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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Governor Sarah Palin Is a Rodeo Clown

posted by on September 10 at 14:37 PM

Washington Mutual’s bonds were just re-rated to one step above junk status. Given this, I think WaMu might be ever closer to imploding. Call me a cynic, but I think shortly the bank might be insolvent.

If this happens and you’re a shareholder, well, you’re screwed. If you’re like me—and have your checking account at the bank—be prepared to have your savings lost. Yes, the FDIC will bail us out—but that will take a little bit of time. I’m going to prepare a small cushion.

How is this a positive spin? At least those of us foolish enough to trust our money with Washington Mutual will be among the first to be cashed out. Out of the Ponzi scheme that the U.S. and global economy has become under decades of Republican Party domination. You don’t want to be the last sucker.

We’re coming to the very scary ends of the economy. About all investors have confidence in, right now, seems to be U.S. Government Treasury bonds. This is our seed corn. With all these bailouts, we’ve started eating it.

We need to do something dramatic right now. In order to restore investor confidence in the bond markets, we need to propose something like a new regulatory scheme—with strong oversight and stiff penalties to companies that lie or misrepresent the debt they’re selling. This needs to be a reform of about the same magnitude as the New Deal. We need to convince investors around the world that we want to do this, that we can do this, that we will do this.

With a major election coming up, this is what we should be discussing. Just by talking about the problems in the U.S. debt market—the horrifying irresponsibility that has been allowed to occur under George W. Bush’s presidency—we can go a long way to restoring confidence. Even mild proposals by the candidates would help. Something bold—a real reevaluation of the regulatory structure of the United States financial market—would do even more.

We aren’t.

Instead we’re arguing about the phrase “lipstick on a pig,” testing for Down syndrome, pregnant teenagers, drilling for a tiny percentage of the dwindling supplies of petroleum, “victory” in an unwinnable war, and other irrelevant idiocies.

Sarah Palin is a rodeo clown. W was the rodeo clown before her. We’re the bull. We have better things to gore right now.

She has been a perfect pick for the Republican ticket just because the massive distraction she’s caused. What is McCain going to campaign on? W’s record? The current dire state of affairs? McCain’s personal contribution to the collapse of the U.S. financial markets?


RSS icon Comments


If you have savings at WaMu, why wouldn't you just withdraw it and open a new account somewhere else? I would.

Posted by Callie | September 10, 2008 2:46 PM

Clearly the answer is to switch to your friendly local credit union:

Posted by Poll Watcher | September 10, 2008 2:52 PM

Oh please, who want's to face terrifying reality when we can argue endlessly about nothing of consequence.

You're giving us too much credit to call us the "bull". We're up in the stands watching the show and are far too removed from the real action in the ring to care or act.

Posted by Westside forever | September 10, 2008 2:54 PM

Jonathan, I posted in the "morning news" post a question about whether anyone else feels the last couple of days the stock market was manipulated, particularly with the timing of the announcement about Lehman. Also, with the auto sell triggered by a 6 year old news piece on UAL.

But, whatever, I'm rapidly descending into crazy town so what do I know. Maybe I should carry on this conversation with dbk instead...

Posted by PopTart | September 10, 2008 3:00 PM

The upside; 5% APY for money markets.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 10, 2008 3:00 PM

Yes, yes. I understand a solution for me, as an individual, is to pull my money out of this bank. The problem happens when we all start doing this--causing a run on one bank after another.

But into which bank should I put my money? The financial markets are in such shambles now, no bank is really immune. Unless something changes, they're going to start failing one-by-one.

Eventually, the FDIC that insures all banks, will also run out of money. Like during the crisis McCain helped create, the FDIC will require a US Government financed bailout. If the bailout gets big enough, the US government itself will become insolvent.

If the US government becomes insolvent, the dollar itself will become valueless; even if I take all my money out as cash and stuff it under my mattress, I will still be functionally broke.

