The Future Without A Future

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.

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.