If history is "one damned thing after another," the short history of 21st-Century America looks like one damned gigantic clusterfuck. First, and worst, national security and intelligence failures enabled the 9/11 terrorist attack, the largest mass murder on the continent in the nation's history. Then came Enron, a colossal fraud and the largest corporate bankruptcy ever. Next we had the pointless and devastating Iraq war, the biggest foreign policy disaster since Vietnam. At mid-decade, we watched a major American city, New Orleans, drown on national television, killing a thousand people. A few years later, the housing bubble popped, wiping out trillions of dollars of wealth and precipitating the largest financial crisis in 70 years and the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Unbelievably, very few people have been held to account for this catalogue of scandal and disaster – not in Washington, not on Wall Street, not, for the most part, in America's corporate boardrooms.
All of which – and more – has left a banged-up and bewildered American people down on the nation's bedrock institutions, sour on the future, and asking: What the hell happened!?
In an excellent new book, Twilight of the Elites, journalist Chris Hayes argues that what happened is this: Our ruling class failed us. Behind the seemingly haphazard pile-up of recent calamities he sees a pattern: In each case, a cadre of Very Important People succumbed to some combination of blinkered groupthink, deception, self-dealing, fraud, smugness, and self-delusion. And in virtually every case, they escaped accountability. Or, as Hayes puts it: "All the smart people fucked up, and no one seems willing to take responsibility."
aedens wrote:I think marc knows he is the loose nail unless he sandbags a few positions for the euro play since the BOJ decided as we remember then who and what was deemed the loose nail in there decent. He noted he was early so I respect his mettle but not the adjunct position I feel he was compelled to do. I wish him well since he seems to be a sincere soul.
"In nearly 20 years of dealing with EU issues, I've never known a state of affairs like we are in now," one euro zone diplomat said this week. "It really is a very, very difficult fix and it's far from certain that we'll be able to find the right way out of it."
"For two years we've been pumping up the life raft, taking decisions that fill it with just enough air to keep it afloat even though it has a leak," the diplomat said. "But now the leak has got so big that we can't pump air into the raft quickly enough to keep it afloat."
"The Greeks might say they are in such a mess that to survive they we need to ease up the austerity a bit, and to still regain debt sustainability they will have to default on 30-40 percent of the loans," one euro zone official said.
"There would be a lot of people saying this is understandable, so maybe this makes sense and maybe we could have a reasonable discussion among the member states on how Greece can move forward," the official said.
The official speculated that euro zone debt forgiveness for Greece could be made dependent on progress in structural reforms or that it could be reviewed once Athens has to start paying back the capital of the loans in 10 years.
"Maybe we could agree to give debt relief of, say, 25 percent to make possible some changes in the programme. Then we implement that for six months or a year and maybe we find out that we need to give them another 25 percent and at the end of the day we might get to a stable situation," the official said.
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