Saturday, August 6, 2011

Satan sandwiches over a barrel

So, let me get this straight -- Obama gives away half the store, and still loses the AAA rating?

IMF protesters used to get at least honorable mention in the small presses on the problem with "Third World debt". No matter what we learned in high school about democracy of the marketplace, and so on, Haitian slaves and others who overthrew their European overlords found themselves unable to buy goods they needed, not for lack of money, but because most traders simply wouldn't sell to them, or demanded punitive prices ... and because former colonial governments insisted that the newly freed peoples should pay the debts of (you guessed it) the former colonial governments, international loan sharks made up phony debts or jacked up interest rates specially for the liberees. You might call it a conspiracy, or just co-piracy, but either way these folks suddenly didn't care so much about supply and demand, and sellers and buyers in an open marketplace: they just wanted to stick it to the little guy.

Sound familiar? It should. The US economy is being held hostage, and the coolest thing about negotiating with hostage-takers is, paying them often fuels the fire. We talk about investors, bankers, capital gains recipients -- it amounts to one thing: the rich. For 40 years the rich have been demanding, and getting, deeper and deeper tax cuts. That has not been enough. Union busting has run rampant. Private sector unions have dropped to less than 10 percent of the workforce, which means they have little effect any more on anyone's wages outside their own membership. Bad. For everybody, union or no. Cuts to social services (what the government does for the poor and working people) soon followed. The rich and their own politicians thinly justify the cuts based on reduced revenues and increased debt (which of course is a result a result of the tax cuts, etc.), and then these reductions impact working people's ability to spend an pay taxes, and so on, and so on, and so on.

They have us over a barrel. I would argue it's not necessary or permanent, but there it is. They crash, we bail them out. We crash, they say sorry but we'll have to raise our interest rates because you cats aren't buying enough of our (friends') garbage. So we have a phony debt crisis. And we bargain. Obama seems to have no desire to fight, at least not for us. And we lose big, with no tax increases, etc., from the other side. Whew, crisis averted, right? Wrong. They are just getting started with this little shakedown. And if we have any sense at all, we will have just begun to fight it.

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