Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bold Economy

Today I feel bold. The temperature in the house dipped below 70 this morning for the first time in two weeks, and maybe the cooler air has made me feel brave. At least I awoke refreshed. Not pain free -- at my age you wake up wondering what part of you is going to hurt today, and you are rarely disappointed to find none. This morning it's my low back. Remember, dear friends, never to ask an older person how they feel unless you have three hours to spare.

Ah, well, on with the show.

The show, of course, is the world of politics and economics. They are two separate things, but seem forever intertwined. Economic interests drive politicians, and politicians promise the rest of us to spread the economic wealth around. This very dichotomy is intrinsically contradictory. Today we have two men running for the highest office in the land. One, the incumbent, says give me four years more to continue the path to recovery I began. The other says, well, my opponent has had four years and hasn't fixed it, so give me a try.

It is ludicrous and naive, even hubristic, to believe that a situation fifty years in the making, with root causes that reach back all the way to the end of World War Two, can be fixed in just four. This is especially true when the so-called problem-solvers turn out to be ineffective and ill-equipped, and when the people running the economic machines that dominate the globe see profit in what is, not what should be. Compound this with the ripple effect -- America's collapse is spreading around the world.

Make no mistake. We are collapsing.

In 1964 we escalated our involvement in Vietnam and began the deficit spending free fall. We tied our prosperity and our existence to the concept of spend now/pay later. It has taken nearly half a century, through presidents and congressmen of both parties and a boom period that turned out to be a house of cards, but we have discovered that this concept has one fatal flaw: the more you spend the less you pay and the more you owe.

Loan sharks love it.

As long as you're the one getting the interest payments on the debt, you don't care if the debt itself rises. Even a collapse can mean profits for you and your shareholders, or at the very worst you take everything back and save it to re-sell later. You charge penalties and interest that far exceed the definition of usery, and you reamin happily riding out the tide. You even donate to the elected officials who are supposed to be acting as watchdogs for the 99 percent on whose backs and illusions you built your fortune.

There are no economists in Congress. No housewives, no pragmatists, no common men or women who might be in touch with the real world. No a-political problem solvers. Even the President is more concerned with running for office than fulfilling his obligations.

The fact is: Everything that has happened to the general population is the direct result of greed, and greed has become an American institution. We've exported it, outsourced it, indoctrinated ourselves to believe that greed is good, and built an empire based on what we want and are told to want instead of what we need. I myself am very guilty of buying in -- I have lots of stuff and had to declare bankruptcy because I spent so much more than I could possibly repay and then lost the income I was using just to tred water. I am like the smoker who quits, reforms, and becomes fanatic about non-smoking. But I also see the handwriting on the wall.

The message reads: Corporate America is collapsing under its own weight.

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