Saturday, May 14, 2011
Fear and Loathing on CNBC
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
1 Timothy 6:10
Recently it has taken a lot to get me riled up with the number of self absorbed idiots with god-like delusions of grandeur that permeate our society. The circuit breaker in my head popped a long time ago leaving me with little in the way of surprise at their actions or the energy to get upset. Just about everyone with major access to the media has some crusade they personally champion with truth, justice, and the American way hanging in the balance. These telegenic saviors always believe some evil boogiemen are hovering just on the other side of the abyss waiting for their chance to pounce and destroy all that is good.
For me personally no matter which side of the political spectrum the latest threat to all that is holy supposedly comes from the incessant whining gets shrill after a while and I tune it out, of course that prevents me from watching the 24/7 news channels for any real length of time. Unless some form of the Apocalypse is about to happen, so they can pump up their ratings, they have a hard time justifying their existence. Now one of the news channels is far guiltier of this sin than others, to the point that they long ago crossed the line from simple hype to a form of propaganda that would curl the toes of Joseph Goebbels with orgasmic glee. However, there are television personalities on the other cable networks that aspire to meet the same level of propaganda and fearmongering seen on the “Fair and Balanced” channel.
This is where the latest blowhard out to save the world from the evils of nasty socialism come into play but this time he involved his daughter. The guy is Joe Kernen and he is the leader of CNBC’s “Squawk Box” crew with his cohorts being an unemotional Vulcan-like woman and a token Hispanic guy, just to add a little color to the set I guess.
Now Kernen, along with the other two on the show, revels in the utter worship and unquestioned obedience to free market capitalism. I watch a portion of the show every morning to try to understand both their fervent protection of their chosen faith and their point of view but I always come away a little flustered with their obvious disdain for anyone not drinking their brand of Kool-Aid.
With the Hispanic dude I can relate a little on how he presents things, he seems human and at least a little open to the idea that the love of money is not the sum total of existence. The Vulcan chick is a nonentity who does not say much but the camera does find her often where she gives curious sideways glances at her cohorts then offers some nice sound bite agreeing with them. If she is suppose to be eye candy for early rising capitalist struggling to wake up and go defeat the forces of socialism some lessons in cleavage exposure is needed from the bimbos on the Fair and Balanced channel.
Kernen on the other hand is the epitome of the pompous ass who knows everything and reigns over the show like some thug. Looking up his profile, I was surprised to discover he has a degree in cellular and developmental biology and has published works in some serious scientific journals, but somehow he fell out of science and moved into the financial realm, then into “business journalism,” an oxymoron if there ever was one.
God help the individual appearing on Squawk Box that does not share his Ayn Rand-like viewpoint that everything is acceptable as long as it makes money. Over the year or so that I have watched the show I have seen Kernen insult several of his NBC family coworkers showing obvious contempt, bordering on anger, for their different views along with questioning their intelligence. However, Joe Kernan finally said something so outrageous last Thursday that it penetrated my cynical force field inducing me to go on a political rant.
He and his daughter appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” promoting their book, “Your Teacher Said What?” Simply put, Kernan was prompted to write a book defending helpless Free Market Capitalism because his daughter received a few assignments in school daring to question the authority of his religion. Kernan really blew a gasket when one questioned the proper course or action if a hypothetical factory was polluting the environment. Kernan believes there is some sort of libel assault on his Free Market religion, that American Exceptionalism is being disrespected, and that Hollywood is leading the way.
Of course Kernan can feel this way, he is protected by a huge salary, big money friends who he knows so well he probably can vouch for the conditions inside their large intestines, and the fact that these friends have already has bought and paid for every member of Congress at least a dozen times. It is beyond simple paranoid delusions that he should somehow fear questions from a mere public school teacher.
I have no idea if Kernan ever gets around us working folks, my assumption is that even if he does he is so caught up in his blind faith that he can ignore the fact that even when some people do everything like the ridiculous American Exceptionlism bullshits says the financial forces he believes in still grinds them to dust. It does not take an advanced economics degree to know that the big money capitalists that regularly appear on his show and others on CNBC totally fucked the country forcing Bush to bail them out of their trillion dollar misadventures then leaving Obama to deal with the shrill calls of “socialism.”
Throw in how the gap between rich and poor that is growing wider every year with many in the middle class only holding onto that status by maxing out the credit cards. I wish Kernan could explain to me why the poor are suppose to bear the major burden of slashing the federal deficit while his buddies get even more tax breaks. The predictable response will be that the big money players carry the “burden” and “risk” of “growing” the American economy. But dammit, the only economy I really see growing with power and good jobs that were once the backbone of the American working class allowing them put kids through college, by a house, and retire is the fucking Chinese economy because the big money types love the near slave labor there.
Of course Kernan’s religion will force him to say its nasty union thugs that are making the nice business people flee the country. I know union leaders and government types are not without sin in all this but right now, I would not piss on any free market capitalist if he or she were on fire.
Take all the copies of your book Kernan and shove them up your ass.
I have no doubt that capitalism has brought about positive changes in civilization allowing the people with a great idea or invention to lift up all of humanity but for the most it is not capitalism as a principle that I and railing against. Like any other human concept it can be and is being abused these days to the detriment of poorer folks and the environment.
Kernan's belief that capitalism is the absolute best is as misguided as the Catholic Church burning people at the stake during the Inquisition and the Muslim Radicals that give Islam a bad name now. Here are some facts that more properly color my contempt for the Free Market Capitalism religion.
• 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
• 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
• 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
• 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.
• A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
• 24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
• Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
• Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
• For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
• In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
• The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
• Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
• In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
• The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America’s corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
• In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
• More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.
• or the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.
• This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
• Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 – the highest rate in 20 years.
• Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
• The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.