Monday, November 21, 2011

Yggy Pop

From my last post:
I was planning to post about Matty Yglesias, using a column Thers referenced and one other. Only just now did I notice that the 'other one' was written by Ezra Klein instead. Go figure!

In my defense, Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein wrote essentially the same post within a half hour of each other. Knowing that Yggy was moving to the Washington Post corporation (albeit Slate), I searched WaPo for the topic. Eventually I noticed the authors were different people, thanks to Pinko's entry in the latest Three Bulls! Header Contest. They don't look the same. In any case the WaPo now owns 100% of the hive mind.

From Ezra:
The question is what, if anything, comes next for Occupy Wall Street. The movement has already scored some big wins. As this graph by Dylan Byers showed, they have changed the national conversation. Income inequality is now a top-tier issue. Before Occupy Wall Street, it wasn’t.

Shorter: "OMG, Bloomberg could have ignored OWS, and then we could have done the same!"

Income inequality has been increasing for some time. It isn't some cat that is alive or dead depending on whether or not the likes of Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias, or anyone else in the press is forced by OWS to write about it.

Having said that, I don't think 'income inequality' comes close to describing the issues that have created OWS. All that says is some people get a lot less, others get a lot more. This is true, but it leaves the door open for the counterclaim that the OWS is "just jealous of the job creators." (More discussion of the semantics in this thread.)

For 30 years, people who make money with their money have had the government tilt the table in their favor. Everyone else has gotten the short end of the stick. This has happened through tax policy, deregulation and approval of merger after merger, trade policy, and through chipping away at the the social safety net. And of course, our government comes to the rescue of the Randroid Masters of the Universe when the bets they've made with their too-big-to-fail banks turn out the the wrong way.

And it's also been accompanied by judicial inequality. One law for the plutocrats, and another for everyone else.
DOJ has obtained ten convictions of senior insiders of mortgage lenders (all from one obscure mortgage bank) v. over 1000 felony convictions in the S&L debacle. DOJ has not conducted an investigation worthy of the name of any of the largest accounting control frauds. DOJ is actively opposing investigating the systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs).

The elections of 2006 and 2008 did not change this in any way. Banks still own the place, and both parties curry their favor.

But we have plenty of law enforcement focused on peaceful members of OWS attempting to exercise their rights to free speech.

I see plenty of skepticism around the innertoobz as to what OWS will eventually accomplish. I have a lot more faith in OWS than I have in Obama and the Democrats.

UPDATE: At Naked Capitalism, Andrew Haldane, Executive Director, Financial Stability, Bank of England and Vasileios Madouros, Economist in the Financial Stability directorate of the Bank of England:
In fact, high pre-crisis returns to banking had a much more mundane explanation. They reflected simply increased risk-taking across the sector. This was not an outward shift in the portfolio possibility set of finance. Instead, it was a traverse up the high-wire of risk and return. This hire-wire act involved, on the asset side, rapid credit expansion, often through the development of poorly understood financial instruments. On the liability side, this ballooning balance sheet was financed using risky leverage, often at short maturities.
There is a second, equally important, reason why the measured value-added of the financial sector in the national accounts may be seriously over-stated. We now know that the risk being taken by banks was not in fact borne by them, fully or potentially even partially. Instead it has been borne by society.

That is why GDP today lies below its pre-crisis level. And it is why government balance sheets, relative to GDP, are set to double as a result of the crisis in many countries.
Elsewhere, we have sought to estimate those implicit subsidies to banking arising from its too big-to-fail status. For the largest 25 or so global banks, the average annual subsidy between 2007-2010 was hundreds of billions of dollars; on some estimates it was over $1 trillion (Haldane 2011). This compares with average annual profitability of the largest global banks of about $170 billion per annum in the five years ahead of the crisis.

(Cross-posted at Whiskey Fire. Mouse over pics for captions, and click them for larger versions.)


Pinko Punko said...

I see that face and I want to hug it with the cutest plastic bag.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I'd thought that was feesh's header at first, P.P. I almost tempted to vote for it as the wiener.

J— said...

Pepper Spray Cop knows if you've been bad or good, and he'll spray you regardless.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Ha ha ha!

