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Old 02-05-2009, 09:49 AM
 
Location: Noth Caccalacca
5,556 posts, read 6,674,395 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akpreets View Post
To China....
....And it disappeared in devalued housing. That $850,000 house in San Francisco that is "worth" $599,000 but the owner still owes $850,000!! A lot of money disappeared with "deflated" expectations.
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Ayrsley
4,714 posts, read 8,463,384 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abcornwell View Post
Personally, I'd like to get the message out that there's a humane way to be a capitalist, that profiting at the expense of the masses is wrong. Something like that.
On the flip side...don't "the masses" share some of the blame here as well?

As someone else rightly pointed out - a big part of the current problem is that people have long been living far outside their means. I don't know, a "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality, or an "I can always pay for it later" mentality - call it whatever you want. But for a long time, a lot of people in this country have extended their credit, buying stuff that they can't really afford; some have done this without any thought at all. Some did it thinking, "well - I can afford the payments" - but then something happens, they lose a job and they can no longer make those payments because they were living paycheck-to-paycheck in the first place.

A lot of people were buying their "dream home" from the get-go, taking out a $300k mortgage when they should have been buying a starter home for half the price.

People buying a Lexus when they really only had the budget for a Yugo.

People charging a few grand on a credit card (or even using money from a home equity loan) to go to on some exotic vacation (and then paying off that balance over a year or more afterwards) instead of taking a vacation that was much more realistically affordable.

I in no way give the banking industry a pass on their practices, but just because people could get those loans or those lines of credit to buy stuff they couldn't afford / didn't need does not mean that they should have. A large contributor to the mess we are in is we, the consumers - all of those who decided to buy more, buy now, and pay later, as opposed to living within their means and "saving up" for those big-ticket items.

Yes there has been a lot of profit made for some at the expense of the masses - but a lot of the masses were happy to give them those profits in the first place. Now its come back to bite us all in the butt, regardless of whether or not we were financially responsible in the first place.
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:45 AM
 
1,800 posts, read 5,166,206 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
Well, I think all the power brokers in Washington need to see a visual demonstration of just how disgusted the American public is. By power brokers, I mean everyone from big interest lobbyists (and no, they will never GO AWAY) to Senators, Congressmen, DOJ, Cabinet members, etc. EVERYONE needs to understand that people across this country - in all age groups - are FED UP.

I think it should be a "We, the People" march. I am a capitalist, so make no mistake - I am firmly in favor of capitalism. This is no Bolshevik class war I am advocating, LOL!!!! I think one of the most enticing values we have in our society is the ability to MAKE MONEY, and to find innovative ways to create our family's wealth.

However, what has occurred is a massive game has been played in the financial sector. It started w/ legislation that forced banks into giving at least 20% of their loans to people who were high risk. It escalated when Franklin Raines at Fannie Mae decided to bundle those loans (wh/ were suspect at best, and doomed to failure at worst) w/ other securities. It became a bomb once institutions here and abroad (internationally) bought those securities knowing the "full faith" of the US Government was behind those securities. This was a Ponzi scheme at the highest level and no one wants to call it what it was: our government has essentially backed billions of dollars of toxic securities and when things started falling apart, the Treasury ran squealing to Congress. And why was the President and Congress compelled to create a Bail Out - TARP? Because indeed, when Raines bundled those toxic loans in w/ good securities . . . they were GUARANTEED by the federal government. So banks and financial institutions across the PLANET were screaming that they had been sold a stinky package of misrepresented goods - and the USA was responsible for backing those holdings.

These bundled securities had been passed around, reconfigured, sold and were hidden in funds at every brokerage in America and it appears, globally, as well. That means financial houses such as Goldmann Sachs had no clue exactly what was toxic and what wasn't. Further, that means that you and I had no clue that the supposedly high performing mutual funds we owned (and were investing in monthly w/ our 401Ks) included those toxic funds. Likewise, pension funds were permeated w/ those securities, as well.

Can you even imagine how the rest of the world feels about America right now? At least, the ones who realize what has occurred? Cause their banks held these toxic securities, too. Their pension funds had/have these toxic securities, also - and they demanded that the USA back those securities, as they should have demanded.

