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Why is America not angry?
Old 09-20-2008, 11:27 AM   #1
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Why is America not angry?

Congress is currently in session debating the largest financial rescue plan since the Great Depression. The last I heard, the package would amount to $700 Billion dollars.

The thing that bothers me the most about this this financial crisis is that the average citizen does not seem to be angry. Anger is a natural human emotion and is not always negative. In fact, sometimes it's needed for survival.

I believe that in some cases change cannot take place until their is collective anger. Our largest financial corporations have done a number on American citizens. The U.S. government was simply negligent in their fiduciary duty to its people.

We, our children, grandchildren and perhaps even our great-grandchildren will be paying now be on the hook for a sum of money that could eventually approach one trillion dollars. This comes at a time when two expensive wars are being fought on foreign soil, not to mention the domestic war on terrorism. This is all occurring while while 40 million Americans are without health insurance and the cost of health care is spiraling out of control. Both our government and corporate leadership has simply let us down.

Could someone please tell me why the average citizen is not angry about what is now taking place? I do not believe that any significant and meaningful change will transpire until people become mad about the unfairness of what is currently taking place in our country.

Do you remember the movie, Network? We desperately need some people like these who are willing to open up their windows and shout out, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!!"
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Old 09-20-2008, 11:49 AM   #2
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first, in the end it likely won't be a $700b bailout because there still might be some value to whatever will be sold. and if the government can hold onto assets for long enough and not dump them like they did with the rtc, then maybe the loss might not be so bad.

meanwhile, the american people are being convinced that if they don't bailout the corporations which took advantage of them in the first place, that life will be even worse than if they do. they are being marketed the least of two evils as if there is no good way out and the marketers, our leaders, are counting on our greed and our lack of a backbone to take the deal.

does anyone think for a moment that this government would allow the people make a run on the banks now to remove all their money and crash this system? therein lies the test of democracy as capitalism frames it; it would fail miserably.

the only resolve to this that i would find satisfactory--as an angry citizen of democracy who knows the government has a ray gun between me and my bank account--is that we at least get some reasonable regulation into the future for the price of our spineless, blind obedience to authority today. sadly, i fear we will get only enough regulation to quell our current fears but tomorrow even that will be taken away.

hopefully, this debacle will move us towards a more social system so that we will better integrate into the democracy spreading throughout an ever enlarging world population who will insist on sharing the wealth.
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Old 09-20-2008, 11:54 AM   #3
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The reason is because the avg citizen has no idea what is going on or if they happened to see something on the news about it all, they have no idea what it means or how it will affect them. Walk up to a random person and see what they think about the "government bailout" and they will look at you like youre an alien.

Also, Ive listened to a few interviews where some people in the business think the govt may actually make money on the whole thing...as oppossed to the astronomical number (like $700 billion) that some think will cost the american taxpayers.
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Old 09-20-2008, 12:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retire Soon View Post
Could someone please tell me why the average citizen is not angry about what is now taking place? I do not believe that any significant and meaningful change will transpire until people become mad about the unfairness of what is currently taking place in our country.

Do you remember the movie, Network? We desperately need some people like these who are willing to open up their windows and shout out, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!!"
I agree with your sentiments and I would be guessing as to why people are not angry about what is going on.
It is a very good question and there isn't one answer.

My thoughts:
A. Personal level
1. Our needs are being met - we are satiated and secure
2. We are hopeful about the future
3. We have become desensitized by large numbers
4. Do not know the implications of the number
5. Do not know what to do.
6. Looking for a leader to take up the cause

B. Group Level
1. Many groups of people - think age groups - do not have personal experiences or memory of difficult economic time - the last one was 1979 - 82. So they do not have fear what could happen.
2. Current political parties will not point out the true nature of the problem, causes and solutions because they caused it and the true solutions would be too painful. Also, if one did it the other would just attack. So, they can only do short term fixes and try to distract us through polarization and other issues.

When items A1 & A2 are no longer true; then the people will get angry and elect people to change things.

