40 thoughts on “Filed in the Drawer Marked “Bitter Irony”

  1. I noticed that the poll said “Republicans”
    What I find funny about that is that none of the Republicans polled must be in the Senate or the House.

    Seriously though, is this really a surprise? Has anyone trusted bankers or Wall Street investors for the last 40 years?
    Something that I’ve heard lately that bothers me and is related to this post. The banks and financial institutions that have already gotten money from TARP and our governmental bodies that gave it to them say there’s no way to tell where that money went.
    WTF????
    Maybe I’m naive, but isn’t that what banking is? I can go get my statement and we both can tell where every penny is but they can’t tell where $20 million went? Or $20 BILLION?

    I agree with the “help people pay their mortgages or help them refinance” crowd on this one.
    I’m actually glad I don’t own a house right now.

  2. Meanwhile the bankers and investors are busy hiding their money under the mattress because they’ve realized Obama’s “stimulus” is going to put us in Weimar territory.

  3. Damn, Scalzi. You’re such a cynic. I totally trust Wall Street and the huge banking industry

    To make sure that *all* of my TIAA-CREF disappears before my eyes. Meanwhile, the credit card companies who are sending me offers of 0% are telling me that they need to jack up my interest rates …

    Seriously. It would be nice if Congress were keeping better track of this. Help non-speculators re-finance. Build more public transport and fix the infrastructure. Hell, give money to the Big Three — if they’ll re-tool the plants to build sensible cars.

  4. Drawer::drawer{"Bitter Irony"}: File quota exceeded, aborting.
    Possibly because POTUS Barack Obama has yet to Rob Me Blind?

    ADM @3: or possibily, as suggested by The Tappet Brothers (Car Talk’s Click and Clack), invest in the Big Three iff they agree to retool to build railway-based transportation (which is where real, measurable efficiency might be found).

  5. MiniPlenty: If that were true, why would they bother hiding their money? To soften the mattress? If we are truly heading towards something resembling the Weimar republic during the early 20s, would it not be better to change that currency into physical goods or gold before, and not hide it?

    At least keep your doomsday analogies straight.

  6. What money? They *HAVE* no money left. They lost it all ruining the economy. Major banks are at zero value. Smaller ones are actually getting “nationalized” by the FDIC every week.

    Meanwhile, FOX news (AKA the media wing of the GOP) talking heads keep predicting violent revolution.

    Doomsday analogies are all these nitwits have, because they’re actively hoping that the Democrats get it wrong. If Obama actually fixes things and averts disaster, he’d be the anti-Bush. If he fixes things without the creation of lifelong massive federal programs like FDR, they won’t een have that to hang around his neck. If Obama does a good job, conservativism will have been proven doubly wrong for backing an 8 year trainwreck like Bush, and then not backing Obama.

  7. There is fine tradition of VPs supervising banking. I fondly misremember the excellent job of supervising the deregulation of the Savings and Loan industry that Bush did. Including the savings and loan in Texas that one his sons ran into the ground.

    It must run in that family. Total incompetence with other people’s money.

    Ethelred

  8. John, you might be missing the point.

    ” “Among Republicans, 37 percent say they are confident in Obama’s ability to make the right economic decisions, but only 31 percent of Republicans feel that way about Wall Street.”

    Translated, 63 percent of Republicans are NOT confident in Obama’s ability to make the right economic decisions, and 69 percent are NOT confident in Wall Street.

    Roughly two thirds of Republicans don’t trust either Obama or Wall Street. Why not? Because Wall Street has all ready shown they’re either corrupt, greedy or stupid, more likely all three, and Obama has only shown so far that he’s a socialist. The results of Obama’s, Pelosi’s and Reid’s socialism will take awhile to be felt and understood by the American people, but it eventually will be understood…and ultimately rejected…because it simply makes things worse.

    So whom do Republicans trust? The American people. Obama and Congress should do nothing. Let the banks fail, others will expand to fill the void. There was economic vitality and growth before Citi Group and Bank of America, and there will be vitality and growth after they’re gone. Let the automakers file bankruptcy and reorganize. If they can’t make a profit, let them go the way of all other failed businesses. New automakers will start up. Let the mortgages in default be foreclosed. The homes will eventually be purchased, and by people who actually qualify for a mortgage.

