|US Capitalism and the End of History: CarNations belooming Everywhere.|
As I watched the long line of auto's snaking out of Florida last week, I was railing at the TV, how this most modern of nations, can't even figure out how to make the highway into a oneway direction so as to not only facilitate escape but, perhaps as a nod to the fact that it might be a horrible idea to mandate exhausting additional tons of CO2 into an atmosphere already besotted with it, they, Lo and Behold!, did exactly that. The next morning I saw this photo and rejoiced. All is not lost! We don't have to continue to televise to the rest of the world how incompetent, feckless and clueless we've become as a nation.
Then the next day, I saw the storm downgraded, the threat to life exaggerated, and a sneaking suspicion started creeping into my consciousness. Why would Governor Scott, a known liar and creep, who cares nothing about the lives of his constituents, only growth growth and more growth, telling all State employees that should they even mention Climate Change the only thing that'll change is their employment status, all of as sudden show such alarm over their possible demise, when his entire career has hell-bent been on hastening it, destroying their children's chance for any kind of a future in the process?
Because, although I thought it was a great, albeit obvious, idea to rejigger the highway into a one-way street, many writers/commentators from other countries were asking, "Where are the trains?" Why are you evacuating like this, with, in most of those vehicles pictured above, one driver per carbon-spewing conveyance?
And the answer is to be found on the balance sheets of re-insurance companies such as Swiss RE, and other re-insurance companies, a type of insurance company, most Americans have never even heard of.
Insurance is dicey business, and, as we saw from AIG and other companies that sold Credit default insurance, the fastest way to become successful in it is to devise a new scam to reap in billion of "insureds" premiums, while paying da nada out in damages. That is basically the entire philosophy of the re-insurance business. Regular insurance companies, such as All-State, let's say, extend more coverage and increase their liabilities and exposure to loss to a greater degree than their capacity to pay out claims should a catastrophic event, such as a supposedly "thousand-year-hurricane" (that's a long storm!) actually occur.
So what they do is sell it to a re-insurance company, such as banks used to set up off-balance sheet entities into which to dump their ugliest "assets", thus making their own balance sheets look less alarming to investors. Re-insurance is the SIV's (Special Investment Vehicles ... how soon we forget) architecture of the banking scam relocated and buried in the insurance industry, because, if nothing else, the financial crisis should have taught us that insurance and banking are connected at the hip, one doesn't exist without the other ... think FDIC as just the most obvious example, as it was the one that saved any of your money that was in a bank account during the financial crisis, but that which, should (well, When, really, but we won't go there right now) a similar crisis of that magnitude materialize today, would be unable to cover its enormous liability. Think Iceland. Even the US, with its economy that's the envy of the world, has liabilities on the books of such a magnitude that they dwarf the ability of the economy to pay them back even should there be no financial crisis. Everybody knows this, which is why everybody in the financial industry has lost all mooring to reality. Risk? What's that? Give me yield or give me death!
And what has this to do with Governor Scott and the Great Clearing?
Let's ask Swiss Re Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Christian Mumenthaler, speaking to the Scott on the phone the morning before he called for mass evacuation, reminding him that, "I feel very confident that you will step up to the occasion.”
The occasion he was referring to was the execution of the plan to migrate, not the people, who were secondary, the loss of life from a hurricane , even one packing 185 mph winds on an exposed island, such as Barbuda, are surprisingly minimal. The staggering loss to the installed base of automobiles however, was not. It would most likely cause the same type of concatenating failure of financial institutions that Reinsurers have insured against but which, much like AIG did for Credit Default Swaps, have no means to pay for yet another such large destructive, costly ravaging of the US auto fleet. Especially while the railroad tracks leading to Houston are clogged with railcars groaning under the weight of tons and tons of SUV's being shipped in (you don't expect Texans to buy sedans, now, do you? Harvey had nothing to do with Climate Change. "The American Way of Life is not Negotiable" ... and, as Irma is showing us once again, they are right, just not in the way they think they are).
This is the calamity Swiss RE wanted to, at all costs (to You), avoid.
To do so, they enlisted the help of Florida's Climate-Change Denying governor to "warn" people that if they didn't get out their lives would be forfeit. The State of Florida lacked the resources, the capability , and the will to keep them safe. They must get in their cars, and save them. The implication being that he meant save themselves, but what he actually meant was save the vast, unpaid-for fleet of millions and millions of assets the bank would not be able to repossess for non-payment, because they would be nothing more than costly trash to be hauled away to the dump, at great expanse to Them. Mass evacuation switches the onus of cost, and puts all of it onto you.
As the cars first trickle back in, then begin to flow in like a river in spate, a steaming streaming river of metal and glass , flooding back in to continue the process of besotting the atmosphere with a deluge of CO2, while all the while insisting that we lil ole puny humans couldn't possibly change the atmosphere. Qui, Moi?
As the autopilots fumed their way to Freedom, loss estimates moved away from the $100 billion range cited by some and are now moving down to below the $50 billion threshold.
Thank you Floridians for the stalwart soldiers of unpaid labor that you proved to be. You saved the Florida economy, your own vehicles, and insured that the financial elite would be able to maintain their position as avatars of growth for a while longer. But you'll get no thanks. You will, however get to drive to work in an intact, mold-free vehicle. Spewing out your exhaust into the faces of your fellow citizens and the pristine-seeming air around you, as though you have the perfect right to. Which you do, of course. It's what we call Freedom!
And, deny it as you might, rest assured that the next time, and there will be a next time, you mightn't escape unscathed from the damage you've done exercising your right to keep the American way of life non-negotiable, no matter what the cost ... to anyone ... even yourself ... even for your offspring that you pretend to love as you destroy their world, teaching them how they too, can wreak mayhem, simply by sitting on their asses and pushing a pedal to the metal, in the bargain.