Tuesday, March 24, 2009

For Those Unfamiliar With The Mechanics Of It All...


Because of the type of research and writing I do, I've become pretty familiar with the mechanics of our current economic collapse. However, a lot of people aren't.

Rolling Stone just published an excellent article that breaks it down very nicely.

Matt Taibbi did a superlative job with this piece, very skillful use of language and wonderfully easy to follow description of what happened to bring us to the "it's over — we're officially, royally fucked" point in our economic history, perhaps even in our overall national history.

Some excepts from this must-read article:

"People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about this bailout, but they're not pissed off enough. The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d'état. They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations.

The crisis was the coup de grâce: Given virtually free rein over the economy, these same insiders first wrecked the financial world, then cunningly granted themselves nearly unlimited emergency powers to clean up their own mess. And so the gambling-addict leaders of companies like AIG end up not penniless and in jail, but with an Alien-style death grip on the Treasury and the Federal Reserve — "our partners in the government," as Liddy put it with a shockingly casual matter-of-factness after the most recent bailout.

The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of giant Enron — a huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers."

As the article makes clear, in addition to money moving between the two groups -- politicians and the financial industry giants -- so, too, do people. Corporate leaders move from the world of business to the world of government, implementing the policies of those with whom their loyalty lies... and it surely doesn't lie with the people. Ha! Our partners in the government, indeed.

Fascism is not Nazis and swastikas. Hitler's expression of fascism was his spin on the basic model. Mussolini correctly said that fascism would be more accurately called corporatism. Indeed, it is the melding of the corporation and the state. In earlier times it was called mercantilism.

We are witnessing a huge transfer of public money to private corporations. The trillions of dollars which will come from the taxpayers and from the bank accounts of the people, via inflation as the dollar is further degraded, providing less and less purchasing power to its holder, are not being funneled into anything that benefits the people -- it is not being spent on health care, education, etc. and so on (though, honestly, I don't think there is good in having the government provide these things anyway, but that is another issue). Instead, the government is shifting trillions of dollars in debt to us, our children, and our grandchildren in order to take that money and give it to private corporations.

Because American culture and education system has become so intellectually lazy and shallow, most people don't even recognize what is right in front of their face. Any semi-serious student of history can see clearly dictionary definition fascism occurring before us on a grand scale. Many prefer to remain in absolute denial... at least, as long as they still hold onto the fragments oftheir lifestyle and its creature comforts or the hope that they can, one day, reach that level, they prefer it.

But... just wait until the credit card no longer works, the cable goes out, the repo man is rolling away the SUV... the lender threatening to foreclose on the home... and people are forced to stumble around in the smoldering embers of the destroyed economy that the Masters of the Universe left behind, AKA The Greater Depression, trying to figure out a way to feed, clothe, and shelter their families. If you think that time ain't comin', then you're just not paying attention.

And, that is how we'll be fucked with fascism, too. People just aren't paying attention, and by the time they do... the political problem will be much more difficult to resolve.

Until Next Time...

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