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9/25/11

https://occupywallst.org/article/A-Message-From-Oc...

Day 8 - The Over Hype of the Century

So these clowns are complaining of "the man" violating their rights and all. I mean they have been protesting for 8 days, which is 8 days longer than Syria or Iran would deal with. They piss and moan about being "caged in" yet fail to realize that peaceful protesting doesn't mean blocking the sidewalk in a busy part of town and forcing people to walk in the street and endanger themselves.

Police stopped them from protesting into another area which they didn't have a permit for. I guess they equate protesting with violating other peoples rights. A few got maced, as compared to shot as in the middle east.

End of the day these guys are clowns. You really never realize that society is separated until you see clueless people protesting something they don't really understand and then complain that police try and force them to respect other people (which they clearly do not).

Why is it that socialism only benefits the people who put the least effort in life and punishes those who put the most effort in? Why do we worry about the underachievers at the expense of those who achieve? Why am I not seeing hard working Americans who have lost their jobs, who have lost their houses, etc protesting? Instead I see young kids with god knows what kind of educational background complaining?

Go long mace and cattle prods.

Comments (367)

In reply to SophieinBK
Best Response
10/2/11

First, thanks for taking the time to lay out your opinion. You are definitely owed a reply of similar length.

From my other posts it is easy to say that I disagree with most of the below. I am an Objectivist and live my life accordingly. I am still young - much younger than you - but have had quite a bit of experience with life, which has provided the empirical evidence to back the views I rapidly espoused due to their clear and logical nature. Thousands of people met in dozens of countries around the world, from all kinds of social backgrounds. Some of my closest friends came to the Western world on refugee boats or hidden in trucks. Others race large classic yachts. I've seen the worst of the world you seem to want (from the way I understand your writing). I have lived in Manhattan towers and next to third world slums. Explaining every statement I am about to make would take a book, dozens of stories, and far more time than most here will be willing to spend.

The gist of it is, to quote Ray Dalio, that it's about second and third order effects. People love the taste of fast food, and they love the feeling of eating large amounts of food. They dislike exercise which is painful and tiring. However, without being able to abstract yourself to the second order effects of both overeating fast food and not doing exercise, it is impossible to lose weight. Over time, citizens of the USA have forgotten how to think about second and higher order effects, and focus only on the first order effect.

Thus, I believe concerned citizens should be demonstrating in Washington, rather than New York City, as this is where the problems originated and continue to originate. It is a shame that those with the time and resources to protest also have views that make government intervention failure "impossible".

SophieinBK:

Well, first of all, I went to the public sector about 2 years ago and got laid off about 6 months ago. That's how I am able to be there (although I still do some consulting work on the side - sometimes for labor unions.)

I have never met a civil servant who understood the proper role of government, except in the Armed Forces (and even there, only the US and British ones) and occasionally the police. Selling themselves constantly as they have no unbiased performance feedback mechanism, civil servants come to believe that government can be the solution to all problems. They tend to see themselves as able to better design a Great Society than the chaos of the unfettered private sector restricted only by having to respect others' rights. I have seen this everywhere in the Western world from France and Germany to the United States, with the possible exception of Switzerland. To me, this clarifies why you think along the lines that you are.

I would also add that if your experience is limited to the public sector, you will not have had the experience to comment on the private sector as public sector work is freed from any kind of discipline and operates in the opposite way to the private sector. The private sector asks themselves "how can we do more with less"; the public sector asks themselves "how can we expand our scope and thus get more funding", with inefficiencies defended and celebrated as sources of an increasing budget. Civil servants and those who work for them thus see government funding as an infinite manna resplenished by grateful citizens. Please feel free to disagree with me on that one but for me this is why your view will be necessarily biased, and why you need to think about the source of the funds for the solutions you are proposing or hinting at (all of what I read into your text is my interpretation - I am not assuming anything from outside data, merely drawing the lines between your words). The source of these funds is the hard work of the 300 million American citizens (or whatever diminishing percentage does any work). When you are spending this money, you are spending parts of their life and efforts which they have been forced to hand over to you without much say on its uses. What is happily spent on "stimulus" spending on empty high speed rail and Californian butterfly parks, and high school marble entrances is the sweat and tears of the American people who are then told to shut up, toil, and feel guilty for being productive.

I'm personally there because I see a lot of people suffering. I don't mean just people on the news, but my friends and family.

After every bubble comes the burst. People have their most recent memories made of the bubble times, which feel terribly good with hindsight and consider them to be normal. But they are not. For example, 2008 and 2009 graduates naturally thought they would find a $100,000 starting salary structuring job in Wall Street or the City, and felt terribly angry and cheated (including yours truly) when Goldman didn't hire any FT outside a small % of their interns. This bubble was particularly painful as by hitting directly something that is at the heart of most Americans' lives it went way beyond computer scientists being annoyed at not being about to spin out a worthless website for a few million bucks.

But most people can still eat, are still in relatively good health, still drive cars, and still have the time to sit on protests (when I was unemployed, I spent 20h a day trying to get employed). I'll return to that point later.

There is a great unrest that has existed in this country really since end of 2007 but that hit hard in September 2008. A lot of that is related to the liquidity crisis of 2008 and the mortgage meltdown - although I agree, some of it isn't. But the pain of unwinding the balance sheet and the great deleveraging is real for a lot of people.

It's always painful to get off a drug. Coffee will give you 2 weeks of headaches. Having to face the effects of decades of capital destruction without the soothing painkiller of borrowing your way into consumption is a lot tougher, agreed.

A lot of people are angry that there wasn't any great reckoning. So far in my lifetime I've been through the S&L debacle (that cost tax payers a trillion dollars,) LCTM which was tossed to the street to bailout and now the CDO boom and bust - the mother of all market failures. People are seeing the student loan market as the next big bubble with the collapse of the auction rated securities market being the first shot across the bow. In general, most people are willing to trade slower growth for an end to boom and bust capitalism.

A lot of people would be far angrier if there HAD been a great reckoning.

The S&L debacle was the result of a corporate revolution led by working class Jews that destroyed the American business elite and the system that meant management could sit on their asses and do absolutely buggerall (think Wall Street Gekko speech). The launching of private equity into the mainstream has made it far harder for management to be lazy and rely on contacts and network effects, and weak boards. A small loan bubble was a tiny price to pay for the enormous improvement in the quality of American companies that resulted. To be discussed elsewhere, certainly, as it seems most people these days see Milken as the demon that he was made to be by Giuliani who was trying to boost his political career instead of the financial genius that could truly claim the title of heir to Morgan in the 20th century. Milken & co made this possible: http://finemrespice.com/sites/default/files/wheres...

LTCM was, like the Morgan bailout of 1907, a private effort by private firms for their personal benefit. I don't see where you see a "taxpayer"-funded bailout. Although the Fed organised the bank effort (and I guess Fed salaries are high these days), the capital came from the banks themselves. You could argue that since this is when Greenspan shifted from using a shadow gold standard to setting permanently low rates, it was in effect "bailed out" by the low rates enabling the participating companies to make their money back faster.

The CDO boom and bust was not a market failure. It was an epic government failure. Over the last half century, regulation of the housing market was progressively made more and more complex, and the pricing mechanism for real estate further divorced from reality. The meddling of government in housing markets directly ("houses for returning GIs", the various anti discrimination acts) and indirectly (such as attempts to remove loan sharks) was simply staggering. Still there was no calalyst for an epic bubble and failure. This was provided by Greenspan lowering rates on a permanent basis, making capital cheap, coupled with Washington deciding that housing was a "human right" along the lines of food, shelter, schooling, etc. (nicely summed up in FDR's Bill of Rights) and going full steam ahead with measures to make sure even the lowliest crackhead could afford a McMansion. Scumbags like Mr "running a gay brothel in my government-funded apartment" Barney Frank knew full well that people respond to incentives, and that bankers are people on steroids, so they made it easy - with the approval of "let's take a chainsaw to banking regulation" Greenspan - for banks to fund the massive expansion of house ownership they so desired. The rest, as they say, is history, and this day will always remain engraved on my eyeballs: http://tiny.cc/80lwt

Readers might be getting tired at this point. Perhaps time to get a cup of coffee and a donut, cos I'm only getting started.

The slow boom vs. boom and bust argument was actually the one used (at least in the UK, where I was at the time) for promoting massive leveraging of the sovereign and consumer balance sheets. I will always remember Gordon Brown saying "we have abolished boom and bust". The amusing thing about this impossible wish is that not even the countries where citizens had absolutely nothing, like the Soviet Union, could abolish boom and bust as for the most basic imports, such as food, the country ended up hooked to the outside world. Of course, boom and bust was something else altogether in Mother Russia as prices could not go up and as such people simply did not get any food when grain prices rose too far. Brezhnev jumpstarted his political career from intensively farming grain providing temporary relief from the now normal grain deficit of the place.

The boom and bust cycle is necessary to promote dramatic innovation and clean the corporate sector through that deleveraging that you hate so much. It provides companies and countries with the political wherewithal to effect dramatic cleaning, most famously of trade unions in Britain in the 1980s under the greatest (and potentially only honest) politician that ever lived. It is this creative destruction that means we are no longer living in caves eating roast mammoth, and dying aged 30 cos a fox shat on a fruit. The country that provides the most dramatic contrast is India (although this is changing) and its 1950s yellow and green Mumbai cabs. Nehru and Gandhi, who were unjustedly celebrated as great heroes as all country-destroying criminals have always been (the Kings of France most especially), proceeded to freeze the country post-independence into the state it was in just before, and Indians subsequently discovered that economies can only go up or down, but never stagnate. The experiment thankfully ended in 1991 when the country ran out of its prodigious reserves to pay the bills and the IMF finally allowed, for example, companies larger than 1 employee to get started officially.

The point about privatized gains and socialized losses is well taken. That's at the heart of the issue. TARP bought up a ton of bad assets (even from healthy banks - to not single out the weak ones and make the money market run worse.) But a lot of those protesters have bad assets to sell. Why isn't the government buying? Where is the bailout for people who were foreclosed on? Are people willing to give the GSEs and HUD their fair share or the blame...yes. But did the GSE directly force the IBs on the street into their insane buying spree that fueled the mortgage mess? No.

They merely provided incentives and waited for the predatory instincts of the Street to jump on them. You can't put out fresh meat in front of a hungry dog and then complain when he eats it. The Street is structured such that those who are prudent need also be patient and well funded as they will get walked all over by those who jump first (be it in Warren Buffett's talk of insurance bubbles in the Olden Days or with the brilliant and innovative concept by Mr Milken to pay his traders a % of P/L that finished off Solomon). I do agree, however, that Countrywide bankers and especially Mr Mozillo should be counting the days in a dark, moldy cell, but not because they lent, rather because of the massive and epic fraud that allowed Countrywide to go from nothing to multinational in just a few years. Outright lying to vulnerable people (elderly unemployed black women were a particular favorite in Cali I hear), fake signing contracts, long impossible to understand terms, every trick in the book was used to get market share. But the GSEs were the initial driver for the destruction of loan standards. Not much point going into a discussion now. Suffice to say that they didn't gain 30% market share in under a year by simply being better bankers. And suffice to say the decision did not come from Wall Street either.

So sitting in front of Wall Street to protest something that stemmed from Barney Frank & co is akin to sitting in front of your manager's office to protest corporate shutting down the local branch in which you are employed. It's an argument similar to that which is made to ban weapons, where weapons apparently create crime.

Ultimately, this crisis, like many these days, was driven by a government-led successful attempt at furthering the gap between risk and its pricing mechanism. A truly socialist or communist country is one where the pricing mechanism has been completely divorced from the value of risk. We are heading there. Europe is further down the road. Argentina is further still. China... no comment :P I have much more to say on this topic, and in particular on the second and third order effects of the removal of the pricing mechanism for risk on quality of life and on the philosophy of the population affected. I've seen it first hand... it's ugly.

How can we talk about extension of unemployment insurance (which I do not receive) as a moral hazard but there is no national conversation about a corporate governance system that pays large bonuses to people that bankrupt their public companies. This just exposes shareholder value ideology as totally hypocritical.

This is jumbled as hell. Let me attempt to unjumble it.

1. there is no justification for unemployment insurance (if by that you mean the State version, not a private sector initiative) in the first place. Your salary is smaller by the amount thieved by the State and thieved from you thereafter in the form of corporate and income taxes - this is money you cannot save for a rainy day, and money that cannot be organised in charities that might take care of the unemployed (remember government has crowded out most private charity in the US at a massive cost to the locals). What you are asking for is that my sweat, time and effort should fund your lifestyle further. It's making it possible for you not to go wash dishes for $2 an hour, 16 hours a day until you find a gig better suited to your skillset. Not going to spend too long on this since it was covered in the other thread.

2. "national conversation" - what the hell is that? A conversation perhaps between an almighty Government and scared, obedient companies which have to obey its every opinion? Wouldn't you love that - being able to further harness the productive capacity of those who work. Making it even further possible not to do any work. Sitting in front of a TV DOES feel nicer than turning up at 8am, for sure. Amusingly there is a fine example of what happens when non-corporates bully, sorry, "have a conversation" with corporates about unemployment benefits: the UAW and the Big Three in Detroit. That really worked out well. I am still amazed that with all the unskilled labour in the US UAW-controlled factories could afford to pay $100k a year for a guy to drive a forklift (non-UAW factories like Toyota paid about $23k in 2005 if I remember well). But it sure looked good when that CEO from GM or whatever came down to Washington on the company private jet as his firm was going under and the government changed the law to screw creditors once again (as if the constant screwing via inflation and low rates hadn't been sufficient already).

3. "corporate governance". What are companies for? Oh yes, they belong to their shareholders and are supposed to preserve and grow their wealth. That seems to be forgotten these days when companies, like SOEs in China, are more of a buffer against unemployment and provide "jobs" on order from His Obamaniac Messiah. Corporate governance = powerful boards who can effect management changes. This tends to go for cutting inefficiencies at the lower levels too. Apparently everybody is a stakeholder these days except for the shareholders and debtholders. See quote from a famous book in the Eat the Poor thread.

4. "pay large bonuses for those who bankrupt their companies" - the market is supposed to take care of that, via brutal takeovers and restructurings once share prices are low enough. But try arguing this with some of your protester friends who also come from those restructurings. Shareholder value is down to, ahem, the shareholders. They vote with their capital and they can vote pretty fast: http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1680000/images/_1682...

So there is a list of very specific proposals being debated. Some of them are rehashes of things that came up during Dodd-Frank. Instead of increasing capital reserves willy nilly, have the IBs prefund a bailout through a treasury program administered by the fed. Although go ahead and increase the margin requirements for hedge funds. Other bank reforms include reorganizing and giving the SEC some teeth. Repeal the Commodities and Futures Modernization Act. Require a transparent exchange to clear derivatives - so people can see who the counterparties are. There's pretty wide consensus on re-instituting Glass Stegal and/or the Volcker Rule. People want the wall up against proprietary trading desks, they despise Citibank and their "Wal-Mart of Wall Street" model.

