Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Fannie Mae taps another few billion.

Fannie Mae taps $7.8 billion from Treasury, loss widens

I can't even get a grip on all the things wrong with this scenario.

1. What were they doing holding derivatives?
2. What were they doing paying dividends during a loss?
3. Why are they still taking losses from 3 years ago?
4. Why are we paying for it?

Monday, November 07, 2011

The real 99%, and why it doesn't matter...

As a result of the occupy movement, more attention has been given to the growing wealth divide in the United States. For instance, the New York Times recently published an infographic (Where the 1 Percent Fit in the Hierarchy of Income) of wealth distribution. However, there is a growing backlash against the "99%" label. For instance CNN published "The 53%: We are NOT Occupy Wall Street" which references "the 53% of Americans who pay federal income taxes." However, even if 100% of the "53%" was in the "99%" it wouldn't matter. The conversation has been framed in a way that presents the ideological differences as too great to reconcile, despite the similar ideologies.

By labeling individuals as 99% or 1% (which for reference is $386K+ per year in income), the perception is that the 99% movement believes income should be more evenly distributed. Even as a lowly student, that idea scares me. The idea that 50% of the population should have 50% of the wealth, parallels with socialism. This idea also doesn't correspond well with the "American dream" - work hard, and reap the rewards. However, the dissonance provides little relief to the growing numbers of jobless, or impoverished. They may say that capitalism hasn't worked. Well, no. Not when you privatize the profits, and socialize the losses. For that, I cannot blame capitalism, but government, their allowance of capitalism in government.

In fact the 1% should have the right to be in the 1%, regardless of whether they worked hard, or simply stumbled into money. Yet when such powerful interests are involved in a capitalist society, those born without means must be represented by government. Otherwise we may not even have obvious regulation, like child labor laws. Yes, the rich should have the right to be rich. However, the wealthy live in a society that affords them such opportunities and provides them with infrastructure to conduct commerce, police to protect it and them, the FDIC to insure their profits, ect, ect. If the wealthy choose to utilize these resources by living in the United States, they have an obligation to society to ensure those opportunities are afforded to all. Not welfare, or handouts. Simply, education, healthcare and the right to work. If not for humanitarian reasons, capitalistic. A populace that is uneducated, sick, or drawing unemployment benefits, is of no use to a capitalist.

In summary, the anger at the 1% is naive and misguided. Occupy Wall Street should have occupied Pennsylvania Street. The real issue is the government allowance of capitalist involvement in government. Everyone knows corporations have no morals. So can we blame them for taking what they could from we the people? No. Government should have stopped them though - by letting them fail. Nevertheless, the great irony is the bickering comparisons of "occupy" and "the tea party" - despite their common enemies, and goals.

Divide et impera!