- Over 200 years ago, Thomas Paine wrote a treatise on
government in which he said "a republic is supposed to be directed
by certain fundamental principles of right and justice, from which there
cannot, because there ought not to, be any deviation. (It) is executed
by a select number of persons, who act as representatives, and in behalf
of the whole, and who are supposed to (govern) as the people would do
were they all assembled together....
- When a people agree to form themselves into a republic
(they) mutually resolve and pledge themselves to each other, rich and
poor alike, to support this rule of equal justice among them....A republic,
properly understood, is a sovereignty of justice, in contradistinction
to a sovereignty of will."
- Since its founding, America was never governed by Paine's
principles. Never less so or more disgracefully than under George Bush.
- This article follows from an earlier one titled Grand
Theft America. On the crime of the century. The greatest one ever. Unbridled
excess gone awry. An economic system built on a foundation of greed and
fraud. Threatening the country with insolvency and ruin. World economies
with it. Plundering the national treasury to save it. Bailing out criminal
bankers. Rewarding fraudsters with public funds. Making the world safe
again for capital (or trying to) and heading it for an even greater calamity
ahead. Maybe next time (or this one) one no financial engineering can
- An Update on the "Bailout": The Emergency Economic
Stabilization Act (EESA)
- EESA defrauds the public. Fleeces the treasury to reward
criminal bankers. Arranged secretly behind closed doors. The $700 billion
is just for starters. Another $150 billion was just added to it (discussed
below). Trillions will be pilfered for this scheme. Millions of innocent
people will suffer grievously. Crumbs at best are in it for them.
- This goes way beyond a subprime crisis as author Ellen
Brown explains. The real problem is a "black hole of ($180 trillion
in bank-held) derivatives." If enough of them implode, so will world
economies. The "bailout" and various other schemes hope to prevent
it, but there's no guarantee anything will work. That's the real dilemma.
- Public pronouncements about EESA were deceitful on their
face. George Bush calling it a plan for Main Street, not Wall Street.
Nancy Pelosi saying that "All of this was done in a way to insulate
Main Street and everyday Americans from the crisis on Wall Street,"
and added: "The party is over. No longer will taxpayers be forced
to bail out reckless investors." That's precisely what they're being
forced to do.
- Both presidential candidates endorse the plan and voted
for it. Most party leaders as well. A bipartisan conspiracy to compound
the fraud. Reward criminals with public money. Empower the Treasury secretary
as a financial czar. With unlimited authority to dispense public money.
Direct it as he wishes. Stipulate the terms. Conceal the plan's true purpose
from the public. To save Wall Street and big banks. The entire financial
system. Industrial capitalism in trouble. And make ordinary people pay
- The Senate passed EESA on October 1 - by a 74 - 25 vote.
The same body that (on September 26) rejected a $56 billion stimulus plan
that would have extended unemployment benefits, increased food aid, and
funded new construction projects to create jobs at a time the economy
is in a deepening recession.
- After first rejecting EESA, the House reversed itself
(263 - 171) on October 3. Global markets reacted convulsively. Plunging
on September 29. Soaring the next day. Plunging again. Continuing the
same volatile pattern begun last fall. From the crisis-level weakness
of major banks worldwide and the effect on global economies. The possibility
that nothing proposed will work. The likelihood that only mass worldwide
infusions of public funds and recapitalizations have a chance.
- Ignoring the core reason for the crisis. The extraordinary
amount of criminal fraud. Rewarding and not prosecuting the fraudsters.
Compounding the enormity of their crime. Looting the national treasury
for it. Rejecting emergency measures with proven past success. Recapitalizing
banks through government interest-bearing loans with guaranteed repayment
provisions out of future profits. Temporarily nationalizing troubled banks.
Letting governments take over weak ones until things stabilize. Restarting
credit flows now frozen. Then designing a whole new system to replace
the current failed one.
- The present crisis shows industrial capitalism's failure.
Financialization-based. Speculative finance. Frankenstein finance. Unfettered.
Unregulated. Greed-based. Rewarding fraud and harming people. The government
- business partnership behind it. The inevitability that nothing this
pernicious is sustainable. The naked truth about an ugly system.
