the 99%

I, like most of America, have been watching with interest the saga unfolding across the Nation as first Wall Street, then other major cities around America have found themselves ‘occupied’ by the ‘99%’

Personally, I believe this should have happened when Bush bailed out the big banks.   After all, we count on them to be good stewards of OUR money.  But somewhere along the way, they started thinking of it as THEIR money.   Drunk with greed and power, and knowing they had powerful allies on Capitol Hill, they blithely squandered OUR money, on mortgages they KNEW were guaranteed to fail, because they also KNEW they’d end up with 1) all the money paid for the property up to that point, 2) huge sums in penalties and fees, and 3) the property itself, which could then be offered to another buyer at (again) exorbitant rates to begin the process all over again.   Or put another way:

Unscrupulous lenders in America had lent billions to people with dubious credit records. The mortgages were typically offered at attractive knockdown rates for the first few years, after which the monthly payments rocketed. Tens of thousands of people were [then] unable to repay their mortgages and faced losing their homes …The subprime mortgages were in effect sold on by the lenders to investment banks that “repackaged” them into complicated financial products. The poor subprime mortgages were split up and merged with other kinds of debt and then repeatedly sold on. A wide array of other financial products was then devised by some of the world’s best mathematical brains to profit on slight movements in the price of the bonds and other investment schemes devised by the investment banks. The whole system–driven forward by investment bankers competing with their former colleagues who had joined hedge funds–resulted in an arms race to devise the most sophisticated schemes and ways of cutting up the different kinds of debt …[with the result that as the mortgages now fail] no one knows who owns the bad debts, trust is destroyed, and even top bankers have to admit that they have no idea exactly how the system works or what they have invested in. (Robert Winnett and John Arlidge in the March 15 London Daily Telegraph) as noted HERE

What they didnt foresee was the domino effect this ghastly scheme would have on the economy as a whole.  Particularly when corporations are downsizing or outsourcing–thanks to the lovely tax breaks and other business-friendly policies courtesy of the Bush Administration as seen HERE:

The Wall Street Journal reports today that Corporate America certainly isn’t doing its part to help bring America out of its economic malaise. The paper surveyed employment data by some of the nation’s largest corporations — General Electric, Caterpillar, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Chevron, Cisco, Intel, Stanley Works, Merck, United Technologies, and Oracle — and found that they cut their workforces by 2.9 million people over the last decade while hiring 2.4 million people overseas.

The paper notes that this is actually a sharp reversal from trends in the late 1990s [the CLINTON years], when these major companies were creating more jobs in the United States than overseas. Yet by 2001 [the beginning of the BUSH years], things took a turn for the worse, and these corporations have been adding more jobs abroad than at home, as is illustrated here:


Many folks blame Democrats for the social net programs or accuse them of anti-free-market policies, but in fact the blame can be laid at the feet of conservative policy-making:

During the 2002 “A HOME OF YOUR OWN” conference, former President Bush declared “high down payments are a big barrier to first time home-owners,” and “home ownership should be a right, not a privilege” and urged Congress to use taxpayer money to interfere in the marketplace by lowering down payment requirements for first-time homebuyers.  LINK

Many characterize Obama’s stimulus program as worse, but working in Social Services as I do, I know firsthand that the stimulus program did help families with extensions to Unemployment and subsidized jobs.  And, this site confirms my statement:

Poverty and Financial Distress Would Have Been Substantially Worse in 2010 Without Government Action, New Census Data Show

November 7, 2011

Six temporary federal initiatives enacted in 2009 and 2010 to bolster the economy by lifting consumers’ incomes and purchases kept nearly 7 million Americans out of poverty in 2010, under an alternative measure of poverty that takes into account the impact of government benefit programs and taxes.  These initiatives — three new or expanded tax credits, two enhancements of unemployment insurance, and an expansion of benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps) — were part of the 2009 Recovery Act.  Congress subsequently extended or expanded some of them.

To gauge the impacts of these initiatives on poverty, analysts cannot use the official poverty measure because it counts only cash income and does not take refundable tax credits, SNAP benefits, and other non-cash assistance into account.  Therefore, we use a poverty measure that adopts recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), and that most experts prefer to the traditional poverty measure.  Using the NAS measure to analyze newly released Census data for 2010, we find that the six Recovery Act initiatives kept 6.9 million people above the poverty line in 2010:

  • Expansions in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) kept 1.6 million people out of poverty.
  • The Making Work Pay tax credit, which expired at the end of 2010, kept another 1.5 million people out of poverty.
  • Expansions in the duration and level of unemployment insurance benefits kept 3.4 million people out of poverty.
  • Expansions in SNAP benefits kept 1.0 million people out of poverty. [1]

These effects are separate from the poverty reduction that resulted from the effects of these and other measures in preventing a deeper economic downturn with a greater loss of jobs. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the 2009 Recovery Act preserved or created between 1.0 and 2.9 million jobs through June 2011.

In addition to these six provisions enacted in 2009 and 2010, existing policies to promote family income kept millions of additional Americans out of poverty in 2010. Under the same NAS poverty measure, the SNAP and unemployment insurance benefits provided under ongoing law (before taking account of the effect of the program expansions examined here) kept more than 3 million and 1 million people out of poverty in 2010, respectively. If the government safety net as a whole (existing policies, as well as the temporary Recovery Act policies) had not existed in 2010, the poverty rate would have been 28.6 percent, nearly twice the actual 15.5 percent.

So, while Obama’s programs did add to the overall debt, at least they were designed to help the man on the street and NOT the big banks.  I cant fault him for that.   Neither should you.  If you would know the REAL architects of our current crisis, look no further than  the Party that bills itself as the ‘fiscally conservative’ party, the Party that claims to stand for “American Values” but continues to lead the way in moral and fiscal scandals, the Party that year in and year out defends and protects the richest among us, whilst begrudging the poorest among us the most meager existence.  The Party that gleefully cuts social net programs for the poor, elderly, Veterans, Students, and Children, but just as gleefully grants itself and its cronies lovely pensions, bonuses, and other perks–in other words, the 1%.

Im extremely GRATIFIED that those hardy souls in all those cities are willing to represent the plight of the 99%.  I wish I could afford to stand with them in person, but I am certainly standing shoulder to shoulder with them in SPIRIT.

~ by irishgrl on November 8, 2011.

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