I got back to France from Santa Barbara a week ago today. The most memorable political moment back home was when Bill Maher's show came on while I was hooking up my mother's new computer to her giant TV monitor so she could see it better. Maher got through a sequence about Christian breast implants and then had Elizabeth Warren as his guest, an interesting law professor who has done a lot of good work on the decline of family finances in the new economy and how they get screwed by debt, and became the head of the Congressional Oversight Office charged with evaluating the uses of TARP bailout funds. Maher talked TARP for a while, and they agreed Repubs undid 50 years of prosperity with the help of Bill then said you passed the economics part of our show, but I have a philosophical question.
He then used a word I never thought Maher would use: "Philosophically." "I mean just put on another cap for a second. The root cause of our problems is that we really don't treat each other very well as people. . . I don't know if in Norway or Denmark, they are always trying to trick and trap and screw each other for money. . . if you look at a dozen problems in this country, it always comes down to that. We will do anything to each other for money."
Well um yes. Capitalism. Honed to perfection.
Warren's reponse was terrible: "But you know. Every game has rules . . ."
Here are the rules in Arizona, put in story form by this excellent piece that you must read: “You need to buy when there’s blood in the streets,” he said with a shrug. “Even if it’s your own blood.”
That means you bought high, prices fell, so you drive around town all day to find people getting foreclosed and try to by superlow to make up your losses by forcing them to eat theirs. Pure Road Warrior for a nation of house flippers.
Or Terminator 2, where John Connor, whom Terminator is now protecting, watches two boys hitting each other with sticks and says, "we're not going to make it, are we? "Who?" asks Arnold S, newly good Terminator. "People."
Well Arizona isn't. Maybe not the U.S. It's economy turns on shitheaded cons, like billionaire mayor Bloomberg making NY taxpayers cough up $1-4 billion in still-not-clear amounts of bond financing for the NY Yankees' new stadium. It's not just jet-lagged me saying crap like this. Currency traders, not exactly critics of Yankee capitalism, are again crushing the dollar on the generally correct theory that the main Obama financial strategy is to print huge oceans of money and then give it all to the banks, who will not pocket it fast enough to keep its value up.
Warren said we might have to say: "This is what America looks like for the next 50 years." Well yes. Because we're aren't changing too damn much now are we??
And I haven't even started in on California or the higher ed budgets. Or Star Trek, the longest series of movie quotations in movie history.