Well, there is no way our government can back all those toxic securities out there - and the fact is - NO ONE KNOWS WHAT IS EVEN OUT THERE - cause it was bundled. Your defaulted mortgage might be held by a firm in Taiwan or Germany or Dubai. NO ONE KNOWS.

And these securities were overvalued. So, the Dow went up!!! And everyone was riding high on all the inflated value of those funds!!! Then the truth came out . . . and the Dow fell what - 43% compared to its high?

My point is . . . while we have all been living our lives, paying our mortgages, putting our money aside in savings accounts and 401Ks/IRAs . . . a group of people in the financial sector have been playing w/ the digits. Yes, that is all our financial system is based on. DIGITS. Numbers in the sky. Assigned values created by buying and selling on the stock market. NUMBERS.

Please play w/ me a moment. I asked my husband: Okay. We lost $90,000 on that fund. Where did the money GO? Where is it? Who has that $90,000? I thought matter can neither be created nor destroyed, and I had $90,000 that just VANISHED. Where did it GO???? If I had cashed it in one day b/f it started its decline, those digits 90000 represent CASH that someone could have counted out in my hand. So where did that GO?

Get my point?

It was never there! It was all just digits, numbers on a spread sheet, and the facts are - those spreadsheets were like fake books that someone keeps on the side to fool Uncle Sam and avoid paying IRS taxes . . . My mutual fund was permeated w/ VALUE-LESS securities and when that was discovered - POOF!!!! DIGITS GONE!!! 90000 subtracted.

But . . . we call those spreadsheets BALANCE SHEETS . . . so if it was taken off one side of the Balance Sheet . . . it was added to another side of someone's balance sheet . . . so WHERE DID IT GO? Oh, yeah . . . provision for BAD DEBT. But what does that mean? Anyone following this? Where did those digits - 90000 - get moved to and how did they disappear? Who determines VALUE???? Did someone get my 90000 on their books and then use it to pay a bonus to some exec at Merrill Lynch? Did someone get my 90000 digits and apply it to a bad mortgage somewhere so their balance sheet could show a 0 instead of -90000?

WHERE DID MY MONEY GO???????? Where did YOUR money go???

Now, that is the bottom line of the bottom line. We have all accepted this system - the Federal Reserve System - and we all choked when we got our statements showing our losses - but no one has said . . . WHERE DID IT GO???? LOSSES? You mean . . . b/c some SOB who over-extended himself in Nevada defaulted on his mortgage, the number 90000 got taken away from my account? WHAAATTTT????

Sure. I know there are economists and financial experts who will say I have over-simplified this . . . but have I really?

We, the People have been the bag boys. We are left holding the bag. While stockbrokers and financiers all over the world traded off securities and bought and sold on the stock markets across the world, We, the People were waking up, going to work, feeding our families and doing what we were taught we were SUPPOSED TO DO to provide for our families and our future . . . and a big game was being played . . . the financial sector was playing musical chairs with our money. . . and we did not know it. We did not know that we had BOUGHT CHIPS in a gambling casino when we were putting our money into those reputable mutual funds. And now the game is over - and we are left holding the bag.

We, the People.

But it doesn't end there. The house of cards comes tumbling down and people start losing their jobs . . . so once again, We, the People are now standing in the middle of a securities toxic waste dump.

So I say . . . We, the People need to stand up and demand a place at the table.

Class war? Not is the classical sense. But if you look at the situation from the perspective of each of us being USED and ABUSED by the FINANCIAL CLASS . . . hmmmm. Maybe we should be calling it a Economic Class War - the Worker Bees rebelling against the machinations of the Financial Class. And that "war" should permeate every social class, economic class, age demorgraphic, etc in this country - b/c everyone at every level of wealth has been hit by the games that have been played by the Financial Class.

Let's face it. Someone was asleep at the Treasury, the SEC . . . and Congress . . . dear God they are idiots. Really. They are supposed to be OUR VOICE.

