The trouble with writing for a site such as this one is that in order to comment on the news, you have to follow the news. That’s painful enough at any time; during an election year, even news sources that are otherwise tolerable become nightmarish gong shows.
But the general trouble with news is that almost all of it is bad, and such large masses of crappy news overwhelm the brain’s ability to figure out what to be outraged by at the moment. Or the next. Or at all.
Texas propagandizing its students again? Bad. One in ten Pennsylvania voters disenfranchised? Badder. “5 Ways Republicans Have Sabotaged Job Growth”? Baddest. Or maybe that’s not the right order…the mind boggles, then bogs.
The latest apparent tidal wave of terrible news concerns Libor. What’s Libor? I heard myself asking myself a few days ago – a new brand of vodka? A new Israeli political party? No, it’s the London Inter Bank Offered Rate. It affects how interest rates are set for financial products – trillions and trillions of dollars’ worth of financial products – and, as it turns out, banks and traders have been secretly manipulating it for years to benefit themselves.
Financial masters of the universe, abusing the system? Shocking! But how truly scandalous is this scandal?
When news reports trot out the “trillions,” eyes open wide. Trillions do not get bandied about when the world’s Madoffs and Guptas do their dirty deeds. Even Greece doesn’t owe trillions. But this…this…this Libor. Ack! Trillions!
It’s not that anybody in particular lost trillions, though. It’s that word, that word appearing in an explanation – that word that, unlike mere “billions,” still fires up the mind of the news junkie.
So file it away as just another scandal, just another exemplar of the infinite corruptibility of the human animal – just another Saturday night on the internet.