"This is the contempt in which they hold the majority of American people and the political process: the common people are easily led fools, and everyone else who is smart enough to know better has their price. And they would beggar every middle class voter in the US before they will voluntarily give up one dime of their ill-gotten gains."Simon Johnson
"A measure that would for the first time allow the benefits of current retirees to be severely cut is set to be attached to a massive spending bill, part of an effort to save some of the nation’s most distressed pension plans.The rule would alter 40 years of federal law and could affect millions of workers, many of them part of a shrinking corps of middle-income employees in businesses such as trucking, construction and supermarkets."
As you may recall, Congress responded to business lobbying by allowing their pension plans to make outrageously optimistic assumptions about future returns, so the corporations could divert more of their money from pension contributions to short term profits.
Now that corporate profits are at record levels, someone has to take up the slack and that must be the elderly. Let's just rewrite the contracts after the fact, and take the money from them.
In a conversation today some were tut-tutting this decision. But after all, someone has to tighten their belts in hard times. It certainly can't be the privileged class, so it may as well be the pensioners.
I hope people are so sanguine when the Banks come to seize their assets to make up their derivatives losses, which emboldened they will almost certainly do. First they come for the pensions, and then they come for the savings deposits and IRAs. It is a sign of the times.
Speaking of a sign of the times, the Manhattan based 2nd US District Court of Appeals knocked my socks off today, with a ruling that basically overturns 80 years of securities principles, and probably does more to erode the 14th amendment than Citizens United.
Here is the money shot in the decision that overturned the insider trading convictions of the infamous ring involving SAC and what looked like an organized conspiracy to violate securities laws.
"Although the government might like the law to be different, nothing in the law requires a symmetry of information in the nation's securities markets."Barrington Parker, 2nd U.S. Circuit of Appeals Judge
And I will wager that if you have not seen this here and a few other places in the blogosphere, you would not even understand what the heck was going on. The mainstream news stories made it seem like the conviction was overturned on insufficient evidence.
Well technically it was. Especially if you maintain the perspective of a servile tool of the corporate media. To paraphrase Mario Savio, would you ever imagine a manager in a firm making a statement that is in contradiction to his board of directors?
In its attempt to give a get out of jail card to some of the particularly well-connected, the appeals court has set a precedent that is noxious and repugnant to the Constitution, particularly the 14th amendment. Its willingness to torture the law should make us wary of what other things that the crony capitalists have in mind with regard to overturning bank reform and confiscating assets.
If this stands, there is no excuse for any foreign investor to complain when they are robbed blind by the US markets. At least those in the US can make the case that getting all their money away from the US banks is an onerous task. The character of this government is being writ large for all to see.
Other than this, I just don't have the words. The stench coming out of New York and Washington is getting so bad I can't breathe, whether it is from being water-boarded, or slammed to the ground and choked to death for a cigarette, or being robbed blind by white collar criminals who have friends in high places. Don't bother to do anything. Sit back and relax. They will come for you and yours too, sooner or later.
To paraphrase Martin Luther King, never forget, everything they do will be 'legal.'
Have a pleasant evening.