THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 660, March 4, 2012
The government has spent the last twenty
years setting everything in place so it
can denounce any member of the Productive
Class as a "terrorist" and act acordingly.
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
No doubt you've gotten back into the groove of the work you do for BigBank. Needless to say, I've no idea what you folks really do.
What the public seems to imagine, judging by what I've seen on various sites and forums, is that BigBank and the other big banking cartel operations finance wars and prisons, foreclose on homes they don't have good title to, and spread misery far and wide. They do these things because they get a licence to print money from the government, generating many loan dollars for every dollar on deposit, playing games with the accounting, and screwing over everyone else with high fees and "adjustable rate" interest.
No doubt it is a good idea to finance wars for the people who profit from them, since the war machinery can as easily be turned on the bankers. And, of course, it is exceedingly profitable to sell bombs and guns and tanks and planes at a huge margin to a government that has admitted to losing track of two or three trillion dollars of espionage agency and military procurement funds in the few decades. If only the people would go back to sleep and play along, another big bubble might be blown in education, or housing, or some other activity, and then collapsed to separate the unwary from their wealth.
It hasn't been clear to a lot of people how the system has kept going since abandoning the last vestiges of convertibility to gold back in 1971. It's been a mighty long run, now over 40 years, and plenty of good times. Though not good for everyone. You may have noticed that some things have dried up on those 40 years. Your society no longer flies passengers supersonic, and no longer travels to the Moon. You've lived past the peak of your civilisation.
Yesterday, at the request of a friend in San Luis Obispo, I went into a house on Tracy at 43rd Street. The house had been gutted. There were no appliancessomeone had to sell those for a bit of money. There was no furnace. There was no hot water heater. No toilet. No sink. Nothing portable was left.
A house that was worth, in today's dollars, somewhere around $250,000 when it was built about 1910 is worth about $3,000 in today's dollars now. My friend might buy it, and he might put the money in to fix it up. He plans to move to Kansas City and to live in that house.
There are entire neighbourhoods, in Kansas City, in Detroit, in communities around Chicago, all over the country, and, in my travels, all over the world, where people are eking out an existence, getting by. Some evidence of squatting here and there, a lot of homelessness, entire tent cities like the one outside the Federal Reserve building here in Kansas City.
People are awake. They are unhappy. And, by and large, for logical reasons or mere convenience, they blame the banks. They blame banks like Bank of America for seeking the protection that TARP provides by foreclosing when a short sale offer on a home was made (in our neighbourhood) six months ago. They blame banks for robo-signing mortgage papers and pretending to have good title when they have no such title, at all. They blame banks for taking bail-out money from the national government and bail-out financing from the Federal Reserve.
They are burning parts of Athens in their rage over the proposed austerity measures to change the deal on them, again, for the benefit of euro bankers. And who can blame such people here if they get angry at the austerity measures imposed for the benefit of dollar bankers? What parts of which cities are going to burn, again, as the slaves revolt, this time?
When your banking lobbyists changed the law in 2005 to make it impossible to shed student loan debt in bankruptcy court, you made real the plantation slavery nature of your system. Your universities are not marketing education, they are marketing student loans for your banks. Student loans which pay a guaranteed 7% interest and cannot be avoided, while banks are borrowing, let me check today, yes, 0.1%. Gosh, that's an impressive deal. Borrow at a tenth of a percent, lend at 7%, and have the taxpayers guarantee your risk.
I'm not persuaded that these sweet deals are going to last forever. I am aware of enormous ruin and misery that follow in the wake of the current economic policies. Oh, sure the unemployment *rate* is down, but so is the percentage of the work-force engaged in the economy. Fewer people, as a percentage, are working now than at any time since 1983.
My friends at Shadowstats.com have been using the 1980 algorithm for calculating unemployment using the department of labour's data. The current real rate of unemployment is in excess of 22%. But it is more convenient to stop counting those who have been out of work for more than 18 months, and pretend that they don't matter.
Indeed, they might not matter. I'm not sure. Possibly the people who are miserable, who would starve if the government didn't have the decency to send food stamp funds to 46,5 million Americans while it is making sweetheart deals with bankers, prison industries, and war profiteers, are people who do not matter. They and their children might be white trash and destined for servitude. Their lives might have no significance, to anyone. Certainly to anyone in power.
But one of them, or one of their children, might do something real, something useful. Might cure cancer, or other diseases, might unlock the secrets of aging, might develop new ways of harnessing energy or discover an Earth-like world in a nearby Solar System. Someone might write a novel or a poem that touches the hearts of millions, or make a film that explains why the world is so screwed up, and why people keep screwing it up.
My guess is, though, that nobody is going to ever do anything to change the way the deal works. The people in power don't want to share power. The people with money don't want to share their wealth, even a little bit, even to help people in their communities.
And if people sense the hopelessness of their situation, and set fire to some buildings, or some homes, if the occasional banker gets immolated or the occasional priceless work of art gets destroyed, those are the breaks. That's how the cookie crumbles.
That's how it goes. Everybody knows.