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Wednesday: I will gladly pay you Tuesday

The kid has AM detention (don’t ask), so I have to make this short.

Quick question:  What do the following American taxpayers have in common?

  • GM auto workers
  • middle class suburbanites
  • state workers with pensions

Answer:  They all agreed to defer part of their employment compensation package for future retirement benefits in the form of healthcare, 401K savings and pensions and they are the ones who are seeing massive failures in all three future compensation mechanisms. 

We’ve heard a lot about how Americans don’t save enough and I think we all know people who spend money like there’s no tomorrow.  But what about the vast majority who *did* save for tomorrow by buying into the notion that the company or state or financial services provider was carefully stashing away money on our behalf?  We gave them our trust and our money and many of us, including yours truly, are paupers today.  I’ve just seen 12 years of savings wiped out in the blink of an eye.

The finance industry has a pretty sweet deal.  They had access to our savings for years now and they gambled it all away.  For the stupid wage slave out there (and let’s face it, that’s how they see us), there’s very little left from the promise of future rewards if we just defer our savings.  This is the result of deregulation. We gave them our money in good faith and there was no accoutability for what happened to it.  It was like giving your life savings to a gambling addict with no requirement that the money had to be returned, in full with interest, by the end of the night.  No penalties for failing to do so.  We were *encouraged* to do this.  My employer signed me up for the 401K plan the first day I started to work.

For the banking industry, the insurance companies, the shareholders, it’s all NOW, NOW, NOW!  For the rest of us, “take and old, cold tater and wait” and oh, by the way, all your taxes are belong to us.

They never meant to keep their promises and no one was going to make them.  This is the price we paid for deferral.

Recommendation: Simon Johnson of Baseline Scenario did an interview with Terry Gross recently on Fresh Air.  He says the banking industry is very powerful and says what we’ve all been thinking:  they bought Obama and he can’t say “No” to them.

44 Responses

  1. Yes, I heard that interview. Poor Terry drank the koolaid and now she can’t figure out where her love affair with Barack went wrong.

    • Terry was such a disappointment during the election. She’d probably the reason I took NPR off my radio pre-sets.

      • 2008 was a year of too many disappointments to count, too much dismay to comprehend. Fresh Air used to be a favorite, All Things Considered a daily staple, Prairie Home Companion a Saturday afternoon pleasure. I turned my back on all of them because of their dishonesty about Hillary, their open plumping for the double dealing, clearly mendacious, self serving Obama. No one wanted to talk about the real Obama, the unexpurgated history behind the candidate. They simply refused to acknowledge any of it. They didn’t want to know and they didn’t want their listeners to know, either.

  2. Good morning, Riverdaughter. I hope all goes well at your daughter’s school and that you have a lovely day.

  3. Good morning RD and BB.

    “We gave them our money in good faith and there was no accoutability for what happened to it.”

    Accountability. Sounds like a battle cry to me.

  4. I have an African colleague who told me just before the big drop last year to put my money into an annuity. And I did–all future savings went into it. But I kept what I had saved in stock (CREF to be precise) and I can’t bear to look at the statements. My employer was matching what I put in, so it was a sweet deal. I guess since it has been cut in half I can look at it like the State of CT lost their money and I still have mine, but it’s no consolation.

  5. bb — I haven’t heard that interview (stopped listening to NPR back in what was it March? because the kool aid was so strong). My curiosity is peaked though how Terry (Obot supreme on NPR) handled that interview though. I might have to listen now.

    This is just a quick hi & bye — I’m off to work.

    • Hi Angie! I’ve missed you lately. Please don’t be a stranger.

      Hi Purplefinn too!

  6. Here’s a bit of a read to ponder:

    “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis: Well, It Sure Seems Like It IS Happening Here…

    http://insightanalytical.wordpress.com/2009/03/04/it-cant-happen-here-by-sinclair-lewis-well-it-sure-seems-like-it-is-happening-here/

    Written in 1935, with some very interesting predictions including

    “(1) All finance in the country, including banking, insurance, stocks and bonds and mortgages, shall be under the absolute control of a Federal Central Bank, owned by the government and conducted by a Board appointed by the President, which Board shall, without need of recourse to Congress for legislative authorization, be empowered to make all regulations governing finance. Thereafter, as soon as may be practicable, this said Board shall consider the nationalization and government-ownership, for the Profit of the Whole People, of all mines, oilfields, water power, public utilities, transportation, and communication.”

