The Future Without A Future

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By David Glenn Cox

If I told you that tomorrow would not come, you would laugh at me. If I
told you that tomorrow will come but that you will not like it, you
would shun me. After all, denial is one ingrained defense mechanism,
just as panic is the other. Our biological instinct is fight or flight.
But through soothing words and patriotic platitudes, we’re taught that
everything is gonna be all right. Isn’t it? After all, we are the
United States of America, the greatest country on the planet! Bullshit!
Yes, bullshit!

We are a nation led around by the nose, afraid
to make noise, afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. We sit quietly
while our economic world crumbles around us and lie in our beds at
night quaking with fear. We’ve sat quietly while they’ve broken the
unions. Maybe we snickered up our sleeves at their loss, but if the
boss man doesn’t have to give them healthcare, why should he give it to
you? What are you going to do, piss ant? Go on strike?

Our
country is in economic ruins. Since 1974 only the top twenty percent of
wage earners have even kept up with inflation, let alone gotten ahead.
They once snickered up their sleeves at you. Suckers, dolts, while they
outsourced jobs and industries to Asia. “They should have gone to
college like I did. I’m so much smarter than the herd, I’ve got a
sheepskin!” But then the bubble went pop. And just like Bozo at the
county fair, they find themselves under water in the dunk tank!

Their
retirements are gone, their 401Ks sapped. But Fox News says, “This is a
great time to invest. Why, the markets already recovered thirty percent
of its value!” But, you get it this time, don’t you? Your money is
gone. Your wealth is gone, your losses were from ten or fifteen years
of working at your job. A job that has been sliding ever backwards
while you added credit debt to make up the difference. Now they are
telling you to try again. They’ll hold the football for you, Charlie
Brown. It’s gonna work out this time; just you wait and see.

It
all centers around a great big cow pie called free trade, which is
neither free nor actually trade. Free trade is to trade as prostitution
is to sex, the exchange of money to get fucked. A Chinese laborer earns
five dollars a day and can live on that and support a family. Can you?
We now owe The Peoples Republic of China 1.2 trillion dollars including
$774 billion in treasury bonds while China amasses cash reserves of $2
trillion dollars. Remember when they told us free trade would bring
jobs? Well it did, it brought jobs to Japan and South Korea and even
tiny Taiwan who is, officially at least, at odds with Beijing. When it
comes to import partners, the US lags behind an island slightly smaller
than Maryland and Delaware.

But when it comes to export
partners, the US is second to none. Chinese exports to the US are four
times the amount of the European Union. Four times the amount of South
Korea and twice as much as the Japanese. And we wonder why our cities
are in ruins and our industries are collapsing around us. It is a no
brainier, while politicians of both parties stand around whistling at
the ceiling. But before you think that I’m being xenophobic or
protectionist, let me state that I place the blame squarely on the
shoulders of American Capitalism.

The American Capitalists
weren’t seeking trade, they were seeking an escape from safety and
environmental legislation, and if they could get workers that earned
fifty cents an hour thrown in, so much the better. It was a return to
the good old days of pumping it right into the sky and dumping it
straight into the river. To where an injured worker is taken care of by
calling out, “Next!”

Now the situation has reached critical
mass; the government in China is spending more on security than ever
before. The Chinese workers have only seen the upside of capitalism.
Recently a toy factory in Beijing went bankrupt; the workers didn’t
understand the concept until they discovered that they no longer had
jobs and there was no money for back pay. They trashed the place.

The
engine of the economy is broken; those with diminished incomes do not
participate in the economy. Those with looted pensions don’t buy
retirement homes in Florida. They don’t take vacations or go to
amusement parks. They don’t buy clothes or cars or tires or gasoline.
The numbers of those people are exploding; by some estimates 15.8% are
already unemployed or underemployed. It's a dead weight that drags the
rest of the economy down with it. Commercial loan defaults are
exploding; Blockbuster has one foot in the grave and one foot on a
banana peel.

The federal government shovels money into the banks
trying to create a firebreak, because if the banks collapse, the jig is
up. Remember how the Republicans are always talking about how the
government really doesn’t have a Social Security trust fund, just a box
of IOU’s? Guess what? They really don’t have a trust fund for FDIC
either. Had they not found a buyer when Washington Mutual collapsed,
the FDIC would have been almost wiped out. Of course they would have
just written more checks, but sooner or later it has to stop.

Now
the economic slow down on this end of the pipeline has caused massive
disruption in China. China will turn out six million college graduates
this year and unemployment has doubled. The millions of rural people
headed to the cities for a better life find poverty in the city and
nothing to go home to. The Chinese economy is the third largest in the
world. The G-20 estimates that China will replace the United States as
number one in thirty years. Already the Chinese have started to talk
about replacing the dollar as the world's reserve currency. Quite a
price to pay for cheap crap at Wal-Mart.

This is your future;
these are your prospects. China will continue to build coal-fired power
plants because they are inexpensive. Our economies are now keyed to
cost-shaving, not for improvement. GE is selling nuclear reactors and
trusting to the Chinese to handle the waste products. As long as the
check clears, right?

The tens of millions of Americans who have
lost homes or cars or defaulted on credit cards are out of the credit
game for at least seven years and most probably forever. You can’t land
a good job without a good credit score, but the lake is fished out.
Tens of thousands go to night school to earn masters and doctorate
degrees only to find that they’ve priced themselves out of the job
market. Just as we’ve all been priced out of the job market. So, we pay
less in taxes. We’ve lost our homes so we don’t pay property taxes; we
don’t buy tires or gas so we don’t pay excise or highway taxes. In
fact, we don’t buy anything except food, so we don’t pay that much in
sales taxes.

Then the city, the county and the state must handle
a budget shortfall. They begin by cutting school budgets and by laying
off employees, which fuels the cycle yet again.

They’ve
strangled the golden goose of the American economy all while the
American populace cheered and egged them on. "But what," Scrooge asked
of the ghost of Christmas future, “are these things that must come to
pass?” The answer is, “No, they don't have to.” But they are things
which will come to pass without a program aimed at educating the
government on the second-best use of a lamp post. For most of us
prosperity will not return in our lifetime; our future has no future.
This is a labor we must do for our children and our planet. It took
twenty five years to recover from the last depression where we lost our
jobs, and this one is worse because we didn’t lose them, our leaders
gave them away in the name of a quick buck.