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Monday, April 20, 2009


Capitalism is organized crime

There was a conference this weekend in Los Angeles with the title "Capitalism is organized crime." Actually, it's a gross insult to organized crime, which has killed one innocent bystander for every hundred thousand innocent civilians killed by capitalism, and whose total loot pales in comparison to that stolen by capitalists in just the past few months, much less its entire history.

One aspect of that crime is reflected in a story in today's San Jose Mercury News, about a bright local student accepted at Notre Dame, who will probably have to choose another college because of the price tag...$51,300/year. Does it really take $51,300 to educate a student? I'd say no.

But when that's the going rate, that's when the real organized crime kicks in - loan-sharking credit-card loans. On CNN today, we learn that the average credit card balance for graduating college seniors is $4,100. I emphasize that word "average" because of course some students owe nothing on their cards, which means that of the ones that do, the number is even higher...at 15, 18, 20 percent (or even higher) interest rates! It's true that organized crime (at least according to the movies and TV shows) charges even higher interest, but they have to employ debt collectors with baseball bats; the credit card companies operate a perfectly legal business. Organized crime...with a license to steal, and enforcement courtesy of the government itself.

"Pearls Before Swine" is a comic that stated appearing in our local paper recently. Most days it's kind of like a car wreck, so bad I try to look away but usually can't avoid it. Yesterday was on point on this same subject:

Pearls Before Swine

If you have trouble reading it, here's the text:

Rat's Fairy Tale O' Fairness and Justice

Once upon a time, there was a bank C.E.O. who decided to make a lot of home loans to peole he knew could not pay them back.
As a result, Mr. Bank C.E.O. made $50,000,000 in bonuses and stock options.
But the loans went bad.
And as a result, the bank's employees lost their jobs.
And the bank's shareholders lost their money.
And the homeowners lost their homes.
And taxpayers with no connection to the bank had to pay all the money to fix it.
And Mr. Bank C.E.O. got to keep all of his $50,000,000 and live happily every after in his Connecticut mansion.
"Where's the fairness and justice in THAT?!" "Whoa. Perhaps I should re-title this." "Oh. I just LOVE happy endings."
There could be a happy ending, but it will take a lot of work to make it happen.

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