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Written by Jim Jordal   
Friday, 05 December 2008

A NICE GAME IF YOU CAN GET IT

By Jim Jordal

 "By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I have understanding: and I have removed the boundaries of the peoples, and have robbed their treasures. Like a valiant man I have brought down their rulers.  My hand has found the riches of the peoples like a nest, and like one gathers eggs that are abandoned, have I gathered all the earth. There was no one who moved their wing, or that opened their mouth, or chirped."

Isaiah 10:13-14 (WEB)

As you perhaps know, the kingdom of Assyria perpetually troubled Israel during the time of Isaiah. The passage above reflects the boasting of Assyrian leaders over their ability to rob and pillage Israel’s wealth without anyone taking serious notice. Add to this the advice of the apostle Paul in Romans 15:4 and First Corinthians 10:11 that the experiences of God’s people over the ages are written for our learning. Armed with this information, you might then be willing to accept that somewhat the same thing is happening today. Average Americans are being pillaged by the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, a federal tax system increasingly favoring the rich, massive corporations gone wild, and a world trading system dedicated to the increasing enrichment of those who already have too much. And nobody even chirps until the damage is done.

Mortgage expert Ralph Roberts likens the recent mortgage meltdown to a gambling casino in which the government allows winners to keep all winnings, but bails out losers with money from the public treasury. A nice game if you can get it! And the investment/mortgage banking industry seems to have managed to do just that with the recent public bailout of BearStearns and now the looming rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage giants who either hold or insure about half of the nation’s mortgages.

So a new phrase has entered the American political vernacular: "Privatized profits, socialized losses." This means simply that most profits remain in the hands of profiteers due to massive campaign contributions to those legislators willing to vote for the various tax travesties allowing them to keep their profits. One of the most noxious is the euphemism of "carried interest" that allows billions in what should be regular income taxed at the highest rates to now be taxed at the lower capital gains rate.

But when massive losses occur they suddenly and magically become the responsibility of all Americans. No longer do billionaires go bankrupt; only common people suffer such indignity. The "malefactors of great wealth" and their ponderous financial institutions cannot be allowed to collapse because they are "too big to fail." Translated message: They have like a cancer invaded both the halls of power and the homes and financial investments of most Americans to the extent that should they collapse the financial house-of-cards they have created would go down with them.

And this debacle is often excused by political and economic leaders as just a bit of excessive zeal by Wall Street that got out of control for a while, but will soon return to normal. Well, folks, I hope it never returns to normal because if it does this catastrophe will occur again. The vaunted deregulation begun by the Reagan administration and continued ever since has failed to curb the greed and foolishness of financial manipulators. They never "get the message" that there is something wrong with what they do. They are like the legendary professional criminal whom, when asked about any remorse he might have over his behavior, said: "I ain’t sorry I did the crime; I’m only sorry I got caught."

And they did get caught. It remains to be seen how sorry the financial manipulators might be. But one thing is certain: While the profits went to private parties, the losses will be absorbed by the people in the form of a $300 billion line of credit proposed for the mortgage giants by Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. If used, this amount will be added to the national debt, which is owed and paid by the people. So unless we who care for those victimized by such chicanery begin to act much more forcefully with continued advocacy and political action coupled with the application of biblical principles to the situation, there will be more to come.

It isn’t over yet!

Last Updated ( Friday, 05 December 2008 )