Once again, "never waste a good crisis". Every single one of these is an attempt to gain more power over business (and ultimately individuals) from the government. My favorite is increasing margins on hedge funds. That's a really good one. What are margins for? Oh yes, protecting from credit risk. Who benefits? Oh yes, the banks. Private banks. Who sets the margins? The banks. I can tell you (from being on the buy side) that those bastards will margin you to death already if they perceive a whiff of credit risk (and usually when they do not - I am always amazed when the market moves in our direction and the fuckers ask for another few mil knowing we can't be bothered to take it to court). The credit failure in 2008 was due to banks being linked to OTHER BANKS and GOVERNMENT ENTITIES (I refuse to call AIG a company), not independent, tiny funds ran by expert individuals funded by aggressive expert individuals who are very selective with who they hire and the risks they take (at least more so these days). But why waste a good crisis? Let's ram it to these smug bastards in their limos with their hot wives.

Interesting aside: when Amaranth went down, with a 6 bn USD write-off, markets didn't feel a thing. Hedge funds CAN fail and do not pose any "systemic" risk. That removes whatever hint of another argument you might have had against them.

Tax policy is a big issue too. I think everyone understands "reform entitlements" but most people feel its putting the cart before the horse until the revenue side is straightened out. The more conservative proposals include lower tax rates across the board and end all tax expenditures. Increase the cap gains to income rates. Or return to the Clinton era tax rates. Some of the more radical proposals are end corporate taxes all together and tax the owners of capital income rates.

Can't quite believe that some people are proposing to end all tax expenditure. I like some of these protesters! Definitely in the right direction although they sound like lunatic libertarians who think Americans are inherently honest and nobody will steal from anybody nor will our neighbours invade if we just dissolve the police, the army and the justice system.

As for the cap gains tax, they are just another layer of tax. Non content to already steal from common citizens' incomes, you already steal from the companies they organise, and then further steal from the payouts of what is left post 2 rounds of stealing (3 if you include VAT and other sales taxes). Ah, Americans make wonderful milking cows. You can just keep squeezing and it keeps coming out. Great stuff! Then you can build a university to promote more squeezing and maybe name it after you.

As for the Clinton era, I believe it would be more justly named the Gingrich era, but that's for another discussion.

Since I was in public sector, one of my personal issues is the variable rate muni debt craze that went rampant through municipal lenders before the crisis. Universities, counties, sewer boards you name are trapped in billions of dollars worth of underwater interest rate swaps. Fixed for floating, floating for fixed...if you we hedging your variable rate debt through the heart of the crisis, you are underwater. Universities are raising tuition on folk just to make coupon payments and payments in their derivatives contracts.

Wonderful, seems like incompetent and in many cases outright criminal managers of public funds managed to turn the story so that THEY look like the victims.

I thought this was particularly amusing in the case of GS vs. that German fund who got shafted on the famous Paulson deal. The Germans knowingly took risks calling their downside risk nil because they could always sue and guilt governments into changing the concept of property and risk taking.

At the muni level, the problem stems from people being rewarded unjustly by managers who didn't have a clue. Of course when you sell premium or lock in a rate in a rising market it looks like you are making money. So you get a bonus and a clap on the back. Then suddenly it's a problem when the "hedge" loses money. To be fair, some of these people really were hedging - treasurers often get shafted for "making the mistake" of hedging when being outright long/short would have made money, and the upside is the CEO's bright decision making of course.

At the citizen level, I have ZERO pity for the whiners who overlevered and thought that they could live fantastic lives with no effort. Do you know who in Europe has a 3000 sq ft house? A managing director of a large bank, at that. A family with old wealth. A star trader. Even the CEOs of SMEs in Europe (which I use as an imperfect measuring stick, as it does have an overall lower quality of life vs. the US) could not have the lifestyle some loser with an occasional "job" could easily borrow into. I'm sorry, but if you are truly middle class you should not have borrowed over your head. Mortgages were damn cheap, that is never a reason for screwing up your personal capital structure. At least in the US, you can walk away from your house. In Europe, the bank has access to your income stream for life and can take whatever they need to repay your debt. This is what most of the "underwater" people should be doing - walking away from their too big house, move to a smaller house within their damn means, and stop dreaming about life in Wistoria Lane. The woman in the video somewhere above this post is a perfect example. You see this attitude of entitlement and complete lack of concern for reason and reality everywhere in America. You see what evolves from it in Europe and Argentina.

Universities are the most idiotic in all this. Some fantastically managed endowments did very well. Some endowments do not qualify for the description of "managed". A university is the definition of an eternal institution, one with a credit risk on par or in some cases lower than the US government. Universities should fund themselves like MIT http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0a0a2d84-7bff-11e0-9b16-... rather than Harvard. As a student you should take this into account when you choose where you want to study. And as a (future) US taxpayer I would not want to subsidize the failures of endowment managers ripe with academic arrogance and executive incompetence.

The build america bond program helped somewhat - but its very hard to look at a student who is jobless, getting close to loan default and say hey, we need more tuition money because our swap deals didn't work out. People are getting their pensions cut, their tolls raised...I really don't understand why this isn't a bigger issue in the press.

Because the last 10 years were not indicative of reality. Guess universities will now discover that they too are organisations competing on global markets. Although my guess is that they will now stick their nose right into the trough and fill up on that delicious taxpayer money manna from heaven that never ends. Meanwhile, Cambridge has just unhooked themselves fully from UK government funding, so as to bypass tuition laws and government guidelines on who to take in and what to teach. Good luck, Americans. That league table ranking might be a little harder to keep once you become the Massachussetts State Institute of Harvard and the North California Polytechnic, Stanford CA.

I won't comment here on what passes for a degree these days. Suffice to say if you are indebting yourself to the hilt to buy a luxury like an "English literature" degree from an Ivy, you deserve the same fate as the idiot who borrowed to the hilt to buy that power boat he always wanted on his dishwashing salary.

So yeah, we (most of us) are protesting for a specific set reforms. Some of these will be proposed by the SEC under the power granted to them by Dodd Frank and then shouted down in the rulemaking process. You will find people who don't know how the financial system works, and are just angry and protesting. You will find people who think the only way to end waves of systemic risk rippling though once every 10 years is to get rid of capitalism and institute government central planning. But MOST of the discussion has been around a reformist agenda.

So basically, people are lining up at the trough and hoping it opens. Judging by the wave of popularity for first Perry and now Cain, good luck.

But at the end of the day, people are just broke and hopeless and angry.

And at the end of American civilization, they come and tell the world by sitting on a street and clamoring for more cash. At the beginning of American civilization, they would attempt to get out of this state as fast as possible, in any way possible. Any wonder external observers think you're toast?

That's why they are there. They aren't picketing associate analysts of internal auditors or the back office guys. They are angry that the whole financial system has taken a turn toward repeated instability and shadow banking systems in the last 20 years. They camp on Wall Street because they don't know what else to do. Am I going to call Chuck Schumer's office and ask him to vote to reinstate Glass Steagal?

I don't see many Reinstate G/S signs on the protest photos.

Yes they stink. There are no showers. Yes they are disorganized. The only power they have is a generator that the police keep taking the fuel for. Yes they can be loud sometimes. They are trying to build a community. They aren't trying to purposely annoy residents but many of them have been evicted and have no jobs. They don't have anywhere else to go or anything else to do.

Except work. And certainly work that will be a lot more unpleasant than whatever they did during the bubble. Dishwashing used to be seen as "a Mexican's job". Well, many now successful executives funded their education by waiting tables, washing dishes, cooking, washing cars or in extreme cases risking their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan in exchange for tuition (and nationality, let us not forget these brave immigrants). Be American and improve your life the American way, not the French or the Greek or the Argentinian.

We are not all bad people and a lot of the time we can find common ground with your. But respectful conversation and debate helps both of us and our country - so I really do encourage you to come and talk to me and others.

And that, Sophie, is the issue. You guys sound so friendly and reasonable. You might even have very good intentions. But what you are promoting, the arguments you will eventually put forward, are extremely dangerous and the ease with which you are listened to (check out the comments above this post) shows why this is way more dangerous than Obama screaming for "soaking the rich". Get out of this crisis with pride in yourself and your ability. Please, please, please do not become Argentinians or Europeans sitting on a couch waiting for the next handout, as your country slowly sinks into inevitable collapse.

I have more to say, but not the time to say it. I also hope that this fairly unstructured prose made my points - no time to clean it. I wanted to say this not directly for Sophie's sake (I think the outcome of the protests will be yet another set of badly thought out socialist reforms no matter what) but for the silent readers of this Forum, the productive members of society who are working their asses off and who might be tempted to believe the talk of guilt and shared sacrifice and pity the poor. Do not. It is beautiful to work, to be productive, to earn a living. It is not beautiful to be forced to surrender your work, like a mule on a field, for the sake of unknown forces (which are really megalomaniac individuals too lazy to rise the hard way). Be proud to be providing the pricing mechanism for capital which underpins the American way of life and allows civilization to exist.

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9/25/11

Bunch of us in chat making fun of this Hedges guy being interviewed at http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution

CompBanker

9/25/11

^^^That guy is undoubtedly insane.

9/25/11
9/25/11

The first pic in here made me laugh:
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/police-80-days-of-...

"There are only two opinions in this world: Mine and the wrong one." -Jeremy Clarkson

9/25/11

so all of wall street's current practices are ok? (outright fraud, mismanagement of risk at US taxpayers expense, etc)

I think this is what they are protesting.....

And if this bothers you, this is just the beginning of civil unrest in the US. Just wait till people loose everything in their 401k.

Why aren't you seeing hardworking American's who have lost their jobs etc, protesting? because they are too busy looking for work, or working some shitty job to provide for their families.

Why do you see young kids with "god knows what kind of educational background" ( I really cant see how you can assume that) protesting? well its because they cant find a fucking job and they have nothing else to do.

Really ANT, respect, but I find your post quite naive.....

9/25/11

roll_eyes.jpg

Syria, Iran?
Come on...

9/25/11

They're all garbage.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

In reply to mfoste1
9/25/11
mfoste1:

And if this bothers you, this is just the beginning of civil unrest in the US. Just wait till people loose everything in their 401k.

Retirement is a privileged, not a right. Besides, this is a rather extreme view of the future of our country.

Solid post, ANT. Agree with most of what you said. Would give a SB if I weren't a cheap bastard.

In reply to STorIB
9/25/11
STorIB:

Retirement is a privileged, not a right.

Ok ass, let's see you working at wal-mart at the age of 75, and then tell me this. your lack of compassion is frightening, frankly.

trust me, i came from a country at a time when the governemnt had this view and i remember seeing crippled, old women going to the dump to look for food and clothing. you think you're in a place where you won't have to worry about retirement in a few decades, but trust me if the banking sector (and govt. regulators) fuck up again as royally as they did a few years ago, we'll all be trying to figure out how to save our asses. but honestly in the meantime, read a fucking vonnegut book to get a little perspective.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

In reply to mfoste1
9/25/11
mfoste1:

so all of wall street's current practices are ok? (outright fraud, mismanagement of risk at US taxpayers expense, etc)

I think this is what they are protesting.....

Are you sure those are the reasons they're protesting, and not the reasons you'd find legitimate? Watched a few of the protesters get interviewed, and none of them said anything coherent, or even pointed out a specific problem/issue.

9/25/11

Here's my issue with all of this blame aimed at wall street for the current state of the economy. American's are at large very ignorant about the real way capitalism works and honestly I dot think they want to know it just needs to work. Well right now it isn't working, that's all we know so let's blame the people who we feel have the most money or power (wall street/ government).

I've not yet heard any decent suggestions on alternatives from this lot, but I have one. What if Americans lived within their means, started new innovative small businesses and decided they wouldn't purchase foreign goods/services until their situation was sorted.

What if Americans rebuilt America themselves with real balls, real sweat, and real resolve as opposed to relying on theoretical government plans. But they don't want to, because they have become the spoiled brats of this world. They want something for nothing and they'll get what they paid for.

In reply to jktecon
9/25/11
jktecon:

Here's my issue with all of this blame aimed at wall street for the current state of the economy. American's are at large very ignorant about the real way capitalism works and honestly I dot think they want to know it just needs to work. Well right now it isn't working, that's all we know so let's blame the people who we feel have the most money or power (wall street/ government).

I've not yet heard any decent suggestions on alternatives from this lot, but I have one. What if Americans lived within their means, started new innovative small businesses and decided they wouldn't purchase foreign goods/services until their situation was sorted.

What if Americans rebuilt America themselves with real balls, real sweat, and real resolve as opposed to relying on theoretical government plans. But they don't want to, because they have become the spoiled brats of this world. They want something for nothing and they'll get what they paid for.

I'm sure they would..as soon as they got jobs

9/25/11

Well your in for the society that your expectations warrant. Jobs are a luxury if they are provided by someone else and Americans aren't worth the price they demand.

As a result they won't get jobs because they still haven't taken in the concept that businesses are for profit entities. Enjoy it because I'm sure the majority of the population shares your beliefs. Sometimes people say America has no culture; I think there is: it's ignorance, the society as it stands relies and thrives on it.

You came up with a great solution though, just get jobs, I'll notify Obama.

9/25/11

So a few banks make all of Wall Street guilty? Cost for tax payers? You must be talking about Freddie and Fannie since all the other banks paid back TARP. Yeah, the US govt stepped in and played Mr. Liquidity. We could do the free market vs. government intervention argument, but at the end of the day the big banks returned the money and with interest.

These kids can't find jobs? Work at Walmart or something. Join the Peace Corps/Americorps. Join the military. I didn't realize that this was the first bad economy. I mean we have never had a bad economy since the great depression.

I have ZERO issue with people protesting. This is America and that is what it is all about. I absolutely disagree with these people and think they are either uneducated of immature. With that said, they have the right to be poor morons and I support their right.

What I DO NOT support it a protest in a very busy, business center that pushed people into the street or inhibits day to day business. This is a protest based on subjective beliefs. It should not endanger people going about their normal business. It should not impede day to day business.

Freedom is free until you violate someone elses rights and freedom. From what I saw these people were getting tired of being back of the bus at their park and no one was paying attention to this protest so they decided to move it or try and block the sidewalk/business area. Can't do that. When the police "caged" them in so they were not blocking the side walk things got messy.

Maybe the police overreacted, maybe they didn't. I don't know. I am more than happy to condemn the police once I find out the whole story.

Also, to say that evil corporations control America is to be against every person who works for those evil corporations. My dad works for a corporation and my parents mortgages is paid through this salary. Millions of Americans are employed. If these kids think Europe is any better they should open their eyes. The unemployment we have been experiencing has been common place in Europe. Companies don't hire because they can never fire people. There is so much government interference that Europe has become an arthritic economy.