If I take my dollars now, and convert them to some other currency, they too will become valueless when the entire global economy crashes--because the entire global economy is propped up by the US economy.

In short, this isn't a problem that can be solved by switching where I, as an individual, bank. We need a broad, governmental solution. Regulation, to restore investor confidence.

Posted by Jonathan Golob | September 10, 2008 3:00 PM

McCain and company have realized they can lie at will and no one in the media will call them out, not that the public will care anyway. They could pretty much get away with saying "we are lying are asses off, but no one cares democratic chumps! no one cares!" And no one would. Barack Obama can talk about "new politics" and "the issues" all he wants. The American people want to see the rodeo.

Posted by markEmark | September 10, 2008 3:02 PM

Golob, don't be such a chicken little.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 10, 2008 3:03 PM

Hey, Jonathan...

Any advice for those of us that have mortgages at WaMu?

Posted by Dan Savage | September 10, 2008 3:08 PM


Not real sure why you think WaMu will be insolvent. The article you linked to doesn't support that conclusion. The MOU (an informal enforcement tool - only used when the OTS determines the institution's overall condition is sound) with the OTS (the regulating agency) doesn't even require new capital or liquidity, which means the regulators don't think WaMu will become insolvent. This isn't the company spin, this is the regulating agency view.

Posted by pollyanna | September 10, 2008 3:09 PM

Dan, if WaMu goes down somehow the only thing that will change for you is a new address to send your monthly payments to. Some new servicer that acquires WaMu's assets would be servicing your mortgage.

Posted by jeebus | September 10, 2008 3:13 PM

@Dan: Wow. Not much you can do, maybe refinance with a more stable bank or a credit union? BECU seems pretty stable...

Posted by Original Monique | September 10, 2008 3:14 PM

W was the rodeo clown before her. We’re the bull. We have better things to gore right now.

and we had better things to Gore back then...

Posted by sawall | September 10, 2008 3:15 PM

@8 and @10: Like I said, call me a cynic or a chicken little, but the situation doesn't look good. Yes, the bank has some liquidity now. But, with the bond ratings being cut, WaMu seems to be in for some rough times in the near future.

Dan @9: There is a huge difference between a debtor versus a creditor. If you have a mortgage with Washington Mutual, you owe them money. Even if the bank goes tits up, you'll still owe, just to a different creditor.

Please pay, because you're payments help keep the bank solvent enough to pay back the money I gave to them.

It's creditors, people who gave money to WaMu--not those who borrowed money from WaMu, like your mortgage--who would be really affected by a collapse.

Posted by Jonathan Golob | September 10, 2008 3:17 PM

Dan Savage @ 9,

If you have debt with WaMu and it fails, it really doesn't matter. The bank's asset (your loan) will be sold to another lender as part of the liquidation, so the only difference you'll really notice is that you'll get a new billing statement from a different servicer.

Just be careful to check that the balance, payments received and terms are the same as with WaMu because fuckups have been known to happen when transferring a loan from one lender to another.

Posted by Original Andrew | September 10, 2008 3:18 PM

What we should really be worried about is when Christofascist Ayatollah Sarah "Talibunny" Palin seizes power after Psychogeezer inevitably croaks, and her last English words are demanding the nookyoolar launch codes before she begins convulsing and speaking in tongues.

P.S. You won't need to worry about your amortization schedule at that point.

Posted by Original Andrew | September 10, 2008 3:25 PM

@15 - So when the debt is transfered to a new servicer, are they obligated to maintain the same interest rate? Or can they jack it up?

Just curious.

Posted by Dave | September 10, 2008 3:28 PM

Dave @17:

Same rate, same terms. As Original Andrew pointed out @15, you should check to be sure this happens if and when the transfer occurs.

It's a good time to keep your mortgage statements well organized.

Same deal with your checking and savings account statements. The FDIC might ask for them. Print 'em out, at least.

