Vol. 3    No. 19
September 18, 2008
Acrylic Wisdom
Leonel Iribarren paints of future past
  I was pretty focused putting out the paper this week and didn’t really have time to reflect on the rapid economic
changes that were occurring this week. On the heels of the federal government’s bailout of Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac, two quasi-public/private financial institutions that held a good deal of the nation’s mortgage debt,
came news that the venerable Lehman Brothers investment bank was going into bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch was
being gobbled up by Bank of America and AIG insurance was in deep trouble. The dominoes continued to fall
from the impact of the bursting of the housing boom bubble when people’s homes became worth twice the
original investment in a matter of years. Like any good New York Stock Exchange rally, there was bound to be a
slump after greedy investors took a lot of value out of the financial markets and the overly leveraged system caved
  As of this writing, they are considering a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry by having the federal
government buy all of the bad mortgages from investment and conventional banks thereby propping up our nation’
s system of credit and allow for economic expansion once more. Theoretically speaking, the federal government
will hold onto these foreclosed mortgages until the housing market improves and it can sell the mortgages for a
profit and recoup the public’s money. I say theoretical because more than likely, once the housing market begins
to rebound, greedy folks will hire lobbyists who will pressure Congress to force the early sale of the mortgages to
private interests who will then reap the profits.
  What seems to be happening here is the socialization of risk in this country and the privatization of greed. It is
pure, unhindered greed that caused this financial catastrophe in the first place. For the past 30 years, this country
has been on a deregulation binge as conservatives have continued voicing the mantra that government is bad,
regulation gets in the way of the private sector and greed is good and makes the world go round. Well we saw what
unfettered greed did in the 1920s — the Great Depression — and it is greed that has brought us to the brink of
another Great Depression today.
  I guess there are two differences from the 1920s to today. The first is that measures are being taken before a
serious crash occurs. The federal government has read the economic tealeaves and has projected what would
happen if there was no federal intervention: economic chaos.
  The second is that instead of an activist Democratic administration instituting drastic measures, an admittedly
conservative, free-market Republican administration is instituting drastic measures before it leaves office.
  George W. Bush has always been the hero of economic conservatives. I have had a hard time understanding
that because Bush has employed governmental spending — as well as irresponsible tax cuts — to secure his
electoral advantage. Government is bigger now than when he took office and the nation is much deeper in debt.
Yet the conservatives loved him. After he institutes these drastic, unconservative measures, I wonder if his
favorable rating will go south to 20 percent or lower due to him being deserted by his last vestige of support, the
die-hard conservatives.
  We are in a post-laissez-faire economic environment, signaled by the recent actions of the Bush administration.
I have no problems with this governmental action that I hope will spare many people a lot of economic pain. But I
do have some requests. The people who have taken all the risks, reaped the huge financial gains and then cashed
out should be made to pay a great deal of this recovery effort. I was always taught by my parents to own up and
take responsibility when I did something wrong and to do what it took to make things right again. The people who
caused this economic crisis should also take responsibility — willingly or unwillingly — and do everything in their
means to make the situation right.
  The second request is that since the federal government is absorbing all of the risk with its purchase of the
soured mortgages that it be allowed to reap the profit when the housing market rebounds. While irresponsible
individuals are, in essence, reaching into our pockets to pay for this economic catastrophe, please don’t let them
double-dip in the future by taking the profitable mortgages off the federal government’s hands at bargain-
basement prices. The American public is taking the risk. It should also receive the financial reward.
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                    Economic woes

Stories & Columns

Green Party Candidate Cynthia
McKinney: The other Black
by Jonathan Gramling

2008 Money Conference: Cash
by Jonathan Gramling

Trends in Madison Metropolitan
School funding: Looking for
respite to plan,
by Jonathan Gramling

Asian Wisconzine: His Holinesss
the Dalai Lama in Madison/
Tenshug: Long life rite,
by Heidi M. Pascual

Simple Things/ Pathology,
by Lang Kenneth Haynes

2008 UW Diversity Dorum:
Integrating HWCUs,
by Jonathan Gramling

Roar the play debuts at Overture
by Jonathan Gramling

Like it t.i. IS/Submitting to God's
by Martinez White

Memories of my grandfather,
by Mawuena Akyea

The Democratic National
Convention/Witnesses to a
historical moment (2),
by Jonathan Gramling

China Dispatch/The games that
people (in China) play,
by Andrew Gramling

Anthology of Latino Voices/There
are Latinos in Wisconsin?
by Laura Salinger

UW-Madison Multicultural
Reception/An intro to campus life,
by Laura Salinger

Quinceañera (La Misa Y La Fiesta),
by Jonathan Gramling

Fourth Annual Mexican
Independence Day at Warner Park,
by Jonathan Gramling

Centro Hispano's Fiesta Hispana
at Warner Park,
by Jonathan Gramling

24th Annual Bayview Triangle
Ethnic Fest/Melting Pot of
by Jonathan Gramling

Editorial Staff
Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Heidi Manabat
Managing Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Paul Barrows
Fabu Carter-Brisco
Andrew Gramling
Lang Kenneth Haynes
Heidi M. Pascual
Laura Salinger
Alfonso Zepeda Capistran
Martinez White

©2008 The Capital City Hues