When you talk about global economy influences you talk about China, India, the USA, Brazil, etc. Places with growth. Europe is just chillin' , living the good life, not really hungry. Unfortunately the trust fund is ending and the world has moved on.

These protesters have no understanding of basic economics, how wealth is created or how to actually make a change. Bunch of kids who don't want to be productive members of society and think they are changing something. Nothing warms my heart than to think of these fools getting maced while I sit in my luxury apt and polish my Italian shoes.

Let them eat cake.

9/25/11

Oh, Brooks Brothers has their Friends & Family sale going on. I thought I should bring up something truly important while these riff raff have their cute little "protest".

In reply to Kenny Powers
9/25/11
Kenny Powers:
STorIB:

Retirement is a privileged, not a right.

Ok ass, let's see you working at wal-mart at the age of 75, and then tell me this. your lack of compassion is frightening, frankly.

trust me, i came from a country at a time when the governemnt had this view and i remember seeing crippled, old women going to the dump to look for food and clothing. you think you're in a place where you won't have to worry about retirement in a few decades, but trust me if the banking sector (and govt. regulators) fuck up again as royally as they did a few years ago, we'll all be trying to figure out how to save our asses. but honestly in the meantime, read a fucking vonnegut book to get a little perspective.

In between your subtle insults, I think i could make out a coherent argument and it is the same point I was trying to make.

I have seen too many people in this country who have had to work until the day they die. Please ask them how they think retirement as a right has worked for them. Some of them got fucked out of retirement by market crashes and whatnot. Those are the one's I have upmost sympathy for. But some of them also failed to save up enough for them to live off of.

There's a word for that behavior in this country -- entitlement. It's the same behavior that is causing Greece, and most likely Italy, and Portugal to nearly default on their debt, and it's the same reason these assholes are protesting Wall Street. Every time Greece tries to cut down on the handouts and welfare, their citizens bitch that they are taking away "rights". Everyone wants to have 'rights' -- health care, transportation, jobs, retirement, but the majority prefer not to work for them.

So instead, they protest, bitch and fight to get hand outs until it bankrupts the system and robs those who have worked their entire lives out of everything. Ask the Germans how they are feeling right now trying to save their pathetic "Union."

In reply to STorIB
9/25/11
9/25/11

I agree with above. You are entitled to nothing in this world. How many children come down with cancer and die before then can truly start living. These kids suck it up and soldier on while little cunts protest wall street because they can't get enough kick backs.

This country is going to shit because we have allowed the weak to take control.

I had some scumbag tell me to buy him something today. I ignored him like I ignore most of the bums in this city, but I couldn't help but be shocked that someone on the street would tell ME to buy him something. This guy was probably getting laid and drunk while I was working full time and going to school. Now that he has realize the error of his ways he wants ME to take care of him.

Ever since I was a little kid, everyone and everything has told me that getting and education is the most important thing someone can do. Everyone has told me that hard work is what you have to do. I grew up with people who would be seriously fucked up and still go to work. My dad hasn't taken a vacation in 15 years. My mom worked full time, with kids and went to school.

Some people don't have the fire inside to succeed. Nature needs to take its course.

Buy me something. Mother fucker. Can you believe that entitled Obama supporter!

9/25/11

I have empathy for the crippled guy living on the street. I have empathy for the Indian kid living in a gutter. I have empathy for the kid in Africa that watched his parents die of AIDS. I have empathy for sick kids who can't make it to 18.

I have NO empathy for grown, healthy American's who expect others to take care of them.

9/25/11

Exactly. It seriously angers me when I see people younger than me (~23) begging me for money and when I refuse, cuss me out. I have no respect for them.

We live in the richest country in the world, which grants us many opportunities. People in "third world" countries would kill for such chances. It is depressing that most will never be able to get in but that is why there are some excellent charities that do manage to make an impact with the truly impoverished.

Instead of sitting around whining out of laziness, it really is out duty to make sure we are doing everything possible to take advantage of what is in front of us.

9/25/11

I've said it so many times before, when I look at recent immigrants I see real Americans. American's need to be deported to 3rd world countries to get a true taste of what disadvantaged truly is.

It's cool though. The BB sale will cheer me up. I feel bad for those who cannot afford the slim fit non irons. Such a travesty.

9/25/11
ANT:

Why is it that socialism only benefits the people who put the least effort in life and punishes those who put the most effort in? Why do we worry about the underachievers at the expense of those who achieve? Why am I not seeing hard working Americans who have lost their jobs, who have lost their houses, etc protesting? Instead I see young kids with god knows what kind of educational background complaining?

Go long mace and cattle prods.

You're right, the banks never benefitted from socialism. Oh wait, they were bailed out to the tune of $1 trillion+ within the last three years. TARP, TALF, Fed lending programs, etc.

Not even saying I'm agreeing with these people (I imagine that most of them don't understand the details of all of the bailouts and the financial crisis at large), but still. Let's not act like these random fucking dudes are a bunch of lazy socialists after the banks benefitted from the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of the world.

9/25/11

TARP was repaid with a profit. The Fed is still in the hole with Freddie and Fannie and GM. I think AIG will end up break even. Many of the banks that were FORCED to take aid didn't even need it.

If you want to have scorn for the financial community, fine, but at least limit to the banks that needed the bailouts.

In reply to TNA
9/25/11
ANT:

TARP was repaid with a profit. The Fed is still in the hole with Freddie and Fannie and GM. I think AIG will end up break even. Many of the banks that were FORCED to take aid didn't even need it.

If you want to have scorn for the financial community, fine, but at least limit to the banks that needed the bailouts.

Again, TARP was not the only program. The Fed was lending at virtually 0% interest rates to every bank on Earth (essentially) and even non-banking companies with finance arms. TARP was paid back "with interest" because the entire deck was stacked in the banks' favor. It isn't like the pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. As much as you might like to frame it that way, that's not reality.

And regardless, the crux of your response is basically "socialism is ok when it's for the banks and AIG." I understand that it's easier to say "durr lazy people bad! banks good!" because you worked oh-so-hard to get a big bad banking job (or whatever the fuck it is that you do) than it is to look at things honestly, but it's really tiresome and makes you look like a buffoon.

9/25/11

Honestly dude, right now I wish the banks would of failed. This country would of been crippled and the "people" would of gotten exactly what they deserve.

Lending at 0% interest? Big deal. The Fed was a liquidity provider of last resort. The financial sector is the heart of the economy and allowing it to collapse because of a liquidity crisis is most likely not going to benefit everyone.

You are right TheKing. The bailouts are what have bankrupted this country. Has nothing to do with social spending or government waste. Also, I am sure every socialist in this country appreciates how you give the people who over extended or who over spent a free pass.

Please OH please, provide me the names of the bankers who tied up hard working Americans, put guns to their heads and forced them to cash out equity or over extend themselves. Please help me find these criminals who FORCED people to buy 2 H2's and a couple LCD's.

A lot of people were to blame, individuals, the government and banks. Blaming the financial sector is a cop out.

FYI, I am not the buffoon in this conversation.

In reply to TNA
9/25/11
ANT:

Honestly dude, right now I wish the banks would of failed. This country would of been crippled and the "people" would of gotten exactly what they deserve.

Lending at 0% interest? Big deal. The Fed was a liquidity provider of last resort. The financial sector is the heart of the economy and allowing it to collapse because of a liquidity crisis is most likely not going to benefit everyone.

You are right TheKing. The bailouts are what have bankrupted this country. Has nothing to do with social spending or government waste. Also, I am sure every socialist in this country appreciates how you give the people who over extended or who over spent a free pass.

Please OH please, provide me the names of the bankers who tied up hard working Americans, put guns to their heads and forced them to cash out equity or over extend themselves. Please help me find these criminals who FORCED people to buy 2 H2's and a couple LCD's.

A lot of people were to blame, individuals, the government and banks. Blaming the financial sector is a cop out.

FYI, I am not the buffoon in this conversation.

Many parties are at fault, I've said that forever. I'm just saying that it's ridiculous for you to complain about socialism in the context of the banks. I blame the lending houses and banks above all else because they failed in their fiduciary responsibilities and CDOs and CDS took a big problem and made it exponentially worse. And then...they were bailed out for it.

The government played a role via Freddie and Fannie and, yes, changes to the Community Reinvestment Act, thanks to dickheads like Bob Rubin and friends in the late 1990s / early 2000. But, let's not act like the lenders aren't majorly at fault for knowingly selling shitty products to major credit risks to drive short-term growth. And let's not act like the banks didn't go and create CDOs, CDO^2s, and CDS that helped crater the global economy.

And even if you want to take your position, which is essentially saying "we had to bail them out to save everything." Even if you want to really take that position, to then call other people socialist is mind boggling. At least be honest and say "I think some socialism is better than other forms of it!"

9/25/11

Socialism is not a one time event. I don't understand how saving the country from financial collapse = socialism.

I think the banks should of been winded down or broken up, etc. I also think this is the time of the true investment bank, the middle market firm, boutique, etc. We can happily debate that issue. But to say that I support socialism in one circumstance and not another is grossly overstating my opinion.

Ok, maybe I will boil my point down further. These kids are protesting the banks and the bail outs without realizing that a strong financial sector is fundamentally important for a nation. The financial community provides financing for large and small businesses, employees millions, provides ample taxes for the cities that house these communities and helps to create value. Millions of Americans are invested in the market and depend on dividends, etc.

Also, for a lot of firms, the issue wasn't needing a bailout, but the liquidity in the market. AIG simply could not liquidate assets fast enough to provide the needed capital. Many banks were fine, but there was a domino effect and people started making runs on healthy banks.

The bailout was bullshit and a handful of institutions fucked up. If these "protesters" were focusing Freddie, Fannie and AIG, I would have even less of an issue. JPM didn't need it. Wells Fargo didn't. Many of the other banks in FiDi didn't.

IMO, these kids are more against bankers and the perception of greed. You, me, everyone should be worried that this idea that some people make too much and that someone else should decide our (respectively) salaries terrifies me.

People who hate WS only see the paycheck, they don't see the work that went into getting that job and keeping it.

9/25/11

Wait so now your the financial genius that would have predicted the financial catastrophe from these derivatives before they were created? Right.

In reply to TNA
9/26/11
ANT:

It's cool though. The BB sale will cheer me up. I feel bad for those who cannot afford the slim fit non irons. Such a travesty.

just picked up two

9/26/11

Yeah, I just got 3 shirts, some sweaters and a couple over the calf socks. So nice.

9/26/11

Fuck, did I miss the sale?

In reply to STorIB
9/26/11
STorIB:
Kenny Powers:
STorIB:

Retirement is a privileged, not a right.

Ok ass, let's see you working at wal-mart at the age of 75, and then tell me this. your lack of compassion is frightening, frankly.

trust me, i came from a country at a time when the governemnt had this view and i remember seeing crippled, old women going to the dump to look for food and clothing. you think you're in a place where you won't have to worry about retirement in a few decades, but trust me if the banking sector (and govt. regulators) fuck up again as royally as they did a few years ago, we'll all be trying to figure out how to save our asses. but honestly in the meantime, read a fucking vonnegut book to get a little perspective.

In between your subtle insults, I think i could make out a coherent argument and it is the same point I was trying to make.

I have seen too many people in this country who have had to work until the day they die. Please ask them how they think retirement as a right has worked for them. Some of them got fucked out of retirement by market crashes and whatnot. Those are the one's I have upmost sympathy for. But some of them also failed to save up enough for them to live off of.

There's a word for that behavior in this country -- entitlement. It's the same behavior that is causing Greece, and most likely Italy, and Portugal to nearly default on their debt, and it's the same reason these assholes are protesting Wall Street. Every time Greece tries to cut down on the handouts and welfare, their citizens bitch that they are taking away "rights". Everyone wants to have 'rights' -- health care, transportation, jobs, retirement, but the majority prefer not to work for them.

So instead, they protest, bitch and fight to get hand outs until it bankrupts the system and robs those who have worked their entire lives out of everything. Ask the Germans how they are feeling right now trying to save their pathetic "Union."

I wasn't arguing about anything except that small quote I quoted. And you're absolutely wrong. Retirement is a right, a right that should be given by the government and smaller communities. What's sickening is that people have to work until the day they die--that's not only a failure of the government, but also a failure of friends, family, and community to support the individual

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

In reply to TNA
9/26/11
ANT:

Socialism is not a one time event. I don't understand how saving the country from financial collapse = socialism.

Subsidizing losses to the tune of $1 trillion+ is socialism. You can call it whatever you want, but it's still socialism. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck...it's a duck.

ANT:

I think the banks should of been winded down or broken up, etc. I also think this is the time of the true investment bank, the middle market firm, boutique, etc. We can happily debate that issue. But to say that I support socialism in one circumstance and not another is grossly overstating my opinion.

I agree with the first sentence here, big time. I take it further, however, and say that it still needs to be done. Bring back Glass-Steagall, get rid of too big to fail forever so bank failures can't destroy the world. As to the rest of what you said here, if it's the time of the true investment bank, let's make it clear by breaking them up.

ANT:

Ok, maybe I will boil my point down further. These kids are protesting the banks and the bail outs without realizing that a strong financial sector is fundamentally important for a nation. The financial community provides financing for large and small businesses, employees millions, provides ample taxes for the cities that house these communities and helps to create value. Millions of Americans are invested in the market and depend on dividends, etc.

I agree that a strong financial sector is necessary, a good system of commercial and investment banks acting responsibly and not acting as giant casinos would give us that. Nothing wrong with protesting so-called banks that helped drive the growth of a housing super-bubble via complex derivatives and silly lending practices which were put in place to "drive growth" and "gain market share." Yes, the government meddled in housing and that's simply wrong, but you can actually read company documents from WaMu and internal emails from WaMu execs that explain the conscious effort to shift from safe mortgage products to "high margin" (high risk) products (i.e. liar loans.) They did this because it fueled their bonuses and stock price and because they could simply pass the shitty loans to the big banks. The banks then packaged them into "investment grade" derivative securities and then passed them on to investment funds that needed to hold investment grade securities. It was a giant game of hot potato that was driven in large part by the banks at the top creating these highly rated, high yielding securities that needed new mortgages to be created...but I digress, I've said this too many times before and it falls on deaf ears.

ANT:

Also, for a lot of firms, the issue wasn't needing a bailout, but the liquidity in the market. AIG simply could not liquidate assets fast enough to provide the needed capital. Many banks were fine, but there was a domino effect and people started making runs on healthy banks.

The bailout was bullshit and a handful of institutions fucked up. If these "protesters" were focusing Freddie, Fannie and AIG, I would have even less of an issue. JPM didn't need it. Wells Fargo didn't. Many of the other banks in FiDi didn't.

