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Save your breath, Obama fans, this one will change your mind

Wall Street wants a cut of Atlantic City’s market

If it weren’t enough that we bailed out the finance industry, gave them billions of dollars, took their toxic assets off their hands, compensated them for their bad bets and ignored every other blessed thing in the country while the bankers plaintively whined, “But what about *me*!?”, the bankers new plan for the elderly and retired people is really the worst.

According to the NYTimes (and they are no Romney fans, let us note), the Obama administration is fully behind the finance industry’s plan to market securities to the elderly and retired people.  You know, those people in your family who watch Fox News, buy gold coins from Glenn Beck and stock in Israeli oil companies?  Just think about it, some massive pension funds gave money to Goldman-Sachs for hinky securities, the brokers called them “muppets” and got away with it, and Goldman got a slap on the wrist when the pension fund lost a ton of money.  Now, multiply that stupidity across a whole nation of elderly former supermarket cashiers and bus drivers with little nest eggs that they are setting aside for themselves and their children’s inheritance.

And the Obama administration is giving this scheme its blessing:

Bipartisan majorities in Congress and President Obama are to thank for this development. Bowing to the financial industry, they joined forces last April to pass a law that requires the Securities and Exchange Commission to lift the ban on mass advertising of private offerings.

The S.E.C., for its part, made matters worse this week when it proposed a rule to implement the law that utterly fails to address the fact that ending the ban will make everyday investors more vulnerable to fraud. While the commission has no choice but to lift the ban, it does have leeway to write the rules to decrease the threat to investors. It has not used that flexibility.

For instance, while the new law allows for mass advertising of private offerings, it also says the buyers of such securities must be “accredited investors,” generally defined as those with at least $1 million in net worth (not counting a home) or at least $200,000 of yearly income. The law also says that private stock issuers must take “reasonable steps” to verify that investors qualify as “accredited.” But the S.E.C. did not impose or even suggest verification procedures to ensure that investors meet the criteria.

Now, if this were a rule that allowed average people access to valuable IPOs, that would be one thing.  I’ve always thought it was unfair that only certain already rich people had access to inside information that would allow them a head of the line pass to make a killing.  But that’s not what we’ve got here.  What we’ve got is a way for the finance industry to sink their teeth into our future inheritances while potentially leaving our elderly parents destitute.  Someday down the road, we’re going to hear some young, hotshot, banker asshole in a bar say something about how it’s not his responsibility to save stupid people from themselves.  He’s in it for himself and he didn’t do anything illegal.  He’s just smarter than the suckers who bought what he was selling.

So, there you go. Obama, instead of leveling the playing field and making sure that all investors get stellar service from accountable brokers, is doing exactly the opposite, as if investing in the market was just what everyone wanted to do with their retirement savings.

I don’t like the way this is sounding.  Why would any senior citizen with a comfortable living from pensions and social security need to risk any of their money on the market?

Unless some of that comfortable living shrinks up and dies away and they need to find some way to replace it?  Doesn’t this sound like the brute force way to privatize Social Security?  Make your Social Security payment so tiny that you are forced to risk money on  the stock market?  Like involuntarily forcing you into 401Ks with risky mutual funds just when you should be sticking it all in a boring, plodding annuity?

It sounds like a finance industry wet dream, like introducing the gambling addicts to a whole new casino.  Instead of rehabbing them, Obama will be enabling them further.  The bankers will not be curbed in the least, nor will they be held accountable when millions of people lose everything they own to them.  I can almost picture them in a room with Obama, talking about “what everyone already knows.  Social Security is dead. We have to force the public to face up to it and give them an alternate way to make money.”  The sociopaths in the bespoke suits and manicured hands look at the president in what passes for what they call sincerity.  They nod gravely at one another.  Well, what can they do?  The world is changing.  Ohhh, so THAT’S the Change!™ Obama was always talking about.

You know how I know that this is the kind of conversation they’re having?  It’s because this is the same schtick I and my colleagues heard from our 401K managers in a seminar on all the fantastic new products they were rolling out to us a few years ago. “Social Security is going to be a thing of the past.  Where else are you going to go?”  They *almost* made it sound like they were doing us a favor since there wouldn’t be any social security anymore.  And then I thought, how do they know that?  Who told them?  Is that part of the plan??  Deliberately remove this leg of the retirement stool and force us all into risky mutual funds?

So all you Democratic loyalists who are screaming about how the Republicans are the worst people on earth and how you can’t trust them and OMG, if you don’t vote for Obama, we are all well and truly *f^&$ed*!, you can save your breath.  He has betrayed you.  You’re just sticking your fingers in your ears singing “la-la-la, I can’t hear you”.  He will never be YOUR president because you ask nothing of him.  And once he has you in his win column, he will ignore you and move on to the tougher nuts, the religious and the libertarians.  He is exactly the same kind of president to the liberal Democrat that Romney will be to the liberal Democrat.

Democratic loyalists need to ask themselves what they are going to get out of this and they should pay attention to who the Obama administration is courting.  You will only get what you want from the party if you deny them  what they want.  Otherwise, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?  The scare tactics don’t work on me because I’m not a fricking pushover.

