FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Oh, Henry!

When the Economic Stimulus of 2008 was being discussed early this year, I suggested that they save themselves the trouble of mailing out individual checks to the American taxpayer, and mail the whole lump-sum directly to China. After all, that was where it would fetch up anyhow when Americans, who were given the money in hopes they would spend it, did so.

Though I’m no economist, my guess was right; the stimulus went nowhere. And now the economy is said to be in the worst crisis since the Great Depression.

Democrats, just as they supported the stimulus package above, are again falling for the administration’s cries of crisis. It is all too reminiscent of an old saying about software projects, “We don’t have time to do it right, but we will have time to do it over”. Here we have a political establishment that cannot muster the resources to provide subsidised health insurance, free college education, or secure borders. But we do have bipartisan leadership happy to spend 150 billion dollars a year on foreign wars, and ask for 700 billion more to plug a problem created with open eyes.

But the 700 billion will not solve the problem, just as the stimulus package did not. The reason is quite simple. The housing crisis was not a matter of lending alone. After all, home ownership is not dramatically higher now than it was, say, 10 years ago (65% in 1996, 68.9% in 2005, see this website). So what is different today?

The real answer is the loss of jobs. In software design they talk of a black box approach: clarity is achieved at each level by ignoring the inner complexities of a system and examining the inflows and outflows. In such a view, if wages are stagnating or dropping, and jobs are fleeing the country, how can people afford to maintain their houses or buy new ones? In this situation, even if you gave people the most favorable loan terms, how would they be able to repay? Clearly the housing market would have to drop. This much was clear to anyone with half an eye open. But not, evidently, to the likes of Mr. Paulson, Mr. Mankiw, or Mr. Greenspan.

American wages have been under assault from two fronts, illegal immigration on one and outsourcing on the other. Curiously, the right favors both and the left half-heartedly opposes one. The governing meme in the last 30 years has thus been to foster both, with an imbecilic worship of false idols like globalism and diversity. So steeped are we in shibboleths that not even this so called Great Crisis of this week has forced a discussion of the true ills afflicting the land.

Instead, we have Thomas Friedman writing a letter to Iraq (in George Bush’s name), telling them that we now need to attend to America, as we can no longer afford to spend our wealth in Iraq. It is hard to say which is more staggering, the man’s arrogance or his lack of shame. The Iraqis did not invite us. We went there to start a war, egged on by Thomas Friedman and his Flat Earth crowd, dismantled the state and instituted mayhem. We have the blood of several million people on our hands. Barack Obama’s grouse these days is that Iraqis have 80 billion dollars sitting in New York banks (maybe he thinks they should move them to Zurich) while we’re spending so much money on Iraq. Perhaps someone should remind the senator of his numerous votes authorizing exactly such expenditure. And recall that all he wants to do is spend it in Afghanistan instead.

Come home, America, said George McGovern during Vietnam. It has been the only sensible prescription for several years now. But America is a land of plenty in all things, it would seem, except common sense. Writing of George Bush’s prime time address on the current ‘crisis’, Gail Collins captured our plight when she wrote this morning, ‘Bush has arrived at that unhappy point in American public life when a famous person begins to look like a celebrity impersonator.’

But the old song from the Hindi film Tere Mere Sapne (1971) still says it best: Andhi Praja, Andha Raja, Taka Ser Bhaji, Taka Ser Khaja. (Meaning: A Blind People, led by a Blind King, A country devoid of discrimination, that would price a pound of vegetables the same as a pound of exotic dates). Let us not forget just how special we are; the only country in the world that would have given a someone like Mr. Bush a second term; one that discusses lipstick, pigs, and the crumbling of its economy — all with equal seriousness.

Niranjan Ramakrishnan lives on the West Coast. He can be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com.

Your Ad Here
 

 

 

 

More articles by:

/>Niranjan Ramakrishnan is a writer living on the West Coast.  His book, “Reading Gandhi In the Twenty-First Century” was published last year by Palgrave.  He may be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com.

Weekend Edition
July 10, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Lynnette Grey Bull
Trump’s Postcard to America From the Shrine of Hypocrisy
Anthony DiMaggio
Free Speech Fantasies: the Harper’s Letter and the Myth of American Liberalism
David Yearsley
Morricone: Maestro of Music and Image
Rob Urie
Democracy and the Illusion of Choice
Jeffrey St. Clair
“I Could Live With That”: How the CIA Made Afghanistan Safe for the Opium Trade
Vijay Prashad
The U.S. and UK are a Wrecking Ball Crew Against the Pillars of Internationalism
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post and Its Cold War Drums
Richard C. Gross
Trump: Reopen Schools (or Else)
Chris Krupp
Public Lands Under Widespread Attack During Pandemic 
Paul Street
Imperial Blind Spots and a Question for Obama
Alda Facio
What Coronavirus Teaches Us About Inequality, Discrimination and the Importance of Caring
Eve Ottenberg
Bounty Tales
Andrew Levine
Silver Linings Ahead?
John Kendall Hawkins
FrankenBob: The Self-Made Dylan
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Deutsche Bank Fined $150 Million for Enabling Jeffrey Epstein; Where’s the Fine Against JPMorgan Chase?
David Rosen
Inequality and the End of the American Dream
Louis Proyect
Harper’s and the Great Cancel Culture Panic
Thom Hartmann
How Billionaires Get Away With Their Big Con
REZA FIYOUZAT
Your 19th COVID Breakdown
Danny Sjursen
Undercover Patriots: Trump, Tulsa, and the Rise of Military Dissent
Charles McKelvey
The Limitations of the New Antiracist Movement
Binoy Kampmark
Netanyahu’s Annexation Drive
Joseph G. Ramsey
An Empire in Points
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
COVID-19 Denialism is Rooted in the Settler Colonial Mindset
Ramzy Baroud
On Israel’s Bizarre Definitions: The West Bank is Already Annexed
Judith Deutsch
Handling Emergency: A Tale of Two Males
Michael Welton
Getting Back to Socialist Principles: Honneth’s Recipe
Dean Baker
Combating the Political Power of the Rich: Wealth Taxes and Seattle Election Vouchers
Jonah Raskin
Edward Sanders: Poetic Pacifist Up Next
Manuel García, Jr.
Carbon Dioxide Uptake by Vegetation After Emissions Shutoff “Now”
Heidi Peltier
The Camo Economy: How Military Contracting Hides Human Costs and Increases Inequality
Ron Jacobs
Strike!, Fifty Years and Counting
Ellen Taylor
The Dark Side of Science: Shooting Barred Owls as Scapegoats for the Ravages of Big Timber
Sarah Anderson
Shrink Wall Street to Guarantee Good Jobs
Graham Peebles
Prison: Therapeutic Centers Or Academies of Crime?
Zhivko Illeieff
Can We Escape Our Addiction to Social Media?
Clark T. Scott
The Democrat’s Normal Keeps Their (Supposed) Enemies Closer and Closer
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
In 2020 Elections: Will Real-Life “Fighting Dems” Prove Irresistible?
Dave Lindorff
Mommy, Where Do Peace Activists Come From?
Christopher Brauchli
Trump the Orator
Gary Leupp
Columbus and the Beginning of the American Way of Life: A Message to Indoctrinate Our Children
John Stanton
Donald J. Trump, Stone Cold Racist
Nicky Reid
The Stonewall Blues (Still Dreaming of a Queer Nation)
Stephen Cooper
A Kingston Reasoning with Legendary Guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith (The Interview: Part 2)
Hugh Iglarsh
COVID-19’s Coming to Town
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail