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September 24, 2008

Moral Hazard

This is a patent weblog, so pardon me. But the proposed $700 billion dollar bank bailout plan is astonishing in its giveaway to the financial industry. It's nothing but a bank holiday with taxpayers footing the tab.

Let the banks fail. Greedy bastards made their bet, let them go bankrupt. It's called capitalism, the system this country supposedly has. You take the risks, you reap the rewards, you pay the costs. Home of the brave and the free to win or lose.

$700 billion is bodacious fiscal lubricant. If the government wants to give away $700 billion dollars, give it back to taxpayers. That'll keep the economy running.

Now, if the U.S. is fascist, then prop the banks up. In other words, the plan is a clarion admission that this country is really corporatism, run by and for corporations. The shift in tax burden from corporations to workers in the past forty years is proof positive. This plan is barefaced proof positive. As if George Bush didn't do enough, John McCain wants more, further lowering corporate taxes.

The little guy can eat dirt as far as the government is concerned, but BIG money is too big to fail - they must be bailed out.

The Wall Street Journal:

The plan would allow the government to buy up unmarketable assets, such as mortgage-backed securities, that economists say are clogging the financial system and blocking access to many types of credit.

The banks screwed up lending, their supposed core competence, so now they have nothing more to lend. While noting "irrational exuberance," the government did nothing as the crisis built year after year. But now the government response is: Gee, let's give them more to lend by buying their worthless mistakes.

Oh, how the hoopleheads eat it up. The sky is falling. As in, inventors asserting their patent rights against corporations are "patent trolls." Nothing but corporate propaganda, mouthed by corporate dupes.

The Economist:

Mr Paulson's plan... could safeguard irresponsible bankers' jobs, while doing little to stop troubled mortgage debtors from being thrown out of their homes. It seeks to invest massive power in a treasury secretary with a lifelong loyalty to Wall Street. The banks with the worst assets (ie, those which have made the worst decisions) could receive the most help. Most disturbing, the taxpayer will be funding an enormous, ill-defined programme, without any stipulation as yet that the banks who orchestrated the mess will pay a penalty.

The right bailout, already in place, is FDIC insured deposits for deposit holders.

The randomly competent who think this bailout a good idea have given nary a thought to the consequences, the dynamic put into play. What happens to the dollar, the very foundation of the American economy? How is this paid for, on the heels of a $3 trillion dollar worthless war in Iraq, a $300 billion bill expected from the nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who knows how much for bailing out AIG, holding the bag in untold insurance transactions for leveraged dross, a literal financial house of cards? The government left it all unregulated, at best, lightly supervised.

The Wall Street Journal:

Already, the Bush administration's proposal to spend $700 billion buying troubled assets from U.S. banks has shaken confidence in the dollar among foreign investors who feel the plan could dangerously increase already-high U.S. debt levels. That concern could further weaken the dollar's status as the dominant global currency. China and other countries with huge holdings of U.S. dollars could also seek to shift more assets elsewhere, hurting the already wobbly American currency.

If you believe in the illusion of democracy for the shell game run in this country, contact your congressional representatives with a taste of outrage. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the show. You paid for it.

Posted by Patent Hawk at September 24, 2008 11:49 PM |

Comments

Banks? Greedy bastards? They stand for "fairness" such as "patent fairness." The greedy ones are the small inventors like you who hold the entire country hostage.

Posted by: anonymousAgent at September 25, 2008 2:40 AM

The root of all recent problems in this country is the total lack of personal responsibility in the higher echelons of power

If you are a regular guy and you hurt somebody by mistake (e.g. in an auto accident) then your life can be ruined and nobody will help...
If you are a small business owner and make a wrong financial decision your life is ruined and nobody will help ...

But if you are the Prez and invade other country on false grounds killing hundreds of thousands then you get reelected
If you are a CEO of a multinational corp and run your company into bancrupcy then you retire rich in the Bahamas...

I say: keep the bastards accountable for their deeds or misdeeds
Make them put their money where their mouth is
Same goes for patent system - unless they make willful patent infringement a criminal offense or at least a personal financial liability all those large corps will continue to willfully infringe patents owned by little guys: corp execs have zero personal liability for willfull patent infringement (read "theft") under the current rules

Posted by: angry dude at September 25, 2008 6:14 AM

NYT article from 1999:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0DE7DB153EF933A0575AC0A96F958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

Note the nut-job from AEI's assessement:

"In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.
''From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,'' said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.'"

And the NYT from 2003:
Article in the NYT from 2003.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E06E3D6123BF932A2575AC0A9659C8B63&sec=&spon=&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.
Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac....

Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''


Posted by: anonymous at September 25, 2008 8:02 AM

Dude I can understand your anger but as for the state you're in, it's entirely and exclusively the all-powerful US voter that's to blame, isn't it? Now, I'm not a US voter but you are, aren't you?

Posted by: MaxDrei at September 25, 2008 10:47 PM

After they put Bush in the office for the second term I gave up on the voting process

Not that "democrats" are any better...

Posted by: angry dude at September 26, 2008 5:40 AM

But Dude, when you find the result of an election to be not to your liking, that's the very worst time to "give up" on the voting process, no? You should be out there casting your vote carefully, so it doesn't happen again. Now, I know what you want to say. Politicians: they're all the same, in a democracy. So, logically, you want to do away with democracy, right? Which absolute ruler would you prefer? One like S**** was, in Russia. One like H***** was, in Germany? Or take your pick, out of Asia and the Southern Hemisphere. Actually, it's interesting to contemplate the politics of Germany. It will always be a coalition Government, but which parties (conservative, liberal, labour, green and ultra-left wing) will form it is unclear till after the election. We have concepts like the "traffic light" coalition or the "Jamaica" ie green/yellow/black coalition). How about that as a self-centering device, like on the steering of your motor vehicle? How about that, as a mechanism to keep policians focussed on substance?

Posted by: MaxDrei at September 28, 2008 4:01 AM

unfortunately, failure to pass a bailout bill within a week or so we result in the failure to get auto loans, student loans, credit card loans and gawd forbid mortgages.

We could destroy the entire world financial system and then spend twenty years rebuilding it back to where it was a couple of years ago.

Why are we going to punish ourselves.

Those who think that they are heroic capitalistic holdouts will be left without any credit system and without any economy. -- enjoy!

Posted by: patent prosecutor at September 29, 2008 10:35 PM

"unfortunately, failure to pass a bailout bill within a week or so we result in the failure to get auto loans, student loans, credit card loans and gawd forbid mortgages."

Screw auto loans and credit card loans, dude

I always paid cash for my cars and can give this advice to anybody
If you can't pay cash for a new car then buy a used one
And absolytely the last thing you want is to keep a balance on your credit card
AS far as mortgages are concerned, there is always a way to arrange a deal between a buyer and a seller - seller or some other party can always finance a deal for a credit-worthy buyer,
or it can be a rent toward purchase..
Possibilities are many
We don't need those leeches on Wall Streat selling shitty papers to each other and to the rest of us.
Time for a major cleanup. Period.

Posted by: angry dude at September 30, 2008 6:08 AM