AMERICA 'THROWN UNDER THE BUS'

(10/18/2008)

OPINION/COMMENT by Bob Weaver

The trillion dollar bailout (reported as $700 billion) of America's "free market" financial system, is following the worst collapse since 1929.

It has left most Americans in a frenzy, for good reason.

It feels like we've been "thrown under the bus," to use the pundits latest catch-phrase.

Retirement accounts have already lost $2 trillion, $8.3 trillion including all pensions and savings funds.

While millions of jobs have have been lost to the "free market" globalized movement, about a million more jobs are expected to be lost this year in the US, with more on the horizon as the nation sinks into (Washington won't say recession) a weakened economy.

American taxpayers and voters have been sleeping while this mess has unfurled, trusting their government and multi-national financiers to do the right thing.

Driven by greed, deregulation, pocket-lining, lobbying and head-turning, we have put our children's future at risk.

Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, and most of Washington since their tenure, adopted "trickle down" and "supply side" economics, driven by unfettered deregulation.

Free market, which has solid basis in practice, has become a perverted and greedy system which has led to this collapse.

The National Debt, a figure which is generally ignored, just rolled past $10 trillion, with current government overspending exceeding a half trillion. That was before be had a problem.

An atrocious trade deficit reminds us that America is no longer a producing county, but has become a consumer-based economy.

Remember President Bush's encouraging words after 9-11 to get out and shop, shop, shop.

If we don't fuel our consumer-based economy, the country will fall apart.

The war(s) could cost Americans between $3 trillion and $5 trillion, including military spending, broader economic costs and decades of benefits and medical care for combat veterans, according to a Nobel prize-winning economist.

Worried?

The US has failed to develop a national energy policy which would replace fossil fuel, with Washington engaged in a "we need more oil strategy."

Meanwhile, working people have been suffering with stagnant wages, lost benefits, unfordable healthcare, gasoline prices crimping family budgets and skyrocketing costs of food and consumer goods.

Some accounts indicate the bailout is likely fueling a flawed system based on out-of-control unbridled greed, a collapse which Wall Street executives, mega-corporations or Washington politicians have taken little responsibility.

Perhaps it is most troubling that the US Congress, in a time of national crisis, had to sweeten the recent $700 billion bail-out package with billions of dollars of earmarks.

While earmarks are a small slice of the national budget, although Sen. John McCain has been railing about them daily, it would seem prudent to put them aside during such a crisis.

McCain approved the package with earmarks. So did Obama.

We're told the bail-out package is "too complicated" for regular folks to understand, and few are willing to attempt a down-to-earth explanation, just saying "We're in uncharted territory."

We know where the charted territory took us.

In Japan, government officials often face their citizens when they really mess-up and have the good graces to accept responsibility and resign.

In the US politicians blame the other party and the corporate executives give themselves half-million dollar retreats while clinging to their golden parachutes.

America deserves better.


Hur Herald ®from Sunny Cal
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