- EESA's hidden details make the prima facie case. Besides
add-ons, it's little different from its initial version. It:
- -- directs the original $700 billion to Wall Street and
- -- lets the Treasury buy unlimited amounts of junk assets
(some worthless or close to it) but hold no more than $700 billion at
one time; pay whatever prices it chooses; hold-to-maturity prices if it
wishes for toxic waste;
- -- includes whole mortgages in the program, not just
securitized asset pools;
- -- compounds fraud by rewarding it;
- -- beyond tokenism and disingenuous rhetoric, provides
no relief for beleaguered homeowners;
- -- excludes a measure to allow bankruptcy judges to amend
mortgage terms to help homeowners avoid foreclosure;
- -- another one that would have allotted 20% of any government
bank assets resale profit to a housing fund; set aside for the public;
- -- also a bank-imposed fee to compensate the government
for buying junk assets at inflated prices;
- -- leaves executive compensation, golden parachutes,
and lavish benefits unrestricted by inserting toothless provisions against
- -- establishes a fake independent oversight panel consisting
of the Treasury secretary, Fed chairman, SEC chairman, Federal Home Finance
Agency director, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary;
- -- an equally fraudulent Congressional Oversight Board
composed of House and Senate leadership-chosen bankers and big investors
- called "financial experts;" fraudsters to manage the "bailout;"
business and government foxes in charge of the looting the national treasury;
- -- includes a provision authorizing the SEC to suspend
GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) standards requiring mark-
to-market valuations to let banks (on their balance sheets) carry toxic
assets at purchased prices, not fair market value, and be able to conceal
their losses; and
- -- another providing tax breaks for companies holding
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac preferred shares.
- The White House, Paulson and House and Senate leadership
scrambled after EESA's defeat. Cobbled together a revised plan. Kept the
original's core provisions unchanged, and added new ones:
- -- temporarily (maybe permanently) increases FDIC insurance
per account to $250,000;
- -- lets FDIC borrow unlimited amounts from the Fed to
protect against bank runs; thus exempts banks from paying premiums for
additional deposit insurance;
- -- another provision to exempt the bill from constitutional
- -- includes about $150 billion in tax cuts and so-called
"extenders"; provisions to renew or extend expiring tax breaks;
- -- $78 billion for business as well as extending current
business tax breaks for renewable energy efforts;
- -- $8 billion for hurricane and other natural disaster
- -- another $65 billion extension for Alternative Minimum
Tax relief; mostly to high-income earners.
- The plan ballooned from its original 3-page version to
the House's 106 pages. Then to the final 451 pages (not likely written
in 48 hours) with various additional earmarks for:
- -- film and television productions;
- -- wooden arrows for children;
- -- Exxon Valdez oil spill litigants;
- -- Virgin Island and Puerto Rican rum;
- -- railroads;
- -- auto racing tracks;
- -- wool research and more.
- In addition, Section 128's Acceleration of Effective
Date refers to Section 203 of the Financial Services Regulatory Relief
Act of 2006. EESA moved up its original effective date from October 1,
2011 to October 1, 2008, and thereby changed the United States Code Title
12 - Banks and Banking, Chapter 3 - Federal Reserve System, Subchapter
XIV - Bank Reserves. The measure is solely to help banks. Foreign ones
included. The changes:
- -- no longer require banks to maintain cash reserves
to cover deposits;
- -- abolished the Fed's Earnings Participation Account
for the supplemental reserve fees it charges banks; meaning the Fed can
retain them; and
- -- lets the Fed create its own rules for distributing
earnings as well as payments to foreign banks.
- EESA greatly expands Treasury and Federal Reserve powers.
Rewards fraudsters and does nothing for beleaguered homeowners. Both
presidential candidates voted for the bill. Obama hypocritically saying
that the plan is "our best and only way to prevent an economic catastrophe
(and be able to help families) on Main Street." McCain pretty much
agreed in a bipartisan show of homage to their big Wall Street backers.
- Ignored is their criminal fraud. The harmful fallout
to many millions, and the fact that $700 billion (now $850 billion) is
a down payment with trillions more to come. A systematic looting of public
funds. Nearly all of it to fraudsters.
- Ahead of EESA's initial defeat, the American Bankers
Association (ABA) was pleased with the plan. Its chief executive, Ed Yingling,
called the financial crisis "like a big Category 4 hurricane."
Unleashed an army of lobbyists on Congress. To assure final legislation
contained wanted measures and excluded ones bankers opposed.
- In the end, the ABA prevailed. It got nearly everything
it asked for. So did Wall Street, but they're far from out of the woods.
Nonetheless, big banks are taking advantage by devouring smaller and
some big ones. Weaker ones on the cheap. Merrill Lynch to Bank of America.
Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual to JP Morgan Chase, and Wachovia's
retail banking operations (including $400 billion in deposits) to Citigroup
for $1 a share. Then Wells Fargo trumped Citi for most of Wachovia for
$7 a share. A deal now held up after New York Supreme Court Justice Charles
Ramos blocked it temporarily.
- The above acquisitions were giveaways under planned creative
destruction. Enabling greater consolidation in the hands of fewer giant
players. The result is less competition and a fundamentally unfair system
- The announced deals are for starters. Many more will
follow as a powerful industry concentrates into few, larger hands. But
providing no help for distressed households. Nor relief for over- indebted
homeowners facing foreclosure. Rejecting better, fairer ways to recapitalize
banks in crisis. Measures proved effective in the past yet unconsidered.
- Also unaddressed are severe money market stresses and
unwillingness of banks to lend to each other. Resume a free flow of credit.
It shows in unprecedented spreads on unsecured inter-bank lending. Only
confidence can change that. Something no government can legislate. It
can make good policy as a way to start building it.
- On September 30, the Financial Times columnist Martin
Wolf headlined his commentary: "Congress decides it is worth risking
depression" and said "We are watching the disintegration of
the financial system." Such a "dire outcome is no longer impossible."
The free flow of credit is frozen and unless thawed "no modern economy
can survive. Yet that is now threatened."
- We're experiencing a "downward spiral of panic."
What economist Hyman Minsky called "revulsion." A "Minisky
Moment." The final stage of bubble deflation when cheap credit ends
or is frozen like now. Investors dump assets. Any bad news roils markets,
and it's infectious. Quickly turning euphoria into "revulsion"
and creating downward momentum much greater and faster than the upside.
- Wolf has mixed feeling about EESA. Calls it flawed and
directed by the wrong man. A "titan of high finance charged with
bailing out Wall Street," but worrying mostly about Congress doing
nothing and causing "ruin." He wants something passed and much
more. Ensuring "liquidity needs are fully met during this period."
Europeans addressing the same issue. Worrying about a greater crisis ahead,
yet ending with a hopeful thought. Winston Churchill's words that "The
United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted
every other alternative." The greater issue now is a deepening crisis
so great that no constructive intervention can work.
- Events are fast-moving and changing almost daily. So
far in an intensifying contracting cycle. A perfect storm of:
- -- recession;
- -- rising unemployment;
- -- public trauma;
- -- failing banks;
- -- frozen credit;
- -- multi-trillions in toxic debt;
- -- the worst housing slump since the Great Depression;
spilling over into commercial real estate as well;
- -- millions of homeowners threatened with foreclosure;
- -- trillions of eroded household wealth;
- -- hugely over-indebted consumers; and
- -- contagion spreading everywhere and the danger that
it may be uncontainable.
- Fleecing the American Dream
- This article explores other ways a government - business
partnership gains power and wealth. Harms the public. Heads the nation
toward insolvency, tyranny and in the end ruin. Political theorist Sheldon
Wolin refers to our "managed democracy (and) inverted totalitarianism."
Our "wielding total power without appearing to." With no jack
boots in the streets or concentration camps. Nor "enforcing ideological
uniformity, or forcibly suppressing" dissent. America's genius is
that it appears to be a democratic showcase. Fooling most of the people
most of the time to believe it. So far.
- In charge - powerful corporate giants and the rich. Feeding
at the public trough. Protected by the military-industrial complex. Single-
mindedly pursuing profits. Dismissive of public welfare. Socially democratic
institutions. Elements of social progressivism. New Deal political and
other gains. Purposely aiming to dismantle them. Everything benefitting
people to further corporate power and privilege.
- Partnered with government to do it. One of its choosing.
Pursuing a policy of empire. Doling out largesse. Transferring wealth
to the privileged. Exploiting people without their even noticing. Waging
wars for profit. Privatizing everything. Getting around democracy through
subterfuge. Making believe it's real when it's fantasy. Heading toward
when all pretense will be gone. Remaining public revenue as well unless
boundless profligacy can be curbed. So far it's growing. Unsustainably
toward a very unpleasant future. Because people empowered are fleecing
America. Strip-mining it toward demise. Hollowing it out. Mindless to
the lessons of history showing empires, militarism, and extremism can't
endure. Eventually will understand when it's too late to matter.
- Corporate Dominance in America
- Corporate giants rule America and the world as the dominant
institution of our time. Their influence is pervasive and profound. Over
every facet of our lives. What we eat and drink. What we wear. Where we
live. What we're taught. How we get our essential services. Where our
main sources of information come from. How we think. Who'll govern and
for whose benefit.
