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Mind the Gap
If you've ever traveled the London underground you're familiar with the warning at each stop that you, "Mind the gap." Every news article that deals with economy should start and finish with the same warning, "Mind the gap."
The gap, in this case isn't the small gap between train and platform, but the yawning, gaping and growing gap between whatever the hell is happening on Wall Street and the continuing grim realities on Main Street.
What's up with that?
Well, it's pretty damn simple, actually.
You and your neighbors would be "recovering" from the financial collapse too if, nine months ago, a rich uncle propped you up with a grub stake of, oh let's say, around $12 trillion. (Some say it's more than twice that actually when all federal guarantees are added in.)
But, instead of using all that dough and government credits to create jobs Uncle Sam decided to use it to prop up the very financial sector that caused the meltdown to begin with.
Why? Oh man, don't go there. Don't even get me started on that one.
The point is it's the reason why Wall Streeters and big bankers living large again and assuring us "Nothing to see here, move along, it's all over folks, move on."
Well, there is "nothing to see," thanks to trillions upon trillions of your tax dollars. Well, not YOUR tax dollars, per se, but your kid's and grand kid's and great grand kid's tax dollars.
Did we hear a "thank you?" No. All we've gotten in return out of those guys we propped up is higher credit card rates, lower credit limits, millions of foreclosures, and demands that we leave them alone.
Just imagine what the economy would look like today if all that government money, guaranteed credit lines, bad asset absorption and tax breaks -- $12 to $27 trillion in all -- had instead been pumped into jobs - private and public works -- and owner-operated small businesses? Wages would be flowing in working families pockets, and their bank accounts. (That's how banks are supposed to get their capital. It's called "deposits.") Companies would have reaped the benefits of increased consumer spending, showing profits and hiring more workers. Wall Street would in turn prosper as investors sought a piece of that growing action by buying stock in profitable companies. (That's kinda how the stock market is supposed to operate.)
Anyway, that's not what was done and now we have tens of trillions of present dollars, borrowed dollars and future dollars pissed away, just like that.
Remember that the next time you hear someone in Washington wringing their hands over the relatively puny $85 billion annual cost of health care reform, including a public option.
All I can say is the people who made those decisions, regardless of party affiliation, should give thanks nightly to the fact that the only guillotines around these days are in museums.
Here's a breakdown of the bailout the NY Times did back in Feb.
When an honest man/woman who is mistaken learns the truth, at that exact moment, he/she ceases to be mistaken or he/she ceases to be honest.
When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to
seek it elsewhere.
---= Francois de La Rochefoucauld