I remember many years ago the late George Carlin talking about the depleting ozone layer and the cause was CFCs released from air conditioning systems. Carlin remarked that if it came down to no air conditioning or a ruined environment for his grandkids, "f*ck you kids! Grandpa's hot!" It was Carlin's genius to make us see ourselves as the selfish little monkeys that we are and not so far from the evolutionary tree as we might believe.
It is human nature to flirt with danger; the lure of fun today when we should be working, lures millions to skip school or to buy a bass boat or take a vacation that we can't really afford. So why should we be surprised at the failure of Copenhagen? The world leaders sat in the collective principal's office and decided not to punish themselves and instead promised to do better in the future.
If the future hasn't happened yet, can we really miss it? There is no future, but there is a road to the future and the road is littered with our failures. The media regale us with terms like "Jobless Recovery" when the problem is a zero growth economy. A zero growth economy is no different than a sinking ship, slowly almost imperceptibly pushing people under the water. The easy credit days of the Bush administration were an artifice by which to hide the sinking ship of state behind a silhouette.
The illusion is dashed. If you live in a three hundred thousand dollar house that is now worth only two hundred thousand, it will never be worth the three hundred again unless inflation kicks in. A zero growth economy produces zero wage growth so there is an ever-diminishing pool of workers to purchase your house. The race for globalization is a race towards the elimination of millions of jobs. No matter what field, trade, or profession an American is in, if it can be moved off shore it will be. What is left in the job pool is doctor, lawyer, bureaucrat, gas station attendant, Wall Mart associate, landscaping or picking up the garbage.
It is the end of the road for the American dream; there will be zero upward mobility causing a permanent underclass over and above America's already permanent under under class. Major American corporations benefit from globalization by offering us goods that save us a few pennies by having our undershorts manufactured in El Salvador while undermining our ability to earn dollars to make a living. They are vampire sucking the lifeblood out of the economy and only the vampires profit from it.
When I was in the industrial parts business and GM and Ford shut down their manufacturing plants here in Atlanta, it hurt my customers. It affected my business in the next echelon because my customers were injured; I was injured and as they began to go out of business my business suffered. The cycle was completed when GM, long a proponent of outsourcing, filed for bankruptcy protection. The employees at American Axle took a 40% wage cut and could no longer afford to purchase the products that they manufactured for GM vehicles. The CEO of American Axle was given a seven million dollar bonus for lighting a new era in labor relations. Then American Axle itself filed for bankruptcy protection.
Its workers, unable to purchase the cars they helped to build, and GM's expansion into Asia and Mexico meant that American Axle employees weren't needed at any price. Of all the outsourcing done on planet Earth, 50% is done from North America. Yet we are told that everyone is doing it. What did Mother warn? If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you?
This decade will be remembered as the decade of bad governance, or if you're in the ruling elite, the glory days. But even if we learn nothing from the health care debate, it is now obvious to all but the blind that it doesn't matter what the people want, they are going to get what Corporate America wants. It doesn't matter if it's shortsighted, ineffective, and in the end doing more to damage the economy than to aid it.
Just as outsourcing has corroded our economy through shortsighted policies, ineffective government corrodes the fabric of society from the office of the President down to the cop on the beat. The ever-expanding wars on the invisible demand more money, but who is left to pay the taxes? A zero growth economy creates a negative growth in tax revenues. Ineffective government creates growth in the underground economy to avoid taxes and depletes the lawful economy.
So how can the wars be continued? How can we support our educational system with more children and less revenue? How can we support our social safety net with more permanently unemployed and more permanently under-employed and at forever-lower wages? You can't, any solution that you may devise will only lead to higher rates of crime.
We as a people must realize that this is no accident; this is a shortsighted, planned strategy by corporate America to profit even if it destroys the country that created it. "f*ck you kids, Grandpa's hot!" Their concern is for the next quarter and not the next decade. These corporations do billions of dollars worth of business in North America and file their taxes from a mail drop in the Cayman Islands and pay not one nickel in taxes. Patriotism? That's a magnet that you stick on the back of your SUV, "God bless our troops," the dumb fucks.
If, I mean if, and I say this as a bone to the Flat-Earthers and deniers of global warming, that if, again if, temperatures rises two to four degrees in the next twenty years you could see the Midwest farm belt take on the look of West Texas. Crop failures will become the norm and make farming unprofitable. A Whopper, fries and a Coke only $99.95 How about a hot apple pie with that, only $17.50? Yes, they will gut themselves and gut the economy before they will look down the road to the future.
The European economies are recovering faster than the US as a stronger social safety network keeps money flowing through the economy. It keeps the purchase of necessities at a stable rate; grocery stores are not closing in Germany or France, only in America. The Europeans are taking a harder line with their banks and look at the American government's cookies and milk approach and shake their heads in disbelief.
In Copenhagen, the Chinese refused flat out any agreement that required international verification and the US refused flat out any agreement that wasn't just dicking around with the numbers. The European countries were willing to put up three times as much money as the US to get an agreement. I would expect that Obama won't be invited back to Berlin anytime soon. The United States wouldn't lead even when prodded, poked, and paid off. It has a corporate monkey on its back that agrees with the Chinese generals.
So, we face a bleak future, but not totally dark. It is in this next decade that we will either save ourselves or soil ourselves. It should be a time of brave resistance, resistance to the past and embracing future possibilities, a time for the new politics of survival. Because at the heart and core of what I am saying is that this is about survival itself. It is not jobs we need, but incomes. Slaves have jobs. It is not about xenophobic trade barriers; it is about fair trade and if we can't have fair trade, we will have none.