This all comes down to toxic securities being sold around the world and the Federal Government being required to do what it has guaranteed it would do - back those securities. Let's just tell the truth here. You and I are having to ante up so the Treasury can keep its promise to other government treasuries across the globe.

We, the People. We were not told what Franklin Raines had done. And where is that guy? Why is he not having to answer for this crap? Why won't anyone just come out and say it - our government backed securities that were SHELLS and over-valued, at that. Now, We the People have to ante up b/c our GOVERNMENT didn't pay attention!!!

So what are we protesting? Let's start w/ OUTSOURCING. By god, if you are an American corporation, you should be required to hire American personnel. Give us back our jobs.

Part of this game of financial wealth has been played in boardrooms, where the main concern is increasing STOCK PRICES (value) so that stockholders of the corporation make BIGGER DIVIDENDS. So corporations have found ways to outsource labor and cut cost, thus - more money in the coffers, more VALUE in the company, better stock prices - and BIGGER STOCK DIVIDENDS.

It used to be corporations were vested in the community where they were located. Well, not any more. Companies can do business globally w/ no consequences (i.e., government imposed consequences, such as increased taxes). We, the People need to make it clear to Congress that we want AMERICAN GOODs, produced in AMERICAN FACTORIES and anything imported needs to have the hell taxed out of it. Oh yeah, China is suffering. Well, they couldn't wait to get our greedy manufacturers over to their soil so they could line up cheap labor and produce faulty goods that We, the People would consume . . . THANKS, Congress, for making that possible. See what your trade agreements got us. Melamine in dog food. Lead in toys. And American workers without jobs!!!!

Isolationism? Protectionism? The erudite amongst us have words to label a movement demanding American companies hire American workers. And we are to feel bad about it. Social consciousness - help the starving people in China and Indonesia. How about We, the People helping ourselves? I say it is not isolationism or protectionism but SELF PRESERVATION - and what the hell is wrong with that?

So . . . We, the People should ask Congress to demand that the American public's jobs are PRESERVED. You tell me - How have these Trade Agreements done a damn thing for the masses - for the worker bees out there - you and me? All they have done is make it possible for stockholders to make higher dividends. THINK ABOUT IT. What has occurred is that money has been taken out of YOUR and MY POCKETS (job loss due to outsourcing and corporations relocating to foreign soils) and transferred to STOCKHOLDERS of greedy companies.

So how about we start w/ protesting Trade Agreements that have allowed Corporations across the country to ship our jobs off American soil? If that were stopped, it would put a halt to GREED in the Board room . . . and open jobs so we can all GET BACK TO WORK and pay off our debts and create some financial security in our own families.

Self preservation. Self determination. These were the words our country was founded upon. What the hell happened along the way????? ASK CONGRESS TO EXPLAIN IT. Ask our President to explain it. Yes, this occurred on "someone else's watch" - these trade agreements. But we are where we are today.

I say - we should have a movement w/ some phrase like "Bring it Home" . . . Bring our jobs home, bring our wealth home. Or - "It starts at Home" - values as well as jobs all begin at the Grassroots level. Congress needs to respond to We, the People, who they supposedly represent. We the people have a solution: BRING OUR JOBS HOME and STOP CORPORATE GREED.

And if we all join together to speak as ONE VOICE . . . maybe "the eggheads will finally get it."
Ani, your words need to find their way to the editorial pages of the Charlotte Observer...nah...skip that...right to AP/Wall Street Journal/Chicago Times/NY Times/etc....

You write with such emotion an truth. Others need to read it as well.
Thank you for that!

I would have rep'd you, if they'd have let me...
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
7,041 posts, read 13,111,325 times
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Ani, this is very beautifully written. stmaarten is right. You need to publish this in the NY Times or a newspaper that would be read by millions!
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:55 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,052,657 times
Reputation: 22371
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagocubs View Post
Ani, this is very beautifully written. stmaarten is right. You need to publish this in the NY Times or a newspaper that would be read by millions!
Thanks for the kudos, CHI and StMaarten . . . but WSJ and NYTimes have their own editorial staff and don't need me!!! C-D is my bully pulpit and I thank you for indulging me.

