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View Diary: Closely-Watched Court Decision Breaks Bad for Wall St. Has A Day of Reckoning Arrived? (154 comments)

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  •  You're not the only one. (13+ / 0-)

    One cost that nobody seems to consider is the price that America has paid in the perceived legitimacy of its institutions and government.  We all know that the banks have paid off the government to rescue them.  EVERYONE from the secretary typing the papers in New York to the floor-scrubbers in a shady hotel in Los Angeles, has received proof positive that our system is corrupt beyond the point of no return.  This changes the way that people relate to every function of government, from volunteering for the military, to bargaining for contracts, to whether or not they run a red light or jaywalk or grow pot in their back yards.  The idea of obedience to Law as a moral duty is dead.  Everyone knows the Law is for sale, and the right to make laws is also for sale, it's just more expensive.  EVERYONE, whether they have the money to participate in the game or are living in a cardboard box; whether they vote (if they vote) for the Greens or the Tea Party or the Demmicans or the Republocrats.  And pretty much everyone around the world, as well.

    In the 1960s when I was growing up, America had a Reputation.  It might have been a load of self-serving propaganda, but people actually believed it.  They believed that being American meant upholding certain standards of law, of justice, of right and wrong and fairness.  No more.  In or out of the country, America is synonymous with corruption and government-for-sale.

    Reputation is a valuable public good that you can take to the bank.  Loss of public legitimacy leads to escalating costs in law enforcement (people no longer follow laws because they are Right, they only obey if forced and sneak around them the minute your back is turned).  It leads to escalating costs in finance, as people stop trusting that your debt is as good as gold, and start factoring in probabilities that a corrupt and dysfunctional government will change all the rules before that debt is due.  It leads to higher costs for salaries, as people stop assuming either that Public Service is better than taking more money for profit, or that The Benefits that they supposedly get in return for lower salary will be there after the next overhaul.  It leads to greater international difficulties, as foreign leaders stop believing that you mean what you say and will back it up.  Of course, the idea that It's For YOUR Good washed out long ago.

    Failure to enforce the Law of the Land over the Gold In Hand  assures the end of the American Project as we have known it in the last century.  The nation may continue to exist, but if it does (if its internal conflicts don't rip it apart in a new Civil War), it will be a meaner, dirtier, nastier and more brutish place because of this.

    •  Such an excellent point. (6+ / 0-)

      The corruption in the financial sector, aided and abetted by the political and judicial and regulatory branches leads to a deep seated cynicism and mistrust by ALL citizens at every level of the economic ladder.

      You also touched on something I have wondered about - Bonds that were complete crap were sold not just in this country, decimating pension funds, etc. but around the world.

      Now that is it revealed that in the US, people are allowed to peddle crap with little or no supervision or meaningful consequences that rise above the Cost of Doing Business, and since many people in charge of selling crap were actually rewarded with continuations of their salaries and bonuses, demonstrating there is no incentive to stop selling crap, why is there the supposition that people will continue to buy crap?

       Both the bond market and the stock market appear to be Ponzi schemes financed with Dumb money that the Smart Money runs off with. What happens when all the Dumb money just leaves the market and sits out until a belief in the integrity of the system is restored?

      “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

      by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 10:47:48 AM PST

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      •  Individual mandate fining folks for not investing? (0+ / 0-)
        What happens when all the Dumb money just leaves the market and sits out until a belief in the integrity of the system is restored?

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 08:11:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  ponzi schemes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        i have read all the way down this far, and been impressed with the mental acuity present. but i still have 1 question, due my my own stupidity.

        when the economy crashed and we lost money (40% of most IRA's, home values, etc.) where did the money go?

        as voiced by molly ivins: politics is all about who's getting screwed and who's doing the screwing. obviously, the money went to the screwers.

        but where exactly did the money go?

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