Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fixing the US: Part III, Focus On the Rich

Note: Part III in an endless series!

There is an absurd consensus among financial 'experts' that the recession is over. Why do they say this? The big banks are bloated from profits again.

And yet at the same time, a massive number of US citizens have had their job chopped, cut back, or placed precariously on the butcher board in wait for the horrible blow. Behind these folks are many more of us, afraid that our livelihood is in the queue.

The unemployment rate in California, wealth basket of North America, is currently around 12.5%. That’s 1 in 8, and it doesn’t include part-timers and those who have given up. But, hey, who cares? The recession is over, right?

That’s how twisted things are. “Recession” is defined for plutocrats and has nothing to do with national health and happiness. And this is democracy?!

Focus on the rich. Not all the rich, really. That’s too broad. Your neighbor up the street with a new sedan doesn’t count. The important ones, the cynosures fawned over by pundits and papers, are the disgustingly obese whose financial fat cells call out for a good sweating.

These are not ethical paragons. AIG was saved repeatedly by Obama, and was caught buying expensive marble floors and other sybaritic trappings. Even worse, AIG gave out corpulent bonuses to high-level employees, despite their complicity in the Great Collapse in the first place.

That sure sounds virtuous. Maybe we should teach children to reward avarice in Sunday school.

Banks like AIG and Goldman-Sachs led the crazed gluttonous speculation fest, buying and selling bundled mortgages, betting against those bundles, betting on who’s betting on those bundles, and so forth. A parade of ridiculous antics. A debacle of Keystone Cops greed. And they have not reformed. They do not see the light of moderation or abjure their narcissism.

But no worries. Obama absolved them, bailed them out, as if these scions of Mammon were prodigal sons. He didn’t bail us out and we’re still sinking. And now the nasty Mammon pups are right back at the feed bowl, speculating again, rolling in lucre.

Focus on the rich. The ultra-irresponsible disgustingly privileged rich.

If the rich are sated, all is well. The situation is easy to summarize: Dow Jones up, good. Dow Jones down, bad. Why? The media says so.

Never mind that the Dow does not correlate with environmental health or the well-being of folks in the United States, not to mention those across the globe exploited by corporations in their quest to reap.

Progress, remember, has been associated for centuries with things like Isabella’s Spanish conquest, Manifest Destiny and the obliteration of indigenous ways and lush ecosystems, which are considered undeveloped resources for mercantile or capitalist exploitation.

When the Dow goes up, the true angels in the real heaven must surely tremble.

A few days ago, Obama boldly said he was going to rein in the big banks with new legislation. Down went the Dow. The éminence gris behind the stock market effectively extorted our President, giving a message that if you fuck with the pulse of the Rich, the Rich will squeeze this country and take you down.

When Scott Brown won in Massachusetts, killing healthcare reform, the Dow went up. Medical Kingpins rejoiced, knowing they could bully the infirm and uninsured with temerity. No better way to make profit than by abandoning the sick, or denying the needy based on “previous conditions" -- things like acne and being beaten by your spouse.

Dow Jones. Recession. These measure the pulse of the Rich. As long as that pulse is fine, the media croons and the pols get all mealy. Never mind the arrhytmias and fibrillations roiling the common sea.

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