Thursday, October 2, 2008

Crisis & rescue? Yeah, right, whatever.

I will believe that the US Congress will 'save' their country’s economy from the current financial crisis when I see it, and not before. 'Bush begs Congress to vote yes on rescue bill' – but George W Bush is a habitual liar. He is the proverbial boy who cried wolf. None of us can trust a single word coming out of his mouth anymore. So why trust him on this one? I certainly don't.

I'm hearing people claim that this crisis is Bill Clinton's fault. Cause it was under his presidency that the floodgates were opened on deregulations. Umm … is the US president really that super powerful? Aren't they like really proud of their, whatjamacallit, system of checks and balances? With Congress against him, as Clinton had from 1994 onwards, wouldn't there have been severe limits on what he could do? Could not, in fact, Congress pass laws against the president's wishes? Putting enough pressure on him that he'd comply with their wishes? Congress was under Republican control up until 2006. Somehow I don’t think it's entirely fair to just blame the Democrats.

Or is it? Maybe one of the lessons the rest of the world should take away from these events is that the perceived gap between the Republicans and the Democrats is to a large extent a false dichotomy, and that they are in fact both a bunch of right wing loonies??

Some are saying that this crisis has come about because of 'socialism'. Say what now? The US is the most liberalistic country (as in: adhering to the economic theory of liberalism) and pretty much the least socialistic country in the world – blaming socialism is blatantly ridiculous. If US government/s had really practiced any kind of socialism, ever, it's a good bet that they would not now have had tens of millions of homeless people and working poor who'd need loans they could not afford.

The reason why US banks got such free reins on these loans to poor people who could not afford such expensive financial commitments was not any desire to help the poor, but to give the banks an easy way to short term profit. Those who govern the United States of America don’t care one whit about helping those who are poor or ill or otherwise weak. For anyone thinking that anything about the US system is socialistic, I’d recommend looking into a brain transplant. You need it.

Full socialism has been tried, and it failed. The US has proved to the world, on several occasions, that full liberalism doesn't really work either. Various times of economic trouble in which pretty much everyone suffered – the Great Depression, the 1980s bustup, the dotcom bubble, the current crisis – all originated in the US, ie, in the purest form of liberalism ever practiced. Let's face it, it doesn’t work in the long run.

Let's say that we had a real Ayn Rand-style democracy where the state interfered in pretty much nothing. Where the state didn't force any traffic regulations on us, and didn't do anything about garbage collection and disposal. Just as a couple of examples. Would that society be a better place than this? Would there be fewer traffic accidents? Would things be better if people could just throw their trash wherever they pleased? Cause you know that they would. If the answer's no, it wouldn't be better, then what on earth is so wrong with some state control over the economic sector??

I understand that it's very easy to blame this whole thing on ignorant borrowers who can't pay back their mortgages and other loans. But come on, where did they all get their loans from?? Only yesterday I got a letter from Citibank offering me what in Norwegian terms is called a 'consumption loan'. I think I could have gotten a quarter of a million Norwegian crowns (roughly $45,000) 'quickly and easily', with no security :-o and just to spend on whatever I wanted. Now that is disgusting. Even setting the current crisis aside, that really is disgusting. These loans have been developed by the American banking industry to prey on more and less ignorant potential customers in the 18-25 demographic (inexperienced, uneducated or just graduated, low understanding of economics) and for those unfortunates the financial institutions set their sights on, there's supposed to be just one goal: Buy more! Move product! It's completely crazy. It's a scheme that cannot possibly work in the long run; someone will and must suffer. And these loans really should be illegal. In terms of ethics, these practices are completely reprehensible.

Our entire shitty system today – I say ours, because it's true now of the entire first world – is based on one premise: Shop, shop, shop till you drop. Shop, spend, consume!! When we stop shopping, our economies will collapse. This is the real & major problem. Because everyone with even the slightest bit of common sense understands that the current overconsumption going on has got to stop, or the planet will collapse on us. It can't take the abuse it's being put through. Those amounts of resources don't exist. But the American people have been well trained to disregard this simple fact. Remember September 11th? After the attack, one of the first things New York's creepy mayor Giuliani had to say to the American public was something like this – Don't be afraid of the terrorists, come to New York, shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants. Cause he knew damn well that something much more significant than the WTC could collapse if people started thinking too hard about the bigger picture. What a goddamn fucking idiot. But the American system has been constructed by people just like him. And that's why it may well collapse in the foreseeable future.