Then that person would come from a third party, because - see B2

Another scenario relies on demographics and would take longer to play out. The US population is aging. When this happens people tend to become less risk adverse and fiscally conservative. However, the baby boomers are getting older and they will most likely vote for things that will secure their financial security - increases in old age health care and social security.

I do not see anything to change the current situation. All past empires have debased their currency as they declined. So it will be for the USA.
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Old 09-20-2008, 12:20 PM   #5
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Why do you assume that people are not angry? Everyone I've talked to about this is angry, frightened too, and what makes it worse is the feeling of "what can we do?" The only sphere of influence that I have personally is to minimize the short term risk to my portfolio.

If you want to read the proposed legislation for the Bailout plan
here's the link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/bu...l?ref=business

I especially "like" this part that gives Paulson total power without review. What a world.

"Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

Oh, and this part is really nice.

"Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.

The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time."

So, he can keep a running balance of $700 billion?
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Old 09-20-2008, 01:03 PM   #6
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Lets see . . . the government is putting together a plan to buy debt securities that have gone bad because they are backed by mortgages to people who paid inflated prices for houses they couldn't afford with too little of their own skin in the game.

Maybe the population at large isn't angry because they are aware of their own complicity in the crisis.
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Old 09-20-2008, 01:11 PM   #7
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Here's an interesting Bill Moyer's interview with Kevin Phillips author of
BAD MONEY: RECKLESS FINANCE, FAILED POLITICS, AND THE GLOBAL CRISIS OF AMERICAN CAPITALISM

Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS

From the introduction to the interview:

"The author, Kevin Phillips, has a history of being way ahead of the curve. As a young man working for Richard Nixon, he wrote THE EMERGING REPUBLICAN MAJORITY, a book that uncannily predicted how the GOP would regain power in Washington. Kevin Phillips saw our current crisis coming a long time ago. And in one book of historical insight after another, laid out the clues he was tracking. As recently as last spring in the AMERICAN PROSPECT magazine, Phillips wrote that what he thought was about to happen would be "unusual and potentially tragic."
In the preface of his book, he has written that these things usually come to fruition in August and September. And sure enough, here we are coping in September with the effects of bad money. "
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Old 09-20-2008, 01:16 PM   #8
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America isnt angry because they arent aware of the implications.

Once again we impose the intelligence and financial savvy of the people from this forum onto the general public.

My wifes pretty smart. She says that according to the stuff she's read and watched on tv we arent 'bailing out' anyone and none of this is being done with taxpayer money.
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Why I think people "aren't mad"
Old 09-20-2008, 02:08 PM   #9
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Why I think people "aren't mad"

Top reasons:

(1) It's too early - just like the Iraq war we haven't really started paying for it yet. It's too abstract for the average person until they lose their job or can't withdraw money they thought they had at the bank.
(2) People who are underwater in their mortgages are (practically by definition) not financially savvy. All they know is that "help is on the way!"
(3) There are a LOT of voters who are drowning in debt - inflation actually helps them by reducing their debt (as long as we also get wage inflation)

Ain't it great? 2 trillion dollars in a war and casino bailout. And now the government is going to show up at your door with the IRS and inflation for these follies.

People will get a lot more angry as the economy deteriorates further and they are personally affected.
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Old 09-20-2008, 02:28 PM   #10
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I think many of the folks who have a bit of an understanding of what's going on are too concerned about these issues to take time to be "angry" yet:

1. Potential over-reaction in policy making causing the pendelum to swing too far in the opposite direction.

2. Additional shoes will drop. We ain't seen nuttin' yet......

3. Politicians make it hard to understand because they're so busy assigning blame (to anyone besides themselves or their party) rather than working on solid, long-term solutions.
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Old 09-20-2008, 02:30 PM   #11
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Even if they wrote a check for $700B tomorrow, it only increases the National Debt ~ 7%. If America is not angry over the National Debt why should they get angry about borrowing a little more?
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Old 09-20-2008, 02:35 PM   #12
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Without trying to turn this into a soapbox item, let me give an example of the public opinion.

As of July 2006, half of all americans believe we found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Thats up from the 38% who held this mistaken belief in 2004. Twenty two percent further believe that Iraq used chemical and biological weapons against us in the war.

