The Wall Street Shuffle! That's What's Wrong With The U.S.Economy
I venture to say that American truck drivers have a better pulse on the economy than do many, if not most, economists and financial experts.
That's not to say that truck drivers can provide a mathematical model for what's occurring or explain the economic theories that apply. But truck drivers, as well as most blue-collar workers and middle class folks, are often the first ones to feel the economic pain and the last ones to escape the pain.
When job outsourcing took off way back in the late 70s and early 80s, there were lone voices like Lee Iacocca warning the powers-that-be about the ramifications. It doesn't take an economist or financial expert to know that if American jobs are sent overseas and corporations like Walmart flood the American consumer market with cheap goods that are produced by virtual slaves for slave wages it's all going to come back to bite the American worker.
Most of the current American economy is based on paper shuffling which has no intrinsic value. The only value attached to the shuffling derives from blind faith and a sales pitch by Wall Street. It's The Wall Street Shuffle! The first step toward economic recovery is admitting that there's a problem. Some of us may recall what happened to poor ole Jimmy Carter as a result of his Malaise Speech in 1979 when he attempted to be honest with the American people.
Some astute Americans may know that the Bureau of Labor Statistic's (BLS) data understate the unemployment problem every month. But most don't know. And most have no idea how the U.S. economy works and who controls it. Most Americans are under the impression that America's economy is a "free market" economy and that supply and demand (the invisible hand) drives it and explains its ups and downs and that the President can fix it.
There are millions of Americans out there that will cast their vote against poor ole President Obama come next election just as they did against poor ole Jimmy Carter simply on the basis of the poor economy. What those Americans don't realize is that U.S. presidents have much less control over the economy than do the elitist cadre of monetary and financial technocrats over at the Federal Reserve and on Wall Street. Dyed-in-the wool Republican ideologue blabber mouths such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Michael Medved, would have all Americans believing otherwise.
The Republican talk radio blabbermouths are heard every day spewing out over the radio airwaves that America needs to return to "free market" principles and lower taxes. Someone needs to tell those Republicans that America never had a "free market economy" and when taxes were high, the economy did quite well.
Education and the consequent ability to recognize and define a problem is the only way for Americans to realize that there is in fact a problem. Of course that's easier said than done, because who really wants to educate themselves when it comes to boring stuff such as the U.S. economy? But education is the key. And once the average American begins to understand how the economy works and who controls it, they'll be able to take off their ideological blinders and begin to see things clearly and understand what's happening to them.
So what's wrong with the American economy? A few thoughts on the matter in layman's terms: For starters, our politicians have allowed the Federal Reserve along with an elite cadre of financial technocrats to wield way too much power in managing the economy via the money supply, financial markets, and interest rates. And for almost 100 years, American lawmakers have allowed the Federal Reserve to operate in secrecy and do virtually anything that it wants to the American economy.
Our lawmakers have also allowed the financial technocrats on Wall Street to embark upon a government-sanctioned financial scam of major proportions which resulted in a devastated economy, a devastated real estate market, devastated investment and retirement portfolios, and millions of Americans on the unemployment line. And for good measure, and just to show the American people what idiots they truly be and that the "free market system" here in America is really free, our lawmakers rewarded Wall Street for the scam through taxpayer bailout funds. And to sock it home and rub poop in the average American's face, Wall Street used much of the bailout money for bonuses.
So the first step on the road to recovery is to reform the Federal Reserve and make it receptive to the economic needs of all the American people as opposed to the needs of a very small and select elite which consists of the bond markets, and the banking and finance community. The second thing is a complete overhaul and reform of the campaign finance laws along with a redefinition of the American corporation. The idea that a mega-corporation is given the same free speech rights as an American citizen and is allowed to throw billions of dollars toward getting a particular political candidate elected is absurd and certainly not very democratic.
We also need to reform the laws that apply to lobbyists. Especially those lobbyists that lobby for overseas entities here in America. Once we do that, we can embark upon a sane energy policy which will ultimately break our oil habit and encourage job growth in high-tech alternative energy fields. The only problem with that, of course, is that the defense industry will cry the blues, because they'll be less fighting over oil in the Middle East. We'll also have a better choice of political candidates that are receptive to the needs of the average American and their country, instead of politicians that are in the back pockets of foreign interests that couldn't care any less about America and its people.
Another thing that needs to be addressed is the hemorrhaging of American jobs to overseas countries where labor and everything else is dirt cheap--including life itself. We also need to restrict corporations such as Walmart from flooding the American market and crowding out American competition with cheap goods that are produced by virtual slaves in countries such as China. That's certainly not "free trade", yet it's the Republicans idea of "free trade". We need to enforce the immigration laws that are now on the books and tell the Mexican government especially and in no uncertain terms to get its act together. If unemployment trends continue as they have been, there's going to be millions of Americans that are willing to pick lettuce.
An aside on Mexico: Since its very beginnings, Mexico has been a corrupt basket case and has caused America nothing but problems. When I hear some silver-spoon elitist like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg essentially say that a clamp down on illegal immigration will devastate the American economy, I shake my head in disbelief, because there is absolutely no evidence to support his assertion. Especially when there are over 20 million Americans unemployed. The only groups that benefit from Mexican illegal immigration are businesses, politicians, the Mexican Government, and the illegal immigrants themselves. That leaves out the American public. And the American public is what we, as Americans, should be concerned with.
We need much more oversight in regard to the finance, banking, and security industries in order to avoid future mortgage and real estate meltdowns. There are many out there that blame Americans for buying homes that they couldn't afford. But the facts are that Americans are loosing their homes left and right not because they bought a home that they couldn't afford but because they lost their jobs in no small part as a result of actions and creative finance schemes on the part of the finance and mortgage industries. And now, those Americans can't even sell their homes for pennies on the dollar.
For average Americans, a home is their biggest long-term investment and the major component of the "wealth effect". It's also a "social stabilizer". When home values plunge as much as 100 percent or more within a few years time, it sends various shock waves throughout a community. One of which is a dramatic decrease in local government revenue as a result of depreciated appraisal values. State and local governments throughout the country are going broke in no small part because Wall Street securities firms such as Goldman Sachs were allowed to devise all sorts of exotic and extremely risky mortgage-backed securities schemes that only benefited them and ultimately imploded the real estate market along with the construction industry..
The federal government needs to do much more than just paying lip service to helping homeowners hang on to their homes even if that means implementing a moratorium on home foreclosures over a specified period of time and until the millions of homeowners that are facing foreclosure get back on their financial feet.
Republican "free market" ideologues can deride the above as anti-capitalist, socialist, or even Communist all that they'd like. But they really need to take off their ideological blinders and examine the facts and the evidence. America never had a "free market system" and the "free market" never determined unemployment rates or the state of the American economy. A "free market" necessarily implies that all economic entities are on an equal playing field and on equal footing whether those entities be businesses or consumers. Obviously the American government deems certain economic entities as being more equal than other economic entities and bestows taxpayer funded corporate welfare upon those entities. That's hardly a "free market system".