- With no constitutional empowerment. Self-empowered collaboratively
with Congress and the courts. To "invest, speculate, trade, and
accumulate wealth," according to Michael Parenti. To maximize shareholder
equity by increasing sales and profits. Gaining new markets, resources,
and growing in size or risk being left behind. Benefitting hugely at the
- They're run by wealthy and powerful figures. The elitist
top 1%. Owning over one-third of the nation's wealth. Stocks, bonds, land,
natural resources, business assets and other investments. In the most
unequal of world developed countries. Rigidly class structured. Plagued
by racism and inequality. Mocking the notion of a land of opportunity
- Squandering our national resources. Exploiting and underpaying
labor. Dismantling the social safety net. Impoverishing millions of people.
Revealing America's dark side. The failure of our "democracy."
Government's unaccountability to the public. To provide essential services.
Consumer safety. Social justice. Concern for the environment. Closing
the gap between haves and have- nots. Having enough compassion to care.
- Instead, defending the rich against the poor. Siding
one-sidedly with business. Through tax breaks. Huge subsidies. Export
ones. Price supports. Loan guarantees. R & D grants. Free use of the
public broadcasting spectrum. Bailouts. All sorts of other measures to
redistribute wealth upward to the top. Providing legal protections and
empowerment. Depriving the many for the few. Socialism for the rich. Free-market
capitalism for most others. Sink or swim, on our own, with a disappearing
social safety net for those who can't. Redefining "justice"
to mean "just us."
- Militarism and Wars for Profit - Spending Ourselves Toward
Insolvency and Ruin
- Since WW II, America was unchallengeable. With no external
enemies or threats, the Soviet Union notwithstanding. Yet according to
the Center for Defense Information, 60 years of military expenditures
(in constant dollars) since 1945 totaled an astonishing $21 trillion.
And since 2001, annual defense spending more than doubled under George
- Christopher Hellman, Military Budget Analyst for the
Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, refers to a "runaway
military budget" with core allocations and add-ons. Including all
defense categories, FY 2008 exceeds $1 trillion for the first time. More
than the rest of the world combined. Including war supplementals, budgets
expanded dramatically since the mid-1990s and are at the highest level
since WW II.
- Here's analyst Robert Higgs' breakdown for FY 2006 in
billions, and FY 2009 proposed numbers are several hundred billions higher:
- -- Department of Defense: $499.4; for FY 2008, it's
$623 billion with supplemental add-ons for Iraq and Afghanistan; proposed
for FY 2009, it's $711 billion by the same calculation; other estimates
place it over $760 billion;
- -- Department of Energy: $16.6
- -- Department of State: $25.3
- -- Department of Veterans Affairs: $69.8
- -- Department of Homeland Security: $69.1
- -- Department of Justice (including FBI, DEA and other
federal law enforcement agencies): $1.9
- -- Department of the Treasury (for Military Retirement
- -- NASA: $7.6, and
- -- Net interest attributable to past debt-financed defense
- A total of $934.9 billion. Higgs estimated FY 2007 at
$1.028 trillion, and each year the numbers grow to more out-of-control
levels. Unsustainable, and those reported exclude black budgets for CIA,
NSA and other off-the-books operations amounting to tens of billions more.
In nominal totals and as a percent of GDP, he calls it nonsensical. Insanity
for others. A death wish for the economy at this unsustainable level.
- Higgs and others also cite the unreliability of official
numbers. He believes it's more accurate to take the Pentagon's basic budget
and double it because as much as 40% of it is black or hidden. Concealing
secret projects. Now under the most secretive administration in our history.
Also, the more powerful the Pentagon becomes, the more spending benefits
accrue to congressional districts, and less willing Congress is to hold
- The Department of Defense's 2007 Base Structure Report
shows how large the Pentagon has become. Even with important information
- -- DOD is the world's largest landlord with over 577,500
(reported) facilities (buildings, structures and linear structures) on
more than 5300 sites covering 32 million acres and 2.4 billion square
feet of space in the US, its territories and overseas; these numbers
are way understated and are, in fact, much higher.