    And that’s just the first of the “platform” of candidate Senator Windrip….

    • What you’ve described is what I’ve suspected for some time now. The Fed manipulated this “crisis” from the beginning. The Paulson/Geithner plan was introduced during the primaries, after Lehman “collapsed.” Why? Why’d the Fed rescue some banks and let others die? You want to “change” the system, you gotta own the banks.

    • We’re straying into conspiracy theory here. AFAIK, there is no conspiracy except that banks are trying desperately to avoid nationalization and they are being protected from it by Geithner and Obama. It is the complete opposite of what you have written.
      And make no mistake, there are four or five banks that need to be nationalized or they will take us all down with them.
      Nationalization is simply a word for receivership. The FDIC has done it in the past and no one thought there was anything wrong with it before. But now that some really rich bankers are about to lose everything, suddenly it’s fascism?
      No, it’s propaganda. Don’t fall fir it.

      • Thanks for pointing out the truth. This propping up of the mega-billionaires is getting ridiculous.

      • I don’t really believe in a widespread conspiracy, or that this entire situation has been planned and thought out, but I do get the sense that some will benefit from the chaos and upheaval. I’m just getting the sense that it will be the unsophisticated stockholders and tax payers that get hurt the most.

  7. Good Morning!

  8. I saw in the WSJ an op-ed that said Obama’s policies were driving the market down. Quote: “He’s running out of other people to blame.” The editorial was still going on about Bush’s tax cuts, which I don’t think were any answer at all, and I didn’t feel that the author gave a clear reason other than that he didn’t like spending money on social services as to why Obama’s policies were driving the market down, but I would like to know if that is true. Also, David Brooks woke up from Kool-Aid stupor.

    • I think David was only pretending. He was so agog at Obama’s “presidential” pre-election “calmness.” “Calmness” is so far down on my list of presidential qualifications – it seemed like Brooks was stretching to say the least. Also he wrote a great piece on Obama worship before the election as well. “Barack Obama loves the future because that’s where all his accomplishments are.”

      • The calmness of a narcissistic sociopath with zero empathy for other people is not a qualification I would choose in a president.

        From what I’m getting from people like Jim Cramer–who liked Hillary–is that Wall Street is nervous because they don’t understand what the plan is (what else is new with Obama?) and they think Obama is trying to do too many things as once. They think he should be focusing on the economy and wait to deal with health care, social security, green energy, etc., because without an economy we won’t have any of that stuff.

        I also hear a lot of people saying that Obama should let the big banks go bankrupt and break them up. Right now, companies with good credit can’t get loans to buy parts of these banks. Only the zombie banks can get loans because the Gov’t is guaranteeing them.

        • Obama’s a name dropper. He flits from Economy to Environment, moves on to Health Care and agrees with Bush II and Reagan about Social Security but he has no desire to “get to know” any of them. And he never, ever flirts with plans to rebuild New Orleans, or do something about those pesky terrorists; those are on his “someday” list. Aren’t we all proud of our little Bush clone? So like the original.

  9. I’m listening to les miz, an dit seem sos apt now.


    With all the anger in the land
    How long until the Judgement day
    Before we cut the fat ones down to size?
    Before the barricades arise?

    And to the obots:

    Have you asked of yourself
    What price you might pay
    Is it simply a game
    for rich young men to play

    RED – The color of the balance sheets
    BLACK – the hearts of bankers on Wall Street

  10. Could it be possible that certain leaders within our government aided and abetted politically connected financial wolves in a huge redistribution of wealth?

    Shareholders have had their wealth squandered by corrupt boards and executives. Those at the top skimmed off all the wealth and left behind bankrupted institutions. In the banking sector, loan applicants were steered towards loans they couldn’t possible afford on a long term basis, and the CEO’s laughed as their pockets were filled with millions in bonuses.

