Intermarkets' Privacy Policy

Donate to Ace of Spades HQ!

Recent Entries
Absent Friends
Bandersnatch 2024
GnuBreed 2024
Captain Hate 2023
moon_over_vermont 2023
westminsterdogshow 2023
Ann Wilson(Empire1) 2022
Dave In Texas 2022
Jesse in D.C. 2022
OregonMuse 2022
redc1c4 2021
Tami 2021
Chavez the Hugo 2020
Ibguy 2020
Rickl 2019
Joffen 2014
AoSHQ Writers Group
A site for members of the Horde to post their stories seeking beta readers, editing help, brainstorming, and story ideas. Also to share links to potential publishing outlets, writing help sites, and videos posting tips to get published. Contact OrangeEnt for info:
maildrop62 at proton dot me
Cutting The Cord And Email Security
Moron Meet-Ups

Monday Morning News Dump | Main | Open Thread
January 26, 2015

The Triumphant Return of DOOM


Good morning, my groovy babies. Long time no smell! (Ah, the sweet sweet thrill of a fourth-grade burn. It makes life worth living.)

IBM may lay off as many as 100,000 employees this week. One hundred thousand. They're going to keep that one old janitor named Henry because he has a huge inventory of dirty jokes and is the life of any party, but everyone else (apparently) is going to get pinkslipped. Here's another take from Forbes.

We also have another entrant in the long-running "white racism is at the root of all evil" journalism genre. In this case, the story has to do with black homeowners being hit hard by the 2006-2007 real-estate meltdown.

What's that you say? Plenty of white, asian, and hispanic homeowners got burned in that debacle as well? You're saying that this piece is a repeat of every real-estate sob story for the past seven years, only wrapped up in a race-baiting shell? If this surprises you, you need to get out more.

It turns out that black homeowners were much like their white peers during the housing bubble, in that they tended to buy too much house (due to artificially low interest rates) and then got themselves deeper into a hole by refinancing their homes via option-ARMs and other loans that they didn't understand very well. Plenty of nonblack Americans can commisserate with this particular tale.

Michael Fletcher, the writer of the piece, strains mightily to frame the story as an example of institutionalized racism, but if you read closely you simply see the same pathologies that other homeowners fell into during the bubble. Buying at the wrong time in the wrong place, failing to account for local real-estate market valuations (location, location, location), taking on too much mortgage, and then using the house as an ATM on the assumption that the value of the property will continue to go up indefinitely. This is not a tale of racism; it's a tale of how financial foolishness and bad decision-making transcends class and skin color.

It is true that even middle-class black families often operate on a thinner financial "cushion" than their white counterparts, but this is often true due to cultural issues liberals would prefer not to talk about. The main one being the collapse of the two-parent family in many black communities. Single-parent families are at greater financial risk in many ways, and a mortgage weighs heavily on a single wage-earner regardless of race -- and there is added pressure in that single parents have to carry the weight of, e.g., childcare and transportation as well as housing and other living costs. Then there is the fact that black Americans are disproportionately represented in the public-sector workforce, and this sector has been on an almost zero-growth trajectory since the Great Recession.

If you look past the facile white-racism frame of the story, what you see instead is a tale of basic human frailty during an economic bubble, and the unintended consequences of bad government policy going back for decades.

And finally...can we dispense with the "death of the American dream" agonals, already? This shtick has been going on for fifty years. It's old and broke and needs to be sent to the glue factory where it can be put out of its misery.

In other news, it turns out that I wasn't being paranoid -- His Majesty the King really does want you to stop saving money. We understand the truth of Milton Friedman's aphorism that if you want more of something, you subsidize it, and if you want less of something, you tax it. Therefore, we must assume that the King and his ministers want their subjects to save less and spend their money on booze and hookers instead. (I mean, I was planning on doing that anyway, but it's nice to know I was ahead of the curve on that one.)

By the way, my new retirement strategy has shifted to capering for nickels on the boardwalk while tourists point and laugh. If you see me in my dotage attempting to dance a merry jig on my poor arthritic legs, please spare a few pieces of coin. Otherwise, all I might have to sup on is the burnt ashes of my dreams, moistened with my own bitter tears.

