Pharyngula

Where the blame lies

We’re worried about the current financial crisis — in fact, the whole world is concerned. Most of us have simple explanations for the mess we’re in right now, such as excessive deregulation, lenders raking in short term profit at the expense of long term stability, a weakening economy, and the misrule of George W. Bush and his gang of Rethuglican cronies, but we’re missing the real root cause: it was the gays. Some big flaming homo flaunting his ungodly desires one time too many finally tipped God over into a big snit, and as we all know, God’s aim sucks, so when he tossed that lightning bolt of righteous indignation down upon Broadway, he missed and hit Wall Street instead.

No, seriously.

In a September 25th blog post titled ‘The Nation Will Right Itself If It Fixes Sex’, Christian Civil League of Maine Executive Director Michael Heath writes that the financial crisis facing Wall Street is a symptom of America’s sinful sexual culture, including the acceptance of gay unions.

“Our crisis is a symptom, not the cause,” writes Michael Heath. “I am not saying I know whether this financial crisis is God’s judgment or not. It is not for me to know that definitively.”

He doesn’t know for sure, but he does seem to have some rather definitive notions about exactly what would tickle God’s funny bone.

Heath goes on to list policy changes that would make God “crack a smile,” including: End abortion rights and defund non-profit groups supporting it, amend state constitutions to ban gay marriage and eliminate domestic partnerships and civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, and end discrimination against private religious schools and homeschools.

Whoa, that god sure has some specific and sweeping policy proposals for an ineffable being. And for all of his aw-shucks disavowals, Mike seems to have some inside knowledge on God’s quirks.

But wait! He has missed some. It’s not just those gay people…

A related post by Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian at the National Review’s website pushes a similar theme, this time focusing on Friday’s failure of WaMu.

Krikorian suggests the big bank failed because it was too accommodating to minorities, including gays, African-Americans and Hispanics.

Right. It’s the fault of those minorities, the swarming leeches who take and take and take and don’t compliment my golf game and who don’t pay me bonuses and who want me to pay for their cheap little dreams and not my big important dreams (my Lexus my Rolex my mistress’s boob job my condo my implants my home theater system the good booze the cubans the stuff they can’t have it’s mine), profiting like parasites off the hard work of upper echelon MBAs who barely got what they deserved for distributing the wealth to the little people via all their costly purchases of yachts and beemers and rare wines and priceless artwork and ski vacations in Aspen and indulgent jewelry and new consumer electronics every week and goddamn but it makes me angry to see good white male alumni of Yale and Princeton and Harvard forced to bear the blame for the weakness and lack of vision of little brown people and degenerates who threw away the whole American economy because they just had to buy some ticky-tacky cheap ranch-style lath-and-particle-board piece of crap in the suburbs, and then they don’t even worship the True God, the God of prosperity, the God of the moneychangers and the Pharisees, the God who tells me I’m His Number One, the One God who is God who is His Own Son, who is white dammit white and nicely groomed like an American and not one of those dingy off-color immigrants but a Real American with a pinky ring and a good suit and a little cologne so He doesn’t reek of cabbage or whatever other ungodly stinking rubbish the foreigners gobble down, and God Jesus Lord has a good tan and nice abs (but He only likes girls) and a nice firm manly butt (but only leers at cheerleaders) and He’s big and firm down there (maybe He’ll let me watch) and He wants to hold me and run his fingers through my hair (like I was His beloved no like I was His best friend no like I was His best salesman yeah that’s it that’s safe.) God only loves those who look like Him who looks like me. Amen.

Whew. I have to stop trying to imagine how these people think — it’s just too dangerously weird. And those guys are nuts.

(via Greta Christina)

Comments

  1. #1 Funkstronaut
    October 1, 2008

    Could anyone explain to me, how a Utopian social-conservative society would be like?

    Let’s imagine that everything they wanted (Roe v. Wade abolished, “Mud” races are stripped of their Rights, Gays are all sent to re-education camps, etc…) were to happen over the next four years… Would we be a highly-tuned, sleek, and Godly juggernaut of a nation… or would there be chaos in the streets?

  2. #2 Rey Fox
    October 1, 2008

    “”I am not saying I know whether this financial crisis is God’s judgment or not.”

    Then shut up. In fact, shut up anyway.

  3. #3 Zeno
    October 1, 2008

    I’m pretty sure it’s the fault of the atheistic left-handed gay illegal immigrants. Yeah, especially the liberal ones and environmentalist tree-huggers. That’s the ticket.

    Of course, I can say that because I don’t belong to all of those groups. Not all of them.

  4. #4 Pteryxx
    October 1, 2008

    At least you CAN do it and survive the experience mostly intact.

    Now just imagine if one of the entitlement people actually managed to do half as good a job of thinking like YOU. The implosion might make us think the LHC went up.

  5. #5 Jared
    October 1, 2008

    I’m not sure if economic disaster would be his forte. It seems like a new trick for his god… I mean, plagues, hurricanes, volcanoes, floods, etc. Now he’s manipulating the economy?

  6. #6 Tom Coward
    October 1, 2008

    I live in Maine, where Michael Heath and the Christian Civic League hail from. This group is truly creepy, and has an obsession with homosexuality bordering on the absurd. (On second thought, they are way past that border.) They are so far right they have been slapped down by Republican candiates for office! Mainers being the kind of people they are, the Christian Civic League has minimal support, and are generally regarded as a laughingstock, IMHO. A lot of this stems from their campaing a few years ago, openly publicised on their website, to gather information on gay and lesbian political figures for purposes of blackmail. (They didn’t call it blackmail, but they did publicly solicit tips on the sexual inclinations of politicians and other government officials.) This caused great embarassment, and should have (but did not) resulted in criminal prosecution, also IMO.

  7. #7 MikeM
    October 1, 2008

    Well, if it’ll help, I’ll stop masturbating in the shower.

  8. #8 Andrew
    October 1, 2008

    Heath? Could he be related to Sarah Heath Palin? Are many Heaths similarly fundagelical morons?

  9. #9 wazza
    October 1, 2008

    I know what that’s like, PZ… I had to pretend to be a conservative for a political discussion (so that we would have some conservatives… yay for liberal universities!)

    I ended up blaming slavery on liberals. Well, the BAD slavery. And it’s symptomatic of the whole thing that in that state I could discern a difference.

  10. #10 raven
    October 1, 2008

    Well it is plausible that god sent Moron in Chief Bush and Darth Cheney to torment us with a series of disasters for 8 years.

    This would mean that the Wall Street plutocrats are the modern day equivalent of a plague of locusts. Few Americans would dispute that right now.

    Let’s hope they weren’t just a warmup act.

  11. #11 The Cheerful Nihilist
    October 1, 2008

    Well, if you look at it through the right lens,* the Palins are good for the economy ’cause their daughter has a baby by a white boy so she won’t go on the welfare rolls.

    On the other hand, the Palins are a financial disaster ’cause none of this shit happened until they showed up on the scene. It’s obviously a matter of cause and effect.

    *pun intended, except that my use of “On the other hand” damns the whole thing by being a mixed metaphor.

    And I barely read this post ’cause I have to (get to) go teach little children tomorrow. (Now that’s what’s wrong with Amurica.)

  12. #12 jrochest
    October 1, 2008

    Wow, that’s quite a sentence.

    I stand in awe. And I quite agree.

  13. #13 The Cheerful Nihilist
    October 1, 2008

    I went back (after pouring another whisky) and read yer post, PZ. Now I get it.

    Was the wine red or white?

    Cheers!

  14. #14 Kimpatsu
    October 1, 2008

    This attitude is perfectly consonant with their real worldview, which they never let slip in public (they’re too diplomatic for that), but which goes like this:
    God sits up in heaven with a grab-bag full of souls, and whenever a conception occurs, god snatches a soul from his bag and ensouls the conceptus. (This means that there are three people in the bedroom, but we’ll leave that matter for another day…)
    However, god saves his brightest, shiniest, bestest souls for Americans, who are god’s Chosen PeopleTM, and we can’t possibly have all these immigrants (who are, by definition, not born American and thus are no in possession of the brightest, shiniest, bestest souls) ruining god’s Chosen NationTM, now can we?
    It also explains why they care nothing for the damage their attempts to crowbar ID into schools does; nothing can remove the good ol’ US of A from the world’s No. 1 spot, because it’s god’s elect. Consequently, science education in schools (never mind the Chinese catching up) is irrelevant.

  15. #15 tim Rowledge
    October 1, 2008

    I’m pretty sure it’s the fault of the atheistic left-handed gay illegal immigrants. Yeah, especially the liberal ones and environmentalist tree-huggers. That’s the ticket.

    Hmm. Left-handed, sure. Atheist, sure. Liberal, kinda. Environmentalist, ok. Can’t take the blame for the rest though. Oh, actually I’m an immigrant. Forgot that bit; I’m so used to assuming it all belongs to me anyway.

    PZ, remember to take a breath every now and then. Breath. In, out, in, out. That’s it, calm, calm, easy….. there now, isn’t that better?

  16. #16 Kobra
    October 1, 2008

    Oh, okay. So if we all join the Klu Klux Klan and kill every black and Hispanic person, and hang a gay person from every tree, it will solve all of our problems?

    Pfft.

  17. I not worried about someone’s relatively harmless superstition. I worry more about people who are smart and corrupt — like Henry Paulson. I find it interesting that he has come up with a solution to the economic crisis that will save his ass at taxpayer expense.

    One of the companies whose stock stands to lose a lot of value should the government not fund a bailout is Goldman Sachs. Paulson is the former CEO of Goldman Sachs so I assume he owns a pile of GS stock. His net worth is estimated to be around $700 million. I wonder how much value GS stock will lose if the bailout doesn’t happen fast. I don’t know, but I am guessing it could be wiped out and that could be a good chunk of change for Paulson.

    If Congress does pass a bailout plan — and I hope they don’t — it would be nice if they waited for Goldman Sachs to go down first.

  18. #18 SC
    October 1, 2008

    I liked this.