Posted by Jonathan Golob | September 10, 2008 3:32 PM


No, they are not allowed to change the terms of your mortgage. Your mortgage is sold as-is with all the original terms that you agreed to. These are often snatched up for pennies on the dollar during a bankruptcy.

Posted by laws | September 10, 2008 3:34 PM

Golob, you have to choose your medicine;

Either we have a recession, possible depression, or we have 17 years of stagnation ala Japan. If you look at the similarities between Japan of the later 80s and now in regards to the credit and bubble, it doesnt look pretty.

I'd rather go through a recession and come out on the other side better for it than come out 15 years from now with the same faulty systems in place.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 10, 2008 3:38 PM

Dave @ 17,

This is probs gonna be more than you ever ever ever wanted to know, but:

The new servicer has to go by whatever is on the note. So if you have a fixed, it stays fixed. If you have an ARM, it can adjust according to the terms.

It's really a technical issue because the transfers are all done electronically with the physical file (which some lenders have eliminated altogether in favor of document images, that was well thought-out) following months or years later, and you may have two otherwise incompatible loan servicing programs talking to each other.

Also, depending on the timing of the transfer, a payment might be credited at one lender after the loan data was transferred to the other lender, so the loan balances may not match, etc. Or--horrors--the new lender has loans with identical loan numbers to the old lender and your payment gets credited to someone else's loan. Eeeeek!

Posted by Original Andrew | September 10, 2008 3:40 PM

and maybe for most of you this is just typical liberal defeatist talk on slog but it seems like the concept that bad things pass, life goes on and a recession isn't forever. It's like none of you have a sense of the cyclical nature of credit booms/busts.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 10, 2008 3:43 PM

Yikes! I have over a year's salary stashed with WAMU! I guess should head over to a credit union like AlaskaUSA,

Anyone know about them?

Posted by Uhhh.. | September 10, 2008 3:44 PM

Uncle Toby noted at Calculated Risk that it was 5 weeks between the resignation of Silver State Bank's CEO and the FDIC take over. So it may be the FDIC tries to give the new management team a chance to turn things around before taking action. WAMU's new CEO Fishman sold the last bank he was put in charge of, after all. He may have a little time to sell to JP Morgan Chase if he can, and if not, FDIC does one of their famous weekend swoops. (Assuming that, short-staffed and busy as they are with other thrifts and banks, they can assemble a team big enough.)

Posted by tomasyalba | September 10, 2008 3:51 PM

Bellevue Ave @ 22,

You should also mention that we're all uppity, sexist, socialist Mooslems determined to violently overthrow our Gawd-installed Republican Party government in favor of a 10,000 year caliphate.

But yeah, life will go on even after all those ooey-gooey ones and zeroes turn into just plain-old zeroes.

Posted by Original Andrew | September 10, 2008 3:53 PM

Original Andrew,
I'm just tired of people on Slog claiming that Obama has lost before election day, that the economy of our country is irreparably fucked and that both these outcries stem from "liberals".

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 10, 2008 3:59 PM

All that's necessary is to repeal the Bush tax cuts, to get our government balance of payments under control again and stop running such an enormous deficit. We can deal with debt, just not THIS MUCH debt.

Posted by Fnarf | September 10, 2008 4:01 PM

Fuck...there goes my $427.15 in net worth.

Posted by michael strangeways | September 10, 2008 4:03 PM

Fnarf, stop being fucking reasonable!

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 10, 2008 4:07 PM

A-FUCKING-MEN! Who gives a shit about Sarah Palin and all her knocked-up daughter? We've got more important shit to discuss!

It's time to take your money out of banks, bury it in your backyard and invest in guns! To the hills!

Posted by gillsans | September 10, 2008 4:12 PM

Bellevue Ave--

I completely agree, these problems are solvable. And I also, as I indicated in my post, believe that even a little talk about the problem by the candidates would help quite a bit.

