A Conversation for LIL'S ATELIER

The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 1

Asteroid Lil - Community Editor and Ottist

*Although the bar still has a respectable array of bottles and range of beer brands, there is now a more austere feeling in the room. All the bunting has been taken down. Due to a salmonella scare the peanuts have been recalled and replaced with M&M's and sunflower seeds*

We are watching the Senate struggle with ideology versus reality this weekend, and matters are, as always, fascinating to watch. This article in the online New York Times sparked my decision to launch a new discussion thread more in keeping with what's going on Out There:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/08/fashion/08halfmill.html

I believe registration is required. If you don't want to register, try chewing on this instead:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_rWY3qGfe6gc/SY0vsAybugI/AAAAAAAABq4/ymFVgCbc1Zg/s1600-h/Picture+52.png

We have EMTbots on hand for those of you whose blood pressure is spiked by what the article and the image say.


Are we about to re-experience the wrath of the proletariat? Or has the population been narcotized by television, their political acumen blunted by Fox News?



The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 2

Good Doctor Zomnker (This must be Tuesday," said GDZ to himself, sinking low over his Dr. Pepper, "I never could get the hang of Tuesdays.")

Boo Hoo!

I don't know what else to say to that article.


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 3

Witty Moniker

My sister recently mentioned some neighbors of hers that had lost "millions" in investments with Bernie Madoff. I blinked. Blinked again. Finally replied, "Sorry, I really can't muster up any sympathy for that. After all, I'm still trying to acquire my first million."

IMHO, our current culture is way overdue for a huge reality check. The years of conspicuous comsumption financed by loose credit have finally stretched the rubber band of credit as far as it can go.


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 4

Irving Washington

Yes, but why did it have to happen just as I was leaving school and entering the real world, where I hoped to do some conspicuous consumption financed by loose credit?



The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 5

STRANGELY STRANGE ( A brain on a spring )

I hope you don't mind me popping in as in UK, but here we are said to be having the worst recession in Europe partly due to a sneaky underhand PM who was also the Chancellor for many years(Gordon Brown). In supermarkets the lowest level supermarket own brand produce, usually white labels, no thrills, was on botttom shelfs. Now it is even getting its own end of isle strong displays in spermarkets and even advertised in newspapers as being at recession beating prices!
.
People can't sell houses as prices have crashed and people are afraid to spend or can't get morgages due to banks being in trouble and scared to lend. Big and small ordinary companies, like 'Woolworth' have closed due to bankrupcies. Woolworth were a really big traditional name in UK with loads of big stores, they maybe unknown in America, although Lil might remember them from uk stay, but it was a shock and quite unsettling to see a childhood memory go, not just due to my dad managing smallest Woolworths store in Britain when I was a kid!
Quite worrying and unsettling times in UK at moment...


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 6

Solnushka (Foundation)

Yes, and _after_ I bought my flat and _before_ I secured a new job. Damn it.


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 7

Solnushka (Foundation)

Actually, Wedgewood going under was more of a shock to me, Strangely. Woolworths has been in trouble for ages. But Wedgewood. Bastion of the industrial revolution. Good god.


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 8

STRANGELY STRANGE ( A brain on a spring )

I agree however they weren't that badly off before recession and many other companies are going under as profit is usually in the last few percent of sales. The problem is companies are now, I suspect, starting to see an opportunity to pay even more shite wages than Woolworths and similar comapnies were paying and blaming it on recession, even when hot true, unless you are a member of the UK bank with the 20 billion pound govenrnment loan from my taxes and giving ONE BILLIOIN POUNDS bonuses this year, it is ok though as they are limiting the cash part of bonus to ONLY £20,000 per person, I on the otherhand got a £10 M&S gift voucher like every year.....what a bunch of Merchant Bankers!


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 9

Solnushka (Foundation)

Which brings us neatly back to the topic of the article.

In the UK, 'They' were advancing the argument that were the banks to limit their bonuses, the bankers would go and get jobs elsewehere.

To protect the quality of our financial service industry, which, allegedly, is the driving force behind the UK economy, it is necessary, so the argunment goes, to retain the top flight bankers by paying them the bonuses.

I had weeks of enjoyment out of that one, given the splendid mess the bankers have made of things and the global nature of the downturn.

Thay article, by the way, is only in numbers shocking. I think it's the attitude of a lot of people. That feeling of entitlement to a certain lifestyle is what got us into the credit mess in the first place.

There used to be this programme on TV where some financial guru with a slightly better grasp on reality than most would attempt to coach some member of the public who had run up staggering levels of debt how to live within their means.

