The Full Court Press
I woke up this morning to story after story on CNN about Jobs, the Economy and Health Care. CNN is doing the full court press on optimism for the future of the economy. If you gave them any credibility at all, you'd think that everything had turned around now. America is once again the Land of Opportunity. There are jobs available with proof being a Job Fair someplace - Atlanta I think. There was even a Congressman on the scene and Boy Oh Boy! Those employers are ready to hire! Uh huh.
The next segment was interviews of Joe and Joewena Six-Pack and they were loaded with optimism. "I was laid off months ago but I remain optimistic" Happy! Happy! Happy! And another 50 year-old Jowena who was retraining - was optimistic that after she retrained, there would be a good job waiting for her. Anybody in the market for a 50 year-old trainee? Especially with lots of laid off 20-30 year-old people available? If we believe the CNN Happiness Hucksters there are lots of employers who want retrained near senior citizens. Uh huh.
On the issue of Health Care, CNN has a new feature - "empowering health care consumers to learn how to negotiate the lowest price". This idea makes me go ballistic. I banged out an email that I was going to send to CNN but oddly, Yahoo Mail had a problem at exactly the moment that I hit the send button. Maybe they are scanning emails and if there are too many curse words in an email, they block it. I was also put in the penalty box for about a 10 minute time out during which I could not get back into Yahoo email.
So what's wrong with negotiating price for health care? You only have power in a negotiation if you can walk away. If you're in need of health care, you can't walk away. In our system of health care, it's already "your money or your life". If you were to try and negotiate in that position, it's going to be your life because they are not going give up on the 'green bleeding' just because you are bleeding red.
Then on C-Span, there was a House Committee on Financial Services hearing held by Barney Frank. This hearing was purely for show. The first panel had about 7 or 8 people from all the affected regulatory and law enforcement agencies. Each member on the committee had about three minutes to question the witnesses and that was the end of it. The most interesting person on this panel was the FBI person. He said their number of white collar crime cases had skyrocketed. One member of Congress asked him, "have you stopped getting rid of your experience white collar crime experts? The FBI has lost thousands of man-years of experience by laying off and offering early retirement to the experienced agents". The answer was a two-step - not the least bit comforting.
The second panel had 5 State Attorney's General testifying. This panel was much more interesting than the first - but it was equally brief. One important piece of information that came out of it was that the State Attorney's General had been prevented from pursuing mortgage fraud by federal preemption. And in some cases when they did try to go after the Fraudsters, they just moved out of state and continued with their fraudulent activities.
It was pretty obvious that the real purpose of this hearing was for show and nothing more.
At the end of the hearing, Barney Frank made a statement to the effect that the American people are going to have to recognize the fact that they need to pay taxes to protect themselves - because enforcement costs a lot of money. I could easily write a 10,000 word commentary on what's wrong with that statement so I'll just say that the corporate crime wave was due to the elimination of regulation of corporations and the members of Congress and their unholy alliance with those corporations is the cause it. So I think we should pay more in taxes for law enforcement and those law enforcement officials should have a laser-like focus on the corruption of Congress and their corporate co-conspirators including the media propagandists.