Thursday, October 01, 2009

Nothing to read here folks, move along.

Alternet
Why Are We Lying to Ourselves About Our Catastrophic Economic Meltdown?
Posted by Arun Gupta, AlterNet at 2:00 PM on September 29, 2009.

...Even now, the corporate media downplay the scope of the disastrous U.S. economy. The current economic downturn, the longest since the Great Depression more than 70 years ago, has been dubbed by many the “Great Recession.”

It's a useful way for journalists to acknowledge the pain of tens of millions of Americans who have lost homes, livelihoods, health care and more, while distinguishing the current misfortune from the Great Depression. But the term also makes the situation seem rosier than it is...

...The number of unemployed and underemployed is nearly 17 percent of the U.S. workforce, or around 25 million people. Residential mortgage foreclosure filings have exceeded 300,000 a month for six months in a row, starting in March 2009. Tent cities are sprouting across the country. Personal incomes continues to shrink, and it’s projected that medical bankruptcies, people who file for personal bankruptcy because of medical bills, will reach 900,000 cases this year.

There is also little hope for a sustained recovery...

...One way to measure the gross domestic product is to divide it up in four segments: consumer spending, which is negative year over year; business investment, which is still in a recession; trade, or the value of exports minus import, which has been running a massive gap for years; and government spending, which has increased dramatically at the federal level while dropping precipitously at the local and state level. These factors are represented by the formula GDP = C+I+G+(X-M).

In simple language, there is no sector that appears capable of pulling the economy out of its deep funk: manufacturing has virtually disappeared in this country; most service sector jobs pay dismally; the tech sector and “creative industries” can’t employ tens of millions; those hopes of green jobs appear to vanished with Van Jones; and there are no more bubbles that can be pulled out of the Federal Reserves’ bag of tricks, at least ones that trickle down to Main Street...


Not as long as their idea of "stimulus" is to give money to the same fat-cats who got us into this mess in the first place.

REAL solutions directly benefit the people who need help - they don't continue the warped "trickle-down" mentality of the Robber Barons, who let precious little trickle down out of their hands.

A real solution would be a new WPA program to provide dedicated passenger rail lines to every city of 50,000 or more.

A real solution would be to declare a Jubilee for all consumer credit card debt or pass real usury laws that limit the APR on revolving credit to 10% maximum and prevent companies from raising interest rates on PAST purchases, retroactively raising the prices of the goods and services people bought to levels to which they did not agree to purchase them.

A real solution would be single payer healthcare instead of for-profit healthcare. Taiwan has a first world medical infrastructure, a lower infant mortality rate and a higher life expectancy rate, and Taiwanese people pay an average of $21 a month for their single-payer system.

The for-profit healthcare Robber Barons are so scared of a single payer system that they have spent nearly half a Billion-with-a-B dollars in lobbying to prevent one from being passed - those are not the actions of an industry that has nothing to fear. No doctors or nurses would lose their jobs, no hospitals would go out of business - but a bunch of trained monkeys practicing medicine out of three-ring binders would need to find new careers. Worth it? Absolutely.

A real solution would be to penalize American companies that shipped jobs overseas, and reward companies who set up or kept our manufacturing at home, where it belongs.

A real solution would remove the subsidies received by unsustainable giant monoculture agribusiness factory farms and give support to smaller local family and organic sustainable farms, reducing our need for food imports.

A real solution would be to dismantle our imperialistic military machine and stop pretending we have the right and the authority to police the whole globe. If they want to police something, try policing our borders for a change. Relocating the entire population of poor South Americans to North America is not going to solve our problems or theirs.

What will help them, and us, is insistence on the passage of equitable first-world style wage, labour, environmental and safety regulations for their own homelands - or else we don't do business with the companies located there - even if they are supposedly American companies. No more "free trade" on unlevel playing fields. Either everybody has the same moral and ethical labour laws, and enforces them, or the trade is not free.

These are some real solutions that will actually provide Americans with the means of getting their economic problems under control, defacto inflation-adjust their current economic obligations down to their 1970s income, and restoring confidence. Until the average guy can get out from under the mountain of debt and medical expenses and be provided with real, living wage employment, our nation's problems are unsolvable.

Not real solutions: More wally-worts and burger flipping, more debt, higher interest on debt, forcing people to buy useless for-profit insurance that won't cover their illnesses, and "stimulating" fat-cat CEOs who already have four houses, two yachts, and no intention of giving their average employees living wages.

If those are the only solutions government has, then govermment deserves the pitchforks, pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails and torches they're going to get when people realize they have been screwed yet again and have no way out. I don't condone violence at all, because if enough people would just vote these slimeballs out of office and vote in these types of programs, it wouldn't be necessary.

But, one way or another, God helps those that help themselves.

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