The American road to socialism (for the rich)
Excerpt from an essay by Chris Floyd at: http://www.chris-floyd.com/content/view/1606/135/
The Fed’s $85 Billion bailout of the American International Group insurance giant, A.I.G., effectively puts taxpayer money at risk while protecting bad investments made by A.I.G. and other institutions it does business with.
Do you get it now? The rich and powerful spend years making foolish deals in a market they rigged with the connivance of utterly corrupted politicians on both sides the aisle; their fraudulent scheme finally collapses, exposing them to some of the most horrific financial losses in history....and YOU will have to pay for it. For generations. Not only directly, with the tax money straight from your pocket, but even more so in the further degradation of national life: infrastructure, services, programs, amenities that will be starved or abandoned as even more of the government's money is poured out to shield the wastrel elite from suffering the consequences of their own rapacious folly.
And with all the talk of a "new Cold War," who knew that it would be Washington and Wall Street, not the Kremlin, who resurrected socialism in the 21st century, in what the Times called "the most radical intervention in private business in the central bank’s history"? Socialism for the rich only, to be sure. Ole Joe "Bankruptcy Bill" Biden and his bipartisan cohorts in Congress have long made sure that any ordinary citizen -- especially the old, the sick, the poor, the most desperate -- will be squeezed to the last drop to pay off their debts, even if these were incurred through illness or misfortune. But for our boardroom dude, the nanny state is always there, to cushion and to coddle.
And who knew there was so much money in the federal coffers? Endless, roaring torrents of money available for the ever-expanding operations of the global Terror War (up to $3 trillion for the rape of Iraq alone), and all of this on top of an ever-expanding "regular" military budget that tops half-a-trillion dollars each and every year. And now tens of billions for Bear-Sterns, Fannie Mae, Fannie Mac, A.I.G. and the next fat-cattery to go under. Gosh, you mean all that cash was just lying around under the federal mattress all along?
You mean we could have used some of it for, say, building schools and hospitals, or national health insurance, or rebuilding our globalization-gutted cities, or drug rehab programs, or caring for our elderly, or helping people start businesses, or repairing our rotted infrastructure, or supporting the arts and sciences, or building parks and other "common pleasures, to walk abroad and recreate yourselves"? You mean there has been enough money there all along to help create a more just, equitable, enjoyable and civilized society? Don't that beat all?
Well, there will be none of that now, thank god. Even if a party that was actually committed to the well-being and security of ordinary citizens (a description that of course excludes the ticket of "Wall Street Barry" and "Bankruptcy Bill Joe") were to somehow take power one day, they will be hogtied by the mess left behind by the elite's financial boondoggles and their many wars. They'll be lucky if there is enough spare cash on hand to buy a few sandbags the next time a hurricane turns toward New Orleans, much less address any of the massive civic, social, economic and infrastructural disasters that confront us.
But of course no ticket committed to such a thing will ever be allowed to get near the White House. That game too is now as rigged as the market. Arthur Silber explains this double-rigging in rich detail in a recent piece: "The Vampire, Struck by Sunlight”:
“The economy of the United States is disintegrating in the same way a vampire does when exposed to sunlight, and for the same reason. Having sucked the blood out of all the living creatures unfortunate enough to be nearby, the vampire becomes intoxicated with what he perceives as his own power. Heedless of the warnings screamed at him from the few sane voices that remain, the vampire frolics and gambols long past the appointed time for his return to the soil of reality, so drunk is he on the glory of his being. The sun has been slowly rising for quite a while. Anyone who is looking can see it. Anyone who knows the relevant facts is fully aware of what will happen when the sun's rays strike the vampire. But almost no one is looking at the sun, and anyone who states the relevant facts is ignored.
Finally and now inevitably, the sun strikes the vampire. Within minutes, the vampire no longer exists. This is not a surprise. This is what happens -- this is the only thing that happens -- in these circumstances, given the nature and characteristics of the sun and the vampire.
Here are a few simple principles to keep in mind. Given the propaganda spewed by the ruling class, all of which is eagerly gulped down by most Americans, I should rephrase that: here are a few simple principles to understand, perhaps for the first time:
One: You can't get something from nothing
A major part (perhaps the major part) of the U.S. economy has treated debts as assets for a long time. The best and brightest made it appear sophisticated and smart: they took debts and securitized them, chopped them up, repackaged them, recombined them, splintered them some more, repackaged and sold those, and on and on it went. But this process doesn't turn nothing into something: it spreads the
‘nothing’ among more and more institutions and makes the entire system increasingly vulnerable. Everyone pretends that the ‘nothing’ is backed by something, but it isn't. To be more precise, as in the case of Fannie and Freddie, for example, there is $1 of something for every $80 of nothing. In fact, there's much more nothing, when you add in the repackaging, recombining, splintering, selling and reselling. That's a lot of nothing, and almost no something.