    ***

    so when he tossed that lightning bolt of righteous indignation down upon Christopher Street, he missed and hit Wall Street instead.

  19. #19 Patricia
    October 1, 2008

    Damn PZ! When you decide to step up to the pulpit you are one badass muther%^&*$#.
    I sit down in the third row.
    Amen! Amen!

  20. #20 DominEditrix
    October 1, 2008

    I’m pretty sure it’s the fault of the atheistic left-handed gay illegal immigrants. Yeah, especially the liberal ones and environmentalist tree-huggers.

    Three and a half out of six. Well, four and a half, if I don’t have to actually hug a tree. Who knew one could have such power over the economy, yet still not be able to buy a hadron collider of my very own.

  21. #21 woozy
    October 1, 2008

    Oh, okay. So if we all join the Klu Klux Klan and kill every black and Hispanic person, and hang a gay person from every tree, it will solve all of our problems?

    Well, sure. All my problems would be solved if every-one who didn’t believe the exact same things I do were to disappear. Likewise, all my enemy’s problems would be solved if I and every one who didn’t believe the exact same things she does were to disappear.

    Oh… well, all problems arrising from people not having the common sense to be just like me (or her). All other problems that might occur would, by definition, have nothing to do with our actions and thus would be out of our control.

  22. #22 Ron Sullivan
    October 1, 2008

    Oh my. You do look good in a rant.

  23. #23 Scott from Oregon
    October 1, 2008

    “Krikorian suggests the big bank failed because it was too accommodating to minorities, including gays, African-Americans and Hispanics.”

    Actually, it wasn’t the MINORITIES themselves, it was the policy that came out of the Clinton years that said “help minorities own homes”.

    Fannie and Freddie then got into the habit of lending money to people who didn’t have the stats to recieve the loan, in other words, if they weren’t a minority, they would not have qualified. This led to more and more lax lending by the two, which spread throughtout the lending institutions who competed with Freddie and Fannie. You mix that with the Rederal Reserve holding interest rates down too low for too long to float a sick economy (too much debt, not enough production) and a public who quit working and got on the real estate band wagon- running up credit card debt and paying it off with home loans- and you can see the problem coming from about 2003.

    This is just half the problem

    The financial institutions used all of this wheeling and dealing in the mortgage industry to creat phony paper which they kept splitting and selling.

    It isn’t the housing bubble which is what Paulson is afraid of. It is the derivitives piled high on top of the housing bubble, much of which was bundled and sold overseas.

    One 300,000 failed mortgage could represent something like 3 million in paper tacked on top of the mortgage.

    This crap is owned by the big boys, and there is zero value in it if the mortgage has zero value.

    Now you get it?

    The best thing to happen is to have the whole thing come down in a pile of egg on your face cards…

    The Federal Reserve should be opened up like a can of spaghetti O’s and all the meatballs should be skewered with a fork.

    “Deregulation” of the markets wasn’t the problem. Fraud laws are on the books. Fraud was perpetrated and people like Chris Dodd and Barney Frank looked the other way. Fannie and Freddie were part of the Washington culture that were in on it, and once again regular folks suffer the most.

    Not only should all Americans call for no bailout, they should call for criminal investigations, starting with Bernanke and Paulson and working backwards down the food chain.

    Just like government, financial instutions should be smaller and regionalized. Otherwise, the elite who make the top tier of these ponzi schemes will just keep screwing it all up, while regular folks who did nothing wrong suffer the bad consequences of the actions of dispicable people.

  24. #24 Schaden Freud
    October 1, 2008

    Yep, once again, it’s all the gays’ fault.

  25. #25 BMS
    October 1, 2008

    It’s the fault of those minorities, [S...N...I...P...] God only loves those who look like Him who looks like me.

    You’ve been reading Mark Morford, haven’t you?

    That is one awe-inspiringly beautiful sentence.

    Thank you.

  26. #26 The Cheerful Nihilist
    October 1, 2008

    SC,
    The original quote was

    God’s aim sucks, so when he tossed that lightning bolt of righteous indignation down upon Broadway,* he missed and hit Wall Street instead.

    Must you bring up Stonewall at this late hour?

    Patricia,

    I’m still waiting for a smutty remark from the other thread. Hurry, ’cause bed-wises is the right-wises about now.

    *Please God, if you exist, do this just once. Or daily.

  27. #27 Joe Z.
    October 1, 2008

    Maine, huh? My neck of the woods. Oh dear. Well, at least they don’t seem that influential (which may explain why I’ve never heard of them), but I can’t say it surprises that Maine has such a group. I grew up attending a fundamentalist church, and my mother still goes to one.

    Actually, I think that’s my fault. My mother was always a Christian, but she stopped going to church for a while. When she decided to go back to church, she picked the one attended by me, her fundamentalist son. Now I’m an atheist, and my mother is sinking deeper and deeper into creepy creationist claptrap. I feel so guilty. I feel even more guilty that I haven’t told her about my disbelief. I’m such a coward.

    But enough moping. Let’s see how I stack up on the “enemies of America” checklist: I’m an atheist, left-handed, a liberal, and an environmentalist, but neither gay nor an immigrant. Oh, but my father’s an immigrant, and from Iran no less! Surely that counts for something in the big conspiracy against the Chosen Americans.

  28. #28 Lago
    October 1, 2008

    Mike Heath:
    “I’ll keep polishing my stones and looking for the right time and place to unleash them on this pink Goliath. I know the people are with me in their hearts because if they weren’t then they wouldn’t be reasonable, happy and full of common sense. Maine people really are gay!”

    I am wondering if Mr. Heath has a wide stance on this issue?

  29. #29 woozy
    October 1, 2008

    ‘nother “family guy reference”:

    Peter (as a child): Why did all the dinosaurs die out?
    Museum Guard: Because you touch yourself at night.

    Makes the same amount of sense…

  30. #30 Hugo
    October 1, 2008

    Why didn’t we see this before? It’s all so obvious now…

    Thanks, Michael Heath. For BLOWING. MY. MIND.

  31. #31 Ichthyic
    October 1, 2008

    I am wondering if Mr. Heath has a wide stance on this issue?

    LOL

    hell, it’s not even funny any more, since it’s probably accurate.

    you just have to kinda feel sorry for these poor bastards.

    well, at least until they open their fat mouths.

  32. #32 Kel
    October 1, 2008

    Peter (as a child): Why did all the dinosaurs die out?
    Museum Guard: Because you touch yourself at night.

    lol, possibly the best Family Guy moment ever.

  33. #33 Patricia
    October 1, 2008

    #26 – Cheerful – I’m so sorry to have lost track of my non-slutty remarks!
    It’s been a hard day for us strumpets. What with Nick Gotts Dungfish commiting four deadly Pharyngula sins, and the cracker going viral again.
    Then Jared hauled out his snake and made me squeal like a school girl!
    The bosom heaves. I do beg your pardon. Today was filled with instances of needing to rinse out the pantalets. I’ll try to do better tomorrow.

  34. #34 clinteas
    October 1, 2008

    Im interested in the sociological and psychological roots for this fascinating meme that is fear and loathing of gays,immigrants,”liberals”atheists,anything other than white conservative christian small-town-minded heterosexuals with 2 kids and 1.4 cars really….

    It seems such a dominant force in american culture,predominantly with the white christian small-town folks,I wonder what the reasons are.Can any of the sociology guys here recommend a good book on the issue?

  35. #35 Corey S.
    October 1, 2008

    “Excessive deregulation” is as meaningless to economics as “intelligent design” is to biology.

    Deregulation, as a rule, is almost always good for consumers, and as such, is good for the American economy. Free markets are not the cause of the current financial crisis. In fact, the opposite is much closer to the truth. Fannie and Freddie implicitly ensured banks that they would bail them out in the event of a crisis and in doing so encouraged banks to give out more loans than they otherwise would have. Government involvement in the market for loans distorted incentives and information, leading to the collapse we’re seeing now. The current bailout does nothing to fix the problem. If anything, it increases government involvement and indicates to investors that the government will simply bail them out next time they screw up.

    I’m no professional economist, but this explanation seems to be more intellectually satisfying than that offered by politicians (especially those running for election this year). For the opinion of a great economist on this crisis and other economics issues, I recommend Greg Mankiw’s blog as a great starting point. He’s brilliant, he’s about as non-partisan as they come (though he has advised Republicans in the past), and while he’s not as prolific as PZ, he usually posts daily. Also check out the Economix blog at the NY Times.com website and the Undercover Economist at FT.com.

  36. #36 Bob Vogel
    October 1, 2008

    Jesus, PZ. You nailed it perfectly.

  37. #37 Luger Otter Robinson
    October 1, 2008

    I gather that Henry Paulson won’t suffer by Goldman Sachs going bankrupt (if it were in danger of doing so) because he was forced to sell his shares to avoid a possible conflict.

  38. #38 moother
    October 1, 2008

    1st class rant!

  39. #39 scott from Oreogn
    October 1, 2008
  40. #40 SC
    October 1, 2008

    Must you bring up Stonewall at this late hour?

    Didn’t have Stonewall at all in mind, actually. Just substituting a legendary gay throughfare (in my old neighborhood, incidentally) for one that isn’t. Though given current shifts, perhaps I should have said Ave. B or something…

  41. #41 Ichthyic
    October 1, 2008

    I’m no professional economist

    you don’t say?

  42. #42 SC
    October 1, 2008

    Since the market fundamentalists are still with us, I think I’ll post this Friedman-Hayek-Pinochet link on a few more threads to give it some more exposure:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/grandin11172006.html

  43. #43 retrocalypse
    October 1, 2008

    Does anyone have a link to the original blog post? I can’t seem to locate it, but I see plenty of stories about it. Thanks in advance!