The one that always stuck in my mind was this woman who was about to get married. Despite a debt so large that if she was sensible and lived very quietly she could possibly hope to pay is off in about 500 years time, she was throwing a petulant fit because she was told that she couldn't afford a designer wedding dress, a hen weekend (yes, weekend) somewhere nice and so on and so forth. I mean, she genuinely didn;t get it and acted like the expert was trying to do her out of her rights or something.

Or perhaps I have simply been living on a limited budget for too long.


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 10

STRANGELY STRANGE ( A brain on a spring )

Within the last week they showed on TV the American person who represents American banks and he said that to attract the best staff huge bonuses are needed(sound familiar?) the American interviewer ripped into him angry as an anoyed wasp and nearly shouted "The best staff!!, you are all incompetant".
.
The thing is with this recession is it effects all and isn't some abstract concept as a lot of people have Mortgages and have problems selling and buying their home right, now so it affects TV interviewers too who are getting angry at the pigs who are high up in banking land who still stuff their fat snouts as deep in the trough as deep as it will go and are as shallow as Tony Blair's appologies. when it comes to accepting blame for their greed.


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 11

Teuchter

I do wonder if we're about to experience a period of neo-puritanism.
Perhaps it would be no bad thing for us all to go 'back to basics'.

The paying of large bonuses to the people who got us into this mess in the first place does rather stick in the craw.


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 12

Solnushka (Foundation)

Yup, that was pretty much what I was shouting, Strangely.

Actually, there's a money making idea. I shall publish the Solnushka family tips on how to live cheaply.


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 13

Hypatia

At the risk of sounding like the closet socialist I probably am but won't quite admit, I have absolutely no sympathy for the people in that article. What's the old saying -- they know the cost of everything and the value of nothing? I've been accused of reverse snobbery. Suppose I will have to plead guilty. But to me the way some people live is just obscene. There are wealthy people with a social conscience, but they are few and far between.


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 14

Good Doctor Zomnker (This must be Tuesday," said GDZ to himself, sinking low over his Dr. Pepper, "I never could get the hang of Tuesdays.")

I'm not a closet socialist, I'm a proud socialist actually. My sympathy goes to those who deserve it, those who make so little that they can't afford rent, groceries, child care, and a car payment at the same time.


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 15

Asteroid Lil - Community Editor and Ottist

The word I keep seeing in print is 'populist'.

As for sense of entitlement, it was when the CEO's of the banks that had accepted taxpayers' money awarded themselves bonuses out of that money -- for failing -- that even my right-wing friends became outraged. Mind you, I'm not sure they've made the connection between that behavior and eight years of unregulated greed fostered by the previous administration.

Are there no regulations controlling the banks in England, as to where they can put their money or what risks they may take?


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 16

Irving Washington

>>Within the last week they showed on TV the American person who represents American banks and he said that to attract the best staff huge bonuses are needed(sound familiar?) the American interviewer ripped into him angry as an anoyed wasp and nearly shouted "The best staff!!, you are all incompetant".

Strangely, are you certain you weren't watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart? I have a tough time imagining any American journalist actually being that direct with someone that powerful.


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 17

STRANGELY STRANGE ( A brain on a spring )

Not sure, it was a clip on news, Jon Stewart as a name sounds familiar though, he sure ripped into hm though, and he deserved it as such a stupid thing to say about bankers who had not only been stupid but perhaps some of those who sold sub primes even actually acted ilegally as knew the person had no chance of paying off mortgage, and knew they could make money by them failing to repay mortgage.
.
Lil the answer about UK regulation is I don't know. I know that 120% mortgages were being sold in UK, how the heck can you pay that off if property crashes , as has in uk!
Whether they were sub-primes or more healthy type loans I don't know, but stil difficult to repay now UK property market has crashed, houses here were 'WAY' over valued, never mind 120% morgtages on them!
.
Here bankers are paying way over the top bonuses the same as in USA, when actually they should not be getting any at all, or even paying money back as a bonus last year when everything was crashing was sick....!


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 18

FG

I love the whole "to attract the best people we need to pay large salaries and offer big bonuses" argument. If we've been doing that for years, and the "best people" are currently the CEOs, I'd like to see the worst people. They must be *real* morons.

Any company that takes financial assistance from any government--no salaries, no bonuses, no nothing until those in charge can put the company back in the black. Period.


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 19

FG

Here's journalist Naomi Klein on the anger around the world:

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090223/klein?rel=hp_currently


The Backroom Chat About American Politics (4) - Economic Hard Times Edition

Post 20

Asteroid Lil - Community Editor and Ottist

*wonders how long it will take before FG's first post gets modded because she used the word 'morans'*


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