Thursday, October 6, 2011

Apoliticalism Protects the Primary Wall Street Party!

It is a truism to assert that until one can at least identify and define one's enemy he will lose every battle, every confrontation. As Sun Tzu put it in his Art of War: "A Battle is won or lost before it's begun." Sadly, today in America, the potential to salvage the country from out under the yoke of Wall Street and its affiliated Military-Industrial Complex is being lost each day because millions are unwilling to name the enemy. One can understand, certainly, the noble idealism of the "Occupy Wall Street" protestors to keep their dynamic apolitical, but in the end they're batting on a losing wicket. Because if they will not out the political party that primarily backs Wall Street they will never prevail over it.

This tendency, alas, has even been evinced by our own President when he's called out "Congress" generically, instead of focusing his attacks on the Republicans! (Though, to be fair, he seems to be doing more of that now, since they are the ones blocking even an up or down vote on his jobs bill!)

Why must one name the enemy political party? Because until one does he's little better than a Don Quixote tilting at windmills. Meanwhile, the Republicans - or Repukes as I call them - howl with derision and laughter at being able to find such cover amidst all the damage they have done.

As the main bastion of reactionary finance, The Wall Street Journal noted two days ago (p. A2), the Republicans were and are the primary beneficiaries of Wall Street political campaign funds since the midterms of 2010. The Wall Street "axis" now leans toward Romney as a more beneficial face to re-take the White House - which if the Rs can also take the Senate- will deliver them the ultimate trifecta to destroy what's left of this country.

Meanwhile, an ABC News- Washington Post poll has found that more Americans disapprove of congress than at any point in the past two decades. Ony 14 % approve of the job congress is doing, lower than before the 1994, 2006 and 2010 elections.

But the question remains: WHY?

Why have Americans been seduced into blaming "congress" indiscriminately, when it has been the Republicans who have obstructed and paralyzed at every turn.


1) They knew how bad the financial meltdown had wrecked the lending basis and liquidity of the nation yet only approved $797b in stimulus in 2009, when at least twice that was needed. Worse, they (actually the only two repukes that joined the Dems to vote for it, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine) insisted on one-third tax cuts when a more active spending input was needed, such as much more allocated for food stamps.

2) They turned the meetings on Obama's Patient and Affordable Health Care Act into a three ring circus, and often one that carried the atmosphere of threat and violence, culminating with the shooting of Gabby Giffords in January of this year. (Some Republican candidates had actually used rifle cross hairs over districts targeted for Dem ousting)

3) They - prompted by their crazy Tea Party faction - essentially took the whole country hostage during the debt ceiling crisis in August, when such extremism was never ever adopted before in history. Raising the debt ceiling had always been done pro forma but now they demanded over $2 trillion in spending cuts to get it done - most in social programs, heating oil assistance, and so on.

4) They refused at first to allow any aid for the disaster struck northeast (after Hurricane Irene) unless "offset cuts" were made elsewhere in the budget (but they adamantly refused to touch the bloated military budgets which now accounts for 58 cents of every dollar).

They have no allowed some funding for the disaster -struck areas but only through Nov. 18.

At that time, Republicans plan to push for steeper cuts or will again force the nation into hostage-hood, this time causing a general shut down.

5) They have staunchly opposed even the most minuscule tax hikes, say even to pay for part of Obama's Jobs bill (using a 5.4% surcharge on millionaires). They refuse all tax hikes, even the smallest because: a) THIS is what Wall Street demands (see e.g. any of the five or six last op-eds in the Wall Street Journal) and b) have signed "pledges" crafted by tax-hater Grover Norquist never to raise taxes.

6) It is this unwillingness of the GOP to permit higher taxes that is driving the income inequality and the joblessness. If more taxes were allowed, companies would have to invest more in plant, raw materials and labor under existing rules- loopholes to avoid even higher taxes. But with no higher taxes to force their hands, companies are now content to sit on $2 trillion and do nothing.

This flies in the face of Americans' own demands, as recent polls have shown, with more than 85% across the political spectrum for raising taxes on the wealthiest.

People, all who especially sympathize with the Wall Street protestors, need to understand that this single political party - the Republicans - has the potential to destroy this nation's financial future and incite another Great Depression. The reason is that we are in a perilously low aggregate demand environment with business, investors and consumers all sitting on the sidelines and pinching their wallets closed. If the government is forced to do that too, it's 'game over'. The recession has every chance of going into depression.

As Economist Robert Koo points out in a recent interview with MONEY magazine (October, p. 64):

"It is good that congress managed to avoid default. But they should keep in mind that Japan's deficit actually increased when the government tried to cut the budget while the private sector was paying down debts".

He adds:

"Obama kept the economy from falling into a Great Depression. But you never become a hero avoiding a crisis. The economy is still struggling so people will say the money was wasted. Not true! The expiration of that package is behind the economy's weakness right now ."

Tragically, we now know with the statistics delivered ex post facto, the recession was much much worse than first believed and the stimulus needed to be much larger. This is why we remain in such parlous ecoomic straits now, with no remote hope the unemployment rate will decrease unless a new spending influx occurs (Which is why TIME magazine is mostly wrong (Oct. 10, p. 25) in asserting "neither the power spenders nor the austerity buffs have all the answers". . the truth is the "power spenders" have most of them in a prototypical balance sheet recession!)

Indeed, there is even talk now circulating in serious circles ('The Perils of Ignoring History', by Daniel Wessel, WSJ, Sept. 29, p. A7) of a "Great Depression in 2012". One guy, a "senior U.S. policy maker" even wrote to Wessel and said:

"Promise me if you write a sequel about the Great Depression of 2012 that you'll note I was one of the guys really trying to head it off".

Wessel earlier pointed to all the failed props of the current economic environment, including: lackluster consumer spending (still laden with debt as they are), lack of housing starts, and the inability of government to break out beyond the austerity mindset that now permeates every facet of the Beltway. It is as if a pill was taken by everyone involved and they've turned into zombies, all parroting the same spending cut line. But therein lies disaster, another Depression. We are talking about a 19-25% unemployment rate, soup kitchens inundated by millions seeking help and probably the cutting off of food stamps - thanks to GOP austerity measures, and "deficit saving" agendas driven by the Tea Party.

As for home foreclosures, look for them to reach the 40 or 50% rate, as more and more are thrown out of work. Those starting to look for work, mainly young college grads, will need at least another decade before the mess is cleared up ....if ever...and that's assuming the Repukes don't continue to resist cuts to the gargantuan defense budget!

All this can be averted IF people, protestors, others focus on the target and cease giving it protection and cover by refusing to name it.

Yes, in the case of the protestors it risks some polarization, say if other factions belonging to conservatives, Tea Partyers are amidst the crowd.

But the converse of that is that no effective actions will be ever be taken to halt the primary party that aids and abets the Wall Street sharks. They will continue to filibuster any tax increases for the rich (usually by the simple expedient of sending an "intent to filibuster" from their Beltway hotel jacuzzis) and will block any and all further needed stimulus, even for jobs. Even blocking a vote on the Obama Jobs bill.

Until people call them out, this is what we can expect.

Along with another Great Depression next year.

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