But hey! Everything isn't going to shit. Why, look at how great the Greeks are doing in their effort to pay down their debts and re-integrate back into the Eurozone!

...oh, wait.

Is Greece's catastrophic dalliance with the Eurozone about to come to an end?

It certainly seems as though the victory of the left-wing Syriza party in the recent Greek elections portends -- finally and at long last -- a Greek exit from the Euro. Greece has groaned under a fiscal policy imposed on it by the so-called "Troika" for three years now as a condition of their last bailout, with the result that the chronically weak Greek economy has become all but moribund. It is mired in a deep depression, with unemployment currently running above 25%.

Greeks are clearly tired of paying back loans they squandered long ago. It's like a kid having to continue to pay for a toy he's already broken. The Greeks basically lied their way into the Eurozone to begin with, racked up huge debts, and utterly failed to reform their backward, Statist economy. But they were able to stay ahead of the wolves for a decade or so, until the Great Downturn of 2008 came along and brought the whole farce to a crashing halt.

And it may not be over yet. I have been surprised time and time again by the ability of even the most bankrupt and hopeless financial basket cases of the world to keep soldiering on even when all hope is lost. One might be tempted to call this the triumph of hope over experience, but "hope" isnt't the word I'd choose. A better word is "desperation". Greece may yet look into the abyss, blink, and step back; or they may be "persuaded" to continue along their ruinous economic track by angry German taxpayers and bondholders who loaned Greece a pile of money.

Luckily, all is not lost. Our moral and ethical betters have gathered in Davos to light their cigars with hundred-dollar bills while mocking the tubercular bootblack who's been pressed into service to keep their shoes looking spiffy while they chat and laugh and eat lobster canapes. Oh, wait, I read that wrong, sorry. They're in Davos to discuss the pressing problem of Global Warming(tm). Because they're so concerned about Global Warming(tm) that they felt compelled to fly their private jets to an upscale enclave in the Swiss Alps to talk about it. While making fun of the tubercular bootblack who's spit-shining their wingtips.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a big believer in ostentatious displays of wealth. If I had the money, I'd build a hundred-foot-high statue of myself made out of pure platinum and then hire homeless people to worship at it for no fewer than eight hours per day. (I'd pay them a fair wage, though. What's the going rate for abject obeisance to a living God? I'll have to look it up.) But this Davos thing is just...rank. It's a collection of rich fart-sniffers who want to congratulate each other on how socially conscious they are, and how much they care about the Little People. (Except the tubercular bootblack, whom they often kick with their rich-guy shoes.)

Also...Illinois is boned. California is boned. And Detroit...well, Detroit passed "boned" a long time ago. At this point it's just vultures picking at the bleaching skeleton.

The financial press promotes economic illiteracy. I've never been impressed by finance journos as a group, though there are some splendid ones out there. The canard about falling prices being a horrible sign is a good point -- deflation is not, a priori, a bad thing. Sometimes it is necessary, when -- as now -- we are trying to deflate an asset bubble.


digg this
posted by Monty at 09:00 AM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
The old and the incontinent : "Political soap opera. ..."

XTC: "543 I hope he said, "Hey, you little actor prick, ..."

Ted Danson: "[i]OFFS A granddaughter can't say sweet things ..."

Diogenes : "Whoopi Goldberg basically said she was a lying who ..."

haffhowershower: "The regime doesn't have the power to force Biden o ..."

Seems Legit: "531 521 Trump making a call to Zelenski today. Alr ..."

Don Black: ">Trump making a call to Zelenski today. Already ac ..."

Captain Obvious, Laird o' the Sea, Radioactive Knight: "Fun Fact “Iran” is just the Parsi word ..."

Blago: "My guess is Zelensky is sucking up every penny he ..."

Divide by Zero [/i]: " [i]Too late Joe. I'm setting her up with my gra ..."

TheJamesMadison, riding the anarchy train with John Landis: "535 Joe, I am the only one with a perfect record. ..."

XTC: "532 Fuck whoopie. Posted by: Seems Legit at July ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64