FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Justin Anderson
Don’t Count the Left Out Just Yet
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
September 20, 2018
Michael Hudson
Wasting the Lehman Crisis: What Was Not Saved Was the Economy
John Pilger
Hold the Front Page, the Reporters are Missing
Kenn Orphan
The Power of Language in the Anthropocene
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail