and move on.
One thing that everyone agrees on, however, is that there should be hell to pay. In China, there would be firing squads for those involved.
Here, at the least, we need to ensure the end of CEOs making more than 344 times as much as the workers in their factories. No more tax breaks for companies that outsource American jobs overseas. No more “golden parachutes” of tens of millions of dollars for CEOs who run their companies into the ground and then bail out. We need to revive the regulations that keep us safe from Wall Street gamblers and make them pay us back for any bailout.
For once, we’re all in the same sinking boat: Republicans, Democrats, rich, poor, young, old: it’s our necks at stake here -- our jobs, our savings, our retirement. We need to lock arms and make the pirates of Wall Street pay for what they’ve done.
 
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