Goldman-Sachs, lauded in that very aforementioned issue, is taking a beating that would make Rocky Balboa tap out, with 71% losses. Lehman Brothers has exploded and is being scraped off the floor. And this all follows on the heels – not coincidentally, I should note – of the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac collapse.
In the midst of this, McCain has acted with characteristic integrity, which is to say like a spastic chameleon.
First, in order to slop some gravy to his high finance friends and throw cake from Versailles to the unwashed masses, he stood in the whirlwind of Black Monday and said “the fundamentals of the economy are strong.”
In the same breath, he condemned the “fat cats” of Wall Street. Only in the drive-thru intellect of the modern American era could such an argument be other than laughable and repulsive.
Both counts are due to the fact that McCain will adopt any stance, spew any platitude, to win the brass ring of power. If that isn’t the very incarnation of cynical self-interest, I don’t know what is. The lack of integrity, of course, comes from the fact that according to McCain’s own Web site, the “fat cats” have in store for them a cleansing of the regulations that might have them on a leash:
Corporate tax cut by 10%. Dividends and estate taxes vanishing. McCain’s plan throws table scraps to small businesses and the little guy, but feeds any creature in the high six figures as if it were a goose destined for pate’.
It is that very perversion of the conservative party’s platform that has turned the mess of the mortgage crisis into a debacle: Corporate socialism. For contrary to McCain’s patriotic pap, the “fundamentals” of the American economy are anything but strong – they are on the life-support of massive infusions of cash straight out of the pockets of the tax payer.
Conservatives of the old school rail, and rightly so, about the incompetence of some social programs – be they school boards, welfare programs or the IRS. Yet we have heard nary a peep from the custodians of the “conservative” legacy about the fact that we are dumping far, far more billions into the mismanaged, disastrously inept financial industries.
Just today, the sole thing that saved Wall Street from disemboweling itself and the ailing Euro and Japanese markets with it, was a shot of no less than $70 billion dollars. Allow me to put this in perspective, as perhaps someone like Goldwater – a conservative of principle, rather than the Corporate-Commies like McCain, would say:
$70 billion could buy an education for every child in the system for two years. It could pay for the senior prescription drug entitlement nearly twice over. It nearly pays for the entire Veterans’ Affairs for a year.
What it bought us today was time.
It did not, in any way, cure our problem. At word that the federal reserve would not be cutting interest rates below 2% for now – most likely to keep the euro area from collapsing under the combined weight of its inflating economy and useless American debt – the market plummeted again. The second safety net was deployed when the government intimated it might bail out the teetering insurance giant, AIG – another example of the public sector propping up the private.
More obstacles lie ahead. Goldman-Sachs will perish if Japan and the euro area don’t get their act together soon and start moving the investment group’s sluggish ducats. The next big black eye will land when the global economic growth reports are released, an indicator that most expect will be at only half of what people had hoped.
In short, the whole of the globe is ailing because Americans were allowed to rack up massive debt and then turn their pockets inside out when the chips began to be cashed. Japan and Europe are wringing their hands over diminishing American buying power, while China and India to keep their boom running full tilt on American debt that’s drying up. Now is /not/ the time for supply side, debt-based economics.
Without cutting federal spending substantially, all one does is swell and increasingly depraved and worthless American debt. Without giving the American middle class more buying power, all it does is demand that American corporations go to China and India for cheaper goods. The combination of these two factors can be a disastrous – essentially like drinking more so that you forget how drunk you are.
The press piddles away with its “he said, she said,” nonsense while Rome begins to smolder. We get the standard talking points that are no more than a boxing match in cheap ties anyway, and each channel tries to paint this like Armageddon. It isn’t Armageddon. It was just another Black Monday, and we survived it.
But we need to realize that we’re having too many Black Mondays, and too often. We need to get the simple fact that there is a relation between the economic choices we make and the results that occur. There is no more important economic choice in the entire world this season than the American vote:
We can no more vote for the guy we “feel” like voting for, than we can spend money like we “feel” and expect that we can just get more debt. Eventually the bill comes due. Corporate Communism is not the answer.
We must make the intelligent choice to get the intelligent result.
And so we are faced with the critical decision: Do we vote for the man who will say anything to make us feel good about electing him, or the man who is smart enough to make the right decisions – according to 66% of economists – now and in office?
Increasingly, we see the former having more appeal. All indications are that this campaign is now propelled by personality, not by policy: The crucial question is not “who do the experts support?” but rather “are you with Palin, or against her?”
Let us hope that the country wakes from its strange, self-indulgent, masturbatory dream about tanning beds and bridges to nowhere, and starts trying to put its house in order: Not by speeding up along the wrong path that it’s on, but by making a change.