Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bailout or Baal Out?

Some of you wonder why I would deviate from my normal LDS religious discussions to deal with something so secular as the 700 billion bailout. Basically, it's because LDS religion and Christianity in general need political freedom to survive. They are highly vulnerable when states move toward socialism and its ultimate fruit, totalitarian government. The so-called bailout is express-track socialism, very similar to the failed National Socialism that Germany tried, with an increasingly powerful government working with big business. It's redistribution of massive amounts of wealth - mostly your wealth to the few big boys on Wall Street who are "too important to fail" or rather, too important to face the consequences of their mismanagement and fraud. But it's not just money they are asking for, it's massive power. Power into the hands of the people that created the mess so they can now "regulate" financial markets and ensure confidence. So we let them get away with this, open the flood gates for a power grab and wealth grab unprecedented in history, and we'll be creating a pathway for floods of new debt and corruption to erode the foundations of our economy and liberty.

When we are all poor and utterly dependent on Big Brother for our weekly rations in a Marxist dream state, the power to control our property will also become the power to control our thinking and how we raise our kids. We can't trust these guys with our money - how can we trust them with the minds of our children?

In the end, the sacrifice of personal liberty on the altar of Wall Street greed is less about bail than it is about Baal.

Ultimate power: I say we keep it in the hands of the people, not Wall Street. If you agree, call your officials in Washington today and tell them to reject the bailout. To reach the House or Senate, call 202 225-3121. Your voice matters.

On the other hand, if you think a few wealthy dudes on Wall Street can be trusted with a $700 billion credit card, allowing them to give money to China or almost anyone else with almost no oversight, then go ahead and call, too. Just be sure to use this special phone number for supporters of the bailout: 202 225-312. It may take a while to get through, so be patient. Very patient.

10 comments:

Joel said...

You can't have it both ways. Either you think CEOs of failing company should get whatever money they can OR you should approve of regulation allow the bailout plan to go through.

Our economy is built on credit. I think you're missing that regardless of accountability, everyone will suffer the consequences on this mess. The bailout softens the blow while keeping our economy, and, by extension, our country afloat.

Sam B. said...

Jeff,
I think that the legislation that failed yesterday was horribly written. That said, though, something needs to be done. You want to get even with Wall Street (a convenient, albeit not-entirely-accurate villain) but, frankly, if credit seizes up, most companies won't be able to make their payroll. This is far from creeping socialism; this is at best a stopgap measure to release the credit markets.

You're mad because CEOs are walking away with amazing golden parachutes. Do you own stock? Did you vote against their pay packages? (Not that it matters--an indidual shareholder's voice is usually pretty irrelevant unless that individual is Buffett or Icahn.)

Did you vote for somebody who would impose tighter regulatory rules on CDSs or MBSs or financial institutions?

Did you prevent somebody from taking out a liar's loan?

There's plenty of blame to go around for the current mess, and there's probably a solution somewhere. But cries of "creeping socialism!" or "gold standard!" (not yours, I realize, but your commenters') shows little understanding of the system and doesn't much help move toward a better solution than the one that just died.

Thaddeus said...

My brother-in-law pointed out a stunning parallel between the plans presented to fix this crisis and another two plans that were fought over long ago.

On the one hand, you have Paulson requesting an exorbitant sum so that he can "save everyone," especially his own interest in Goldman Sachs. Oh, and your poor management choices won't matter. Throw accountability out the window.

On the other hand, you have a bill for the government to buy up the bad mortgages, stabilize the economy, and sell them back slowly over the course of several years. This plan may be bad for the bank heads, but the government actually stands to gain.

Sam B. said...

Thaddeus,
Those are iterations of the same bill. The difference is that, initially, Paulson didn't want oversight as to what assets he bought. But that, in a three-page nutshell, was his initial plan.

And, FWIW, whatever happens, Goldman's very unlikely to go down.

The whole mess is big and confusing, but if you're going to strain religious metaphors to describe it, it's probably worth understanding the basics of what's going on first. Good summaries to be had at the NYTimes, the W$J, Conde Nast Portfolio, NPR's Marketplace and Planet Money, and a series of really good posts over at BCC.

jayleenb said...

I've been calling the congresspeople who voted NO and expressing my sincere thanks and asking them to stand firm.

Life has risks and consequences, and it's about time people learn that. Maybe a time of less will help their moral characters.

jayleenb said...

PS - The phone number for those FOR the bailout is funny!

Mormanity said...

I agree that this is not "creeping socialism" - it's full-throttle socialism. How can massive redistribution of wealth through the force of government and the nationalization of corporations be called anything but socialism? We've been doing the creeping phase for years. Now it's a sprint.

Sam B. said...

Jeff,
I don't see any redistribution of wealth here. Presumable, in historic Bush fashion, the government will fund the bailout with debt. Even if it raises taxes (as it should), it's unclear to me that any wealth is being redistributed. The government is presumable buying securities (and, under some proposals, equity stakes in struggling companies). That may be a horrible investment, or it may pay off in spades. We get the pay-off-in-spades at this point if we avert crisis (which affects Main Streeters as much as it does Wall Streeters).

But let's say this is a bad idea: what's a better one? Ignore it? Let the chips fall where they will? I'm not buying it, but convince me.

And what do you mean by "socialism?" Redistribution of wealth? That's the capitalist way; the west was funded by the redistribution of wealth. People are in their homes because of the redistribution of wealth. We don't have abject poverty because of the redistribution of wealth. In spite of the shouts of libertarians, this country has always redistributed wealth to a greater or lesser degree. Cries of "socialism" aren't super-scary anymore, especially when they're empty of any content.

Alex Valencic said...

While I was driving to the library today, I had a minor epiphany.

The people who are in control of all the companies on Wall St. wanted a free market without interference from the government. In the early '90s, President Clinton signed the law that rolled back the regulations that had been around since the early '30s. And the companies were happy.

Until they realised that they had over-drawn their accounts and were in trouble. Suddenly, they are turning to the government and saying, "Hey, we know we said we wanted no interference, but how about a little bit now?"

It is the classic case of wanting one's cake and eating it, too.

Personally, I'd rather let the companies work out their own messes. I'm sure things will be messy for a while, but a free market needs to stay free. Give an inch, and you'll lose a mile.

*MARY* said...

I found this blog by googling China LDS but I think I'm in over my head. This post is way too smart for me. The only word I understood was China and that's only because I used to live there.