Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Working in the Mines

Working in the Mines

There is a very old truism that goes something this,"Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." As you stumble among the ashes of the hopes and dreams of America's financial collapse, consider this.

Many years ago I read a magazine article detailing the story of the Eastern Appalachian coal fields. Sons and employees of Eastern Blue bloods shucked their finery. taking up working mans clothes. They wooed the ignorant hill people with talk of easy money for the right to mine their land. Naturally, the natives did not know what the city slicker knew, that rich coal seams lay beneath their small farms and fields. The land owners also did not know that the mining would ruin their land and sentence them and generations to come to a future in the dark dangerous mines, toiling for the absent owners of the black gold they dug. Death by black lung was the only dividend paid to the miners and their families.

That was then, now the coal is called "toxic asset". The same crowd, proud grads of Harvard, Wharton, Yale, et al are counting the money again. This time they needed their cousins, the government watchdogs as coconspirators. Government in the end, paid off the jackpot.It was not so dirty this time, but a con never the less.

Here is how it worked this time. "Sign this mortgage, forget, paying it back. Take this credit card, have a good time. Never mind paying it off. Have I got the car for you, sign here. Pay me later." Thus debt became the new coal. Remember that debt is a promise to toil to repay. When the mortgages, the credit cards and the car loans didn't produce enough debt, the Wall Street gang began to bet the Federally insured deposits in their banks. This is where their cousins came in. The sucker's 401Ks, the retirement saving were put at risk in the paper game. The regulators looked the other way,hoping for a job on Wall Street in return.

When the house of cards fell in, the mortgage was worthless, the credit card in default, the auto repossessed, the musical chairs revealed the taxpayer had no where to go. The con men were"too big to Fail" so they got a chair, the regulators work for the Government so they get a chair, there is no answer for the taxpayers, except to borrow from our grandchildren. The powerful and well connected move on, the citizens pick up the pieces of their lives as best they can.

"Fool me once......"

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