    Criminally easy credit got us into this disaster. The only healthy way out is to make sure those that took advantage, lenders, borrowers and elected representatives learn their lesson. The national ecocomic pain will be acute, but relatively short lived. Obama and the Democratically controlled Congress have instead chosen to go in the completely opposite direction, which will only drag out the economic correction for years and put the U.S. in such debt as to never have a reasonable chance of ever paying said debt off.

  9. “The results of Obama’s, Pelosi’s and Reid’s socialism will take awhile to be felt and understood by the American people, but it eventually will be understood…and ultimately rejected…because it simply makes things worse.”

    I doubt that, for no other reason than the lack of a control group. Sort of like if the USSR had never had a free world to compare itself to– everyone there would have kept counting their blessings that the Communists had eliminated serfdom.
    The other problem is whether people prefer more volatile situations with (overall) more profitable results or more predictable situations with less. Chances are, most people would prefer the latter– cutting out the higher growth potential of a less regulated economy in exchange for hedging risk during the crashes.

    Personally, my concern about the involvement of government is that the tighter the government’s tied into the economy, the greater the chance that the next big crash (and there will be a next big crash sooner or later) will simply take down the government with it. Possibly all governments, assuming internationally-woven chains of obligation and regulation.

  10. @The Deuce, as someone from a country with actual socialists, I can tell you Obama doesn’t even comes close to being one.

    Which is too bad, because you’re country would greatly benefit from ‘socialist’ things like an honest minimum wage and (semi-)free health care.

    But that’s just a crazy European speaking (you know, the continent where the income of the average worker has risen in the last few years).

  11. Republicans might have confidence in our current President, but something tells me to doubt that few conservatives do… and, no, those two are not the one and the same any more.

  12. An article in the New York Times from October, wherein Alan Greenspan talks to a congressional committee about what went wrong in the housing industry, says a lot.

    “Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief,” he told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

    Yeah.

  13. The Deuce:

    “John, you might be missing the point.”

    Well, no. My point was very specifically what I highlighted. Your point might be something else entirely.

  14. TheDeuce @9:

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    I’m working rather hard to escape a Socialist country (The United Kingdom, where Great Britain used to be). Socialism is a nasty thing for individualists, indepenant thinkers, those wishing to make their own way in life through skilled effort et cetera ad nauseam. What Obama’s doing is not Socialism. It’s spending a hellalottamoney, yes – and in porky, compromised manners, too.

    I’ve carved my blogroll roughly in half. The bleating about hoping Obama “fails” was making me really quite stabby. Whilst more Republicans might think Obama will do a better job, a huge number of them are still putting their part affiliation waayyyyyy before the financial good of the country. You’d think that simple self-interest would make it bloody obvious that Obama succeeding (and therefore the country returning to relative economic health) is preferable to Obama failing (and us ending up carrying backpacks full of $100 bills to go buy a loaf of bread), but it seems doctrinaire thinking is still very much in vogue.

    Bah. Stupidity makes the big vein in my forehead all bulgy. (I’m not calling you personally stupid, Deuce, I just took a moment to vent a bit).

  15. If there’s anything the last six months have proven to me, it’s that Wall Street is a collective of stupid, scared sheep.

    I know this because the day trader in the next cube was all happy about Obama until the day the stimulus passed (and he know it was coming). That’s right. His opinion lasted just long enough to realize that he wasn’t going to become a millionaire on company time and now has to do his job for a full eight freakin’ hours.

    (Never mind that he still has a job.)

  16. The Deuce #9: “So whom do Republicans trust? The American people.”

    I’m still trying to figure out who exactly the “American people” are that the Big Elephants claim they trust–the so-called “elites” that they rail against NOW (and took lots of campaign contributions from over the years–as did Democrats, in fairness), the extreme right-wing fringe that, fueled by Hannity, Limbaugh and others, is sounding like they’re getting ready to start moving to South Carolina and seceeding to form their own untaxed, unregulated and unemcumbered theocracy or the great, mythical “Silent Majority” from the Nixon days, who have this monolithic belief system that supposedly the Big Elephants have tapped into.

    The trouble is that a majority of the “people” voted Democratic in November–some because they were simply tired of the last eight years and the direction things were going in and didn’t like the offerings of the GOP this time, some because they genuinely wanted change–ANY change, even if it seems a bit wacky–because going in the same direction we’ve been going in since the days of Reagan hasn’t been working all that well.

