Sunday, November 4, 2012

Road to Ruin

Only jobs can stop the drift

By Mike Krauss
Bucks County Courier Times

It was a throw away, seven words in a sentence at the end of a recent editorial in this newspaper encouraging a write in vote for former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell for U.S. Senate.

The editors found insufficient reason to endorse either incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Casey or his GOP challenger Tom Smith, and suggested that Rendell could bring much needed leadership to a dysfunctional U.S. Senate, immobilized by partisanship — and here are the seven words — “even as the nation drifts toward ruin.”

And there it is: the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, in black and white and right between the eyes.

We are drifting toward ruin.

It begins at the beginning, with the oath the president took to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Mr. Obama has foresworn that oath and is trashing our constitution, shredding the rights to due process, habeus corpus and the protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

The war on terror has become a war on liberty.

Americans may now be arrested at will — that of the president, urged on by some nameless functionary, and imprisoned indefinitely without evidence before a judge or a warrant. The president has taken upon himself the power to execute alleged “bad guys,” including American citizens, without recourse to any judge or trial.

His opponent, Mr. Romney has had this to say about this Caesar-like power grab by the nation’s chief executive — nothing.

So we drift away from our constitution, as we drift away from our democracy.

The election for president and members of Congress will hit new spending records, of itself not all that surprising. It takes a lot of money to stage a two year circus.

But there is almost no way to know where all the money comes from and no way to limit the influence of the corporate elite that now buy elections as they buy votes in Congress.

The nation drifts as the unemployed and homeless drift. God only knows how this faceless army is faring in the aftermath of “The Storm.” It was bad enough before the storm hit.

Better Markets ( is a non-profit and non-partisan organization that promotes transparency, efficiency and integrity in the nation’s finance industry and markets. Its director is a high power lobbyist, Dennis M Kelleher, who has been described as “Occupy’s suit wearing cousin.”

In late September they released a report that quantified the damage inflicted on the nation in the other catastrophic storm of recent memory, the collapse of Wall Street. The report puts its message in its title: “The Cost of the Wall Street-Caused Financial Collapse and Ongoing Economic Crisis Is More Than $12.8 Trillion.”

The report describes the reality of America: five years since Wall Street failed and was rescued, the nation is stuck in “the worst economy since the Great Depression, which touches every corner of our country.”

The $12.8 trillion represents the losses that can be quantified: “destruction of human capital from long-term unemployment, lost household wealth, foreclosures, government bailouts, emergency spending measures, and the other actions that were necessary to prevent a second Great Depression.”

But the report also notes the difficult to quantify, but very real losses that all the “feel good” propaganda in the world cannot mask: the “widespread human suffering that has resulted from the surge in poverty, homelessness, and hunger.”

“Surge.” Like the tide that hit Lower Manhattan and the Jersey shore, with similarly devastating consequences.

The report concludes that this suffering and deprivation will continue “for many years to come.” Or, as another report put it some months ago, the nation is in the midst of a “slow moving social catastrophe.”

Drifting toward ruin.

What will arrest the drift and get the nation moving forward again?

A psychological lift would help, something we could all cheer, like jailing some of the banskters on Wall Street or a moratorium on home foreclosures. But more is needed: jobs — good paying jobs.

Jobs are everything. Jobs for the middle aged Americans now out of work for years, unemployment exhausted, home foreclosed, future bleak, winter coming on.

Jobs for the debt shackled and unemployed recent college grad. Jobs for the 50 percent unemployed minority youth. Jobs for the laid off teachers, cops and firefighters. Jobs.

It is so achingly obvious.

Jobs eliminate the need for public assistance and create taxpayers, economic activity, local tax revenue and hope. Jobs create buyers for products and services and the need to increase production, capacity and employment that all the tax breaks and corporate profit serving deregulation in the world can never produce.

Where will those jobs come from? Washington? Wall Street? The Federal Reserve?


Perhaps, in the aftermath of “The Storm” there will be funds to rebuild and some will be put to work in the areas affected. But expect the Congress to cry poor, as cover to legislate a windfall for major donors and the one percent. It’s the new American Way.

Maybe, by some miracle, the elections will produce a president and a Congress who are on fire to put America back to work, the deficit be damned. But again, don’t hold your breath.

To arrest the drift, jobs must be created on a massive scale. New models are needed. The old and failed must be discarded.

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