America:Cognitive Dissonance on Steroids

I’ve been falling behind a bit on my blog trying to study the Panic of 2008 and I find myself returning again and again to either pictures from the Great Depression like this gem by Margaret Bourke-White from 1937 or images of lying and liars . But the thought hit me the other day after watching Ben Bernanke in his latest committee appearance. In response to a question from Ron Widen of Oregon , he said if there was one thing that had made him mad, It was AIG. Ben said that the world’s largest insurance company had morphed into a giant hedge fund that happened to sell insurance. It may have made him mad but it didn’t stop him from adding another $30 Billion to the $150 Billion already shoveled at AIG. He slipped and dodged and feinted like Crazy Legs Hirsch(remember him?). Where is the money going to at AIG? To Whom? Why? Can’t say. It might impair confidence. Anyone with an economic IQ over 100 knows that it’s about the credit default swaps of AIG. Who’s getting the payouts? Paulson? Goldman Sachs? Sovereign Wealth funds like Abu Dhabi? Swiss banks? Confidence? It’s the same song and dance as when He and Crazy Legs Paulson stated last fall when they promised “transparency” in the TARP program. Who did the money go to? Can’t say. Might impair confidence. So Mr Bernanke, you are telling me that the trillions we are stealing from my children to bail out deadbeats and criminally incompetent enterprises largely given with minimal strings, are you telling me that the people of the United States do not have the right to know who is getting the money and how much? Yup. It’s confidence. Ben! We don’t have any friggin confidence! And it’s people like you and Tim Geithner and Larry Summers, Robert Rubin and gawd knows how many other Citigroup and Goldman Sachs bastard children out there in this and the last 4 administrations that have caused me to lose confidence! We have lost confidence in the entire financial system and nothing you have done since you succeeded the Ayn Rand troll Greenspan has inspired anything in the way of confidence in this citizen or in the markets. You have lied sir. You promised transparency and you have not delivered on your promise. But why should you. The Fed can do anything it chooses, say what it wants, spend what it wants withhold what it wants. It is accountable to no one. This is one horrible system and it illustrates how evil and powerful the now worldwide system of central banks and bankers are. They have amassed power at the expense of the citizenry and the governments of the world. But I guess it was when Barak told us to go out and buy stocks for the long term that I got the thousand yard stare. That’s when I realized that maybe there was something more to this mystery than misstatements, incompetence or lying. These guys are in the death throes of a malignant Cognitive Dissonance. Barak! What are you thinking? We’re broke! How the heck can we buy stocks or houses or cars if we’re broke? If the companies are broke! In fact how can you buy wars or F-22s or rebuild the infrastructure of GAZA(?!!!) if you’re broke? And now a $1.75 Trillion deficit:50% of the budget! Everything you say shows cognitive dissonance. I think now I’ve got it. Cognitive Dissonance:on steroids! The whole country has it. Hillary sure has it. Just a few months ago she was saying the Chinese holding almost 2 Trillion is US debt was a threat to national security but in her recent political lap dance in Bejiing she practically begged Wen Jiabao to please oh pretty puleeze….. buy some more T bills! Cognitive Dissonance. What else can it be? Cognitive Dissonance is that crummy feeling you get when you try to hold two contradictory ideas in your mind. You get dissonance when you realize the contradiction like those black folks in line below the picture of the American Dream. You are asking us to have confidence when no rational human being could possibly have confidence. And like all chronic sufferers of CD as I will now call it, in the face of massive evidence to the contrary, you persist in repeating your bailouts of banks and hedge funds and deadbeats. Ben you have to stop. You have to come clean and admit that you and Tim don’t know what you are doing. What is the extent of the CDS, CDO, CDLs and all the other toxic acronyms out there? Do you know? So tell us if you do! Anyone can see that your actions are sheer fiscal insanity. And stupid! Will Rogers said that”If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?” We know what got us into this mess. We elected Ronnie Reagan who knew that cutting taxes and spending without strings was the way forward. It would trickle. And that pesky Paul Volker had to go. Ron now deep in the throes of incipient Alzheimer’s fired him in 1987 and gave us the jowly mumbling double speaking Greenspan who presided over two financial bubbles and caused the mother of all bubbles by promoting massive leveraged debt assumption, asset inflation, low interest money, more deregulation, repeal of the Glass-Stegall, bailout of the LTCM hedge fund, promotion of these new toxic instruments, massive credit expansion to anyone who could fog a mirror, unregulated derivatives and in the final insult, peddled this fabulous Ayn Rand financial neutron bomb orthodoxy to the world sending out callow MBA missionaries from the Sloan School and Harvard proselytizing at places as dissimilar as AIG and the Central bank of Iceland, urging them to use their new incomprehensible geek math models to turn paper into real money and the key concept of course was to leverage the living bejusuz out of every bet you made. That way you could get rich quicker. Greed is good you know. Sorry. I gotta go. It’s snowing and I need to plow.

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About cal48koho

I was born in Montana and raised in a dozen Air Force SAC bases. I attended Holy Cross,West Point and UNC in Chapel Hill(MD"71). Army doc in the last years of the Viet Nam fiasco. My wife and I live in a log cabin I built in Jackson Hole in 1975 when we aren't on our Cal 48 yawl. I've done a dozen different jobs and retired from ER and Anesthesia in 2004. I've written magazine articles and am writing a Kunstleresque novel about life in a past Peak Oil world. We are living in a beautiful alpine setting where we hike and ski when we're not thinking about economics and spreading the implications of PO to anyone who will listen.
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