By David Glenn Cox
Years ago I was in a terrible car crash. It was a beautiful, sunny
spring day and we were headed for Panama City, Florida. My friend had
just replaced his four thousand-pound Ford with a new MGB convertible.
The back tire, the driving wheel, got into the gravel and lost
traction. The car swerved and he jerked the wheel to correct, but it
wasn’t a four thousand-pound Ford, just an eighteen hundred-pound
sports car. All of my life compressed into one instant of stopped and
frozen time and a realization that even today haunts my nights. One
fleeting thought passed through my mind, not with fear, for it was far
too quick for fear to catch hold of its coattails. My thought was,
“We’re not going to get out of this.”
I have watched with lively
interest as the media has described our economic crisis as the sub
prime mortgage mess. Back then the theory was decoupling, all the while
denying that we were in a recession. The unemployment numbers grew and
economic statistics declined as our former President described the
millions losing their homes as “poor consumers.” The President began a
program, arm in arm with the lenders, the same lenders that made the
bad loans in the first place. And what did he offer to the borrowers?
The same package that he offered New Orleans in the days after Katrina.
admit openly to being cynical, but why shouldn’t I be? I’ve seen my
industry devastated with the associated plant closings and suicides. I
started two businesses myself; isn’t that what they told us we should
try to do? I’ve shuttered them both and because of that when I see a
vacant storefront I don’t just see an empty building, I see a
devastated dream. The dream of people who tried to do better for
themselves, who took out loans and sold off property on a gamble.
People hounded night and day by bill collectors while the banks that
gave them loans are bailed out.
But it occurred to me, as they
were discussing limiting executive compensation, I thought to myself,
“Wait a damn minute here! If they’re going to take federal money then
we need to send those executives to Urine University for a whiz quiz.”
After all, everyone from high school athletes to tens of millions of
Americans merely seeking employment are forced to submit to a urine
test for drug screening. It is a search without probable cause, and
it’s not the test I mind but the idea of the test. But these executives
have failed; they have crashed their industry, and if we whiz quiz bus
drivers, involved in fender benders, why not the banking executives?
private physicians, no you go to the doc in the box just like everyone
else and have the orderly stand next to you while you pee. I mention
this because it illustrates the two-tiered system. Banks get bailed
out, bankers get bailed out, insurance companies get bailed out. But
when the issue is brought to the fore to rescue workers or the big
three, immediately the issue becomes over-paid union auto workers and
Americans that will just have to settle for less. Well, I’ve got two
words for them, Fuck You!
I hope that won’t be edited because as
Mark Twain once said, “Sometimes profanity offers a release denied even
to prayer.” It is this heads I win, tails you lose society that I have
just have grown sick of. This blizzard of propaganda until we can’t see
the forest for the trees. The national network media operates as a
private club, offering unquestioned opinion against the stimulus
package. Google FDR’s New Deal and you’ll see opinion article after
article defaming the New Deal and Roosevelt as prolonging the
depression and making it worse, but what you won’t find is any viable
The sufferings of the man on the street are
ignored, but zoo XYZ just got a new panda cub! The thousands lined up
at a food pantry in Detroit, that’s not news in America; if you want to
read about that, try Europe. Just this morning I heard it described
again as a crisis of confidence. The Pollyanna /Phil Graham notion that
if we think it is all right then it is all right school of economics.
As the debate continues about the dangers of government intervention
interfering with the free market, I scream, “Don’t you get it? We’re
not going to get out of this!”
I supported President Obama’s
campaign and I think he is a very intelligent man. But he is a captain
without radar picket ships. Does he honestly believe that he’s going to
get anywhere by talking sweetly to Republicans? You can’t fight pit
bulls with “nice doggie.” The stimulus package is a patch for a flat
tire when what we need is a new tire or maybe even a new vehicle.
thirty-year Republican revolution of Ronald Reagan has cost us our
manufacturing base and brought us declining wages for all but the top
20%. It’s given us the most expensive health care system in the world,
which enriches the corporations at the expense of the poorest among us.
Bill Clinton tried to buck the system but found out very quickly that
it puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose. Only when he
co-operated was he able to pass legislation such as NAFTA and Welfare
Reform, and thanks a lot for that.
This revolution of
deregulation and redistribution of wealth has brought us to the brink
of financial ruin, and “We’re not going to get out of this!” We are not
going to negotiate our way out of this or barter our way out of this.
This debate going on right now in Congress is telling. It is telling of
an impotent system that no longer works in the interests of the people
of this country. We have a confederacy of legislators fighting for
local corporate interests with no national vision save to exempt the
wealthy from tax increases.
We went to war because of 2,752
deaths in the World Trade Center, accompanied by the siren song of
media potentates. There are two million American families who have
already been thrown out onto the road and there are two million more
who will be thrown out onto the road. We’ve spent $594,103,393,531 on
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and what are we going to do to assist
the American workers and their families? They don’t know yet, they’re
still thinking about it. They question if we have enough money in the
budget or if it might not hurt long-term growth.
I grow weary of
this system, a system where others profit off of my labor or my loss or
my illness or my age, and even by my death. We’re no different than the
cattle in the stockyard, waiting for the herdsman. A system of
parasites, we are the United States of Bernie Madoff. If so, what then
is our future? This debate is not about the stimulus package; this
debate pulls the masks from our antagonists. The real debate will come
soon because “We’re not going to get out of this!”
counter-revolution can save us from a status of permanent underclass.
This is a revolution, which we cannot lose, either we put the
capitalist system back in its box or we do away with the capitalist
model altogether. As jobless numbers reach a 26-year high the stock
market responds by climbing two hundred points. Somebody sees this as
good news. What system could be any worse than living at the capricious
whims of the greedy and corrupt? But perhaps you still disagree, and
that is fine with me. I’ll wait for you.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.