A.J. DiCintio
American aristocrats
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By A.J. DiCintio
July 11, 2009

When Mark Twain set out to tell "the truth, mainly" about aristocrats, he did it this way:

"How much do a king git?"

"Get?" I says; "why, they get a thousand dollars a month if they want it; they can have just as much as they want; everything belongs to them."

"Ain'that gay? En what dey got to do, Huck?"

"They don't do nothing! . . . They just set around."


Now, if Twain had allowed Huck and Jim to slip in the fact that aristocrats also "don't know nothing" (thus explaining the tragedies they cause when they get off their lazy duffs to do something), he would have captured the totality of an ancient breed that never changes its spots.

Never explaining why blue-blooded politicians, bureaucrats, and bankers have been creating a painful, ugly economic mess in the U.S.A.

With whom to begin?

Well, who else but Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, and their ilk.

Think of it:

The vote grubbing politicians believed they could simply waft away reasons for time-tested mortgage rules as they forced banks to approve "sub-prime mortgages," the inane euphemism they coined to avoid saying, "stupidly dangerous loans."

The pretentious bureaucrats thought they could wish an "ownership society" into reality by flooding the nation with easy money, easy mortgages, and easy regulation of financial institutions whose bosses, they argued, would behave with perfect rationality because of their "self-interest" in "protecting their. . .shareholders and. . . equity."

(That the conservative Alan Greenspan could join leftists who preach the perfectibility of humanity through reason only serves to prove the universality of the human frailties called arrogance and airheadedness.)

The insatiably greedy big shot bankers and insurers thought they had invented a Perpetual Profits Machine when they committed astonishing sums to indecipherable instruments called "mortgage-backed securities," "collateralized debt obligations," and "credit default swaps" that were tied to bundles of indiscriminately packaged "sub-prime" mortgages.

Finally and thus leaving no doubt about their perfect vacuousness by 2005, not one of the patricians knew that the national ratio of mortgage to income, which historically had stood at 3:1, had risen to 4:1, with locales in Florida, California, and other states reporting ratios as high as 9:1.

Ah, yes, that convenient ignorance about the insanity of the "housing bubble" was bliss, indeed, because it absolved our modern nobles from admitting their greed and stupidity and getting down to real, honest work not to mention that it permitted them to rise momentarily from their soft, pretentious seats to smile "trust us" and lecture "not to worry."

We come now to a very special blueblood, Barack Obama, the intellectual/political aristocrat who, according to Newsweek's Evan Thomas, stands not just "above the country" but "above the world [as a] sort of God."

Obama, an omniscient god? Really?

The Obama who entrusted the writing of the "stimulus" bill to Congress, which was certain to (and did) stuff it full of wasteful pork that stimulates nothing except higher debt, higher taxes, and the flow of saliva in every corrupt politician's mouth?

The Obama who chose a Secretary of the Treasury who, like Paulson and Rubin before him, puts Wall Street before all else as Timothy Geithner did when he allowed bailed out, de facto bankrupt AIG to pay $50 billion at 100 cents on the dollar to domestic and foreign banks (including Goldman Sachs, where his two predecessors earned enormous sums for their incomparable service)?

The Obama who supports Treasury and Fed policies designed to line the pockets of big banks and big bankers while starving small business of credit, thereby making economic recovery impossible?

The Obama who endangers not just the recovery but America's economic and social future with borrowing so astonishingly reckless that it has given rise to serious international talk of replacing the dollar as the global reserve currency?

The Obama who proposes a trillion dollar "reform" of the nation's health care system without explaining his plan or how he will pay for it?

The Obama who proposes "carbon" and energy policies that will burden families with stunning increases in utility rates and energy costs even as they depress economic growth in America while providing a boon to the economies of China and India?

The Obama whose philosophy on all subjects (including things economic) asks the American public to consider Ben Franklin a bumbling fool for counseling, "He that lives upon hope will die fasting"?

Of course, the questions asked above are merely rhetorical. But they also remind us that madness is what aristocrats do.

That's why the Obama administration will continue to cover up the failure of its command economy policies by explaining it "misread how bad the economy was."

Congressional Democrats will continue to flaunt what Larry Kudlow calls their "fiscal nymphomania."

Big bankers will continue to take the Fed's cheap cash and hoard it while enriching themselves with outlandish bonuses.

Big shots from the left and right will continue eschewing a discussion of substantive issues to attack Sarah Palin and her family with vicious lies and insults intended to put the commoner in her place.

And all the while, every one of the smug, effete aristocrats will remain ignorant of ominous rumblings heard throughout the nation, being as arrogantly detached from reality as were e.e. cummings' Cambridge ladies, who never could take notice of the moon rattling "in its box of sky. . . like a fragment of angry candy."

No surprise, however, for aristocrats never change their spots.

© A.J. DiCintio

 

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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.

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