FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The One Percent Solution in Europe

by SAUL LANDAU

Last month a Super Committee (12Members of Congress) failed to decide — fortunately — our economic destiny: where our tax money would go – or not. Yes, capitalism failed again. And with it went democratic procedures in the political arena.

Big Facts: Since 2008, millions got laid off, evicted or foreclosed and lost their pensions.

Capitalism’s answer: ”So you think we might have put a few people out of business today,” Jeremy Irons explains to a lower executive (playing the role of a failing investment bank chief in a fictionalized Lehman Brothers in “Margin Call”).

“Its just money; its made up. Pieces of paper with pictures on it so we don’t have to kill each other just to get something to eat. It’s not wrong. And it’s certainly no different today than its ever been. 1637, 1797, 1819, 37, 57, 84, 1901, 07, 29, 1937, 1974, 1987 – Jesus, didn’t that fuck me up good – 92, 97, 2000 and whatever we want to call this. It’s all just the same thing over and over; we can’t help ourselves. And you and I can’t control it, or stop it, or even slow it. Or even ever-so-slightly alter it. We just react.

“And we make a lot money if we get it right. And we get left by the side of the side of the road if we get it wrong. And there have always been and there always will be the same percentage of winners and losers. Happy foxes and sad sacks. Fat cats and starving dogs in this world. Yeah, there may be more of us today than there’s ever been. But the percentages-they stay exactly the same.”

Yes the 1% dictate to the majority, but polls show most Americans don’t want cuts in Social Security or Medicare. Many of their elected representatives – paid handsomely by the 1% — nevertheless insist on cutting entitlements. This is representation?

The European Union exudes democracy from its chartered pores, but the 1% there has also usurped political rule and now runs the economic programs of several formerly sovereign EU governments.

The “exceptions” to democratic rule, induced by economic crisis means voters in each member country no longer directly choose their leaders. Last month bankers and German and French heads of state essentially delegated one of their own to take over Greece and Italy to try to stem declining economies that in turn worsen capitalism’s Euro-crisis.

The people of Ireland and Portugal have already felt the pains of imposed (from the outside) austerity, the bankers’ medieval-like “cure” for indebtedness. Bankers want to salvage at least half of their investments in stupid (bad) loans. Portuguese workers staged a one-day general strike On November 24. In Spain the “indignados” (outraged) staged massive rallies. The Social Democratic government lost to the right wing in November elections. Massive numbers voted to punish the Socialist who had accepted the bankers’ austerity program. Spain like Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Italy suffers from dramatic unemployment.

The people in these countries paid the price for the bankers’ foolishness. Greece’s Social Democratic government of George Papandreou tried austerity, cutting government salaries and pensions and increasing taxes. The economy worsened. Financial mavens predicted the economy would “shrink by 5.5 per cent this year and a further 2.8 per cent next year.” Meanwhile, the number is “expected to reach 15.4 per cent this year and 17.1 per cent in 2012.” But the bankers wanted more drastic measures.

Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, hardly a socialist, simply denied a problem existed. His refusal to take austerity to the nth degree prompted the European elite to remove him as well. After all, ideology pales before the reality of getting repaid on investments and the immense Italian debt scared them.

If untreated, this accumulating debt in Italy, the third-largest economy in the euro zone, could even bring panic to Wall Street where some investment houses retain large money market portfolios containing substantial European securities.

To get rid of elected officials, the European crisis managers (The Frankfurt Group with French President Sarkozy and Germany’s Angela Merkel and top bankers) held closed-door meetings, and then “persuaded” influential elites in Greece and Italy to arrange for the removal of elected (albeit failed) governments. This phenomenal deletion of two elected governments got reported as: “Technocrats” replace Prime Ministers.” Poof! Magic!

A technocrat, or “a bureaucrat who is intensively trained in engineering, economics, or some form of technology,” or “a proponent of government by technicians” will soon run Greece and Italy. (World English Dictionary ©1999 Microsoft)

Prime Ministers abdicates (or else). Now former Goldman Sachs executive, Lucas Papademos and Mario Monti, international advisor to Goldman Sachs and Coca-Cola will show Greeks and Italians what real “austerity” means. The foxes mandate is to get the hen houses in financial order!

The new Greek government already made a “deal.” Banks and other big Greek bond holders can write off 50 per cent of Greek debt paper and thus (hopefully?) reduce debt-to-GDP ratio. Greece’s 99% will not agree. Nor will Italy’s.

The 1% will face massive resistance. The 1% in Europe (like their US counterparts) don’t care what the rest of us will do about their cruel policies. They just call in the cops and the army.

We’ll soon see!

Saul Landau’s WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP shows at the New School’s Kellen Auditorium in NY on Dec 3 at 5:30 and 7:30. Landau will be present for both. CounterPunch published his BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD. Get dvds of REAL TERRORIST from cinemalibrestore@gmail.com

 

SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 24, 2017
Anthony DiMaggio
Reflections on DC: Promises and Pitfalls in the Anti-Trump Uprising
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Developer Welfare: Trump’s Infrastructure Plan
Melvin Goodman
Trump at the CIA: the Orwellian World of Alternative Facts
Sam Mitrani – Chad Pearson
A Short History of Liberal Myths and Anti-Labor Politics
Kristine Mattis
Democracy is Not a Team Sport
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Mexico, Neo-Nationalism and the Capitalist World-System
Ted Rall
The Women’s March Was a Dismal Failure and a Hopeful Sign
Norman Pollack
Woman’s March: Halt at the Water’s Edge
Pepe Escobar
Will Trump Hop on an American Silk Road?
Franklin Lamb
Trump’s “Syria “Minus Iran” Overture to Putin and Assad May Restore Washington-Damascus Relations
Kenneth R. Culton
Violence By Any Other Name
David Swanson
Why Impeach Donald Trump
Christopher Brauchli
Trump’s Contempt
January 23, 2017
John Wight
Trump’s Inauguration: Hail Caesar!
Mark Schuller
So What am I Doing Here? Reflections on the Inauguration Day Protests
Patrick Cockburn
The Rise of Trump and Isis Have More in Common Than You Might Think
Binoy Kampmark
Ignored Ironies: Women, Protest and Donald Trump
Gregory Barrett
Flag, Cap and Screen: Hollywood’s Propaganda Machine
Gareth Porter
US Intervention in Syria? Not Under Trump
L. Ali Khan
Trump’s Holy War against Islam
Gary Leupp
An Al-Qaeda Attack in Mali:  Just Another Ripple of the Endless, Bogus “War on Terror”
Norman Pollack
America: Banana Republic? Far Worse
Bob Fitrakis - Harvey Wasserman
We Mourn, But We March!
Kim Nicolini
Trump Dump: One Woman March and Personal Shit as Political
William Hawes
We Are on Our Own Now
Martin Billheimer
Last Tango in Moscow
Colin Todhunter
Development and India: Why GM Mustard Really Matters
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s America—and Ours
David Mattson
Fog of Science II: Apples, Oranges and Grizzly Bear Numbers
Clancy Sigal
Who’s Up for This Long War?
Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail