Archive for October 22nd, 2010

by lizard

Well, foreclosures will be picking up again. Is anyone surprised? But don’t worry, BoA checked out their records, and everything is legit, so they’ll be booting 100,000 households to the streets. Hopefully none of these newly homeless folks will come to Missoula, where some in our community would prefer exterminating them like rodents and putting them in mass graves.

Dave Lindorff at Counterpunch gives me a little hope that maybe some baby boomers will be pissed off enough to start acting like frenchmen, or greeks.

Two issues are rushing to the fore that could have most Americans grabbing pitchforks, guns, shovels, bats, mop handles, and whatever else they have handy that could be useful in the streets.

The first is Social Security, and the angry mob is going to be the Baby Boom Generation whose members, myself included, have paid 13-15 percent of income into the Trust Fund now for over 40 years, expecting that at 66, we could retire and collect our pensions. Now the greedheads on Wall Street and their toadies in Washington are trying to say that we shouldn’t be able to count on that money. They want to make us wait until we’re 68, 69 or 70, and they don’t want to give us cost-of-living adjustments. They say that the money’s going to run out before we die (unless we oblige them and starve), even though the reason for that is that they’ve been stealing all that money and giving us Treasury Bills in return, which they now plan on refusing to honor, saying it would mean raising taxes on our kids. (Actually those T-Bills could be retired by taxing the rich, and leaving our kids alone.)

Anyhow, when we hit 66, let me tell you: if our money isn’t there, or if we get to 76 and they try to take it away (and right now I’m supposed to be able to count on collecting $22,000 a year when I retire), we’ll be ready to take out Washington and Wall Stree. And we could do it, too. Some in my generation, remember, spent a few years in Vietnam, and they got the skills. Me, I’d be willing to take lessons.

But that’s only part of it.

The other is the housing fiasco, and that’s an even bigger cause for rebellion.

See, that was our other bastion for retirement. All these years, Americans have been fed this comforting myth that our homes are our castles, and that the best investment we could make in life was to invest in the “American Dream” of home ownership. Then Wall Street, having already stripped the industrial base down to the concrete pads, looked around and saw this huge pile of real estate ripe for the taking. They couldn’t just steal our property outright, though. After all, we all had these deeds on file with the local county Deeds Office.

But we all had mortgages. And they figured out a way to steal these. They created derivatives, called Mortgage Backed Securities. They took our mortgages and they chopped them up into little pieces, which they then bundled into tranches and started trading like bonds. These tranches were designed to have varying risk levels, which they accomplished by putting “good” mortgages–those that were expected to be repaid regularly–with “bad” mortgages–those likely to default. But since it’s really a guess whether any particular mortgage, good or bad, is going to default, they didn’t really put individual mortgages into individual tranches. They put them all into an electronic data base called MERS, for Mortgage Electronic Registration (sic) System, and then shifted them, or pieces of them, around as needed when they wanted to create a good tranche or a bad tranche or a mediocre tranche.

This is where our national, bipartisan rage should be focused because these are the issues that will decide how impoverished the general population will become during the next ten years.

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