  44. #44 Adam Stein
    October 1, 2008

    Let’s talk about a chosen behavior (OK, “lifestyle” — it fits):

    People who practice religion choose to go to a place of worship, tithe, attend ecumenical functions, and give their children religious training. They choose which faith to be active in; in fact, most will tell you that they choose to believe. Religion has lots of special rights, including tax exemptions and a privileged place in public discourse. I don’t know what the rate of religious conversion is, but people can and do swap religious faiths at (wait for it) will; they can even give up religious faith entirely.

    I’m surprised the Baptists aren’t blaming the Methodists or the Lutherans or the Anglican Church for hurricanes and such.

  45. #46 JHS
    October 1, 2008

    Flameity Flame Flame

    Voila! My gayness has single-handedly torched the largest economy on earth. Who knew it was that easy?

    Please excuse me while I roast a marshmallow or two.

  46. #47 Infinitejones
    October 1, 2008

    When, in 2118, Hollywood comes to re-tell the blood-and-glory story of the Financial Crisis of 2008, I can imagine someone like Christian Bale blasting out that monologue in a NYC alleyway, while repeatedly slamming the head of a foreclosed minority in the door of his Lexus…

  47. #48 woozy
    October 1, 2008

    from: http://mikeheath.blogspot.com/2008/09/nation-will-right-itself-if-it-fixes.html

    Ruth Graham told her husband Billy years ago that God would have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah if He doesn’t judge America.

    Huh! Translation? Explain… I mean, I’ll go to the ends of the earth to try and understand my oppenents’ arguments but they sure go out of their way to make it difficult.

    I mean… my god, they really do think like this, don’t they?

    ====
    By the way, I think the ads on PageOneQ are kinda hot. At least this liberal hetero male thinks so.

  48. #49 Bailin
    October 1, 2008

    In economics, I prefer a 14th century-preacher named John Ball than any 21th century-theocon.

    “When Adam dalf, and Eve span, who was thanne a gentilman? From the beginning all men were created equal by nature, and that servitude had been introduced by the unjust and evil oppression of men, against the will of God, who, if it had pleased Him to create serfs (=workers), surely in the beginning of the world would have appointed who should be a serf (=worker) and who a lord’ (=employer)”.

    Of course, the social reciptes of Ball were far from moderate:

    – uprooting the tares that are accustomed to destroy the grain
    – first killing the great lords of the realm
    – then slaying the lawyers, justices and jurors
    – and finally rooting out everyone whom they knew to be harmful to the community in future.

  49. #50 Clemens
    October 1, 2008

    Do these fuckwits even look around in the world? If godlessness would result in punishment, please tell me why these countries pretty much rock:

    * New Zealand
    * The Netherlands
    * All the Scandinavian countries

    Shouldn’t god smite these first? All of the above for their same-sex marriage, the first for its agnostic prime minister who also is a woman (Timoteus 2:11 or so…).

    Scandinavian countries also have quite a relaxed attitude towards sex education and dare to claim that it is YOUR business alone whom you sleep with.

  50. #51 Greta Christina
    October 1, 2008

    Damn, PZ. First-rate rant. I gotta send you stuff more often.

  51. #52 Ross S
    October 1, 2008

    Terrific rant but, in a sentence that long, surely you overlooked the obligatory reference to ‘watney’s red barrel’

  52. #53 Luger Otter Robinson
    October 1, 2008

    I had a look at a letter the Christian Civil League of Maine published: http://www.cclmaine.org/Record/Stories/03%2009%2005.htm
    and I must say I agreed when they say: “We are offended by Governor John Baldacci’s characterization of some of Maine’s foremost religious leaders and citizens as “cuckoo clocks” “. Too right. I have a cuckoo clock and it is very useful, keeping good time. The comment is deeply offensive to all cuckoo clocks, everywhere.
    They do have a point though when they say: “Cultural endorsement of homosexuality leads to a higher incidence of homosexual practice and the negative side affects in physical, mental and social/relational health”. Yeah,right, it might cause me to become a homosexual at the age of 53
    “It will lead to the acceptance of other undesirable sexual unions including polygamy, transgenerational sex, and incest simply on the basis that they are consensual and protected as civil rights”. Yeah, right, paedophilia will become compulsory.

  53. #54 Michael Scott
    October 1, 2008

    As someone who got my degree in English literature, I just want to say that sentence was fantastic.

  54. #55 Rik.
    October 1, 2008

    “It will lead to the acceptance of other undesirable sexual unions including polygamy, transgenerational sex, and incest simply on the basis that they are consensual and protected as civil rights”

    What’s transgenerational sex?

    And, as long as it is between consenting adults, I have no problems at all with the other two…

  55. #56 Stephen Wells
    October 1, 2008

    Er… PZ? Deep breaths. Deeeeep breaths. That’s better.

    Seriously, that was an awesome piece of writing. (Where’s the damn book already?)

    :)

  56. #57 Scaryduck
    October 1, 2008

    What’s transgenerational sex?

    So, now you’re telling me the Grab-a-Granny nights are out, too. Sheesh.

  57. #58 clinteas
    October 1, 2008

    //So, now you’re telling me the Grab-a-Granny nights are out, too. Sheesh.//

    Let me go vomit a little,brb…..

  58. #59 Azkyroth
    October 1, 2008

    What’s transgenerational sex?

    Hopefully a portmanteau. I certainly hope these fruitcakes are inspired to try a threesome with a transformer and a generator. :P

  59. #60 ptet
    October 1, 2008

    Ladies & gentlemen – I give you HYPNOPALIN!

    Never mind the words – just look into the eyes…

  60. #61 DiscoveredJoys
    October 1, 2008

    The truly creepy thing is that you know that if the hated groups were suddenly ‘disappeared’ (anti-raptured?) then the hate would switch to white trash, trade union members, people who drive compact cars, Catholics, atheists, people who don’t own their own assault rifle…

  61. #62 Matt Heath
    October 1, 2008

    O FFS: Edward Heath, Sarah Heath Palin, this guy: is a deed poll a lot of paperwork?

  62. #63 Tim
    October 1, 2008

    There is sin involved, but the sin is greed, which the godbotherers have largely ignored, with an eye to the building fund. We seem to be at the climax of a mighty cluster fuck, and Paulson’s remedy is as an inadequate (But very expensive) snot rag expected to mop up the aftermath of an orgy. As far as more carnal sinners are concerned, if a judgment day ever occurs, they’ll find out then, it’s not our business.

  63. #64 Jeremy
    October 1, 2008

    Kimpatsu@14:

    It also explains why they care nothing for the damage their attempts to crowbar ID into schools does; nothing can remove the good ol’ US of A from the world’s No. 1 spot, because it’s god’s elect. Consequently, science education in schools (never mind the Chinese catching up) is irrelevant.

    If science defies the True Word of God?, then only by reaching dead last in science education can America prove its worth for salvation to Teh Lord. I see their plan now.

  64. #65 JT
    October 1, 2008

    I thought maybe PZ hired one of his Catholic fans to write that rant for him. Then I realized all the words were spelled correctly and the grammar actually made sense, never mind that the thesis was supported. Obviously the rant of a liberal elite. If you’re going for Poe’s Law, you need to dumb it down a little more.

  65. #66 Masks of Eris
    October 1, 2008

    Hm, “policy changes that would make God ‘crack a smile'”?

    Don’t these people remember that “God’s got a sick sense of humor”?

  66. #67 BluesBassist
    October 1, 2008

    PZ wrote:

    Most of us have simple explanations for the mess we’re in right now, such as excessive deregulation, lenders raking in short term profit at the expense of long term stability, a weakening economy, and the misrule of George W. Bush and his gang of Rethuglican cronies

    It’s ironic that most of the “simple explanations” PZ posits above are no less nonsensical than those given by the religious wackos he excoriates. (The out of control spending under the Bush administration is a legitimate factor, but that was also sanctioned by the Democrat Congress. Same with the Iraq war.)

    This financial crises and proposed “bailout” is illustrative of the fact that the two candidates, and indeed their parties, agree on the principles of every important policy. They agree on gigantic government, ruinous taxation, regulation, public debt, and aggressive interventionism both foreign and domestic. Is it any wonder so few people vote? You might as well go out and do a rain dance on November 4th for all the difference it will make.

  67. #68 Moe
    October 1, 2008

    Imigants, I knew it was them! Even when I knew it was the plutocrats – I knew it was them!

  68. #69 Peter Mc
    October 1, 2008

    Well, if it’ll help, I’ll stop masturbating in the shower.

    Much Mutley-like sniggering. 10/10.

  69. #70 Lago
    October 1, 2008

    “Ruth Graham told her husband Billy years ago that God would have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah if He doesn’t judge America.”

    In the Bible God does not destroy S&G for having good ol’ fashion butt-sex. He does it because the city did not show hospitality to strangers (male strangers). This was the sin of the city. Lot, our “hero,” of the story, offers his 14 year old virgin daughters to the mob that comes to ask about the strangers that showed up at his house. He is like, “Hey, these are my guests, ..if you need to rape someone,,,here are my under-age virgin daughters.

    Lot finally gives the mob one of his ho’s (a lesser wife who is about equal to a sex slave, that also does the dishes). The mob returns her dead the next day (he cuts her up and buries the parts in different places). God found this to be a sign of Lot’s morality that he saved the male strangers from the mob by giving over one of his mostly useless (outside of sex and the dishes of course) women-folk, and so God smiled on Lot. :}

    Lot later goes on to have sex with his daughters in a cave. His excuse was that they got him drunk and made him do it. Somehow I doubt the guys story…

    Ah, the bible and its morality..huh?

  70. #71 True Bob
    October 1, 2008

    Wow, that was, like, real stream-of-consciousness channelling there, PZ. It reads not just like you were trying to get inside their heads, but that you actually had a Shrubco, Inc Warrantless Wiretap installed!

  71. #72 Yodood
    October 1, 2008

    Methinks you enjoyed your Jebus rant a bit too much.

  72. #73 Nick Gotts
    October 1, 2008

    “When Adam dalf, and Eve span, who was thanne a gentilman?” – Bailin, quoting John Ball

    As Sellar and Yeatman pointed out in1066 and all that:
    “The answer was of course, Adam, but the Fathers of the Church had concealed this dangerous knowledge.”

