FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Deepening Economic Crisis

The American economy continues its slide to new depths of brokenness and dysfunction. January 2009 was the worst January ever for the benchmark S&P 500 Index. In the last week of that same month, major corporations announced the layoffs of more than 100,000 workers. The state of New York is borrowing funds in order to pay benefits to an ever growing number of unemployed. The state of California can’t pay anyone anything, sending IOUs in lieu of tax refund checks. The other 48 states are in similarly dire straits. The federal government is broke, yet the new president is about to turn over the next round of bailout money to the financial services industry without any demand that working Americans benefit from the continued public largesse.

While Americans focus on nonsense, the worldwide economic crisis strengthens its grip. Fortunately, citizens of other countries are not going quietly into the night. The usually peaceful people of Iceland threw out their government after international banksters destroyed their economy. The French, never shy about protesting, took to the streets to show their government that they wouldn’t be silent as unemployment rises and wages fall. The rest of the world may make demands on their political leadership, but Americans are stuck in a morass of apathy and ignorance brought about by corporate media disinformation.

If the millions of Americans who voted for Barack Obama were to make demands on the system, there might be some hope for the nation. Unfortunately they are singularly unprepared to do anything they should do in order to save themselves. They ought to demand true health care reform. A system guaranteeing access for all would help individuals and also businesses such as the auto industry that are going bankrupt in part because of the cost of health care. Citizens ought to demand drastic cuts in military spending for the nation that spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined. Instead they are foolishly impressed when Obama puts on a show and pretends to be concerned about corporate jets and billion dollar bonuses on Wall Street.

Obama could have had an anti bonus provision in the TARP bail out bill if he had wanted one. As his party’s nominee for president, he gave TARP his full blessing. He said nothing that his banker backers didn’t like and now pretends that he is shocked, shocked, to find out that his fund raisers like to make and take as much money as possible.

The much discussed stimulus bill is also a meaningless distraction. The “shovel ready” infrastructure projects do nothing to save homes or jobs or loosen credit. The stimulus bill is instructive only in that it demonstrates how two-faced Barack Obama has turned out to be. He added tax cut provisions to the legislation not because he thought he would get Republican support. He already knew he would not. He added those provisions because he wanted them all along, knowing full well that Democratic House members would look and feel like chumps in the deal making process. Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged as much butdemurred when asked if the tax cuts provisions might be removed. “It’s something that we can live with,” said the House Speaker. Nancy should speak for herself.

Easily fooled Americans were glued to the television watching the Obama inauguration while simultaneous ignoring their own worsening financial situation. Who can bother to look at the fine print on multi-billion dollar deals when HISTORY is being made? Now the same zombified population ignores presidential inaction on bankruptcy “cramdown” legislation that could save their homes, explicit threats to Social Security, and back-tracking on employee free choice for labor unions.

In their delusion and despair, the only reaction left to non class conscious Americans is to turn on themselves. Murders and suicides are too often the reaction to financial disaster instead of righteous indignation directed towards a failed political and economic system. Americans are losing their minds when they might alleviate their depression by taking to the streets or at the very least giving their elected leaders a piece of their minds.

Americans never had the tools to fully understand the system that is failing them so terribly. Now they are enthralled by a man who explicitly instructs them not to confront the people and institutions that have brought them to the brink. The economic meltdown will continue for a long time and so will the individual meltdowns and disasters for millions of people who will literally not know what hit them or where they ought to turn after the crash.

MARGARET KIMBERLEY’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com.

More articles by:

Margaret Kimberley writes the Freedom Rider column for Black Agenda Report, where this essay originally appeared. 

September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
Jeff Ballinger
Nike and Colin Kaepernick: Fronting the Bigots’ Team
David Rosen
Why Stop at Roe? How “Settled Law” Can be Overturned
Gary Olson
Pope Francis and the Battle Over Cultural Terrain
Nick Pemberton
Donald The Victim: A Product of Post-9/11 America
Ramzy Baroud
The Veiled Danger of the ‘Dead’ Oslo Accords
Kevin Martin
U.S. Support for the Bombing of Yemen to Continue
Robert Fisk
A Murder in Aleppo
Robert Hunziker
The Elite World Order in Jitters
Ben Dangl
After 9/11: The Staggering Economic and Human Cost of the War on Terror
Charles Pierson
Invade The Hague! Bolton vs. the ICC
Robert Fantina
Trump and Palestine
Daniel Warner
Hubris on and Off the Court
John Kendall Hawkins
Boning Up on Eternal Recurrence, Kubrick-style: “2001,” Revisited
Haydar Khan
Set Theory of the Left
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail