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Davis, California

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

A view from the soapbox

That’s it. I can’t go another week without asking. How the hell are we allowing this to happen? Slice by slice, the American pool of taxpayer cash is being doled out to billionaire boardroom sops while those of us not belonging to the wealthiest 1 percent watch gas prices baffled and count up our expenses with increasing worry.

Very soon, that cash of yours may not be worth the mattress it’s stuffed in and all we get from Capitol Hill is a bedtime story about the sustained benefits of injecting capital.

The bailout is bullshit.

Elaborate economic models and high-minded talk about discretionary federalscalpels only obscure the truth: Politicians are frantically shoveling dollars into the gaping maw of greed. Who gives a damn if it’s ascalpel if they use the tool to cut out both your kidneys, sell them to China and call it a flu shot?

The insatiable financial sector is obligating taxpayers to pick up its bill after gorging itself on loose regulation and purchased legislation. The $7 trillion subprime mortgage debacle has meant this much damage to the U.S. economy, and that’s just a small fish relative to the whales of shady dealings and fraud yet to beach themselves.

Credit default swaps (business lingo forbetting) make for $62 trillion of at-risk capital, representing over four times the U.S. annual GDP. The mind boggles, then, to contemplate the effects of a crash there or in the greater derivative market (silly business lingo forimaginary value) of well over $300 trillion. Global depression is afoot and it’s completely endemic in the fractious capitalist system we’ve been born into and forced to accept. But I’m sure you knew that before picking up the paper today.

Given that our generation is faced with so much potential collapse hanging in the balance, it’s infuriating yet scarcely surprising to see how terribly the crisis is being handled. We’ve witnessed our government enact what essentially amounts to the negative side of socialism, ensuring that taxpayers lose both ways (privatize benefits, socialize losses).

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson argued to a compliant congress for the $700 billion so-called Stabilization Act with hidden costs that bring the price to $2 trillion, laying down a TARP (Trouble Assets Relief Program) to keep corporate interests from getting stained by the flood of red ink soon to be washing down from D.C. What does Paulson carehe’s getting replaced in two months and can look forward to retirement in a government bunker off the power grid.

“Is there a change imminent in the incoming administration?” you might ask. Is politics a nonprofit enterprise? Obama’s fresh picks for economic advisers resemble a dream team for Wall Street, moderate and non-threatening to the continued policies of looting the taxpayers when business gets bad. You might get to see a stimulus check, but after the Fed hyperinflates the dollar, you might prefer canned food and shotgun shells.

It’s our futures we’re fighting for, people. We can’t stand around and watch g-men pack up the last of our cash and bail. Solutions have got to come from beyond political orthodoxy. Drastic action is possible. Try toying with this idea: Nationalization of the Federal Reserve to eliminate trillions in national debt and put the issue of currency and credit into the hands of the government, who actually cares about its citizens more than a bank does its customers.

Here’s another: Federally funded public works projects (high speed rail comes to mind) which would improve our infrastructure, create jobs and inject capital where it belongs, into the hands of the working class. If we’ve got money to burn on lenders, bankers and the other breeds of human tumors, there’s no argument against that idea. If these ideas don’t take, try an appeal to the United Nations to end the war on the middle class. Or try turning your car into a victory-garden greenhouse.

As Albert Einstein said of his era,The problems we face today cannot be solved by the minds that created them.Those words are coming from a man who realized matter and energy are one, so you can take that to the bank.

But don’t.


CHEYA CARY won’t tolerate hearing another pun onchange, but send him anything else at cheya.cary@gmail.com.


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