An Economic Crisis

“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.”-Gandhi

The President of the United States has called on the Federal Government to bail out the investment bankers, and after a lot of yelling and arm waving, they will do it.  Is it possible that nobody saw this coming?  How long have they really known about this mess: what did they know, and when did they know it?

What is it that the democrats and republicans are not telling us?  Surely you don’t think everybody just found out about the money crisis do you?  Even I’ve seen some of it coming for a while now, and I’m not even in the loop of the powerful people who should know.

If you run out of money, don’t you know?  If your job is watching the money don’t you know?  Does somebody actually expect us to believe that the heads of these huge financial institutions couldn’t see it coming?  Sorry, I’m not that stupid.  Neither are you.

I’m listening to the fear factors swell to almost deafening levels.  I’m watching the talking heads try to manipulate issues in a “hooray for our side” mentality all the while insisting the public demands to be lead to safety.  Even the president himself came on the tube last night to tell us the sky is falling but he has a plan.  All of the people being “followed to safety” are claiming to have a plan developing, but they’re holding their cards close to the vest (don’t peek!).

They say we must act now (immediate/reactionary) to ward off this unprecedented situation.  Goosey Loosey and Turkey Lurky (Obama/McCain) have been summoned to the entrance of the cave this very morning.  But they are not going to see the king; they are meeting with Henny Penny (Bush)!

There is one thing about this mess that is NOT unprecedented: a compromise will be made by our “uncompromising leaders”.  Congress will once again “compromise” to insure the likelihood that the general public will think the problem is being fixed.  I have some doubts.  Here are a few of my concerns:

1.       The likely disparities between what they say their plans will do, and what these plans will actually do;

2.       The likelihood that their “compromise” plan will actually be any long term fix at all (except for a few of the investment bankers personally);

3.       While all this is going on, nobody is watching the CIA.  Nobody seems aware of how much of this “new” money is likely to disappear and become absolutely untraceable.  We are talking about billions of dollars being thrown at billions of dollars of noncollectable debt that has been bought, sold, re-bought and re-sold so much that a good deal of it now must only exist as numbers in somebody’s ledger (but not necessarily traceable to the original paper, or instrument of debt).

Is this an irrational fear?  We did find out about Watergate and Iran/Contra (in both cases, we almost did not find out), but about how much else do you personally suspect that we will never be told?  Just a little bit?  A lot?  A whole lot?

So, who is Foxey Loxey?  Lehman Brothers?  Goldman Sachs?  The Federal Reserve Board?  The CIA?  I’ll bet it ain’t Kentucky Fried Chicken (but I could be wrong).

Back in the mid 1800’s, the seemingly unending crisis was the issue of slavery in territories and new states.  They compromised and compromised and compromised until eventually congress failed entirely, and a war between the states erupted.  More Americans died in that fiasco than all the other American wars combined!

For the past few years I’ve been begging people to just look at what is happening to the national debt.  Next week, our national debt is expected to take an immediate jump greater than the increase that occurred from pre-WWII days (The Great Depression) all the way to the end of the Vietnam Era!  Since then, it has quadrupled.  It is already double what it was when George Bush took office, and my prediction is:

No matter who wins the next election, our national debt will climb another two or three trillion dollars before the end of 2010.  The very rich will remain the very rich, and the working poor will remain the working poor (although a good many will have become the unemployed poor).

Unsustainable?  Would you think?  Every child born in this country is being instantly handed a huge debt that will compound daily for the rest of their lives.  How much of your taxes have gone to reduce any of it? Not one penny.

Besides congress, I’ve asked friends and associates in many states to look at it; just even to acknowledge it.  Do you know how many people have responded to me specifically on the national debt?  Nobody said a word; not one single person from anywhere at any time.  Congress (who holds the purse strings) cannot or will not give you a straight answer about the debt.

Why is it so difficult to get any response from anybody on the subject?  It could be due to the irrational disjointedness of people’s dogmatic belief systems that is getting in the way: a fiscal liberal position seems hopeless, and a fiscal conservative position does not exist, and it hasn’t for some time.  Ronald Reagan was the icon of conservatism, but he outspent his “liberal” predecessor three to one.  Since then, the economic disaster of national debt grows at unprecedented rates, and is now a run-away mule.

The proposed bailouts seem out of proportion to the problem: they are not big enough.  By that, I mean were are not addressing the real source of debt growth, and that is the continuing spiral of consumption being greater than production.  It will continue to be a problem as long as we continue to devalue working people.  It is hard to hold your head up when your children are being taught that there is something demeaning about getting your hands dirty on the job.  Shame on that!

Both major parties of our political system have been complicit with making it profitable for our capital investors to sell our jobs to people in third world countries (some of whom work for $1.07 a day).  If you seriously consider the ideologies of democrats and republicans, you will begin to see that neither actually are addressing this issue as part of the problem, but both sides will go along with bailing out the investment bankers in hopes that some of this will “trickle down” to our own working people.  Have we learned nothing?  I am not surprised, but I am disappointed.

But isn’t it true that people will defend their beliefs more than they will defend anything else?  Why is that?  Memetics?

Maybe it is because, certainly in the case of politics, a person is likely to believe in things that ensure (the illusion of) their own significance.  As I’ve said before, what people believe to be true, to in fact be true, is not now, nor has it ever been required.  If it was, everybody’s beliefs would be the same.

Consider the German economic crisis during the thirties that virtually guaranteed Adolph Hitler’s rise to power.  All of his measures were reactionary without exception.  In 1935, Sinclair Lewis wrote a book entitled It Can’t Happen Here.  Did you read it?  You should have.  I read all of his books.

Lewis had a concern about totalitarian dictatorships, and so do I.  History says both Communism and Fascism have traditionally ended up in some kind of totalitarianism where conformity becomes law and where the state is more important than the people it is supposed to help and protect.  Lewis’ books are full of examples of how the nonsense of people’s beliefs lead them down pathways of stupidity.  I rarely speak with anyone today who has read any of his books.  I strongly recommend two of his earlier works:


Elmer Gantry

In the meantime, I also recommend we give some thought to what Abraham Lincoln implied to be our responsibility by his closing remarks to his Gettysburg Address:

“…and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by little d on July 18, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Bravo VanTwain, truer words have seldom, if not ever been organized as yours are here. I would wish somehow your keyboard would part the clouds and trumpet the truth for all to hear, but I am afraid soon after the message would be secondary to the spectacle, and soon after that, it would be recalled that only the clouds parted, and no message was given at all.

    Thanks again for your time and effort, the greatest prize of all is the truth, but who would know it ?


  2. Prophet, pundit, whatever you want to call it — Van, you are one of the best. Getting the right people to pay attention has never been easy. But hang in there.


  3. Posted by Brett on November 5, 2012 at 4:03 am

    Van, I don’t know how I missed this article. I completely agree, but am curious, what is the solution when other countries don’t play by the same rules? I recently read an article that said China kept empty factories with workers already living on site waiting for a product to produce. How do we compete with that?


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