You Make Us Feel As If We've All Been Fools

Sudhama Ranganathan 26.02.2012 13:24 Themen: Globalisierung
Over roughly the past three years my country, America has had the opportunity to have President Barack Obama as our president. It is now 2012 and as we head into the election for those of us that voted for him, though we wish we could say differently in our hearts, there is a place that remains unsure and disappointed. There were so many promises and most of us that voted for him in 2008 knew there was no way to fulfill those all or even mostly. But it was the promise of the man that was not lived up to that was most disappointing and left us the most unsure about who he was - whether we admit it out loud or not. Regardless, this is a pivotal moment that could define where we go as a nation.
We voted in 2008 not for promises mostly but for what those promises added up to in a greater sense. That was the hope for a new and better direction - a dream unfulfilled, but which can still begin to materialize. We wanted some recovery from the God awful Bush years. Those years when an all too close relationship between Wall Street and Capitol Hill reared its infectious, skin burning and toxic head. It would prove to be more than the "class warfare" and "class envy" trumpeted by those protecting the relationship (who almost always were in the class supposedly being envied).
Americans aren't stupid and no matter how much people say Wall Street was in the black about any wrong doing or the idea they could not just go on forever, even though nothing else in history has lasted forever, we know better. We know large Wall Street firms bullied the ratings agencies into re-rating garbage sub-prime mortgages rated at the bottom of the barrel, so that they could be labeled with top ratings like AAA etc. They did this because they wanted to repackage the junk mortgage bonds as secure, thus maximizing profits.
They obviously knew these were bad bonds, yet they had them re-rated anyway to make money. If someone alters the history on a used car to make it seem as though it has lower mileage than it has, has never been in an accident when it has or is safe when they know it is not, they can be prosecuted and go to jail. It's a crime that takes premeditation and planning.
These people fooled our nation by planning to gamble with our national economy and illegally conspire to sell products they knew were bad. They gamed a system through various means such as those mentioned, the introduction of sometimes dangerous new exotic financial instruments and more.
A report form 2009 entitled, 'Causes of the Financial Crisis' elaborates in summary when it states, "Why did the popping of the housing bubble bring the financial system - rather than just the housing sector of the economy - to its knees? The answer lies in two methods by which banks had evaded regulatory capital requirements. First, they had temporarily placed assets - such as securitized mortgages - in off-balance-sheet entities, so that they did not have to hold significant capital buffers against them. Second, the capital regulations also allowed banks to reduce the amount of capital they held against assets that remained on their balance sheets - if those assets took the form of AAA-rated tranches of securitized mortgages. Thus, by repackaging mortgages into mortgage-backed securities, whether held on or off their balance sheets, banks reduced the amount of capital required against their loans, increasing their ability to make loans many-fold. The principal effect of this regulatory arbitrage, however, was to concentrate the risk of mortgage defaults in the banks and render them insolvent when the housing bubble popped." (
They knew the loans and the bubble created by their shady sub-prime mortgage bonds would burst and that these were garbage loans that were about to be defaulted on and some that had already, but were allowed to remain uncollected on so the AAA rating could stay in place. Even Alan Greenspan admitted this proved the idea to allow banks to regulate themselves was misguided. (
The Clinton administration started the ball rolling that over eight years the Bush administration kept rolling until things crashed, at which point they just pushed a button forcing us the taxpayers to "bail out" Wall Street. This meant we were forced to cover the gamble Wall Street already knew we would. The one the financial institutions knew could not lose either way. The Bush and Obama administrations supported and implemented bailouts and both sides of the isle in Washington did also, including most of the current candidates for the office of the president; if not Obama's then certainly TARP. Neither Bush nor Obama went after the people that were supposed to be monitoring themselves and preventing themselves from hatching schemes to rip off investors and taxpayers simultaneously and no candidates as of yet have proposed doing so. Had that been a group of foreigners would our leaders have been so lax about seeking justice?
Yet now as this election season heats up, instead of more honesty we are being sold more b.s. We are told one of the greatest threats to our national security is the rising power and global influence of China. Also, we are being told that the greatest threat to our future stability is the rising debt we are incurring. Also, we are being told by both sides we need to continue spending money on foreign bases.
Looking at the numbers Secretary Panetta proposes we will be puling out 7,000 troops from Europe. We have roughly 80,000 there currently. We built up the levels first because of WWII then because of the Cold War and the strategy of containment there. Those threats are over and the only threat Russia poses now is in the race to educate future generations. They are beating us handily.
The Pentagon wants to cut only 7,000 troops from Europe, and then significantly increase troop presence in the Pacific. We are being told although the Nazis were vanquished in 1945 and the USSR folded in 1989, we still need to protect ourselves in Europe. From what exactly?
We are being told that in the Pacific we need to ramp up spending because China is growing in influence and power? And where pray tell is China getting most of the money to expand their global influence and build their military might? Since we buy most of their goods there must be candidates advocating for cutting off all business ties with China, as they have become such a threat, right? I mean we need to increase military spending and start patrolling the waters close to China because we can't afford to let them get any further out of control. We don't want to be giving them money to become more dangerous. Do we? Do you?
Which candidates suggest we stop borrowing from China and reduce our financial dependence on them? At this point all of them do. And which candidates say not one drop of the increased military spending will be borrowed from China? None. Why? They can't.
President Obama has proposed some measures that are moving in a positive direction with regards to his promises on immigration reform which even his predecessors in the Bush/ Cheney administration admitted needed to take place. His administration is proposing cutting back on unnecessary overseas spending. He has come forward admitting the need for serious budget cuts, but these things start to feel like token gestures and false promises as we have seen before. He needs to actually do these things. As with all the deregulation during the Bush administration, the idea we need to ramp up spending on defense to protect ourselves from China by borrowing from China is preposterous. The idea America isn't educated enough or wealthy enough to see it is insulting.
Let's look at the threats posed to us militarily by outside nations. In terms of the global distribution of all military expenditure the US all by itself accounts for approximately 43%. Then comes the all powerful and mighty Chinese military at a whopping 7.3%. Next comes the UK at 3.7% and then come France and Russia both tied in fourth at 3.6% of the pie each. The next ten countries combined account for 21.5% combined. The entire rest of the world is next at 17.3%. ( Will somebody please remind me why we are acting like the insecure old man feeling the need to spend all his money on a twenty year old wife and a Ferrari?
We could make ourselves secure back home as we close all those overseas bases by opening more bases back home. We could be shoring up our defenses here including enhanced inspection of shipping containers where experts say we are most vulnerable to a dirty bomb getting into our nation. We could be spawning base related industries here in terms of companies supplying bases with the things they need like food, security and other contractor and otherwise base related services. Instead of giving those dollars to foreign companies to serve overseas bases. This isn't hard to see.
Whatever the proposals in the end there's really no need for the two parties to continue lying to us. We see the falsehoods and when that happens it just feels like we're all just being made fools out of by people that keep making fools out of themselves. It's almost twice as insulting.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to
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