Monday, October 6, 2008

The Other Culprits Behind the American Economic Meltdown

The 7 hundred billion-dollar Wall Street bailout has riled many Americans, and rightfully so. If there had been genuine benefits in that agreement for the middle and working classes to equal those for the wealthy and businesses that greedily fed at the hog trough of deregulation, it might be easier for us to swallow the bitter pill that President Bush is ramming down our throats. But as usual, what we have is a case of state socialism for the rich and social Darwinism for everybody else.

But think about it, even though many of the GOP Congress initially voted against the bailout before doing a 180 on the second presentation, it was Bush and other rabid Republicans such as Phil Gramm that through the years--beginning with the Reaganomics of the 1980's--who have pushed for the removal of many necessary government controls and regulations. This led to the collapse of the S&L's in that decade and eventually to the train wreck of the present financial system. And in many instances it's not that the regulations were not there, they just weren't enforced. For example, as discussed in the Yahoo! News Article of "Battered financial industry faces more oversight" why was the mortgage industry allowed to get away with making high risk loans in which the borrower's income was not even verified?

It's likely that none of this would have happened if the rabid Republicans had not been elected. It's true that President Clinton made mistakes, such as signing North American Free Trade Agreement, but the federal budget ran a surplus under his watch, and his appointees such as Robert Rubin and Madeleine Albright were qualified for their positions, unlike the incompetent hacks that Bush appointed based solely on loyalty.

In turn, this leads to the question: Who voted for Regan and Bush? And aren't those voters who did so just as responsible for the present crisis as the incompetent and greedy executives and politicians along with home buyers who speculated that the bubble would never burst and bit off more mortgage than they could chew?

It wasn't as though the Reagan and Bush Father and Son, deceived the electorate on about their positions on finance and the economy. They painted government as the enemy and untrammeled free enterprise as salvation. And millions of naive Americans fell for it. If you were one of the ones gullible enough to elect these clowns and are now facing foreclosure or loss of your job, investments, 401(k), etc. as a result of their policies, then ultimately you have no one to blame but yourself. If Al Gore had not been cheated out of the presidency in 2000 or if John Kerry had not allowed himself to be "swiftboated" in 2004, we would likely have a more enlightened and prosperous America.

I make no apologies if I'm coming across as a self-righteous s.o.b. Obviously I can't stand the rabid Republicans and what they've done to our country. But more to the point, their policies have had a very negative impact on my life beginning in 1984 (see my post "Real Estate Meltdown--When Bad Loans Happen to Good People") . Along with the S & L fiasco of that era, there was leveraged buyout craze, which ultimately led to the loss of my job at a company where I had worked for several years. In turn the company that bought out my employer later filed for bankruptcy because the assets that they leveraged were worth less than what they paid for the deal. Perhaps the executives who engineered this takeover had considered that eventuality, but it's doubtful that they lost a minute of sleep over it. In a worst case scenario for the company and employees, they would still rake in millions in golden parachutes.

In this decade, as part of the mismanagement of the government, we saw Bush cut taxes for the wealthy and create the largest federal budget deficit ever. We saw ignorance promoted in the rabid Republicans' and religious fundamentalists' attempt to abolish the Enlightenment and turn this country into a theocracy. We saw the U.S. start a war in Iraq that was built on a lie.

So when you cast your vote in November, ask yourself if America has become a better place in this decade, and consider what the future holds for America and yourself if the rabid Republicans are allowed to stay in power.