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Bush-style socialism 

Wall Street is yanking the markets these days like the pull on a broken chainsaw. And what the traders are really wondering is: Are they falling for it?

I’m afraid we are. Most of Washington seems ready to hand the pinstriped kleptocrats unprecedented, unchecked powers over the financial industry, as well as a blank check from the American treasury, all at the urging of an inept president in the final weeks of his death-spiral presidency.

Haven’t we been through this before?

President Bush: There’s a real crisis here!

Washington: Really?

Bush: Just trust me, folks, there are WMDs in the stock market. We have to invade!

Washington: Harumph, yes, well. I see. In that case, all right then. I trust you’ll be careful with it? How much would you like?

And they’re buying it! Barack Obama and John McCain are mostly on board, along with most of the members of the loyal opposition. All the Democrats seem to want is to extract some piece of the massive outlay for their own private wants.

Don’t these people learn? I’m not convinced that this isn’t just another phony crisis designed to give Bush new powers. One lesson he’s learned: people hear ‘crisis’ and it’s all aboard the idiot train.

And this government takeover of the financial markets comes from the crowd that sees any sort of regulation as a sign of the Red Menace. This is from the crowd that opposed the sort of fuel standards for cars that would have prevented the collapse of the American auto industry. This is from the crowd that opposed any meaningful regulation of the mortgage industry even at a time when words like “liars loans” were a part of everyday conversation. This from the crowd that dismisses any sort of fix for the mess that is America’s health-care system as “socialized medicine.”

Can’t you all see that this is nothing less than “socialized banking?”

Here’s my suggestion, don’t put Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in charge of the bailout, because he’d be out of his element; he’s only used to free markets. See if Hugo Chavez is available. He’s got experience in nationalizing industries.

What we’re really seeing here is a bailout for Manhattan, a bailout for the country clubs, a bailout for the people who don’t work for their living but merely gamble and speculate, a bailout for the greedy assholes who put us in this mess.

Shredder, as you may have gathered, does not have an advanced degree in finance. The closest Shredder gets is through Shredder’s pit stick, which has “advanced protection.”

Nonetheless, Shredder wonders why the banks can’t solve this mess themselves. If the problem is that banks have too much debt now and not enough assets, why don’t the banks attract more assets? They have a simple way to do this, something called higher interest rates. If they offered CDs or simple checking interest that matched the inflation rate of between 5 and 6 percent, they’d be flooded with money from people fleeing the Wall Street mess.

That’s a simple solution. The banks stay solvent, investors make a reasonable return, and the only losers are the Wall Street assholes who put us in this mess to begin with. It’s a win-win-lose solution, which is perfect. All in favor? Motion carried.

 

SLO City giveaway #487

This is the latest example of the city of SLO dealing with hard times by giving away land and money. A little squirrel just let on that this summer the SLO City Council gave away a decent-sized chunk of land to developer Hamish Marshall. It seems that when Marshall’s company was renovating Depot Square, somebody figured out that it was actually sitting on 8,184 square feet of city land. The solution? A near giveaway. I say “near” because the city obtained a paltry consideration, a tiny spit of land in exchange, along with the promise that Marshall will incorporate some “railroad art” as part of his project and do some landscaping.

Note that the city already can and does demand public art as part of development projects, and the landscaping stuff sounds pretty ordinary. As for the swap, picture this: Imagine a nice fat Sharpie pen. Now imagine the tip. The city is giving away the pen, and in exchange getting the tip. Some swap.

But, hey, I’m sure Marshall thinks it’s only fair. The city is already giving away millions worth of its buildings and parking lots to the Copeland developers for their Chinatown Project. Why should they begrudge Marshall a bit of land probably worth only a few hundred grand?

Does anybody else wonder if the council would treat a regular Joe 18-pack the same way if they discovered his house was partly on city land?

When you’re talking big business, whether on Wall Street or Santa Barbara Street, it seems like the rules apply except when they don’t.

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