- -- including undisclosed ones, over 1000 overseas bases
in over 150 countries; additional secret ones shared with or leased from
host countries; of varying sizes and importance, including the largest
Main Operating Bases (MOBs) for permanent combat troops; extensive infrastructure;
command and control headquarters; and extensive accommodations in many
places for families, including hospitals, schools and recreational facilities;
- -- about 6000 homeland bases and military warehouses,
- -- from a DOD March 31, 2008 active duty personnel strength
report, a total worldwide force of 1,373,000. Of that, 1,083,000 are US-
based and in its territories; another 290,000 are abroad, and 195,000
are "in and around Iraq as of March 31, 2008, includ(ing) deployed
Reserve/National Guard" forces; another 31,000 are in Afghanistan,
including Reserves and National Guard; the US National Guard is a joint
US Army - Air Force reserve component that numbered 460,000 as of December
31, 2007, according to the Congressional Research Service.
- In his 1961 farewell address, Eisenhower warned about
the "military- industrial complex." Its "grave implications"
evident nearly 50 years ago. A "coalition of the military and industrialists
who profit by manufacturing arms and selling them to government."
The need to "guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence....by
the military industrial complex....The potential for the disastrous rise
of (its) misplaced power...."
- After the Vietnam War, its resurgence under Ronald Reagan.
A prelude to George Bush's aggressive militarism. Ideologically driven.
Waging "Global Wars on Terrorism." Exploiting 9/11 fears to
pursue them. Disregarding budgeting constraints. Spending on all sorts
of new weapons systems. The way Ian Mount, Matthew Maier and David Freedom
described it on March 1, 2003 in Business 2.0 magazine. They called it
"The New Military Industrial Complex To arm for the digital-age war,
the Pentagon has turned to a new generation of defense contractors. The
hardware is impressive. It's also deadly." The Pentagon refers to
a "revolution in military affairs (RMA)." Building an unchallengeable
high-tech arsenal. A new military-industrial complex.
- The old one remains and gets huge contracts for new and
more traditional weapons. The result of an influential "iron triangle"
of Congress, the Pentagon and defense industry. Conservative think tanks
- -- the Project for a New American Century (PNAC); its
"Rebuilding America's Defenses" scheme for US global hegemony;
- -- the Center for Security Policy (CSP) headed by super-hawk
Frank Gaffney; promoting a policy of "Peace through Strength"
and perpetual wars for perpetual peace;
- -- the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD); its hard
right leadership and members; "fighting terrorism and the ideologies
that drive it;"
- -- the National Institute for Public Policy (NIPP); its
focus on defense issues; ties to the nuclear weapons industry; and
- -- the Center for Strategic and International Studies
(CSIS); emphasizing national security and "advancing (US) global
interests;" specializing in crisis management and connected to the
highest levels in government and the Pentagon.
- Another element is hugely important and destructive to
a free society. The nation's 16 intelligence agencies, including CIA,
NSA, DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), FBI, Army, Navy and Air Force
Intelligence, DHS (Department of Homeland Security), and Department of
State. A multi-billion dollar funded, largely off-the-books, clandestine
anti-democratic network. Interconnected with thousands of private contractors.
Tied to world governments and their intelligence services. Hugely expensive.
Powerful. A force unto themselves. Secretive by the nature of their work,
and gaining strength from their own momentum.
- Together they comprise a government-military-industrial-
intelligence service-think tank colossus. Heading the nation toward insolvency,
tyranny and ruin. Wrecking the remnants of a free society. Looting the
public treasury. Pursuing a single-minded drive for empire. Mindless to
its harmful effects. Masking it behind a democratic facade. Plagued by
the same dynamic that doomed past empires unwilling to change.
- For Chalmers Johnson: "perpetual war, the collapse
of constitutional government, endemic official lying and disinformation,
isolation, overstretch, the uniting of local and global forces opposed
to imperialism, and in the end bankruptcy." Tyranny and ruin as well.
The loss of personal freedom, and vital social safety net essentials.
An ugly America few today can imagine. Arriving at flank speed after eight
disastrous years under George Bush with scant hope for change under a
new administration, Republican or Democrat.
- Ruinous militarization is wrecking the nation. The insane
amounts of spending on it. Military Keynesianism. A permanent war economy.
Institutionalized after WW II. The current "Global Wars on Terrorism."
The misguided notion that they promote sustainable economic growth. Mindless
to their destructive effects. Eroding our social fabric. The national
and human infrastructure. Looting the national treasury. Diverting productive
economic efforts to war making. Ignoring vital re-industrialization needs.
Instead doing the opposite. Losing our competitiveness. Eroding our political
credibility, and leading the world solely in military might and the recklessness
to use it.
