The Grey Lady treats us to "a year later view of Wall Street." And the picture looks... surprisingly similar to what it did a year ago. Except now everyone is more convinced that the government will step in to bail them out of bad decisions (from which the "haves" such as Goldman Sachs may continue to benefit from the upside) than they were during "the crisis" when there was, at least, the possibility that the government would not.
Which just means that many economists, including some who have been right about the dot-com and housing bubbles, see the next inevitable crisis (which will be coming in a matter of at most a few years, rather than centuries or decades) will be worse, as we have largely tapped out the government's credit-worthiness as it is just to get us to this point.
Obviously, the initial counter-measures to last year's financial crisis were taken in the Bush Administration, and, alas, as in so many areas, the Obama Administration simply continued existing policy. And in the sense of short-term stability, this was understandable.
But the Grey Lady piece notes the obvious road-block to real reform, even seemingly minor reform like transparent trading of derivatives (and they are still being traded, notwithstanding the systemic damage they are believed to have caused), let alone significant reforms like compensation caps or limitations on the size of financial institutions... Reforms are held up because, of course, such things are counter to the interests of the financial uber-klass that owns Congress. Which is... a problem. Because anything that requires Congressional action counter to the interests of big money... isn't going to happen. Not "probably" isn't going to happen. Just "isn't."
Which is too bad.
My advice to my individual readers remains the same (and keep up with Club Orlov for more great advice!): try to have a place to live that's not likely to be taken away from you, have some means at hand of growing and raising your own food, try to get in (or stay in) pretty good shape so you can walk and ride a bicycle (and keep your bike in good shape), and hone up those basic skills like sewing and basic carpentry and bicycle mechanics and all. Maybe make friends with some current or ex- law enforcement or military personnel... good friends. And don't worry too much about the vagaries and complexities of our society, because, thanks to our friends on Wall Street and their friends in Congress, unless we actually do see some dramatic "change" (and folks, my college classmate President Obama, though neither corrupt nor dysfunctional himself, still comes out of the same corrupt and dysfucntional system as the turkeys in Congress... and he has largely surrounded himself with still more of those same turkeys)... this party is likely going to end... not merely in our lifetimes, but in our relatively near futures. And it will likely end with the power off, the plumbing not working, the cops raiding the place, and most of the guests suffering unpleasant hangovers...
I hope I'm wrong, but it's not really how you bet. This has been... "Hope and change: business edition."
I'm down in the basement, looking for my puncture repair kit ...
Great work, as ever.
Posted by Andy Worthington at September 16, 2009 8:36 AM