Success and tenacity go hand in hand.
Dave Cunningham / October 17, 2008
There is reason to wonder who and what caused the global economic meltdown. What happened here? We went along trusting that our government and business leaders knew what they were doing. As it turns out, they did not.
Or did they? It seems that each time we go through one of these economic catastrophes, the fat cats stay fat and the taxpayers foot the bill. We are told, and President Bush reassured us this morning, addressing the US Chamber of Commerce, that this will be repaid by the banks. He said that the failed executives would not be enriched with taxpayer money. It almost sounds good. However where there are rules, there are loopholes.
For example, taxpayer dollars will not be used to enrich failed executives. Let’s look at that. Once the money is in the hands of the banks, it becomes their money, particularly when positioned as a government loan. Since it’s now their money and it will be repaid (??), they can spend it as they like.
Wait, wait! The president promised oversight of the banks. This is the administration that has dismantled government oversight over the last eight years. To expect them to change now would be like expecting the wolf to stop raiding the chicken house. I just don’t believe it. I hope I am wrong. I hope, in the future, to be apologizing for my skepticism when all the money comes back to us with interest. When/if it does, I will humbly and happily apologize.
The next thing we’re going to hear from the crazies in America will be the “conspiracy” to steal money from our retirements by manipulating, blah, blah, blah, etc. Although I shy away from conspiracy theories, I read a conspiracy book last year about the formation of the Federal Reserve. It was enlightening to read that it is not a government agency and there is no reserve, unless you consider the taxpayers’ pockets a ready reserve of cash when banks fail. What’s in your wallet? Maybe, better said, who’s in your wallet? So I called my financial guy to ask him about it. He reassured me that the rules and laws had been tightened since the S&L debacle and that it could not happen again because of the oversight. I believed him! Maybe I need a new financial guy.
Speaking of conspiracy theories, I stumbled on another one last night. It’s entitled, “Fascist America, in 10 easy steps.” Naomi Wolf argues, “From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms . . . George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all.” She carefully details our progress along these lines to conclude that all ten are in place. So I watched her 47 minute video and I read the ten steps, as presented. Incidentally, if you’re having trouble sleeping, I recommend both as an insomnia cure.
The article skillfully interweaves scary stories of Hitler and Stalin with incidents in the U.S. in an attempt to draw credible analogies. In reality, it does exactly what it accuses the administration of doing, using fear to manipulate public emotion. Although there is enough in each point to give the reader pause, there are holes in most of her 10 steps that prove them to be conjecture or in some cases, misinterpretation.
Most telling though is Ms. Wolf’s summary, following her detailed 10 step program when she says, “Of course, the United States is not vulnerable to the violent, total closing-down of the system that followed Mussolini’s march on Rome or Hitler’s roundup of political prisoners. Our democratic habits are too resilient, and our military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like that.”
So, the takeaway point is clear and has been for 200 years. We must guard against losing our democracy. The founders knew it then and we know it today.