On Wall Street:
The Wall Street titans have turned into a bunch of welfare clients. They are desperate to be bailed out by government from their own incompetence, and from the deregulatory regime for which they lobbied so hard. They have lost “confidence” in each other, you see, because none of these oh-so-wise captains of the universe have any idea what kinds of devalued securities sit in one another’s portfolios.
So they have stopped investing. The biggest, most respected investment firms threaten to come crashing down. You can’t have that. It’s just fine to make it harder for the average Joe to file for bankruptcy, as did that wretched bankruptcy bill passed by Congress in 2005 at the request of the credit card industry. But the big guys are “too big to fail,” because they could bring us all down with them.
Enter the federal government, the institution to which the wealthy are not supposed to pay capital gains or inheritance taxes. Good God, you don’t expect these people to trade in their BMWs for Saturns, do you?
In a deal that the New York Times described as “shocking,” J.P. Morgan Chase agreed over the weekend to pay $2 a share to buy all of Bear Stearns, one of the brand names of finance capitalism. The Federal Reserve approved a $30 billion — that’s with a “b” — line of credit to make the deal work.
Thirty billion. You have to wonder why there have been no counter-top investigations. When Graeme Frost made the profound mistake of telling America that he had benefitted from a government program in the debate over the SCHIP expansion which would cost the taxpayers a similar amount, he got the full-on Beauchamp. Personally, I need to know what the countertops look like at some Bear Stearns households.