Friday, October 17, 2008

Comment: Just like in the movies

A third of the way through this video they have Max Keiser's prediction on al-Jazeera more than a year ago that Iceland's debt bubble would burst. A spokesperson from one of Iceland's recently nationalized banks is featured in the video.

Also, featured is a British economist who notes how saving one's money over the last several years was strongly discouraged in the Wall Street economic model. People and companies were supposed to spend, not only all the money they had earned, but they were to borrow feverishly to spend even more.

Spending and borrowing in America was even pushed as patriotic, and therefore saving one's earned money and not spending borrowed money could be seen as unpatriotic.

This reminds me of the old Frank Capra movie "It's a Wonderful Life," an American favorite during the holiday season. In the movie, a small family bank, in the days before the start of the Great Depression, provides housing loans for hard-working people who had saved enough to make their down payments. The loans were possible because of others who saved their money in interest-bearing accounts waiting for the day that they too could purchase their own homes.

However, the big evil banking family in town is involved in get-rich-quick real estate schemes. Yes, there was plenty of real estate speculation leading up to the Great Depression as well.

After an unfortunate accident, the big banking family gets an opportunity to put the squeeze on the small banking family. However, in the end all those people that had been helped by the latter in buying their homes come to the rescue. They all contribute a bit to help bail out the small-guy honest family who had played by the rules.

The difference with the current situation is that it is the big bankers -- the Wall Street tycoons -- who are getting bailed out, not by the citizens of Smallville but by their friends in Washington.

Like the small town families in "It's a Wonderful Life," who owned much to the local honest banker, the Washington politicians are deeply "indebted" to the Wall St. fat cats who have funded their campaigns.

However, in this real life version, the little guy ends up getting kicked in the pants. The mortgage owners are getting little or no relief. Apparently they committed a grave error in not keeping the good times rolling when they couldn't meet their balloon payments.

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