Thursday, August 04, 2011

Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride . . .

"Buy the ticket, take the ride."

That fine phrase came from none other than Dr. Gonzo himself, Hunter S. Thompson. In the context of writing, it means that once you've penned it and released it, you have no idea where it will end up but you can absolutely count on someone remembering it at the wrong moment.

Indeed, on more than one occasion, I've found my old newspaper columns that had been taped on refrigerators for years torn off and in my mailbox with notes to the effect, "Remember writing that, you fool?"

And, I always remember.

Tim Geithner has to remember, too. It was only a year ago that he wrote an article mistitled, "Welcome To The Recovery" in none other than the New York Times. In it he nearly beat himself to death patting his boss on the back for saving the world . . . 

"The economic rescue package," he said, "[the one] that President Obama put in place was essential to turning the economy around. The combined effect of government actions taken over the past two years — the stimulus package, the stress tests and recapitalization of the banks, the restructuring of the American car industry and the many steps taken by the Federal Reserve — were extremely effective in stopping the freefall and restarting the economy." 

Fast forward until, say, today. Today would be a good day to look at that prurient pontification, that altogether incredible claim of unmitigated success.

The Dow was down 512 points today, making it 9 days of 10 that the markets were shredded, and that didn't happen because things are going so well.

No, it appears the "stimulus" package(s) that Timmy revered did, well, nothing, except add zeros to already disturbing debt numbers.

The "restructuring," a foul euphemism for bailing out the rich and their banks did, well, just that -- kept the rich rich.

And the unidentified "steps taken by the Federal Reserve," only one of which I remember -- the relentless printing of money -- had the net effect of delaying today and the many days that will follow today.

The cat's out of the bag. The emperor is butt-naked and almost everyone knows it. Except for the media, of course, who know it but are dominated by those in whose best interest it is that average Americans don't march to their houses in the middle of the night and start burning them down.

Joe is told to stick with his "buy and hold strategy," which over the last 10 years has translated into a "buy and lose your ass strategy."

Those of us who can watch a ticker on and off during a day can avoid some of the carnage, not all, but a lot of it.

But what about poor Joe Lunchbucket? He has his "retirement" tied up in his 401k or IRA and when he gets home tonight after a hard day's work he is going to get on the Internet and get some very bad news and he will lie his head on his hands and weep and wonder if he will ever be able to retire. Tomorrow some 401k moron or CNBC talking head will attempt to calm Joe by telling him that markets "ebb and flow" and that if he hangs on long enough he has nothing to worry about. It is modernity's version of "bread and circuses."

After all, those who have made millions or billions lying to Joe for the last 30 years don't want Joe and a few million of his friends in the streets in a drunken rage with shotguns and serious grudges to settle, now do they?

No, they don't.


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