Of course you had to know there was one, right?
This is likely to be a tremendously unpopular Ticker.
Let's ask some basic questions of ourselves, shall we?
Did someone force Congress to spend more money than the government takes in via tax receipts? If so, who was that person?
Did someone force you to borrow to buy a house?
To buy a car?
To buy a flatscreen TV?
Did someone force the company you work for to borrow in order to fund some long-term objective?
Did, in fact, any of this borrowing - that made the bankers able to try to skim off profits from your economic activity - happen due to any act of the bankers forcing that borrowing to take place?
Who has primary regulatory oversight of financial institutions? Is it The Fed? No. It is the OTS, OCC and SEC. These agencies are not elements of The Federal Reserve, they are elements of Treasury and other parts of The Executive - that is, part of government.
Who writes laws? The Executive? No, that would be Congress - the Legislative branch.
So who's directly responsible for this mess?
That would be the 535 idiots in The Capitol Building, ladies and gentlemen, and ultimately, guess who? Yep.
Washington and Wall Street are still playing the blame game. But most financial experts agree that a cocktail of bad economic policies and lax government oversight led lenders, borrowers and investors to take huge risks.
Greed and recklessness trumped fear and reason, and they led banks to the brink.
Banks don't make economic policy or run government oversight.
And then there was outright misrepresentation, fueled through the media, or worse:
"These banks lured first-time homeowners, many of whom believed housing prices would go up forever, with attractive lending rates and lax requirements. Bad credit, no credit it seemed almost anyone could get a mortgage loan."
How did they come to believe that? It wasn't books like this, was it?
Pumping of asset classes by self-interested lobbying and professional groups - groups of professionals that are regulated at both a state and federal level as to what they can and cannot do - was a huge part of the fuel for this explosion.
Have you seen any legislation proposed to punish these pressure groups for the damage they did and prevent this sort of nonsense in the future? Realtors, homebuilders, lenders and more? Nope.
Why not? Do homebuilders, banksters and other "professional groups" get to vote? Or do only actual citizens get to vote?
Yes, lobbying is primarily about campaign contributions, but does a campaign ad compel you to vote for someone?
Again - who pushes the button, pulls the lever, punches the chad?
The article goes on:
"Using vast sums of borrowed money, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and other investment banks bought and sold mortgage-backed securities and other complex financial products, reaping astronomical profits that helped pay for outsized bonuses for executives."
But those weren't really profits, were they? No. Is it a "profit" if you rob a bank or swindle some old lady out of her retirement money? No, it's the fruit of a poison tree and not a profit at all.
Who regulates these activities and refused to put a stop to it? Congress, once again, through the agencies it has responsibility for and the laws it writes.
Now let's get down to brass tacks.
In September Congress voted for and passed the EESA/TARP law despite overwhelming negative sentiment expressed by the public. Calls, letters and faxes ran 300:1 against.
All 435 members of The House stood for election six weeks later.
The vast majority of those who voted for the EESA/TARP, despite being opposed 300:1 by their constituents, were re-elected and sent back to office.
Of the Senators who voted for and stood for election, only a couple lost their seats. Again, most were re-elected and returned to office.
So who is to blame for all of this again folks?
Get up, go in your bathroom, and have a look in the mirror.
If and only if, and when and only when we the people decide we've had enough of this crap and are willing to descend on Washington DC to demand that every single Congressperson who voted for this monstrosity in September, and who stands ready to shower yet more money on a failed economic policy resign in disgrace and departs, with "we the people" refusing to leave the Capitol until they do, we will have change.
If and only if, and when and only when we the people demand that Congress run a surplus now and into perpetuity, so as to pay off the National Debt, we will have change. This will require that we repudiate so-called "mandatory spending", because without doing so it is literally impossible to balance the budget, say much less run a surplus. That means we will have to stop demanding free medical care, free social security, free prescription drugs, free WIC, free EITC, and on and on and on. Will we?
There are 535 responsible persons in Washington DC, but there are 300 million Americans who put and keep them in office, and so long as we do and they remain immune to the consequences of their actions arguing over "The Fed" is a pointless exercise and an intentional diversion from where the true issue resides.
Those 535 remain immune not due to campaign contributions or banksters, Realtors and other "professionals" lobbying them. They remain immune because we are too busy dreaming up conspiracy theories about "Jooish Banking Cabals" as a means of our not having to face the fact that we the people are the ones who have and continue to demand that Congress violate the laws of mathematics.
We have met the cabal, and the cabal is us.
I rest my case.
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
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