There are about 7.5 million subprime mortgages floating around in the USA right now. These are at the root of the current financial crisis, for which Paulson has proposed a $700 billion bank
Note that he wants to give the money to the banks. After the banks get that money, the borrowers are still going to be in default.
I realize the situation isn’t as simple as this, but just for grins, let’s attack the problem from the other end. The bailout amount works out to a little over $90,000 per subprime mortgage (not all of which are in default, but let’s include all of them anyhow). Imagine if the government forced the banks holding all those toxic loans to rewrite them as fixed-rate mortgages at reasonable rates, and set up what Republicans like to call a “personal account” for each homeowner with a subprime mortgage. Stick that $90,000 in the account, let it accrue interest, and use the principal and interest to supplement the amount that the homeowner can pay. Suddenly the mortgages look a lot more viable to the banks, which would restore liquidity to the market. And people don’t get thrown out of their homes.
I’m sure there’s a perfectly logical reason why this kind of welfare is bad, but the kind of welfare Paulson wants is good.
Gwen and I saw something about lap-band surgery on TV recently, and I was struck by an idea. Instead of gastric-bypass, lap-band, stomach-stapling, and other forms of bariatric surgery, which are both risky and prone to complications, doctors should introduce therapeutic tapeworms.
I dedicate this idea to the public domain, in the hopes that someone will take it and run with it. I can’t believe nobody’s thought of this before.
As I understand it, the position of the Writer’s Guild of America is that writers should be compensated for online distribution. The studios’ position is that media distributed online has no value.
So when I download a TV show over bittorrent, I’m supporting the studios’ position. They should thank me.
Problem: The U.S. government is running rapidly increasing deficits.
Problem: The FBI/CIA/NSA are collecting enormous amounts of information about U.S. citizens (and non-citizens) that they make relatively little use of.
Problem: In an increasingly diverse media market, advertisers face growing difficulty effectively targeting and reaching their audiences.
Solution: Government spook databases will be licensed to marketing firms for the purpose of developing better advertising approaches. The Department of Homeland Security will be renamed the Department of Homeland Security & Marketing Opportunities. In the course of developing their own demographic models, marketers will discover new patterns and connections, which they will share with DHS&MO (as required under a licensing agreement), resulting both in better spying and better advertising. Database access fees will help reduce the deficit and fund more effective data-collection techniques at the DHS&MO.
Other benefits: Citizens considered to be potential security threats will be enrolled in special marketing programs that will allow them to spend their way into good standing. Conversely, citizens who do not consume enough will receive special government scrutiny to determine whether they may be security threats.
Problem: Bush wants permanent war, keeping citizens scared and Halliburton happy.
Problem: Military recruitment is down, because people don’t like being blown up, and relatively few Americans are so desperate for a job that they’ll risk it.
Problem: Bush wants to create a “guest worker” program, and find a way to permit illegal immigrants to stay in the country without seeming soft on them, perhaps by imposing a fine.
Solution: Create a “guest soldier” program. Our friends from south of the border who want a chance to live in the USA can take their chances getting a green card, or can volunteer immediately for the U.S. military. Illegal immigrants who are rounded up will be given the option of immediate deportation or enlistment. Those who survive a two-year hitch can go back to picking vegetables and ensuring Americans have low food prices (so that we can stay fat and sit on the couch, pretending to blow shit up on our Playstations) without being hassled by the INS.
Yes, I’m joking, but I’m a little surprised some wingnut hasn’t advocated this in earnest yet.