Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why I bailed on the bailout

This cartoon by John Callahan, which I was overjoyed to find on his MySpace page , sums up just how I feel about deeply intractable problems. It's a widespread feeling. I think it's why a lot of people give up on keeping track of their local politics.

I have a job that requires me to follow local politics. Once you know some of this stuff, it frustrates you to see people ignore the evidence of corruption and mismanagement right in front of them, though if my job did not require me to watch this cesspool, would I? Maybe I wouldn't.

As it is, I take my byes on big issues that aren't local. I can honestly say I bailed on the financial bailout before it even happened.

I review a fair number of books published by the wonderful University of Texas Press, enough to stay on their reviewer comp list, I guess. From this last list, one of the books I asked to consider for review was Deception and Abuse at the Fed by Robert D. Auerbach.

Not very far into the book, I was convinced of the premise that the highest federal financial officers in the land have a virtual free reign. I also instantly recognized that a small group of federal bankers and wonks who have a virtual free reign and who share a revolving door with a small group of fabulously wealthy private sector bankers and wonks were out of my league.

Whatever hustle they had going, I wasn't going to be able to gather enough information to understand it and enough muscle to expose it and make a difference.

I thought of this Callahan cartoon. "Next problem, please."

Same thought on the financial bailout, which has a lot to do with the premise of Auerbach's book, with the largely unregulated upper echelon of the financial sector. Financial bailout, hmmm. Taxes paid by a middle class that is disappearing into poverty being passed up the financial food chain to bail out the gamblers and good timers at the top?

Who then brazenly refuse any sort of accountability as to what they are doing with billions of the disappearing middle class' tax dollars?

Callahan cartoon. "Next problem, please."

I'm looking for one I might be able to fix. Surely, we at least can replace a police board that can't keep an eye on the police, and the public assets and money seized by the police, in a middle-sized Midwestern city?

The new governor appoints all of the St. Louis police board except one slot - Jay Nixon needs to be encouraged to make a clean sweep - and the mayor is the city's lone representative on the board.

Mayor Slay is up for reelection, with a primary in March and a general election in April. He needs to swept off that police board and replaced with someone with a sincere interest in overseeing those who are sworn to protect the public - but given a lot of power to wield in protecting us, and all power is prone to abuse.

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