People Need to Organize to Break the Bailout and Demand the Economy We Want
October saw an increase in bankruptcies -- 108,595, an average of 4,936 every business day.
President Bush hosted the G-20 summit –the official menu included fruitwood-smoked quail, thyme-roasted rack of lamb and baked Vermont brie with walnut crostini, along with three wines . . .
More than a quarter million U.S. households received a foreclosure filing in October. A total of 279,561 properties got a default notice, were warned of a pending auction or were foreclosed.
World leaders washed down their quail and lamb with three expensive wines – one Shafer Cabernet “Hillside Select” 2003 sells at $499 a bottle.
Have these leaders ever heard of Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution?
The stock market continues to drop, unemployment is rising, home prices are falling, retail sales saw a record drop, credit is tight – the world leaders get together for Bush’s farewell, supposedly to save the world economy, and produce . . . nothing.
Perhaps the ‘do nothing’ nature of the meeting should not be surprising. President Bush is about as lame a lame duck president as could be imagined. He’s unpopular, even his own political party did not want to have much to do with him during the election year. He’s exhausted no new ideas, no energy and ready to leave. And, following on his heels, perhaps so close he’s stepping on the backs of his shoes, is President-elect Obama who comes to office with high expectation and hopes for change. The world leaders seemed to have a nice last dinner with President Bush and are waiting for the new White House resident before doing anything.
But eating quail and drinking $500 bottles of wine may cost the world and U.S. economy. The U.S. auto industry, which impacts one in ten jobs in the U.S., is on the verge of collapse. State and local governments are thrusting for cash to make up for lost revenue. People are losing their jobs and hundreds of thousands are running out of unemployment insurance. The Congress and president seem stuck in gridlock, unable or unwilling to confront these issues with creative solutions. Delaying two months, waiting for the new leader to arrive, may create an even more challenging and expensive hole to dig out of.
So far what the U.S. and world governments have done has not worked and they are behaving like they have something to hide – seemingly embarrassed by their own actions. Last week, the Federal Reserve – the bankster’s central bank, run by banksters for the banksters – refused to say where the $2 trillion they have put into bailing out banks was spent or what collateral they’ve received for the funds. Over at the U.S. Treasury, Hank Paulsen, reversed course and is no longer urgently buying “toxic assets” – something he came to Congress for in a panic three weeks before Election Day. He’s scrapped that plan and now is going to Plan B – buying equity stakes in banks – infusing banks with taxpayer cash – of course, the tax payers are not getting a seat on the board like a major investor should. Oh . . . and Treasury has been blacking out key information on their contracts, like how much people they are hiring from Wall Street are getting paid to bailout their Wall Street friends. What do they have to hide?
Does the G-20 dinner, gridlocked Congress, the lack of transparency and secrecy as well as the unsteady leadership of Treasury give you confidence?
And, step back – it’s not just the world finance system that has stopped working. During the Bush years the United States solidified its position as a debtor nation that needs constant influx of Asian, Gulf and European cash so American investors can keep gambling on derivatives and real estate – not building any new industry of course. And, the end of the fossil fuel era is upon us. Wars for oil are no longer working to give the U.S. control over the world supply. And the world trade system has not been able to come together around a world trade regime.
Things are a mess, but this is a time of opportunity. People are also better informed and more quickly organized than ever before. We can join together and dramatically change the dynamic. Don’t forget the shock the people gave the system when the bailout was announced. The pressure was so great that the Congressional email system had to be shut down. The phones were jammed for days. And, a left-right coalition in the House stopped the first bailout bill. We can impact the outcome.
A coalition of groups is building on that success to break the bailout and advocate for the economy that we want. Ron Paul supporters, Ralph Nader supporters, progressive Democrats and conservative Republicans are joining together to say enough! We’ve formed Break the Bailout (see www.BreaktheBailout.com). On December 7, Pearl Harbor Day, the sneak attack on America in 1941, was not only a day of attack on the United States but a day when Americans of all ages, colors and walks of life came together in a unified response.
It is time for a unified response against the bailout of the banksters and the development of a 21st Century economy. It’s time for Americans to get educated – know what is going on at this critical time; get active – let the Congress and president-elect know you are watching; get organized – so we can effectively demand an economy for the people not for the wealthiest. This is the moment.
Acting alone, we can achieve nothing; acting together, we can change everything.