ABSOLUITE THEFT & THE GOVERNMENT IS A CO CONSPIRATOR
The housing market continues to fall, foreclosures continue to mount, and there is no end in sight to the housing debacle, largely brought about by the irresponsible lending practices of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who had to be bailed out to the tune of $170 billion. And much of that money went not to distressed homeowners, but to the people who have done such a fine job of running these companies. The top five executives at Fannie Mae received $33.3 million in 2009 and 2010, while the top five at Freddie Mac received $28.1 million.
Just days ago Fannie Mae asked for an additional $7.8 billion in taxpayer funds. And despite the US government teetering on the brink of financial insolvency and protests across the county over corporate greed, the bosses are still raking it in: Ed Haldeman, who announced last week that he is stepping down as Freddie Mac’s CEO, received a base salary of $900,000 last year and took home an additional $2.3 million in bonus pay. Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams got $2.37 million in performance bonuses.
This isn’t “compensation”. This is “stealing”. Essentially, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are huge, dysfunctional government agencies that need to be shut down so the private market can take their place. But meaningless chatter about “change”, or “occupy” movements, or tea parties, aren’t really changing anything. The time has come to start thinking about the unthinkable.
Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World
by Michael Lewis by W. W. Norton & Company
HOW GREECE GOT INTO SUCH
A FINANCIAL MESS
Greece is a country at the heart of the current European financial crisis. The country had entered the European Union under the administration by manipulating its financial data so that it appeared to conform to the European Union's exacting financial requirements. It had then kept the truth about its debt and deficits from the EU until a scandal brought down the administration of Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis in 2009 and incoming prime minister George Papandreou and his administration quickly discovered the catastrophic depths of their country's financial problems:
"The long-term picture was ... bleak. In addition to its roughly $400 billion (and growing) of outstanding government debt, the Greek number crunchers had just figured out that their government owed another $800 billion or more in pensions. Add it all up and you got about $1.2 trillion, or more than a quarter-million dollars for every working Greek. Against $1.2 trillion in debts, a $145 billion bailout was clearly more of a gesture than a solution. And those were just the official numbers; the truth is surely worse. 'Our people went in and couldn't believe what they found,' a senior IMF official told me, not long after he'd returned from the IMF's first Greek mission. 'The way they were keeping track of their finances - they knew how much they had agreed to spend, but no one was keeping track of what he had actually spent. It wasn't even what you would call an emerging economy. It was a third world country.'...
"In just the past twelve years the wage bill of the Greek public sector has doubled, in real terms - and that number doesn't take into account the bribes collected by public officials. The average government job pays almost three times the average private-sector job. The national railroad has annual revenues of 100 million euros against an annual wage bill of 400 million, plus 300 million euros in other expenses. The average state railroad employee earns 65,000 euros a year. Twenty years ago a successful businessman turned minister of finance named Stefanos Manos pointed out that it would be cheaper to put all Greece's rail passengers into taxicabs: it's still true. 'We have a railroad company which is bankrupt beyond comprehension,' Manos put it to me. 'And yet there isn't a single private company in Greece with that kind of average pay.' The Greek public-school system is the site of breathtaking inefficiency: one of the lowest-ranked systems in Europe, it nonetheless employs four times as many teachers per pupil as the highest-ranked, Finland's. Greeks who send their children to public schools simply assume that they will need to hire private tutors to make sure they actually learn something.
"There are three government-owned defense companies: together they have billions of euros in debts, and mounting losses. The retirement age for Greek jobs classified as 'arduous' is as early as fifty-five for men and fifty for women. As this is also the moment when the state begins to shovel out generous pensions, more than six hundred Greek professions somehow managed to get themselves classified as arduous: hairdressers, radio announcers, waiters, musicians, and on and on and on. The Greek public health-care system spends far more on supplies than the European average - and it is not uncommon, several Greeks tell me, to see nurses and doctors leaving the job with their arms filled with paper towels and diapers and whatever else they can plunder from the supply closets."
Author: Michael Lewis
Title: Boomerang Publisher: Norton
Reading this made for a horrifying realization that some people in important jobs in government, and even the government itself, has not a clue what it is doing and should NOT be in charge of running anything, let alone a country. How this is allowed to happen in beyond me and how - in the UK - Public Sector workers can complain and threaten to strike because they are being asked to work longer and harder and pay more towards their pensions - is breathtaking compared to the fact that everyone else in the country is having to take a reduced pension and work longer and harder and yet public sector workers seem to think that this credit crunch should not affect them as it does everyone else. When we have a bankrupt system, as disgusting as it is that it has been allowed to become so messed up, then we must all do our best to put things right and in my opinion, that means prosecuting those who have bankrupted the system and blatantly hidden the truth.
We have bankers still claiming billions in bonuses and yet are the very people responsible - ultimately - for the credit crunch with their dubious banking practices - and with corporations paying little or no taxes at all while turning over billions and we - the 'little people' are expected to pay through the nose and keep corporate power dominating us with their bully boy tactics and imoral practice where the mighty buck and £ rules the day - not people - not community - not family - but power and control - then until these power hungry corporate bosses realise that we - the people - are who and what should matter first BEFORE PROFIT - and that it is us - the people, who are fed up with their money fuelled way of doing business.
It is time for a change - a different way of thinking, and one where people and community come first and now is the time, before the people of the world REALLY figure out what is happening and REALLY take to the streets and where the media does NOT try and bullshit us and make us all out to be radicals or terrorists but innocent people who have been screwed by the system, screwed by corporate power and double screwed by the governments and power brokers and that now it is time for the people to take back control of the way their government represents THEM and NOT just big business and acts in a responsible and thoughtful manner for COMMUNITY and not just those who bribe them to do what they can to help save them billions.
I am utterly disgusted in how some people behave and all to save a buck.