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Is This It?

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Is the curtain rising on the next act of the Greek tragedy? Two sales tax hikes in four months, from 19 percent to 21 percent and then from 21 to 23 percent, wage freezes and pension cuts on the way. Could you handle a ten percent cut in your earnings when added to additional taxes? But there is another and more important question: when an economy can't pay its bills, can cutting the economy raise the needed revenue?

Greek businesses have already been suffering in the weak economy. Can freezing wages, cutting pensions and raising taxes do anything but drive the economy further down? The bailout calls for the Greek government to make draconian cuts to the bottom of the economy, school teachers, firemen, maintenance workers and the elderly. The bailout is to be paid back in three years, but why the rush? Why not five years, or seven years? Failure is built into the plan. You take money away from the people who need it and would spend it and then expect tax revenues to grow?

These workers and retirees will stop spending on all but necessities and businesses will be forced to lay off employees. Cars won't sell, homes won't sell, stores will close. It will become like the American economy where people no longer take vacations, are losing their homes by the millions and cower in fear at the thought of asking for a raise.

Money changes everything, but what about when money changes? Money has changed. There was a time when there were savings and investments and never did the two meet. Now there is only speculation, a giant craps game where you bet for or against the shooter to succeed and it all depends on which way there is more money to be made. It is a bastardization of Capitalism, which already has its problems.

It has become a monster that cannot be constrained, without morals or scruples, without national boundaries or even a semblance of shame, guilt or remorse. It gleefully robs from the poor and elderly and laughs when government programs are shut down. When Franklin Roosevelt was sworn in he declared a five-day bank holiday and effectively put the banks out of business. If he had wanted to he could have revoked their charters. What he did was to break a beer bottle over their heads just to get their attention.

When Barack Obama became President he did just what the banks wanted done. Before he gave his public speech on financial reform the other day he invited all the heads of America's mega businesses to the White House for dinner just to make sure it was all right with them.

Money has become a weapon of mass destruction and the Greek crisis is case in point. Big money betting against bond yields drove up those yields, which rewards those who bet against them in the first place, so they do it again and then again. Think they're too smart to shoot a hole in their own boat? The Greek crisis has destabilized financial markets in the European Union and in Asia and the US.

Remember, our economy has not recovered from the last crash. The banks have been pumped full of cheap funds passed out below the cost of borrowing. Unemployment is at record levels, home foreclosure is at record levels, commercial foreclosure is at record levels. Estimates say that before the end of the year commercial property foreclosures will be double their Reagan-era record levels.

In China the government is wrestling with a huge property bubble in a poorly regulated banking system. Speculators are using the same property multiple times as collateral on commercial loans. The handwriting is on the wall and the large American banks are investing in this market as fast as they can because they see the writing on the wall that says, "Get it while you can because when it's gone, it's gone."

This patchworked scaffolding of bailing wire and one-by-four economy is shaky at best and the Greek crisis holds the potential to tear it all down. You see, California has more debt than Greece, followed by New York and Illinois. A failure anywhere will bring about a failure everywhere and we've already shot our rescue bolt. Like old Mother Hubbard, when we get there the cupboard is bare.

Knowing all of this I still cheer for the Greek demonstrators, a punch in the nose says more than all the petitions ever written. Of course when you live in a garage and wash in a bucket it's pretty easy to become antisocial. Especially when the banks took everything you've ever owned and they still want more. When you can't find a job and the newspapers keep saying the economy is picking up. It makes you angry and makes you see things in a different light. I'm not the last to be here, I'm among the first.

I'm sorry for any needless deaths but nobody seems to get upset when the empire bombs civilians or the Israelis use cluster munitions on innocent civilians. You see, I'm starting to see the world as an us or them paradigm. They've got the guns but we've got the numbers. I don't want it to go there but I don't see where we are being given a choice in the matter. That was the goal of The New Deal, to prevent what is coming, coming under the new raw deal.

If European investments dry up it will hasten the bursting bubble in China. If China stops buying US Treasury Notes the yields will have to rise to attract the money needed to finance the Greek budget. But if all the nations of the world are starved for cash then what is the answer? Who is to blame?

Can you get by on ten or twenty percent less? Will you keep your job? Will the bank work with you to keep your car or your house? It doesn't have to be this way, but that is the way it works in a land that works for banks. Banks which are enemies of the people, the same as a foreign invader, with a terrorist location on every corner. Be sure to ask about direct deposit, where they get your money before you do.

The New Deal spent billions putting people to work and the economy recovered in ten years, but the banking industry didn't recover for twenty years. The new raw deal spent billions putting more money in the banks and no recovery for the people. FDR did more for working people in his first month than this administration has done or plans to do in its entire tenure. So is this it? The abyss?

"Money, get away.
Get a good job with good pay and you're okay.
Money, it's a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.
New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think I'll buy me a football team.

Money, get back.
I'm all right, Jack, keep your hands off of my stack.
Money, it's a hit.
Don't give me that do goody good bullshit.
I'm in the high-fidelity first class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet.

Money, it's a crime.
Share it fairly but don't take a slice of my pie.
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today.
But if you ask for a raise it's no surprise that they're
giving none away."
(Roger Waters)
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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that (more...)

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