Wednesday, June 24, 2009
In searching the economic data for signs of a possible recovery, the public press puts its emphasis on the actions of the stock market and the lending of banks. They report the growth in the unemployment figures but fail to tell us that is where the health of the economy lies, at bottom. Indeed, the millions who are skilled and eager to do the work but are sitting on their bottoms collecting insurance is the true indicator of where we are going, as their productive efforts are being blocked by actions of the private economy that seems to private industry as retrenchment. The millions of unemployed, both acknowledged and hidden, idle while important functions go untended and potential consumers are cut out of the active workforce, is a total waste. It may look like saving to GM, but to the States, which should be making use of the reserve, it is a loss of advance and a deprivation to those like GM that want to sell their products. In the meantime, activity in the Big Gambling House we call the Stock Exchange, moves money from the pockets of one punter to that of others but there is almost none going into opening new economic efforts. Despite how we reckon the GDP, no goods or personal services are being produced in the Big Casino. Putting public money into jacking up the gaming will not foster a recovery of the real economy of goods and services. And money being pumped into the pockets of those who are already deep into luxuries will not result in increases of the very commodities needed by the working people who are at the true base of our prosperity. Money invested now, even borrowed money, in health, education and research would pay good dividends in future years, but that is where everyone is cutting back, thus cutting our own throats.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
After centuries in which US spoke for the Enlightenment in a world eager for freedom after the Imperial Era in EU, DC is now repeating the worst excesses visible in the last days of the Roman Empire and then the British and the French, and all the others. When our government and our press report on the antics of our geopolitical rivals, we love Democracy so it would make your eyes water, but when our clients do the same thing or worse we either support self-determination or just look the other way. In this week, we have seen a middle-class protest of maybe hundreds of thousands protesting the supposed stealing of the election in Iran, in repeats of the CIA playbook for riots in Chile, Panama, Kiev, Caracas, and any place where the government is not to DC’s liking. Not that I like the government in Iran, or Ukraine, but I am committed to the value of Democracy over Empire. And in the matter of Mexico’s last presidential election, the reporters of the world’s press went to bed on the election night, having taken exit polls, and announced that Obrador had won, though narrowly. The next day outgoing president Fox appeared with the announcement that the election had been won by his party’s candidate. And he made it very clear that he, as president, would deny any demand for a recount, despite the closeness of the race. And I have no doubt that this blatant stealing of the election was cleared with the Cheney regime before the announcement, and the vaunted free press of the rulers of the world had nothing to say. Maybe they were saving it all up for Iran, the obstreperous colony. As for the sanctity of the People’s voice, heard in the streets from thousands, we should remember the nearly two million people who marched in London in the hope of avoiding the Iraq War in 2003. Blair offered no quarter. There were no orange scarves from the CIA in that show.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The habit of borrowing to buy things we want has dug so deep into the US Way that we no longer even think that we are doing it. Even for such a minor purchase as gasoline, we pay with a credit card without even thinking of debt. If we charged it, we paid it. And for some the bill comes as an unwelcome intrusion, as though someone were picking our pockets. Of course many can pay these charges as soon as the tab arrives, but some are genuinely taken aback at the demand for payment. The bankers are there every year to induct our freshmen into this mode of apparently free buying. But some are more serious borrowers, and this goes all the way up the ladder to our governments. TT introduced the practice of pushing things into the next biennium as a way of borrowing without violating the constitution’s injunction against debt. So when Gov. Doyle entered office he faced the reality of a heavy debt left by the Thompson administration. And he has had the task of paying that debt while facing rising prices and an unwillingness of the People to pay for the money TT borrowed in violation of the law. And now we must genuinely pay, and the People have gotten used to the easy indebtedness that seduces us all. So often we genuinely can’t pay, because the debt is really so large and the economy so frail. So the only option is to put it on the cuff and actually pay it off. At least we could arrange that those who have the means would pay. But we suddenly hear from the rich a sermon about the sinfulness of debt. We are all used to the illusion that we never have to pay it off, both the gas bill and the schools tax, including what we borrowed over the last few decades. And the only alternative is not to pay it, and take the money from denying services to those who must have it, meaning the poor and the weak. But no one ever says that. They say they are against the corruption of debt, and against taxes. But that is what it comes to.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
I am constantly amazed at the magic mirror like those at fun houses, in which US sees ourselves. In this mirror we are immensely powerful, both economically and militarily. We see our president issuing orders to other states in the way that imperial EU used to deal with their retainers, if not their serfs. There seems to be no sense even in Obama that the Iranians might still retain resentment over the way Ike’s CIA participated in overthrowing (in 1953) the only reasonably democratic government they ever had. But the DC regime is still nursing their wounds over the Iranian outrage in 1973. So then they issue dicta in which the unspoken words “or else” come over, both from US and Israel. And this to a far more impressive opponent than any of those to whom each of us has lost wars in the previous decades. On top of this, US seems to be the only country that does not know that the Cheney regime has left our military in a state of total collapse, except for the services that can bomb or shell from a safe distance. The story of US economic might was already an illusion ten years ago. Obama is already stinting on the costs of avoiding a Great Depression, and even people called Dems are unwilling to borrow the money to try to reduce the disaster by a million or two unemployed. So the threat to exploit that kind of muscle is a bluff. US is already cutting back on deals that mean money and jobs to EU and China to save nickels, so who is afraid of a boycott and who is willing to join us in a boycott? Nixon was afraid of having US appear as a paper tiger, but our present stance is more like the picture of a tiger projected on a screen, not even a material presence. It is bad to come across looking weak, but it is far worse to rattle the saber one does not even have. And even N. Korea looks like it is up to calling the bluff Obama inherited from Bush.