I think he's passed the donut shop more than a few times, J—.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Good to see you've gotten over the rage hump on at least one of the posts, thudner.

This was a goodie.

Randal Graves said...

I think it's beyond mere bankery and haves/have-nots, though that's the backbreaking straw, but the very spine of consumption nation (planet, really), and I don't mean in some hippie drum circle way (power chords, you fuckers). And since trying to cram something so existential into bullet points for the so-called s-m-r-t people is nigh impossible, here we are.

Communism doesn't work, and maybe the kids are getting hep to the fact that capitalism isn't, either. Not that any system ever will, but baby steps.

vacuumslayer said...

No, OWS is pretty important. They got the dominant narrative to go from "zomg, we must tighten the purse strings/national debt/fiscal house in order/argle bargle *pants shit* *red face scream" to "hey, did you noticed the 3rd world-level income inequality?" Which while it may not the most important thing in the world is something everybody can point to and understand and rally around when trying to articulate why OWS needs to thrive.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Post updated.

Naked Capitalism has an excellent post today illustrating how much we all have given to the banksters so they can be Masters of the Universe.

Námo Mandos said...

My poost, let me show you it.

Jennifer said...

There was a header contest??? Pinko has a blog??

Wait, I think I won!

J— said...

You know, I thought this comment was rather dumb and perhaps along similar lines. It's not that hard to see and make the connections.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

In most cases it didn’t seem to be the fault of the OWS protesters. It was peaceful or mainly peaceful protests getting met by excessive police responses. But still, at the level of imagery and message, the end result can be the same.

- Josh Marshall, editor and publisher of

"So what if it's police violence against OWS. Suck on this, non-obamabots!"

You'd almost think Josh was one of them ygnorant liberals who supported the war on Iraq.

blue girl said...

"I have a lot more faith in OWS than I have in Obama and the Democrats."

Me too, thunder.

OWS has highlighted that the whole entire system stinks, is rigged. From the government to the financial institutions to the churches to the universities to the cops hired to *protect our rights.*

It's a SYSTEM that we're all caught up in--including Obama and the Democrats. Granted, they're slightly better than the crazies on the right but they're still part of this awful, immoral system. The Democrats will will just be slower than turning us into a third world country.

And Thank God for these kids (and old ladies willing to be pepper sprayed) who are making us all open our eyes to it. And that it has become part of the "national conversation" in some sort of meaningful way.

People who blindly support the Democrats these days needs to wake up.

GO OWS is all I can say.

blue girl said...

Excuse all the typos. They are Pinko's fault.

blue girl said...

My boyfriend has an excellent article that explains what we've let happen over the years and what we are fighting now.

Truly explains the enormity of it all. Makes me feel like if I hear one more person say that OWS needs to "Re-Brand" themselves or "Offer Solutions," I"m gonna Pepper Scream.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

They are Pinko's fault.

Certainly Pinko deserves blame, but don't let fish off the hook.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

From BeeGee's link:

Way to gear up with combat helmets and the submachine guns, fellas, to take on a bunch of co-eds sitting Indian-style on a campus quad.

Maybe after work you can go break up a game of duck-duck-goose at the local Chuck E Cheese. I’d bring the APC for that one.


blue girl said...

Love that. Also:

All that tricked-up military gear, with that corny, faux-menacing, over-the-top Spaceballs stormtrooper look that police everywhere seem to favor more and more – all of this is symbolic of the increasingly total lack of ideas behind all that force.

The only thing I'd quibble with with "faux-menacing." It looks pretty scary to me! One of those Spaceballs stormtroopers was in that shot at Dennis Perrin's place. I wouldn't want to mess with them. They are too confused about what they are supposed to be doing.

blue girl said...

And you are right about fish. I totally forgot about how bad he is with my typos.

blue girl said...

Also: "off the hook."

Ha-ha! My kind of humor.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Dusty and I talked a bit about the militarization fetish the Coppers have developed in recent years.

Also, the DHS has tons of money they send to the local cops for anti-terror training and scary toys like riot gear and tanks.

Jim H. said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, here and elsewhere, Occupy K Street. It's the corruption, stupids. And that's the choke point.

Terrific post.