Again, not a soapbox item intended for discussion or to irritate, just a statement of a well reported factual item and how its perceived by the public.

These folks are supposed to grasp the implications of a failure of a portion of the financial system due to collateralized, leveraged debt?
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Old 09-20-2008, 02:51 PM   #13
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I read a scifi book many years ago (pre internet, ubiquitous cable TV days) about the sociological aspects of life when there was very little need for workers, due to automation. You were born into a "career" and that's where you stayed, even if there was no longer a need for shoe repairmen. The hero was trying to advance himself in a society where the only way to do that was to become a soldier (corporate wars).

But a side issue was how the gov't/corporations kept the stinky majority from becoming bored and restless. The answer was free cable tv and low level narcotics (pot, alcohol, things like that).

It's not quite all free and legal, but it's certainly easily available. It's hard to plan the revolution when suckin' on a Bud Lite and laughing at Stephen Colbert.
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Old 09-20-2008, 03:03 PM   #14
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Could it be that this has not hit unemployment yet? I think the majority of Americans i.e 94% have a job. There are no streaming news stories about massive layoffs.

This is happening to the other guy, the fat cats on Wall Street.

I am in it for the long haul so I really don't pay any attention to my portfolio, it would just keep me up at night.

Yea, lots of news, but I didn't know what AIG and Lehman did anyway.

Got any idea what an 'Investment bank' does? Do they offer a free toaster with an account?

OK, the average American does not have a college degree, (last stats I saw it was less than 25%). Many of those with a degree did not take business or finance courses, therefore, the number who would understand the long term ramifications are small in number, and they are not talking. The news media is two interested in gotcha journalism, finding someone to blame, and punish (as some on this board are)
Besides they were journalism majors and the subject is beyond their comprehension therefore there are no real news stories as to the long term consequences. Besides, you can not cram it into a 30 sec sound bite.
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Old 09-20-2008, 04:03 PM   #15
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But a side issue was how the gov't/corporations kept the stinky majority from becoming bored and restless. The answer was free cable tv and low level narcotics (pot, alcohol, things like that).

It's not quite all free and legal, but it's certainly easily available. It's hard to plan the revolution when suckin' on a Bud Lite and laughing at Stephen Colbert.
Good post.
The Roman Emperors gave out free bread and held gladiatorial games.
Maybe people think laughing at Stephen Colbert and making jokes about Bush is showing their intelligence and a valid way to participate.
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Old 09-20-2008, 04:38 PM   #16
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It's easy to see why people aren't as angry as (I believe) they have every right to be.

First they have been knocked silly by the recent, rapid economic/market/housing downturn.

Then they have been threatened by the hand that knocked them silly - - they have been told that this nearly ballooned into a second Great Depression and still could.

Then they were presented with the new financial rescue plan as THE only alternative to this supposedly imminent total economic collapse. And we are told it has to be put in place immediately, if it is going to help us.

Well, duh? Most people are going to say that it isn't perfect, but that it sure beats the end of civilization as we know it. Let's see - - Great Depression and back to the Stone Age, or new rescue plan immediately? We are told these are the two choices.

My objection is that I do not think this is really the case. I think we are having the wool pulled over our eyes. But presently there is nothing we can really do about it, except to hope for the best.

P.S. - - I will restrain myself from telling you all I have been thinking, so that we can keep this out of the Soapbox. I recognize that many of you are making gargantuan efforts to keep that from happening.
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Old 09-20-2008, 05:04 PM   #17
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Right now anger seems to be aimed at illegal immigrants and Saddam's terrorists who planned 9/11.

I think money is too intangible and the amounts too big to get emotional about. Besides, who's playing Da Bears this weekend.
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Old 09-20-2008, 05:09 PM   #18
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without this we would be entering a new great depression next month, i'll take RTC 2 over a depression any day
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Old 09-20-2008, 05:15 PM   #19
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In November you will see their anger. Many people flock to the McCain-Palin rallies but keep in mind it equivalent to going to a pro-wrestling match to look at the freaks.
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Old 09-20-2008, 05:16 PM   #20
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What's RTC2? A new depression med?
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