The administration’s financial fix-it plan was laid out this week and it was, underwhelming, to say the least. The New York Times dubbed it, “back to business as usual..” not a phrase commonly seen in the paper of record which, by the way, essentially managed to miss the true source of the country’s crisis — Underpaid America — for two generations.
None of this comes as a surprise given the top priority Mr. Obama set early on to fund banks and financial institutions. Everybody else should hang in there and brace yourselves for the Great Marginalization. So, aid to banks stays in place; derivatives are to remain a critical part of the finance system; there’ll be enhanced protection for accredited consumers who can still borrow money and invest. In other words, the protection of existing pools of money and investment is the goal of this government.
That is fine unless, of course, you have little or none of that money. That would be the millions of Americans who helped raise America’s productivity to new heights and got no rewards for the effort, for whom a pension system has fallen away and for whom there are now mounting health care and energy costs. Let’s keep in mind that the average consumer debt of an American family is $10,000. Let’s not kid ourselves: that’s an amount that served to augment low wages (much like food stamps for the working poor) and did not fund extravagant lifestyles, a popular obfuscation in the media embrace of Obama’s sociology.
Low wage America slammed people and NOTHING the Obama administration has on the table now or in the pipeline will address that fundamental dynamic this year, next … ever. Meanwhile, profits are up. Business Week reports: “Bank Reap Handsome Profits Cashing Out of Chinese Banks.” Those winners include Goldman Sachs, the investment firm that received $20 billion via our government bailout of insurance giant AIG. That’s called “restoring confidence”.
We are to continue life in one of the most economically stratified countries in the industrial world…as speculators swoop in buying up foreclosed properties, adults compete with high school kids for summer jobs, the price of gas goes back over $3 a gallon, and the stock market goes up, trumpeting “labor savings” as key to profit growth, the same labor savings that triggered the credit crunch. That simple and obvious construct — low wages triggered the crisis — seems to elude the so-called progressive pundits at MSNBC.
The crisis we face is Mr. Obama’s cold indifference to the fact that growing numbers of American families cannot get by this year. He seems entirely disconnected from the economic realities of working Americans. If President Obama wants to get something done he is going to have to, in the words of one financial columnist, “make some bankers mad”. Fat chance.
CARL GINSBURG is a tv producer and journalist based in New York. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org