April 11 Bank Protest Planned in Major US Cities

I don’t know if you’ve heard about A New Way Forward Protest about the bank bailouts. I’m flirting with the idea of attending the protest in Houston . I feel passionately that the bank restructuring was handled incompetently and that lawmakers really don’t have a sense of what voters really want for it.

It’s kind of strange that all the progressives are solidifying opposition against the bailouts, while at the same time the right-wing populists are doing the exact same thing. In fact, the 3 tenets of the protest movement seem to be things both sides agree on,  even though they are 100% contrary to what the Administration and Congress seems to be voting for.

I remain interested in economics, but I frequently get confused at policy issues.  Well, confused is not the right word. Undecided. Sometimes I feel as though I don’t appreciate the complexities of our economy; at other times I feel that the so-called financial experts don’t have my national interests at stake. At the same time, I hear profound disagreements by ordinary people about whether we should spend our way out of the recession. Republicans seem to have a tin ear about what the people are calling for: more public investment and safety net assistance, less funding for foreign wars.

The other issues are global warming and health care. Both are urgent, especially (to me at least) global warming. Each political area contains its share of experts and anti-experts (what I will call people paid by corporate interests to represent contrarian views). At some point, democracies depend on trust. I don’t know everything the Obama Administration is doing; on the other hand, I have enough trust in their leadership and rhetoric to give implicit support to decisions they make—even if one or two of them strike me as weird or counterintuitive.

Then there are the blowhards. These are speakers with barely a grasp on the issues, but  have a prominent platform in the media universe and a plain style of speaking. Sometimes the crazier these people act, the more attention they end up garnering.

Then there are the politicians, who basically are ignorant about most issues, but have to parrot the arguments given to them by lobbyists and policy wonks. I’m not criticizing politicians per se; I’m just saying that by definition they have to find their information and opinions second hand.  It is rare for certain politicians to have advanced knowledge about  anything and also rare for them to learn too much about individual laws being passed. Besides, even if members of Congress had more time  to become informed about individual bills, many important laws  are wrapped up in gigantic  omnibus bills, making it hard to vote for an alternative; politicians have to hold their noses when they vote for these things.  Politicians by nature are herd animals and have to decide whether to follow their peers or stage a theatric  resistance in the hopes that the strengthen the support of their most ideological supporters. 

At least Obama was elected. At least the Administration is speaking with more honesty and transparency and appreciation for the complexities of policies. Obama may end up voting for the wrong policy, but at least I feel confident he won’t be employing as much double-speak  as  the Bush Administration did.

At the moment, I find economics both fascinating and boring. Perhaps I would be happy if the nightly news had less stories about banking and more stories about Melville or F. Scott Fitzgerald. I’ve noticed that when news shows feature authors, they are covertly trying to promote the sale of more books. Everyone has a book to sell nowadays…except perhaps for me.

Sometimes I feel that the cure for the banking crisis is for ordinary Americans just to ignore news reports and read a few good books, clean house,  go bike riding, visit family members, lose weight or see a local musician perform. Our first duty as citizens is not to get sucked into national politics. It is an endless time filler, a perennial cause of discomfort and frustration; you might as well be crying  about  Jupiter’s orbit around the sun. Interesting from a theoretical perspective and a pleasant distraction on occasion, but something of no consequence to individuals. Maybe  citizens should declare a moratorium for talk about the political economy and focus on goals which are personally attainable: losing weight, bringing down  the credit card balance, keeping the apartment clean, trying a new recipe, spending more time with the kids.

As much as I hope the April 11 protest goes well, I think most people would be better off spending a day doing nothing.  Our souls are more important than  economic problems. Our banks are failing, our debt is increasing, our jobs are disappearing. But so what! The birds are still flying, the grass is still green, the blueberries still taste great. The great books are still out there, the girls are still pretty, the children are still hilarious and the bedroom pillow still feels soft and comfortable.  The problem with metaphysical angst is that it consumes too much of our attention; we are too busy with daily routines to dedicate our time to it.

Now I think I will just go to sleep. 



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5 responses to “April 11 Bank Protest Planned in Major US Cities”

  1. Joe Avatar

    Global warming is a lie. Don’t be suckered into the air tax.

    [From Robert: Because….?]

  2. Joe Avatar

    “but at least I feel confident he won’t be employing double-speak (like the bush Administration did frequently).”

    You have got to be kidding. Are you that brainwashed by this marxist? By the way, Bush was elected, too. You lefties just astound me. Obama is going to ruin this country, if he even finishes one term.

  3. Robert Nagle Avatar

    To the extent that all politicians employ doublespeak, you are probably correct. I’ll add “as much” to the sentence you pointed out.

    But it is folly to maintain an equivalence between Obama and Bush. Bush spoke only in absolutes; Obama spoke in nuances and precise distinctions.

    People with absolutist political rhetoric assume that everybody plays politics in the same way. Sorry, that’s not the way it works.

  4. Chris Avatar

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I guess many are feeling exactly the same. Yes, the protest against the bank bailouts is a good start.

    What’s a measly couple of 100 billion dollars or even a trillion.
    How does 70 trillion sound?
    Or 550 trillion?

