Skip to comments.When things get better
Posted on 09/28/2008 7:53:25 AM PDT by pickrell
And the debate continues, "Is the bailout the right way to end this economic crisis?" If the trend continues true to form, never once will the media allow a deeper probe of what actually caused the current problem. "We can argue later whether it was the Republicans or the Democrats who bore most of the responsibility for this problem... which developed during the last 8 years of the Bush Administration, nudge,nudge,wink,wink.."
And of course that defines the boundaries of thought which will be allowed to be aired.
Enough rhetoric will saturate the airways about the proper way to solve the problem, and it will never occur to the average citizen that, unless we first thoroughly understand the famous root cause of the problem, there is virtually no chance of permanently fixing the problem. It is not a matter of thinking outside the box- it is rather a problem of understanding and recognizing that the box exists. That the walls imposed by the media are only thin cardboard, painted to look like reality.
So what is this box we have gotten ourselves into? Is this the oft-suspected eighth rail of politics, which dictates that, "No hint that the citizenry could bear a share of responsibility for any current dilemna... may ever be stated publicly. Only the government can change anything...".
It does little good to argue about the best way to plug a leak in the face of the dam, while upstream, meanwhile, surging floodwaters continue to cascade into the lake. How much less then, to debate whether the plug should be fashioned of gold or silver, when the pressure will inevitably continue to build, and ultimately demolish the dam, sweeping away property, lives and futures before it? Property... that was the legacy of generations of work, sacrifice and in many cases even finally death. Lives... which had been bequeathed the wealth necessary for them to rise to whatever level they could carry, in the certain knowledge that they would then pass at least as much wealth to their children's children. Futures... which formed the best and greatest hopes for those grandparents who made it all possible.
If some of that surging cold water could be thrown into the faces of the populace before the collapse- a serious awakening shock while there is still time left to save something, anything, of our inheritance- it's just still possible to step away from the whitewater. This birthright of freedom and opportunity, paid for with the blood of countless of our forefathers, wasn't saved up just for our generation. Tough as it may be for many to realize, this legacy, this accumulated wealth which has freed an entire generation from the sacrifices borne by their fathers, mothers, uncles and aunts... wasn't meant to end with us. Those who died on so many foreign beaches, hoping that the lives that they might have lived weren't spent cheaply, surely weren't thinking at the last, "Well, at least one generation may be handed a gift. We won't mind, of course, if you screw all the following generations." In all of the war histories, biographies, and testaments on the shelves, that particular thought was apparently never recorded.
Conservatives have long understood that debt is toxic. But perhaps we have not understood that during the decades of Pax Americana, which the heroes of the past bought for us at such a price, we would either face or ignore our own beachhead, our own destined fight. This fight was to resist at all costs the corrosive and corrupting temptation of "...getting someone else to pay for it..." Or else to avert our eyes, and walk away from our duty. We could show up later, furtively, and applaud those who won the fight on their own. After the suffering was over. After we had firmed up our retirement portfolios. After things got better, of course.
It was easy for a young couple to use those multiple shiny new credit cards to outfit the new house that they just bought, with the furniture necessary to enable the lifestyle they saw saturating television in their youth. (Well, in their younger youth, if you insist!) After all, even though they had no savings, and they weren't very far along the income stream, the purchase of a "nice" house was a guaranteed way to accumulate equity. It could only go up. None of the messy, old school business of first saving up the 10 or 20 percent down payment. And freedom from having some out of touch banker arbitrarily restricting their choice of housing simply because he was following antiquated income-loan formulas, which had inconvenienced previous generations. Generations which had learned hard lessons, and paid bitter tuition for them.
There would be plenty of time later to also pay off the ferocious college loans for the social studies B.A's. After things got better, of course.
But a house is of no use without a houseful of furniture, and the banks wouldn't have sent them all these credit cards if they didn't expect them to use them. And it is much cheaper to start out with two new cars, and avoid all the inevitable repairs of used cars. And certainly during all of their hard work getting their B.A.'s in literature, they had to decompress with vacations to Ft Lauderdale and Daytona. And you can't show up on vacation in old clothes, for heaven's sake. All of their friends went there. And they could pay off all the cards later. After things got better, of course.
Yet as irresponsible as the above may seem, it spawned worse to come. For the entire citizenry had heard warnings that continuing to demand ever-increasing services and benefits from the government would cause deficits that would be horrendously painful to pay back. Yet they noted that the government didn't falter, didn't collapse. Years went by. Apparently it never actually had to pay anything back!!! It would just do so, later. Somewhere in the future. After things got better, of course.
The Republicans pointed out that raising taxes would drive businesses away from our shores. The Democrats pointed out that people were in debt, barely hanging on, and needed help. And so the government borrowed money from our accumulated national private capital, and then from our pension funds, and then from our enemies. It was the best of both worlds. The Republicans learned about earmarks, and the Democrats provided tax havens for their celebrity friends. But this would all be paid back in some later administration. Raising taxes was unpalatable, but cutting spending? That was just plain crazy talk. Perhaps after things got better, of course.
We decided that being such a wealthy country, it made no sense not to spend a portion of our wealth eliminating those sweatshop jobs where people worked hard for little. Entire industries were regulated out of existence. Flush with success, the regulators found ever newer sources of iniquity in the corporate world. And the corporate world didn't help, being stupid enough to reward catastrophic incompetents with golden parachutes, while shareholders took ice-baths. And the world demand for those products which used to be supplied by the now-vacant factories of the U.S., jump started a huge industrial expansion among those nations that had patiently awaited their chance. As their wealth and self-confidence increased, they challenged our market share of ever increasing industries and sectors. Plenty of time to be patient, until it was ripe to accelerate their arms buildups in earnest. The Americans obviously had gone mad, shutting down their own oil exploration, and thereby flooding the war-chests of those who plotted revenge.
Until the time was right, continue to lend back the money earned on exports to the credit-addicted Americans to earn ever more money in interest on that same money! Watch as the American union members decried in front of the cameras how the populace was unpatriotic in buying foreign goods, and then sped home after the interviews were over... to save money buying Chinese-made goods from Walmarts. Have to get the best deals for yourself that you can, eh?
Yet we weren't worried about that. We would eventualty stop treating our military professionals as war criminals, and even allow them to use the same restrooms when they got back stateside. They would protect us, as always. As long as they promised to stop being mean to our adversaries, we might even hold out the promise of a pay increase. After things got better, of course.
And somewhere amidst the years passing, and the vast expansion of interlocking debt, the majority of Americans got the idea that no one really had to sacrifice anymore. Anything and everything could be had by the simple expedient of getting someone else to pay for it! As long as you got it from the government, what did it matter who it had been borrowed from? As long as we had our pension money, safely invested in mortgage mutual funds, our future was secure. As long as we could compel our children and grandchildren to "re-pay" the vast amount of money humorously recorded in IOU's maintaining the hoax of a "Social Security Trust Fund"- all of which having been spent long ago for more free government stuff for us- our future was secure. As long as we knew that inflation was something that only happened to other countries and other people, we had no worries. The bill for it all would be collated, stamped and mailed to the future, addressed "Those waiting to be born."
What we didn't understand, and what the some conservatives tried desparately to warn about, was that titanic forces operate slowly. A cost of a vast entanglement of debt would not manifest itself until years, if not decades, into the future. And the consequences for our children, and especially our grandchildren, would rob them of the opportunities we took for granted, stripping them of their birthrights. Of course, it was counter-argued, "That could be worried about years later. After things got better, of course." The problem is... it is now years later.
Conservatives warned that the steady erosion of the bridge, the degrading of the concrete foundations, and the rusting of the steel span beams, may take years, perhaps even decades, but that when the bridge was desparately needed most, such as in the case of a safe evacuation route during a crisis, it would also be the time that the most stress on the structure would occur, and result in it's inevitable collapse. Yet the analogies seemed ineffective when attempting to simplify things to where they could be understood by the average liberal, and the conservatives were forced to try to explain in starker terms. "Presidents of the past warned that security and safety could only be maintained by a strong military. And a strong military absolutely requires both a strong economy, and a strong, determined population. You erode all of that at your peril... But even before it is understood by our enemies that we have now been safely weakened enough to strike, we will undergo economic upheavals and privations quite in addition to our exposure to external risks. You don't borrow your way into bankruptcy, and then hope that things will get better. They won't. In fact as the populace slowly begins to understand what they have done to themselves," the understatement continued, "things will get worse. A kind of worse no one now alive has ever known. People will try to salvage something for themselves. They will all try to sell out at the same time. The frenzy will get out of control. It is how nations collapse..."
