The Market Ticker – Matt Taibbi, Financial Schemes And The US Congress

I don’t agree with everything Matt comes up with, but when you’re right, you’re right.

It seems America’s bankers are tired of all the abuse. They’ve decided to speak out.


there is this from Blackstone CEO Steven Schwartzman:

Asked if he were willing to pay more taxes in a Nov. 30 interview with Bloomberg Television, Blackstone Group LP CEO Stephen Schwarzman spoke about lower-income U.S. families who pay no income tax.

“You have to have skin in the game,” said Schwarzman, 64. “I’m not saying how much people should do. But we should all be part of the system.”

There are obviously a great many things that one could say about this remarkable collection of quotes. One could even, if one wanted, simply savor them alone, without commentary, like lumps of fresh caviar, or raw oysters.

One has to wonder about the litany of the 1%ers. As Matt correctly points out, this is the guy who blew $5 million on a birthday party (it’s your money, do with it what you want) with money he made skinning the public off an IPO that cost investors 3/4 of their money.

And yeah, skinned is the right word — that’s not a fleecing, it’s a flensing.

There are those who hate anyone who has “made it” — they don’t care how they got it, they want it, and if you won’t give it up they’ll steal it. That sort of instinctual hatred of success is Satanic, and there’s plenty of it out in the world.

But far-more often the issue isn’t hating people who “made it” — it’s the utter revulsion and hatred of those who “made it” by stealing it, and used their money, power and influence to find new and creative ways to steal it without going to prison for doing so.

Swaps deals for Jefferson County, money laundering for Mexican Drug gangs, ripping off entire nations via hinkey deals in Greece and elsewhere in Europe — the visceral reaction isn’t about success at all. It’s about theft.

These folks at the “top” of the game ought to be doing some serious reflection about now. Under any rational system of justice they’d all be in the graybar motel here and now, getting their hour in the prison yard and spending the other 23 in a nice little cage. No caviar, no raw oysters, and the “sauce”, if they got any at all, would be their cellmate’s and administered involuntarily.

The “hee haw” attitude from these people is dangerous to everyone, including most-especially them and their families. See, there’s this premise among those goons that they’re invincible. It’s reasonably-well cultivated too, just like it is among the Mob. Nobody tries to hit the Mob, right?

Well, nobody who has something to lose does. And that dynamic is what the 0.1%ers rely on as well. The general premise continues to exist that murder and mayhem is punishable, and that punishment is a deterrent.

What happens when it’s no longer a deterrent?

If that’s not keeping the 0.1%ers up at night they’re not very bright. On the route we’re on the wall is just up ahead. These guys all passed middle-school math — how they think we’re going to go from a 20-25% reduction in the size of government being required in 2007 to a 50% one in 2011 and not recognize that this is a geometric series that has two to four years — at the outside — remaining before impact is rather odd.

I’m sure most of them think their Citation or Lear will “take them away”, but unfortunately this problem is global and we’ve not yet had our Mr. Zefram Cochrane show up, so no matter where they are they’re stuck with the other 99.9% of us. And it only takes one deranged individual, driven to their individual point of rage by the injustices heaped upon them by those robber barons.

Is having your sewer bill hiked 400% through hinky derivative deals fueled by outright bribery enough? Maybe not, but there’s a hell of a lot of people who got hosed on that list, and it’s a rather odd bet that none of them began by being a bit mentally “off.” Then there are the millions who got rooked out of everything in their lives by the hinky deals in the mortgage space. Or, for that matter, the Greeks and others in Europe who were financially gang*****d by the international banking cartel with the cooperation and complicity of their own governments!

We live in a world, as I’ve repeatedly noted, where there are two justice systems — one that governs all manner of property and violent crime, and then one that governs only violent crime and even then not so tightly. The first is the one that the 99.9% of us live under — we don’t rob, we don’t murder, we don’t rip off little old ladies in part because we have a conscience and it’s wrong to do such things but even those who are somewhat-inclined to commit such acts have the deterrent value of clanging bars in the backs of their minds, and for the most part it’s enough.

Then there’s the 0.1% who commit financial acts that would under any real justice system be deemed felony fraud and lead to the same clanging bars. But it’s not, because we have people all the way up to the President declare that “no crimes were committed”, much like Sgt. Schultz exclaims “I see nothing!”

I don’t expect the 0.1% to change their stripes willingly. It’s much like a rattlesnake — it may be the nicest-looking and most-sedate rattlesnake you’ve ever seen, but it’s still a rattlesnake. If you pick it up you’re odds-on it will bite you. Maybe not this time, maybe not next, but the odds are still what they are — it’s a rattlesnake, after all.

I fear for this nation and the convulsion that lies ahead if we do not put a stop to the frauds and scams, starting in Washington DC. The latest “compromise” on the Payroll Tax is just another example; blowing a $200 billion hole in the deficit with a so-called “pay for” over 10 years is outright fraud. The “pay for” will never happen, being quietly repealed somewhere down the road, and besides, it’s being done with a “fee” on money-losing government enterprises (Fannie and Freddie) which is an utter crock to begin with — those firms are well into triple-digits on the loss already inflicted on the US Taxpayer (for which nobody has gone to jail) and the book is not yet closed on the extent of that damage (incidentally, with the majority of the $10ish trillion in mortgages out in some way connected to them, if we escape with less than a trillion in damage out of these two fraud factories we’re going to be very lucky.)

Those on Fraud Street pulling these schemes and games got their example from Washington. Make no mistake about it — this latest exhibition is just another in the long example of lies and scams, and if you’re wondering how all these clowns on Wall Street get the idea that they can screw America with impunity you need only look to the US Capitol for the answer.

Charles Ponzi was a piker, and yet he went to jail. In his “memory” we simply came up with bigger and more-audacious crooks, starting in DC, and today we’re due to be served yet another dish of fraudulent accounting and financial******– and I’m willing to bet that the majority of America, including the so-called “Tea Party” will cheer it because the words “tax cut” are embedded in the narrative. We’ll see if there’s even one honest Representative in the House today that will demand a recorded vote and at least force people to come back next week and go on the record with their “assent” to screwing you, the common man and woman, once again — or whether the so-called “fiscal conservatives”, including the Tea Party, will silently allow it to pass by “unanimous consent” in a pro-forma session.

Just remember that “tax cut” folks in a couple of years when Social Security and Medicare — and the US Federal government — collapses, because robbing the payroll tax to your thunderous applause is a significant part of how it came to be.

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