So now what we see in Cyprus with this new development where they have redefined bank depositors as investors whose capital is at risk, they won't let this go to a vote. The Parliament voted down the first bailout plan, and so the second plan that the bankers came up with and took to the Cyprus President -they said: "There's no vote. You can't vote. Either you sign this, and thereby commit the country, or we're cutting you off from money, and you're going down the tubes." So the assault on Democracy is widespread. It's the same thing here. You may remember when Paulson wanted the bailout for the banks, he wanted the $750 billion, he went to Congress and said, "Quick, give us some money or there's Martial Law."
So there's no longer - governments don't represent the people anymore. In Europe, they represent the very powerful private banks, and they're going to be sure they don't lose any money; so that shareholders in the banks are being made whole by, in the case of Cyprus, seizing some share of the bank deposits of depositors. And what they did in Greece, they cut wages and salaries, they cut pensions, they cut social services, they sold off public assets like water companies to private companies, who then doubled the price, and then that way the suppressed the living standards of the Greek people in order to pay off bankers, so that the shareholders of the banks didn't lose any money. Now we have the Dutch Minister saying, "OK, the Cyprus solution of stealing bank deposits, that's the template for all future bailouts." It's going to come here, too. Not only that, Rob -
Rob Kall: You've got a great article that you wrote saying, "It has happened here," based on the Sinclair Lewis book It can't Happen Here. I want to go to another article, you wrote. You wrote an article called While Left and Right Fight, Power Wins. I'm going to get back to it as soon as I do a station ID.
This is the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC out of Washington Township, reaching metro Philly and South Jersey, sponsored by Opednews.com . Where you're going to get news that you won't see in the mainstream media, where you get the kind of news that the mainstream media blocks from the people that the mainstream media won't cover.
Now, Paul, back to this article, While Left and Right Fight, Power Wins - I want to start it off and then you can talk about it. What you wrote was, "My experience with the American Left and Right leads to the conclusion that the Left sees private power as the source of oppression, and government as the countervailing and rectifying power, while the Right sees government as the source of oppression, and a free and unregulated private sector as a countervailing and rectifying power." A beautiful, clear way of saying that! "Both are concerned with restraining the power to oppress, but they take opposite positions on the source of the oppressive power and remedy."
And you say, "The Right is correct that government power is the problem, and the Left is correct that private power is the problem. Therefore, whether power is located within the government or private sectors cannot reduce, constrain, or minimize power. " And you talked about how the Founding Fathers had a solution, that it didn't work, and now we've got accumulation of new dictatorial powers in the Executive Branch in the name of protecting us from terrorists, and with deregulation's creation of powerful corporations to big to fail. Can you talk a bit more about this?
Paul Craig Roberts: (laughs) Well Rob, you covered it about as clearly as -
Rob Kall: Well, OK, yeah, you said it beautifully and clearly -- so, what's the answer? The Left and Right are up against each other, do you see a way that the Left and Right can find some common ground?
Paul Craig Roberts: I don't know. They don't seem to be able to. They're locked -- you know, generals fight the last war, and so does the Left and Right. Now, there have been different times in our history when there was too much private power, not enough government power as a countervailing force. the roaring twenties, and then we had Roosevelt and the New Deal, and they put in financial regulation to put some sort of social control over the private power, so things got in better balance. Then beginning with the Clinton [administration], massive deregulations. We had with Thatcher and in France the massive privatizations of State companies. With Clinton, this moved so far that they repealed the Glass-Steagall act, which had separated commercial from investment banking. Once that happened, we got the financial crisis.
In other words, from Roosevelt giving us some kind of a balance, what really happened was the entrenched bureaucracy then got more and more arrogant and abusive, and became gratuitously interfering in people's lives and in business. I can remember, for example, in the 80s OSHA would go around -- there are a lot of small businesses, there's only one door in, one door out; OSHA would go around and fine people because they didn't have an exit sign over the only door (laughs). This is an abuse.
There were other cases. In Florida, for example, there was a father and son, and they had a State permit to build a house, and they built the house, and the Federal Government declared that they had built on a wetland and put them in prison for building a house where they had a permit to build! This is going too far. And other environmental regulations went too far: they gave farmers and ranchers lots of trouble for cleaning out the drainage ditches for re-fencing property. They claimed The Navigable Waters Act of the United States, and they claimed that cleaning out a drainage ditch could lead to pollution of navigable waters, even though there's no navigable water in sight!
So the things got so abusive that it caused a reaction to the regulation, and then the reaction has gone to far. They've completely deregulated the financial system, they've taken all the constraints off of debt leverage, they have taken the position limits off of speculators. So, it's now gone back to where it was before Roosevelt (laughs). So this sort of thing happens because it gets out of balance. When one side runs with it too far it becomes abusive, it becomes too much regulation, and then it becomes too little regulation. So keeping the balance requires sensibility, intelligence, and not ideologies. If the people are committed to ideologies and are operating ideologically, then it always gets out of balance.
Rob Kall: It seems, though, that currently we have two parties that are both on the same side, the corporate side - more than anything else What do you think about that statement?
Paul Craig Roberts: Well, that's true, the two political parties. But they're not necessarily identified with Right Wing and Left Wing. What happened to the Democrats was the offshoring of the manufacturing jobs destroyed the power of the labor unions and the ability to finance the Democratic party. See, the Democrats were financed by labor, the Republicans were financed by business, and so there was countervailing power. They could contain one another. Neither side could go too far away from some sort of balance. But when the unions lost all these manufacturing jobs, and former cities which were powerhouses in manufacturing just dried up and disappeared, the Democrats then had to go to the same sources of financing as the Republicans. So now, both parties are dependent on the same financing, and this then has made it easy for the corporations to control both parties!
Rob Kall: So you take it back again to globalization. Again, globalization has contributed to the loss of us having two really different political parties. So what do we do about globalization? Could we just shut it down? When Bush was president, he just said "We're not going to participate in the Kyoto treaty." Is it possible that a leader could come along and say, "We're just not going to participate with the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization, and NAFTA and CAFTA. We need to re-write all of them!" Is that something that could change things? Could that make a difference?
Paul Craig Roberts: I don't think it could happen because it serves corporations in the short run. You know, American corporations, not Japanese or even German, not Chinese, but American corporations are very short term. The chief executive is there only four of five years. That's the time he has to make his fortune, and the way they're making their fortune is by offshoring. So they're not going to want -- and the WTO, NAFTA, all these things were set up for corporate interest. So since they have the power now, political as well as economic, particularly the banks, then they're not going to say, "OK let's get rid of our get rich quick scheme that's serving us so well." They're not going to do that.