10 May 2010

D.C. Parties On, While We Have To Clean Up The Mess

Are baby-boomers a generational plague of locusts, moving through the decades, consuming everything in their path to support their unsustainable lifestyle, leaving naught but a desert behind?

Interesting article by Thomas Friedman, "Tooth Fairy politics gives way to root canal" that basically blames our fiscal mess on the baby-boom generation, arguing that they consumed their parent's money, their own money, their children's money, and their grand-children's money.

Another way to put it is found in the Economist:

The end of the party
Greeks greet another austerity plan from the government with incensed protests

Yet Athenians were also saying, with wistful smiles, that it had been a good party while it lasted.

... Greece’s worst habits—the plundering of state coffers, the hiring of cronies, the abuse of public office, impunity for the powerful—were multiplied on an ever larger scale. A handful of Cassandras said it would end in tears but, while the party lasted, nobody listened. Now, with the announcement on May 2nd of loans from the IMF and the European Union worth a total of €110 billion ($144 billion), plus an austerity plan, the party is well and truly over.

Either in fear or in hope, many Greeks detect a breakdown of a political system, over a century old, in which two political groups (notionally of the centre-left and the centre-right, but both given to patronage and graft) progressively exhaust the national exchequer by outbidding each other. After the post-party riots, it is anybody’s guess what might take its place.

Their two parties sound just like ours!

Although I believe more and more Americans are waking up to the fact that we will have to clean up the mess after the party, I don't think our politicians in Washington understand the situation. To them, the party just goes on and on and on.

NY Times: Ignoring the Elephant in the Bailout

IF you blinked, you might have missed the ugly first-quarter report last week from Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giant that, along with its sister Fannie Mae, soldiers on as one of the financial world’s biggest wards of the state.

Freddie — already propped up with $52 billion in taxpayer funds used to rescue the company from its own mistakes — recorded a loss of $6.7 billion and said it would require an additional $10.6 billion from taxpayers to shore up its financial position.

The news caused nary a ripple in the placid Washington scene. Perhaps that’s because many lawmakers, especially those who once assured us that Fannie and Freddie would never cost taxpayers a dime, hope that their constituents don’t notice the burgeoning money pit these mortgage monsters represent.

Some $130 billion in federal money had already been larded on both companies before Freddie’s latest request.

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