    The U.S. Government has crafted a distortion of reality. They have found a way to cover up 85% of the nation’s actual debt!
    The Feds essentially keep two sets of books that make up America’s debt portfolio. The first set of books is the widely publicized “National Public Debt.” The National Public Debt is currently over $11 trillion and is climbing at a rate of almost $4 billion per day. This is the figure that’s quoted in the evening news and on the famous U.S. National Debt Clock in Manhattan. In the past century, this debt has skyrocketed nearly 400,000%.
    But the National Public Debt doesn’t even come close to telling half of the story.
    The U.S. Government Is Another $60 Trillion in the Hole!
    The U.S. government doesn’t classify future financial responsibilities such as social security, government-sponsored health care, and other contractual obligations as “public debt.” With this simple act of reclassification the Feds have been able to shield the American public from the truth about the country’s actual debt position. Nevertheless, these financial obligations will cost the American taxpayers roughly $60 trillion!

    This debt is no secret among Washington insiders, nor is the fact that the government is trying to hide it. In fact, David Walker, the former U.S. Comptroller General and the nation’s top accountant between 1998 and 2008 said, “As the federal official who signs the audit report on the government’s financial statements, it is apparent that our government’s financial condition is far worse than advertised.”
    Walker has also said, “Current federal financial reporting and budgeting provides policymakers and the public with an incomplete and even misleading picture.” Add it all up, and the United States government is on the line for almost $70 trillion in total financial obligations, including public debt.

    This is today’s scenario. Lets look at what’s coming:
    The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a new report a few weeks ago called “The Federal Government’s Financial Health.” In this report, the GAO reported an expected increase in National Public Debt of over 500% within the next several decades! And this is the U.S. government’s own estimates!!!
    A similar move in the nation’s actual debt — that’s the National Public Debt plus all other fiscal responsibilities — would result in a total financial obligation of over $550 trillion! That’s over $1.8 million that would be owed by every American citizen!

    But back to the present: America’s current $70 trillion debt works out to about $500,000 per working American or to put it differently, every American child is born into debt owing nearly a quarter million dollars! The interest on that debt alone is going to cost almost twice as much as educating the child!
    And here is the most interesting bit: the blame for this swindle cannot be attributed to one party, Democrats or Republicans, but is rooted in the whole system.
    Democracy, in it’s current form, is the tyranny of a few cunning circles with controlling and omnipotent lobbies and mass media propaganda, that use the ignorant majority ‘mandate’ of the voting masses for their treacherous agenda. The two-party oligarchy manages the profit and wealth flow for a relatively small elite. Most pivotal parts of this machine are tightly interwoven and are made out of the elite’s cronies and benefactors of this abominable theft and fraud. Their lobby established a two-flavoured (Dems and Reps) system that plays ping-pong with citizens’ votes, draining all chance for a desperately needed radical change of ways (Anybody denying that a radical change of ways is desperately needed, is either ignorant or part of this morose parasitic machine).
    This system has been able to keep the voting masses in a state of acquiescence and convenient ambivalence. Common lifestyle was provided by loan, education is geared around producing useful subjects rather than freethinking individuals, the masses were kept occupied with inane entertainment, silenced by welfare payments and war games, manipulated by corporate controlled mass media, and preoccupied by hope-inducing wishful hogwash that we have a choice under this system.
    The system is unsustainable for various reasons and will undergo drastic change. The severity and direction of change depends on the severity of lifestyle destruction, economic depression and public mood.
    The circus is still performing but they are running out of new acts. The crowd looks displeased.

    In regard to Climate Change:
    A clear distinction ought to be made between natural climate change and human generated change. When people discuss climate ‘problems’, every seemingly related issue is used to find causality. Climate has of course to do with the environment, biological habitats and eco-systems. It is connected to pollution, industrial growth, and profit. People are concerned, dynamic and acting. The System’s intricacy stifles necessary change.
    And then we have the benefactors of this turmoil.
    A new class of profiteer has emerged, either in it for pure profit (and a whole ‘industry’ is emerging) or for political benefit. The new system, where a huge, very diversified group tries to make a profit from the productive part of society is called CARBON TRADING. At last, the banksters, bullshititians and cronies have found another very comfy commodity to exploit and freeload from and keep the rest of the population in struggling occupation: CARBON DEBT.
    NO, NOT Carbon Credits which will be traded, but Carbon DEBITS.
    Remember that the core of our morose system is DEBT itself (see the first half of Zeitgeist Addendum http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7065205277695921912 ). Carbon Credits are Debt For The Masses.
    The scams get more and more elaborate, the truth gets more and more fragmented and skewed.
    Climate Change is happening, but don’t believe all the political and corporate media hype. Causalities and climate science with integrity point away from CO emissions as the cause of Climate Change: http://nzclimatescience.net/
    Population growth, pollution, deforestation, agricultural soil destruction and destruction of ecological systems will make human future hell.
    However, Carbon emissions bear unlikely causality to Climate Change. Carbon Credit trading is a smokescreen. Carbon ‘Credit’ Trading will do nothing to better the planet but will be a feast for systemic parasites like banksters, polititians, corporates and polluters. It’s the Scam Of The Century.

    Our economic system is based on infinite growth yet reliant on a planet with finite resources. Or decision-making is based on finite wisdom yet exploited by infinite profiteering.
    Cheers Chris

  5. SBVOR Avatar

    Robert sez:

    “Both are urgent, especially (to me at least) global warming.”

    I hope, by now, you have — as a result of reading the RR blog — at least skimmed “Climate Change 101”.

    If you missed the section of that post titled “Atmospheric CO2 Over Time”, that might be an eye-opener for you.

    P.S.) I hope one day you will understand how naive you have been with respect to Obama.

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