Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Economic Collapse Hodgepodge Tuesday

You know how occasionally... just occasionally... I'll go off on rants and convoluted explanations about things that I know less about than I'm letting on and you really don't want to hear about in the first place, but that I nonetheless regard as fundamental for understanding the future of western democracy? This is sorta like that, only I'm not cornering you at flashbacks some eight beers deep, and you don't have to feign interest because you're that good of a friend. :) But seriously, though, this stuff is pretty interesting.

Full disclaimer: I certainly don't want to bring anyone down over the following, so if you're easily disturbed by national financial uncertainty (or are heavily vested in the status quo) you might want to just disregard this post and turn your attention to the Disney/Dali collaboration a little further down.

I'm bored with my studies... fucking real estate fraud litigation horseshit... and have decided to put together a post of little bits and pieces of the bigger (and unremittingly bleak) economic picture we all keep hearing about. I don't know nearly as much as I'd like about it... it's one of those areas where the more you learn exposes just how much you don't and probably will never know. But me... I get a real kick out of watching the collapse unfold. Yeah, I'm something of an armchair doomsayer in my spare time, but if you're stuck in the lower decks of the same sinking ship as everyone else, what else are you going to but stay informed and laugh heartily at the whole clusterfuck? Hell, I personally think I'm gonna come out of this whole thing ahead of the pack, as my massive law school debts will be rendered worthless by coming devaluation of the dollar. In short, I see no reason to fret these days, as I really don't have much interest in watching the late 20th century maintain long into the 21st... it's just that the mechanics of this change are fucking fascinating. So, below is a little sampling of information I've come across that you might find interesting.

First: Why the unemployment figures are rigged... and real unemployment is approaching depression era levels

Also: I think I've told a lot of you about this lecture, but watch as Elizabeth Warren explains the possibility of massive future wealth disparity (as a function of the increasingly unstable American family).

On the Federal Reserve: This one is complicated. I have a lot of problems with the structure of the Fed (namely how our money supply is controlled exclusively by a shadowy board of governers elected by private shareholders in the form of major banks... yes, our country's central bank is privately owned... and how there is no accountability to Congress or Article III courts... let alone any sort of firm, transparent audit process in place). Check out the following, as a top Fed official plays dumb before Congress and refuses to disclose anything about the $9 trillion or so in new money they've just introduced into the system. (Also, pretty much any video on youtube of Rep. Grayson sticking it to the oligarchs is worth your time)
Incidentally, Rep. Ron Paul, that stodgy old "constitutionalist" maverick, has introduced legislation in the House requiring a full audit of the Fed... at last count, it has something like 245 votes behind it, meaning that we may get the veil pulled back for us pretty soon.

My personal favorite Jenga pieces in the whole mess:
Anyone heard of Credit Default Swaps? This piece does a pretty good job of explaining them and their role in destabilizing our economy (though a lot of guys made a shitload of money over the course of a decade trading these bullshit abstractions that pass for insurance policies). If you want a little more in-depth discussion, check out the CDS wiki.

Why Goldman Sachs officials, if not wholly to blame, should be the first to hit the wall when the revolution comes:
I want to say that I called this one before Rolling Stone, of all publications, wound up turning it into kind of a big thing. There's been a sort of war of words now between RS (which is now somewhat relevant for the first time in... gah... at least since they caved and put Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show on the cover) and Goldman Sachs (who used the AIG scandal as a conduit to funnel billions of taxpayer dollars their way, and then used the whole executive bonus scandal as a clever sleight of hand to distract from the funneling of much larger amounts). Anyway, check this piece out... maybe not the most solid, objective reporting I've ever read, but I think it sums up the problem nicely.

Only tangentially related:

... and this is just a little smattering of all the press out there waiting for the informed citizen to untangle. And Christ, it is daunting. All the stuff I just posted is pretty scattershot and unorganized... really more just trivia about our problems than comprehensive overview. But, you know, I see this all as good news in the end. Things are about to change, and if you're like me you'll agree that it's been a long time coming. So me... I like to spend my time daydreaming about the brave new world a'coming down the pike. If nothing else, we'll have some great stories to tell our grandchildren, right? :)



rabbit! said...

damn it dan, dont you know michael jackson is dead!
but really, at least the rest of the world is in it with us(is that a bad thing to say?)
time to sit back and watch the reichstags burn

DK said...

Well, perhaps not the rest of the world, but certainly the rest of the country. And man, I really hope that the whole Reichstag analogy doesn't fit in the long run... I'd like to think that this whole backward slide has the potential to be a marvelously democratizing force, when the political will of 200 or so million Americans aggregates to slap the living fuck out of the oligarchs who have been rigging the game (and somehow consistently getting the American south to vote against their economic interests year after year). Of course, we could always go the other way and just start blaming the commies and Jews for the blaze...

Also, is the death of Michael Jackson all that culturally significant? Really? The man had one smash record. ONE. Then he released Bad... and a few hits past that, admittedly, traced along his bizzare fucking reverse John Howard Griffin / Peter Pan descent. Yeah, I'll blast Billie Jean in memoriam, but don't expect me to shed any tears.


rabbit! said...

i appreciate your optimism. i too hope for a political awakening, but i fear the latest usa today/gallup poll showing that 43% would vote for palin for president says otherwise