FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Americans: Serfs Ruled by Oligarchs

“In a little time [there will be] no middling sort.  We shall have a few, and but a very few Lords, and all the rest beggars.”  R.L. Bushman

“Rapidly you are dividing into two classes–extreme rich and extreme poor.”    “Brutus”

Americans think that they have “freedom and democracy” and that politicians are held accountable by elections.  The fact of the matter is that the US is ruled by powerful interest groups who control politicians with campaign contributions.  Our real rulers are an oligarchy of financial and military/security interests and AIPAC, which influences US foreign policy for the benefit of Israel.

Have a look at economic policy.  It is being run for the benefit of large financial concerns, such as Goldman Sachs.

It was the banks, not the millions of Americans who have lost homes, jobs, health insurance, and pensions, that received $700 billion in TARP funds.  The banks used this gift of capital to make more profits. In the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Goldman Sachs announced record second quarter profits and large six-figure bonuses for every employee.

The Federal Reserve’s low interest rate policy is another gift to the banks.  It lowers their cost of funds and increases their profits.  With the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, banks became high-risk investment houses that trade financial instruments such as interest rate derivatives and mortgage backed securities. With abundant funds supplied virtually free by the Federal Reserve, banks are paying depositors virtually nothing on their savings.

Despite the Federal Reserve’s low interest rate policy, beginning October 1 banks are raising the annual percentage rate (APR) on credit card purchases and cash advances and on balances that have a penalty rate because of late payment.  Banks are also raising the late fee. In the midst of the worst economy since the 1930s, heavily indebted Americans, who are losing their jobs and their homes, are to be bled into bankruptcy by the very banks that are being subsidized with TARP funds and low interest rates.

Moreover, it is the American public that is on the hook for the TARP money and the low interest rates.  As the US government’s budget is 50 per cent or more in the red, the TARP money has to be borrowed from abroad or monetized by the Fed.  This means more pressure on the US dollar’s exchange value and a rise in import prices and also domestic inflation.

Americans will thus pay for the TARP and low interest rate subsidies to their financial rulers with erosion in the purchasing power of the dollar. What we are experiencing is a massive redistribution of income from the American public to the financial sector.

And this is occurring during a Democratic administration headed by America’s first black president, with a Democratic majority in the House and Senate.

Is there a government anywhere that less represents its citizens than the US government?

Consider America’s wars.  As of the moment of writing, the out-of-pocket cost of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is $900,000,000,000. When you add in the already incurred future costs of veterans benefits, interest on the debt, the forgone use of the resources for productive purposes, and such other costs as computed by Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard University budget expert Linda Bilmes, “our” government has wasted $3,000,000,000,000–three thousand billion dollars–on two wars that have no benefit whatsoever for any American whose income does not derive from the military/security complex, about which five-star general President Eisenhower warned us.

It is now a proven fact that the US invasion of Iraq was based on lies and deception of the American public.  The only beneficiaries were the armaments industries, Blackwater, Halliburton, military officers who enjoy higher rates of promotion during war, and Muslim extremists whose case the US government proved by its unprovoked aggression against Muslims. No one else benefitted.  Iraq was a threat to no one, and finding Saddam Hussein and executing him after a kangaroo trial had no effect whatsoever on ending the war or preventing the start of others.

The cost of America’s wars is a huge burden on a bankrupt country, but the cost incurred by veterans might be even higher.  Homelessness is a prevalent condition of veterans, as is post-traumatic stress.  American soldiers, who naively fought for the munitions industry’s wars, for high compensation for the munitions CEOs, and for dividends and capital gains for the munitions shareholders, paid not only with lives and lost limbs, but also with broken marriages, ruined careers, psychiatric disorders, and prison sentences for failing to make child support payments.

What did Americans gain from an unaffordable war in Iraq that lasted far longer than World War II and that put into power Shi’ites allied with Iran?

The answer is obvious: nothing whatsoever.

What did the armaments industry gain?  Billions of dollars in profits.

Obama is the presidential candidate who promised to end the war in Iraq.  He hasn’t.  But he has escalated the war in Afghanistan, started a new war in Pakistan, intends to repeat the Yugoslav scenario in the Caucasus, and appears determined to start a war in South America.  In response to the acceptance by US puppet president of Columbia,  Alvaro Uribe, of seven US military bases in Columbia, Venezuela warned South American countries that the “winds or war are beginning to blow.”

Here we have the US government, totally dependent on the generosity of foreigners to finance its red ink, which extends in large quantities as far as the eye can see, completely under the thumb of the military/security complex, which will destroy us all in order to meet Wall Street share price expectations.

Why does any American care who rules Afghanistan?  The country has nothing to do with us.

Did the armed services committees of the House and Senate calculate the risk of destabilizing nuclear armed Pakistan when they acquiesced to Obama’s new war there, a war that has already displaced two million Pakistanis?

No, of course not.  The whores took their orders from the same military/security oligarchy that instructed Obama.

The great American superpower and its 300 million people are being driven straight into the ground by the narrow interest of the big banks and the munitions industry.  People, and not only Americans, are losing their sons, husbands, brothers, and fathers for no other reason than the profits of US armaments corporations, and the gullible American people seem proud of it.  Those ribbon decals on their cars, SUVs and monster trucks proclaim their naive loyalty to the armaments industries and to the whores in Washington who promote wars.

Will Americans, smashed and destroyed by “their” government’s policy, which always puts Americans last, ever understand who their real enemies are?

Will Americans realize that they are not ruled by elected representatives but by an oligarchy that owns the Washington whorehouse?

Will Americans ever understand that they are impotent serfs?

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. This fall CounterPunch/AK Press will publish Robert’s War of the Worlds: How the Economy Was Lost. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

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 Savoir
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