  73. #74 Nick Gotts
    October 1, 2008

    Corey S.@35,
    Here we are at the end of three decades of US and indeed global deregulation, facing the biggest financial crisis in nearly a century, and you’re still claiming excessive regulation is the problem? Fortunately, you’re now going to be in a tiny minority of “free market” ideologues – in the UK, even leaders of the Conservative Party have dropped their “deregulate” mantra, with the Shadow Chancellor [main opposition spokesperson on economic matters], in an awesome display of chutzpah, dissing the government for failing to impose “sensible regulation”.

    You might also note that these decades have shown the real incomes of most people in the US pretty much static, so how has this deregulation been “good for the consumer”? Oh, I see, good for those who consume the most – the very rich, who have seen their purchasing power soar.

  74. #75 Yodood
    October 1, 2008

    Methinks you enjoyed your Jebus rant a bit too much.

  75. #76 Cuttlefish, OM
    October 1, 2008

    Sometimes, when your target is running around like a headless chicken, you don’t even have to move your sights at all–they’ll just run right in front of your barrel, and you can take the same shot over again. This time, I got two:

    They say that God created Man
    As part of an enormous plan,
    And did so in His image, cos he loves us, every one.
    When men of God discriminate
    And treat their fellow men with hate
    They do so with the knowledge it’s what Jesus would have done.
    When righteous men, in righteous ways
    Hate atheists, or Jews, or gays,
    Or Muslims, pagans, redheads, southpaws, foreigners, or Voodoo
    I know at first it may seem odd,
    But clearly, you’ve created God
    In your own image, when you find he hates the same folks you do.

    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2008/05/in-his-own-image.html

    My God is pretty self-assured, and quite convinced He’s right.
    He made me in His image, so He’s green-eyed, blond, and white;
    And He’s very, very wrathful with the folks who disagree;
    He’ll hold a grudge for centuries–Oh, wait–that might be me.

    He’s insecure enough to want to hear how much you love Him
    And He never will forgive you if there’s someone else above Him;
    He’ll jealously react to any threat to His domain
    By smiting all His enemies–Oh, wait–that’s me again.

    He’ll make the world a better place for those who think like Him
    For those in opposition, well, the situation’s grim;
    He’ll call jihad, or else crusade–some form of Holy War
    Because He knows He’s always right–Oh, wait–that’s me once more.

    He’s handsome, bearded, steely-eyed, deep-voiced and somewhat haughty
    So wonderful, his naughty bits are never seen as naughty
    But perfectly proportioned, grand and firm and never shrinking,
    A miracle of awesomeness–Oh, wait–that’s wishful thinking.

    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2008/05/oh-wait.html

  76. #77 clinteas
    October 1, 2008

    Oh Man,Cuttlefish,Im so going to send that to all my facebook friends lol….Awesome mate !

  77. #78 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    October 1, 2008

    Government involvement in the market for loans distorted incentives and information, leading to the collapse we’re seeing now.

    Yeah, teh guvmint made ‘em knowingly shuffle billions of dollars of bad mortgages around, push for lowered interest rates, create swaps, make a mad dash for sub-prime securities then dump ‘em off for margins. All because the guv’mint was forcing the innocent mortgage brokers to refinance, hide the details on loans, push motgages through with no income verification, tell people that they can afford “more more more bigger houses” cause they won’t be paying any principle for 5 whole years!

    I see that conservative economists are blaming all the minorities who used to be redlined because of their race or their neighborhoods. “We would have been responsible if the government hadn’t told us we had to be irresponsible!”

    And as for the rant – very good. At Wells Fargo I have had people tell me that they are pulling their accounts because we offer bilingual Spanish cust support.

  78. #79 Jim A
    October 1, 2008

    At some level, what we have here is the “free will” conundrum. If God is all-powerfull, and all-knowing, how can we have free will? Make no mistake, economics is just the aggregation of individual decisions: what to buy, when to borrow, who to hire, how to save. This can only be due to “God’s will,” if we firmly believe in predestination and NOT in the idea that we have free will and actually make our own decisions. Personally, I’ve always felt that predestination is only a short hop from a very depressing version of nihlism.

  79. #80 Ian
    October 1, 2008

    It’s very revealing that this god cares only about what happens in the USA, and evidently pays no attention whatsoever to the rest of the world!

    Even in the USA, this god is weird. It cares not a jot about appalling violence, but becomes angry when people love each other enough to want to marry?

    I think I’ll skip that god.

  80. #81 SteveM
    October 1, 2008

    Re transgenerational sex:

    Isn’t that already a commonly accepted practice, if not even an envied one? Aren’t most “trophy wives” typically young enough to be the guy’s daughter (and sometimes granddaughter)?

    Clearly he is using it as a euphemism for “pedophilia” (actually child molesting) but didn’t quite think through the actual meaning.

  81. #82 Ian H Spedding FCD
    October 1, 2008

    If God is such an Intelligent Designer and homosexuality is so offensive to Him, why did He include it in His design for the Universe in the first place?

  82. #83 Nick Gotts
    October 1, 2008

    Make no mistake, economics is just the aggregation of individual decisions: what to buy, when to borrow, who to hire, how to save. – Jim A

    That would only be true if the things we buy, borrow, etc. had no physical properties and were always available in unlimited quantities, physical infrastructure wasn’t needed or lasted forever, we were immortal…

  83. #84 Joel
    October 1, 2008

    Fuck! I knew they’d find a way to blame it on us gays one way or another. Bastards!

  84. #85 Stephen Wells
    October 1, 2008

    @83: Actually I think economics is just the aggregation of individual decisions, in the same sense that the Atlantic Ocean is just an aggregation of individual water molecules.

  85. #86 Piscean Rubble
    October 1, 2008

    That would almost be funny in if it weren’t so flipping terrifying! And these are the people casting their votes. We’re in for a world of hurt…

  86. #87 tsg
    October 1, 2008

    “I am not saying I know whether this financial crisis is God’s judgment or not. It is not for me to know that definitively.”

    Ah, yes, the old “I’m not saying, I’m just saying…” qualifier. You can always tell the information to follow is going to be retrieved from a particular orifice.

  87. #88 Sven DiMilo
    October 1, 2008

    stream of consciousness, multiple POVs (PsOV?)…
    This is the most postmodernisticalish Pharyngula post ever! We need to get that guy Barubee Berooby Bearoobydoo–you know, that dangeral guy–to run some Textual Analysis on this shit, stat!

  88. #89 varlo
    October 1, 2008

    It’s pretty clear what the problem is and I’m surprised that none of you see it: God is getting old, his/her eyesight is failing, and when he/she tries to program in the coordinates for his intended target he/she gets them wrong. One smite button pushed, lots or correlary damage. If we all leave a lttle more in the collection plate, perhaps he/she can afford a pair of glasses. On second thought, forget all of the foregoing. They fundies are just compound retards. But scary ones.

  89. #90 CosmicLint
    October 1, 2008

    Calm down, PZ; you’re gonna burst a vessel. But it was good…

  90. #91 Nick Gotts
    October 1, 2008

    Stephen Wells@85,
    I’m not sure what you mean with your analogy, which could be taken either way. The Atlantic Ocean has: a seabed, shaped by plate tectonics and sedimentary processes, tides, controlled by the sun and moon, waves, affected by atmospheric influences, precipitation and evaporation, a wide range of chemical constituents other than water, trillions of organisms… In other words, it’s not even close to being just an aggregation of water molecules. If that’s what you mean, of course I agree. My point about the economy is that the way it functions and malfunctions relies on the physical and in some cases biological properties of both human beings and an enormous range of non-human constituents, from cows to buildings to bacteria to bodies of ore to the sun… it is an inextricable part of larger systems, and cannot in any sense whatever be reduced to an aggregation of human decisions or actions.

  91. #92 Julie Stahlhut
    October 1, 2008

    Too accommodating of MINORITIES? Please tell me they mean the minority of people who were at the root of this mess. Or maybe they just mean that some of those clones who got temporarily rich and then blew up the banking system by hard-selling unaffordable mortgages to naive clients and then reselling pools of bad debt all the way up the financial food chain might even have been gay, or black, or female, or immigrants.

    Note to self: If you ever come up with a nefarious plan to rip off your fellow citizens to the tune of billions of dollars via the public and private sectors at the same time, delegate the dirty work to straight white churchgoing males so that you won’t get smitten by divine wrath in mid-plot.

  92. #93 Bill Ockham
    October 1, 2008

    #8 – Somehow I don’t think he’s related to the Heath Brothers, nor is Sarah. Percy would laugh his ass off at those bigots if it were true, but he really wouldn’t like it.

  93. #94 Michelle
    October 1, 2008

    You know, the more these folks talk and the more I think God is a whiny little brat. Seriously. He can’t be a grown man when he’s acting like that.

    “YEA? You don’t give me what I want? Well then… well… I’ll crash your wallet! How’s THAT?!”

  94. #95 The Petey
    October 1, 2008

    In a September 25th blog post titled ‘The Nation Will Right Itself If It Fixes Sex’, Christian Civil League of Maine Executive Director Michael Heath writes that the financial crisis facing Wall Street is a symptom of America’s sinful sexual culture, including the acceptance of gay unions.

    I admit it,
    It was ALL my fault…

    I need a spanking

  95. #96 Isherwood
    October 1, 2008

    That was one awesome rant, PZ. Bravo!

  96. #97 Robin
    October 1, 2008

    WOW! A reference to Depeche Mode #66, awesome poetry by Cuttlefish and a first class rant by PZ. What a great way to start my morning!

  97. #98 raven
    October 1, 2008

    What’s transgenerational sex?

    Mostly, it is when rich old guys ditch their first wife for a younger, prettier, trophy wife.

    John McCain did that. So do a lot of executives, Wall Street thieves, and politicians.

    Using the wackos reasoning, McCain is partly responsible for destroying the USA via Weapons of Mass Financial Destruction. Oops, as a member of the Theothuglicans, he is. Oh well, a stopped clock is right twice a day.

