Since the house is on fire, let us warm ourselves

“Since the house is on fire, let us warm ourselves” is an old Italian proverb

Our burgeoning debt, our loss of manufacturing, scandal upon scandal, government waste and fraud, and a decline in world stature all point to a slow and steady conflagration masked by record-high real estate and stock prices.

And amidst all this trouble, there are those who warm themselves.

When I read this old proverb, the Clintons leapt to mind.  Hillary’s world tour shakedown cruise and Bill’s remarkable ability to generate speaking fees while saying nothing are some symptoms.  But to be fair to Bill and Hillary, there are so many others.  Those investment banks and brokerage houses that originated all the bad mortgages, bundled them, and sold them off to the unknowing are now making money hand over fist courtesy of an “independent” Federal Reserve, “unaudited” and filled with cronies of Wall Street.

Dianne Feinstein’s husband currently has “the exclusive contract to handle sales for the Post Office’s $85 billion of property.”  At last estimate, Dianne Feinstein’s net worth, hers alone, was $70 million.  Now that is toasty warm, isn’t it, Dianne?

Nancy Pelosi’s net worth is only about $36 million.  Certainly there are those on the other side of the aisle who have similar success stories while in public service.

The cul-de-sac nature of corporate boards of directors, one in which the revolving group votes each other massive pay packages hidden from shareholders, gives off a nice heat.  Such arrangements aren’t new, by any measure, but certainly the artificial low interest rates allow stock buyback financing to ramp up the value of those stock options.  The low rates, as advertised, to stimulate the economy and CEO compensations.

I guess we have to hand it to these people.  After all, in tough times they have prospered.  Yet we cannot dismiss, we cannot look away from the fact that all this wealth creation seems directly connected to doing business with the government, or to special loans and bailouts, or to opportunistic misallocation of resources for the massive benefit of a few, essentially allowed by a Federal Reserve policy inaccurately intended to promote more widespread economic benefits.

So good job!  But don’t pretend this is free-market behavior.   It is all “warming oneself” off the heat of the fire.

“Since the house is on fire, let us warm ourselves” is an old Italian proverb

Our burgeoning debt, our loss of manufacturing, scandal upon scandal, government waste and fraud, and a decline in world stature all point to a slow and steady conflagration masked by record-high real estate and stock prices.

And amidst all this trouble, there are those who warm themselves.

When I read this old proverb, the Clintons leapt to mind.  Hillary’s world tour shakedown cruise and Bill’s remarkable ability to generate speaking fees while saying nothing are some symptoms.  But to be fair to Bill and Hillary, there are so many others.  Those investment banks and brokerage houses that originated all the bad mortgages, bundled them, and sold them off to the unknowing are now making money hand over fist courtesy of an “independent” Federal Reserve, “unaudited” and filled with cronies of Wall Street.

Dianne Feinstein’s husband currently has “the exclusive contract to handle sales for the Post Office’s $85 billion of property.”  At last estimate, Dianne Feinstein’s net worth, hers alone, was $70 million.  Now that is toasty warm, isn’t it, Dianne?

Nancy Pelosi’s net worth is only about $36 million.  Certainly there are those on the other side of the aisle who have similar success stories while in public service.

The cul-de-sac nature of corporate boards of directors, one in which the revolving group votes each other massive pay packages hidden from shareholders, gives off a nice heat.  Such arrangements aren’t new, by any measure, but certainly the artificial low interest rates allow stock buyback financing to ramp up the value of those stock options.  The low rates, as advertised, to stimulate the economy and CEO compensations.

I guess we have to hand it to these people.  After all, in tough times they have prospered.  Yet we cannot dismiss, we cannot look away from the fact that all this wealth creation seems directly connected to doing business with the government, or to special loans and bailouts, or to opportunistic misallocation of resources for the massive benefit of a few, essentially allowed by a Federal Reserve policy inaccurately intended to promote more widespread economic benefits.

So good job!  But don’t pretend this is free-market behavior.   It is all “warming oneself” off the heat of the fire.