This was the source of much mirth among the liberals. It was, in their view, what had gotten us into conflicts in the past. If instead of concentraing on this safety in strength business, we should have instead showed our enemies that we meant them no harm, and proved it by beating our swords into balance-of-payment shortfalls. Peace through current accounts deficits- a 21st century concept. Paying tribute by ledger.
They would then stop hating us and begin respecting us as citizens of the world. Wouldn't everyone respect the beggar who shows up early at their door each morning for another loan?
"You mean," conservatives postulated, "if they owned ever-increasing assets of the country, and became our landlords, why wouldn't they understand that we meant them no harm? When was the last time that cattle fought back at the slaughterhouse? Yeah, yeah I can see that. You morons..."
The media elites rolled their eyes and tsked at the yet more sky-is-falling conservative hysteria, and went back to exploring Sarah Palin's daughter's friend's overdue library books. (Some of which were reported to have had pencil marks placed on them. The House Banking Oversight Committee would have to schedule a number of hearings, since Global Climate Change was distressingly losing traction, as the waters grew colder.)
This was the source of grave anxiety among the conservatives. It wasn't just the inevitability of the consequences to come. It was the final realization that if the citizenry had now firmly accepted that they could vote themselves wealthy, and forever get someone else to pay for it all, then everything else was just a holding action. That if they shut their eyes and blocked their ears, the voter could shut out any further warnings. But especially, if they simply avoided talk radio, Free Republic, and any other contrarian views, the problem would just go away. That the old tingly feeling would return to their legs if they kept the remote locked onto Chris Matthews and the good people.
Once the dam bursts, the flood will take unimaginable victims with it. And to forestall that even a little bit further, we had to win each election, every time, just to slow down the inevitable. Whereas they just had to flash a wad of cash... and talk about change. Not small change, but trillions.
They only had to win once.
Will the bailout package fix the problem? Will it enable us to return to the comfortable culture of debt-funded wealth for which we have pawned our descendants' futures? Will it be back to business-as-usury?
Sure. After things get better, of course.
It is only necessary to look at the arguments from both sides. "This will enable banks to start lending again to consumers and small businesses. This will protect America's credit, so that the government may continue borrowing. This will restore the status quo." No one, of course, has considered that, regardless of the outcome, a loan requires the consent not just of the debtor, but also of the lender. No has apparently noticed that the lenders got splashed, too, in this little crisis, and are now awakened to the folly of what they have done. They have seen the dam walls tremble. Even as we think to insulate the creditors from their losses, by - (you guessed it) - sending the bill to the future... the return of irrational personal credit is now nearly gone. The implied guarantees by the government are exposed as paper towels held up to stop the flood- distressingly similar at a closing distance to white flags.
We can only guess at what our overseas enablers have learned from this. And when no one will lend any more to cover our Congressional rubber checks, the old untouchable rails of politics will be swept away in the flood. Because that, my voter friends, will be a tidal wave.
Meanwhile enjoy the debate. It's like professional wrestling. Gorgeous George Obama will smite that mean old Hulk Hogan.
Not real? Whaddyamean? Of course it's real.
It's on T.V.
It has nothing to do with debt... it has everything to do with the financial market’s betting.
Debt has nothing to do with the current crisis.
I think they are trying to bring in a communist state. If anyone disagrees please post and make me feel better.
China is now closing the door on lending to us.
With all the newly created money we’ll probably be seeing high interest rates to attract foreign capital and hyperinflation down the road.
I agree with you on one thing, and this related to why Barney Frank, Christopher Dodd and Chuck Schumer are so hot to trot to get this thing signed, sealed and delivered.
They know that once that happens, this will pass on. There will be no investigation. None. They, they key architects of this disaster, will continue to reap the benefits of what they wrought as it it never happened.
I would be extremely surprised if any of them even lost their committee memberships.
No comrade this is not communism yet, this is shared debt. It only becomes communism when our shared debt is paid for by shared labor on the collective.
This is socialism.
I get it so Obammys job is to bring in the shared labor of the collective.
AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.
We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.
We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.
With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will bum,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings will with terror and slaughter return!
But then, if the Mars lander finds some old petrified government benefits card written in an alien language, it will go a great way towards explaining what happened to them...
Thanks for the comment.
Placemarker for later read.
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