America Only Ever Weeps For Itself

If there was ever a show of evidence to demonstrate the ineptitude and disrepair into which the US Congress has collapsed, it must surely be the abortive attempt to pass this latest finance bill. While no-one can say with certainty how effective an injection of $700billion into the financial markets would be, all those with experience in the field agree it is necessary.

Now, is neither a time for spurious political idealism, nor for making a play of listening to voters. Isn’t it so obvious an election is looming? Now, is the time for both political parties to thrash out the most efficient manner in which to handle this crisis, with least pain to the taxpayer, and just as importantly devise a set of regulations, complete with the necessary enforcement machinery, to ensure the greed of Wall Street is not allowed to create another crisis further down the road.

Those Republicans who chose Nancy Pelosi’s speech as a reason to vote against the bill yesterday, displayed an immaturity of ideals that should cost them their political careers. Pelosi spoke the truth. For eight years the Republican party has allowed a free-for-all in the markets, with lobbyists for the big finance houses holding sway over Washington. Sadly, though Democrats shake their heads and wag their fingers at the other side, they too have been equally guilty by association.

One factor, above all others, to surface from this financial mire is the gaping holes in the capitalist system. Republicans yesterday wept over the necessary injection of “Socialism” into their otherwise pure and virginal capitalist republic.

What utter rubbish! What crocodile tears are these?

As George Monbiot succinctly pointed out in the Guardian newspaper yesterday, socialism has been alive and well, and living beneath the floorboards of capitalism in the US for years. In 2006, he writes, the US government subsidized businesses to the tune of $92billion.

How many Americans have even heard of the “Foreign Military Financing Program” which, according to Monbiot’s sources:

“……gives money to other countries to purchase weaponry from US corporations. It doles out grants to airports for building new runways and to fishing companies to help them wipe out endangered stocks.”[1]

Probably few Americans are aware their government spends $20billion taxpayer dollars each year subsidizing executives’ pay, or that Walmart has received over one billion dollars courtesy of the taxpayer.

So why are Republican politicians reduced to sackcloth and ashes, beating themselves with whips and shedding copious tears? The answer’s very simple. It’s all for show; to convince the grassroot rednecks they are sincere, when of course, they’re not.

Nevertheless, it’s not all the fault of the Right. Clinton’s administration was just as culpable when it came to doling out socialism in the guise of under-the-counter business subsidies. Congress has been controlled by the Democrats since last November, but not a left-wing breath of objection has been raised against such practices in the last twelve months.

It’s not even so much that it’s wrong. Government subsidies can be beneficial to everyone under the right circumstances. The immorality stems from a dishonest burying of such matters under the political floorboards, so Mister Joe Average American has no idea its happening and blissfully assumes his nation’s God-given capitalist system is functioning to perfection.

The American economy probably couldn’t survive without socialist practices. Government intervention in the marketplace is vital. All the talk one hears in this country of “smaller government”, less of it, is nothing more than hot air. It’s not less government this nation needs, it’s more efficient government, capable of regulating the excesses capitalism breeds.

What has a “free-market” done for the country? It’s raped and pillaged the middle classes; reduced infrastructures to archaic ruins. The roads, bridges, and flyovers of America are falling apart. The power grids are in chaos; one heavy storm is enough to black out thousands of homes. Railroads lack the investment needed to maintain safe standards. Food safety is constantly compromised by a lack of supervision and inspection; government departments, relied on to regulate these industries, are pared away to skeleton staffing levels.

America has become a disgrace. Compared to Europe, it’s standards are no better than a banana republic; all resulting from, not too large a government, but too inefficient a government. US Politicians are corrupt, grasping, lazy. They work for the corporations and lobbyists, not the people.

Little wonder Mister Joe Average American wants “less government”. He sees the government he’s got, and is not happy. Neither should he be. Unfortunately, Mister Joe Average American, it was you who put it there. It was you who cast your vote.

You voted George Bush twice into office. You sat in front of your TV and drank your beer while the hit-movie “Shock & Awe” played out on CNN. You thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Did you complain about your government then? No, it was entertaining you.

Sadly, the movie didn’t go as planned. It began to drag. The heroes got killed; the villains were winning. Did you complain to your government then? No, you couldn’t be bothered, you just changed to the football channel.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, the dollars in your pocket contracted. Your bills became harder to meet. Gas prices soared. Did you complain to your government then? Oh, yes, then you complained. And how you complained. In your droves you battered down the doors of your representatives demanding no $700billion bail-out.

You left it too late. You should have complained sooner. The damage is done. The horse has bolted and the stable door’s wide open. You should have realized it wasn’t a movie. The killing was real, but it wasn’t your death, or your friend’s death, or your relative’s death. It was only a bunch of anonymous marines and a few hundred thousand sand-niggers. You don’t complain about that. Only when it effects you personally, or your bill-fold, will you complain.

I beg your pardon? Oh, I’m sorry. I offended your sensibilities by calling them sand-niggers? Don’t criticize me; at least I cared when they died. You, Mister Joe Average American, did not.

The hypocrisy lives right there. In America all goes on under the surface, but little is expressed openly. Racism is alive and well; sexual deviancy is rampant; capitalism is the one true God, but only under the surface.

US hypocrisy has allowed greed to flourish, beneath the floorboards disguised as religion, welfare, the ultimate, modern, capitalist society that provides America with everything it needs. The satiation of that greed is at the core of the financial crisis facing this country today.

The capitalist system has provided almost everything for Americans.

It missed out on only one: The Truth.

[1] George Monbiot’s Guardian article, “Congress Confronts Its Contradictions” is available to view via the Sparrow Chat “Hot-Link” in the right sidebar.

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9 Replies to “America Only Ever Weeps For Itself”

  1. ‘Inflated Banana Republic’ is what I’ve called the laughable democracy that bleats ‘freedoms’ and the ‘american way’ like no other country, RJA.
    But I would quibble, how can you trust this bailout not to further line the pockets of the CEOs? I think the US is so far removed from regulation and the protection of its own citizens, that this would be the final feeding frenzy for the Masters.
    And it is becoming harder and harder to point the finger at the lobbyists and corps. when the citizens have been only too complicit in the toxic arrangements.
    The only hope is a complete meltdown and the forging of a new reality – with consistent checks and measures safeguarding the most disadvantaged.
    XO
    WWW

  2. There is a cliche that says it all depends “on whose ox is being gored”. The bus driver said he didn’t care about the mortgage holders, but he didn’t think it was fair that retirement accounts were affected.

    Good post, I like when you are on fire. Personally I think a country this corrupt deserves to crash – my only fear is that mad people will attack the Mexicans.

  3. Phew!!! On a bad day, RJ, I will agree with most of what you’ve said. Even on a good day I’ll agree regarding the ridiculous antipathy towards socialism many Americans express. A good healthy dose of it is exactly what’s needed to put the country back on track, in my opinion. I said it soon after I arrived here. Nationalise utilities, public transport and some banks, an most importantly, health care. That’s what’s needed, but it’ll never happen while the people are scared sh..less of socialistic measures.

    We, you and I, and other of your readers are not born and bred Americans. It’s easy for us to see another side the the picture. I hesitate to be quite so judgmental as you seem to be when I haven’t “walked a mile in their shoes”. I’m referring to the man and woman in the street here, not the corrupt politicians.

    As for the current financial debacle, I don’t understand the complexities of it sufficiently to make intelligent judgment on what the politicians should be doing or not doing. To date they appear incompetent at best. I don’t see why there is need to rush into a major rescue plan without proper open discussion.
    The world won’t come to an end if a few banks go bankrupt – it’d be the natural result. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if the USA suffers a few years of rationing of everything it has come to look on as its right. It’d be like a stringent slimming diet, and the country would feel better for it later.

    Nothing as dramatic will happen though. A band-aid will be applied, but the wound will fester a while longer.

  4. WWW – I quite agree with you in principle, but the sad fact is the scoundrels who’ve been repackaging all these bad debts and flogging them around the markets as ‘AAA” (watertight investments) have been so successful that without a bail-out pension funds, 401Ks, etc are going to be lost. The bail-out requires stringent regulations and tight controls to ensure the bad guys don’t just run off with all the money. My greatest fear is that adequately strong regulation will not be put in place.

    TOB – thanks.

    Flimsy – the problem is, a crash takes the innocent as well as the guilty. There are many more innocents in America, than guilty parties, who stand to lose an awful lot by this crisis. A meltdown might well forge a new nation better than the present one, but the cost in human misery throughout the world is, in my opinion, too great.

    Twilight it is a bad day. I’m judgmental of America as a whole, not of the individual ‘man in the street’. Remember, a majority of Americans voted George Bush into office, not once, but twice. There are a minority of level-headed, broadminded, intelligent citizens in this country who are constantly thwarted in their efforts to produce a great nation by the majority, a very large minority of whom are selfish, egotistical, blinkered, indoctrinated, nationalistic warmongers. (Even now I’m not sure I’ve used sufficient adjectives).
    I think you’re right about the band-aid, though the imminent election may cause the politicians to approach this problem with a little more care than is normally displayed.

  5. I know Bush is a monkey, but I think there are some smart organ grinders. Bush said his base is the “haves” and the “have mores” and when I have a little paranoia, I think they might have stolen the horses and just want to burn the barn before they head off to their lairs.

  6. Flimsy – you’re right, there are some very smart organ grinders. That’s why it’s so important to have stringent oversight regulations in place before they hand over one penny. My fear is that they won’t. The “oversight” will turn out to be an oversight.

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