Thursday, April 03, 2008

Phil Graham's House of Cards Economy and an Over Qualified John McCain.

The Complex Derivatives system, a huge shadowy segment of our financial markets system, that employs complicated sounding financial instruments such as Credit Default Swaps, OTC Derivatives, Mortgage Backed Securities... just fancy words for betting on whether something will profit or not, is the primarily reason our economy is falling apart.

The current sub-prime mortgage crisis is the most recent and obvious example of what can result from this unregulated segment of our financial system. Banks placed bets on whether sub-prime mortgages would pay off or not. The banks opted for pay off and lost causing the housing industry bubble to burst.

The derivatives market is twice the size of the more transparent market of stocks and bonds, since 2000, this "dark market" has ballooned from $900 billion to more than $45.5 trillion.

"Derivative financial instruments are, are those that gain or lose value as some underlying rate, price, or other economic variable changes. Derivatives traders can speculate on future trends in financial assets (such as stocks or currencies) or commodities (oil, metals, pork bellies) without actually owning the underlying items."
Former Texas Senator Phil Graham, chiefly responsible for getting Congress to pass the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA), a 262 page bill, added as a rider to the Omnibus appropriation bill, as congress was recessing for Christmas in 2000 - a popular time of year to sneak in corrupt legislation - completely deregulated these "hidden" markets not only at the federal level but at the state level as well, is also currently the chief economic advisor to John McCain.

Credit Default Swaps are insurance policies designed to cover losses banks and bondholders may incur due to the possibility that the value of the bets they made may decline, however the word insurance does not appear as the insurance industry is state regulated and the whole idea behind this "criminal" market is deregulation.

Should we have an economy based on whether people make good or bad bets - or should we have an economy where people build companies, create manufacturing interests, do inventions, advance the American society, make it more productive? This economy is based on people sitting at their computers making bets all day long... We are rewarding people for sitting at their computers and punching in bets. That's not the way this economy is going to be built. India and China, with their focus on science and industry and building real businesses, are going to eat our lunch unless the American public wakes up and puts an end to an economy that praises and makes heroes out of speculators. -- Michael Greenberger,

The federal government permitted these institutions to engage in this betting not through the banks themselves or hedgefunds but through, Structured Investment Vehicles,” which enabled the banks to exclude these transactions from their books. To this day, we still have no idea how far this problem goes because we don't know how much of this information was intentionally excluded. Not only that, the information the banks did include were listed as valuable assets and therefore must be unraveled to redetermine the accuracy of all of these financial institution's financial statements.

Until yesterday, I was undecided about Senator John McCain. Unlike President Bush, Senator McCain personally endured the evil, injury, and pain that are synonymous with war. Serving as combat pilot, he was shot down on a mission over North Vietnam. He spent many years in a Hanoi prison with untreated injuries and he suffered through torture without yielding. Even after his captors, learning that he was an admiral's son, offered to release him, McCain refused. He would not leave his fellow soldiers.

There is no doubt that John McCain is a man of integrity and has gained wisdom from what he has observed and encountered as a prisoner of war, however; in some ways, John McCain's "super-human" qualities...qualities that the average American does not have often times, may "over qualify" him to be President, if that's possible.

Yes, courage and integrity make for a great leader and God only knows we need one right now, but is John McCain that man? Can he really empathize with the average person? Can he put himself in the shoes of someone who may not be as strong as he is? (Keep in mind these questions come from a person who just might scream like a little girl at a snake convention at the first sign of dental instruments, if captured by the enemy.)

After listening to Michael Greeberger, Law School Professor and Director, Center for Health and Homeland Security, on Fresh Air (every citizen should listen)explain that the CFMA is nothing more than an amendment that removes all regulation from this market, and is therefore nothing more than an attempt to further enable this market's "criminal activity" basically making it lawful to destroy our economy, it became clear to me John McCain should not be President.

Although, John McCain admitted he did not know all that much about economics and his association with Phil Graham is probably ignorant of Mr. Graham's contribution to our current "house of cards" economy, a Presidential candidate cannot be afforded the luxury of economic ignorance, especially now.

John McCain's acceptance of Greenspanian economics clearly demonstrates that he does have trouble putting himself in the shoes of the average American who may not have the innate strength that he was obviously endowed, leading me to conclude the answers to the aforementioned questions are no and no.

Whereas President George W. Bush was unqualified and lacked the moral courage necessary to be elected President, John McCain's strong character and courageous outlook, not to mention his weakness, lack of economic insight, may paradoxically limit his vision and scope to include all segments of the melting pot we call America.


Red Atlas,  21:45  

I heard this on Fresh Air and came to the same conclusion you did. I'm not voting for McCain if he's associated with Graham.

Good post.

Mivans 23:06  

John McCain's lack of economic knowledge has always bothered me and now knowing how nasty Phil Gram is, he will definitely not be getting my vote.

Anonymous,  09:35  

Great blog!

Tipsy 09:53  

The scary part is we don't know if this is the beginning or the end. Bear Stearns could be the tip of the iceberg and if that's true, we're all screwed. It's 1929 all over again.

Anonymous,  11:19  

What you're saying is that McCain's courage may be a result of "super human" qualities not present in most of us. In a way, it's a false courage because it's very possible he doesn't feel things as strongly as most people. Right?

If that's what you are saying, I agree. If McCain felt the emotional and physical pain as much as the average person, he would, more than likely be a Democrat, number one, and wouldn't even consider torture.

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