I wouldn't say that "many banks were fine." JP Morgan was arguably the only major global bank that was truly "fine." Also, I'm pretty sure that "AIG could not liquidate its assets fast enough to provide the needed capital" is the understatement of the decade. It's also a bit misleading because AIG wrote naked CDS to the point where it took over $100 billion just to keep them afloat. And again, without the banks' CDO/CDO^2 money machine, there is no way that AIG would have even been able to have done that. The level of irresponsibility was absurd on almost every level and the number of people who are honest about the causes and necessary cures for what happened can be counted on one or two hands. It's truly disgusting.

ANT:

IMO, these kids are more against bankers and the perception of greed. You, me, everyone should be worried that this idea that some people make too much and that someone else should decide our (respectively) salaries terrifies me.

You're projecting what you want to believe on these people. No one is going to be dictating our pay anytime soon. Just not going to happen. And insatiable greed can be a bad thing (as we see in retrospect looking at what wall street and speculators in the housing market did from 2002 - 2007.)

ANT:

People who hate WS only see the paycheck, they don't see the work that went into getting that job and keeping it.

Please spare the white whine. "I worked hard! It's not fair!" I'm sure you worked hard, I work hard, too, as do a fuck ton of people on this forum and in the country at large. Hard work doesn't excuse shitbag irresponsible behavior on the part of the big banks, the sub-prime lending houses, the government, and society at large.

In reply to Kenny Powers
9/26/11
Kenny Powers:
STorIB:
Kenny Powers:
STorIB:

Retirement is a privileged, not a right.

Ok ass, let's see you working at wal-mart at the age of 75, and then tell me this. your lack of compassion is frightening, frankly.

trust me, i came from a country at a time when the governemnt had this view and i remember seeing crippled, old women going to the dump to look for food and clothing. you think you're in a place where you won't have to worry about retirement in a few decades, but trust me if the banking sector (and govt. regulators) fuck up again as royally as they did a few years ago, we'll all be trying to figure out how to save our asses. but honestly in the meantime, read a fucking vonnegut book to get a little perspective.

In between your subtle insults, I think i could make out a coherent argument and it is the same point I was trying to make.

I have seen too many people in this country who have had to work until the day they die. Please ask them how they think retirement as a right has worked for them. Some of them got fucked out of retirement by market crashes and whatnot. Those are the one's I have upmost sympathy for. But some of them also failed to save up enough for them to live off of.

There's a word for that behavior in this country -- entitlement. It's the same behavior that is causing Greece, and most likely Italy, and Portugal to nearly default on their debt, and it's the same reason these assholes are protesting Wall Street. Every time Greece tries to cut down on the handouts and welfare, their citizens bitch that they are taking away "rights". Everyone wants to have 'rights' -- health care, transportation, jobs, retirement, but the majority prefer not to work for them.

So instead, they protest, bitch and fight to get hand outs until it bankrupts the system and robs those who have worked their entire lives out of everything. Ask the Germans how they are feeling right now trying to save their pathetic "Union."

I wasn't arguing about anything except that small quote I quoted. And you're absolutely wrong. Retirement is a right, a right that should be given by the government and smaller communities. What's sickening is that people have to work until the day they die--that's not only a failure of the government, but also a failure of friends, family, and community to support the individual

How is it a right if you have to plan for it? If YOU the individual doesn't plan for retirement you won't be able to retire...How is that a right that should be provided by the government? Basically you want the government telling you how much money you put in your retirement account each year so you can retire? Well if you want that, that's fine but I along with many others have more than enough self control to know how much I should spend and how much I should save so I don't have to work at Walmart till I'm 75 but thanks for the thought.

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

9/26/11

Retirement is in no way a right. Period. End of discussion. Speech, assembly, etc. those are rights. Retirement is privilege.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

9/26/11

Seems like these guys are about three years late, it's over. The only thing the protest has accomplished, as far as I'm concerned, is making me 1.5 minutes later for work in the morning because I have to walk around the area that's fenced off. If someone wants to be a dirty hippie, fine, but don't make it my problem.

Do I DESPISE when peope on Wall Street say things like "fuck the poor" and "eat the poor".....yeah. I do. People saying this sound like a bunch of fucking jerkoffs who deserve to have the gov't take over their shit ESPECIALLY in light of the fact that they ran things into the ground a few years ago....Wall Street bought this on itself.

I'm just being honest because I stand nothing to gain or lose chugging the koolaid.

However, in the big picture, there's plenty of jobs...I've NEVER had a problem finding a way to make a buck, all it requires is shutting the hell up and getting to work. Years ago I got laid off from my nice cushy office job and guess what, I started working behind a bar TO GET PAID...did I fucking hate it? Yes. But I paid my bills while earning a living.

Listen, there's a shortage of high paying jobs w/ benefits right now, and that sucks for sure, but a few dozen people camping out does nothing to change this. The economy goes up, and it goes down, and the only thing you can do is be smart, plan ahead, and make an effort. kvetching about things can help blow off steam, but it does nothing to 'change' anything.

Coming from a guy with center left sympathies: Hippies, shut up and get to work.

Get busy living

9/26/11

^^Thanks happy. I think ole Kenny needs to learn what a right is and is not.

In reply to UFOinsider
9/26/11
UFOinsider:

Seems like these guys are about three years late, it's over. The only thing the protest has accomplished, as far as I'm concerned, is making me 1.5 minutes later for work in the morning because I have to walk around the area that's fenced off. If someone wants to be a dirty hippie, fine, but don't make it my problem.

Do I DESPISE when peope on Wall Street say things like "fuck the poor" and "eat the poor".....yeah. I do. People saying this sound like a bunch of fucking jerkoffs who deserve to have the gov't take over their shit ESPECIALLY in light of the fact that they ran things into the ground a few years ago....Wall Street bought this on itself.

I'm just being honest because I stand nothing to gain or lose chugging the koolaid.

However, in the big picture, there's plenty of jobs...I've NEVER had a problem finding a way to make a buck, all it requires is shutting the hell up and getting to work. Years ago I got laid off from my nice cushy office job and guess what, I started working behind a bar TO GET PAID...did I fucking hate it? Yes. But I paid my bills while earning a living.

Listen, there's a shortage of high paying jobs w/ benefits right now, and that sucks for sure, but a few dozen people camping out does nothing to change this. The economy goes up, and it goes down, and the only thing you can do is be smart, plan ahead, and make an effort. kvetching about things can help blow off steam, but it does nothing to 'change' anything.

Coming from a guy with center left sympathies: Hippies, shut up and get to work.

Great post, coming from the same part of the political spectrum.

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

9/26/11

1.) Have to give credit to conservatives who know how to throw a relatively calm protest. Juxtapose this with G-8 protesters in London throwing paint at bankers.
2.) The protesters do have a point. If you want the bail-out, you have to accept the regulation that comes with it. If you don't want the regulation, don't take the bail-out.
3.) This country's wealth is less evenly divided than any time in the 20th century. We need to figure out a way to change that trend in a way that's consistent with a Capitalist society.

So in some ways, I agree with ANT about the protests, but the fact is that part of what makes this country great is the middle-class. For the first 125 years of our history, we were able to boost the middle-class by giving away land out West. For the past 100 years, we've boosted the middle-class through wealth redistribution. Now the middle-class is beginning to shrink.

At the same time, over the past 30 years, we've seen a huge concentration of market cap in a small number of oil companies, railroads, banks, consumer product firms, even retailers. As GINI coefficients have gone up, the Herfindahl index has followed. We have become a more corporate, more stratified, less individualistic society over the past thirty years. And while that's come with the benefit of economic freedom, I think it should make a lot of libertarians sad; it sure makes me sad. The bail-outs- passed without serious regulations- were probably the worst part in all of this- we bailed out a bunch of large banks, brought the country deeper into debt, and helped the rich stay rich.

In reply to IlliniProgrammer
9/26/11
IlliniProgrammer:

3.) This country's wealth is less evenly divided than any time in the 20th century. We need to figure out a way to change that trend in a way that's consistent with a Capitalist society.

This claim is utterly false, not that there is a solid definition for a "middle class." I've seen ranges from $15,000 - 49,999 or $35,000 - 75,000, but no matter how you define it, the "shrink" has been talked about for the past 35 years and it hasn't happened the way economists and sociologists predicted. The income bracket above the various definitions of middle class have been growing.

IlliniProgrammer:

So in some ways, I agree with ANT about the protests, but the fact is that part of what makes this country great is the middle-class. For the first 125 years of our history, we were able to boost the middle-class by giving away land out West. For the past 100 years, we've boosted the middle-class through wealth redistribution. Now the middle-class is beginning to shrink.

Why would a middle class make this country great? Wouldn't it be better if we were all "upper" class citizens? For the past 125 years, we were able to boost the general wealth of the population through deregulation, innovation and free enterprise. Already addressed your regurgitated last sentence.

IlliniProgrammer:

At the same time, over the past 30 years, we've seen a huge concentration of market cap in a small number of oil companies, railroads, banks, consumer product firms, even retailers. As GINI coefficients have gone up, the Herfindahl index has followed. We have become a more corporate, more stratified, less individualistic society over the past thirty years.

Both GINI and Herfindalh statistics are based on arbitrary math. True monopolies in this country have been brought down by innovation and entrepreneurship, not government intervention and bureaucratic decision making.

Does anyone bother to do independent reading and research or are we all listening to Arianna Huffington, MSNBC and Fox News? Do a damn google search. And try to click on links that aren't obviously biased.

In reply to STorIB
9/26/11
STorIB:

This claim is utterly false, not that there is a solid definition for a "middle class." I've seen ranges from $15,000 - 49,999 or $35,000 - 75,000, but no matter how you define it, the "shrink" has been talked about for the past 35 years and it hasn't happened the way economists and sociologists predicted. The income bracket above the various definitions of middle class have been growing.

That's true. It hasn't turned out as dire as some of the predictions by the left in the early 1980s. Part of that reason was deficit spending- we kept the programs going and borrowed to pay for them.

IlliniProgrammer:

Why would a middle class make this country great? Wouldn't it be better if we were all "upper" class citizens? For the past 125 years, we were able to boost the general wealth of the population through deregulation, innovation and free enterprise. Already addressed your regurgitated last sentence.

Actually it would most likely be an environmental disaster. There's a hard geological limit, at least given the technology we've had over the past 50 years, to how much wealth this country can have. At least some of the regulations we have that keep the pool of rich people smaller is also regulations that keep our air safe to breathe and our tapwater safe to drink. Other environmental regulations ensure the sustainability of the size of the economic pie we have to split up. And of course there are other very basic regulations that we take for granted which allow us to not have to worry about our jobs killing us, employees looting the companies we hold stock in, and the like.

IlliniProgrammer:

Both GINI and Herfindalh statistics are based on arbitrary math. True monopolies in this country have been brought down by innovation and entrepreneurship, not government intervention and bureaucratic decision making.

Not really. There are currently only four major telecom companies left after the Ma Bell breakup produced ~12, and now they are trying to merge them down to three. In 1975, there were over 100 Class I railroads. Today there are 4 1/2.

Imagine trying to start up a new railroad or telecom firm today. Your competition has billions in capital to crush your business before it even gets off the ground. The concentration of business in this country deters entrepreneurship and we need to figure out how to reduce that concentration in a way that's consistent with Capitalism.

9/26/11

I fail to see how the middle class has been destroyed. More people have a college education and are making more money. Unskilled manufacturing has died, but it has been dying for 30-40 years now. Semi skilled and skilled manufacturing is actually growing and hurting for people. Sorry that you can't flub through high school and make 50k a year.

I grew up in the 80's and 90's. Everyone told me that you had to go to college or learn a skill/trade. Never once did I think I could stand in place and put a part together and make a good living.

Wealth is simply assets - liabilities. This is how immigrants get rich. They pay cash for everything, work like slaves and beat their kids if they get A-'s. Unfortunately in the USA, the second you get shit out you expect the world on a platter.

Sorry people, the world has gotten more competitive.

The Va-gini coefficient is worthless. There is so much opportunity out there, so much money to be made. If you are too lazy or too blind to do it, you never deserved it to begin with.

9/26/11

Illini, you are right. Starting a railroad or telecom business is impossible. We also enjoy cheap cell phones and rail travel. Starting an internet business is dirt cheap. The internet has made entrepreneurship available to everyone. Look at Ebay, Amazon, etc. All the ways you can sell your goods and services.

Knowledge is free and plentiful. You can take MIT classes for free. You can access all the worlds info with a $10.00 per month dial up.

Back in the 1920's I could see the argument being made about the rich holding the poor down. Not today. Laziness holds them down. The tools and mechanisms for wealth are out there. Take them and run with them.

In reply to IlliniProgrammer
9/26/11
IlliniProgrammer:

That's true. It hasn't turned out as dire as some of the predictions by the left in the early 1980s. Part of that reason was deficit spending- we kept the programs going and borrowed to pay for them..

Except that the late 90's completely destroy this point. United States has a budget surplus and during that same time period middle class progresses to upper class. How are we borrowing to pay for middle classers to progress to upper class? They don't receive nearly the welfare that low income earners do. This point doesn't even make logical sense even without the data.

IlliniProgrammer:

Actually it would most likely be an environmental disaster. There's a hard geological limit, at least given the technology we've had over the past 50 years, to how much wealth this country can have. At least some of the regulations we have that keep the pool of rich people smaller is also regulations that keep our air safe to breathe and our tapwater safe to drink. Other environmental regulations ensure the sustainability of the size of the economic pie we have to split up. And of course there are other very basic regulations that we take for granted which allow us to not have to worry about our jobs killing us, employees looting the companies we hold stock in, and the like.

Sentence 1 defies all economic understanding to this day. There is no such thing as a finite supply of wealth. If we have already decided that the "pool of rich" is getting larger, how can regulations keep it smaller? Is this a good time to mention that people with incomes of greater than $50,000 spend more on "environmentally friendly" products, including organic foods, hybrid cars, alternative energy sources? I guess you think the EPA has done an outstanding job with regulations in the past. I'm sure it's a moot point to bring up the fact that these regulations are extremely costly and have likely resulted in hundreds of thousands of jobs not being created, which may have boosted the "middle class" over the past 30 years?

IlliniProgrammer:

Not necessarily for instance. There are currently only four major telecom companies left after the Ma Bell breakup produced ~12, and now they are trying to merge them down to three.

What's your point with this? Why is this an issue? It is pretty obvious the wireless industry is extremely regulated by FCC. A large reason the ATT/T Mobile merger came about was because ATT will not have access to crucial wireless frequencies because FCC is the only body which can issue them.

Even if the three companies were to enter into a colluding price agreement -- something that has never been shown to work (ask OPEC), give it a few years before a new and better technology comes out which makes cellphones less useful/obsolete. There goes your oligopoly. It has happened to Myspace, IBM, Intel, etc. We don't need a government organization telling the supposed free market what is or is not competitive based on summing the squares of market shares and arbitrarily stating a number over which is not considered competitive.

