Fighting the coming Great Depression
October 8th 2011
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has spent the past year assuring people that the Euro would not collapse, and then that it could not collapse, and then that it must not collapse, is now reduced to hoping “the Americans won’t let it collapse.” To that end, he put in a lot of phone time with Barack Obama over this Columbus Day weekend.
That he is doing so tells us several things. The Euro is in immediate trouble. Merckel’s effort to contain a revolt among the right wing members of her parliament is unraveling. And the recent downgrades to Spain and Greece are sending shockwaves through the markets, even as they defy economic gravity.
Obama’s response, if any, will tell us what the investment sector in the US wants to see happen. Normally it would be politically impossible for Obama to get a bailout package for Europe through Congress. With the American economy on the ropes, he would have a revolt on his hands.
And nobody except the fundamentalist morons of the Church of Saint Rand think that the financial sector is capable of following its own best interests. The meltdown three years ago pretty much assured all and one that they couldn’t and wouldn’t. Even their top acolyte, Greenspan the Rationally Inexuberant essentially admitted that the markets couldn’t tie their own shoelaces.
And of course, the ultimate heresy, the one being expressed at the Occupy demonstrations, is that even if the markets could follow their own best interests, those wouldn’t be the best interests of the American people.
The financial sector would rather risk having the whole structure collapse in flames over “getting a haircut”, which would be seen as poor business and an unconceivable admission of weakness. Better to maximize the burden of responsibility on people who didn’t cause the losses and don’t want responsibility for them. That was easier than admitting that maybe they stole too much, and should give some of it back to assure that the countries wouldn’t just default and go bankrupt.
So Obama will, in the end, do nothing. Germany and the UK have already pushed Greece to the point where average income is below the level required to keep people housed and fed, and to nobody’s surprise, riots are widespread in that country. The same countries are demanding that Spain get its deficit down to 6% of GDP in a year (it’s presently 9%). Even the Merkel government admits that it is very unlikely that the Spaniards can even make 8%, even with the same “generous” bailout package Merkel is believed to be considering. That would kill the Euro.
The meeting to codify all this has been delayed a week, since the centre-right parties in Germany’s government have rebelled against the bailout.
So Europe is only weeks from collapse at this point, and the people who are supposed to prevent it either cannot or will not.
Most Americans are unaware of this, even though the first response of the American economy will be to fall into a deep depression of the sort not seen since 1929.
We’ve gone from “likely” to “almost certain” in this grim scenario. The Euro could be nothing but a happy memory by the end of the year, and most of the western economies—including those of North America—will be in ruins.
I don’t think we can avoid it, or even the worst of it, at this point. The American government is paralyzed by people who, ironically, think they are serving the interests of the free market and are virtually guaranteeing that it will collapse this winter. They won’t budge in time, since they are of the firm belief that it is far better to be wrong than it is to admit that you were wrong.
While I wholeheartedly and unreservedly agree with the people in the Occupy Wall Street protests, I feel it’s a case of too little too late.
They are protesting because the financial sector is corrupt, unassailable, and not only above our laws but now in control of those laws, and they have essentially turned America into their own vassal state to economically plunder until it is a dry husk.
All of this is true.
But it’s been going on at an accelerating pace since 1980, and the time to have taken a stand might have been during the Clinton years, when we had a president who might have responded to demands that we not return the national economic structure to the nightmarish boom-and-bust cycles that preceded FDR.
Water under the bridge, that, and the Occupy people are still massively important to you and me, because as things collapse, the banksters and speculators will attempt to bleed us dry as they have with the people of Greece, Italy and Spain, and the Occupy Movement represents a nascent army to resist these psychopathic predators.
Because they are coming for us. “Austerity measures” is just another way of saying “Man the lifeboats! Bankers and investors first!” Having already stolen much of America’s national treasury and decimated America’s working class, they will be after what remains in order to stay afloat.
About then, Republicans will be in favor of higher taxes—on the middle and lower class only, of course. We’ve already seen a preview of that jaw-dropping hypocrisy last August, when the Washington Post reported, “America’s presumably anti-tax party wants to raise your taxes. Come January, the Republicans plan to raise the taxes of anyone who earns $50,000 a year by $1,000, and anyone who makes $100,000 by $2,000.” http://fwd4.me/0DT9
They’ll be coming for you. We already know they don’t hesitate to export your jobs, steal your homes, manipulate and control your press, and lie to you and steal from you. Why would they hesitate to destroy you in order to get the last dime in your pocket?
So even though the Occupy movement has come too late in the game to have much of a chance, they are the nucleus for a movement that may just save the lives of millions of Americans and Canadians, and prevent the country from being turned into a corrupt and hopeless third world pit, as the free markets have done to so many other countries.
If by some miracle the Euro still floats Europe next year, then the American economy, creaking and groaning, will be little worse than it is now. Then perhaps Occupy will have created the public will needed to reinstate Glass-Steagall and re-regulate the banks, and strip corporations of their personhood and their control of the American political process.
Pretty long odds there, but Americans have shown before that if things get bad enough, they can fight like wolverines. Winston Churchill once famously remarked that Americans could be counted on to do the right thing, once they had tried everything else. That’s the situation we’re in now. Americans have been drifting along, convinced that the captains of industry and the economic sector had interests that dovetailed with their own, and would use enlightened self-interest to ensure that the rising tide would lift all boats. It was the economic legacy Roosevelt bestowed on us, but the markets took credit for it, and actually used the stability and prosperity the New Deal reforms gave the country as a reason to undo those very reforms. “If banks and investors could do so well if controlled, imagine what they might do uncontrolled.”
Well, now we know. A bit late, but we know.
The most productive and least damaging way is the push for serious reform from the administration and Congress. That means that, despite corporate control of the election process, Americans will have to strongly support candidates who are for regulatory control of the financial sector, and willing to pass laws rescinding personhood for corporations. In fact, they should be willing to have public funding options available for candidates, and a law forbidding anyone from contributing to a candidate unless they can vote for that candidate. All donations should be public, and there should be a cap. No more SuperPACs, and parties can fund-raise only to the extent of covering party functions such as the conventions. No more acting as laundromats for candidates.
The second step is to consider a debtors’ strike. If the government comes, cap in hand, to demand huge tax raises or slash what little is left of government functions in order to make banksters comfortable, prepare to simply refuse to go along.
The revolt isn’t against the government. It’s against international interests that basically want to use us up as a cash cow.
Attend Occupy rallies. Talk to the people there. Learn why they are there. They don’t hate the government, they aren’t anti-America, and they don’t want to destroy capitalism. Quite the opposite.
But they see the fight that is coming, and they can help you prepare for it.