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Economic suicide
By Frank Scott
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Apr 23, 2008, 00:13

�I think this economy is down because we built too many houses and the economy�s adjusting.� --George W. Bush

Clearly, the great decider�s brilliance in dealing with climate change and war have roots in his vice-like grip on economic theory. To think that our problems exist because of too much housing in America is not gross oversimplification, but a moronic notion common to our ruling regime. And almost as bad is their opposition, still quibbling over how long to maintain the moral outrage in Iraq and posing as lesser evil by calling for a vague number of years, while the mentally unbalanced regime supporter cites the need for perhaps a century of occupation.

The most hopeful sign for the future is that most of the electorate will not vote for whichever AIPAC-approved candidate wins the presidential sweepstakes.

While lives and dollars continue being squandered on the rape and disemboweling of Iraq, more are being jeopardized by the madness of casino capitalism. The outlook can only seem bright from the viewpoint of shortsighted profiteers and dimwitted politicians, often the same people.

The bleak situation has some calling for a revival of the New Deal program that allegedly took the country out of economic depression back in the 1930s. But though FDR�s regime was progressive by comparison to the present reactionary cretins, it wasn't until war broke out that the nation�s economy recovered. The only similarity between then and now is the system of capitalism, more rapidly international and financially artificial in the present and, thus, even more deadly than before.

After that war the USA became ruler of a global empire, and it was said that when America sneezed, the world caught cold. Now the contagion factor is far more dangerous. A major U.S. recession can trigger a global depression worse than that of the 20th century. Already, the astronomical cost of destroying Iraq, the near collapse of housing and credit markets, and the meteoric rise of fuel costs have led to food price increases which have caused riots among the world�s poorest people. Problems at the economic bottom of the market are always serious, but the suffering there now almost makes the pain of those who�ve lost homes or sunk into bankruptcy seem trivial by comparison. But no one�s distress is trivial, and more will be hurt the longer this situation prevails. And it is a crisis more serious than any we�ve faced since the beginning of the American empire, now in its fading days.

In the 1930s, hundreds of millions of dollars disappeared when the stock market crashed. Now, that kind of loss is experienced in seconds, as the financial monster of contemporary capitalism deals in trillions of electronic dollars, most of them invested in fantasies, based on dreams, developed from prayers. These Ponzi-inspired creations are given names like Credit Default Swaps, but whatever they are titled by financial double-talk, more than 45 trillion dollars are floating around the ether depending on these faith-based entities to somehow produce profit. Events like the virgin birth of Christ and the commandments handed to Moses are about as materially verifiable as these financial creations, whose supposed housing stock foundation make castles in air sound firmly rooted in earth.

The speed with which money is lost and the amounts involved can be staggering to contemplate. When the last market speculation bubble burst, billions of dollars -- a billion has nine zeros -- vanished in the blink of an eye. Only a few years later, trillions of dollars -- a trillion has twelve zeros -- have disappeared into the ozone, taking jobs, homes and futures with them. Government bailouts for banking and finance are the only evidence of a public expression of support for such incredible loss. These massive figures can easily glaze eyes and befuddle brains, making it easier to empty taxpayer�s wallets to insure the power of great wealth, at public expense.

America�s national debt is more than $9 trillion dollars, and the personal debt total of the citizenry, including mortgages, is nearly $14 trillion. When consumer debt is almost equal to the nation�s truly gross GDP, what does another $45 trillion in financial gambling mean? Let�s try putting those incredible figures into some perspective:

A trillion is a thousand billion.

A billion seconds equal 32 years.

A trillion seconds equal 32,000 years.

At a dollar a second, it would take more than 288,000 years to pay the national debt. Are you ready to pick up that tab of nine, or 14, or 45 trillion dollars? How? When?

Corporate capital simply �writes down� its losses, often in the billions, and the debts attached are gone. Just like that. Why can�t individual citizens �write down� their own unpayable debts and be done with them? Can you guess?

Under the reign of capital, losses at the corporate top are always socialized and absorbed by citizens at the taxpayer bottom, where they practice a perversion they are taught to worship as individual participation in a free market. That�s like sexually molesting society�s children and calling it an expression of personal free love. This is a system without moral or financial principle, which has always menaced our social and natural environment. It does so now at an increasing and deadly pace that threatens greater disaster for the future.

In the short term, a return to wimpy social democratic policies may offer some breathing space, but ultimately a democratic movement must confront the faith-based economy that is failing, and create a materially based appropriation of national and international wealth in the service of all humanity. The criminal degradation that brings wealth to a small segment of the race will ultimately impoverish everything and everyone if it isn't stopped, and very soon. The long-term has already begun.

Copyright � 2008 Frank Scott. All rights reserved.

Frank Scott writes political commentary which appears in the Coastal Post, a monthly publication from Marin County, California, and on numerous web sites, and on his shared blog at Contact him at

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