When the victory din for Obama was ringing loudest, I must admit that I was caught up in the hope that a regime change was something more, that there was hope that this time. It would be an end to our past decades of policy sins. I should have known better.
Forget that Obama hires a Raytheon lobbyist Bill Lynn into the DOD (among other lobbyists) right after banning such action. Forget that former lobbyist Tim Geitner who now heads out treasury is a tax dodger. Forget the laughable half mil salary cap on fat cats, which only affects the top 25 employess (promote a few janitors) and ISN'T RETROACTIVE! Where's the accountability for the bailout money spent as CEO bonuses?
The hypocrisy of the left wing denouncing conservative tax cuts and ignoring democrat ones makes me want to just tell you to forget it all. But when I saw the mortgage relief plan, well I snapped back to reality. I hope you do too.
So pretend for a moment that throwing $275 billion at a trillion dollar hole was somehow enough. Here's the gist of the plan, with my comments in red:
- For 5 years, mortgage interest will be reduced by banks so that monthly payments are 38% or less of monthly income.
So the tax deductible part is reduced, and even then for only 5 years. Right now it's a blessing to have any tax at all to deduct! Got Job?
- Treasury will help get this down further to 31%.
…with our tax money. Just clarifying.
- Both banks and borrowers get paid for modifying their loan.
We're paying these guys to do something they need to do anyways? Are the banks even trying to survive?
- Modified loans get bolstered insurance policies as an incentive.
So that when fundamental real estate forces cause more foreclosures, the banks will get more protection for their assets. Aren't we supposed to be stemming those forces in the first place?
The best things for banks to do now (by my uneducated guess) is to modify as many loans as possible on the worst terms possible. This is a reckless win-win for the banks. Either get paid for modifying loans you had to anyways, or foreclose on modified loans if the asset price + insurance adds up to more than what the owner can short sale.
Really, the only solution right now is to define exactly how much capital banks need to survive, kill the real estate market to that level, and then give them the bailout money for that use only. Too bad that bailout money is made of caviar and yachts right now.
Long live change.
So much to be thankful of this year. Having the opportunity of a lifetime staring us in face as the market collapses, having Obama make a brilliant choice in appointing Volcker, having a job of any kind, these are things to be thankful for. Steve showed me a chart where on the bell curve of the market’s annual gains/losses, 2008 is currently at the far left end of the bell, -4 SD into hell. Time to buy.
With that, I wish you all a happy holiday, and when you get a chance play this amazing game Auditorium. So many other games talk the talk about play, but with Auditorium, you really feel like solving puzzles is part of the discovery and creation process. You conduct the visualizaton of sound as a physical stream of liquid, forgetting about interfaces and hit points, for your imaginary audience. Goals are almost subjective, and the visuals are pure player expression. Enjoy!
Due to work circumstances, I'm not in the country right now. Following international coverage, it's been very interesting to see just how addicted to our election non-Americans can be. It's quite a spectacle, this American political extravaganza, and it speaks to our ability, indeed our need to concentrate our hopes and expectations on a human element. Obama acts as a lens, a crystal clear grain that braids and magnifies those in-line with his vision, yet scatters the vagrant rays of the misaligned for future self-reflection.
It's very unfair to say that Obama's supporters are the new America. But they are certainly the empowered America. I don't think this nation should be divided, and I think the "old" America should realize that it's time to step up and support Obama as our president. I said the same about Bush, and I'll say the same about Obama, and any future president we elect- a part of America made that choice, and we should respect that other part as soon as the divisiveness is over. Look at the election maps; the states are split in mini-majorities even on a per county basis. There is no prototype American. In fact that's our strength.
Remember that our Founding Fathers did not always intend for everyone to be able to vote. They wanted voters to be educated on the issues, and to show their responsibility with property ownership and such qualifications. The reason we have the electoral system today is because our Founding Father, despite their misgivings about the mobocracy, realized that as a republic, the participation in government is not a Federal business. And so the responsibility went to the States.
So please, dear Americans. I feel this very acutely being so far from home. Remember your roots. Remember your history. Remember that even though the States give every American the opportunity to vote, you have a responsibility to vote as an educated individual, and part of that education should be realizing just how diverse and unique our nation really is, and how the electoral system exists to protect that. Remember that the electoral system was so important to them because whoever the minority opinion, no matter how wrong, is still part of America.