Today’s Washington Post reports that the decade run by George Bush, even with a Democratic majority in the Congress for the last four years, is an economic bust for ordinary Americans. No news to most of us.
Conservative economic neo-liberalism is the name of the con-game that the rich (led by Wall Street and rich Republicans and rich Democrats) have been playing on the American people for the past thirty years. It’s no wonder there has been zero net job creation in the last decade. Job creation is NOT the game of the rich. Their game is to increase the size of the dividends that they receive from their Wall Street investments and to hell with ordinary working Americans. The game of the rich began in earnest with Ronald Reagan. The Great Depression clipped their ears back until the reign of Reagan.
HOW HAVE THEY DONE IT?
1. New speak supported and perpetrated on the American people by mainstream media
The primary means they have used is newspeak of multimillionaire politicians that is supported by mainsteam media–also owned by the rich. They call black white and white black. We are told that Wall Street’s prosperity is aligned with that of Main Street. That is a lie. The prosperity of Wall Street is aligned with the prosperity of the multimillionaires who run our Senate as well as the other upper 1% of the wealthiest in our nation–not with ordinary Americans. These people will do anything to maintain their bottom line for the rich and the size of the dividends they get–this includes firing up to 10% of their workers like Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs did. These people don’t give a damn about Main Street or the people who live on it. Ironic to think of it, but the wealthiest 1% are the true government welfare recipients of our nation–not ordinary Americans. But with their newspeak, people like Ronald Reagan twisted the truth and tried to make out like poor people are the ones ripping off our government and the people of our nation. Another lie. These people are so despicable that while they are robbing our nation blind they are blaming the poor. Bill Clinton for all his “philanthropic” work despised the poor so much that he conspired with Newt Gingrich to put a time limit of five years on poverty. That’s correct. Bill Clinton’s “welfare reform” [almost as good as Obama's "health care reform"] limits the time that families can receive aid for dependent children to five years. What happens after five years and you did can’t provide for your children? Do you just tell them “tough luck” but that money has to go to support the greed of people like Lloyd Blankfein and Joe Lieberman?
2. Seducing people into the world of “easy” credit with ridiculous, once usurious interest rates and refinancing their homes and purchasing new homes and agreeing to RIDICULOUS loan terms, many of which reserved the right to quadruple interest rates whenever the bank decided they wanted to. Everyone was betting against the future–a time when things would be better and we could afford to pay off the debt. They did not realize that the rich were busily stacking the deck against us. People like Lloyd Blankfein, Tim Geithner and other Wall Street Bankers knew EXACTLY what they were doing.
During the late 1990′s and onward into the middle of the first decade of the 21st century, the rich Wall Street bankers made sure that credit flowed easily to ordinary Americans. You may not remember this, but in the 70′s and until the late 1980′s, it was not that easy to get a credit card. By and large only the wealthy had one. Then by the time the mid 1990′s rolled around with the “prosperity” of the Clinton years, you could hardly open your mailbox without an offer in it from some credit card company trying to sign you up. Often all you had to do was dial a telephone number.
NOTE REGARDING “PROSPERITY” OF CLINTON YEARS: It was all a wall street smoke and mirrors game. Perhaps a better analogy would be a “Wall Street House of Cards.” The Clinton Administration, aided and abetted by a Republican Congress were very lax with Wall Street bankers. They were allowed to what amounts to reporting losses as gains to falsely inflate the value of their stocks. Then in 1999 we had what was called the “dot.com crash”. A lot of financial analysts like to say that was not a big deal because the economy “pulled out in May of 1999″ only three months after the crash. The “market” did not pull out of anything. The con artists on Wall Street switched from one shell game to another. May was the beginning of the REFI BOOM and Home equity loans.
There was a reason for this easy credit. In part it lulled Americans into complacency. It gave them the false sense of economic security and the feeling of wealth. I know a lot of my friends lived off hope and their credit cards from late 1999 until about 2001. They didn’t worry. “I’ll make it with my credit cards until the economy picks back up again.” Then in 2001 the mortgage scam hit big time. People bought homes that they COULD afford, contrary to the tripe that mainstream media presents. Yes these people COULD afford the homes as long as the loan payment stayed at the same rate AND as long as they didn’t lose their jobs.
As far as losing jobs, it took until about 2003 for the effects of NAFTA to begin to be fully felt on our economy, by 2003 an estimated 2 to 3 million jobs had been sent out of the country–all in the name of “globalization”, the term that the rich give to their global monopoly game funded by ordinary people of the world. Who do you think provides the funds for the World Bank? Taxpayers like you and me as well as taxpayers of other countries too like England and France.
3. By actually believing in and supporting the founding principles of economic neo-liberalism:
conservative economic neo-liberal ideology that includes:
- THE RULE OF THE MARKET. Liberating “free” enterprise or private enterprise from any bonds imposed by the government (the state) no matter how much social damage this causes. Greater openness to international trade and investment, as in NAFTA. Reduce wages by de-unionizing workers and eliminating workers’ rights that had been won over many years of struggle. No more price controls. All in all, total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services. To convince us this is good for us, they say “an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth, which will ultimately benefit everyone.” It’s like Reagan’s “supply-side” and “trickle-down” economics — but somehow the wealth didn’t trickle down very much.
- CUTTING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES like education and health care. REDUCING THE SAFETY-NET FOR THE POOR, and even maintenance of roads, bridges, water supply — again in the name of reducing government’s role. Of course, they don’t oppose government subsidies and tax benefits for business.
- DEREGULATION. Reduce government regulation of everything that could diminish profits, including protecting the environment and safety on the job.
- PRIVATIZATION. Sell state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. This includes banks, key industries, railroads, toll highways, electricity, schools, hospitals and even fresh water. Although usually done in the name of greater efficiency, which is often needed, privatization has mainly had the effect of concentrating wealth even more in a few hands and making the public pay even more for its needs.
- ELIMINATING THE CONCEPT OF “THE PUBLIC GOOD” or “COMMUNITY” and replacing it with “individual responsibility.” Pressuring the poorest people in a society to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social security all by themselves — then blaming them, if they fail, as “lazy.”
Around the world, neo-liberalism has been imposed by powerful financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. It is raging all over Latin America. The first clear example of neo-liberalism at work came in Chile (with thanks to University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman), after the CIA-supported coup against the popularly elected Allende regime in 1973. Other countries followed, with some of the worst effects in Mexico where wages declined 40 to 50% in the first year of NAFTA while the cost of living rose by 80%