Bleach. I Need Bleach.

I feel so dirty just thinking about acknowledging this.

John McCain is actually doing something I approve of.

He and my own dear Senator Maria Cantwell are trying to bring back Glass-Steagall

I don’t know how long this momentary lapse of insanity will last, but hopefully it’ll be long enough to actually pass this shit.  But you know John.  He’ll probably be against his own bill inside of a week.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go soak myself in Clorox.

Libertarian Slays "Hidden Tax" Argument

Ed Brayton, ladies and gentlemen.  I love the fact that it’s a libertarian ripping apart this particular stupidity:

How many times have you heard the claim that some government regulation — say, the cap and trade bill — is really just a “hidden tax” because it will increase the cost of production for a company and therefore we’ll pay more for their products? Sometimes it’s stated without it being a tax, just that given policy X is bad because it will increase the cost of doing business and cause goods to cost more.
And of course, no one really wants to pay more for a product, right? But it seems to me that this argument, by itself, is pretty meaningless because it is equally true of government regulations that we all support. Forbidding factories from using child labor increases the cost of doing business and drives up the price of what is being produced; would anyone like to repeal those laws and allow child labor again?

Well, yes.  They’re called Cons.  Just because they don’t make direct arguments for repealing child labor laws doesn’t mean they wouldn’t do it in a heartbeat in the name of the “free market.”

But Ed’s clever in using this argument, as it’s one they can’t get away with baldly refuting.  There is a moral.  And more ammunition. Go enjoy.

Fun With Regulatory Reform

Huzzah!  This probably will go under the radar in all the health care hoopla, but House Dems passed a regulatory reform bill, which is a gigantic step in the right direction.  The highlights:

The 1,279-page bill creates a new federal agency dedicated to consumer protection, establishes a council of regulators to police the financial landscape for systemic risks, initiates oversight of the vast derivatives market and gives the government power to wind down large, troubled firms whose collapse could endanger the entire financial system. The legislation also gives shareholders an advisory say on executive compensation, increases transparency of credit ratings agencies and sets aside billions in government funds to aid unemployed homeowners.

I love the smell of reform in the morning!

Do not miss Rep. Gutierrez spanking Cons on the House floor:

As part of regulatory reform for the financial industry, Republicans believe Democrats have created a “bailout fund.” Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) yesterday decided this is a lie worth debunking in detail.
Gutierrez, who is bilingual, told his colleagues, “I’ve had the bill thoroughly examined by those who do speak the English language and have only spoken the English language all their life, and they cannot find the ‘bailout fund’ in the bill.”
Ryan Grim added, “What the bill does do, [Gutierrez] explained, is create a fund that major firms must pay into. If banks get into trouble, the fund is used to take them over, break them up and sell off the parts. If such a fund was socialist, Gutierrez said, then so is Geico. But unlike Geico, he said, drivers who crash the economy don’t get their bank repaired and returned to them under the Democratic plan.”
In the hopes of making this easy enough for his GOP colleagues to understand, Gutierrez explained, “What they won’t tell you is unlike everybody in this room who has to go and take out an insurance policy to drive a car, they want Wall Street and Goldman Sachs to be able to drive our economy into the ground without paying a cent of insurance in case they act recklessly. And all we’re saying as Democrats is: ‘It’s simple. If you want to do business in America and you threaten the economic stability of our country, then you’ve got to pay into an insurance fund.’

We’ll see if that was simple enough for Cons to grasp.  I somehow doubt it – he didn’t bust out the crayons and construction paper.

And as the cherry on top, Rep. DeFazio and like-minded Dems are trying to get Glass-Steagall back up and running.  If you don’t know why that’s such a good thing, why, visit the link and rejoice.

Dear Wall Street: Ha ha ha fuck you.  Sincerely, Dana Hunter.

The Solution to Your Mortgage Woes: Walk Away

Yup.  That’s right.

Sounds insane, but if the Treasury’s latest bit of pressure on the banks doesn’t work, and they won’t modify your mortgage, you might want to consider just telling them to fuck off.

  Seriously:

I’ve been saying this all along to people: The only real obstacles are in your head. There’s no reason in the world to keep throwing good money after bad.

And he’s right. Banks won’t negotiate with borrowers until more people start to do this:

Go ahead. Break the chains. Stop paying on your mortgage if you owe more than the house is worth. And most important: Don’t feel guilty about it. Don’t think you’re doing something morally wrong.

That’s the incendiary core message of a new academic paper by Brent T. White, a University of Arizona law school professor, titled “Underwater and Not Walking Away: Shame, Fear and the Social Management of the Housing Crisis.”

White argues that far more of the estimated 15 million American homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages should stiff their lenders and take a hike.

Doing so, he suggests, could save some of them hundreds of thousands of dollars that they “have no reasonable prospect of recouping” in the years ahead. Plus the penalties are nowhere near as painful or long-lasting as they might assume.

Read up on the pros and cons, get some expert advice, and then make the decision that’s in your best interests.  You don’t owe the fuckers who fucked our economy over a damned thing.  They brought us to our knees: perhaps it’s time to return the favor.

But it’s really not about right or wrong, moral high ground or low, but leverage.  We need some.  And we’d have it, if only we’d use it.

Just do it wisely.  Make sure you’ve got legal experts who can help you use the system to your advantage.  And then extract all the advantage you possibly can.  The taste of their own medicine may be bitter for the banks, but that’s just too fucking bad, now, isn’t it?

Let Them Eat Fast Food

It’s horrible that so many Americans have to go hungry.  It’s outrageous that Cons don’t see the problem with this:

I am so glad that Wall Street is on track for such huge bonuses this year. That’s because they can use all that money to buy food for the 49 million Americans – 49 million Americans! Jesus! who “lacked consistent access to adequate food” by the end of the Bush administration.

49 million Americans. Shameful. Shameful!

And check this out towards the end:

“Very few of these people are hungry,” said Robert Rector, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “When they lose jobs, they constrain the kind of food they buy. That is regrettable, but it’s a far cry from a hunger crisis.”

49 million Americans have been “struggling with hunger” – as the director of the food center who sponsored the study says – and all conservatives can say is, “Hey, that’s not so bad.”

Jesus.

My God, that anyone takes conservatives seriously on anything simply boggles the mind. 49 million Americans can’t eat well on a regular basis – not won’t, but can’t – and this asshole pooh-poohs the problem. (By the way, you might want to Google “Robert Rector Heritage Foundation” for a good idea of how wrong someone can be. Authoring flawed studies on immigration. Advocating worthless sex education programs. He’s one more extreme-right conservative clown clone.)

14% of the people in this country can’t get enough food, and it’s no big deal to them.  That says all you need to know about Cons’ concern for ordinary people.

This is the same mentality that leads Cons to declare that people can just go to the emergency room when they’re sick, and hey, presto! everybody has health care.  As long as restaurants have easily-accessible trash bins and Mickey D’s has a dollar menu, they’ll say the same thing about Americans’ access to food.