I make my living as a craftsman. Working with one's hands for a living gives the mind freedom to puzzle about the news of the day. Yesterday was sunny, the first really warm afternoon since last November. We had the shop door up, the dog was rolling around on a patch of newly revealed grass, Ed Schultz's excellent progressive radio show was on the Internet, and AIG was getting a well deserved reaming. One thing clearly on everyone's mind these days: Why did we get in this mess and where did all the money go?
When I got home and checked into KOS, I was pleased to find an excellent analysis by Pluto, revealing a steaming pile of details. The light-bulb came on and my own struggle with trying to figure out it snapped into focus. It's those damned frat boys again. War, financial panic, and the accompanying social disintegration all serve the narrow interests of these pricks and their social peers. Whether it's an outright scammer like Bernie Madoff, or the legal thievery of AIG, Wall Street, and the bankers, it's always the same story.
They take our money because they feel ENTITLED to it. Like medieval barons who stole the crops of peasants at the point of a sword, they use social position and power to tax the labor of all the rest of us.
It always helps to simplify:
The truth is we've been conned, not just by the likes of Bernie Madoff, but by a whole corrupt system designed from its foundations to steal the hard-earned savings of ordinary folks to finance the gluttony of the rich.
Have they got a deal for you. They have a red wagon, you have a blue bike. Tell you what, They'll loan you a bunch of money so you can buy their wagon for a billion dollars. They'll take the billion, skim a $100 million or so off the top and buy your bike with the rest. Now for the rabbit: We're rich! We've both got a billion or so in assets! And best part is, we can't lose because just look at how well our asset values are going up. As long as we keep this circular cluster f**k going we don't even have to do real work any more. Tee time's at 11:00.
Well, guess what? Last time I sold a real blue bike at a yard sale I got ten bucks for it. By the way, if a Chinese guy comes around looking for the billion, it's YOUR problem not theirs.
If you would like a light-bulb to illuminate your own thinking about this mess, here's what I've figured out:
- Bankers and stock brokers are thieves. What's theirs is theirs. What's YOURS is theirs too.
- It's all about the skim. They don't give a rat's ass about the final results: the saving for retirement, the equity you thought you were building in your home, the capital investment in American industry and our collective future, or any of the other lies they tell when they convince you to give them your money. They don't really care where the money goes, just as long as it goes. When it moves, always they get their bite.
- They will do ANYTHING including leaving the economy a smoking wreck, with our industries dismantled and sent to Asia, jobless, homeless, hungry people wandering the streets, the earth ravaged and polluted, and war and famine haunting the world -- ANYTHING, as long as they get their skim.
- The so-called debate we hear in the public forum is most often conducted by social "A" types, who if not cynically lying to guard their own interest, are at best envying and deferring to the entitled class. When the right-wing talks about class warfare, they have it correct for once.
- The real debate is going to be a dog fight. No medieval barron or modern buccaneer capitalist would ever willingly give up their prerogatives out of a sense of moral duty. We are going to have to overcome these thieves with courage and wisdom. The future of our children and our world is at stake.