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william greider: what are we getting in return?
Old 07-19-2008, 11:08 AM   #1
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william greider: what are we getting in return?

woke-up mid-sleep, got out of bed and caught on tv a bill moyers interview with william greider late last night. wasn't familiar with the man before this. now plan to read his books and articles. very interesting guy. you can view the program or read the transcript here Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS

(i'm not positive but this appears to be his travel page William Greider page )

greider referred in the interview to what he calls the fantasy that markets know best which has been fed to the american people by its government and which has led to usury whereby, as he put it, "wealthy people, whether they're banks or individuals,...use their power, their wealth to exploit people who don't have wealth..."

one thing he said that still bugs me this morning is what do american tax payers get in return for bailing out investment banks or the like of fannie & freddie? are fannie & freddie investors made whole scott free? should fannie & freddie become public institutions? and what of bearsterns, what did taxpayer get in return for saving them?

Quote:
WILLIAM GREIDER:
Quote:
-it's a wildly grotesque transaction where the public guarantees the life of these firms, and there isn't any effort that we know of to say, "And in return, you're going to behave in the following ways for the next ten years or maybe forever. We'll pass a law later that spells that out more clearly, but this is our starting demand." And I suppose they would say, "Well, we don't have time to do that. This is a crisis, blah, blah, blah." I don't buy that. I think that's a way to avoid those questions is not even mention them.
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Old 07-19-2008, 12:29 PM   #2
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Lazy, you know the answer: bupkis!

Fannie and Freddie were once NOT private operations. Someone made a buck in making them private and selling shares, and that same cast/caste of someones will make a buck re-nationalizing them. Get with the program!
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Old 07-19-2008, 01:36 PM   #3
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As I understand the GSE's situation, they are in danger of going under because of all the bad mortgages they hold. In 2009 more "good" mortgages are in danger of default because they are interest only, or ARM's that will be recast in '09-10. So Fannie/Freddie's capital is in danger.

If they default on the bonds held by the Japanese, Chinese, and whoever else holds them, these countries may decide not to buy our treasuries. If we cannot finance our debt or our wars or Medicare, etc.,then our country will go bankrupt.

So the Fannie/Freddie fiasco could have wider implications than just those two entities going under. Our country relies so much on debt to finance everything, that we could be in deep doo-doo if the GSE's default on their bond holders.

I'd appreciate it if someone with more understanding will fill in the holes or correct my analysis, if necessary
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Old 07-19-2008, 03:01 PM   #4
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The GSEs don't hold subprime or interest only paper. They hold some of the best mortgages out there. The current default rate on their mortgages is still extremely low - yes, it still could go higher. I don't know if they loan ARMs (I didn't think so). Lending standards for Fannie or Freddie mortgages didn't drop during the housing bubble.

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Old 07-19-2008, 04:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldbabe View Post
As I understand the GSE's situation, they are in danger of going under because of all the bad mortgages they hold. In 2009 more "good" mortgages are in danger of default because they are interest only, or ARM's that will be recast in '09-10. So Fannie/Freddie's capital is in danger.

If they default on the bonds held by the Japanese, Chinese, and whoever else holds them, these countries may decide not to buy our treasuries. If we cannot finance our debt or our wars or Medicare, etc.,then our country will go bankrupt.

So the Fannie/Freddie fiasco could have wider implications than just those two entities going under. Our country relies so much on debt to finance everything, that we could be in deep doo-doo if the GSE's default on their bond holders.

I'd appreciate it if someone with more understanding will fill in the holes or correct my analysis, if necessary
You mean maybe we'd have to stop fighting wars without a specific enemy and stop driving up medical cost by fully funding hypochondriacs?

Perish the thought!
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Old 07-19-2008, 09:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum View Post
... what did taxpayer get in return for saving them?
The typical logic is that we spend less on taxpayer-funded bailouts than we would on welfare payments to ex-employees, busted pensions, and general civic unrest.

Oh, yeah, and those companies & employees can then keep paying their payroll taxes into Social Security & Medicare.
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Old 07-19-2008, 11:06 PM   #7
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I always looked forward to reading Greider's articles when he was political editor for Rolling Stone in the 1990's. Smart man, not easily taken in by the B.S. dished out by Washington politicos of either party (although he was definitely tougher on the GOP).

