Monday, March 30, 2009

No, It Really Ain't Socialism. It's a Life Preserver.

Firstly, I am going to throw a bone to the "he's a Marxist, or socialist, or commie" Chicken Little, 'the sky is falling,' brigade. I am going to say it is not a matter of the sky is falling, but it already fell, and you all were likely too busy trying to regulate women's bodies or which adults get to have sex with other adults to notice.

But before I get too far down the road of speaking around the issue, let me say this. I sorta get why otherwise reasonable people could possibly fall for that stupid shit, particularly as we now live in a country where the private sector has fckd up the economy and the markets so badly that the U.S. Government has no better option than to go beyond being a mere creditor (like loaning money) and to a greater extent, act like owner managers of certain business. But remember kids; this is for failed or failing companies. Businesses that are solvent, that are well managed are not up for "grabs." Only the businesses that have been so badly managed they are failing and in danger of (well let's be honest, in many cases have) largely negatively impacting the greater economy, are being subjected to the cruelty of being saved from total implosion.

Here is my analogy. Imagine the USA is a large ship, and these corporations are drowning people. The Obama administration is making a deliberate choice to impact the corporations ability to be masters of their own fate to the maximum extent, by tossing them a life preserver.

And the naysayers? Fault me for being a little excessive, but it seems to me the loudest and most partisan of the naysayers are like some pesky drunks standing at the rail of the ship as the rescue is in progress. Instead of helping, the oafish drunk is spewing nonsense like,"Hey don't interfere. Let them drown. You're messing with God's will. It is not fair to help. Let them help themselves."

Something like that.

Honestly, I am not happy about the the amount of money the U.S. Government (meaning we the people) are on the hook for, here. But I well understand that something needs to be done, and there are no real good alternatives out there. We can niggle about the sub parts of the plan and tweak as we go (as ya can't realistically expect a perfect plan from the start.) But we are a modern nation in this modern world, and must do something to stabilize things. And as soon as possible, we need to make the changes to the markets to prevent this kind of thing from ever happening again . . . like we did in the 1930's . . . . and some dumb bastids were all gung ho to change those laws.

Sidebar: Have you noticed how Phil Gramm is the invisible man, these days? As one of the chief architects of the dismantling of the old laws to prevent this shit from happening, at least he seems to sufficiently ashamed to stay off the grid. Granted, if he did come out of hiding, it might get bad for him, real fast.

Anyway, before I forget, I said I was going to throw the socialism is taking over, Chicken Little Brigade a bone. Ok. Here goes. Socialism is when the Government takes over the means of production, meaning industry. Now if you don't have the ability to think analytically, you might think that the Government having a temporary ownership and or managerial oversight role in some banks and financial institutions is similar to a socialist takeover of those businesses. That is false. It is false on one level, as it is not a total takeover. It is partial, and it is meant to be temporary, and as soon as these banks and other financial institutions can give we the people our money back, they can go back to being free (but more tightly regulated) free market institutions. But more to my point, consider the really important part, as far as the definition of what makes socialism socialism goes. These businesses are not producers. They are not industry. There is no means of production being seized or removed.

These businesses were (the ones that are/were failing/failed) market manipulators. They, under the best of circumstances, generate revenue if not wealth, for themselves, mostly, but do not create anything but records of their transactions. That is not industry. They are not producers. They, the managers, and the traders, and the fund managers, have far more in common with the guys who hang out at the racetrack or betting parlors, looking for the long shot win.

So let's stop with the socialism-fear-mongering, Chicken Little, 'the sky is falling,' stuff. After all, the sky actually fell years ago, when the U.S.A. made the shift from being an actual industrial economy to a service economy. And do you know what that means? I am no Paul Krugman, but my guess is that even if we can lead the world in some new technologies, we are never going to go back to being a nation with enough genuine industry left for a proletarian revolution to actually lay it's grubby prole hands on. What do people think is going to happen? A mob of pitchfork and large scale wrench wavers are going to march on Wall Street, and seize the manuals that show how to put together a credit default swap?

But that is not my real point. My real point is that for the most part and for the foreseeable future, too much of our economy is going to be dependent on these non-producing types of businesses. So not only do we need to save them from going under (as that is too big a part of what we have holding up the economy), but we really need to have tighter control over the finance industry and the markets.

That is not socialism, that is self preservation. If you really are scared of the communist socialist bogeyman, you should be more willing to be behind the Obama Administration. They are all that is standing in the way of the US defaulting on all it's debt and leaving Our Nation to the mercy of the Chinese Communists.

And as a last matter, someone remind me, what is the Republican plan to keep the Nation from defaulting on it's debts and being at the mercy of our Chinese Communist creditors? Oh. Ya. Let the failing businesses fail. Cut taxes. Go broke, and then become a jail house punk for Chinese Communists. Ya. That is so much better than trying to stabilize markets, market sectors, and over-sized, mismanaged, way too damn powerful financial businesses, and have an orderly restructuring of the industry.

Having, instead, dozens of multi-million and billion dollar Bankruptcy cases scattered across the whole country, is going to be the salvation of the financial markets, and then economy? I do not think so. Anyone with a minimum understanding of finance and corporate governance can see that. Well, to be clear, anyone with that little, at least, knowledge who puts reality before ideology can see that.


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