IlliniProgrammer:

Imagine trying to start up a new railroad or telecom firm today. Your competition has billions in capital to crush your business before it even gets off the ground. The concentration of business in this country deters entrepreneurship and we need to figure out how to reduce that concentration in a way that's consistent with Capitalism.

It's called a barrier to entry (Of course you failed to mention having to walk through layers and layers of red tape). If it didn't require capital to start, the product would be commoditized , margins would be non existent and roughly the same number of jobs would exist, except that the industry would be even more volatile. A truer way to break through such obstacles is to create a new technology which greatly enhances, cheapens costs of production, or obsoletes older tech. That is the only way which is consistent with capitalism.

9/26/11
9/26/11

Only three/four major telecomm companies? Sure, but what about substitute products? Right now there are 17.6 million users on Skype. These users can place telephone calls to anywhere in the world for either free or ridiculously cheaper than a landline or a cell phone...

Personally, I think it isn't fair to compare one class of people to another class. While the middle class may be declining in number or generating less income than previously, their quality of life continues to improve substantially, both relative to the prior generation of middle class folks and to foreigners. A middle class salary affords you a home, computers, cell phones, TVs, you name it. The middle class should stop complaining that the wealthy have a lot of money and start realizing that the rising tide is lifting all the ships.

CompBanker

9/26/11

Agree with above. We don't live in a world of finite wealth. What someone else has means nothing to you. My income is not greater or less than because someone else makes more.

It boils down to jealousy or some childish concept of fairness.

9/26/11

Wow, what would the world be without massive government interference? Hmmmm, maybe more money in our pockets because of less taxation. Maybe more jobs because of less regulation (or more effective, less politically motivated regulation), lower corporate taxes, etc.

Dude, you are confusing America when the rest of the world was living on a farm to America where the rest of the world is industrializing. China was recovering from a horrible war and barely developed in the 1950's. Europe was destroyed. People all had jobs with no education because the USA was the only manufacturing place left.

Government is not the answer to your problems. This country would be a lot better off with a smaller federal government, one that focused on what it was created to do, rather than becoming everyone's mom and dad.

Look around. You see TV commercials advertising government websites. How much does that shit cost. Why does every tiny government department need to advertise and have a website. What does the DOE friggin do? Think of the countless government agencies and all the overlap, etc. All employed by government workers with government pensions.

It is hilarious. People hate the TSA. People hate the DMV. People bitch about the Post Office, Veterans Affairs, IRS, etc. All government agencies. And then in the same breath think the world would suck with out them or a smaller version of them.

9/26/11

FYI - Socialism works when the people are disarmed. Socialism, at its core, is about control and violence. You give up your earnings OR ELSE. You can't make someone your bitch until you disarm and neuter them. Hence why Europe is a walking vagina.

In reply to Kenny Powers
9/26/11
Kenny Powers:
STorIB:

Retirement is a privileged, not a right.

Ok ass, let's see you working at wal-mart at the age of 75, and then tell me this. your lack of compassion is frightening, frankly.

trust me, i came from a country at a time when the governemnt had this view and i remember seeing crippled, old women going to the dump to look for food and clothing. you think you're in a place where you won't have to worry about retirement in a few decades, but trust me if the banking sector (and govt. regulators) fuck up again as royally as they did a few years ago, we'll all be trying to figure out how to save our asses. but honestly in the meantime, read a fucking vonnegut book to get a little perspective.

Change your username. You're a disgrace to the conservative American hero that is Kenny Powers.

9/27/11

While I only briefly scanned your post, MNT, I think I can agree with most of it. Not to be nit-picky, but the United States experienced its highest national debt for the time shortly after WWII. We may have attempted to pay for wars back then, but we didn't actually get around to doing the paying until later -- in a similar fashion to how it is now.

9/27/11

I am tired so my Europe is a vagina will have to stand.

I think we are fucked. The odds of people understanding anything are slim to none. I am pretty educated and don't think of myself as smart, but I went to a baseball game a week ago and realize how dumb normal America is. Even basically educated America. People just want free shit, sad but true.

In reply to TNA
9/27/11
ANT:

People just want free shit, sad but true.

You just reminded me of something a buddy of mine in New Orleans says all the time. It's his job to go around and give people grant money to raise their houses. This is all part of the post-Katrina giveaways. He gets so pissed off because he's giving people $120,000 apiece on average, and they're still complaining.

He always tells me, "People don't want free shit. They want better free shit."

9/27/11

Haha, Eddie that last sentence is a gem!

In reply to STorIB
9/27/11
STorIB:

Sentence 1 defies all economic understanding to this day. There is no such thing as a finite supply of wealth. If we have already decided that the "pool of rich" is getting larger, how can regulations keep it smaller? Is this a good time to mention that people with incomes of greater than $50,000 spend more on "environmentally friendly" products, including organic foods, hybrid cars, alternative energy sources? I guess you think the EPA has done an outstanding job with regulations in the past. I'm sure it's a moot point to bring up the fact that these regulations are extremely costly and have likely resulted in hundreds of thousands of jobs not being created, which may have boosted the "middle class" over the past 30 years?

Well in some ways there is if you define wealth in terms of the ability to consume resources. The planet isn't able to produce more than 90 million barrels of oil per day. If fewer rich people fly private jets and have yachts, that leaves room for more middle class people to afford to fill up at the pump. If fewer rich people have country clubs, we can produce more grain and more middle-class families can afford to eat chicken for dinner- or people can live closer to work rather than building homes 40 miles out in the suburbs. There are trade-offs to be made, and we are a healthier country if we can figure out a fair way to trade in 1 slot in the upper class for 10 slots in the middle-class.

The regulations cost us tens of billions and save us hundreds of billions in health expenses. Google "negative externality".

Bottom line is that it's not entirely a zero-sum game, but there is a resource pie to be split up. In order for me to take my yacht out on New York Harbor, that's 50 gallons that's not going into the gas tanks of middle-class drivers.

9/27/11

Truly educate Americans not the bullshit we call the school system now and most of these problems will go away...

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

In reply to bfin
9/27/11
blackfinancier:
Kenny Powers:
STorIB:
Kenny Powers:
STorIB:

Retirement is a privileged, not a right.

Ok ass, let's see you working at wal-mart at the age of 75, and then tell me this. your lack of compassion is frightening, frankly.

trust me, i came from a country at a time when the governemnt had this view and i remember seeing crippled, old women going to the dump to look for food and clothing. you think you're in a place where you won't have to worry about retirement in a few decades, but trust me if the banking sector (and govt. regulators) fuck up again as royally as they did a few years ago, we'll all be trying to figure out how to save our asses. but honestly in the meantime, read a fucking vonnegut book to get a little perspective.

In between your subtle insults, I think i could make out a coherent argument and it is the same point I was trying to make.

I have seen too many people in this country who have had to work until the day they die. Please ask them how they think retirement as a right has worked for them. Some of them got fucked out of retirement by market crashes and whatnot. Those are the one's I have upmost sympathy for. But some of them also failed to save up enough for them to live off of.

There's a word for that behavior in this country -- entitlement. It's the same behavior that is causing Greece, and most likely Italy, and Portugal to nearly default on their debt, and it's the same reason these assholes are protesting Wall Street. Every time Greece tries to cut down on the handouts and welfare, their citizens bitch that they are taking away "rights". Everyone wants to have 'rights' -- health care, transportation, jobs, retirement, but the majority prefer not to work for them.

So instead, they protest, bitch and fight to get hand outs until it bankrupts the system and robs those who have worked their entire lives out of everything. Ask the Germans how they are feeling right now trying to save their pathetic "Union."

I wasn't arguing about anything except that small quote I quoted. And you're absolutely wrong. Retirement is a right, a right that should be given by the government and smaller communities. What's sickening is that people have to work until the day they die--that's not only a failure of the government, but also a failure of friends, family, and community to support the individual

How is it a right if you have to plan for it? If YOU the individual doesn't plan for retirement you won't be able to retire...How is that a right that should be provided by the government? Basically you want the government telling you how much money you put in your retirement account each year so you can retire? Well if you want that, that's fine but I along with many others have more than enough self control to know how much I should spend and how much I should save so I don't have to work at Walmart till I'm 75 but thanks for the thought.

As I said, that works really well assuming your retirement savings aren't wiped out by a financial crisis.
Look, everyone wants to talk a big game, but I saw a bad government (and banking sector) destroy everyone's savings in my country. Millionaires humbled in about a month. In these cases, I think it's just to look to the government and the community as a whole for help. I'm not sitting here mandating how much you have to save, or spend, or put in a retirement account or anything. I'm saying there has to be the idea of retirement as a right otherwise there will be a segment of the population which doesn't retire, and you can say 'yea well fuck them then, if they didn't save they shouldn't retire blah blah blah' but in reality it's horrific to work until death, and god forbid it happen to you. In that case I'm pretty sure you'd be singing a different tune.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

9/27/11

I tip my hat to Kenny Powers for his last post. People can save all their lives, but when their retirement account gets destroyed by the CDO money machine, their savings might not mean shit. Through no fault of their own, a fuck-ton of Americans don't have the option to retire even if they played by the rules and led responsible lives.

The world isn't black and white. It's filled with nuance and requires more thoughtful positions than "if you can't retire, work till you die, it's YOUR fault," because that's just not the reality of things for many people.

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9/27/11

TheKing, I completely agree however I still don't think retirement is, in anyway, a right. Rights are unalienable things endowed to a person by their very existence in a just world. The right to speak your mind, the right to meet with whomever you would like to meet with, the right to ask the government for change. Please tell me how retirement is something you should be allowed by the very virtue of your birth.

And, if retirement is a right, couldn't one make the case that time off from work is a right (I don't mean not working 24 hours a day, I mean being able to take off on a Monday)?

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

9/27/11

Rights dont exist in nature, they only exist when people decide to create them.

"...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

- Schopenhauer

9/27/11

Happy:

Yeah, I'm not sure I think it's a right either. My point is more that people need to not be so black-and-white on the issue and issues in general.

With that said, I don't think we should want a world in which only the best amongst us can retire one day while a large portion of the population is flipping burgers until they die. In other words, I think we need to reform social security, not get rid of it. Raise the retirement age a couple of years, it'd go a long way towards fixing it.

9/27/11

I have no issue with having social security. I do think the age needs to be increased and it needs to be means tested. With that said, if you invest in risky products, without knowing what they are or how they work, you have yourself to blame when the market blows up. If your financial adviser put you in something outside of your risk tolerance then they are at fault. If you watched mad money and juiced your portfolio then you need to own up.

Yes, the world is in shades of grey, but not always.

Kind of like being fat. Not every fat person is there because they eat twinkies and are lazy. Problem is people who ARE fat and lazy use the genetics excuse as a cop out.

The vast majority of people who are poor goof off, don't save, don't try and go to school, play farmville instead of reading wikipedia, etc. Before I get pissed on for saying this, I've actually managed poor people and 95% of them got canned because they would show up drunk, high, 2 hours late, let people steal, curse at customers, etc.

Not saying everyone, but the majority cannot do simply things right.

9/27/11

No is suggesting a world where only the elite retire. Just a world where people have personal responsibility and don't confuse rights with privileges.

In other words, we need to lose this sense of entitlement that exists in most of the western world and perhaps the rest of it.

9/27/11

ANT:

You didn't need to be managing your own money and juicing your portfolio by going long-Lehman on September 14th to get fucked by the crisis. Yes, that happened to some dickheads, but not the majority of people.

What made the crisis of 2008 so truly absurd was that the CDO/CDO^2 products were rated as investment grade investments. Mid-to-upper tranches of these dog shit products often received AAA / AA ratings. They were implicitly as safe as US Treasuries or P&G corporate bonds while providing a significantly higher rate of return. Institutional investors, most of which manage a shit-ton of money, are often forced to hold assets that meet minimum requirements. In this case, highly-rated "safe" investments. So, when Moody's and S&P finally decided to do their jobs in the summer of 2007, over two separate days they severely and suddenly downgraded these so-called AAA/AA investments, completely killing the CDO market. Hence, large investment funds got caught holding completely illiquid securities which turned out to be virtually valueless.

If you are Joe Schmo and you've worked hard all your life, you very well could have woken up to the following reality during the crisis of 2008:

--Your home, which you pay for responsibly, is under water because the bubble burst and there are foreclosures in your neighborhood

--You've lost your job thanks to cut-backs at your company, but you can't look for work too far from home since you're tied to your mortgage

--Your retirement accounts are decimated because Wall Street / lenders created Frankenstein securities and Moody's / S&P were more concerned with growing their business than doing their jobs right

Now, I understand the desire to say "well, that's life! You have to take responsibility for yourself." And I honestly agree with that to a large degree.

The issue I have is that that same sentiment doesn't seem to apply to the big banks and the people who made the crisis as monumental as it is. They got no-strings-attached bailouts and become apoplectic when someone reminds them that they'd basically all be fucked if they hadn't been given $1 trillion of our money.

All I really ask is that people look at all sides of the story and be honest about things. Everyone wants to talk about how entitled middle America is...and maybe they're right. But, the second someone points the finger at Wall Street and says "hey wait, maybe these places are operating more like Casinos than banks," it's "class warfare." When, in reality, maybe Wall Street folks are just as entitled as everyone else.

9/27/11

ANT:

One more thing. I actually do tend to agree that most people simply don't seem to do things intelligently. As in, most people don't save responsibly and don't think about planning for life a year from now, let alone plan for retirement. I just don't think that blaming these people for our problems does any good, nor are they truly at fault for the current state of affairs.

On top of that, I like to think of that view point as borderline liberal elitist east coast thinking, so I try and stay off that path because it doesn't do much good.

9/27/11

King, we have SSI. You blow your portfolio and you still have a safety net.

Lehman tanks, ok. Diversification saved you. You are 65 and your portfolio blows up, not being in equities would save you.

Once again, this is basic FA stuff right here. If your FA has you in biotech at 65, it is HIS fault and he should be liable. If you blow his advise off and run for the hot money, it is YOUR fault.

Once again, I am leaving plenty of window for other blame, but if you decide to go long banks when you are in your 60's you better realize that you wont have time to recover.

Yes, some people got screwed by home prices, but most of the country saw a small run up. The people who got hurt the most are the ones who maxed out their home equity and spent that money. Now they are in deep and the market isn't coming back for them. Not laughing at them, but for years homes were a piggy bank and now all of a sudden it was ok to raid that piggy bank?

We like to think we are all so smart, but 100 year old adages still make the most sense. A penny saved is a penny earned.

9/27/11

King, the only way the USA gets to the point where we don't need to clean up for these people is if we have total control.

You either expect people to be responsible for the majority of their lives or you become 1984 and control everyones lives. I mean think of how much money is wasted because we can't stop people from eating, force people to read, make someone wear a condom. If I controlled people's lives I could stop half of these problems. Same for you. If you could force people in the ghetto to show up to school, sit quietly, wear condoms and not have children at young ages, force people to not smoke, eat garbage etc, we could solve everything.

But we can't (or are unwilling to do so). So instead of hurting responsible people I say we have a basic safety net and let people do what they want. Freedom doesn't mean positive outcomes. It means you have the choice to do what you want, good or bad. Some people always choose bad.

In reply to TNA
9/27/11
ANT:

King, the only way the USA gets to the point where we don't need to clean up for these people is if we have total control.

You either expect people to be responsible for the majority of their lives or you become 1984 and control everyones lives. I mean think of how much money is wasted because we can't stop people from eating, force people to read, make someone wear a condom. If I controlled people's lives I could stop half of these problems. Same for you. If you could force people in the ghetto to show up to school, sit quietly, wear condoms and not have children at young ages, force people to not smoke, eat garbage etc, we could solve everything.

But we can't (or are unwilling to do so). So instead of hurting responsible people I say we have a basic safety net and let people do what they want. Freedom doesn't mean positive outcomes. It means you have the choice to do what you want, good or bad. Some people always choose bad.

I agree with most of this, I don't want to take people's freedoms and realize that you can't really ever control people. Fuck, I'm pro-legalizing drugs for the most part and I'll defend the 2nd amendment to my super-lib friends despite not owning or knowing how to use guns.

My bigger issue is that you massively downplay the financial crisis and it's effects. Not worth rehashing all that has been said at this point, but I think you are way too black and white and are too quick to excuse those in high finance while blaming "lazy people."

9/27/11

TK: I've never seen a satisfactory explanation as to how the '08 mess would have caused the collapse of western civilization et all without the massive government intervention. I'm not sure that most people have. Recessions happened prior to the great depression, and none of them were particularly harmful/lasted very long/were "rescued" by the government.

"...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

- Schopenhauer

9/27/11

Seabird:

I'm in your court on this. I'm virulently anti-bailout.

9/27/11

The great depression was brought about by a collapse in the financial sector. Nowadays things are much bigger and more intertwined. Credit was not as developed as it is now either.

9/27/11

I am sympathetic with their message of a widening income gap between rich and poor, but to me the protesters seem to have a very, very flimsy grasp of the issues and they seem to aspire to social media fame as the number one priority.

I truly question why Wall Street gets so much of the blame for the economy. What about the ratings agencies that rubber stamped the AAA ratings; what about the millions of people who took out loans they could ultimately not afford; what about the bailouts for companies in other sectors like auto manufacturers? I think it is incredibly naive to believe the "Wall Street killed our economy" mantra, which is why IMO the protesters are getting very little press attention.

9/27/11

I am sympathetic with their message of a widening income gap between rich and poor, but to me the protesters seem to have a very, very flimsy grasp of the issues and they seem to aspire to social media fame as the number one priority.
I truly question why Wall Street gets so much of the blame for the economy. What about the ratings agencies that rubber stamped the AAA ratings; what about the millions of people who took out loans they could ultimately not afford? I think it is incredibly naive to believe the "Wall Street killed our economy" mantra, which is why IMO the protesters are getting very little press attention.

I largely agree with your first paragraph, but Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson saw the banking sector as concentrators of wealth. It basically takes the cash of the many to be managed by the chosen few. Those few then collect spreads, management fees, etc.

We need a system that lends a competitive advantage to smaller and mid-sized local firms. The real problem for the Wall Street protesters is that they don't have a reasonable alternative to Wall Street on offer. If they did, they'd be in Washington instead.

In reply to IlliniProgrammer
9/28/11
IlliniProgrammer:

I am sympathetic with their message of a widening income gap between rich and poor, but to me the protesters seem to have a very, very flimsy grasp of the issues and they seem to aspire to social media fame as the number one priority.
I truly question why Wall Street gets so much of the blame for the economy. What about the ratings agencies that rubber stamped the AAA ratings; what about the millions of people who took out loans they could ultimately not afford? I think it is incredibly naive to believe the "Wall Street killed our economy" mantra, which is why IMO the protesters are getting very little press attention.

I largely agree with your first paragraph, but Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson saw the banking sector as concentrators of wealth. It basically takes the cash of the many to be managed by the chosen few. Those few then collect spreads, management fees, etc.

We need a system that lends a competitive advantage to smaller and mid-sized local firms. The real problem for the Wall Street protesters is that they don't have a reasonable alternative to Wall Street on offer. If they did, they'd be in Washington instead.

I'd just like to note that there were laws that existed pre-great depression in multiple states that prohibited banks from having more than one branch. This was obviously to make the scene more competitive for individual banks, and to keep large, national banks from setting up shop and making it uncompetitive for small/mid sized local firms. However, during the depression, the majority of the banks that failed were the ones that were in these states. In wheat growing regions, the drop in the price of wheat lead to there being less deposits, and a greater likelihood that people who had loans out couldn't pay them back. That shrunk the total amount of credit. In canada, there were no such restrictions, and not a single bank failed there in 1930. Spreading the risk out made the banks less likely to fail. I don't think competitive advantages can be created through regulation - competitive advantages that already exist can only be decreased or made non existent. Alternatively, the government cannot create wealth, only redistribute misery.

And besides, if the big banks didn't have as much leverage, who would the small/mid sized banks sell out to when their owners wanted to get out/get paid?

"...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

- Schopenhauer

9/28/11

Seabird:

"Spreading the risk out made the banks less likely to fail."

This attitude was essentially the prime argument for repealing Glass-Steagall and for passing the Commodities - Futures Modernization Act in 1999 and 2000. And look where that got us. It helped to directly lead to the super bubble and crash in 2008, and is a prime reason for where we're at today.

We need to bring back Glass-Steagall and we need smart regulation, not monstrous garbage, intelligent and simple rules to enhance the banking system.

9/28/11

I'm not sure if youre aware, but the Community Reinvestment act and shitty ratings agencies were the causes of the bubble. I'm not too knowledgable about the effects of removing Glass-Steagall, but the impetus to make risky loans was directly caused by the adjustments to the CRA in the 90s, along with shoddy ratings made by government sponsored agencies. In a less regulated market, it seems to reason to me that analysts would get more transparency by popular demand.

"...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

- Schopenhauer

In reply to seabird
9/28/11
seabird:

I'm not sure if youre aware, but the Community Reinvestment act and shitty ratings agencies were the causes of the bubble. I'm not too knowledgable about the effects of removing Glass-Steagall, but the impetus to make risky loans was directly caused by the adjustments to the CRA in the 90s, along with shoddy ratings made by government sponsored agencies. In a less regulated market, it seems to reason to me that analysts would get more transparency by popular demand.

I lay a lot of blame on the ratings agencies as well, that and people's blind faith in them. They're literally the only group that got off the hook with no pain, but they're as guilty as Arthur Anderson was in the Enron scandal. As for Glass Steagall, all it comes down to is that the government will not back trading / investment banking losses.

You want to save money, cool, but if you play the markets then the losses are on the bank.

Get busy living

9/28/11

The majority of America is fucking stupid, lazy, and dont give a fuck about anything except what they are owed. America has really gone to the shitter. We prevailed after the Great Depression because we had a generation who believed in actually working hard and were EMBARRASSED to receive financial aid even though they really were living in horrendous conditions- unlike what our obese 'poor' are living in today.
http://middletownpress.com/articles/2011/09/26/new...

Just imagine ANT, these are the people your taxes are going to.

"He said the agency has sent extra staff to the 12 field offices to help handle the applications. According to D-SNAP, applicants must also meet financial criteria to qualify. Take-home income and liquid assets for the period from Aug. 27 to Sept. 25 cannot exceed $2,186 for a single person; $2,847 for a household of two; $3,272 for a household of three; $3,859 for a household of four; $4,254 for a household of five; $4,753 for a household of six; $5,116 for a household of seven; and $5,479 for a household of eight."

Monthly income cannot exceed $2186 for a single person. You need aid making almost $30,000 a year (lets forget that most make cash on the side and that this policy is preventing people from actually saving. Why save when you can spend it all and get aid?)? They had a woman on bitching about how the state owes her because she went on vacation and left her windows open during Irene, so the state should pay her for those damages. She was PISSED because she had to wait in line. And people wonder why taxpayers are pissed off and dont want to give another fucking dime.

In reply to UFOinsider
9/28/11
UFOinsider:
seabird:

I'm not sure if youre aware, but the Community Reinvestment act and shitty ratings agencies were the causes of the bubble. I'm not too knowledgable about the effects of removing Glass-Steagall, but the impetus to make risky loans was directly caused by the adjustments to the CRA in the 90s, along with shoddy ratings made by government sponsored agencies. In a less regulated market, it seems to reason to me that analysts would get more transparency by popular demand.

I lay a lot of blame on the ratings agencies as well, that and people's blind faith in them. They're literally the only group that got off the hook with no pain, but they're as guilty as Arthur Anderson was in the Enron scandal. As for Glass Steagall, all it comes down to is that the government will not back trading / investment banking losses.

You want to save money, cool, but if you play the markets then the losses are on the bank.

Totally dude. I've always thought of them as being perhaps more guilty than Arthur Andersen, because they were government sponsored groups. Talk about transparency and living to a higher standard. What really gets me is listening to that video/audio of Barney Frank talking about wanting to "roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing." The arrogance these guys have at intruding in to the economy is hard for me to handle.

"...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

- Schopenhauer

9/28/11

Seabird:

You strike me as someone who doesn't fully grasp the causes of the Crisis. Yes, changes to the CRA had an effect, but that is far from the main cause of the bubble. Second, the ratings agencies are not "government sponsored agencies." I think you have your right wing talking points confused.

I've elaborated on this shit so many times, but here are some quick-hit bullet points on the true causes of the crisis:

--Changes to the CRA

--Repeal of Glass Steagall

--Easy money thanks to the Fed keeping interest rates near zero for an extended period

--Lending houses, such as WaMu, making internal strategic decisions to move from majority traditional 30-year mortgages to majority sub-prime mortgages to drive revenue growth and margin expansion (you can read tons of internal documents in the Levin-Coburn Report on the Financial Crisis, I suggest you peruse it)

--Note: Yes, people should have taken loans responsibly, but evidence has shown that the lenders knew they were lending to people who often either didn't understand what they were getting themselves into; misled people into taking on shittier, riskier, and higher margin mortgages; or didn't care if they were lending to people who had no intention of paying up because as soon as the papers were signed, they passed the shitty mortgages on to Wall Street banks for purposes of securitization. There was ZERO incentive on the part of the lenders to have any sort of quality control and they knew this and took advantage of it

--Banks taking the sub-prime crap, spinning them through the CDO money machine, and pawning them off as safe-investments to institutional investors

--Private rating agencies providing investment grade ratings to said CDO products. These rating firms used lax standards in order to beat out competing firms and increase market share (they get paid to give ratings, and got more business for giving better ratings)

--AIG selling Naked CDS on these shitbag products until they were blue in the face, making it absolutely impossible for them to cover their positions if there were default events (which, there were...as we all know)

Now, you can blame government all you want, but fucking EVERYONE was to blame. I blame the lenders more than government because they were knowingly selling shitty products and rewarding salespeople for volume of loans that went out the door, quality control people were ignored or marginalized. I blame the banks more than government for creating products that greatly exacerbated the effects of defaults because they created systemic risk and, essentially, third party bets on the systemic risk. And I blame the rating agencies more for failing to do their work properly and dropping standards to grow revenue.

And unless we decide to let the "Too Big To Fail" banks actually fail, we need smarter, simpler regulations to prevent "Too Big To Fail" banks from existing in the first place.

9/28/11

TK: Im not sure you fully grasp that banks would not knowingly take on bonds w/ credit risk that was significantly above than what they were being advertised as having. Ill get back to this later.

"...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

- Schopenhauer

9/28/11

Seabird:

Do some homework and THEN come back to me. There's so much information out there, including internal bank / lending house / rating agency documents that you can read yourself. If you come back with a bunch of bullshit talking points, don't even bother typing them in and let's move on with our lives.

9/28/11

This is one of, if not, the most succinct, articulate, and honest explanations for the whole damn thing. As presented by Dr. Michael Burry:

9/28/11

So these hippies haven't showered for how long now?

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

9/28/11

I am amazed at the number of people who browse this supposedly "financial" forum who think "derivatives" and "bankers" created the crisis. Hint: do some serious study before you turn up for an interview cos if it's with me you won't get past the first 10 minutes.

9/28/11

Here's a good starting point: http://equityprivate.typepad.com/ep/2009/02/dare-y...

For sure Mozillo ought to be in jail rather than living it large in his mansions. So what? It's like attacking the weapons dealer that greases the wheels of war.

In reply to EURCHF parity
9/28/11
EURCHF parity:

I am amazed at the number of people who browse this supposedly "financial" forum who think "derivatives" and "bankers" created the crisis. Hint: do some serious study before you turn up for an interview cos if it's with me you won't get past the first 10 minutes.

If you think I've got it wrong, please refute my points. If you need me to elaborate on any of them, please tell me what you'd like me to explain. I'm about as well-read on the subject as someone can be, so if I'm "wrong," please enlighten me.

I do not argue that anyone is without fault, rather that some parties are more deserving of blame than others for the crisis being as severe as it was / is.

9/29/11

Yea dudes, cheap debt and moral hazard. At the end of the day, government is the root cause of all of this. Artificially cheap debt, mandating that large investors only buy asset back securities from a select handful of government chosen ratings agencies, agencies incentivized to rate banks products with the highest ratings regardless of the shit behind them, investors not giving a crap what was actually behind them because of their "bullet proof" ratings, AIG selling insurance on the shit MBS' because supposedly they wouldn't default in substantial amounts in a thousand years, banks fire selling assets regardless of whether the assets were sound or not just to maintain government mandated capital ratios, the bad debt not being allowed to liquidate because of TARP, the fed lowering rates, reinflating the bubble, even more regulations.... here we go again.

Let markets set interest rates on loans, make investors responsible for their own diligence by getting rid of the ratings agencies OR encouraging competition within the ratings market by allowing other competitors to enter, give lenders recourse on borrowers should they default on their mortgages - among other things. Government is the problem, but we're (the developed world) is obsessed with this idea that more government is the solution. It makes no sense.

9/29/11

So a buddy of mine calls me last night from wherever (he's a consultant so I have no clue where he was) and we get to talking about this Occupy Wall Street thing and he comes up with, what might be the greatest idea ever.

If you are an Associate or something in NYC, how great would it be if you and a few of your buddies went and hired 3 or 4X the number of protestors at some low hourly rate (homeless people presumably) and had them protest the protestors? Give them signs that say stuff like 'Hippies smell weird' and just obnoxious things like that. Make a mockery out of it. It would be over in 2 days, tops.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

In reply to islandbanker
9/29/11
islandbanker:

Yea dudes, cheap debt and moral hazard. At the end of the day, government is the root cause of all of this. Artificially cheap debt, mandating that large investors only buy asset back securities from a select handful of government chosen ratings agencies, agencies incentivized to rate banks products with the highest ratings regardless of the shit behind them, investors not giving a crap what was actually behind them because of their "bullet proof" ratings, AIG selling insurance on the shit MBS' because supposedly they wouldn't default in substantial amounts in a thousand years, banks fire selling assets regardless of whether the assets were sound or not just to maintain government mandated capital ratios, the bad debt not being allowed to liquidate because of TARP, the fed lowering rates, reinflating the bubble, even more regulations.... here we go again.

