Every time I have listened to, watched, or read news over the past few weeks, I have been inundated with stories about the economy. Freddy and Frannie. AIG. WaMu. The Dow. Re-hashing of the Savings and Loan bailout. Wall street is up, it’s down, everything is ok, everything is doomed and the world economy is about to come crashing down around us. So many different stories, so many excuses, so much hemming and hawing from all sorts of ‘experts.’
I myself am about as far as you can get from an expert on the economy. I can’t manage my own finances, let alone keep on top of the global economy. I am one of those people that uses credit cards way too much and figures out how much money I have by checking my balance online. Even in the days when most people balanced their checkbooks in hard copy format, I never did.
As a kid, I thought checks were magical papers that you wrote on to use like money. I didn’t make the connection between those little papers and a bank account (sometimes I still don’t). Neither my parents or my teachers taught me anything about money, economics, finances. Why would they? I was a girl after all. I would grow up and have a man by my side to do all that. (Ugh!)
So, now, years later, I am suffering from an upbringing where I learned nothing about finances (and was simultaneously raised on the consumerist ethic where life equaled shopping and spending money). As such, I am not conversant in all the hefty economic jargon being thrown around. I do, however, know enough to realize that what is currently going down is akin to daylight robbery. It’s Robin Hood in reverse – the rich cats (government and corporation heads) are robbing money from the poor (U.S. taxpayers) to try and sort out a fiasco caused by duplicitous, money grabbing schemes.
As per usual, they are whipping up fear and panic while ignoring questions of accountability. I am no Suze Orman, but I don’t trust these guys (yes, they are literally men) to decide the financial fate of our nation. If they are up to their usual tricks, their ‘fix’ will merely mean more deeply filling their own overstuffed pockets. Their game and its dodgy rules are elucidated by Representative Marcy Kaptur in her address to the House “the latest reality game: WallStreet Bail out.”
And, as Michael Moore makes patently clear, these gameplayers are attempting an economic coup. Referring to this economic fiasco as “the Corporate Crime of the Century,” Moore notes that “Wall Street and its propaganda arm (the networks and media it owns)” stayed silent on all of the following regarding the bailout:
“1. The bailout bill had NO enforcement provisions for the so-called oversight group that was going to monitor Wall Street’s spending of the $700 billion;
2. It had NO penalties, fines or imprisonment for any executive who might steal any of the people’s money;
3. It did NOTHING to force banks and lenders to rewrite people’s mortgages to avoid foreclosures — this bill would not have stopped ONE foreclosure!;
4. It had NO teeth anywhere in the entire piece of legislation, using words like “suggested” when referring to the government being paid back for the bailout;
Writing about this crime of the century on Monday, Moore explained the true mission of the bailout:
“This bailout’s mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It’s to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It’s to make sure their yachts and mansions and “way of life” go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!”
So, I don’t agree with the metaphor that the roof is on fire (sorry CulturePress, but I disagree with you on this one). More like the gameplayers want to convince us that the roof is on fire and we just may be burned alive any second so that we will agree to anything… Well, if they’re the ones selling the water, I don’t want it. I guarantee its laced with poison. I may not be that great with finances, but I can spot a corporate crime when I see one.
So far, the most rational response I have heard to address the financial situation comes from Green party candidate Cynthia McKinney. Her 14 point plan can be read in their entirety here.