09 August 2012

Neil Barofsky On the Economy

I think there is a general recognition that the economic and financial systems are broken, no matter what words one wishes to use to describe them.

A credibility trap impedes honest discussion of what happened and what is wrong. The corrupt bargain between the politicians and the monied interests casts a fog over any investigations and the rule of law.

Reform efforts like The Tea Party have been quickly turned by the corporate money powers into platforms for further economic repression of the weak. People are easily led during times of high emotion, no matter how superior they may think themselves to be. Even a cultured, educated people are capable of monstrous acts of madness.

So it is a tough situation, when no one loves the truth, and when appeals to hate and greed find such a ready footing amongst a vocal minority. Sounds familiar to those who read history.

Power structures that have outlived their time remain in control through force and fraud. And as the fraud deteriorates, the force increases.

I found it interesting that Barofsky thinks that the impulse to reform might require another financial crisis to make it happen. I happen to think that there will be another crisis and that it will be pivotal. Which way it goes depends on who grabs the reins of power and who can hold them the longest.

"Barofsky served the watchdog role for the Troubled Asset Relief Fund for years and knows a thing or two about how money and politics are paired in Washington. Now with the current state of the country still causing concern even after his tenure with TARP, Barofsky made little effort to paint a pretty picture to the readers of Gawker.com when offering his input.

In a question-and-answer session hosted on the website this week, one commenter didn’t hold back by asking Barofsky for confirmation on America’s current condition.

So we're just totally f*cked, right?” a user with the online handle grebeck asked. “As citizens, like no-way-out f*cked?”

Barofsky eventually responded to the inquiry with a bit of optimism, but not before confirming that fear with a simple, two-word statement.

“Pretty f*cked,” Barofsky wrote.

“But there is a way-out,” he added. “We need to convince those seeking or trying to retain power that they will not get our votes unless and until they commit to meaningful change of a financial system.

Might not work until we are in the grips of another crisis, but worth trying until then.”

RT, Top Obama Watchdog: We're Pretty F*cked

The problem is that it does not matter if you vote for them or not, if they control who makes it on the ballot.  This is why some people have concluded that working within the system is death by a thousand cuts, and the only recourse at this point is alternative movements and peaceful demonstrations such as the country saw in the civil rights movement.

And these movements should take care in who offers to fund and lead them, keeping the Tea Party in mind as to how quickly reform movements can be co-opted by those with money, slick public relations skills, and ulterior motives.
"That humanity and sincerity which dispose men to resist injustice and tyranny render them unfit to cope with the cunning and power of those who are opposed to them. The friends of liberty trust to the professions of others because they are themselves sincere, and endeavour to secure the public good with the least possible hurt to its enemies, who have no regard to anything but their own unprincipled ends, and stick at nothing to accomplish them."

William Hazlitt