Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm Sick Of Reading About The Madoff Victims. And Octo-Mom.

Attorneys know that it is critical to present their clients as individuals. Talk about their home, their marriage, their children. Details. Put a face to the name.

700,000 Americans lost their job last month. Name one.

Most Americans have no money to invest. And they certainly never had Bernie Madoff's phone number, nor would he have been interested if they had called. The people who invested with Madoff have been robbed. But so have most of the working people in this country, yet we hear nothing about the average joe and jane who have lost everything.

I'm beginning to think this deluge of stories about "Madoff's Victims" is designed to pressure the politicians to give these people back their money, while the rest of us get nothing. Those of us who just invested in institutional funds, those who have lost their homes and jobs, the faceless, nameless, we get nothing.

The Madoff stories are as tedious as the octomom coverage.

Why not talk about the criminal enterprise that was run by all of Wall Street, and the looting and plundering of our entire country? You know -- the losses by the "people" who are nameless, faceless, but represent the majority of the victims of the Bush-Cheney crime wave.

No bailout for the Madoff victims. No bailout for Octomom. Let's stop the nonsensical weepy gossip-rag level of coverage about an institutional and international crime against the majority of people in this country, and much of the rest of the world.

For example, we should demand the following:

1. Every politician who accepted any money from any business in the Financial Cartels (banks, stockbrokers, insurance companies) should be ordered to pay all that money into a public fund. Too bad if they already spent it. Sell one of their homes, and use the proceeds from that to pay back the public for the bribes they accepted. If they had not been taking bribes, maybe they would have done their job and stopped this crime before its completion. This is both a Democratic and Republican issue.

2. Every employee of any Financial Cartel who earned over $100,000 in any year during the past 8 years should be ordered to pay into a public fund the money in excess of $100,000. Or seize their assets and bank accounts. If the assets and bank accounts cannot be found because they are off-shore, in private equity accounts, throw the people into prison and give them an opportunity to think carefully about where they might have put all that money. If they can't remember, they can stay in prison.

3. Remove the top management in every one of the Financial Cartels. Replace them with reasonably bright lower-level employees and tell them that if they take one penny for themselves in excess of $100,000 per year at the maximum, the public will hunt them down and hang them by their toes in a public square. In a snowstorm. Naked.

4. Every person who cannot pay their mortgage should be given 6 months to move out conditioned on them paying a specific amount (fair rental value) in rent, by the first of the month, into a special account. If they don't pay, evict them. If they do pay, they've got six months maximum to move out. Then let the banks foreclose, take back the property, and take the loss which represents the deflated bubble. Let the banks take the loss, not the taxpayers.

5. Immediately pass and enforce laws requiring each city to build (maybe in a public-private partnership) new moderate-income rental units sufficient to house 10% of their current population, to rent those to current residents of that city at no more than 25% of the average family income (about $12,500/year rental assuming $55,000/year average income). This will relieve the need for affordable housing on an immediate basis, and allow for planning for additional units as appropriate. Instruct the federal government to do a study to determine the number of moderate income rental units that should be available in each city, then make arrangements for their construction.

6. Prohibit banks and lenders from making residential loans for more than 80% loan to value, and/or no more than 3 times gross income in total. No more no-doc loans.

7. Prohibit banks and lenders from loaning money to anyone who is buying foreclosed homes which have been purchased by speculator groups. Let the speculators lose the property, then we'll start all over.

8. Any person who loses their home will be forgiven the difference between the value of the home and the amount of the loans, and that will not considered taxable income or gain to the former homeowner. Anyone who took money out of their home on a re-finance, and used it for other purposes, will be taxed on that amount. It will be considered gain or income to the former home owner.

9. Pass a law to eliminate the home mortgage interest deduction over a 15-year period. Phase it out. All it does is allow the real estate developers and Financial Cartels to keep jacking up the price of houses and convincing buyers that they aren't "really" paying for it because it's a write-off, and it takes money that should be paid in taxes, and gives it to the real estate developers and financial cartels instead of having it available to pay public expenses.

10. Increase social security contributions to 20% (10% paid by the employee, 10% paid by the employer) and remove the cap from the income subject to social security taxes. Increase the monthly payments to replace the lost savings and pensions of people whose money has been stolen by the Financial Cartels as allowed by the corrupt politicians.

11. No special deals for the Madoff victims, no matter how much press they get. Throw Madoff in prison, seize his assets and distribute them to his victims. But that's it. They lose just like the rest of us do.

12. Stop hounding the woman with 14 children. Leave her and her children to the appropriate authorities and any oversight or involvement they may consider appropriate. These are children. Even if their mom is weird, leave them alone.

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