Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Greedy Bastards Club

Gone boring again… Well I don’t like economics either, but it rules our lives. The more that is revealed lately the more we are seeing those infamous members of The Greedy Bastards Club.

Our economic managers and I include the US, Canada and Britain with the Australians, are not serving us well. Okay, that can be seen as either bloody minded or ‘just stating the bloody obvious', so let’s look at some issues.

Let’s begin with the Australian Subprime Minister and treasurer Peter Costello. I won’t suggest the following writing is my own, but:

“If Costello were running a major Australian company the way he is handling the country's finances, and presenting false accounts qualified by its auditors and the Australian Bureau of Statistics in the way he has done with income from the GST, he would risk being charged in the civil courts by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for deceitful and misleading conduct.” Age


Looking at borrowing, for ordinary Joes, not corporations or national economies There are two interesting terms arising lately, Predatory lenders and liar loans, both signalling members of the Greedy Bastards Club. Some are mortgage related, but the fact is the terms cover the gamut of personal finance.

I’ve morphed into an anti finance evangelist lately, which makes it curious that people keep coming to me with stories like; “I can’t afford this car so I’m going to Weasel Bob’s to get a new one. They say it doesn’t matter if your credit is bad…” Or any variation you can think of.

Times are getting tough and credit cards are maxed, so the current thinking is to just look for another way of financing the dream. It’s not a bloody dream, it’s a nightmare! The advertising for ‘easy finance’ is keeping electronic media alive here, and the advertisers will end up sinking with the people they manage to dupe.

Bailing who?

With the escalating debt stress the focus has not once been on bailing the ordinary Joes, but governments are falling over themselves bailing big money. Bear in mind here, it is the corporations and institutions driving retail debt stress.

Central banks are furiously injecting. The Bank of England has doubled the amount of emergency loan money available to commercial banks caught short in the global credit squeeze… Australian Reserve bank has increased its injection activities.

Why? Because the banks have increased the cost of short time, overnight, loans to each other to facilitate the various bank to bank and cross border cash transfers. Because the banks have take the Greedy Bastard route central banks are forced to bail the system out.

The US Fed has gone a step further by cutting the rate. Like Australia, the US is staring down the barrel of inflation. Indeed, I believe the signs are already out there that we have moved into an inflationary trend. Well, guess who benefits from rising prices!

Essential service delivery

This is becoming an odious form of fiscal blackmail; we all need utilities and basic services. In some of our countries these were essentially government instrumentalities, but no longer. Even those essentially publicly owned are cast as independent corporations.

In any other field a badly run corporation would suffer for their failings. If they were remiss in reinvesting in their future needs then tough shit. Not so with those delivering essential services. More and more they can simply increase consumer prices to cover the cost of upgrades.

This is a government/s supported bail out for another group in the Greedy Bastards Club. Just try that art home; fail to provide for your arising needs then get the government to step in and bail you out.

Just a start here; it is a select club for sure, but covers the globe.


abi said...

You're right, the dream could very quickly become a nightmare. So much debt out there - there has to be a tipping point. And if and when it's reached, things are going to fall apart very quickly.

That's all for now - I'm off to Weasel Bob's.

Cartledge said...

You really need to be wary of Weasel Bob. His recent claim that used car prices are higher to compensate for the high price of bananas in this country flies in the face of technological advances.
Surely there are cheaper products available now to mask the noise of worn differentials and transmissions.