Today, the shadow of the frowns of 225 million angry taxpayers stretch across the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington DC that has shut its doors on America.
Emboldened by the fanatical Klieg lights and dizzying barrage of questions from reporters feeding an anxious public with every latest statement on the proposed $700 billion bailout for Wall Street, politicians from both parties have circled the wagons around the ruling class to bring stability to an institution that benefits an elite few.
"We continue," Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner (pronounced BOH-ner) issued yesterday in a joint statment, "to work closely with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and with Democratic and Republican Members of the House and Senate to improve the Bush Administration’s initial proposal to stabilize the financial markets." It's a signal that Democrats and Republicans will ram this down our throats no matter what.
Ah, bi-partisanship...so wonderfully rare. It happens only when both parties work for Wall Street, together.
Fawned upon by the press and back-slapped by Wall Street patriarchs, leaders in both parties feel magnified to heights of importance and power that eclipse the sky, to a degree where all 535 of them are as large and lordly in their own conception as continental America while we meagre 225 million irate Americans appear to them scarcely able to fit inside the girth of Washington DC.
They feel unassailably correct in their resolve to hand over what could amount to $1 trillion to a broken institution roiling amidst a shattered economy. That $1 trillion shouldn't be invested in renewable energy jobs here in America, nor in manufacturing, nor in infrastructure that would create jobs...no, no, no. Give it all to Wall Street. Feed our money into an insatiable fire. Bankrupt the American dollar. Put our generation 10 percent deeper in debt.
Our DC leaders feel the warm approbation of their peers on the other side of the aisle and a ruling class stroking their egos and chucking their chins. Ruling class pundits, such as conservative Dean Barnett, lead the chant.
"Just as there are Republicans crassly calculating how they can leverage the current situation to their political advantage, "Barnett writes, "there are obviously Democrats doing the same (although I'm not aware of any who have been so silly as to say so publicly). Fortunately, the grown-ups in both parties have controlled the situation. If the grown-ups decide this situation has become a political opportunity rather than a legitimate national emergency, we'll all have a problem - 'problem' here being a mild euphemism for an economic disaster."
The "grown-ups," America. Did you hear that? So you can put your thumb back in your mouth and swing your feet from the comfort of your baby cart while the "grown-ups" take care of this one.
Ah, but our politicians find these words so soothing. It reinforces their innate belief that they know better than you as they ever-so-gingerly pluck $1 trillion from your impotent hands.
The problem is... you can prop up the markets today, but you can't fix the underlying problems that led to this collapse by throwing $1 trillion at Wall Street! We are a service sector society! When will we lead the world in green energy production? When will we invest in manufacturing? Or agriculture?
DC is prolonging the inevitable correction to the market of a bankrupt economy, and in doing so, ensuring that its eventual date of arrival will bring an even greater catastrophe, and all of us toddlers out here--of all political stripes--are livid.
It's like the scene from Ghostbusters when Walter Peck (William Atherton) shuts down the containment grid and New York City goes off its hinges.
"Dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria" Dr. Peter Venkmen warns the mayor. Well right now, liberals and conservatives are living together.
Witness the tenor of the recent calls to 770 KKOB, a conservative talk radio station in Albuquerque, NM. The local afternoon show host, Jim Villanucci, spends his entire show taking calls from listeners, occasionally interjecting his conservative view. Often, the callers are friendly conservatives, and he is less frequently confronted by a liberal caller.
Lately, Villanucci has found himself in a lonely position supporting the bailout. Some of his callers ripped into him yesterday for blaming the Wall Street collapse on a minority segment of the population rather than on the banking firms that backed loans for, and in some cases pushed loans on to, risky borrowers. At one point on Tuesday, a caller adamantly opposed the bailout and Villain-Oochy practically blubbered that all of his money was tied to one of the distressed lenders.