Political Burglary in the Union
by Ezrah Aharone
During President Obama's first State of the Union address, there were over 100 applause lines, no shouts of "you lie," and no reality show contestants (that we know of) breached security on a schmooze mission.
Aside from these successes, the Union is being politically burglarized and is in immediate need of rescue -- Rescue from the collapsing weight of national debt and unregulated greed throughout America's "Free Market Capitalism," and rescue from the fast-sinking quicksand of military mishaps. This plundering for profits and power, long superseded Bush's arrival and will long subsist beyond Obama's departure.
World capitalism (costs of labor, value of currencies, controls over resources) did not evolve haphazardly in isolated fragments that are unrelated to coercion, occupation, and military might. With few exceptions, nations with the strongest currencies also have the strongest militaries and records of hegemony. Capitalism euphemistically has "free markets," but as Ron Jacobs wrote in CounterPunch, capitalism is neither moral nor immoral -- it is "amoral." And "in order to survive, it must expand... The fact that the US spends more money on weaponry and war is directly related to this phenomenon."
America was not only born with foreign debts from war-costs of its revolution, but it has bled annual debts in all but two years since its founding. Of the $3.8 trillion in Obama's proposed 2011 federal budget, $738 billion is for defense and over $1 trillion will be borrowed from foreign creditors. Now with double-digit unemployment and a $12 trillion national debt, at least 45 cents of every US dollar is owed to governments like Kuwait and China.
Sovereign Wealth Funds (financial institutions of foreign governments that invest in other nations) are pouring into America faster than immigrants. At one point from November 2007 to January 2008, the governments of Kuwait, China, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and South Korea invested over $40 billion in US banks. Since 2001, the dollar has tail-spun in value to the point where it is no longer the world's strongest currency. And if you notice, some US businesses will now accept payments in Euros.
In a Charles Darwin-like fashion of "natural selection/survival of the fittest," the financial services industry has subsequently resorted to cannibalizing the financial meat off the bones of the disadvantaged public, via subprime mortgages, usury interest rates, excessive penalties, Ponzi schemes and predatory lending practices. Consumers who've lost homes, investments, and retirement funds have had little government recourse, unless you count state-operated Power Ball lotteries.
Had this burglary been orchestrated by individuals instead of institutions, it would be criminal. But under the guise of "too big to fail," rather than prosecuting, the government is subsidizing some of these same institutions with billions in tax-funded bailouts. And in a classic case of "wolves watching the henhouse," some of the same Wall Street execs are being rotated into musical-chair appointments as "experts" to run the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and other fiscal agencies.
But how could the so-called best and brightest people of government and Washington think tanks, who supposedly safeguard society, sit back and watch clusters of companies become "too big to fail" in the first place? Whether it's incompetence or complicity, here's what they should know before more ransom is given to bailout corporations that later split multimillions of loot "bonuses" among execs û If any business, in any industry, is deemed "too big to fail," then that alone should stipulate it as a "modern-day monopoly" which, under expanded Antitrust Laws should subject it to be broken-up long before its failure can burglarize society.
As for healthcare, once you mix corporate greed with the political influence and endless lobbying dollars of the insurance industry, it's easy to understand why "affordable" insurance is so controversial among congressmen who already have comprehensive (tax-funded) coverage. Remember, capitalism is amoral. So, because of "profit motives" your health is secondary to money. Therefore, whenever a healthcare bill does pass, the pendulum will surely swing to favor money-hungry companies that delay and deny needed approvals to the sick. Not to mention "drive through" surgeries.
The coziness, favoritism, and profiteering between government and corporations are known practices of "dollars and dealings" within a thriving plutocratic culture, where society's elite moneychangers engage in "Pay-to-Play Democracy" to influence policymaking, party platforms, and election outcomes. Bluebloods who "donate" $25,000 per-plate to attend political fundraisers, don't waste their "bargaining chips" by trying to moralize capitalism. Besides, it would be rudely inappropriate to advocate for the burglarized public while plutocrats dine on braised stuffed pheasant.