Wednesday, July 17, 2013

There are no magic wands.

Yesterday afternoon, I stopped by Mr Pierce's joint and saw he had a post up and the video of Senator Elizabeth Warren's appearance on CNBC's Squawk Box this past Friday (July 12), talking about her proposed legislation to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act from the 1930s. I made it almost to the end of the video snippet Mr Pierce had posted when I heard a preposterous question (Columbia Journalism Review identifies the questioner as one Joe Kernen - and accurately identifies the question as a straw-man):

Sullivan’s dumb question is followed by a straw man question from Joe Kernan about how Glass-Steagall—all by itself—wouldn’t have prevented the financial crisis. Warren has amiably knocked that one down before (not coincidentally, it came from CNBCer and NYTer Andrew Ross Sorkin), and she does here as well.
As I was writing this diary, I came across an article from Fortune Magazine on Monday where the author first claims:
Last week, the unlikely political pair introduced a bill aimed at recreating the 1933 law. The effort is welcomed, but the protections of Glass-Steagall aren't a cure-all for bank risk today -- its repeal didn't cause the financial crisis. And reinstating the law likely won't protect Americans from another one.
Then immediately follows this first paragraph with this:
This isn't to say a law like Glass-Steagall isn't needed. Warren and McCain's proposal would separate traditional banks that offer your standard checking and savings accounts insured by The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. from riskier institutions, such as those involved in investment banking, the sale of insurance products, hedge funds, private equity, and the like.
When did we reach the point where proposed legislation like Glass-Steagall is being presented as a miracle cure/magic wand that will cure all the ills? We do not live in a binary world where the options are all-or-nothing. Senator Warren maintained her composure and pointed out to the Wall St Shills Squawk Box hosts this exact point.

Yet this is no where near the first time we hear Beltway Village Idiots Pundits, Politicians, and Courtiers use the argument that X legislation won't totally solve a problem in-and-of itself so we should not do anything at all. I'm thinking right now specifically of the opposition to even the most basic expansion of background checks at gun shows. Background checks alone will not solve the problems with the proliferation of guns but they just might keep them out of the hands of some folks who should not be allowed to carry (criminals for example.) Will someone who is intent on obtaining a weapon going to be stopped? Probably not. But what is wrong in making it a tad more difficult for them?

We do not live in a binary world, so let's stop trying to pretend that the solutions are only binary. Oh, and Jim Cramer? When you have to protest that Senator Warren did not make an impact on the issue of Glass-Steagall with her appearance? You pretty much confirm that she DID make an impact.

And because I can:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I Am Homeless

Yep. A bit tough to admit but this is my current reality. I think though that the most surprising thing for me is that I've made it this far before this happened. Since I was laid off from my last job in April '04, I have gone through the six months of unemployment (do not let anyone tell you the economy only went south in '07/'08 as that is a crock.) I cashed in and spent my 401K and IRA. The positive side of that is that even after paying the early cash-in penalties, I still got to spend more of the money on myself and Dan'l instead of watching the balances swirl down the toilet when the market crashed in '07/'08. I maxed out my credit cards. I have received a few "loans" and "gifts" from friends and family. I have juggled things and kept those plates in the air as long as I could but they are all crashing down on my head right now.

I'm not actually on the street. Yet. The past couple of weeks, I have been staying at a motel in Lexington, KY (Free Breakfast! Free WiFi!) but this is going to end shortly. I'm on the waiting list for subsidized housing in my hometown but have no idea how long the wait may be. I've been trying to hold on and stretch things until I reach 62 next June and can start collecting early Social Security. (And missed it by that much.)

Unless I manage a miracle of some sort in the next couple of days, I will be on the street. I'm sure I will be a sight trying to handle a cat carrier, litter box, laptop over my shoulder, and pulling a small wheeled suitcase. When I was in the USAF in Hawai'i, I had a couple of week period where I did not have a place to live and slept in my car or in chairs in friends' rooms in the barracks but now, I don't even have a car that I can camp out in as I sold my old car (1992 Ford Escort) for scrap last month before I left Florida.

I'm not sure what the worst part of all this is. I worry about how I will care for Dan'l as I made a commitment to him when I adopted him in Albany, NY ten years ago. I do have a part-time job but it is online on weekends so if I don't have a net connection, I don't earn even the small amount each month. And as has been the case for most of the last nine years, I do still have an outstanding job possibility in my chosen career field of Software Quality Assurance and Testing.

One of the unfortunate realities of today's world is the knowledge that the vast majority of people in the "99%" are only a couple of missed paychecks from this life. I started this sucky little blog a bit over three years ago in an attempt to draw attention to the life of the long term un and underemployed so I guess this is a semi-logical progression. I always try to remember that no matter how bad things are for me, there are millions more in the same or worse situations. I am in reasonably good health. Dan'l helps me reduce the stress when he comes to sit in my lap.

And because I can: