30 Mar 2009, 11:31pm
Uncategorized
by admin

The Economic Crisis Is Bigger Than You Think

This blog, and indeed this Institute, is primarily concerned with environmental issues. But the ongoing decline and fall of the American (indeed world) economy will have enormous repercussions for our forests, watersheds, and landscapes.

Those repercussions will not be limited to incineration of vast tracts of the public and private domain. They will not be limited to the $trillions in new taxes that are being “justified” by the global warming hoax.

Much more is at stake in the economic crisis. It could be that this republic will dissolve into tyranny and extreme poverty. Indeed, that train may have already left the station.

If you care, and if you can stomach the most dire of economic news, the two articles linked below are worth your while to read.

We will return to our primary topics of interest in the next and future posts. But we will remain mindful that protecting, maintaining, and perpetuating forests, watersheds, and landscapes will become much more difficult in the years ahead, as if that wasn’t a most difficult quest already. We live in interesting times.

The Quiet Coup

by Simon Johnson, May 2009 Atlantic [here]

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time. …

Becoming a Banana Republic

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets): South Korea (1997), Malaysia (1998), Russia and Argentina (time and again). In each of those cases, global investors, afraid that the country or its financial sector wouldn’t be able to pay off mountainous debt, suddenly stopped lending. And in each case, that fear became self-fulfilling, as banks that couldn’t roll over their debt did, in fact, become unable to pay. This is precisely what drove Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy on September 15, causing all sources of funding to the U.S. financial sector to dry up overnight. Just as in emerging-market crises, the weakness in the banking system has quickly rippled out into the rest of the economy, causing a severe economic contraction and hardship for millions of people.

But there’s a deeper and more disturbing similarity: elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them. …

*****

The Big Takeover

The global economic crisis isn’t about money - it’s about power. How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution

Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, Mar 19, 2023 [here]

It’s over — we’re officially, royally f****d. No empire can survive being rendered a permanent laughingstock, which is what happened as of a few weeks ago, when the buffoons who have been running things in this country finally went one step too far. It happened when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was forced to admit that he was once again going to have to stuff billions of taxpayer dollars into a dying insurance giant called AIG, itself a profound symbol of our national decline — a corporation that got rich insuring the concrete and steel of American industry in the country’s heyday, only to destroy itself chasing phantom fortunes at the Wall Street card tables, like a dissolute nobleman gambling away the family estate in the waning days of the British Empire

The latest bailout came as AIG admitted to having just posted the largest quarterly loss in American corporate history — some $61.7 billion. In the final three months of last year, the company lost more than $27 million every hour. That’s $465,000 a minute, a yearly income for a median American household every six seconds, roughly $7,750 a second. And all this happened at the end of eight straight years that America devoted to frantically chasing the shadow of a terrorist threat to no avail, eight years spent stopping every citizen at every airport to search every purse, bag, crotch and briefcase for juice boxes and explosive tubes of toothpaste. Yet in the end, our government had no mechanism for searching the balance sheets of companies that held life-or-death power over our society and was unable to spot holes in the national economy the size of Libya (whose entire GDP last year was smaller than AIG’s 2008 losses).

So it’s time to admit it: We’re fools, protagonists in a kind of gruesome comedy about the marriage of greed and stupidity. And the worst part about it is that we’re still in denial — we still think this is some kind of unfortunate accident, not something that was created by the group of psychopaths on Wall Street whom we allowed to gang-rape the American Dream. …

31 Mar 2009, 8:40am
by bear bait


A sucker born every minute. Hell. Every second. Did ya ever think the Ivy League was about flim-flam, circus school, grifting?

I still remember telling a guy at a timber sale that the person who was buying all the wood was a really smart guy. And the guy I was talking to said that was true. He is a really smart guy. Only he will outsmart himself sooner than later. And did. That is Wall Street. Can’t defend us or themselves against their own foibles. And they got us over a barrel, our barrel, and we are screwed. So, on that note, I am not going to worry about it because I have zero say in it. All I know is the rich guys won’t suffer too much, and the poor already do, so the people in the middle have a load to carry down the road. Good luck, all. The Victory garden is being replaced by the Defeat Garden. The gun safe is better than a bank for several reasons. And no wonder you can’t buy primers.

31 Mar 2009, 12:10pm
by Forrest Grump


Both of those essays were pretty good, even the Rolled Stoner version.

Fact is, AIGFP gave investment bankers a way to act irrationally. It further gave home loan companies a way to float paper on Fannie Fred mandated crap. Everyone jumped on the bandwagon, waving the societal plastic, and now here we are.

There’s gonna be a HIT, right? But as usual, not all those responsible will get nailed…in this case, those who should have known better by dint of their professions as money geniuses are not going to have to take the hit for their knowing foolishness. No under-bridge accommodations for them, no sirreeeeeeee.
Hmmmph. This country is being run by idiots. Voted in by bigger idiots.

4 Apr 2009, 4:47pm
by NED


Forest industry depends on a healthy economy. The current state of the economy is destroying the forest industry. Just look at the mill log decks that are full at a time in the spring when they should be nearly empty and loggers ready to get back to work as soon as spring breakup is over but no work is available. In my over fifty years in forestry I have never seen it this bad.

Active forest management depends on a healthy forest industry. This situation happens when we really need active forest management and a healthy forest industry.

The situation results from greed. The current administration is attempting to spend our way out of a depression and that has never worked. We are going to see stagflation that will make the Carter years look like good times. I was born during the last depression; I may now die during the next one. God help this nation.

5 Apr 2009, 7:43am
by Larry H.


Sadly, government has failed its citizens by ignoring science and by not reining in the litigation against a broken system of environmental rules, laws and policies. The eco’s demand peer-reviewed science and when we bring it to the table they discount the peers as sell-outs. Their own peer-reviewed science includes their own sell-outs who continue to politicize science.

The only true option to “fix” and “save” our forests is to utilize skilled and educated people on the ground to recognize problems within our forests. It is the person with the paintgun that is most important to the future of our forests. It is the preservationists who want paintguns banned forever.

The ultimate goal of these eco-people is the “re-wilding” of our lands, at any costs. When the horrifying costs are described, they plug their ears and shout about blasphemy, greed and evil.

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