- It shows in waging perpetual wars. Allowing the destruction
of our manufacturing base. Letting malls replace factories as the nation's
engine. Amassing unsustainable current account and budget deficits. The
former approaching $900 billion. The latter to exceed $400 billion, according
to a September CBO Congressional Budget Office estimate. It excludes around
$300 billion from the Social Security "Trust Fund." Without
it, the deficit is $700 billion. Then add expected hundreds of billions
of "bailout" dollars, and the total for FY 2009 skyrockets.
Will way exceed $1 trillion.
- Economist John Williams says the above numbers are grossly
understated. Based on Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP),
he calculates the FY 2007 budget deficit at $1.2 trillion. Down from $4.6
trillion in 2006 because of one-time actuarial assumption changes. It
includes the year-to-year changes in the net present value of unfunded
liabilities in programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Washington
calculations are by "cash accounting" with no provisions for
future payouts in years when they accrue.
- By GAAP estimates, Williams also says that total federal
debt obligations rose to $59.8 trillion in 2007 from $58.6 trillion the
previous year and that FY 2008 numbers will be higher. He reverse engineers
data. Reveals administration and congressional bookkeeping gimmicks, and
gives what he believes is a more accurate picture of the nation's financial
health. In deep trouble by all his measures, and reckless military Keynesianism
is why. It's heading the nation toward insolvency and getting progressively
closer each year.
- According to Williams, America is already bankrupt, and
Bush administration policies get much of the blame. The official national
debt was under $1 trillion in 1981. In January 2001, it was $5.7 trillion.
It jumped to $9 trillion for 2007. Williams, however, puts it at $14.7
trillion, up from $14.1 trillion in 2006. It'll easily top $15 trillion
(by his calculation) for 2008 and go far higher in future years.
- The culprit - unsustainable military spending. All the
worse because of the productive investment lost. Sacrificed for unneeded
weaponry and militarism. To pursue an imperial agenda and enrich war
profiteers. At the expense of advancing the greater good. The public interest
long ago abandoned. Any pretext that "we the people" matter.
The ones who do are them, not us.
- Transferring Wealth to the Rich
- It's been long-standing but became policy under Ronald
Reagan. Shifting wealth upward. Mainly to the top 1% and major corporations.
Less substantially to another 10% from over 90 million middle-class, lower-earning
and poor households. By what anthropologist David Harvey calls "accumulation
by dispossession." It shows in the decline of organized labor from
a 1950s 34.7% high to around 12% overall today and only 7% in the private
sector. The lowest percentage since the mass unionization struggles of
the 1930s and in the private sector in over 100 years.
- The result of a bipartisan antipathy to workers. A one-sided
pro- corporate agenda. Allowing the dismantling of the nation's manufacturing
base. Along with it the outsourcing of high-paying jobs. Professional
ones also. Wage and benefit losses as a result. Allowing essential government
services to erode. Replacing permanent jobs with lower-cost part-time
and temporary ones. Creating a reserve army of labor to hold down wages
and benefits. An unfair tax code restructured for the wealthy and large
companies. Forcing workers to bear a greater burden. Using devious ways
to do it. One discussed below by the 1980s Greenspan Commission.
- Establishing globalized market-based rules. Embodying
them in repressive trade agreements like NAFTA, DR-CAFTA, and an alphabet
- soup from the WTO. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects
of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The General Agreement on Trade
Services (GATS). The Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) and others for one
purpose. To establish uniform global trade rules favoring capital over
people. To privatize and commoditize everything and strip-mine the planet
- America's 130 million working class families have suffered.
Militarism and financialization replaced productive investments. Lower-paying
service jobs in place of higher-paying ones. People now work longer for
less pay, adjusted for inflation, and are increasingly denied benefits.
Peoples' overall standard of living declined. Two household earners are
commonplace. Struggling to get by. College degrees are more expensive.
For many unaffordable and are no longer an assurance of good jobs and
a bright future.
- Wealth today is more unequally distributed than ever.
Poverty levels are rising. Millions of households are affected. The 37
million US Census Bureau figure masks the real problem. Now exacerbated
by today's financial crisis touching many millions more. The near-certainty
that conditions will worsen before stabilizing and improving. In the meantime,
a permanent underclass is growing. In the richest country in the world.
Heartless and mindless to the problem. One-sidely supporting capital.
Rewarding criminals for their crimes. Allowing the middle class to erode.
The poor to suffer grievously, and millions of homeowners to lose everything
and maybe hope.