    Now, the very individuals that are responsible for creating this mess are the ones who are most likely benefiting from the economic chaos. I wouldn’t be surprised if the wolves are waiting in the wings ready to acquire choice pieces of real estate and portions of distressed companies, they probably cheer and acquire even more wealth each time the market plunges.

    I mean, could you think of a better plan to swindle money? Get certain government leaders on your side (possibly such as Frank, Dodd, and top Treasury and SEC officials), outright steal shareholder wealth as the regulators look away, leave financial institutions virtually bankrupt, have those same government officials set the taxpayers up to pay for the losses, watch quietly in the wings as the government decides who wins and loses, and steal even more wealth by buying depressed assets at fire sale prices (foreclosed properties with large potential increases in value and the most valuable portions of distressed companies).

    So essentially, certain “politically connected individuals” who were allowed to steal money from shareholders and mortgage holders and now being set up to steal even more shareholder wealth along with tax payer funds. And, our 401(k)’s were used as a means of wealth redistribution to the financial wolves (could we be facing an oligarchy?).

  11. http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2009/03/the_myth_of_systemic_collapse.html

    Interesting article. Now, why would our leaders be trying to make the situation look worse than it is? Exactly who is benefiting from these bailouts? Whose pockets is this money flowing into?

  12. http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/03/dem-senator-condemns-veil-of-secrecy-shrouding-aig-counterparties.php

    Why are we tolerating veils of secrecy from an administration that campaigned on transparency?

  13. Not buying the demonization of the banking, insurance, financial industries en masse, although the obama administration is banking (pun intended) on us doing just that.

    On a slightly OT note, from US News & World Report

    Obama Takes Heat Over Tanking Markets

    Jim Cramer, at the beginning of CNBC’s Mad Money, reported that President Obama “actually said it was a good time to buy stocks,” and added, “Given that it was Obama who knocked the whole darn thing down, he might have some inside information that he’s done enough damage for now. … Obama is clearly not a day-trader– although he could make a killing on the short side with his radical agenda.” Former Democratic Rep. Harold Ford, appearing on MSNBC’s Hardball with Cramer, said, “I happen to agree with Cramer’s points, his larger thrust, the point he is trying to make to this Administration.” Larry Kudlow, host of CNBC’s The Kudlow Report and, according to The Politico, a potential GOP Senate candidate in Connecticut, opened his show last night complaining about the Administration’s talk “about taxing the rich, raising taxes on private investment funds and raising taxes on offshore corporate revenues. That is more war against investors and businesses in the worst bear market recession in memory. It’s an extraordinary stupid performance, to be honest with you.”

    The Washington Times reports that Carnegie Mellon’s Allan Meltzer “refuted Mr. Obama’s characterization of the market as fluctuating. ‘The stock market has not been ‘up and down’ since January 20. It is mostly down substantially. And it falls especially on days when the administration announces its plans and proposals.” James Pethokoukis, in his blog for U.S. News and World Report, says, “Week after week, investors have looked at stimulus plans, bank rescue plans and housing plans and taken little or no confidence from them.” Dick Morris, in his column for The Hill, notes that “in the last five months, according to the Federal Reserve Board, the money supply in the United States has increased by 271 percent. … The inevitable result will be double-digit hyperinflation.”

    Is Obama “Cooking The Books?” According to the AP, “After being accused for weeks of being too negative about the economy, Obama recently has shifted to a more positive tone.” But “some lawmakers challenged the administration’s predictions for such a speedy recovery. The budget forecasts that the economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, would shrink by just 1.2 percent this year and then snap back and grow by a solid 3.2 percent in 2010, followed by several years over 4 percent. That’s more optimistic than most private forecasts, and comes despite a new government report showing the economy contracted by 6.2 percent in late 2008, far more than the 3.2 percent drop first reported.” GOP Rep. Kevin Brady is quoted as saying, “It looks like somebody’s cooking the books.”

    http://www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/bulletin/bulletin_090304.htm

  14. I saw this yesterday. The new press secretary is a nitwit. But I was watching cnbc and their reaction:

    “Gibbs Questions Jim Cramer’s Credibility
    March 04, 2009 9:05 AM

    White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was invited to weigh in on yet another CNBC personality yesterday.

