A Nation of Whiners? No, Just Wall Street Beggars

Pathetic, but all too true:

"Phil Gramm, the senator-banker who until recently advised John McCain’s campaign, did get it right about a "nation of whiners," but he misidentified the faint-hearted. It’s not the people or even the politicians. It is Wall Street–the financial titans and big-money bankers, the most important investors and worldwide creditors who are scared witless by events. These folks are in full-flight panic and screaming for mercy from Washington. Their cries were answered by the massive federal bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, the endangered mortgage companies.

When the monied interests whined, they made themselves heard by dumping the stocks of these two quasi-public private corporations, threatening to collapse the two financial firms like the investor "run" that wiped out Bear Stearns in March. The real distress of the banks and brokerages and major investors is that they cannot unload the rotten mortgage securities packaged by Fannie Mae and banks sold worldwide. Wall Street’s preferred solution: dump the bad paper on the rest of us, the unwitting American taxpayers."  (emphasis added)

-William Greider, Wall Street’s Great Deflation

The once great Street of dreams has been reduced to beggering for handouts.   

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In a truly disturbing sign of our times, I am adding the category "Bailouts" to our list . . .

>

Previously:
Idiots Fiddle While Rome Burns (July 2008) 
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/07/idiots-fiddle-w.html

Amity Shlaes Does Not Know What a Recession Is  (July 2008)
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/07/amity-shlaes-do.html
>
Source:
Wall Street’s Great Deflation
William Greider
The Nation, 07/14/2008 @ 12:38pm
http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion/336722/

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. cinefoz commented on Jul 18

    You say “bailout”.

    I say Organized Crime has been stopped in it’s tracks and has taken an ungreased corn cob up the arse. With luck, more corn cobs will follow in the form of criminal investigations of price manipulation and myriad other illegal activities.

    It’s interesting to see the two camps on this issue. Some, such as Cramer, appear to have a moral compass and can differentiate between a great opportunity and a financial crime of opportunity. Others, such as Erin Burnett, appear to envy and admire the robber barons. I used to like her. Now she appears to be either a one dimensional thinker of economics or a shill for the brokerage thieves. I don’t if know she is naive or amoral. Maybe both.

    I suspect some editorials in the WSJ today will decry the steps that the SEC has taken to make the markets safe for investors. If not today, then certainly in later issues.

    I also had a stray thought that the many of the people with the most money really hate us. Is it possible that at least a few of the oil thieves are using money provided by middle eastern nutballs who think that destroying the US economy is a good use for oil profits, even if they lose a few billion in the process? I not only think it is possible, but likely. Just think, one or more large investment banks are willing tools of the terrorists in a scam to drive oil prices to the moon and ruin the infidel economies in the process. And shills on CNBC and the WSJ provide cover. Neocon retards.

  2. Mike in NOLa commented on Jul 18

    Oh Happy Day! Citi says they only lost $2.5B.
    I guess we’ll find out what they really lost when an audited statement is published.

    Of course, CNBC is pushing the “loss less than expected” line on their site.

  3. cinefoz commented on Jul 18

    I just read the WSJ editorial page. Yup, the WSJ is angry that the SEC prevented the eventual collapse of the US economy. They claim to be true and red white and blue. But they advocate positions that would culminate is a situations where the terrorists win without firing a single shot. Just who do the neocons really owe their allegiance to?

    What part of Stupid to those idiots live in? Or are a few on the take from Osama?

  4. CNBC Sucks commented on Jul 18

    At CNBC, the Dow is always off its lows. I will say that I honestly cannot believe another sucker’s rally – especially in financials – is taking place after the Gerard Cassidy comment about 300 US banks under risk of failure, based on one happy data point (Wells Fargo). I predict that Dennis Kneale will say today that the $2.5B loss was “baked into Citi’s stock price already”.

  5. Mike in NOLa commented on Jul 18

    Speaking of bailouts, WSJ reports that Freddie Mac may try to sell stock to raise capital.

    Mortgage Giant Freddie Mac Considers Major Stock Sale

    The article has some misstatements, like “Still, when the credit crunch hit last year, Fannie and Freddie appeared to be in relatively good shape. They had avoided some of the worst lending practices, and their Wall Street rivals were on the ropes.” Only idiots believed that.

    While the article says the offering will be to existing holders, are the existing shaeholders crazy enough to double down and pour money into a black whole based on assurances of eventual profitabtility from liars? These guys are only now considering cutting dividends while actively seeking a government bailout?

    If Freddie Mac can actually sell stock and the buyer is some sovereign wealth fund of a country that the US is afraid to offend, this can make the eventual bailout worse because the government won’t want to wipe out the shareholder equity.

  6. tomd commented on Jul 18

    Relax about the rally. There was a ton of premium to be ground out of all those June puts expiring today. So those that wrote those puts had to engineer a rally into expiration somehow. It will be over today with the June expiration.

  7. VennData commented on Jul 18

    I had Bill Poole and Chuck Schumer over to watch the game, have a few Stella Artoises… They said my house price is gonna go down more. The nerve of them. A few of the neighbor guys were there too… they’re pissed.

    Next day I get Benny and Paulie on a con call and told them to get me somethin’ or all hell’s gonna break loose in the cul de sac here. Now… them’s stand up guys.

  8. Mike in NOLa commented on Jul 18

    I highly recommend a history of the 1929 crash: Once in Golconda, A True Drama of Wall Street 1920-1938, by John Brooks.