But, as Sarah Palin demonstrates, so long as the rodeo continues to dominate, things will continue to get worse. The rodeo is all the republicans have.

Posted by Jonathan Golob | September 10, 2008 4:13 PM

Fnarf @ 27,

Can you imagine how that call went last Friday:


HENRY PAULSON: Dubya? Yeah, it’s Henry and yes, I know you’re trying to watch the playoffs. Just in time for the Friday afternoon news dump. Wanted to let you know I’ve talked to the unholy, evil Star Chamber of foreign central banks, sovereign wealth funds, third world despots and mutual fund managers that actually own the smoking, gang-banged corpses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to let them know that they’re all gonna git paid-off.

Yesssiiirreee! Big time cashola. In Euros, too! Not that phony dollar shit!

Also, we need to add $5 trillion to the national debt, kthnxbi!

Posted by Original Andrew | September 10, 2008 4:17 PM

@2, credit unions aren't FDIC insured. My sister lost her entire savings around 1991 or so, when dozens of credit unions (and banks) ceased to exist in Rhode Island. *POOF*

Posted by Just Sayin' | September 10, 2008 4:20 PM

Again, I quote Michael Stipe lyrics:

The rodeo is staged, gold circle goat-ropers and clowns.
A rumble in the third act, tie 'em up and burn 'em down...
We're armed to the teeth, born a little breech;
Blue-plate special analysts, cells and SUV's

In a newer song he sings "Hold tight your babies and your guns." Did Senator Obama say something like this?

Posted by CommonKnowledge | September 10, 2008 4:22 PM

@ 33,

Credit unions have their own, parallel universe deposit insurance system:

The credit union has to have the insurance--that's the key.

Posted by Original Andrew | September 10, 2008 4:32 PM

@35, yeah, I'd hope things have changed but I would definitely advise being sure of that insurance first

Posted by Just Sayin' | September 10, 2008 4:39 PM
Posted by Original Monique | September 10, 2008 4:41 PM

“Out of the Ponzi scheme that the U.S. and global economy has become under decades of Republican Party domination.”

Really Jonathan?

“decades of Republican Party domination”?

Here’s how control has broken out that last five decades:

White House: Republican 8 years; Democrat 2
Senate: Republican 6 years; Democrat 4
House of Reps: Republican 8 years; Democrat 2
Control: Republican by 22 to 8

White House: Democrat 6 years; Republican 4
Senate: Democrat 7 years; Republican 3
House of Reps: Democrat 7 years; Republican 3
Control: Democrat by 20 to 10

White House: Republican 8 years; Democrat 2
Senate: Republican 6 years; Democrat 4
House of Reps: Democrat 10 years; Republican 0
Control: Democrat by 16 to 14

White House: Republican 8 years; Democrat 2
Senate: Democrat 10 years; Republican 0
House of Reps: Democrat 10 years; Republican 0
Control: Democrat by 22 to 8

White House: Democrat 8 years; Republican 2
Senate: Democrat 10 years; Republican 0
House of Reps: Democrat 10 years; Republican 0
Control: Democrat by 28 to 2

That’s control by Democrats 4 out of the last 5 decades…

I’ll give you “decade” but not “decades”.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | September 10, 2008 5:42 PM

@6 - Buy Chinese Renminbi and buy Oil.

Posted by Mahtli69 | September 10, 2008 6:06 PM

Mahtli, even if china depends on us for their economy?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 10, 2008 6:25 PM

@40 - True, but I figure since China makes everything (and the US makes nothing), they have a promising future.

If the US economy becomes insolvent, the entire world is fucked, at least temporarily. But, who will rise from the ashes?

Even if you're not ready to buy RMB, you should at least learn to speak Mandarin.

Posted by Mahtli69 | September 10, 2008 6:56 PM

Who's going to bailout the US government?

Posted by energydelay | September 11, 2008 1:12 AM

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