Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the basic, fundamental, and inalienable rights defined by the United States Declaration of Independence and safeguarded by the government. Take a minute to note that healthcare, emergency room treatment, and prescription medicines are notably absent from that list. So are a few other essentials for life: food and shelter.
Ladies and gentlemen, prefrosh and parents, I’d like to introduce you to what happens when the world’s premier research university and a representative of the world’s largest subsidizer of bad ideas join together to discuss hot air. I’m talking, of course, about Monday’s clean energy and global warming forum, hosted by the MIT Energy Initiative and featuring Rep. Ed Markey. Special thanks, of course, go to the 33-year veteran congressman for his brief and monotone addition to the summit.
The Undergraduate Association Senate’s recent talks with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 615 have been sold as a way to join two entities in pursuit of a similar goal: administrative transparency on the pending budget cuts at MIT. Certainly, this is an admirable objective, but it’s really just a means to an end. A call for transparency in the budget just adds an extra layer of review in ensuring that the best items remain funded and the right items get cut.
Barack Obama said in his inaugural address that “our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began; our minds are no less inventive.” America, according to the President, has lost none of its manufacturing prowess from the current recession. Obama followed this with a list of just some of the projects his administration hopes to fund in order to “stimulate” the economy back to productivity.
Last Tuesday saw the conclusion of the longest, costliest, and most reported political contest in the history of United States democracy. Pundits raved over how this election broke all the rules and would be an irrevocable turning point for the course of this nation. However, despite the rhetoric of change that emanated from both candidates McCain and Obama, this campaign was strikingly conventional in many respects.
For most politicians, especially those facing an election in less than a month, looking good to the taxpayer is important. Anyone familiar with the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates knows how elected officials love to boast about fighting corruption, saving taxpayer money, and most recently, directing angry diatribes towards unpopular figures — and unfortunately for the market, Wall Street has never been all that popular with “Joe Six-Pack.”
The previous two weeks have been called the most turbulent ever in Wall Street’s 200 year history, and with good reason. We’ve witnessed the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the sale of Merrill Lynch, the $85 billion dollar federal loan to AIG, and the pièce de résistance, the Treasury’s plan to purchase $700 billion in securities from troubled financial firms.
Two Sundays ago, Henry Paulson’s Treasury Department again tried its hand at directing this year’s hot new drama “Credit Crunch” by placing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into a conservatorship. Since the program’s debut last year to scathing reviews by bankers turned critics, it has been marked by epic plot twists including major bank failures and the death of some of the financial industry’s most established players. As such, it is this investor’s sincere hope that the Treasury has finally succeeded in scripting a conclusion to this saga.