    Very interesting book written as vignettes of various characters of the time interspersed with events. Shows that human nature does not change; the same mistakes were made then as during the past decade, e.g. lowering interest rates when speculative fever was rising and then not enforcing measures to damp speculation. Interestingly, it starts by recounting an explosion outside the Morgan building in 1920; the following decade saw a great bull market and it’s collapse.

    It’s hard to find in bookstores, just picked up a used copy somewhere. I had bought it many years ago while in grad school and reread it every so often until I discovered while packing things for storage after Katrina that moths had eaten it.

    Anyways, last night I reread the section about Black Thursday. The public was so angry that “Sell ’em” Ben Smith, who got the nickname when he turned short after seeing which way the market was going, had to hire bodyguards for his daughters.

  9. cinefoz commented on Jul 18

    One of my favorite books on economic history is Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises (Wiley Investment Classics) (Paperback) by Charles P. Kindleberger. It describes many of them in cause and effect detail. Amazon sells it new and used.

  10. Steve Barry commented on Jul 18

    Mike,

    So true…human nature never changes…that’s why in 70 years, there will be anothe speculative bubble. Most of us will be gone.

    I’m just amazed how MSFT and GOOG are indicating down 5% and 7% and QQQQ is indicated down only 1%…as for Citi, I know some high level people there and I’ll just say they are NOT sounding upbeat on the phone.

  11. HCF commented on Jul 18

    Somehow, all this reminds me of one of my favorite movie quotes:

    “Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and f— the prom queen.”

    – Sean Connery in “The Rock”

    I think that all the Wall Street whiners were so used to being with the prom queen that they can’t help but whine that they are now getting probed and violated by the fallout the housing/leverage/liquidity disaster!

  12. John F. commented on Jul 18

    For kicks, here’s the quote in context:

    “We have sort of become a nation of whiners,” he said. “You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline” despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.

    Slightly more defensible, no? Or perhaps he was misquoted, and really said ‘nation of winners.’

  13. Francois commented on Jul 18

    “The once great Street of dreams has been reduced to beggering for handouts. In a truly disturbing sign of our times, I am adding the category “Bailouts” to our list .”

    Barry,
    Beggering for handouts is not a sign of “our” times. The difference between, say, the ’80s and today is the brazen way it is done. There seems to be a sense of entitlement among the monied interests that make them believe the average American is ripe for financial assault and robbery any time.

    Mind you they have been absolutely correct thus far. Aided by a fantastic socio-political propaganda machine (think tanks, Institutes and foundations and paid shills benefiting from the wingnut welfare) that fostered a false sense of self-reliance (quite an irony in an era of globalization and interdependence) glorification of the corporation (the bigger the better) and systematic tilting of the laws and regulations favoring the wealthy and well-connected (read Free Lunch Perfectly Legal and Gotcha Capitalism for starters) while shifting the total tax burden to the middle class, we have lost the true meaning of capitalism. It has been replaced by crony capitalism pure and simple. The ideological idiocy your alluded to in an earlier post is strictly the supporting pseudo-ethos, the meta-message used by their propaganda machine to stifle common sensical debate…WTF am I writing? to stifle ANY debate!

    So, here we are today, exhibiting several disturbing symptoms of a Banana Republic.

    Not a pretty picture, but we can get out of this predicament. It won’t be easy tough, because the enemy is…us.

  14. eh commented on Jul 18

    Some time ago Gross of PIMCO said quite plainly he was buying distressed GSE debt because of the government guarantee, which he obviously felt was more than ‘implicit’. I do not recall seeing any ‘moral hazard’ outrage about that.

  15. Donald Last commented on Jul 18

    Barry …Please read David Ignatius’s interview with Hank Paulson in today’s Wash Post. Will make your toes curl.

  16. Sinomania! commented on Jul 18

    My first real job was for the Resolution Trust Corporation, remember them? I wonder if enough banks fail if we won’t need another org like that again? Anyone think it will get that bad? Interestingly, that’s where I was exposed to securitization – creating asset-backed securities was the answer for everything. Ahh, it was good times too, high pay, plush digs right on Farragut Square in DC, trips to New York…and taxpayers paying for it all!

  17. XON commented on Jul 18

    Francois,

    Very interesting observation. Especially the point about certain classes believing that they have a right, or at least a license, to victimize other people of different ‘class’.

    Over at Volokh Conspiracy, there is a lot of discussion about the right to self-defense. There is a little wrinkle of that whole 2d amendment history that refers to the fact that the American Revolution, as part of its revolutionariness, literally threw off the chains of a system that said, “You, peasant, are not allowed to have or carry arms, and we are.” Why would that be? Well, obviously, so that the ‘noble’ can ‘tax’ the peasant with impunity. . .

    Seeing your point (and agreeing with it), might we have truly undone the Revolution this time?

  18. Mike in NOLa commented on Jul 18

    Barry:

    I just got to look at your Amazon Wishlist. It wasn’t working this morning. Seeing all those Rolexes and Breitlings reminded me of Hans Solo’s statement about wealth: “I can imagine quite a bit.”

    BTW, I suppose one on everyone’s list is Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.

  19. Greg0658 commented on Jul 18

    Francois and XON
    hoping I’m not the loose lips, cause its most likely thought of
    but Naomi’s “Disaster Capitalism” may be a plan for the corps (not insurance / unless cross covered) with a transfer to the cash healthy

  20. Jojo commented on Jul 18

    Watching the segment that CNBC ran Friday morning from Sag Harbor, it sounded like the rich are still doing pretty OK. Guess they fear having to give up the yacht or 3rd home, so some handouts from the taxpayers pockets would be helpful.

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