As I turn from the almost daily news of the $12.8 trillion worth of rescues of Wall Street to the relative non-response from the taxpayer, I am reminded of a story that a South African friend told me about getting hit by a consequence of red tides, Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. My friend had eaten some shellfish straight from the sea, not realizing there was a red tide. Within half an hour he was (temporarily) paralyzed. Fully alert but immobile on the ground, my friend watched as a man came over and calmly removed the wallet from his pocket. The robber, of course, knew that my friend could do nothing to fight back. The robber, furthermore, must have been aware of the poisonous red tide, but had done nothing to stop my friend from eating the shellfish, but perhaps waited for him to eat the poisonous shellfish so as to take advantage of the subsequent paralysis.
I look around America and I see Paralytic Debt Poisoning (PDP).
A red tide of toxic debt has poisoned the nation's financial system. And the American taxpayers are paralyzed as the financial oligarchs brazenly plunder their Fed and Treasury pockets.
The collateralized debt obligations, the credit default swaps, the mortgage backed securities and other debt instruments were, of course, only able to bloom to toxic levels in an environment overly rich in the necessary nutrients (deregulation, lax oversight, etc.).
And we over-fed the debt markets because we had lost our real wealth and incomes since the end of the gold standard and the beginning of financial deregulation. And the subsequent explosion in personal debt has left us further unable to respond to the financial meltdown. Without the resources to survive on our own incomes, we had grown ever more dependent on the very debt choking off the oxygen to our real economy.
Many of the financial pundits who cheerleaded us into this toxic red debt tide are now calling the bottom. There are, however, hundreds of trillions of dollars of more toxic derivatives remaining in this red tide of debt. Do you think the Fed & Treasury pick pocketers are going to stop at the mere $12 trillion they have taken?
My guess is that there is another round of bailouts coming for these 'too big to fail' financial institutions. And another. And another. Until we rise up and stop taking it lying down.
There should have been only one institution too big to fail in America and that is/was the US Constitution. And we all know what happened to that 'piece of paper.'
I know you are lying there paralyzed with PDP, but I also know you can hear me. You are being robbed! You will NOT have that private pension you think you have. And the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation will, apparently, be too broke to make you whole as it appears its pockets have also been picked:
Just months before the start of last year's stock market collapse, the federal agency that insures the retirement funds of 44 million Americans departed from its conservative investment strategy and decided to put much of its $64 billion insurance fund into stocks.
Switching from a heavy reliance on bonds, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation decided to pour billions of dollars into speculative investments such as stocks in emerging foreign markets, real estate, and private equity funds.
Get up. Stand up. It's time to get all Howard Beale folks!
By the way, I warned the red tides were coming right here on Huffington Post in January 2006 when I submitted this mash up to the Huffington Post "Contagious Festival."