The Wall Street Journal on the decade since the crash: inequality, giant banks, regulatory failures, looming catastrophe


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/03/28/marx-the-prophet.html


#2


#3

I was going to post a total despair gif.

But then I thought no, I want to fight back instead. Fight back effectively.

So, how can we fight back effectively?


#4

When the Wall Street Journal is a voice of fucking reason on banking regulations and rising inequality, you know we’re in for interesting times. I mean, I think it’s at least in part an early warning system to the vulnerable necks of the billionaire class, but still.


#5

Get ready to say hello to the Great Recession of 2020, which will make the Great Recession of 2008 look like a joke. We’re not likely to get out of this next one.


#6

The Wall Street Journal is a curious beast; its news stories tend to be firmly reality-grounded (because investors don’t get a return on ideology, and reality has a well-know left-wing bias) …

Indeed. I recall about a decade ago when the WSJ was saying “global climate change will hurt your investments” (or words to that effect).


#7

Thanks for the proof of what we already knew.


#8

If you have your money with a big bank, consider switching to a credit union or small, local bank. I did during the crisis and am very pleased with my small, local bank.


#9

So this is something I’ve been concerned about for some time. I’m used the normal business cycle which tends to run about every 10 years or so…but it seems fluctuations are getting deeper and lasting longer than in previous years.

I survived the 2008 recession relatively unscathed since my job is in the tech sector and I avoid living beyond my means in my personal finances. I definitely saw business activity drop significantly between 2009 and 2012 but survived layoffs and cutbacks.

However, this new trend really concerns me. I recently switched jobs which means I am now low man on the totem pole with my new company. If we hit another significant down cycle then I’m likely to be a victim of any downsizing. At 47, this is far more worrisome than it was when I was 27.

Other factor is what to do about my 401k? If the markets are peaking, should I pull my investments out of stocks now and into bonds and money markets or take the risk and let them ride for awhile longer? I can accept pretty high risk since retirement is still 20+ years out but I don’t like seeing my balances drop with every big swing of the DOW.

Honestly looking for advice here. What, if anything, are others planning to do?


#10

The next crisis will be way worse: the US government can’t borrow the way it did in 2008, and there’s no more room to cut interest rates

The former is probably more important than the latter. The chart posted is an illustration that lowering interest rates to an unprecedentedly low level, for a DECADE has resulted mostly in the wealthy securing a higher percentage of national wealth rather than either productive investment or high inflation. THAT lever on the economy just isn’t producing the positive or negative effects that economists continue to predict. But when you have a hammer, everybody is wearing a nail shaped hat.


#11

I have cash in a savings account at a bank that seems to do well with stress tests and such (M&T), and my retirement fund, a Simple IRA, is 100% medium-term US securities (bonds, AKA Federal debt). I took my money out of the market too early and could have probably made 30-50K more, whoops. But I feel good about where I’m at, ahead of the next crash. You’ve probably done very well in the market over the past few years, and my bonds are down a bit now, so theoretically it would maybe be a good time to switch it over, or a chunk of it anyway. IANAFA keep in mind, but it’s fairly common sense — buy low, sell high. I never thought the market would get this bubbled so quickly ahead of the next bear market, so something tells me the next one is going to be REALLY bad. Some black swan event will kick it off, by definition something we don’t see coming. Could be tomorrow, could be six months out. If it’s not before end of the year I will be shocked, and probably even more concerned…


#12

The US gov’t can’t borrow the way it did in 2008? When you have the US $ as essentially the world’s default currency and the fact that you can print it and everyone will flock to it, like they did after 2008. And even with falling bond yields, with the 30year bond at 2.8% (not even covering inflation) and people can’t get enough of it. Of course it helps that it is backed up by the world’s largest economy, a fleet of carriers and nuclear missiles plus the fact that there has never been a US treasury fail.

The fact is that the banks and the disconnected elite have no skin in the game and they know they will always get bailed out and then do a bait-and-switch and blame it on an orgy of gov’t spending and bring in austerity. Why do they know this? Because 70% of Americans live from paycheque to paycheque and 50% could not get $2000 together for any kind of emergency, and there are what 300plus million guns. If the ATMs stop working and you can’t buy groceries put gas in your car to go to work or take your kids to school - how long before those guns come out.

The populism that brought in Trump and Brexit was a reaction to the 30years of the neo-liberal focus on inflation to the detriment of the middle class although unsrprisingly Trump has done very little to help them, since he just gave a 1.5trillion tax cut to the top. But even so, just recently there were a number of senate Democrats on the Banking committee that went along with removing some of systemic risk provisions brought in after the collapse.

There is a good talk here on what can be done and I think it is a good start.

Essentially - Free Tuition ($60 billion, a rounding error in the military budget)

  • Child Care
  • Single payer health care (every other OECD country spends 7% of GDP the US spends 17%)
  • Reform the Short Term profit seeking corporate culture (there are CEO’s willing to do more but if they try they are likely to be replaced by activist investors - take a lesson from Germany’s Mittelstand
  • break up the digital monopolies

#13

Burn shit to the ground and start over? :wink:

Honestly, I don’t know, other than that or piecemeal incremental reforms that even the most progressive is going to have a hard time pushing through, even with a bluer congress. Shifting gears to a more effective system is going to take some long, hard work, and we’re a culture that (despite our admiration for that old protestant work ethic) doesn’t seem to like the actual hard work of making change - well, some people do this work already, but lots of us just want a quick fix (look at Silicon valley that just assumes we can technology our troubles away).


#14

Yeah…

I had some hope awhile back that the internet/ social media would help expose the nefarious grabbage of our overlords, but instead, things (by which i generally mean inequality) have just gotten worse.

It’s true tho to keep in mind that patience is something to have, while finding at least incremental ways to push back. Ain’t no quick fixes gonna come along anytime soon, short of maybe a starting-all-over nuclear winter or giant meteor.


#15

It had already reached peak Fred Singer before Murdoch got involved.


#16

Yeah, our fractured media landscape has a down side, as does our postmodern leanings, sometimes, too.

Yeah, the small shifts can be victories against this onslaught of bullshit.


#17

while its editorial page has grown steadily more troglodyte since Rupert Murdoch bought the paper.

Which is saying something. The op-ed page was Crazytown long before Rupert came into the picture. I sometimes wonder if they physically separate the news department from the editorial section to keep the former from dying of embarrassment.


#18

I think Calvinism, and protestantism in general, are conservative or even revisionist (more positively phrased: restaurative) ideologies. And I think the US-American society is, inherently, based on Calvinism. That’s the source of that American dramadream, if you ask me.

Easier to get a leopard to change it’s shorts and to carry a scorpion across the river than to get the US-American society to get through that hole of that particular needle.


#19

Most of US-American society is not seen in popular media.

Wesleyans are thicker on the ground than Calvinists.

EDIT: Second sentence is false nationally, although true for protestants local to me. Mea Culpa!


#20

Indeed, that’s quite true.