Stop acting like stupid mooning girls with a crush on a player.

The Democrats in Exile theme song:

16 Responses

  1. We are just so screwed no matter what happens in November.

    • You wanna know why we’re screwed? It’s because we have so many lefty bloggers who have jumped on the Republicans are evil bandwagon. They are obscuring the fact that the real evil is coming from our own side and people are being disarmed. Yes, that is what I call it. The left blogosphere is disarming itself in order to anoint Obama again. It is surrendering without a fight.
      It’s sick.
      Of all the intetests that are getting the Democrats’ attention, it’s own base is not among them because they have stupidly laid down their arms.

      • Yes. The ” left ” as it were, has decided to mobilize behind Obama’s re-election. Honestly, I’ve lost my trust in most of the leftist blogosphere. When the good people of Wisconsin decided on open revolt to oppose Scott Walker’s austerity assault, the blogosphere helped take that excitement and funnel it into the black hole of electoral politics with the recall movement. It accomplished nothing except to strengthen Walker’s hand. It was either a gross miscalculation or the blogosphere knowingly allied with the Democratic Party apparatus to defuse a populist challenge to authority.

        Ian Welsh nailed it: this generation of left leaders needs to be retired. They are complete sell outs and accommodationists and thus part of the problem. And it’s a very scary situation. The institutions which people grew up supporting have turned against their constituencies.

  2. I don’t know what to do.

    • Yes, you do.

    • The Green Party will be on the ballot in Kansas. They’re the only left-liberal third party that understands the importance of organization.

      But, more generally, you need to figure out some way to interrupt cash flow to the Democratic Party. If cash flow can be interrupted in a substantial way, it will get the attention of the party leadership.

      • Oh, the VOTE – I don’t care about that. Sure, I’ll vote Green. But, that’s a completely meaningless symbol. After 2008 that’s not going to hurt at all.

        What I’m worried about is the next 2 years.

        But, I actually do know what I and we have to do. We have to start running for any election that’s in our reach. Legislatures, City Councils, School Boards. Also, Congress, Senate & Governorships – but that’s probably for people a lot richer than I imagine we are.

        We have to flood those campaigns with people dedicated to their own 12 word platforms. Simple, direct lists that relate to your local area.

        And it would be nice if it was a SWARM of Independent candidates.

  3. Totally off topic – this is weirdly charming:

    • LOL! Have you read Gone Girl? This could be that book’s theme song.

      • I put a hold on it — OMG:
        Gone Girl
        A Novel
        By Flynn, Gillian
        (Book – 2012)
        Position: 1355 on 130 copies

        That’s the longest wait I’ve ever seen!!

        • Download it from audible.

          It’s like War of the Roses crossed with Misery crossed with something by marquis de Sade. But it’s not kinky.

  4. I think that this is the bill that Obama named the JOBS bill. Seriously, that’s its name. I feel like I’m living in a Kafka novel.

    • I remember seeing this discussed on Yves Smith’s Naked Capitalism site. She and they called it The Bucket Shops Bill.

  5. Wall Street is assiduously working down its checklist of things to do:

    1. Cash in on trillions in swaps and derivatives;

    2. Drain every last cent from the equity of homeowners;

    3. Increase fees at every turn; and now,

    4. Since they can’t get their hands of the Social Security Trust Fund — yet — the next best thing is to move their bilking and swindling to 30 second increments on “Dancing with the Stars.”

    • In a sense, they have already long-since gotten their hands on our past-present-future prepaid SS trust fund. They did that by means of the BushCoBama Tax Cuts. Now they just have to work on not redeeming the Treasury Instruments which the SS Administration holds and expects to redeem for repayment from the “rest of the government”. The Simpson-Bowles Catfood Plan is about cutting SS payments,elegibility, age-to-qualify, etc. so as to get out of paying back the money prepayed and pre-owed, yet pre-stolen (and ongoingly stolen) through upper class tax cuts. It was planned right from the start by Alan Greenspan as a “straight-up two-step con” in the words of Joshua Mica Marshall (back when he pretended like he cared about Social Security).

      That doesn’t mean we have to acCEPT it as being a con. We can preTEND to believe that the government actually meant what it pretended to say about holding our prepaid money for us in a “trust fund” to be payed back out to us prepayers when we were too old to work and therefor would need our own money back. We can think about ways to get revenge on the system and on every system player
      if we don’t actually get back the SS support we prepayed for. Revenge is a dish best prepared ahead of time.

      We might also think about ways to jam up features of Simpson-Bowles that get enacted. For example, “means testing”. The way to defeat “means testing” is to keep one’s “means” below the “testing” threshhold. That means if they say your private retirement savings mean you have “too much means” to need the SS you paid for, just make sure to have zero private retirement savings. (Of course if they
      say that having a house AND a car is “too much means” to get SS and if you want your SS you have to sell the house and live in the car to qualify for SS, then I throw up my hands in despair at that point.)

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