Sub-prime Mortgages and Enron are hugely similar in how they raised false hopes for many American families.
I just recently watched a documentary on Enron. Enron: The smartest guys in the room. And just a few minutes a go I was audience to the sub-prime housing loan disaster story on 60 minutes. They (mortgage companies) are the same beast. Enron sold future illusionary profits and got the banks and wall street to ignore any ethical or moral aspects and pile on for the feast of the cash cow.
These banks sold false reality to ignorant and dream-filled people in the form of homes. A home has been part of the American Dream for many. They used this heart warming image to ensnare people with bad credit and they masked it with low interest rates and gave them homes for no money down.
Enron sold energy prices on the market, cleverly shut down power plants around California and Oregon and forced a gamble frenzy on the price of peoples electricity. They stole it, resold it and sold it back to California residents at 300 percent its value. They even had a plan to sell weather on the market.
The corporate executives walked away with millions but eventually put a gun to their head or got sentenced. These executives from Merrill Lynch, CountryWide Financial, Greenpoint Mortgage, Enron, the banking titans, the foreign investors all took this system for a ride. Even some of the home buyers benefited by pocketing above value loans and never paid a cent to live in the homes. Other more responsible types got stuck with a devalued home with un-payable payments.
This is a sickness. Business has become a very impersonal transaction. Kind of like an ATM machine. Wall Street has become a dance with numbers and seems to lack any human relationship. If Enron steals and lies to the employees who own stock, what morality keeps them from stealing from total strangers.
If banks will make loans to the obviously too risky loan seeker and credit card companies are showering students and low wage earners in buckets of high interest loans and Fortune 500 companies are destroying any sense of decency to make a buck, where does that leave us?
It leaves us in a very impersonal world where manipulation and deceit has become the norm. It has made us cynical in the worst way. We watch as the parade of insanity marches past and marvel at how well the floats look. How they are so shiny and exciting. We allow this world to happen everyday by giving power to these institutions.
It is time we reflect. Stop, all the so called progress, and put a restraining order on business as usual. We have lost our democracy, compassion, decency, our country, and any world respect.
Shame on us.
-D.S. – California