Friday, May 25, 2012

Parker & Stone & the Wall Street Journal?

South Park on Wall Street?

For a brief moment, I thought the dynamic comedy duo of Parker and Stone had taken up writing for the Wall Street Journal.  Reminiscent of the famous South Park episode where flannel-clad gun-toting South Park locals moon about aliens who had “takin arr jaaabs” (i.e. “Taken our Jobs") today’s WSJ inflames its radical right readership with the breathtaking headline “USDA Is a Tough Collector When Mortgages Go Bad.”  In short, the Obama Administration is “taking yer land”! 

Playing to its anti-government, anti-Obama, anti-regulation readership, the WSJ’s front page story vilifies the USDA for “aggressively” foreclosing on farm lands and rural homes without – gasp – enough oversight and “rules.”  Stop laughing. I’m serious. Of course, this plays to the deepest fear ingrained in all the right wing rhetoric – you can’t trust the government –it’s going to take what’s yours.  Grab a gun and defend your land.  Oh the irony. The Pandering.  The Election Year.

Either that or the story is the opening setting for “Doomsday Preppers – Broadway.”  Perhaps it will be the follow up smash success to "The Book of Mormon."  With Matt and Trey, it's entirely possible. 

In comparison, I believe, Banks and Wall Street traders swapping risky-mortgage backed securities are the ones primarily responsible for taking your land and your houses, dear ones, not the government.  I don’t recall any of the lenders jumping at the opportunity to work with borrowers before POTUS and the Dems and Bernie twisted their arms.  I don’t recall any articles vilifying Wells Fargo, Citi, Chase et al on the front page when the number of foreclosures on their books reached record levels.  But this is different.  This is the government.  This is Obama.  This is why you need to (contribute to) and vote for Mitt.

If I were a betting woman (and I am…7 come 11 dollar yo!) This is Act 1 Scene 1 of the dark comedy farce “The March to Privatize Rural Lending – The Mitt Movie!”   This is a stump speech talking point for Mittens who will seize upon this and guarantee that in a Romney Administration the government will never foreclose on farmer.  Never mind that this is so because under a Romney Administration the USDA’s lending will cease and all lending (like his Student Loans platform plank) will be returned to the private sector.  Once again, the Socialist Wealth-Distributor Obama cannot be trusted.  Obama is taking farmer’s land! Look at the pretty charts and graphs that prove it!  

In response, We the People should be sending a flood of emails to the WSJ editorial board demanding that each for-profit housing lender be subject to the same data collection, scrutiny, and sympathetic character portrayals in this article.  Who’s really foreclosed on more homes?  Whose unethical, illegal, and immoral robo-signing, no-income verification, and other bait-and-switch policies required stepped up oversight? Who created the housing bubble and then due to its greed and opaque transactions and instruments popped it? Let me think… 

If said publication used the same scale in the graphs to reflect the for-profit foreclosures, it would need several columns and several more zeros, not a nice little box.  Funny thing about numbers, charts, and data, you have to engage in critical thinking.  Funny thing, too, how the people featured in the article were from swing states like Ohio and Minnesota or deeply red, deeply government-averse states like Oklahoma and Alabama.  

The article, if not written by Parker and Stone, was the brain-child of a PR Executive from Chase. Chase it  is portrayed as the “good guy” who has to follow regulations when it serves as middleman (i.e. endorsed lender) in these transactions.  The USDA is the "bad guy" because the government doesn't have to follow any rules - at least not the rules the bankers have to follow.... except the ones that have been on the books for decades, are transparent, and usually work. Oh those rules? Never mind.  

To be clear, it’s the heartless government pursuing down and out folks and garnishing their tax refunds.  The government has many insidious avenues to squeeze money out of people private lenders do not have. (But sure as hell would use if they could!)  The banks were just “doing their jobs” and foreclosing. The government is going to get you! 

The only thing missing from the article, which will of course be taken up in the coming days on right wing lunatic radio, and likely Fox and Friends, is a dog-whistle comment or musing that perhaps taking land away from (mostly white) farmers and rural dwellers is some sort of government....restitution. Yeah, I said it.  As much as we had hoped, dear ones, that we are a post-racial society, we are not. The radical, rabid, racist right will not miss any opportunity to plant the seed, to appeal to the latent reconstruction-era fears of its base, especially in the deep South where any "land-grab" away from "planters" will unleash generations-old fury.  

In summary, concerned citizen, if you do not want your government seizing lands and homes from people  (cue music and scenery from Chevy Truck Ad) vote Romney 2012.

Told you Matt and Trey had to write this - the WSJ could never do comic satire this well. 

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