Mortgage Meltdown: New Treasury Blueprint for Greater Disaster

You can argue all you want on paper with equations and philosophical arguments, but a simple human fact remains true — if people do not feel any moral sense of accountability they will not act in accordance with a reasonable standard of good character. Without character the entire society, and of course the economy, goes down the crapper. The U.S. Treasury plan is not merely “more of the same” it seeks to institutionalize all that is bad and wrong with our society and our economy. Some immediate thoughts about the reports on the new plan to be unveiled on Monday by Secretary Paulson:

  • There is being nothing being reported that indicates the plan seeks to help out anyone now: soften the meltdown, slow the foreclosures, stop the evictions, restore confidence in the financial markets, restore consumer confidence, restore balance sheets, increase liquidity without enlarging the money supply, reverse the slide of the dollar, or reverse the rising tide of inflation. It is all about future bubbles and busts which may or may not look like the one we have, the one before (.com bubble), or the one that is in process (foreign exchange and commodities).
  • There is nothing being reported that indicates the plan seeks to increase transparency for the public so that they are well-informed and educated about “new” financial products whose design is to create confusion through complexity and profit through back-doors that undermine the American Citizen, U.S. Economy, and U.S. foreign policy.
  • There is nothing being reported that indicates the plan seeks to enhance the fundamentals of our economic system, which is currently based upon profligate consumer spending, pressures to increase consumer debt, and steering citizens away from savings. It is interesting that the very same people who “ideologically” plead for less government and more personal responsibility are lining up behind a plan that institutionalizes to an even greater extent all the economic forces that prohibit or inhibit the ability to provide fro their own security and prosperity.
  • There is nothing being reported that the plan is willing to even address the current disparity of wealth, the current trend toward a deepening divide between a few people who have wealth and the rest who don’t. It is interesting that the very same people who plead for a free market economy line up behind a plan that would allow precedent to stand on socializing losses and expenses for big business, thus undermining entrepreneurship and innovation (the hall mark of all prior economic progress in the United States). 
  • While these people tell us that windfall profits are part of the game that will even out in the end, they give us plans that prevent leveling the playing field by covering losses with access to tax dollars, covering expenses by shifting the risk onto public programs, and covering deception by legalizing slight of hand reporting in which both the methods of business and the financial results are completely misstated (that would be “lying”) or even reversed converting actual losses to the company and damage to the society into reported profits, higher per share earnings, higher price earnings ratios, higher stock prices, and “benefits” of bringing new products and services to the downtrodden members of our society (like tricking them into signing papers to “buy” a house) enabling the lender to sell the paper at a profit without regard to the quality of the paper, thus tricking investors, undermining pensions, social services etc.)
  • What is being reported is more centralization of highly complex political and economic subjects into the hands even fewer people of dubious talent, leadership, training, education or creativity —thus decreasing the pool of available talent and decreasing the discourse on economic policies all contrary to the basic constitutional premise of checks and balances, division of power, prevention of tyranny and promoting policies for the health, wealth, safety, security, and benefit of United States citizens.
  • Centralization of banking and deregulation of banking has produced a boondoggle of problems that will take decades to reverse. There is no doubt that the Federal Reserve should have greater control over any process that creates “money” in the marketplace so that monetary policy will mean something. But it is the Federal reserve itself that needs re-structuring to provide for greater transparency, more checks and balances, and greater de-centralization of decision-making. The open-market committee is simply not set up to deal with today’s marketplace, today’s money, the prospect of a declining dollar and the possibility of a rising Euro in the United States. 
  • Centralization of banking has led to the flow of money away from where it is deposited into places that have no relationship to the depositors. Loans are made in foreign countries from deposits made in Springfield, Illinois. The depositors are deprived of the economic benefit of having that money loaned or invested in their locale, thus improving liquidity and growth prospects for those depositors and all the citizens of their town or city. With no safety net, the slightest ripple can and does cause blight to replace what were once vibrant or at least promising communities.
  • Centralization of banking has led to indexing of loans as the exclusive basis on which to grant them — replacing the old fashioned relationship of person to person. This has resulted in hyperventilating the prospects for fraudulent lending by lenders, the entire CMO/CDO market, and fraudulent borrowing by borrowers. JP Morgan was asked at a senate hearing 100 years ago what was the primary criteria, the essential quality for granting credit; his answer was that it was “character,”(not balance sheets, income statements or track record) which is exactly what is not part of the equation now with the total reliance on FICO scores, other computer algorythms etc. 
  • By removing “Character” from the equation we removed accountability. You can argue all you want on paper with equations and philosophical arguments, but a simple human fact remains true — if people do not feel any moral sense of accountability they will not act in accordance with a reasonable standard of good character. Without character the entire society, and of course the economy, goes down the crapper. The U.S.Treasury plan is not merely “more of the same” it seeks to institutionalize all that is bad and wrong with our society and our economy.

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