Believe me, I wish I could write about anything else. I’m frazzled to my core over this thing, and long for the simpler days of just confessing my wretched existence. Tomorrow, after I call my Congresscritters, I may just have to break free and go outside, enjoy the settling autumn some. Forget about it all for a while. Lord knows I’ve been trying. I watched the Sex in the City movie twice yesterday (worth seeing again, if you ask me), but it was only temporary escape.
I’ve found some interesting stuff out there while looking for information. The most notable link I found was to a post at Naked Capitalist, wherein it is revealed that our treasury officials held a conference call with SIMFA analysts on Sunday night. SIMFA stands for Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. It’s basically a trade group with a strong lobbying agenda. That conference call made its way onto the web via a stealth recording. Here’s a sample from You Tube:
The entire call can be heard in parts:
Very interesting stuff in that call. For instance, did you know that the so-called “bail out” will be open to all banks in America, even the ones with no discernable problems? They can dump their bad debt into what the treasury officials keep calling “the fund,” telling the callees they can “buy into” it, and what the restrictions are for doing so at various levels. Does this mean that what they’re trying to do is set up a huge dump-hedge fund for the American taxpayer? I don’t know. I’m frustrated by the limits of my own knowledge.
Do check out the live-blog of the meeting at DealBreaker.
The Red Queen documents the utterly disorienting experience this entire year has been. Her POV was so provocative that it lead me to articulate my own experience of disorientation in her comments. She followed that post up with an interesting theory about justice and fairness as it relates to the public reaction to all of this. She really nails it right here:
We, the American people, don’t want to see the economy fail on a massive scale. But we would rather see the entire system crumble and have to be rebuilt form scratch rather than participate in something so fundamentally unfair.
Charles Lemos delivers a post-mortem of today in Congress Votes for Depression. I understand from Palomino that Charles has a background in some aspect of finance or economics, so he has more knowledge than I do. He thinks we’re doomed, and asserts:
Liquidity is to the economy what oxygen is to life.
What I don’t understand is why this liquidity has to come this way, from this source, so quickly. I was almost sold until I found that conference call. I want a taxpayer conference call that explains to ME what my stake is, and how this bill works. I still don’t know what to make of the entire mess. As I said in Red Queen’s comments:
Word UP. We thought things had gotten wacky under Bush, but ooooh, what a failure of imagination that was. It is absolutely crazy right now. The whole frickin’ country is caught up in the moment. I don’t think that has happened since the Great Depression. Well, maybe when we dropped the second bomb.
I don’t know what to make of it. I can’t organize my thoughts, I suffer from very serious gaps in knowledge, and I feel I am on an emotional tight rope all the time. I try to get the big picture and hold it, but it slips right out of my grasp. We’re not suffering right now, we have enough food and the means to pay the rent, nothing stands to get cut off. But I am plagued by the fear that it could all be different next week. And stuff is going down that I don’t understand. To top it off, I have no idea what to do.
Even more frightening: I was satisfied upon hearing the market lost over a trillion dollars today. I really don’t care. I struggle every day just to get what little security I have. And I am captivated by the question: While suffering, including my own, will occur, is it possible that if we do it differently and let it fail, can we rebuild to something better, more affordable for people like me, with nothing invested, no assets, no retirement, living paycheck to paycheck? In five, ten years, will I be able to afford a house at a more reasonable cost? Is it possible that a fracture and restructuring might force a more balanced market? Hell, I don’t know, but I keep thinking about it.
That’s basically where I am with it. I’ve been cramming like a madwoman for four days now, and I’m only inches closer to a bigger picture view. I understand the risk, but Red Queen is right, I can’t let go of the fairness,or rather unfairness of it all. If market-based retirement accounts and municipal bonds are a bad idea, if reckless credit expansion leads to this, then why save it? How else do we stop it but seize this opportunity to cut off the drunk, so to speak? We did it. Or let it happen. Shouldn’t we be the ones to suffer?
Update: Oh my word, guess who voted no on the bail out bill? Obama campaign co-chair, Jesse Jackson, Jr! This puts him and Obama at odds, and he is strongly against is, calling a $700 Billion earmark for Wall Street. Of course he tries to take full partisan advantage, but it appears the people are on to both sides. Hmmmm. Wonder if this political theater. There has been that pall on it in recent days…