Bush has lied to his people for eight years, but he isn't the only one. I really wonder how large a percentage of the American population is aware of what is really wrong with their economy. They don't produce anything. I mean, really hardly anything, compared to the volume of goods they consume. A lot of Americans – let's not name names - seem to think that the US economy is fundamentally strong. I don't think it is. I think it was, once … back in the day when the US was the world's biggest exporter of goods. Back when they really created things. But that was long ago. Today, they are the world's biggest importer of goods. Most of what they consume has been produced somewhere else, by other people who pay taxes elsewhere. And now they're going to pump more money into that system, to boost the economy? What? No. Aren't they just going to print more money that they don't actually have … then trading that money back and forth between each other for services rendered … until they actually buy something real, something they can touch and feel and hold in their hands, at which time they will be giving this money to China too, like all the other hundreds of billions of dollars that have gone that way in the past. 'Money' doesn’t exist. We all just pretend that it does – it is a tacit agreement between governments and the governed, because we all need a measuring unit to regulate our consumption and their taxation. Regardless of level. We trust them, and they trust us, and that's why the money system works. (Which is part of why there are big problems coming in the US now – they're losing trust in their government. And about bloody time too if you ask me.) But in order for these measuring units to be actually worth anything, you have to produce something. They have no value in and of themselves. (Galloping inflation, anyone??) The US produce so little and consume so much. This was bound to happen.

Then you gotta ask how come they've gotten to this point where someone else just makes all their stuff for them … but that’s another discussion.

The United States have a long and rocky road ahead of them, I think. One that I'm sorry to say will be a well deserved ride. This so-called 'rescue' will probably do nothing more than to put the worst of it off for a while. (But hey, maybe long enough for the current administration to hand over the reins to someone else, so he can take the fall for their wrongdoings.)

George W Bush has spent a not insignificant amount of time over the past eight years asking God to bless America. Well, now it’s time to see if his prayers have been heard up there in the sky. Doesn’t look too likely at the moment.


Paz said...

you should stop sitting on the fence :), after a rant like that you need a chocolate break.

kccat said...

Well said. I love that McCain who claims he is going to help "save and rescue" America is one of the very senators who allowed the deregulation of laws that got us into this mess to begin with. I am very scared of what will become of our economy and of the upcoming elections. I said it the last two elections but I think I really mean it this time...I am going to Cananda.

Leisha Camden said...

I got inspired ... I read a couple of interesting debates on this issue in an online newspaper and I really wanted to write something myself. Some 'talking points' I borrowed from one of the debaters there - he was really smart - too bad it's impossible to know who those people are, even in the slightest. Reading about it really helped me collect my own thoughts ... so I decided to write it up and see how long it'd get. ;-)

The time is always right for chocolate, though! ;-)

kccat, I think you should be scared ... especially after the debate yesterday, which I haven't seen but read transcripts from. Palin will fight the corruption on Wall Street, fix the mess on Wall Street ... but HOW?? HOW will this be done? She's got nothing. And if she's got nothing, what does McCain supposedly have? It's totally bizarre that she can even come close to getting away with it. Sad. :-(

Michaelok said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michaelok said...

[reposted with a few corrections. eblogger doesn't let you edit after you post? No underline? argh.]

Lots of ideas there, I'm too tired to think much right now, but I do have one quibble. The US and it's liberal masses were not the sole source of all economic catastrophes, take Holland's famous Tulip craze of the 1600s, I doubt there is anything to match that, although admittedly the petstores, the condo flipping craze, and incredible excesses (consider AIG partying the other day, spending 400K at a spa/resort, like Enron - *after* their bailout, that takes brilliance) come to a very close second.

Thanks for the VG post. I'm interested to see if it proves correct, it's a great story and fits with Obama's character (I think), but then so did the "AWOL" memo about Bush, somehow I'm wondering if this is a Karl Rove trap. Sheesh, that's how jaded I am. Next we'll all be spying on our neighbors like the former East Germans. Govt already is, citizens - you are next.

I also like the Which Witch post. Very relevant these days, reminds me of an excellent book, Michael Kunze's German bestseller Straße ins Feuer: Vom Leben und Sterben in der Zeit des Hexenwahns (English version titled Highroad to the Stake- A Tale of Witchcraft.

The Salem witch trials were required reading in school, and I think we even took a school trip there, but Kunze's book brings this time period to life.

How things change, how they stay the same. Robed lawyers, The Inquisition, Duke Maximilian, torture, civil unrest, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and the Antichrist in the East (Muslims, in the form of Turks, knocking at the gates of Vienna).

I'll semi-randomly quote a line " never occurred to them that the use of torture makes it harder, rather than easier, to find out the truth....For they did not view reality as it was; for them, reality was their vision of it....In the eyes of their judges, our family of vagrants became precisely what they were destined to be. In almost mythic fashion..."

We are in a maze, with twisty passages...

Thanks for the ponderings and good night!

Leisha Camden said...

Michaelok: thanks for your comments on this and other posts. I'm going on vacation for two weeks but I will be back to comment ... :-) Hope I'll see you here again. :-)