Monday, July 25, 2011


Another campaign of misdirection

By Mike Krauss
Bucks County Courier Times

For the second time in three years, the American people are being hoodwinked by a non-stop campaign of misdirection.

The previous campaign took place when Wall Street melted down in 2008. The barons were desperate. President Bush rode to the rescue. And then something totally unforeseen happened. The American people got so angry at the fraud, the Congress actually said “No!” to Wall Street.

In a panic, Wall Street mobilized the corporate dominated media, the VERY SERIOUS PEOPLE, talking heads and an army of lobbyists to scare the daylights out of the American people. Day after day, night after night the almost hysterical message went out: failure to bail out Wall Street will destroy the American economy and the lives of tens of millions.

Specifically, credit will dry up, businesses will lay off workers or close, there will be no loans for anything – homes, business, farmers, a new car or a college education – unemployment will skyrocket.

“The sky is falling!!”

After pretending to think about it, the presidential candidates of both parties got on board and the Congress caved. Wall Street got the cash.

And the sky fell on the American economy.

Credit dried up, the economy crashed and a tidal wave of home foreclosures and unemployment swept away about $7 trillion of the wealth of ordinary Americans. But Wall Street was saved.

The administration, the Congress and Federal Reserve were working for Wall Street, and not your street.

And they still are.

The American people are again being told their house is on fire, told it can’t all be saved, told some rooms must be sacrificed to the awful flames of deficit and debt.

Failure to act “boldly” will mean “The end of American economic supremacy,” warned one widely read columnist. (About a decade too late). No time to think! Quick, decide!

And Americans have decided. In every poll I have seen, Americans overwhelmingly want taxes raised on the wealthiest, wars ended, corporate tax loopholes closed, corporate subsidies ended and spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security maintained, if not increased.

But instead, the President and Congress are positioning themselves to do the opposite; abetted as always by the corporate media, the VERY SERIOUS PEOPLE, talking heads and the army of lobbyists they hope to join after their “public service.”

Never mind that the deficit was caused by the Bush tax cuts and the cost of two wars, and could be erased completely by 2016 simply by letting those tax cuts expire.

Never mind that the U.S. military budget is mindlessly out of control, larger than almost every other nation on earth combined, with a reported 1,000 U.S. military bases spread around the world to defend Americans against no known military threat.

Never mind that the debt has been far higher in the past, as a share of the Gross National Product, and the nation survived, and in fact prospered.

Never mind that small business people, still unable to get loans, are turning to their credit cards for the money to keep their doors open – and paying legally criminal interest rates to Wall Street for that credit, thanks to a Congress that over-rode state usury laws.

Americans are being sold another lie, told that what must be done to save the nation and build a prosperous future is to gut the spending that feeds, clothes, houses, educates, provides health care and sustains the lives of tens of millions, many of whom are already in very dire straits.

As one reader of this column observed, “It used to be only the mafia that shot at your knees. Now it’s our politicians.”

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and others argue that the American people are morally obligated to “do the right thing,” accept that they have it coming, and have no one to blame but themselves after decades of profligate, selfish spending.

But the truth is that corporate America collapsed manufacturing and off-shored millions of good paying jobs, and continues to, in a race to the bottom for the lowest wages and least regulation anywhere in the world, and has depressed wages in the U.S. for decades.

The truth is that millions of American parents keep their children’s heads above water only by working two or more jobs, if they can find a job.

The truth is that Wall Street introduced and aggressively marketed massive and expensive consumer credit to mask the reality and maintain an illusion of prosperity.

And make billions in profits.

The truth is that wealth in the United States has been concentrated in the hands of a few in ways not seen in almost one hundred years.

The truth is the nation is going backwards.

Friedman’s argument is a pseudo- economist’s equivalent of the rapist’s defense, and equally vile: the victim is the culprit

“She really wanted it, your honor. She made me do it.”

The governing, corporate elite of the United States are now almost completely without shame and the knowledge of justice. The broad majority of the American people are almost completely without representation in the federal government.

There must be an alternative to the Wall Street, Washington and Federal Reserve government of the United States. The states, local communities and new leaders must step forward.

Before the Statue of Liberty swims back to France – for shame.

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