The Cannibalism Of The One Percent

The Article: The View From The 1 Percent by Tom Ehrich in the Washington Post.

The Text: Now that the financial industry and major corporations have successfully lobbied Congress to make more people poor and to keep them that way, they are discovering the downside of unbridled greed: people are too broke to buy their products.

Heavy discounts were necessary to stimulate sales on Black Friday — a stimulus that lost steam as the big shopping weekend proceeded. Now further discounts will be required. That bodes ill for retailers, as well as for their suppliers.

It’s one thing to own Congress, but it’s something else when consumers refuse to buy. They’re staying home, maybe shopping online; they’re not investing, not saving, not selling their houses, not feeling confident about their own jobs.

In a freer free-market economy, competitors would emerge to resolve these problems. But corporate giants do everything possible to stifle competition. Consider Verizon’s bid to buy $3.6 billion of unused wireless spectrum to prevent anyone else from having it.

Thus we see the demise of modern capitalism, brought down not by socialists or fringe elements, but by the capitalists themselves.

Their self-defeating behavior — like that of any addict — has led them into the delusional belief that they can have it all. They can kill prosperity, stifle competition, rig capital creation into an insider game, undermine countervailing forces — and yet somehow the great market will continue to shower wealth on them.

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It Is Cold Enough

Anthem by Emancipator off of Soon It Will Be Cold Enough.

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The Truth About Congressional Approval Ratings

Truth About Congressional Approval Ratings

What happens when you have a 9% approval rating? In Congress, it gets you re-elected.

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Why The SEC Hasn’t Moved Against Financial Institutions

The Article: In defense of the SEC– no, really by Finance Addict.

The Text: “’We do not admit the allegations,’ Karp said, to laughter in the standing-room-only courtroom. ‘But if it’s any consolation, we don’t deny them.’”

Some consolation. This statement was made last week by a lawyer that Citigroup hired to defend itself against SEC allegations of fraud. The SEC maintains that Citi stuffed a CDO with mortgages that it knew would go bad, sold the CDO to investors without revealing the extent of its role and then set up a $500 million trade for itself that would pay off once the expected losses occurred. The CDO investors eventually lost $700 million. But rather than taking Citi to trial, the SEC would prefer to settle the case for $285 million and assurances that Citi won’t do it again.

The SEC is being forced by New York federal judge Jed Rakoff to defend this approach. While judges typically rubberstamp these settlements, Rakoff has a reputation for putting the SEC on the hot seat. His pointed questions highlight the abysmal job that the SEC has done in holding serial offenders to account. Why doesn’t the SEC ever go to trial to get to the bottom of its claims? How can justice be done if the offenders never admit wrongdoing? According to BusinessWeek:

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Just Give Me Some Human Insight

Remember When by Sander Kleinenberg (Tapesh remix).

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