  98. #99 Sean Foley
    October 1, 2008

    “…America’s sinful sexual culture, including the acceptance of gay unions.”

    Curse you, Teamsters Local 743!

  99. #100 GK4
    October 1, 2008

    Tim Wise, a white anti-racist organizer and commentator, recently tackled some of the same claims. Bottom line: gays and lesbians, non-white people, and the Community Reinvestment Act are *not* to blame.

    “Racism as Reflex: Reflections on Conservative Scapegoating”
    http://www.redroom.com/blog/tim-wise/racism-reflex-reflections-conservative-scapegoating

  100. #101 wombat
    October 1, 2008

    “Minorities” is a dodge. But government did have a rather large roll to play in this debacle. A large part of problem stems from the changes made to the CRA in 1995. This law put certain burdens on large lending institutions to provide home loans to borrowers who weren’t in the proper financial position to pay them back. The CRA required numerical targets, i.e. quotas for loans to low income areas. The expansion of these loans created a the housing bubble and home prices rose more sharply than inflation. With all of this phantom money, more and more individuals also took out home equity lines on homes that weren’t really worth what the bubble had blown them up to.

    Because of some of the terms required to get these CRA loans (namely, floating rate mortgages and 100% financing), the owners had no equity and couldn’t afford to pay their bills when the payments ballooned. A rash of foreclosures ensued and the bubble burst sending house prices tumbling and the large banks that bundled these CRA loans (the largest being Fannie and Freddie) holding severely depressed assets. And thus do we arrive at the crisis. Both government and the lending institutions can share the blame. Government created the environment through legislation that bought political votes but was fundamentally unstable in the long term while looking the other way while appointees to Fannie and Freddie cooked the books to hide the shaky fundamentals. The private banks who participated in the bundling are guilty of topping off this house of cards by extending credit past the breaking point and then attempting to paper over it with fishy accounting.

    There is no good answer that will save everyone from financial pain. But flooding the banks with $700 billion for depressed assets that aren’t worth that will put a kick start on some serious inflation and pass off the bill to tax payers. These banks that participated need to crash and need to be forced to sell the assets for what they can get for them instead of waiting for the government to buy them high. Credit will crunch for awhile but it NEEDS to crunch a bit. There are many many smaller regional banks that have plenty of liquidity to make loans to qualified buyers. I can guarantee you that these borrowers WILL find the lenders. Let the system flush out the bad actors and return to a sustainable growth cycle.

  101. #102 King Aardvark
    October 1, 2008

    Yeah, I’ve noticed that a lot of hardcore Christian guys sound like they have homoerotic lusts for Jesus. You’d think that this would lead to a common ground and greater understanding of homosexuals, but strangely, it does not. Hard-ons for Jesus.

  102. #103 Nick Gotts
    October 1, 2008

    This law put certain burdens on large lending institutions to provide home loans to borrowers who weren’t in the proper financial position to pay them back. The CRA required numerical targets, i.e. quotas for loans to low income areas. The expansion of these loans created a the housing bubble and home prices rose more sharply than inflation. – wombat

    Care to provide some actual, you know, evidence that changes to the CRA were an important factor? Because it’s funny, but we had exactly the same kind of housing bubble in the UK, without any such legislation.

  103. #104 Chiaroscuro
    October 1, 2008

    PZ. you deserve a opinion Column in one of the main national newspapers.

  104. #105 NickG
    October 1, 2008

    Wow. I am in awe. That was a rant Mark Morford could be proud of.

    And I am busted for everything but being left-handed: I’m a gay, atheist, liberal, who works at a health clinic providing among other things contraception and the morning after pill, with a mixed-race partner (who isn’t an immigrant, but hey… his immigrant dad from Cape Verde lives with us.) Except we’re easily making our mortgage payment and haven’t taken my retirement account out of the market. Damn. There goes that theory.

    So obviously I should blame them for the 10 K my 401K has shrunk. If only Michael Heath would be willing to take one up the arse for the team, I am sure that would make the FSM smile and He would touch Henry Paulson with His noodly appendage in that special place and make everything all better.

  105. #106 Crazy Fitter
    October 1, 2008

    You’re all wrong: its all the fault of them damn trade unions. Blame the unions.

  106. #107 John Knight
    October 1, 2008

    [sarcasm] Crazy Racist Talk [/sarcasm]

    Blaming stupid big-government policies that pander to certain minorities is not the same thing as blaming minorities. Unless you work in academia…

  107. #108 Becky WS
    October 1, 2008

    Wow PZ, that was actually almost poetic in its impassioned stream of consciousness. I think a t-shirt a la Trainspotting would be in order.

  108. #109 Rog
    October 1, 2008

    Wow! Good job channeling the General.

  109. #110 «bønez_brigade»
    October 1, 2008

    For the record, that last somewhat-complete paragraph caused several lulz to be emitted by me.

  110. #111 Scott from Oregon
    October 1, 2008

    The Comb-Over says the oil prices will drop…

    http://www.breakthematrix.com/Economy/Good-News-from-Donald-Trump

  111. #112 SuzyQ
    October 1, 2008

    The fickle hand of the invisible bully in the sky and the idiots who believe the bullshit are amazing.

    Infallible invisible skybully smites Tom Delay land and its all about the gays in SF. Ditto for the state that still elects KKKers and again it is because they are not harsh enough on gays or women who think they should have control over their own bodies.

    Now infallible invisible skybully misses Chelsea, West Hollywood, the Castro and hits the greed pigs of Wall Street.

    If i were to believe in invisible skygods I would imagine her to be one wrathful black queen with a great aim.

  112. #113 George
    October 1, 2008

    No one else is saying it? Okay, I will.

    That was the best run-on sentence ever!

  113. #114 Nick Gotts
    October 1, 2008

    John Knight@107,
    I refer you to my #103. Any actual evidence that “pandering to minorities” (Oh, what a lovely phrase that is – I can just feel the Christian love for the downtrodden and unfortunate!) was an important factor?

  114. #115 Greg Laden
    October 1, 2008

    Please note that Minnesota Congresswoman Michell Bachmann (the same congresswoman who french kissed George Bush two years ago) blames the crisis on African Americans.

  115. #116 Nix
    October 1, 2008

    Sven DiMilo@#88, you don’t need a highly-educated litcrit type. Even an ignoramus like me sees that stream of consciousness and thinks ‘Lucky’s think’.

    (Lucky’s think even has depressing references to God and things like ‘abode of stones’ in it…)

  116. #117 Natalie
    October 1, 2008

    Point of fact: the majority of poor people in the United States are white – in 2006, 24,416,000 out of 36,460,000 people living below the poverty line were white (approx. 2/3). Thus, while programs targeted towards the poor might be partially to blame, extending that blame (even indirectly) to racial minorities does not follow.

  117. #118 Scott from Oregon
    October 1, 2008

    “I refer you to my #103. Any actual evidence that “pandering to minorities” (Oh, what a lovely phrase that is – I can just feel the Christian love for the downtrodden and unfortunate!) was an important factor?”

    Ummm, sure. If you care to go look for it. You’re not worth the effort from my end because you are a rude bastard, but the evidence is there. Seek and Ye shall find.

    ***…”pandering to minorities” can also mean “giving out loans to those who would not normally qualify”.

    To me, racism has two sides. The blatant bigots who we can all identify.

    And the “give free stuff to minorities because they are minorities” crowd, who, while trying to do the right thing, perpetuate the whole ugly process of differentiating people by color or eye shape or their ability to make a great burrito, and then call everyone a racists who think that people should all be treated as people.

    Odd that.

  118. #119 Alarmist
    October 1, 2008

    This would mean that the Wall Street plutocrats are the modern day equivalent of a plague of locusts. Few Americans would dispute that right now.

    From 2003, in response to a Bush administration recommendation to overhaul the housing finance industry:

    “‘These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,’ said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ‘The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.'”

    Under the plan, a new agency would have been created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Congressional Democrats opposed the overhaul, fearing that tighter regulation would sharply reduce the housing giants’ commitment to financing low-income housing.

  119. #120 AJ Milne
    October 1, 2008

    Please note that Minnesota Congresswoman Michell Bachmann (the same congresswoman who french kissed George Bush two years ago) blames the crisis on African Americans.

    Damn. They’re really covering the bases, aren’t they? Are there any minorities that haven’t been blamed yet?

    I think I’m gonna have to blame carnies, myself…

    You know. Circus folk. Nomads. Smell like cabbage. Small hands.

  120. #121 KristinMH
    October 1, 2008

    It’s sad to see the right-wing canard – that anti-redlining legislation caused the housing bubble – popping up here. I’m not an economist either, but I can understand a simple moral problem. Who’s more to blame – the sap that’s talked into taking out a mortgage he can’t really afford, or the predatory lender who convinces him and profits out of it?

    If your granny gets conned out of her life savings, I sure hope you don’t turn around and scold her for being so foolish, then pat the con artist on the back.

    Irresponsible lending with zero regulation and enforcement caused this problem. Blaming the CRA is just another effort to get dear old George W et al off the hook.

  121. #122 Foggg
    October 1, 2008

    Alarmist:

    From 2003, in response to a Bush administration recommendation to overhaul the housing finance industry… Congressional Democrats opposed the overhaul

    Since Republicans in 2003 held a majority in Congress, Democrats’ opinions didn’t matter. Tell us why the Republican House majority didn’t pass it over Frank’s objections?

    Nick Gotts:

    Care to provide some actual, you know, evidence that changes to the CRA were an important factor? Because it’s funny, but we had exactly the same kind of housing bubble in the UK, without any such legislation.

    Yes, it is a rather transparent lie.
    Only ~20% of the subprime mortages were issued by institutions covered by the CRA – banks and savings&loans. ~80% of them were made by the go-go crowd with no government impulse. And for that 20%, we should mention the loosening of CRA requirements in 2004 under the Repub Congress. And of course, non-subprime adjustables also contributed to the bubble.