Let markets set interest rates on loans, make investors responsible for their own diligence by getting rid of the ratings agencies OR encouraging competition within the ratings market by allowing other competitors to enter, give lenders recourse on borrowers should they default on their mortgages - among other things. Government is the problem, but we're (the developed world) is obsessed with this idea that more government is the solution. It makes no sense.

You do realize that Glass-Steagall would fix the problem, right? After all, from its passage to its repeal, we didn't have a crisis anywhere NEAR the level of what we got in 2008. If investment banks aren't tied to commercial banks, they can fail without cratering the economy. I am not calling for super regulations that will hinder growth, I'm calling for the banking system to do what it's supposed to do, not become a giant casino in which profits are celebrated and losses are socialized.

9/29/11

If I decided to get a bunch of my buddies and loiter around a business, interfering with people's lives, making it more difficult for them to do whatever it is they need to do - what would happen to my friends and I?

We'd get beat up by police, pepper-sprayed, and arrested. Why is what's going on here any different?

In reply to Buddyfox
9/29/11
Buddyfox:

If I decided to get a bunch of my buddies and loiter around a business, interfering with people's lives, making it more difficult for them to do whatever it is they need to do - what would happen to my friends and I?

We'd get beat up by police, pepper-sprayed, and arrested. Why is what's going on here any different?

Let's do like you said and be more like Syria!

I'm a liberal (dirty word on this forum, I know) and still have no repect for these protesters. They have no message, no direction, no real understanding of what they are protesting. With that said, I repect their right to organize peacefully, even if they are just making fools of themselves and making my commute 45 seconds longer.

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

9/29/11

Your right to protest ends when it interferes with my right to safety and access of the sidewalk, etc.

People have the right to assemble, but you need a permit or to notify someone. You cannot block the sidewalk, move a mob of people around NYC, etc. That is why these people go curtained off, why that chick got maced, etc.

All types of people protest and march with no problems. This crap on Wall Street is unorganized and haphazard.

In reply to TNA
9/29/11
ANT:

Your right to protest ends when it interferes with my right to safety and access of the sidewalk, etc.

People have the right to assemble, but you need a permit or to notify someone. You cannot block the sidewalk, move a mob of people around NYC, etc. That is why these people go curtained off, why that chick got maced, etc.

All types of people protest and march with no problems. This crap on Wall Street is unorganized and haphazard.

Your "right to safety"?? That's a pretty huge exagerration if I have ever seen one. Don't be such a puss.

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

9/29/11

Once again, liberals show their true colors. These protestors have a right to block side walks, but when someone talks about their right to use a sidewalk (vs. walking in the street and blocking traffic or potentially getting hit) the answer is "don't be a puss".

Sorry man, but respect is a two way street. Don't block the sidewalk, stay in a designated area, etc. Fair is fair.

In reply to TNA
9/29/11
ANT:

Once again, liberals show their true colors. These protestors have a right to block side walks, but when someone talks about their right to use a sidewalk (vs. walking in the street and blocking traffic or potentially getting hit) the answer is "don't be a puss".

Sorry man, but respect is a two way street. Don't block the sidewalk, stay in a designated area, etc. Fair is fair.

How exactly am I showing my true colors? Outgroup homogeneity bias much?

I walk on Wall St. every day. You can still walk there without fear for your life. Have you ever been to Times Square? If so, did you just immediately shit your pants because there were so many people on the side walk? Times Square sidewalks make the Wall Street protesters look like Libyan Rebels.

Either walk by them (which is what everyone does), or if you are that concerned about your safety, try taking Exchange.

What the fuck is the point of making this about your concern for sidewalk rights? There are reasonable responses to these dumbass protesters- that is not one of them.

Once again, conservatives just showingthey are scared of busy sidewalks and bongo drums... /s

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

9/29/11

Whatever dude. Plain fact is these people were not getting attention so they decided to push the issue. They were blocking the sidewalk and forcing people to walk in the street or go elsewhere. I fail to see how their right to protest becomes their right to block a public road and sidewalk. Just because you think it is trivial doesn't mean you can do it.

Walking in the road and blocking a sidewalk is a hazard and the police had every right to stop these people.

9/29/11

Always downplay or trivialize an other persons concerns. Just like the punitive theft that liberals push on this country. The robber never thinks robbery is wrong.

In reply to TNA
9/29/11
ANT:

Whatever dude. Plain fact is these people were not getting attention so they decided to push the issue. They were blocking the sidewalk and forcing people to walk in the street or go elsewhere. I fail to see how their right to protest becomes their right to block a public road and sidewalk. Just because you think it is trivial doesn't mean you can do it.

Walking in the road and blocking a sidewalk is a hazard and the police had every right to stop these people.

You literally can't walk on the street on Wall St. right now. Completely blocked off by police barricades. Don't know what you are talking about. Are you even in NYC?

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

In reply to TNA
9/29/11
ANT:

Always downplay or trivialize an other persons concerns. Just like the punitive theft that liberals push on this country. The robber never thinks robbery is wrong.

There those liberals go again!

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

9/29/11

I am referencing the video where the chick got maced. This is what this conversation is about. No, I am not in NYC, which would be relevant if I wasn't talking about a specific incident where protestors were blocking a sidewalk and the road was still in use.

In reply to TNA
9/29/11
ANT:

No, I am not in NYC.

So you were talking about a specific incident, and from there making generalizations about something you really have no idea about, is that correct?

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

9/29/11

Actually, I am talking about a specific incident and talking SPECIFICALLY about that. I have no issue with these retards protesting, but they outcry over a chick getting maced and "caged" in fails to realize that these people were blocking the sidewalk and taking the protest outside of an allowed area.

I don't see how I was making generalizations at all? In fact I kept my argument rather focused on the fact that their blocking the sidewalk and creating an unsafe area was a direct cause of the issue with the police. Additionally, their right to protest ends when they violate someones right of unencumbered access to a public sidewalk.

9/29/11

Sidenote: Mace hurts worse than anything you could possibly imagine. Not pepperspray, I mean actual Mace.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

9/30/11

oh. my. fuck.

up until today i didn't give a shit. now these fuckers in their faggy yellow shirts are protesting in SF in front of Montgomery BART station.

as if it wasn't bad enough that i have to put up with "Anonymous" protests every Monday. for fuck's sake, i just want to go home.... =-(

Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?

In reply to sayandarula
9/30/11
sayandarula:

as if it wasn't bad enough that i have to put up with "Anonymous" protests every Monday. for fuck's sake, i just want to go home.... =-(

That sounds like an interestingly Californian type of socialism, what are "Anonymous" protests?

9/30/11
9/30/11

^^ haha what a dumb bitch

Lets go harass anybody with a suit

Then make generalizations that they're going to get a martini

Don't generalize races though, cause then I would bitch about it. If you're wearing a suit you're fair game.

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

"There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

In reply to sayandarula
9/30/11
sayandarula:

oh. my. fuck.

up until today i didn't give a shit. now these fuckers in their faggy yellow shirts are protesting in SF in front of Montgomery BART station.

as if it wasn't bad enough that i have to put up with "Anonymous" protests every Monday. for fuck's sake, i just want to go home.... =-(

There has been one guy dressed in colonial british attire at the Embarcadero BART for the past few days, each day a few more people join him.

Also, the Anon protests have been over the BART cops shooting some guy who resisted arrest. BART (subway system) got hacked and people with masks and signs decide to clog the stations in protest.

"Quote from a book/movie about wall street" - Main character in that movie.

9/30/11

The government of the United states is somewhat socialist. The bailout and the heavily counter cyclical policy of the Fed are both socialist in nature (socializing losses) but the difference is that it is really just perpetuating moral hazard and is at the heart crony capitalism. We should pass a law or something that says no bailouts, no depository insurance, no overly expansionary monetary policy, no GSEs. All those things lead to more risk taking. These people are not protesting that though. They are protesting that them or their parents took out a huge mortgage that they couldn't afford, and then the bank either called the loans or the rate increased to an unsustainable rate and they were foreclosed on. These protestors are looking for handouts and second chances because they fucked up. You have to earn second chances IMHO, the government shouldn't give them to you. These morons are not addressing the problem, they are part of it.

Reality hits you hard, bro...

9/30/11

These protesters are exactly why I would not work hard in a true socialist country.

In reply to MMBinNC
9/30/11
MMBinNC:

The government of the United states is somewhat socialist. The bailout and the heavily counter cyclical policy of the Fed are both socialist in nature (socializing losses) but the difference is that it is really just perpetuating moral hazard and is at the heart crony capitalism. We should pass a law or something that says no bailouts, no depository insurance, no overly expansionary monetary policy, no GSEs. All those things lead to more risk taking. These people are not protesting that though. They are protesting that them or their parents took out a huge mortgage that they couldn't afford, and then the bank either called the loans or the rate increased to an unsustainable rate and they were foreclosed on. These protestors are looking for handouts and second chances because they fucked up. You have to earn second chances IMHO, the government shouldn't give them to you. These morons are not addressing the problem, they are part of it.

The broad strokes you paint people with is absurd. And the fact that you go from excusing the bank bailouts to telling people that the "government shouldn't give them second chances," that they "have to be earned," is comical.

9/30/11

While I understand that some or many of the people protesting may not be as informed about the causes of the crisis and the problems at large, what is wrong with what they are doing? If anything, it's analogous to many of the people that show up at tea party rallies holding signs asking Obama to keep his "government hands off my medicare!"

I'm sure someone in here who is extremely conservative will counter with "well, they have the right ideas in principle, even if they don't have the specifics down pat." I'd counter with the same thing in the case of these protestors. Yes, many of them may look like dirty hippies and not know a Credit Default Swap from a Credit Card, but I think they mean well in spirit, despite not knowing the nuances.

9/30/11

I'm not justifying the bailouts. I'm saying that the government boxed themselves into the corner and should try to fix it rather than keep doing it. I think its obvious from my responses in the past I hate the bailouts and the crony capitalism that is our U.S. domestic policy. From your responses earlier in the thread I don't think that we are really in disagreement. But the protestors I've seen on the internet are not mainly protesting the bailout, they are protesting foreclosures. If they took the no bailout message to Washington, I'd be right there supporting them.

Reality hits you hard, bro...

9/30/11

Fair enough in that regard.

9/30/11

They have the right to protest and I could give a shit about them as people or non tax paying citizens. Problem is these people are clueless and uninformed protesting is nothing more than getting attention.

What is the message? Making money is bad? Banks should fail? Not sure what they are getting at. Is this anti rich, pro union?

I really with people would of protested the bank when they were cashing in their equity and buying a BMW. I mean how come no one protests when they are enjoying the fruits of banks structured products?

Blah, I suppose stomaching these riff raff is what you HAVE to do.

Bailouts were necessary, but the government didn't need to force TARP on healthy banks and they should have orderly wound down bad banks.

9/30/11

And I would be perfectly fine being against the bailouts, but if we let everything collapse these people would still be protesting that the banks screwed them. Either way people wouldn't accept the pain.

Since I think that the economy would be much worse for the common man if we let the banks fail and seeing how much of a cunt these protesters are, I wish we would of let it all fail now, if only to make them suffer more.

9/30/11

I think they are protesting the fact that the banks got no strings attached bailouts while the everyday man got jack shit and is now being told to not be lazy, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, etc. In short:

Banks fail ==> Losses socialized, no strings attached, back to business as usual shortly thereafter

Common man ==> no bailout, told to stop being lazy, and blamed for many of our structural problems

9/30/11

No strings? Banks got a temporary liquidity injection with a shit load of strings. They then paid the money back, with interest and got left alone.
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive...

Many banks didn't want the money or need it. Many needed the market to simply stabilize and the fear to abate. In a bank run even healthy banks get screwed.

So yes, fine, I support shit banks being broken up or punished, but it is a fallacy that "all of Wall Street" was to blame. Bubbles run up and bubbles burst. That's life.

And the common man is not getting screwed. Unemployment continues to get extended, stimulus programs were rolled out, etc. Shit has been tried.

9/30/11

http://cdn.front.moveon.org/wp-content/uploads/201...

On Tuesday, Continental and United Continental airline pilots marched on Wall Street in unison to protest extremely slow contract negotiations despite merger plans going forward between the two airlines.

No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions; he had money as well.

9/30/11

This is only happening because they don't teach something that adds value to the economy any more in American Schools...such as LBO Modeling, DCF modeling, Excel, Merger modeling and Comps Modeling!

AMERICA NEEDS MORE BANKERS IT IS TE ONLY WAY TO MAKE US PRESTIGIOUSSSSS!!

In reply to CanadianPositiveCarry
9/30/11
CanadianPositiveCarry:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmvGbgDxuEE&feature...

These types of people are occupying wall st.

the one guy that gives her a response - "I'm a lawyer, I'm trying to fix it" - haha

Also, why do they act like the ppl working on wallstreet don't pay taxes as well? When your taxes end up paying for something you don't believe in or might not even need (social security, unemployment, etc) -- well that's the same principle at work here and as a nation you just have to understand that we're in it together.

9/30/11

I don't really post here but I read here. I'm a day tripper to the occupation. Been there since Sept. 19th, everyday 9-9.

I'm a former analyst for a small fund. I can't claim to speak for everyone there - but I can tell you why I am there. I can tell you some of the sentiment I've heard.

Feel free to ask, there are some pretty specific demands (unofficial) related to Wall Street. None of them are particularly crazy.

9/30/11

^ why are you there / what exactly are they demanding? Do you think anything will be achieved?

9/30/11

Yes, please inform us why you are there.

I'll actually be in the city tomorrow and am contemplating taking some pictures of the riff raff.

10/1/11

Well, first of all, I went to the public sector about 2 years ago and got laid off about 6 months ago. That's how I am able to be there (although I still do some consulting work on the side - sometimes for labor unions.)

I'm personally there because I see a lot of people suffering. I don't mean just people on the news, but my friends and family. There is a great unrest that has existed in this country really since end of 2007 but that hit hard in September 2008. A lot of that is related to the liquidity crisis of 2008 and the mortgage meltdown - although I agree, some of it isn't. But the pain of unwinding the balance sheet and the great deleveraging is real for a lot of people.

A lot of people are angry that there wasn't any great reckoning. So far in my lifetime I've been through the S&L debacle (that cost tax payers a trillion dollars,) LCTM which was tossed to the street to bailout and now the CDO boom and bust - the mother of all market failures. People are seeing the student loan market as the next big bubble with the collapse of the auction rated securities market being the first shot across the bow. In general, most people are willing to trade slower growth for an end to boom and bust capitalism.