I do admit - when I was in newspaper, writing editorials was my favorite task.

I just wish everyone would find a way to join together and make a statement that our Congressional leaders would HEAR. They are supposed to be our voice - and it seems no one is really interested in advocating for THE PEOPLE.
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Old 02-06-2009, 09:09 AM
 
11,836 posts, read 25,445,183 times
Reputation: 2781
You hit all the major points very well Ani. But no one in .gov is interested in making things better for the people. All they are interested in is how much of our wealth they can steal for themselves & their corporate buddies before the nations holding our debt want repayment. Will they cough up the money they have stolen? Doubtful. They will probably give our country away, along with us as serfs to work off the debt for the rest of our lives.
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Huntersville
1,852 posts, read 4,668,638 times
Reputation: 525
Though you know whats funny.. Human Greed is always there.. I heard from a co-worker about a large well paid group in Charlotte that needed to cut expenses so management went to them as a whole and asked.. Would you be willing to take a paycut as a group or should we do layoffs. It was unanimous to do layoffs. Again a well paid group....
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Charlotte,NC, US, North America, Earth, Alpha Quadrant,Milky Way Galaxy
3,769 posts, read 6,756,066 times
Reputation: 2109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whytewulf View Post
Though you know whats funny.. Human Greed is always there.. I heard from a co-worker about a large well paid group in Charlotte that needed to cut expenses so management went to them as a whole and asked.. Would you be willing to take a paycut as a group or should we do layoffs. It was unanimous to do layoffs. Again a well paid group....
So in other words if it's me or the next guy, then we'll say a prayer for the next guy on his way out the door...
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Charlotte,NC, US, North America, Earth, Alpha Quadrant,Milky Way Galaxy
3,769 posts, read 6,756,066 times
Reputation: 2109
Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
Well, I can see what Wulf is saying, tho . . . especially if the people getting the award (trip) are making under $60,000 a year.

My concern is that the guys at the top are making such huge salaries and bonuses - and they always protect themselves (talking generically now - not just banking). If those top execs were a little less inclined to keep all the cash at their level - and let it trickle down a bit more to the people at the front line level (lowest paid employees) . . . seems that would make everyone a lot happier and be more equitable, as well. Then, w/ a healthier paycheck, you would ensure the best people stay - and that they can plan their own Vegas trip w/ the better salary they are receiving.

And I do think that this was a PR fiasco, much like GM execs showing up in DC in their private jets, LOL.
If and when you run a corporation, I know you will do the right thing with integrity. Not a joke, but being serious.

I occasionally give talks at youth groups and admonish them to always do the right thing, especially when you are in a position of power and influence.

I run a small business, and there have been times I haven't taken a check for weeks, or helped someone out with school, or whatever, because it's the right thing.

Corporate America is so sickening in it's apathy towards the lowest ranking employees. It's like they watched the movie Wall Street and made that the bible on how to act.
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:14 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,052,657 times
Reputation: 22371
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miker2069 View Post
If and when you run a corporation, I know you will do the right thing with integrity. Not a joke, but being serious.

I occasionally give talks at youth groups and admonish them to always do the right thing, especially when you are in a position of power and influence.

I run a small business, and there have been times I haven't taken a check for weeks, or helped someone out with school, or whatever, because it's the right thing.

Corporate America is so sickening in it's apathy towards the lowest ranking employees. It's like they watched the movie Wall Street and made that the bible on how to act.
Mike - you hit on it right there. DO THE RIGHT THING. I don't mean to sound self-righteous and I think all the parents out there will understand what I am going to say. You know how we try to teach our kids to respect others, be a good citizen and we want them to have a strong value system. What I have always told my son is just what you said, Mike. It all comes down to that! "Do the right thing." That, along with "Do unto others as you would have them do to you" really does sum it up.

Of course, I like to remind my son - "Don't just talk the talk; you gotta walk the walk!!!" LOL!!!

I guess that is what is so mystifying about this economic debacle: people did not DO THE RIGHT THING (Greed!!!). . . and they felt no moral compunction, either.
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