    This CRA “government compelled loaning to minorities casued all our problems” bullshit has become the right-wing distortion du jour, pushed everywhere it’s Mighty Wurlitzer can be heard.

  122. #123 Merkin Muffley ex-President
    October 1, 2008

    What your are discounting is the level at which slogans have replaced discussion in the US. You only have to supply a semi-plausible sounding argument which supports your worldview, ignore any facts which disagree and saturate the unquestioning media with it.

    Country bankrupting itself buying oil from enemies? Easy, open up off shore and wilderness areas to drill more in the US. Don’t try to explain how a country that consumes 25% of the world’s oil can supply their needs from 3% of the world’s reserves. We have our simple, easy, painless answer. Don’t complicate it with facts.

    Country spending more than it takes in. No problem, just stop earmarks and we can keep following the same policies that got us into debt. Don’t explain how reducing 18 billion in spending can balance out an increase of nearly 650 billion of new public debt a year (before bailout).

    Worldview memes cause a catastrophic financial meltdown? No problem, blame it on the CRA (#101 presents a concise presentation of this argument). Ignore the fact that only 25% of the mortgages are written by entities fully covered by CRA. That these 25% have a lower default rate than the other 75%. That the 1995 changes reduced the number of entities subject to the CRA, not increased them. That there is no requirement in the CRA that mortgage issuers lower their qualifying requirements for mortgages; if they were lowered it was a decision made by the mortgage issuers.

    Blaming the mortgagees is also disingenuous. No mortgagee that I have heard of walked in and forced the issuer to make the loan. Saying the mortgagees got in over their head does not explain why the issuer wrote the mortgage.

    For more than 30 years Republicans have used these slogans about crime, abortion, deregulation, energy, supply side economics etc as an effective way to get elected. But before Bush II they governed for the most part as moderates when in office. But it was inevitable that people raised listening to them were not in on the joke and would believe these ideas constituted a coherent philosophy of governance. And with Bush II these people finally came to power. And the result has been one disaster after another.

  123. #124 Nick Gotts
    October 1, 2008

    Ummm, sure. If you care to go look for it. You’re not worth the effort from my end because you are a rude bastard – Scott from Oregon

    Translation: I don’t have any actual evidence, I just know it.

    “pandering to minorities” can also mean “giving out loans to those who would not normally qualify” SfO

    Well, I took it to mean what it said.

    Alarmist@119, I notice from the article you link to that the President has the right to appoint directors to Fannie and Freddie, and that the National Association of Home Builders, in addition to Congressional Democrats, was involved in lobbying against the proposed regulatory changes (I’m not saying the Congressional Dems are devoid of blame for the lack of proper regulation, but responsibility for this does not seem to belong wholly to them). What I still don’t see from anyone is any estimate of the proportion of bad debt that is owed by “low-income families”, let alone by “minorities”. Nor anything obliging the various private companies involved (which includes the two FMs let us note) to package and repackage the debts in such complicated ways that no-one knows any longer who the hell owes what to whom – which seems to be a large part of the problem, because no bank involved now knows whether any other bank involved is solvent or not – or even whether they are solvent themselves. It’s been noted elsewhere (see the link from GK4@100) that the CRA:
    “only applies to banks and thrifts that are federally-insured.”
    The link continues:
    “This means that the independent mortgage brokers, who are responsible for half of all the nation’s sub-prime lending–and who have been writing such loans at more than twice the rate of banks and thrifts–aren’t even covered by the law. And make no mistake, it was the hand of the mortgage broker, more than any other, that precipitated the housing bubble. These are folks who were writing “stated income” loans (which means you don’t have to prove your income, you can just tell them a number and get the OK), not caring about whether the borrower might default, since they were going to turn around and dump the loan at a profit, onto the secondary market, by pawning it off to investors who were gobbling up debt, betting on the further expansion of home values.”

    As I’ve said, we’ve had a very similar bubble in the UK. We don’t have anything similar to the CRA, or Fannie and Freddie – so maybe there’s some more general cause. Ah, but then, I mustn’t forget, OWHITUSAC!

  124. #125 Nick Gotts
    October 1, 2008

    Thanks to Foggg and Merkin Muffley (hi Mr. Muffley, how’s Dr. Strangelove these days?) for the info – I posted #124 before seeing #122 and #123.

  125. #126 SC
    October 1, 2008

    Translation: I don’t have any actual evidence, I just know it.

    Perhaps he built some sets once for a production of A Raisin in the Sun.

  126. #127 Qwerty
    October 1, 2008

    PZ, there use to be a gay bath house on Wall Street. So, maybe the god fairy had a reason to smite the traders?

  127. #128 Qwerty
    October 1, 2008

    Ooops, it’s just off Wall Street: Wall Street Sauna – 1 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038

  128. #129 Natalie
    October 1, 2008

    And the “give free stuff to minorities because they are minorities” crowd, who, while trying to do the right thing, perpetuate the whole ugly process of differentiating people by color or eye shape or their ability to make a great burrito, and then call everyone a racists who think that people should all be treated as people.

    Scott, do you have any evidence at all (besides your experience sheetrocking section 8 housing) that there even is a “give free stuff to minorities because they are minorities” crowd? Do you have any evidence that this crowd, if it exists, has given away much free stuff? And did you miss the statistics I mentioned? I’ll repeat them for you in caps, so you can read them: MOST POOR AMERICANS ARE WHITE.

    Or is this just your racism showing?

  129. #130 Merkin Muffley
    October 1, 2008

    “This CRA “government compelled loaning to minorities casued all our problems” bullshit has become the right-wing distortion du jour, pushed everywhere it’s Mighty Wurlitzer can be heard.”

    The “loaning to minorities” is an interesting inclusion. The CRA was passed to increase mortgage loans to low income areas. Banks didn’t so much red line areas because they were minority areas but because they were low income areas. Mortgages in these areas were for much smaller amounts than those in higher income areas. Since much of the cost to the banks is fixed, nearly the same for each loan, higher value loans were more profitable than lower value ones at the same interest rate. So banks would not loan in lower income areas or they would charge a higher interest rate. The CRA said banks had to accept a lower profit for the loans made in these areas and they have to make loans reflecting the total amount of the deposits from these areas. This all. The banks were taking deposits from low income areas and using them to make loans in middle and upper income areas.

    Default rates for these loans have been the same or lower than all loans.

    I’m assuming the reference to minorities is included to satisfy the racists in the conservative camp. It’s telling that it’s repeated without question.

  130. #131 Quiet Desperation
    October 1, 2008

    The Nation Will Right Itself If It Fixes Sex

    Can I volunteer for the beta testing?

  131. #132 Alarmist
    October 1, 2008

    Since Republicans in 2003 held a majority in Congress, Democrats’ opinions didn’t matter. Tell us why the Republican House majority didn’t pass it over Frank’s objections?

    The majorities weren’t very big. Democrats opposed in big numbers; a few Republicans went along. Similar story in ’05. In ’06, when Democrats got control, they passed a weaker bill with MBS getting a free pass. There’s plenty of blame to go around.

  132. #133 Jonathon
    October 1, 2008

    OK, everyone. Stop worrying. I just called up and spoke to God directly. God said that he could care less about gay marriage and abortion, and wondered aloud just why people thought that those were the most important issues for people today. God said that he’d much rather see us just be nice to one another instead of beating up one another with Him.

    God wants people like Michael Heath to stop putting words in his mouth and start actually following His teachings.

  133. #134 Longtime Lurker
    October 1, 2008

    I think I have more contempt for the Libertarian trolls than for the fundie trolls, because, after all, there’s no evidence that there’s no god, but there’s a truckload of evidence that Libertarian principles don’t work.

    Scott, you racist bastard (no need to mince words here, even though you pathetically try to hide behind semantics), most of the bad mortgage debt resulted from homeowners refinancing their homes and treating them as piggy banks, combined with stagnant wages and rising costs for just about everything.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/04/business/04money.html?ex=1320296400&en=4e699d2864a832d3&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

    Minority borrowers were steered towards subprime loans, even when they qualified for better loan conditions:

    http://efinancedirectory.com/articles/Subprime_Lenders_Took_Advantage_of_Minorities_During_the_Boom.html

    OH, why the fuck am I even engaging with this wretch? I found those articles in ten seconds using teh Google. The combination of willful ignorance and race-baiting (combined with cynical “disavowals” that convince nobody) is more than I can stomach. I have never recommended sending anyone to the dungeon before, but Scott really, really brings nothing to the discussion.

    To CoreyS.
    “Excessive deregulation” is as meaningless to economics as “intelligent design” is to biology.
    Deregulation, as a rule, is almost always good for consumers, and as such, is good for the American economy.

    Corey, I hope you’re sufficiently grateful to your corporate overlords when your kidneys conk out because you poured a hefty dose of melamine on your Rice Krispies.

  134. #135 Tulse
    October 1, 2008

    Deregulation, as a rule, is almost always good for consumers, and as such, is good for the American economy.

    …which is why the libertarian paradise of Somalia is such a global economic powerhouse.

  135. #136 Mariana
    October 1, 2008

    They just can’t think about anything else, can they? The gays occupy their minds 24/7. Hmmm.

    Gay obsession is gay.

  136. #137 Scott from Oregon
    October 1, 2008

    “”It’s sad to see the right-wing canard – that anti-redlining legislation caused the housing bubble – popping up here. I’m not an economist either, but I can understand a simple moral problem. Who’s more to blame – the sap that’s talked into taking out a mortgage he can’t really afford, or the predatory lender who convinces him and profits out of it? “”

    My last real estate project started in 2002 and ended when we sold the house for profit in 2005. We pulled out three loans for the deal, the first to buy the house, the second as a second to finance reconstruction, and finally, we refinanced to pay off credit debts and take a breath while we sold the house.

    Each loan got progressively easier, and the lenders were starting to lie FOR US to make the loan happen. They were telling us to lie, because the system was out of control.

