Wednesday, October 7, 2009

why balk at dressed crab ?

A third rate actor poses on the White House lawn on January 20th, 1981. The grocer's daughter seeks a second marriage.

Fittingly, Ronald Reagan was born in an apartment above a local bank in a red brick building in Tampico, Illinois. The nest he was spat into, then, was literally built on nickels, dimes and dollar bills.

As the 1970's collapsed under the weight of industrial action, the philanthropic lawyer from "Hell's Kitchen" paired up with the grocer's daughter from Grantham and distanced himself forever from those Dead End Kids. Hand in hand they prowled the international stage, dispensing theatrical one liners with the honed delivery of snake oil salesmen. Pyramid sellers. The applause, of course, was deafening. A veritable standing ovation. Emboldened, they schemed.

Thatcher curried domestic favour by repackaging publicly owned assets and selling them back at a premium. Agitated by costly advertising campaigns - paid for out the public purse, of course - a nation bickered and scratched itself bloody just to grab its rightful share.

"But you already own a piece of the pie!" bemused observers offered.

"Well. Now I own it twice!" the stampede cried.

Public housing; the railways; telecommunications. Name it. No corner was immune. Painted clowns juggling stock; blue chip investments for dummies.

This is what I remember, chiefly. Mind you. I was mostly otherwise preoccupied.

Together, the odd couple cooked up and served a new world economic model which continues to limp on - bandaged and freshly sutured - terminally
beyond rehabilitation; haemorrhaging good money after bad.

Mrs. T was delighted. Ronald McDonald got the bone.

The dish they contrived, a nouvelle cuisine concoction of little substance, reaped dividends only for the most acutely self-serving. A recipe for disaster.

As was reported earlier this month in the international press, upwards of 10,000 still on the payroll of the bankrupt investment bank, Lehman Brothers, stand to profit from a bonus pool valued at approximately $2.5 billion. Barclays Bank, the British financial institution which stepped in to salvage the mess, confirmed the rumour.

Before Reagan came to power, Super Tax on the wealthiest of US citizens - those earning in excess of $1 million per annum - stood, as it had without significant cause for repeal since the 1950's and 60's, between 85 - 90%; coinciding with unprecedented rates of fiscal growth. Today, as the world totters on the brink of a sucking economic black hole, that rate currently stands at less than 35%.

A rudimentary pattern begins to emerge.

Eat the rich.

At the very least, fire up the pot and send out some seasoned invitations.

illustration by ib.


Happy Hour...Somewhere said...

You are blaming Reagan for the current fiasco because he cut taxes? I'm sure Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Reid will be happy to join in your chorus line. There is plenty of crap to be thrown at both parties...both Bushes grew the size of government with entitlement programs.

ib said...

Kind of looks that way, doesn't it ?

I am inclined to blame any publicly elected body incapable of bringing to account those rogue elements demonstrably profiting from fundamentally unsound - and antisocial - business practices.

If I had my way I would tax those fuckers 100% and send them packing with nothing but the coats on their backs. Less than 35% ? You're having a larf, ain'cha ?

Surely there is sufficient space to house them down Guantánamo way ?

Tsk. And you, a Virgo to boot ?

Happy Hour...Somewhere said...

I would happily see John Thain down on his throne in Guantanamo. And Ken Lewis and...I have no love of the masters of the universe who managed to destroy an economy. My point was that CONgress has plenty of blame for this fiasco. On both sides of the house, although I have a particular dislike for the antics of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. To me, more so than any of the presidents, CONgress is to blame. If they could join the band of thieves in prison, that would make me happy. Cheers~!

Not sure this went to your e-mail...sorry if you get it twice.

ib said...

Oh, I definitely agree. The odds are stacked, and the house is the only winner. Congress is a game of - and designed for - craps. A bit like Vegas, without the tawdry glamour.

It is the same rule here in benighted Blighty.

And. You can safely wager I have resigned myself to never earning anything close to the Super Tax income bracket. That is a given.



Ye wonderful olde Voodoo Economics... proposed by President Ronald Regan that large cuts in tax rates would so stimulate the economy that the tax revenue on the increases in business & personal income would offset the anticipated tax revenue losses, so that such tax cuts would not increase the federal budget deficit. Its believers do not consider the actual massive deficit increases subsequent to the 1982-83 tax cut as being caused by the tax cut itself, but by other governmental policies. This hypothesis was graphically illustrated by the Laffer curve. But who's laffin' now?
(Jane Wyman had enough sense to dump RR's ass when the twenty mule team gravy train was still flush. Nancy was another shade of evil)

ib said...

Ah! The Laffer Curve: otherwise known as how to sew a silk purse out of a pig's ear, or, the emperor's new clothes.

Actually, I had to look that one up, so thanks for the tip there, NØ. Less is more, and now we know different.

Cut your cloth, by all means, but be careful with that axe, Eugene.

Thatcher advocated investment (to the last) in free market, unregulated enterprise regardless of risk: banks, pensions, hedge funds, personal savings. The practice of "laissez-faire" at any cost.

My grasp of economics might be arguably quite shaky, but such practice I see simply as a dereliction of public office.

It all works swimmingly until one tries to cash in that investment. At which point the whole fucking house collapses just like a deck of cards.

What have we learned ? Only the bankers have profited by that swinging income tax cut. They have taken all your money and chartered a private jet to Vegas and pissed it away on the slots. And still the stupid bastards can't quite grasp why they haven't earned their bonus.

I say pistol whip the sons of bitches. String 'em up from the nearest lamppost.

Bury them in a landfill out on Falcon Crest.

Your driver said...

I forgot to pay a bill three days ago. Total payment due to Barclay's bank was $20.79, plus a $29.00 late fee and a $15.00 phone service fee. When I got through the various robot menus I found myself speaking to a woman who spoke with what seemed to be a severe speech defect. I assume this was to cover her accent, make her sound more American.

She started to chide me for my failure to replay Barclay's Bank in a timely fashion when I interrupted her to ask, "How much are they paying you to call me up about a two day late twenty dollar payment?"

She persevered, bless her heart, when I interrupted again, "It can't be much. There isn't much money involved in the transaction. Do you get paid a percentage of what you collect from people like me?"

She resumed reading her speech in weird, halting American English. Finally I interrupted her again, "How about you take away the late fee and the phone fee and I pay fifty dollars on the account?"

She sounded as though she was going to burst into a traditional Gujarati hymn of thanksgiving. I'm wondering what percentage of the fifty bucks she was able to keep. I doubt it was one whole dollar.

Reagan and Thatcher were the popular figureheads of a recent manifestation of this enterprise but it has been going on for a long time. The truth is that the rulers are hip deep in blood dividing up the world. King Leopold of Belgium killed more Africans than Hitler killed Jews. This happened in the twentieth century. Belgium a flat little nationlet known for it's chocolate, beer and fried potatoes.

How many people are they going to kill today? Will the Republocrats save us? Must we look to the Demopulicans? Let us cease our striving. No more groveling at the feet of the plutocrats. Let's enjoy a love feast together. Let's eat the fucking rich.

ib said...


Those foreign call centres employed on behalf of the big corporations are not merely engaged as a cost effective source of labour. Their subservience to the script - without deviation - makes it impossible to lodge a coherent complaint. Any challenge is immediately countered with the failure to recognise it as such.

It is close to genius. Doublespeak. The consideration given to fending off one's customers while maintaining the illusion of service.

Let's eat the rich. Let us begin by tearing those fucking bankers limb from limb.

ib said...

Or how about Donald Trump ? It might not look too appealing, but regard it as a civic duty.


I'm with you guys...fuck the money-lenders, as JC said, but being a narco-anarchist, I'm a vegetarian & a pacifist. I won't kill'em or eat'em, but I'll bar-b-que'em up really good. I make a great fiery habanero jerk sauce.

ib said...

That habanero jerk sauce might come in handy. I have never tried any, alas, but I am partial to jalapeños.

Trump looks like he might leave a bad taste in one's mouth. Ethics aside.

If the rest of us are going to eat the bastards we are going to require a whole lot of fiery sauce just to make it acceptable.

Your driver said...

Let me know when the barbecue is happening. I'd love to come over and help out. I could carry the food to the table. I long to serve the rich.