    The current President isn’t claiming perfection–and Lord knows, having to work with Congress pulling everything in every possible direction AND having to listen to the on-going scree from the Right would drive anyone in the Oval Office to drink after the first 24 hours–and he’s already made a few stumbles. Give ‘em a chance. You’ll have yours again in four years if things don’t start moving upwards and you’ll have plenty of company from the Middle and Left if everything has hit the fan anyway.

  17. Duece – So whom do Republicans trust? The American people. Obama and Congress should do nothing. Let the banks fail, others will expand to fill the void.

    You may be missing this, but without government intervention, “failed” banks mean they take all of the money on deposit with them. We are *already* nationalizing banks via the FDIC for accounts of up to $250,000. Only up to $250,000

    If you’d like to see billions in the investment capital of “The American people” just vanish, then your “Let the banks fail” idea is great.

  18. Wow, a quote from CNN. That is about as unbiased as a quote from FOX News.

    I have no confidence that Obama knows what he is doing at all. Now, some of his advisors that are pulling his strings, sure.

  19. Josh @22,

    That was about the point when capilliaries in my sclera started exploding. Shock, nausea, rage and the like are probably entirely appropriate responses to that kind of thing, but I react poorly to such emotions and therefore am trying to avoid anything to do with absolute freaking psychopaths for the nonce.

  20. Josh wrote: “If Obama does a good job, conservativism will have been proven doubly wrong for backing an 8 year trainwreck like Bush, and then not backing Obama.”

    I agree with you in part here Josh. If President Obama’s policies are helpful to the economy it certainly would be a repudiation of conservative economic policy. I would welcome being wrong about the policies as we need some relief!

    But former President Bush was NOT a favorite of us conservatives. He was a Republican favorite, because he won! Former President Bush is one of the reasons I left the Republican party, they and he advertised as conservatives and spent like drunken sailors. (Appologies to all thrifty sailors everywhere.) A friend of mine thought Bush and Huckabee were more accurately labled Christian Socialists. At any rate, he was not a fiscally conservative small government type. They are sadly rare.

    Trey

  21. The Deuce @ 9

    Let’s take your argument further, to a logical conclusion.

    Let’s foreclose on the millions of houses. Those owners suffer. But it doesn’t stop there. All the homeowners in that area suffer, because foreclosed homes drag down property values. So then you have a ton of people who lose investment income who have been paying their mortgage on time.

    Let’s keep going. Property tax income will go down. Many local governments will have trouble providing services such as emergency response. Some will need state or federal bailouts because of budget deficits.

    So, basic services in some areas will suffer. People will die because of lack of police or fire or medical response. Quality of life will suffer because of degraded infrastructure such as streets and sewers. Jobs will be lost because city workers will be laid off.

    Going back to the foreclosed people, some will commit crimes of survival, such as petty theft and prostitution. Many will be admitted to emergency rooms and hospitals for stress-related heart attacks and psychiatric emergencies. Some will kill themselves. Many will go to entitlement programs and avail themselves of the services they deserve because they paid taxes. But many of these entitlement programs will be tapped out, and they will have trouble getting assistance.

    More broadly speaking, the social dislocations caused by these foreclosures will make holding and getting jobs even more difficult.

    So, Deuce, my question is, do we pay now for the cost of foreclosure, or later, when things get worse?

  22. Another @ 3

    What’s so interesting is that there is a Congressional Oversight Panel for the TARP money being chaired by Elizabeth Warren, that has been working to get answers for months now. They are attempting to do good work, but not many people seem to be aware of them. Just do a Google search. Elizabeth Warren was talking about her concern that the money would disappear months ago.

    Frankly, I think they should get the FBI accountants to audit the books of the TARP recipients, and start going after people criminally if they can’t account for it accurately. Oh wait, there was probably something in TARP that forbids that. Thanks George Bush, you asshat.

  23. Trey – But former President Bush was NOT a favorite of us conservatives.

    Sure he was. Self proclaimed elected him twice, and among self proclaimed conservatives, his approval ratings were high. Some conservatives didn’t like him, but they were an obscure minority.

    I would welcome being wrong about the policies as we need some relief!

    Greenspan certainly admitted being wrong. Having some level of social spending is what’s keeping us from falling totally off the cliff right now. If we *didn’t* have public support for the unemployed, we’d be back where we were during the great depression.

    You want actual brad lines starvation, and riots like we had during the 30’s? Cut all social spending like “small government conservatives” advocate. We can develop some nice disease epidemic conditions if we cut medical spending on those who can’t afford it.