    Loaning to minorities didn’t cause this whole mess, but the “program” to grant loans to people who didn’t qualify helped set both a precedent and a new loan culture.

    The federal reserve holding interest rates too low too long was a much greater factor, as was the dirivitive ponzi scheme piled on top, which is what the big boys are so scared of having exposed. All that phony paper backed by almost nothing will simply evaporate if we let it.

    Which is a good thing as the big boys will get hurt, the system will revert and smaller, honest lenders will benefit.

    “Minority borrowers were steered towards subprime loans, even when they qualified for better loan conditions:””

    So NOW minorities aren’t smart enough to make good decisions? Is THAT your implication? Minorities are too dumb to know how to look after themselves? Wow.

    And you call me a racist?

    “”Scott, you racist bastard (no need to mince words here, even though you pathetically try to hide behind semantics), most of the bad mortgage debt resulted from homeowners refinancing their homes and treating them as piggy banks, combined with stagnant wages and rising costs for just about everything.””

    Ummm, no. You need to go back a step to the federal reserve holding down interest rates for too long, coupled with a society that stopped producing wealth and was hell bent on living on credit and the labor of Asians for their “stuff”.

    When you make money virtually free to borrow, you promote excessive malinvestment and monetary mania, which is what we had. You are as shallow as your assessment of the situation, and your calling me a “racist” for declaring all people’s equal is bizarre.

    You should go back to lurking.

  137. #138 scott from Oregon
    October 1, 2008

    “…which is why the libertarian paradise of Somalia is such a global economic powerhouse.”

    That’s just dumb.

    What year did Somalia start its industrial revolution, and when did free market capitalism begin?

    Oh.

  138. #139 dan
    October 1, 2008

    Wombat;

    “A large part of problem stems from the changes made to the CRA in 1995. This law put certain burdens on large lending institutions to provide home loans to borrowers who weren’t in the proper financial position to pay them back.”

    I have heard this idea cast about by a lot of free-market fundies lately; that the bad old government MADE the lenders lend to the niggers (Their thought – not mine, but put in to reveal the mindset of those saying this).

    This is not true; the “quotas” were GOALS; there were no punishments provided for if those goals were not made.

    But here is the kicker; the lending programs that were encouraged by the government to increase homeownership were started by the lending industry lobbying the government. This was not a case of a Liberal Congress forcing these new lending standards upon the lending industry; they asked for them, and the political cover was that it would increase homeownership among minorities.
    The government does the same thing when they give money to a big business – like the billions of loan guarantees that the Fed just gave to Detroit; they say that it will “produce jobs”. Yes, it will produce jobs, but that is not why they are doing it, that is not the first cause.

    “A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not why the ship was built” – Gov. Palin

    “A field of flowers is very pretty, but don’t you have some rabbits to catch?” – Anon

  139. #140 Longtime Lurker
    October 1, 2008

    More anecdotal “evidence” from Scott with no citation, no showing of his work… Of course, the Fed’s lowering of interest rates led to the “free money!” syndrome, no one is disputing that.

    You are as shallow as your assessment of the situation, and your calling me a “racist” for declaring all people’s equal is bizarre.

    Scott, ya just have to do better. You really need to look up “redlining”, and read up on the phenomenon of gainfully employed minorities getting bamboozled into signing up for sub-primes. You don’t believe that all people should be treated equally, you just mouth the words with no real conviction, in an effort to convince yourself that you’re not a monster.

  140. #141 Scott from Oregon
    October 1, 2008

    “phenomenon of gainfully employed minorities getting bamboozled into signing up for sub-primes. ”

    You mean PEOPLE got talked into getting a loan that they thought would be cool, because they could buy something they couldn’t afford and they wouldn’t have to pay for it for a few years? Oh my!

    You’re making excuses for “minorities” as if “minorities” are some how not able to make decisions based on sound judgement.

    People made bad decisions. They opted for the carrot because it was easier than the alternative.

    Some of those people were minorities. Some were white middle class. They all made the same mistake, and that was assuming declared wealth was the same thing as real wealth and then spending it.

    It happened in Japan in the eighties, where old ladies used to pay me 150 bucks an hour to pour them drinks and listen to their woes about their husbands…. The money came from declaring their property to be worth far more than it actually was.

    The lesson was never learned.

  141. #142 The BeadKnitter
    October 1, 2008

    This financial crisis wouldn’t have been caused by the Community Housing Act that was passed when Jimmy Carter was in office, would it? The act that formed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae so housing loans could be given to people who had no business being given loans in the first place? Then abused by the whole loan industry?

    Giving loans to folks who can’t afford to pay them back? The stupid burns!

  142. #143 Nick Gotts
    October 1, 2008

    BeadKnitter,
    Fannie Mae was founded in 1938, when Jimmy Carter was 13 or 14. It was privatised in 1968. The CRA was passed in 1975. Somehow the US economy managed to stagger on for another 33 years. Still, why let facts get in the way of a good prejudice, eh?

  143. #144 Nick Gotts
    October 1, 2008

    Oops! 1975->1977@143. The US economy only staggered on for another 31 years.

  144. #145 Scott from Oregon
    October 1, 2008

    “The US economy only staggered on for another 31 years.”

    Actually, it was a pretty good ride. Americans could buy stuff for paper that they printed and other countries wanted, because we were the cool guys with the most stability and had once been a great producer of great goods. Asians decided to be our manufacturing slaves and build way cool “stuff” for us to consume, and we got fat and lazy consuming stuff, so much so that rental storage is a booming business (we need place for our stuff that doesn’t fit in our homes). So we got this goods for paper deal going with Asia, and convinced the Saudis to back our dollar with oil in a weird deal that got everyone collecting 100 dollar bills and hiding them under matresses abroad.

    So rather than actually create wealth, we Americans just declared ourselves wealthy and the world went along with it. But CRAP! Now foreign banks are finding out our paper is worthless and we have to buy it back or they’ll be mad and ruin this great arrangement America has had.

    Woe be to the fat cats who want the ponzi sscheme to go on and on…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi9vXKWYaZ8&eurl=http://www.ronpaulforpresident2008.com/news/

    And some fun stuff is happening down at Fannie and Freddie’s place!

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/mortgage_giants_investigations

  145. #146 Nick Gotts
    October 1, 2008

    Scott from Oregon,
    You’re getting your financial measures confused – what a surprise. It was the suspension of convertibility of dollars into gold by Nixon in 1971 that enabled the US to exact tribute from the rest of the world until now – 37 years. This meant the dollar became the world’s reserve currency, so the US treasury could rack up practically unlimited debt. The CRA was a purely internal measure, comparatively speaking of trivial significance.

  146. #147 Scott from Oregon
    October 1, 2008

    “You’re getting your financial measures confused – what a surprise. It was the suspension of convertibility of dollars into gold by Nixon in 1971 that enabled the US to exact tribute from the rest of the world until now – 37 years…”

    Not mixed up. It’s all part of the great dollar hidden rabbit trick and the “fear” that Paulson and Co. are referring to is NOT US consumers freaking out, but the rest of the world coming to realize that the dollar is now just paper and the “stable” assets and paper coming out of the US has no real (reliable) value. Saying it is worth “X” isn’t going to cut it much longer.

    Simply printing more will just dilute the value and crush all Americans who work and live a normal life.

    When the elite and wealthy few at the top can ruin it for the average, honest working class folks who make up most of the country, there is something very wrong with the way things are organized.

    Y’all should call your Senators today and tell them absolutely NO to the rescue plan. Then people should relearn how to circulate money without JP Morgan in the middle of everything.

  147. #148 defectiverobot
    October 1, 2008

    goddam!

    Your righteous indignation made me weep!

  148. #149 raven
    October 1, 2008

    breadknitter the dumb troll:

    This financial crisis wouldn’t have been caused by the Community Housing Act that was passed when Jimmy Carter was in office, would it?

    Carter was in office 30 years ago, almost two generations. He couldn’t possibly have caused the financial crisis in 2008.

    Not enough time has elapsed!!! It is widely known that it was caused by the Amelakites and Canaanites between 2,000 and 3000 years ago. God and his mercenaries genocided them but it was too late. A minority of economists believe it was a walking, talking snake in the Garden of Eden with help from satan but they offer little proof. OTOH, the middle eastern tribemen are definitely dead. When was the last time you saw a Canaanite.

    Pretty amazing what excuses the Death Cult Theothuglicans can make up. Although to anyone who thinks the earth is 6,000 years old, all lies are possible.

  149. #150 Newfie
    October 1, 2008

    *applause*
    Great Lou Dobb’s brain impression, PZed.

  150. #151 bluescat48
    October 1, 2008

    [quote]Could anyone explain to me, how a Utopian social-conservative society would be like? [/quote]

    Try Nazi Germany

  151. #152 Corey S.
    October 2, 2008

    @ Longtime Lurker:

    I do, in fact, like corporations (for the most part).

    I think corporations are great. Corporations like Wal-Mart have made it possible for the poorest Americans to buy larger quantities of essential products – including food – than they otherwise would be able to if Wal-Mart didn’t exist. Corporations like Microsoft and Apple produce and market amazing technologies that make it easier for small businesses to stay profitable and for college students to write papers, surf the internet, and post non-nonsensical rants about economics on blogs like this one (for the record, before I get accused of being a ‘theothuglican’ I’m an atheist/agnostic who plans of voting for Obama).

    Corporations like Toyota make it possible for Americans to afford durable, efficient vehicles that can take them wherever they want. Corporations like Southwest allow you or I to get on a plane and fly almost anywhere in the U.S. at a lower cost than ever before. Corporations like… I think you get my point, even if you don’t agree.

    I do NOT, however, support artificial non-market support for corporations. I do not think it’s the government’s job to bail out failing corporations (like the American auto industry). I do not support a massive government bailout for banks on Wall Street that made stupid loans (though government involvement in the loans-making process is at least partially responsible for the mess we’re currently in).

