It is the best of times and it is the worst of times. On Monday, Sept. 29 2008, three events were particularly notable. The New York Stock Exchange experienced "electrical" difficulties and opened for trading without the traditional ringing of the opening bell. Later in the day, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected the Wall Street bailout deal. On the heels of that, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day down 777 points.
I am twice on the record as being against the $700 billion bailout for Wall Street, so I am happy to see it fail in Congress. First in my column, 'Thanks but no thanks on that leadership to nowhere,' I said that the bailout "literally means looting the public treasury in full open view. As looters of our nation, they are no longer bashful about looting." Second at OpEdNews.com in a diary titled, 'Hail to the Thief: the Pick Pocket In Chief has spoken,' I said that the bailout was "of the swindlers, by the swindlers, and for the swindlers."
The alternative politicians like Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, and Cindy Sheehan (and myself, an alternative politician of yesteryear) all found their way to the correct side of the issue, being against the bailout. However, notice what happened with other ersatz leaders. The administration said, "vote for the bailout." It seemed like a glorious opportunity for Democrats - ostensibly the opposition - to oppose, and to show the voters which side they're on. However, both Barack Obama and John McCain said they expect to vote in favor of the bailout. Perhaps not enthusiastically, because neither was an enthusiastic champion of the bailout. But they went along with it, and thereby missed their opportunity to lead America in a better direction.
All of the ersatz "leadership" was carrying water for the bailout. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the leader of Democrats in the House of Representatives, led Democrats to deliver 140 votes in favor of the bailout. Pelosi continued and extended her track record as the opposition leader who does not oppose - and added more ammunition into the clip of Cindy Sheehan, who is running a campaign to unseat Pelosi. Sheehan is campaigning for Congress in Pelosi's San Francisco district, and all Americans should support that campaign and wish Sheehan well. At the Sheehan campaign, removal of Nancy Pelosi is the objective!
In fact, if Americans want to "vote out the bums," that is why my article opened with saying, "it is the best of times." By holding that vote yesterday, Congress just handed us a list in which we can read 205 names of corrupt, pro-bailout members and 228 names of praise worthy anti-bailout members. The URL for that list is http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2008/roll674.xml. For all of those 228 members voting against the bailout, first let me say "thank you." All of them had to muster the courage to oppose their leadership and to break ranks with the Bush / Paulson / Bernanke pro-swindler fraternity, and with the House and Senate leaders (both Republican and Democrat), and with Obama and McCain.
It was understandable that John McCain would be in with the administration on this matter; he gets things wrong so consistently that he is a paragon of misjudgment. What seems more dismaying (although for the wise, not surprising) is that Mister Obama just undercut his own promises of "change." To go along with the Bush / Bernanke / Paulson swindle -- what kind of change is that? Excuse me, but their swindle is and would be just more of the same -- which means, the opposite of change. I knew all along that Obama was promising a fakey sort of change, but now he has revealed it in full open view.
Can Obama win the election if his approval rating is the same as George Bush? We should already be peeved at him for his recent water carrying in favor of a bailout "of the swindlers, by the swindlers, and for the swindlers." If we still remember that on November 4, then we should vote for Ralph Nader, who is running in third place ahead of some others like Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney, and Chuck Baldwin. Nader's act is tight and he's on his game. After experience in prior campaigns, it may be that practice makes perfect.
Perhaps the 228 No votes and the American people being 99-to-1 against the bailout means that the corruption market is drying up. When there is no more market for corruption, CNN will fire the likes of Bill Schneider, David Gergen, and Ali Velshi. They of the media are basically "the corrupt, flacking for the corrupt." If politicians are caught out on a limb, and if voters are in the mood to saw off that limb, well then there ought to be corresponding adjustments so that the media performs more than stenography for the discredited corrupt leaders.
I could continue and list the names of more corrupt faces from other networks, but why bother? My call is for ABC, CBS, and NBC to simply shut their discredited "news" divisions. Those three places can do well by keeping to their core competency -- entertainment. Enough about the sock puppets; I'd care to add a couple of paragraphs about the economy.
The U.S. economy knows how to run and to do business without the derivative financial instruments that were created on Wall Street. About derivatives, that problem started on Wall Street and there is no reason why Main Street should come to the rescue with a bailout for firms which overleveraged themselves. Bankers and the like are supposed to be paragons of conservatism and financial prudence. At least, that was the image projected by the stiff collared bankers of old, like in black-and-white movies. Some of them stepped away from the stereotype of their character; however, that is rightly their problem (their consequences are their consequences), and it is not rightly Main Street's problem. Hence, the bailout bill for Wall Street should rightly remain elusive.
However, the U.S. economy has trouble, much of which can be traced to policies at the top - habits of thought and behavior that have become unspoken assumptions and rules of thumb in Washington. In the 1980 campaign, Ronald Reagan was trying to introduce his "supply side" trickle down economics. Candidate George H. Bush looked at Reaganomics and pronounced it to be "voodoo economics." That was candor, but of course when Bush was chosen as Vice President to Reagan, he reversed himself, got onto the page, and became a booster and cheerleader of voodoo economics.
At the beginning of the 1980s, America installed voodoo economics. This needs to be uninstalled, like a corrupted copy of Microsoft Windows. It's like this: politicians could prioritize healthy families, or they could prioritize healthy conglomerates. Trickle down economics says take care of the conglomerates, and the benefits will trickle down to the families. In other words, it was a deliberate decision and became a core principle of Washington to have a blind eye for the economic suffering of families. On any issue that might be between management and labor, Washington's deliberate decision and core principle was to come down on the side of management and its cost-saving efforts. Reaganomics basically said, "Labor! Take a hike!"
However, there's more and the story and the situation gets worse and more dire after the 1980s. In the mid 1990s, America installed "globalization" of the economy. Let's rhetorically wonder, what happens when you globalize voodoo? Doesn't it logically follow that we've got world wide voodoo? America's "trickle" became redirected. Our economy now trickles its benefits to communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs - leaders of world economies which supply cheap or slave labor to the conglomerates that became so favored under Reaganomics.
In other words, Reaganomics brought corporate welfare into vogue, and Globalization brought welfare for tyrants into vogue. Communists were able to laugh all the way to the bank, and China's economy boomed, in part at the expense of America's. It came to seem that U.S. politicians wanted to push America back to a hunter-gatherer economy as was enjoyed by cavemen. Welcome to the hunter-gatherer economy of the 21st century! Your new job will be to erect teepees."
Globalization means tariff breaks for communists, dictators, tyrants, and thugs. What we need is to end those tariff breaks, thereby returning production to the free world. Another point which would be vastly helpful to the U.S. economy would be an immediate rise of the federal minimum wage to $10.50 and indexing it to inflation. $10.50 is still only 75% of where I'd like to see it go, but just that much would be an important step in the right direction. Consumer spending and corporate earnings would rise, based on the latter suggestion alone.
Having said that big boys are supposed to be able to pull up their own socks, and tie their own shoes, I am opposed to corporate welfare (Reaganomics). I am also opposed to welfare for tyrants (Globalization). Globalization could be uninstalled like a corrupted copy of Microsoft Office, and Reaganomics could be uninstalled like a corrupted copy of Microsoft Windows. Reaganomics included the production of fake statistics about inflation, to understate the problem and to cheat seniors out of cost-of-living increases in Social Security. A part of uninstalling Reaganomics should be the federal government "coming clean" by reporting accurate inflation statistics, and raising the federal poverty line by at least 50%.
These suggestions above amount to "getting real" about the economy. If Obama, McCain, and Pelosi cannot get real, then let's elect Ralph Nader and Cindy Sheehan, as leaders that I expect are far more likely to get real. And then let's prosecute the swindlers!