The Bailout in Plain English.
Speaking in the Tongues of Brokers.
By Joe Bageant.
Any number of cultural historians have noted the American belief that success is a sign of God’s favor. And over the past couple of decades he has had a downright love fest with the already-rich. So much so that the richest 400 Americans now have more money stashed away that the combined bottom 150 million Americans. Some $1.6 trillion bucks.
This was accomplished by selling off or shipping out ever available asset, from jobs to seaports, smashing usury and anti-monopoly laws, raiding the public coffers and manipulating the medium of exchange and blackmailing the peasantry regarding common needs such as heath care and energy to keep their asses warm — to name a few. The ultimate coup was to convince the entire nation that the well being of the rich, meaning the well being of Wall Street, was indeed the common man’s well being.
All went well for a while. People went into credit card hock up to their noses in order to provide 26% credit card interest to Wall Street, etc. And when that became untenable, flimsy mortgages were cranked out by the millions ensuring that every American who could hold a crayon could sign to purchase a home. To facilitate this all sorts of shaky ‘mortgage instruments’ were created — balloon, (sign here Jeeter, you’re gonna flip it in a year and make a hundred K on this house trailer) interest only, and finally negative balance mortgages where you only paid part of the interest and the rest was rolled back into the principal balance. And joy of joys you could refinance a couple of times while the inflated value of these houses was on the way up. Life was good for everybody.
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