Playing conjuring tricks with people’s lives

The thing about conjuring is – it’s a trick.

The rabbit hasn’t really defied all the known laws of physics and vanished into thin air.

The conjuror has made it seem that way, but really we’re the victims of our own gullibility.

Enter the United States Government and $700 billion dollars, complete with top hat, white gloves and magic wand.

I’m not a complicated person. I see things in very simple terms. And the simple terms are these:
•    ordinary American people bought houses that weren’t worth the money.
•    They bought them when they couldn’t really afford to because in America if you overstretch your finances that’s your problem.

•    They were lent the money by mortgage companies who were lent the money by banks.
•    The buyers – ordinary men and women with families and jobs (when they took out the mortgage, anyway) failed to make the payments and the houses were sold and repossessed, leading to financial ruin for them (because the houses were worth less than the mortgages).
•    and leading to financial ruin for the mortgage companies because they couldn’t get their money back
•    and financial ruin – as it turns out – for the banks.

Enter the Seventh Cavalry in the shape of the American government; a sort of corpulent, corporate Superman, if you will, to save … the dispossessed families who lost their homes? The spirits and broken lives of people for whom the strain of loss led to other kinds of ruin besides merely financial?


The banks.

What? What!

What about the people who lost their homes and, in some cases their families in the struggle to deal with debts they couldn’t pay? What do they get out of it, except thoroughly shafted?

Nothing. They thought they were watching a white rabbit being pulled out of a hat, but it vanished. And guess what – it wasn’t a miracle; it was a cheap trick that preyed on gullibility and ignorance.

The white rabbit disappeared through a hole in the conjurer’s table and turned up as a $700 billion gift to the banks to help them ride out the storm. That’s $2800 in Australian money for every man, woman, and child, every bedridden and behospitalled elderly person, every suckling babe in the United States of America. In a cruel and ironic twist of fate those tax payers who lost their homes to the American sub-prime housing con trick will be among those who are bailing out the banks.

So the US government is not the Seventh Cavalry (and in the interests of historical accuracy it’s worth noting that the original Seventh Cavalry was annihilated by the original American residents 132 years ago) nor Superman, but a conjurer in a top hat and white gloves (maybe to hide the fingerprints).

And it’s all legal. Unscrupulous people in suits, whose driving motive is not merely financial success but – importantly – financial success at the expense of innocent people, are to be rewarded for the most monumental financial stuff-up since the Great Depression.

What’s my point? I guess it’s that whether it’s Kevin Rudd, John Howard or Mickey Mouse, I’m glad I’m Australian.