In defense of OWS, and in full-throated opposition to the characterization of OWS that has been purposefully misconstrued by the mainstream media outlets, I ask, “Whom do you trust more: American Democracy or the Financial/Political Establishment?
For the sake of comparison, let’s look at Greece. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today, when the host of the MSNBC show was told of Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s decision to allow democracy to reign in his country, between giddy references to his alma mater’s upcoming football game with LSU, the disturbingly egocentric, ham-fisted Joe Scarborough screeched like a little girl, “You are kidding me! What are they thinking?”
Of course, Mr. Scarborough’s screeching concerned the national referendum on the stringent austerity measures being forced on Greece by Europe and the IMF in return for bailing Greece out of their mounting Euro-zone debt. The announcement of which by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, was completely unanticipated by all parties involved.
More accurately, Morning Joe screeched because the cuts are demands from Europe and the IMF for bailing out big European banks that have lent Greece lots of money and stand to lose big if Greece defaults on those loans — not to mention Wall Street banks that will also suffer because of their intertwined financial connections with European banks.
If Greeks accept the bailout terms, unemployment will rise even further in Greece, public services will be cut more than they have been cut already, the Greek economy will contract, and the standard of living of most Greeks will deteriorate further.
If Greeks reject the terms and the nation defaults, it will face much higher borrowing costs in the future. This could very well reduce the standard of living of most Greeks, as well.
But what no one is saying, is that it doesn’t have to. Without the austerity measures the rest of Europe and the IMF are demanding, the Greek economy has a better chance of growing and more Greeks are likely to find jobs.
As a democracy, shouldn’t Greeks be able to make this decision for themselves, despite the adverse affect it would have on those entities hoping to leave their own status quo the same at the expense of the “Euro Experiment” that was concocted to compete with the U.S.?
Of course, should Greek defaults on its loans, global investors will most likely yank their money out of Italy quicker than Willard Mitt Romney will reverse a political stance.
This would surely bust several big European banks in their respective and collective ass(ets) — and generate general panic on Wall Street. Which is exactly why Tim Geithner has been pressing Europe to bail out Greece with the fervor that a gambler who is $10,000 in the hole to his bookie presses his pony to cross the finish line in first place.
Sound familiar? We in the United States, at the end of 2008 and start of 2009, through a scheme cooked up by the brilliant and conniving minds on Wall Street, had made tons of bad loans, for which we, the taxpayers were similarly faced with an equally unsavory decision…..do we or don’t we bail out the Street?
The difference being, “we”(the U.S.) didn’t hold a referendum. “We”(the people) weren’t even considered. Instead, the Bush administration told Congress the nation risked “economic Armageddon” if it didn’t immediately authorize a giant bailout of the Street — with no strings attached.Naturally, Congress hastily agreed. Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and Tim Geithner (as head of the New York Fed) doled out the money, and the Obama administration (with Geithner installed as Treasury Secretary) gave out more.
So instead of allowing the Street to live with the consequences of its negligence, we bailed it out — and “we” were forced to suffer the consequences.
At the very least, strict conditions should have been placed on the banks in return for the money. At the very least, the banks should have had to eat the losses of the predatory mortgages they sold. At the very least, homeowners should have been allowed to reduce those mortgages. And at the very least stringent new regulations should have been forced upon The Street, including resurrection of Glass-Steagall.
But Americans weren’t consulted at all. It was a completely and masterfully executed inside job that would make Butch and Sundance proud.
As a result, Wall Street has prospered while the rest of the nation has been abused, ignored, and maligned. One out of four homeowners is underwater, owing more on their homes than the homes are worth. With the worst economy since the Great Depression, we’re now dangerously close to embarking on our own fiscal austerity. Either Congress’s super-committee comes up with $1.2 trillion of federal budget cuts that Congress agrees to – which will not go into effect for a little over thirteen months from now — or $1.5 trillion of cuts are made across the board. Meanwhile, states and cities have been slashing public services for the past three years.
So which is it going to be? Democracy, of the people by the people for the people…..or of the people by the people for Wall Street and some mighty brazen politicians that depend upon we walking, talking veal cutlets?
Based on what I hear and see daily on what used to be considered “News” programs, I’d be calling my bookie and betting on The Street.