    An NBC correspondent (natch) asked Gibbs about CNBC’s Jim Cramer, who has recently assailed President Obama for pushing “a radical agenda” that “put a level of fear in this country that I have not seen ever in my life.”

    Mr. Gibbs’ digs were less incendiary than the ones he took at Mr. Santelli on February 20, but they were there — “if you turn on a certain program it’s geared to a very small audience — no offense to my good friends or friend at CNBC,” Gibbs said, “but the President has to look out for the broader economy and for the broader population.”

    A woman reporter on CNBC responded basically saying to the effect “which broader population would that be? The 70% of the people who have lost their 401(k)s, pension fund, retirement savings???”

    • They seem to take a page from the GOP: attack the messenger. Another sign of corrupt, unchecked power.
      Much as I loathe Limbaugh, I still think there’s something wrong when the White House is attacking an individual like this. Whith Cramer, we see it’s a policy. Wait the rest of the media to follow.

      • Pfft. Let them try.
        I bet Cramer has higher approval ratings than Obama now.

      • Cramer can take care of himself, and most assuredly its good for his ratings. Limbaugh LOVES the attention, great for his ego AND even greater for his bank account.

        The obamarama’s fail to see that this ISN’T an election, this isn’t a fight between candidates. The only player here who has anything to lose in these cat fights the obama administration seems intent on starting is in fact the obama administration. They must be seeing huge declines somewhere in their popularity to be reduced to lashing out at tv personalities. I think all is not right in POTUSville.

      • They really are starting to look like high school student council..maybe junior high.

      • Amen — only the lowest, classless, morally bankruptcy attack the messenger. Don’t these erudite individuals read Shakespeare?

      • Does Omnibus = Stimulus. Here’s one view from Evan Bayh. Hillary/Bayh would have been a good ticket.

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123612545277023901.html

  15. Obama is now releasing some of W’s memos on executive dictatorship.
    They are all leaping at the red meat and attack Bush, forgetting that Obama is following in the footsteps. See update

    • Well what a coincidence; just when the public is starting to realize mr. obama really doesn’t have any clothes, the emperor disseminates some tasty info to keep them looking elsewhere….

      Be back later, gotta buy some stock. So sayeth the emperor….

  16. Oh RD. God. I’m so sorry.

  17. Brooks troubles maybe?

  18. new thread

  19. Oh look. Joey from Friends got confirmed today to head the FCC (check old photo in below link). Julius Genachowski will play around with the Fairness Doctrine and/or other tools at his disposal to no doubt give the First Amendment a refreshing makeover. Limbaugh will be a target, but when will NBC begin drawing government salaries. What with Barry’s new transparent governing culture, I’m sure all that will be made apparent very soon.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123180775460975639.html

  20. For all those decent folk who trusted people no sane person would trust, who decently now look at another person to pay for that mistake, like me, I’m kinda curious where you were when the swarm of H1-B slaves from India was crattering the salaries of engineers, scientists, and doctors?

    I know, Free Market, Life Isn’t Fair, blah, blah. You seem out to prove it, don’t you? Yet again.

    And the target is me. Of course, it would be mean(and brave) to target the people who actually stole from you, so you aren’t going to do that. Because your nice……..

    Delete this comment like the Free Speech people you aren’t.

  21. […] Wednesday: I will gladly pay you Tuesday “…We’ve heard a lot about how Americans don’t save enough and I think we all know people who spend money like there’s no tomorrow.  But what about the vast majority who *did* save for tomorrow by buying into the notion that the company or state or financial services provider was carefully stashing away money on our behalf?  We gave them our trust and our money and many of us, including yours truly, are paupers today.  I’ve just seen 12 years of savings wiped out in the blink of an eye. […]

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