It has come to mind that the current divisions within America are not transitory, but more likely structural. Conditions brought about by the Great Recession of 2008-2009 have peeled away the veneer of our society and exposed truths that a booming economy willingly overlooked. From that particular day when the United States’ banking system was within hours of seizing up to today’s political acrimony, it appears to this casual observer that the trees have become more important than the forest.
To make my point, let me pose a few simple yet specific questions from which a rather shocking general conclusion may be drawn:
Q. Is the United States government favoring certain monopolistic concerns in a fashion that profits can be privatized and debts socialized?
A. After the near collapse of the banking system during the Great Recession, the United States has been pouring money into the largest banks via specialized programs. From TARP to the purchase of mortgage-backed securities by the Federal Reserve to lending money at essentially zero percent interest, it is self-evident that the monopoly held by the major financial institutions has been preserved and that the government has allowed these institutions to recapitalize and prosper at warp speed. The multi-trillion dollar cost of this strategy has been laid off on the public as debt without the enactment of regulatory restrictions to correct the bad behavior of the banks that contributed to the problems.
Q. Has the currency of the United States been devalued in the international community?
A. All one has to do is look at a chart of the US dollar to see the results. Amidst the public relations fiction of a strong dollar policy constantly repeated by the government, the net result was a 16% loss in the value of the dollar during the past twenty-four months.
Q. Have the people in power maximized their own gains and the gains of those businesses that control the making of money to the detriment of the working public?
A. Where shall I begin…the stock market recovers more than seventy percent from the crisis lows of 2009 and big corporations reap huge benefits along with the wealthiest individuals and venture funds – think Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Goldman Sachs. At the same time, unemployment rises above 10% and the unemployed and underemployed workers total approximately 17% of the workforce. By protecting the biggest financial and insurance companies without attaching strings, past corporate behavior is in effect rewarded at the expense of the working class. In the meantime, squadrons of lobbyists and activists have helped the Democratic and Republican parties raise over $425 million for the 2010 election cycle to keep the people in power in power.
Q. Have members of the elected class been held accountable for their actions, been corrupted by funding and favors from lobbyists and corporations, and been ineffective at passing legislation that corrects the bad behavior that brought about the economic crisis in the first place?
A. Need I even answer this one for you my faithful readers? The answer is self-evident (see above answers). The big corporations, the big institutions, the big insurance companies control both the money supply and the political capital of the United States, and the results from Washington seldom reflect the will of the people as opposed to the will of the big corporations, the big institutions and the big insurance companies. What is sold as a victory for the common man is most often just a disguise.
So what does this all boil down to you ask? Below is a list of characteristics that seem to apply to our current national circumstances:
“A collusion between the overweening state and certain favored monopolistic concerns, whereby the profits can be privatized and the debts socialized.
Devalued paper currency in the international community.
…those in positions of influence use their time in office to maximize their own gains, always ensuring that any shortfall is made up by those unfortunates whose daily life involves earning money rather than making it.
There must be no principle of accountability within the government so that the political corruption…is left unchecked. The members of the national legislature will be (a) largely for sale and (b) consulted only for ceremonial and rubber-stamp purposes some time after all the truly important decisions have already been made elsewhere.”
If you agree that these four elements apply, it might surprise you to learn that the United States (per a Wikipedia article from which the above characteristics were drawn) could neatly fit in the category of a…Banana Republic!
All opinions expressed by s.i. wells are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.