  24. Josh wrote: “You want actual brad lines starvation, and riots like we had during the 30’s? Cut all social spending like “small government conservatives” advocate.”

    We disagree. First, not all social spending should be cut. I know people with disabilities that cannot work and support themselves. I am happy to have some of my tax dollars support them. In fact, since I tithe, I give extra money to worldwide social programs.

    And you are missing part of cutting government spending, it would cut their spending YOUR money. You would have more. Maybe you would start to tithe too!

    You see, it used to be embarassing to take government money or support. People would work three jobs to avoid the shame and stigma. And in those times, people contributed more to charities. We can get back there.

    “We can develop some nice disease epidemic conditions if we cut medical spending on those who can’t afford it.” Well, the insane immigration policy has already taken care of that! Drug resistant illnesses and others that have been almost wiped out are making a comeback in record breaking increases. And for the record, sick people cannot be denied medical care in the US.

    But, something else would have to occur to balance that: tort reform. I rent space from a physicians group. My insurance as a psychologist is under $1000 a year. The pediatricians I rent from pay much more than that a month. Even with that, the physicians I work with (and I myself) see patients for free. The medical doctors could see more for free if they were not paying such outlandish malpractice insurance.

    “If we *didn’t* have public support for the unemployed, we’d be back where we were during the great depression.” Have you read the economists who criticize FDR and present evidence that his policies actually prolonged the depression? I bet they have some over at Slate or the Heritage Foundation if you are interested in people far more knowledgable than I about such matters.

    But to close, why do you project such outlandish motivations to me just because we disagree politically? Neither of us wants bread lines or people dying from diseases! I would love to hear your arguments against my political policy ideas, but you would have to disagree with them based on why you think they would not work instead of treating me like a pariah.

    Consider it!

    Trey

  25. Trey:

    “You see, it used to be embarassing to take government money or support. People would work three jobs to avoid the shame and stigma.”

    See my first reaction was to go all ‘splodey over this, because in what world is someone working 3 jobs to get to the bread line a good idea? But then, I thought, I actually agree a bit. You want it to be embarrassing to STAY on a benefit. But making in embarrassing to go and claim it when you need it entirely defeats the purpose of social support.

  26. Trey, I wasn’t suggesting you want epidemics. I was saying that, without public spending on health care, that’s what will happen.

    And I’m not even going to get into the racism behind your immigration policy being tied into disease. That’s nonsense form the pages of racist spitoons like VDare.com. Lay off the Rush Limbaugh sauce. Immigration is not linked to disease.

    And for the record, sick people cannot be denied medical care in the US.

    But sick people still get these things known as “hospital bills”. Or did you somehow miss that? And also, no one gives out medicine for free. So the “medical care” you think can’t be denied is a trip to the ER, for which you get billed heavily.

    But that’s beyond the point. Actually spending money right now to hire people who’re unemployed will provide a buffer for the economy. Cutting taxes on those who’re employed will only provide a bit more spending, not direct jobs. It certainly won’t create credit.

    Banks create credit. Not people who get lower taxes. And *some* policies under FDR were bad. But the ones that hired huge amounts of the unemployed created jobs, and pubic works, and kept people from starving to death.

    Back during the great depression, there were NO jobs to be had. Without jobs, you can’t work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Currently, unemployment is *growing*, not shrinking. People who’re not working multiple jobs are not lazy. There just aren’t multiple jobs to be had.

    Public works are an investment we all rely on. We’ll build them no matter what. We might as well build stuff now to employ people until the economy gets back on track, and private works can take back over.

    Tithing is not going to fill the gap. It’s charity, not jobs. it creates nothing. Spending on public works is a far better investment. Your issue is that you hate taxes. Not that you have a solution to the economic crisis, and no one is listening.

    Hate taxes all you want. If you want them lowered, we need to solve the crisis, and get the economy back to a sane pace. Which requires spending, not hoarding.

  27. You see, it used to be embarassing to take government money or support. People would work three jobs to avoid the shame and stigma. And in those times, people contributed more to charities. We can get back there.

    That’s a lovely myth. It is, however, a myth. Americans have never been shy about taking money from the government. They likely never will be.

    Well, the insane immigration policy has already taken care of that! Drug resistant illnesses and others that have been almost wiped out are making a comeback in record breaking increases

    As has already been noted above, one has nothing to do with the other. Drug resistant illnesses are being created right here in the U.S., at least partly because health care services have been cut enough that it’s hard to monitor someone taking their TB meds.

