Information that just came out of Washington, without any exaggeration, is some of the most important news in recent years. Yet, the American media, wrongfully, and probably not without intent, didn’t comment on it, and pushed it into the background, although we’re talking about facts that weigh much more heavily on the political scales than the lurid sensationalism that the media offers, on a daily basis, to American society.
Now, it’s common knowledge that, last year alone, banks seized more than a million family-owned houses in America because the owners either defaulted on the mortgage or were overdue in payments on them. The same fate befell more than 900,000 American families the year before. As a result, during the current economic crisis, experts estimate, seven to eight million Americans lost the roof over their heads and the banks threw them out into the street. However, in this case, you shouldn’t just talk about life’s hardships and the deprivations suffered daily by millions of Americans, although this is very serious in itself. We’re talking about more. For Americans, home ownership isn’t only a material asset, but, more importantly, it’s a symbol, an embodiment of the ideology of Americanism, of what many called, for a century-and-a-half, the “American Dream”. For an American, to own your own home isn’t just that you possess a place of residence; it’s the most tangible embodiment of the “American Dream”.
Therefore, what has happened and continues to happen, isn’t simply a tragedy of life for millions of American families, but it’s also something more substantial… it’s a tragedy of frustration, a loss of faith in ideals nurtured in them from their youngest years. The blow inflicted by the banks on hard-pressed homeowners fell primarily on the middle-class, as they had the opportunity to obtain loans to purchase houses. However, the middle class, who’re in such very difficult circumstances these days, is, above all, the main bearer of the ideals of Americanism, the linchpin of contemporary American society, including its political and economic support systems. Today, in American society, nearly all levels are disillusioned with the “American Dream”; it isn’t just the middle class. Otherwise, you can’t understand the shock of recently-published poll data; it showed that 50 percent of Americans, that is, every second respondent, believed that their children would be much worse off than they are. A prominent American trades union leader, Tom Woodruff, bitterly observed that this was the first time that such happened in the history of the USA.
All the reasons for public pessimism are evident. The US national debt has reached an unprecedented figure; it now exceeds 14 trillion USD (395 trillion Roubles. 10 trillion Euros. 8.8 trillion UK Pounds), close to the size of the national GDP. For Americans, it is not just a punishing amount in relation to the national economy, but it’s also a heavy burden, personally, for each of them. According to published official data of the US Department of the Treasury, the share of every American, including the elderly and children, of the national debt is now 42,000 dollars (1.185 million Roubles. 30,136 Euros. 26,467 UK Pounds). However, not only will the current generation of US citizens be in the hole, experts believe that this debt will fall, at least, on the shoulders of the next two generations. The present crisis shakes the long-cherished beliefs of Americans, it hasn’t only hit their wallets and bank accounts, its shaken the minds and souls of millions of Americans, who have lost faith in their children’s future. Yet, to ignore these facts shows that the US media is nothing but empty-headed chatterboxes, narrow-minded and devoid of any sense of responsibility for this state of affairs. This is dangerous both for them and for their country.
11 July 2011
A View from Moscow
Voice of Russia World Service
The Republican Party screams that all Americans demand tax breaks for the rich. THAT will put things right, it claims. It refuses to face the fact that the present mess is directly due to the voodoo economics pursued by the US since the time of Ronald Reagan. The insane arms build-up in the ‘80s was coupled with Reagan’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. This arms binge without proper funding almost broke the American economy. The USA did NOT win the Cold War… it ended in a stalemate at Reykjavik in ’87. To claim that the USA won the Cold War, one has to ignore the fact the collapse of the USSR was entirely due to internal factors, it had nothing to do with a “defeat” in the Cold War. It’s a classic example of post hoc ergo propter hoc (“after this, therefore because of this”). The USA was spavined economically, as Reagan had pursued his militaristic goals on tick, he didn’t pay for it with taxes. The USA needed a generation to recover from such foolishness. It didn’t get it.
William Jefferson Clinton left GWB a modest surplus. The Republicans, as is their wont, spent through it in a flash like drunken sailors by giving additional tax breaks to their wealthy paymasters (Dropout Scott Walker was to do this on a smaller scale in Wisconsin in 2011… interesting to see how consistent the GOP is, isn’t it?). Then, GWB started two hellishly-expensive foreign wars… without raising the taxes necessary to wage them. The strain of this imprudent economic foolishness and recklessness broke the economy, sending it into the toilet in 2007, after six years of Bush’s Alfred E Neuman leadership. Reflect on this… every Republican candidate for president in 2012 wants to continue Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy, but raise taxes on ordinary folks to pay for the costs of Bush’s failed wars and policy (in their lights, the rich are the “productive” people, and we can’t raise any taxes on them).
The Democrats are little better (although we’ll probably have to hold our noses and vote for them in 2012 to avoid worse)… no American believes in either major party, except for those who directly benefit from their partisan allegiance. Neither party cares for the common man… neither party sees ordinary Americans as anything other than cannon fodder for their foreign adventures and cash cows to be milked for the benefit of the Five Percenters. NO ONE BELIEVES IN “AMERICA”… that’s the tremendous news that Val Zorin’s reporting… and even he dared not say it openly.
We see the wreckage of American Exceptionalism before us. America’s no better and no worse than any other state or nation. This crisis has rubbed our noses into that, forcefully. We’re not “supermen” or “a city set high on a hill”… I do remember that another country thought that they were the Übermenschtum… that led to Oświęcim and Hadamar. It’s time to be ordinary and normal human beings, to cease the hegemonic project that’s ruined our country, both economically and psychologically. It’s time to attend to our own garden… we simply don’t have the money to do otherwise. If the oligarchs wish war so badly, let them pay for it themselves, and let them fight it personally… that would cool their jets, I’d warrant…
Let’s have peace… not only does God demand it, plain humanity and decency demand it. Why is that so bloody difficult to grasp?