Monday, February 28, 2011

Pen Meets Paper Feb.28'10

Opinion by Helge Nome
Some of you may have watched the Academy Awards on Sunday where what is deemed to be outstanding achievement in the movie industry is recognized. This show has a huge audience world wide and featured an unusual and, no doubt, unscheduled statement by one of the on-stage participants who told the world that the wealth of the American people had been stolen by a group of Wall Street bankers who had walked away with the loot and had incurred no penalties. It is safe to predict that said individual will not be offered a place in the spotlight again. What is behind this statement? Economists and politicians are telling us that we are sailing into the good times, once again, so why not let dead dogs rest?
That, unfortunately, is wishful thinking as perceptive people have noticed that the “dead” dogs are beginning to blink their eyelids. In a nutshell, this is what has happened:
The credit crisis that came to a head in 2008 spooked the public into believing that the civilized world would come to an end if the large banks that were mired in debt were not rescued by taxpayers. Grabbing the opportunity, government advisers with deep roots in the finance industry persuaded legislators to “rescue” their benefactors by bailing out the troubled institutions with public money, which translates into public debt. Some two years later the net result has been a decrease in disposable incomes for middle class people and a huge loss of income producing jobs.
And what has infuriated the general public is that those who are directly responsible for bringing about this situation, have given themselves increased bonuses for a task successfully completed: They have continued to draw money out of the real economy and use it for even more gambling in the great casino economy. It’s 1984 all over again:
A bunch of pigs sitting around the kitchen table playing poker while the farm goes to rack and ruin outside the closed farmstead door. It’s no wonder that people are angry.
The problem with the prediction of a recovering economy is that an awful lot of people have been deprived of the money that is needed to make that happen: The “middle class” is dead. So, while all the numbers are looking good, they are reflecting more on what happens in the speculative economy than the real one: If you produce a lot of stuff, there needs to be consumers around with money to use and consume all that stuff, and they aren’t there, except in the high end of the market: The hogs have taken over the farm.

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