Open Letter to The Beltway (etal)
Hey Firepups of Fire:
Note: This screed has already been sent out via USPS to the President and to various members of Congress. Obviously, the missive is not directed toward anyone here. I simply wanted to throw it up on the Magic Interweb Machine. Comments are welcome. (Be cruel but fair.) That being said, here we go.
August 27, 2011
In light of the fact that the following narrative contains facts and concepts not embedded in everyday, mindless “DC” talking points (and, of course, that it contains multi-syllable words), I understand that it might be difficult for the average politician to follow. However, I would urge you to put on your thinking cap and try to keep up. Your job might very well depend upon it.
In a nutshell, here’s how we got here:
Wall Street bankers (basically) destroyed the economy. Without question, the economic devastation we are currently experiencing was caused in large part by a criminally-engineered, greed-driven housing bubble – and the subsequent and inevitable collapse of that “bubble.” (There is overwhelming factual evidence to support this assertion, so please don’t insult my intelligence by suggesting otherwise.) Further, the aforementioned housing debacle created severe collateral damage to the tax base at the federal, state and local levels. A greatly-reduced tax base, coupled with the reckless and completely idiotic “Bush tax cuts” for the very wealthy (excuse me, “the job creators”) blew a gaping hole in the Federal budget. Add in (at least) three unnecessary and provocative imperial adventures, and here we are. Nor does it take a cadre of our finest intellectuals to arrive at such a conclusion.
Do the vaunted political operatives on Capitol Hill deign to convey this reality to the citizenry (let alone in a plain and succinct manner)? Of course not. Instead, what is routinely delivered as holy writ unto “the great unwashed masses” is the hysterical and specious narrative that “we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem,” that “government is too big,” and that “there is too much regulation and taxation.” (Blah, blah, blah.) For those individuals who possess more than two brain cells, this incessant meme amounts to nothing more than mendacious prevarication – for more reasons than I care to enumerate in this context.
So how do we begin to change course?
1. Immediately and permanently rescind the ill-conceived “Bush tax cuts” for the most wealthy and privileged among us. This action would not be felt in any material way by around 315 million (or more) of our fellow citizens. As for a few thousand uber-wealthy individuals, numerous transnational corporations, and the lobbyist scumbags who do their bidding on Capitol Hill? Plainly stated, they’re just going to have to do their patriotic duty and suck it up – for a change.
2. Initiate a massive (read: $1 Trillion+ for starters) public/private infrastructure rebuilding program – roads, bridges, sewers, electrical grids, transportation systems, etc. In other words, invest in America. With long-term interest rates on US Treasuries at near-historic lows, it makes very good financial sense to borrow now in order to fund the construction of long-term assets. Further, the (so-called) “Bush tax cuts” have been inked into the US Tax Code for nearly a decade, and American (read: transnational) corporations are presently hoarding over $2 Trillion in cash reserves. Accordingly, it’s reasonable to conclude that if tax cuts were all that was required to create jobs, the current unemployment rate would be in the low single digits, if not negative. Finally, (and just so we’re clear on the point) the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” failed because it was much too small, and heavily-larded with stupid and unproductive tax cuts. Further, the observation that dismal failure would be the ultimate outcome of this “stimulus program” was contemporaneously elucidated by many and varied economists. So again, please don’t insult me by mouthing conventional, insipid, redundant talking points. That gruel is getting really thin.
3. Immediately seize the mega-zombie banks, place them into receivership, write the assets down to real market value, declare the institutions insolvent (which they will most certainly be proven to be) and break them up. Vigorously investigate, indict and prosecute as indicated. If guilt is established in a court of law, impose very harsh prison sentences. This approach worked very effectively during the S & L crisis, albeit on a much smaller scale. There is no reason to think it would not be effective in this case.
4. Adjust underwater mortgages to real market value, and streamline the refinancing process, so that those who still have homes are given a fighting chance to keep them. Obviously, this process should not be confined only to those persons who are behind on their payments. Individuals who have high credit scores and have been making timely payments must also be permitted to refinance.
5. Begin an orderly draw-down of US military forces and materiel in Iraq, Afghanistan, and various other countries. (Note: This does not mean to pull out US government personnel and replace them with military contractors. It means to leave, period.) The amount of money being spent on these feckless military conquests is easily into the multiple $Trillions (and growing).
If stabilizing the economy is, in fact, the actual goal, the five steps noted above would amount to a very substantial starting point. Conversely, anything less amounts to nothing so much as the proverbial rearrangement of deck chairs. Whether we like it or not, change is coming. I am asserting that this change be undertaken on our own terms, rather than having it forced upon us as a result of circumstances (financial and otherwise) beyond our control. Rudimentary though it may sound, the decisions made now will inevitably affect how things unfold for the United States in the coming years. (As an aside, there is a very large population of well-known economists, academics, intellectuals and other professionals who would heartily endorse the initiatives I have outlined above. If you want a list, I’d be more than happy to provide it.)
Finally, I’ve grown weary of being constantly subjected to specious and self-serving talking points (read: hyperbole and lies) belched from the pieholes of legislators, pundits, half-bright, financially-compromised “think tank” types, and numerous fellow travelers. Virtually all of these individuals live inside a hermetically-sealed bubble through which the grim reality of everyday existence for tens of millions of Americans cannot penetrate. More importantly, the thoroughly discredited memes of these aristocratic dullards have the deleterious effect of snuffing out constructive dialogue in virtually every corner the society. Baldly stated, more thoughtful and rational minds need to prevail. Unfortunately, such voices can scarcely be discerned above the cacophony generated by the usual beltway suspects – Republican, Democratic and, of course, the hired fools and whores who populate the “main stream media.” (As an aside, I could start listing names that are currently being bandied about as potential saviors in the increasingly frenzied and circus-like run-up to the 2012 elections. However, such an effort would be a complete waste of everyone’s time. Suffice to say that the whole lot of them is scarcely worth the cost of bus fare required to drive them back down into whatever hole they clawed their way out of.)
If we are to save the country, it’s time for self-interested political hacks and their corporate enablers to step aside and defer to grown-up adults who are not for sale, and who actually care about doing the right thing, both for themselves and for the nation.
The old axiom applies: If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem. I’ll leave it to you to figure out where you fit in that maxim.