January 24th, 2008

It’s taken me three days to figure out all the hornswoggling that has everyone on the verge of an economic nervous breakdown . From homeowners to bankers to investors, this is the worst economic crises the United States and the world has faced since the Great Depression when people busted by runaway capitalism stood in soup lines and sold apples out of wooden boxes on New York City street corners.

I read everything I could lay my hands on; from conservatives, liberals, and grouchy economists. There’s little hope on the horizon and it’s not the fault of George Bush. Well, maybe it is the fault of Bush. If he hadn’t spent 2 trillion dollars on the idiotic invasion of Iraq, we might have had a few bucks to bail us out. That would help. But only as much as a small bandage would cover a gaping wound.


First there was the housing bubble. Prices rose without any regard for real value. Lenders encouraged the rush by throwing money out the window to people who couldn’t afford as much as a cardboard box and a blanket. When they couldn’t make the monthly payments, these firms went ass up and bankers started taking huge losses. On top of that, the rest of the world, excited by the cheap American dollar, threw money into these markets like virgins into a volcano. When the housing bubble burst, the flood covered the Earth in red lava.


Faith in America as a safe place to invest dissolved overnight. Without investors and foreign money, we find ourselves sucking for oxygen like sailors trapped in a submarine. Super money superstars such as the United Arab Emirates, the Saudis, the Brits, and Chinese are buying American companies offered on the auction blocks of insolvency. If it wasn’t for an infusion of money from other countries into our economy, we wouldn’t have enough loose change to keep the lights on.


People with a lot of money are worried that if people with almost no money don’t keep buying stuff, this country will sink into financial oblivion. Conversely, if those same people with no money don’t save some money, no one will want to invest in us.


It’s a double bind. To survive, we have to buy stuff. To keep from going under, we have to save that money.


If the wealthy 1% who benefited from the Bush tax cuts would spend that money instead of hoarding it, we might keep our heads above water. Instead, they want the people with very little money to spend it so they won’t have to. The rich are smart. The poor have no idea what to do. And if this whole mess doesn’t create another bubble of economic opportunity soon, like investments in alternative energy initiatives, we’re on the way to warming our hands over open barrels of burning refuse just as people in rags did during the Great Depression. Because that’s what this extended period of misery could bring us back to. The misery of the 1930’s. If you want to get on your hands and knees and pray, I suggest you start now because at this moment the pilot light at the end of America’s dark economic tunnel is flickering from the lack of juice to keep it lit.

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