Thursday, September 18, 2014

Beware the Debt Mongers Like 'Starboard Value' - They Are Parasites!

I have no use for "debt mongers" nor should anyone else with any degree of rationality. Their main purpose in life is to be financial parasites, driving up debt - personal and governmental - for the rest of us. Exploding student loans that you won't be able to pay back in 75 years? Blame the loan shark debt mongers!

To her credit (since no other political party wants to discuss it),  Maria Savart in a speech at a convention of the Democratic Socialists of America, pointed out that student debt along with increasing college  tuition costs and stagnant wages “is a direct result of neoliberal capitalism and the financialization of the economy”. She then went on to endorse a system of free higher education as exists in many nations, without which “there is no future for college students,”
Her reference to “financialization” may have left some of her young audience mystified but it was very well articulated by Kevin Phillips in his book, Arrogant Capital. What Phillips meant (and Savart too) is the tilting of the entire economy to financial manipulation – whether carried out in the management of debt, stock trades and commissions, or in more aggressive speculation such as credit default swaps. It is known, for example, that the majority of this country’s output now is in terms of financial instruments, not hard production or manufacture.   Phillips noted that the monopolization of finance capital and speculation is typical for empires  in decline – such as the Dutch, after the Tulip crisis, and the British, after military overstretch humbled it. Left unsaid, is how “financialization” is also part of the Neoliberal global market order.

But these slime balls aren't merely satisfied with student debt they want to drive many enterprises - especially restaurants  - into increased debt as well by imposing real estate debt on them. The tactic was recently explored in a salon. com article on a bunch of hedge fund shysters named 'Starboard Value' which is now intent on "real estate separation" for Olive Garden restaurants. As the piece noted:

"Starboard Value does not spend its time crusading for better mid-market Italian meals for no reason. It owns a bunch of shares in Olive Garden’s parent company, Darden Restaurants, and wants to take control of the company’s board. The scheme it’s concocted to increase its share price has little to do with breadsticks and pasta water. It really wants to steal Olive Garden’s real estate, and make a billion dollars in the process."

The basic strategy is to split real estate holdings off from the regular businesses, then impose higher debt - say by raising the rents to ridiculous levels  on the business locations - to make tons of moola to fill the shareholders (i.e. derivative parasites') pockets. The regular business then slowly goes down the tubes as it can never make enough in profits to cover the increased rents. The scumbags then make off with the booty and look for their next targets. The ruse has already been used on Red Lobster, putting the long time family franchise operations on a path to insolvency and likely bankruptcy. But these bastards don't care because it's all about shareholder profits.

Parasitic worms, like the tapeworm, live more respectable lifestyles.

How can these hedge funders get away with this crap? Because the laws of the Neoliberal gov't  and its corporotocratic paymasters allow it. In order to halt this encroaching,  artificial debt cancer we would have to negate all the currently circulating memes on Neoliberalism - which would be a tall order in any case- given that relatively few citizens keep up with Neoliberalism and especially its motives to enhance massive debt.

Make no mistake this is unacceptable no matter what the laws say. And no nation, encumbered by debt - whether national or personal - can survive, because that debt bleeds down the effective use of resources.

Let us grasp here that the debt “edifice” is being constructed on the belief of the Neoliberal elites that this nation is being transmuted into a nation of  underclass “peasants”  who will lack permanent purchasing power, and hence the only way to extract profit from them is via expanded debt.  They're also not fussy about who they bleed down - whether an underemployed college grad or a Red Lobster franchise owner.

So long as they can generate an endless stream of debt - translated to profits for their shareholders, they are content.

The rest of us should not be!

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