    Have you read the economists who criticize FDR and present evidence that his policies actually prolonged the depression? I

    Why, no, no, I haven’t. I have read Republican hacks who think that returning to Hoover’s policies are a good idea. That there are problems with the New Deal are certainly true, but the problems were mostly that FDR wasn’t radical enough; the little Depression of 1937-38 came because the President backed off on the New Deal policies and tightened spending. Result: economy go boom.

    against my political policy ideas

    Because your policy ideas are warmed over GOP talking points that have no basis in the real world.

  28. Eddie wrote: “You want it to be embarrassing to STAY on a benefit.”

    Ding ding ding! We agree. I bet we would also agree that we both want the benefit to be a last resort. Can we go so far as to say that other people’s money is addictive?

    Thanks for the honest conversation!

    Trey

  29. Josh wrote: “And I’m not even going to get into the racism behind your immigration policy being tied into disease.”

    That is good, because it would be a complete fabrication if you did!

    It is not that our illegal visitors have cooties, it is that they come from places that do not immunize! Legal immigrants (God bless them,) have to be checked and provide proof of immunization. I think that is good Josh. Illegal immigrants (God bless them) do not. I think that is bad Josh.

    Check out the CDC maps of things like, I don’t know, the bubonic plague, measels, TB, that sort of thing. you can see the vector of exposure. But don’t take my word for it, here is some data.

    http://www.jpands.org/vol10no1/cosman.pdf

    The link leads to some dusty John Bircher rag called the American Journal of Physicians and Surgeons or something like that. 8)

    Good reading.

    Trey

  30. By the way, you’re kidding with the Cosman reference, right? She wasn’t a doctor and her Ph.D was in medieval studies. Her bestselling book was on medieval feasts:

    http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&search-type=ss&index=books&field-author=Madeleine%20Pelner%20Cosman&page=1

    As to the Journal, some highlights from its recent editions that make the John Birch society magazine look reasonable by comparison:

    Does Induced Abortion Account for Racial Disparity in
    Preterm Births, and Violate the Nuremberg Code?
    Brent Rooney, M.Sc.
    Byron Calhoun, M.D., M.B.A.
    Lisa E. Roche, J.D.

    Book Reviews:
    The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul
    (Honorable Ron Paul, M.D.)
    Reviewed by Jerome C. Arnett, Jr., M.D.
    If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be
    Republicans (Ann Coulter)
    Reviewed by Jerome C. Arnett, Jr., M.D.
    Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria
    Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and
    Misguided Policies That Hurt the Poor
    (Roy W. Spencer)
    Reviewed by Joel M. Kauffman, Ph.D.
    Medical Science Under Dictatorship
    (Leo Alexander)
    Reviewed by George R. Watson, D.O.

    Third Circuit Gives New Meaning to Term
    “Criminal Justice System”
    Bernard L. Rottschaefer, M.D.
    Download article in PDF format

    58 Guns, Truth, Medicine, and the Constitution
    Jacob Deakins, M.D.
    Download article in PDF format

    12 The Federal Government and Academic Texts as
    Barriers to Informed Consent
    Angela Lanfranchi, M.D.

    Questioning HIV/AIDS: Morally Reprehensible
    or Scientifically Warranted?
    Henry H. Bauer, Ph.D.

    Book Reviews:
    Science Sold Out: Does HIV Really Cause AIDS?
    (Rebecca V. Culshaw, Ph.D.)
    Reviewed by Joel M. Kauffman, Ph.D.
    The Origin, Persistence and Failings of the
    HIV/AIDS Theory (Henry H. Bauer, Ph.D.)
    Reviewed by Joel M. Kauffman, Ph.D.

  31. It just so happens that there was an update of a long, detailed takedown of the nuttery published by the Journal of American Physicans and Surgeons posted a few days ago on ScienceBlogs.

    Ironically, one of the things that it’s called out for is its longtime support of anti-immunization efforts, which, unlike its claims about immigrants, *have* demonstrably increased the incidence (and the death toll) of communicable diseases that had been under control.

  32. Thanks, David, Fungi, and Mark. That was pretty much going to be my response. Nice to know I’m not the only one who reads Neiwart here. The “American Journal of Physicians and Surgeons ” is not a peer reviewed journal. It is, in fact, a dusty John Bircher rag. A pretty kooky one too.

    They also publish noted anti immunization nutcase Mark Geier.

    Sorry Trey. They’ve been lying to you, and you’ve been buying it.

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