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Writeoffs & Hedging In Finance,
Politics & Arms Purchases
|by Gaurang Bhatt, MD|
Charles Ponzi dreamed up a fraudulent scheme in which he enticed the ignorant, naive and greedy to invest their money with him by promising unusually high returns. He used the newer incoming money to pay off the previous investors and embezzled the rest, until sheer time and the obvious unsustainability of such pyramid schemes caught up with him. Even though his shenanigans are widely known as certain to fail, they were successfully practiced by Bernie Madoff, Stanford and sundry listed companies on the US stock exchanges without any diligence, supervision or policing by the regulatory agencies like the SEC.
For those of you wondering about this tendency to sleep on the job by the regulatory agencies, please remember that it is the norm or default option of US agencies, as in the failure of the Federal Reserve, rating agencies, Office Of Thrift and Financial supervision, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Congress and the President. The last two have done nothing after the financial debacle of 2007-8 except shifting the bad loans and debt to the taxpayers via the government, bailed out the banksters and enacted a toothless Dud-Fraud bill and held up the appointment of one of the few honest persons like Elizabeth Warren to head a Consumer Protection Agency.
In fact the dishonest presidents and corrupt congresses misappropriated the social security and medicare surpluses by spending them and leaving only IOUs in the supposedly sequestered lockbox, and now want to use the lack of funds due to their breach of responsibility amounting to embezzlement to gut medicare and social security by a supply side Jack Kemp groupie, masquerading as a committee chairman (Ryan). His cohorts in the local and state governments played fast and loose with pension and healthcare regulations and now tell us that there are nearly two trillion dollars worth of unfunded liabilities looming over those governments to push them into something tantamount to bankruptcy. The Federal government is short nearly 75 trillion dollars so the president decided to freeze the salaries of federal workers and announce phony cuts in the defense budget, while starting a few new wars in Libya, Yemen and strangle a nascent democracy in Bahrain, while applauding the model democratic rule of Jordan, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.
Our leaders have learnt these tricks from our CEOs who walk them into elected positions while keeping them on tight leashes and permit them to do their daily ablutions on us citizens. They use the trickery of pro-forma earnings and earnings before extraordinary writeoffs. The problem is that the writeoffs are not once in a blue moon but occur with a recurring regularity every now and then. These inflated earnings are touted by the sycophantic financial press and investment pundits and the writeoffs are disregarded, ignored or massaged into inscrutable notes with the blessings of the accounting boards like the FASB with pressure from the congress. The wily CEOs then use the writeoffs to announce all kinds of other newer and oncoming problems and sink the market price of their stock. At the price nadir, an obscene lot of options at throwaway prices are granted to them by the dummies on the company board, who are completely beholden to the CEOs for a few choice morsels from the company trough and unhesitatingly share their privileged information with mutual and hedge fund managers to pick up a few more dollars as scrap, or to boost their miserably insecure egos and personalities.
The president and congress, taking their cues from their masters holding them on leashes, commit grave follies in foreign as well as domestic policies and use any chance untoward event like the current so called Arab spring or Jasmine Revolution to use military force to achieve oil resource control and regime change by bombing unsavory characters like Saddam or Qaddafi, whom they had previously endorsed, supported and fooled into giving up their nuclear programs. Wary and paranoid wackos like the Iranian and North Korean ones derive the benefit of having missed their dose of antipsychotic drugs, and even without the exposure to the drugs, suffer from dyskinesias and continue to make faces at “benevolent” Uncle Sam. Qaddafi like Cheney suffering from delusions expected to be greeted with flowers and called liberator, but almost got liberated from life and may still be by our newest avatar of Jefferson, hell bent on putting the pirates of Barbary States in their proper place. We can cry out gratefully to the besieged French Foreign Legion for having returned the favor of saving their a— by shouting, “Lafayette, we are here”.
Obama’s strategically disordered thoughts have put Russia, China and Turkey in a wary state and our new Moses far from leading his new African flock out of bondage, is now forced to chew his straw without BRICS, Turkey and Germany in the UN Security Council. That is what happens when all that the US Security Council allies can provide by way of support is wine and snorting powder material.
|More by : Gaurang Bhatt, MD|
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