The point about privatized gains and socialized losses is well taken. That's at the heart of the issue. TARP bought up a ton of bad assets (even from healthy banks - to not single out the weak ones and make the money market run worse.) But a lot of those protesters have bad assets to sell. Why isn't the government buying? Where is the bailout for people who were foreclosed on? Are people willing to give the GSEs and HUD their fair share or the blame...yes. But did the GSE directly force the IBs on the street into their insane buying spree that fueled the mortgage mess? No.

How can we talk about extension of unemployment insurance (which I do not receive) as a moral hazard but there is no national conversation about a corporate governance system that pays large bonuses to people that bankrupt their public companies. This just exposes shareholder value ideology as totally hypocritical.

So there is a list of very specific proposals being debated. Some of them are rehashes of things that came up during Dodd-Frank. Instead of increasing capital reserves willy nilly, have the IBs prefund a bailout through a treasury program administered by the fed. Although go ahead and increase the margin requirements for hedge funds. Other bank reforms include reorganizing and giving the SEC some teeth. Repeal the Commodities and Futures Modernization Act. Require a transparent exchange to clear derivatives - so people can see who the counterparties are. There's pretty wide consensus on re-instituting Glass Stegal and/or the Volcker Rule. People want the wall up against proprietary trading desks, they despise Citibank and their "Wal-Mart of Wall Street" model.

Tax policy is a big issue too. I think everyone understands "reform entitlements" but most people feel its putting the cart before the horse until the revenue side is straightened out. The more conservative proposals include lower tax rates across the board and end all tax expenditures. Increase the cap gains to income rates. Or return to the Clinton era tax rates. Some of the more radical proposals are end corporate taxes all together and tax the owners of capital income rates.

Since I was in public sector, one of my personal issues is the variable rate muni debt craze that went rampant through municipal lenders before the crisis. Universities, counties, sewer boards you name are trapped in billions of dollars worth of underwater interest rate swaps. Fixed for floating, floating for fixed...if you we hedging your variable rate debt through the heart of the crisis, you are underwater. Universities are raising tuition on folk just to make coupon payments and payments in their derivatives contracts. The build america bond program helped somewhat - but its very hard to look at a student who is jobless, getting close to loan default and say hey, we need more tuition money because our swap deals didn't work out. People are getting their pensions cut, their tolls raised...I really don't understand why this isn't a bigger issue in the press.

So yeah, we (most of us) are protesting for a specific set reforms. Some of these will be proposed by the SEC under the power granted to them by Dodd Frank and then shouted down in the rulemaking process. You will find people who don't know how the financial system works, and are just angry and protesting. You will find people who think the only way to end waves of systemic risk rippling though once every 10 years is to get rid of capitalism and institute government central planning. But MOST of the discussion has been around a reformist agenda.

But at the end of the day, people are just broke and hopeless and angry. That's why they are there. They aren't picketing associate analysts of internal auditors or the back office guys. They are angry that the whole financial system has taken a turn toward repeated instability and shadow banking systems in the last 20 years. They camp on Wall Street because they don't know what else to do. Am I going to call Chuck Schumer's office and ask him to vote to reinstate Glass Steagal?

Yes they stink. There are no showers. Yes they are disorganized. The only power they have is a generator that the police keep taking the fuel for. Yes they can be loud sometimes. They are trying to build a community. They aren't trying to purposely annoy residents but many of them have been evicted and have no jobs. They don't have anywhere else to go or anything else to do.

I am on the committee that is organizing daily classes, so we can have better discussion about Wall Street and the political system. We have a class every day at 6 PM at the Southeast corner of the park. Topics range from labor history, to the roots of the crisis to various economic regimes in history and around the world. Any one is welcome to join. I will be doing my short piece on how to read a `10K next week. If there is a problem with miseducation or lack of education, I am doing my part to help fix that. It will make us all better citizens.

But you are of course welcome to come by. I'm always around to meet people, talk to them further about the protests, introduce people and give them a tour of the space. Plenty of people with suits hang out there. No one will get lynched, trust me! Hahaha. We are not all bad people and a lot of the time we can find common ground with your. But respectful conversation and debate helps both of us and our country - so I really do encourage you to come and talk to me and others.

10/1/11

Oh, and I am just going to add...
there's a mass of geographic diversity at the Park. And universally, everyone is laid off or has very low income. So if Occupy Wall Street represented the underlying assets of CDO - S&P would rate it safer than a T-Bill. Just saying...LOL

10/1/11

My hat is off to SophieinBK. Perhaps the most thoughtful thing I've ever read on this forum. Incredibly informed. I hope you are able to educate some of the less-informed amongst us.

10/1/11
10/1/11

Yes, very informative post!

In reply to wolverine19x89
10/1/11
scottj19x89:

^^ haha what a dumb bitch

Lets go harass anybody with a suit

Then make generalizations that they're going to get a martini

Don't generalize races though, cause then I would bitch about it. If you're wearing a suit you're fair game.

Bitch doesn't pay 40% in income taxes. Probably took more from the FAFSA to finance her bimbo education of general studies.

In reply to duffmt6
10/1/11
duffmt6:
ANT:

Once again, liberals show their true colors. These protestors have a right to block side walks, but when someone talks about their right to use a sidewalk (vs. walking in the street and blocking traffic or potentially getting hit) the answer is "don't be a puss".

Sorry man, but respect is a two way street. Don't block the sidewalk, stay in a designated area, etc. Fair is fair.

How exactly am I showing my true colors? Outgroup homogeneity bias much?

I walk on Wall St. every day. You can still walk there without fear for your life. Have you ever been to Times Square? If so, did you just immediately shit your pants because there were so many people on the side walk? Times Square sidewalks make the Wall Street protesters look like Libyan Rebels.

Either walk by them (which is what everyone does), or if you are that concerned about your safety, try taking Exchange.

What the fuck is the point of making this about your concern for sidewalk rights? There are reasonable responses to these dumbass protesters- that is not one of them.

Once again, conservatives just showingthey are scared of busy sidewalks and bongo drums... /s

Hey --

-- shut the fuck up.

In reply to TNA
10/2/11
ANT:

No strings? Banks got a temporary liquidity injection with a shit load of strings. They then paid the money back, with interest and got left alone.
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive...

Many banks didn't want the money or need it. Many needed the market to simply stabilize and the fear to abate. In a bank run even healthy banks get screwed.

So yes, fine, I support shit banks being broken up or punished, but it is a fallacy that "all of Wall Street" was to blame. Bubbles run up and bubbles burst. That's life.

And the common man is not getting screwed. Unemployment continues to get extended, stimulus programs were rolled out, etc. Shit has been tried.

ANT, I liked your posts. But these days, you've become so divisive with your posts/rants about how CONSERVATISM and your brand of libertarianism is the be all end all.

The reason the government forced (which they did, no doubt) the healthy banks to take the TARP money back in 2008 is the same reason the FDIC doesn't publish the list of "troubled" banks list. If everyone knew how bad trouble was at one bank, there would be a potential run on that specific bank and/or cause more short positions and financial unrest, which would totally defeat the whole purpose of the bail-outs, saving the finance sector. Yes, JP and Wells "probably" didn't need it. But what happens if the even more banks started to collapse, could JP and Wells's survived that? No one truly knows, but probably not.

I agree with you on the part of the protests. Most of these people are uninformed to say the least. Personally I don't even care why they are protesting, if they should end banks, or they want more hand outs. The scary part is that I believe this might be the tip of the iceberg and that there are these many protesters on Wall St. Yes, they are hippies, hipsters, vagabonds, etc. in need of showers. But, this is NOT just run of the mill protests. I just came back from Europe. The scene over there especially in the Olive Republic countries is vastly different from when I was there a few years ago. Graffiti in even nice parts of town, resentment against the situation, and a definite air of "troubles" in the air. Yes, I know you will say something about them being socialist and deserving, whatnot. I don't care if they are or aren't. I've always enjoyed my trips and vacation in European. It was still great, but definitely different. Socialism is not my point.

My point is, this feels eerily familiar. Yes, we can mock them or even pretend to they are just a minor nuance. But this has been going on since mid-September. This feels different. The initially protesters might be misinformed vagabonds, but this is actually sustaining and seems to be growing. I am actually very nervous about how this is developing.

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Hug It Out

10/2/11

I just read SophieinBK's post after posting mine. Thanks so much for the insight. Props

This my point. Instead of calling the protesters names or disparaging their lack of knowledge, let's actually have some TRUE dialogue. I think it is high ignorant of ANT and some of the posters under a similar vein, to underestimate and ridicule the protesters. Take it for what it is, a potential wake up call before this problem spirals out further. In my opinion, this might just be the forerunner for even more civil unrest.

There is a true underlying frustration I have never witnessed in America. I feel like things are becoming more and more destabilizing and divisive (my way or the highway). Everyone is calling the other side an idiot or insulting names like Teabaggers by those the left, dirty lazy hippie moochers by those on the right. This is some troubling times. I just hope we don't get the type of protests seen over on the other side of Atlantic pond.

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Hug It Out

10/2/11

SophienBK you have effectively and dramatically changed my perspective on the whole demonstration. I think one of the key problems this protest is facing is just the perception that the protesters have no common ground.

This is the most recent article I read about it: http://start.toshiba.com/news/read.php?rip_id=%3CD....

I think many people on wall street even share your views and it is detracting from your cause that voices like yours have been lost in the widespread noise.

10/2/11

Fuck you to all the socialist/communist motherfuckers on this forum. Go fuck yourself. All hail Anthony.

Go fuck yourself you hippie pigs. Take some in the ass.

10/2/11

I hope this jameshetfield isn't serious. If you are serious it is quite clear you would have been better suited to live in Nazi Germany than in a Democratic state.

Voices like this are necessary to form a balanced world of differences. And clearly unlike you, I enjoy a world where people have different views and insights so that I can get a better perspective on the universe at large and human interactions.

10/2/11

Well

Guess I'm moving to China

10/2/11

Lol, someone did a monkey shit drive-by on anyone giving props to Sophie. Sounds like that person has something to say. Where's the accompanying rebuttal?

10/2/11

Coming. Give me a few hours.

In reply to ThaVanBurenBoyz
10/2/11
ThaVanBurenBoyz:

Lol, someone did a monkey shit drive-by on anyone giving props to Sophie. Sounds like that person has something to say. Where's the accompanying rebuttal?

Ha, I saw that as well. There is no real intellectually-honest argument against what she said and what I've been saying for some time now.

10/2/11

Why are these protests going on? Are we running low on tear gas?

10/2/11

@EURCHF parity: That was a very informative post. I loved reading it. Great job.

This should be published in the NYT. I am going to spread this if you don't mind.

10/2/11

@EURCHF

Nice post. +1 SB for ya

10/2/11

Where in this person's post did she appear to be looking for a handout? All she is wondering is why the banks should be bailed out in this situation. If you like the boom and bust system so much then everyone should bust when the situation dictates.

I also completely despise the way you have to take every paragraph of her topic and form a huge argument off of it. Anyone can make their point appear more plausible when they have the opportunity to put more words behind their ideas, so congratulations on that.

Somehow it is fine that a bank can take taxpayer dollars and yet it is not within the taxpayer's rights to see what and how this bank is conducting its business? I am all for boom and bust, but when it busts the whole ship should go down; the captain should not attempt to stand on the heads of his crew and tell them they must keep him afloat if there is any hope of survival.

10/2/11
In reply to jktecon
10/2/11
jktecon:

Where in this person's post did she appear to be looking for a handout? All she is wondering is why the banks should be bailed out in this situation. If you like the boom and bust system so much then everyone should bust when the situation dictates.

I also completely despise the way you have to take every paragraph of her topic and form a huge argument off of it. Anyone can make their point appear more plausible when they have the opportunity to put more words behind their ideas, so congratulations on that.

Somehow it is fine that a bank can take taxpayer dollars and yet it is not within the taxpayer's rights to see what and how this bank is conducting its business? I am all for boom and bust, but when it busts the whole ship should go down; the captain should not attempt to stand on the heads of his crew and tell them they must keep him afloat if there is any hope of survival.

This. Euro's post was filled with strawmen.

10/2/11

I guess you do not have the confidence in yourself to find a means of survival without the bank trading floor holding you up.

10/2/11

Out come the roaches :P

Pray do point them out...

In reply to jktecon
10/2/11
jktecon:

I guess you do not have the confidence in yourself to find a means of survival without the bank trading floor holding you up.

Actually, I never worked on the sell side. Graduated at the wrong time for this. Always had to sell my ability and always was (and am) a sliver of error away from being on the dole. But you could have read that above. Nah, ad hominems have always been the favoured way of the lefties struggling for rational arguments past "you should feel guilty for being more fortunate". Even 2,000 years ago.

I'm just pointing out that you obviously were not there to see the world breaking apart. It was fascinatingly scary. There really was a possibility that large retail banks would sink and millions would be penniless overnight - and unable to make payments (should the Fed also cut its USD funding to the ECB, you'll get a repeat, don't worry). It's easy to point fingers in retrospect. It's easy to say "shoulda woulda". I prefer being in socialist America than Argentina, especially if this bought enough time for a libertarian guy to come and clean the stables.

10/2/11

Btw, a word of advice for life - never assume things about your interlocutor. It can make people very strongly dislike you, or worse, dismiss you entirely. The biggest surprise I got was discovering the girl I thought was a boring if hot corporate secretary also ran 2 businesses (each employing ~20) and a charity on the side, and had travelled to over 100 countries.

10/2/11

Socialism is not the idea of funding big business that has made itself a necessary evil by deregulation and commingling of services. What is being practiced here is oligarchy at best. How does the person who provided the funds have no say in how said funds are distributed?

And in what way would you call yourself "fortunate", the protest is not even aimed at you.

The truly sad thing about you and your argument is that you somehow feel you are the Big Bank. As if you somehow have a vested interest in Goldman Sachs or Bank of America.

When the situation dictates and men perpetually stand silent, you will find that at the end of the day it really is all about profits. You are an overpaid liability in a service industry and without regulation you should logically find yourself cut out.

10/2/11

I have a vested interest in JPM, MS, etc. not going bankrupt as it would set back the US so many years that I wouldn't be able to emigrate there and have a productive and happy life for another 2 decades. Since the US is the engine of the world and the only country that still cares about individual rights, I care about where it is going.

Socialism IS corporatism. Check out the good ol' literature by Mr "creative destruction" Schumpeter. Socialism progresses via regulation through industry integration, closer interaction between large industry and eventual absorption of large companies into the State, preceding complete communism. The real life example was Sweden who got very close to nationalisation but stepped back when the Iron Curtain fell and people realised what communism ACTUALLY meant for your average citizen.

Guess they don't teach you that stuff in econ though.

10/2/11

By the way, based on what you are saying I really think you should consider moving to France or Germany. You might be a lot happier there ;)

10/2/11