Here's a link to the only article from that era I could find online, a story covering John McCain during the 2000 campaign:
Happy Warrior : Rolling Stone

Looking forward to catching up on what he's been writing recently, now that I know he's been writing for The Nation.
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Old 09-16-2008, 10:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum View Post
"wealthy people, whether they're banks or individuals,...use their power, their wealth to exploit people who don't have wealth..."
Well, being a capitalist rather than a communist, I can't say that I'm against that.
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:11 PM   #9
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you don't have to be a communist to find wrong in usury. but go right ahead and enjoy your fantasy that capitalists know best. they seem to be doing a very good job of it to date. if only they could manage without a bailout from the people who don't have wealth. smoke and mirrors.
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Old 09-17-2008, 03:29 AM   #10
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lazy.. I love Bill Moyers.. (his was my first podcast subscription). He really takes me back to an era of reporting that was measured and explorative. You know he's on the side of the average person (some might consider that excessively leftist) but he really allows his subjects time and space to speak.

I can't promote this interview enough:
http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/M...6&id=161038776
Andrew Basevich on war/foreign policy and consumption

A great look at money-making in the "Poverty Business" is here:
http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/M...2&id=161038776


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Old 09-17-2008, 06:53 AM   #11
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go right ahead and enjoy your fantasy
That's a bit harsh, don't you think? Your posts are usually much more polished.

Oh well, I will cut you some slack since you were posting late at night and were understandably stressed by the latest immense bailout.
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Old 09-17-2008, 11:10 AM   #12
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Well, being a capitalist rather than a communist, I can't say that I'm against that.
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That's a bit harsh, don't you think? Your posts are usually much more polished.

Oh well, I will cut you some slack since you were posting late at night and were understandably stressed by the latest immense bailout.
you see harsh, i see measured response to having just been called a communist (as if that's a bad thing), if not just in implication, then in association as your quote makes it look like another person's quote is my word when i was just reporting on what a third person said.

the timing of your comment, however, was much more telling than mine, particularly in the midst of such massive bailouts which reveal through all the smoke and mirrors how your so-praised capitalist system does not work without exploiting in emergencies even those who were exploited in the first place. as a peon in a luxury hotel was overheard telling a guest: your lack of planning is not my emergency.

to misquote buffett: when the tide is slack it is capitalism which can be seen swimming naked. and without fleecing those without wealth, it is not, apparently, on its own, very well, um, endowed.

perhaps the capitalists can find something else to deregulate to fix this mess. given enough carnage, perhaps no one will notice all the smoke and mirrors.
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Old 09-19-2008, 08:34 AM   #13
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you see harsh, i see measured response to having just been called a communist (as if that's a bad thing), if not just in implication, then in association as your quote makes it look like another person's quote is my word when i was just reporting on what a third person said.
Oh dear. I think perhaps you misinterpreted my original post, and inferred a slight or personal criticism that was certainly not intended.

I didn't call you a communist (which in my mind is not the most damning label), or mean to imply by association that you are one. Nor did I suggest, or mean to suggest, that Greider's remark was yours.

I don't know Greider, or you, and have no idea what your respective beliefs are. Frankly it doesn't matter to me, either: capitalist, communist, Fabian socialist, etc. ... no one system has a monopoly of wisdom or virtue. I am not wedded to any particular school and have no desire to engage in theoretical debate: my original post was largely tongue-in-cheek.

I usually enjoy your posts, and hope that you will accept my apology for the offense inadvertantly given.
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Old 09-19-2008, 11:09 AM   #14
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I searched for a couple more good commentary articles from him, with a newer date.

Creative Destruction on Wall Street - Sept. 15, '08

and

The Scent of Fear - Sept. 17, '08

-CC

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Old 09-19-2008, 11:59 AM   #15
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milton, your explanation is appreciated. your apology accepted though not required. i wasn't debating personality but lines of thinking. i got the original tongue in cheek though next time you should take me to dinner before you try to french kiss me. oh, you mean your tongue in your cheek; well, there i go again. sorry, myself, if i used your humor to make my point for even in tongue and cheek there is point of view. i should find a way to make it more clear that i am debating ideas (as i do even within myself), not people. (when i argue with myself i never take it personally so i don't know why everyone else has such a problem with me.)
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