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.

July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS class struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail