Bush and Cheney entered office in 2000, well before 9/11, ready to topple Saddam Hussein, according to then Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill in Ron Suskind’s The Price of Loyalty.(1) At their first National Security Council meeting, ousting Saddam was high on the agenda. After 9/11 no excuses were necessary. (Perhaps they knew it was coming?) So to get America into an imperialist war, contrary to the Constitution, both lied about Saddam’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. More than a decade later, with 4,000 dead and 50,000 seriously injured US troops, and at a conservative estimate, 650,000 dead and 1,000,000 displaced Iraqis, we are still there, stuck in alien territory. They even branched out to include Afghanistan, “surging” along attempting to “spread democracy.” Eight years later Obama took over. Instead of the promise of change he told us we could believe in, he widened the war, blowing up the Afghan campaign into a surge we were all made to believe in—meanwhile receiving the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize (sign on Texas gas station: “Free Nobel Peace Prize with Oil Change”)—while holding an election no one can believe in to select an Afghan head of government even he couldn’t believe in, and adding to Pakistan’s misery by getting them hopelessly involved. In this astonishing 21st-century New World Order campaign to control oil, drugs, and run the world, we’ve spent a trillion dollars we didn’t have. Potentially, it could require another trillion dollars just to get us out, as our incursions into Somalia, Yemen, and now Libya—perhaps soon Syria or Iran—perpetuate our continuous brutal behavior.
But if you think that’s lunacy, consider the consequences at home.
Out of nowhere in late 2008 we ran into a national financial crisis, reminiscent of the 1929 Wall Street Crash but caused this time by a sub-prime mortgage scare. Looking back now, how such a scam could have been considered legal is beyond comprehension. Apparently, with plenty of easy money sloshing about for customers with less-than-perfect credit, who cared? Certainly not the banksters and their friends, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and other federal regulators. So when variable mortgages began to shoot upwards, as they were designed to do, many new homeowners found they could not afford to pay their monthly bills and foreclosures grew rapidly. This led to home values in decline for the first time in years. Home sales sagged; real estate profits plummeted. So what did the Fed do to halt the oncoming recession? They cut interest rates in double-quick time. While this policy put more money into the economy, it ignored the fundamental flaw of the charade: there wasn’t any money. All we had as collateral was debt, the “pretense of money.” Bernanke hadn’t noticed that the economy was a house of cards on the brink of collapse. God knows why, because it was obvious to many others. Notwithstanding, Time magazine named him 2009 Person of the Year.
Now Bernanke is worried about inflation—the hidden tax on all of us, particularly the poor—and the next-to-useless dollar. The Dow Jones is all over the place but generally in decline. Our European partners are equally troubled with their sinking euro. Japan’s economy is in dire straits, not helped by a hugely devastating earthquake and tsunami with dreadful lingering consequences. Unemployment in both the US and the EU is at record high levels, showing little signs of improvement. Even China is grumbling, not surprising when it is beginning to wonder how the US is to pay off the $14 trillion debt which is being largely carried by China. Meanwhile, those in the know are hoping and praying that the floodgates are strong enough to hold back the self-inflicted increasing pressure caused by our past greed. It’s as if we all fell off our trolleys, running in the same tracks at the same time, and we haven’t a clue as to how to get back on.
The Soundness of Reason
If they want to be reelected, Washington politicians need to concentrate on two policies: creating sound money and caring for the welfare of the common people. Few of them realize this. Some are trying, but they have been brainwashed by the propaganda of economists who advocate getting out of the hole created in the autumn of 2008 by bailing out the banks, directly (Bush-Paulson) or indirectly (Obama-Geithner). Since these are reckless policies, relying on spending our future wealth now, they further the creation of unsound money in total disregard of the needs of the people. We see the rich winning at our expense and wonder why. Obama’s campaign mantras are quickly beginning to sound fraudulent.
Nobel Prizes for Economics (and now Peace) are a farce. Physics, Chemistry, Literature are all worthy endeavors. Economics is a game of chance predicting differing outcomes, none of which are certain. So why should Obama’s gang be any better than Bush’s gang? That’s why spending our future on a stimulus package that might work is not only risky, it’s criminal, particularly when it’s exactly how Bush tried and failed.
There are alternatives, Mr. Obama. Why not hone in on the problem and develop solutions? That’s what a physicist or a chemist would do. Economics is far too imprecise.
Answers to national problems are rarely found on the political Right or Left anymore but in the common sense of reason, the amalgam of principles and well thought through argument so necessary for our survival. Instead, contemporary debates are shouting matches on Sunday morning Fox TV programs, no longer the rational, lively discussion of disagreements presented on William F. Buckley’s Firing Line show thirty-odd years ago, particularly with guests such as Noam Chomsky or John Kenneth Galbraith. More recently, we could watch an engaging dialogue on Bill Moyers Journal on PBS on Friday evenings until Bill decided enough was enough. Now there is little that even approaches the intelligent discourse characteristic of a democracy that once was the pride and joy of the Western world. Nowhere is the present dearth of meaningful political discussion so conspicuous as on C-Span TV where congressional “debates” aired in three-quarters empty chambers are absolutely soporific, so different from the carnival atmosphere of the British House of Commons on Prime Minister’s Question Time.
So is the argument for getting back on the gold standard, or any other standard that does not create debt, the way forward?
To contemplate resolving such an enormous issue requires more than debate, even if we ever got around to it. It requires debts to be paid off, willingness to accept no new debt, everyone to live within their means, and exceptional hardship for a long time. In other words, it isn’t likely to happen because no one considers it a debatable issue, except Ron Paul. On the issue of even considering single payer healthcare, there was Dennis Kucinich until he gave up spectacularly by voting for the Obama healthcare bill at the very last minute, to squeak the president over the fence, the biggest about-face seen in politics in years. This is the decline of America in its most naked form.
Before the Lights Go Out
We need to listen not to economists (who bicker among themselves instead of providing any real guidance) or reactionary radio and TV pundits (who behave obnoxiously and enrich themselves at the expense of our penury) but to sound thinkers of uncommon rectitude—so far, the only one among contending presidential hopefuls being Ron Paul—with no axe to grind but, rather, consistent adherence to his principles as well as policies to steer America back to its worthy place as the hope of the world.
In addition, here is a blueprint for getting Americans back to work, a guarantee that eliminates the annual deficit, a plan for reforming America’s sickcare system, and an obvious change in the way we manage our wealth.(2, 3, 4, 5) An argument for a noninterventionist foreign policy is next in line.
1. Ron Suskind, The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill (2004–ISBN 9780743255462)