    I do not support stifling competition in industries, whether it’s competition from within the U.S. or from outside the U.S. Trade with foreign countries makes us better off overall. Think of all the things you own or use that are not made in the U.S., and then think about how much poorer we would be if we produced everything here.

    And no, Somalia is not a libertarian paradise. That’s a straw man argument if there ever was one.

    Just as atheists encourage believers in religion and nonsense of that sort to think critically about their faith and to be open to the arguments from non-believers, economists want non-economists to think critically about how they view the economy. Seriously, check out the blogs I mentioned earlier. Read freakonomics. Read “The Undercover Economist” by Tim Harford. These are hardly right-wing polemics. Studying economics changed the way I think about politics, just as common sense and critical thinking changed the way I think about religion.

  152. #153 Nick Gotts
    October 2, 2008

    I do NOT, however, support artificial non-market support for corporations. – Corey S

    Whether you support it is neither here nor there: they do. This “free market” stuff is just prolefeed, and always has been. “Privatise the profits, socialise the losses” has always been at the core of capitalism. Indeed, the very existence of limited companies shows this.

  153. #154 Nick Gotts
    October 2, 2008

    Those blaming the financial crisis on “pandering to minorities” and/or “over-regulation” might like to look at this:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/ on “credit default swaps”, which the author says are the next big financial accident waiting to happen. An unregulated market, and somehow I doubt whether many members of those “pandered to” minorities have been involved.

  154. #155 Brian Macker
    October 12, 2008

    “As I’ve said, we’ve had a very similar bubble in the UK. We don’t have anything similar to the CRA, or Fannie and Freddie – so maybe there’s some more general cause.”

    Yes, it’s called monetary inflation. We’ve got a command economy when it comes to the time cost of money, interest rates. Instead of letting the market clear on interest rates we have price controls. Specifically price ceilings, since interest rates are being held below market prices.

    Since world currencies are based on US reserves when we inflate over here that automatically inflates your currency. Also your country may be inflating on top of that.

    When the government sets prices below market values the effect is to cause producers to produce less and consumers to consume more. Supply/Demand curve if you ever took economics.

    Interest rates are a unique kind of price that is temporal, and market wide because it has to do with money and coordinating plans over time.

    Prices send coordination signals. They indirectly tell market actors what others in the market are up too. Lowere interest rates send the signal that others are actually saving more and that long term projects are more profitable. Setting the interest rate below market screws up that signaling.

    It tells the market players who use capital to consume more than is being saved, so they consume more. While telling the savers that saving is not as profitable in the future as it actually is so they save less.

    Saving is actually an act of producing more than you consume in a free market. Under a free market the saver produces more than he consumes and sells the excess. He can then lend out his savings, which the borrower uses to buy that extra stuff that was produced.

    When the government interjects itself in the process it causes more claims against goods, cash, than there was actually goods saved.

    Now I could explain at this point how fractional reserve banking comes into this in detail, but I will make a major point quickly. Banks borrow short term and lend long term. During an monetary expansion due to lowering of interest rates everybody things they are flush with cash, and they lend out that cash short term to the banks expecting it back sooner rather than later, whereas the banks turn around an lend it out for long term, like 15 years.

    It can take quite some time, on the order of the terms of the loans to discovery this miscoordination between plans. Especially during a monetary bubble. Everyone sees themselves making more money and they aren’t worried. The price signals have been distorted so they think they are doing fine on paper.

    As time progresses and the long term projects are being implemented the borrowers use that cash to buy materials for their long term projects. Projects far from consumption. Such projects by definition use materials that are furthest from consumption. Raw materials, not processed materials are farthest from consumption.

    Since lower interest rates make the most long term plans have the greatest increase in profitability it is the longest term projects that are most effected by the boom. Things like skyscrapers get built. Internet companies are far from consumption. So is housing.

    This extra money happens to flow somewhere first and those projects start to go up merely because they are going up. People invest more of this loose cash and that drives them up more. Tulip mania ensues. Or internet bubbles or housing bubbles.

    In the meantime all these extra notes are chasing the same amount of materials. Of course production increases during this process but it truly isn’t keeping up with the cash. At the original prices set during the with the original monetary base there is way more cash than actual materials.

    Over time the long term projects bid up the prices of these goods. Commodities are bid up first. Thus the spike in commodity prices comes next. Production increases in response to the increased prices but can’t keep up.

    Overinvestment in long term goods is now at it’s peak. For instance, too many houses are built, too many people are employed as real estate agents, as loan officers, as construction workers, as lumberjacks, etc.

    The market at this point is totally distorted in a way the free market would not have produced. Too much long term goods and not enough short term goods.

    In fact, the rising commodity prices expose the fraud that has been perpetrated on the market. Many of those people who started those long term plans thought that they would be profitable at the old prices but now they have been bid up because there really wasn’t as much saved capital as the price signals had indicated.

    The savers had only saved say $100,000,000 by producing an excess of 100,000,000 bricks at a dollar a brick. But the low interest rates combined with fractional reserve system had delivered $200,000,000 into the hands of all the long term projects.

    Say there were 100 projects each building a $1,000,000 project with bricks. Well under the old prices each looked profitable ten years down the road. So they started building. At first brick cost $1 apiece. However, over time the price is bid up to $2 because there is only 100,000,000 bricks being chased by $200,000,000.

    That was just bricks but there are other goods. All the money being spent on long term projects is bidding resources away from shorter term ones. That means that shorter term goods become relatively more scarce over time and that causes their prices to rise also.

    It soon becomes obvious the plans are not working out. Some of the borrowers start to fail on paying back the loans. In the meantime the people who actually did do some saving also have to eat (food is a short term good) at the higher prices so they start withdrawing their short term deposits to cover the unexpected jump in prices.

    Now the shortage is revealed. It took time but it happened. Too much was invested in long term projects and too little in short term. Savings was reduced so at this forward point in time production is reduced from what it otherwise would be. Things get hard. Everyones errors have been coordinated into a single event. Plus the more error was introduced by the price control.

    All price ceilings result in shortages and lines. If you set price ceilings on gas like we did in the 1970s then you get gas shortages and lines. Today we are experiencing a shortage in credit precisely because of a price ceiling. The lines will present themselves as people withholding savings from borrowers, and longer waits to get loan approvals.

    The answer to the problem is NOT to lower interest rates and inflate the money supply further.

    So the effects that monetary inflation has in this story so far are: Low savings, stock and housing manias, asset inflation, commodity inflation, and eventual capital shortage.

    Also during this time of monetary inflation there are other economic laws that result a trade deficits.

    The next stage of this story is a down turn as the errors are exposed and business slows down, a bear market. Depending on what the government does we either get monetary deflation as the fractional credit expansion created based on leverage is de-leveraged, or inflation.

    It looks right now that the leverage was so high that there are very powerful deflationary forces. It looks like the government has chosen inflation as the cure. It doesn’t realize this yet because frankly they are economic idiots but that is what they have done, and are doing. So get ready for the next stage going forward, high inflation rates.

    Note: This story did not include the effects of opening up socialist governments worldwide after the Reagan/Thatcher revolution. That activity is actually deflationary. But that deflation is a good thing and should have been allowed to happen naturally also. Alan Greenspan goofed in not recognizing this and ended up inflating the money supply on the idea of keeping price stability.

    Alan Greenspan did not see all the market signals I listed above as indicators of terrible monetary inflation. He was an idiot. Instead he just keep blowing bubble after bubble.

    BTW, the theory this is based on is called Austrian Business Cycle theory. I’ve discussed this before any of this happened on this blog in the past. I said our main problems right now were economic, and not “global warming” or other nonsense. I pointed out books that were easy to read on a weekend like “What Has Government Done to our Money”.

    The Austrian’s predicted the Great Depression using this theory. Yep, before the fact. The roaring 20’s was caused by a monetary bubble. When the mania popped and the crash of 1929 happened the first response was precisely what we are doing today, printing lots of cash. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.

    Reason being that the money is only claims on “stuff” that doesn’t actually exist. Everyone can’t get rich off counterfeiting, that should be obvious.

    What causes wealth is capital accumulation in productive goods. Save up the resources to build a loom by making things by hand and once you have enough for the loom you now have increased production, and thus an increased standard of living.

    Government price controls are always a bad idea. That is regardless if it’s Alan Greenspan spouting platitudes about believing in free markets while practicing the opposite, or Nixon with his wage and price controls.

    It’s simply a fact that the government cannot know what the proper market price is and will always either cause a shortage by setting prices too low, or a surplus by setting them too high. Both are bad.

    It’s especially bad to do this with interest rates because money because it is the measure of all goods in an economy and the mechanism by which humans coordinate their actions. Mess with that and the results effect everything and everybody.

  155. #156 Ichthyic
    October 12, 2008

    Alan Greenspan did not see all the market signals I listed above as indicators of terrible monetary inflation. He was an idiot. Instead he just keep blowing bubble after bubble.

    Oh?

    at the same time he was publicly warning people (I even recall listening to his speech on the radio chiding the administration and congress for letting the housing bubble continue to expand, shortly before he retired) about the internet bubble, and then the housing market bubble…

    strange he would do that, if his actual intention was to build up the bubbles to begin with.

  156. #157 Ichthyic
    October 12, 2008

    I said our main problems right now were economic, and not “global warming” or other nonsense.

    one man’s “nonsense” is another’s forest fire, eh?

    sometimes I really feel you should have adopted the handle:

    “brain smacker”

    ’cause i get this tremendous impulse to do this when reading about 90% of the stuff you post here.

  157. #158 Riley I. Day
    December 15, 2009

    Hwdy, prhps ths pst s ff tpc bt nywy, ‘v bn brwsng bt yr blg nd t lks vry tstfl. It s sy t dtrmn tht y r pssnt bt yr wrtng. I m mkng nw blg nd I m strgglng t hv t lk gd, nd spply rlly gd cntnt. I hv dscvrd mch n yr st nd I lk frwrd t mr pdts nd wll b cmng bck.

  158. #159 hery
    January 26, 2010

    It’s obviously a matter of cause and effect

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