The Soviet Union finally collapsed as a result of having over extended itself with military adventures meant to keep up with those of the United States. As Soviet debt mounted, it found it could no longer sustain its cold war campaign and match the weapons build up that President Reagan accelerated during his term. Have we met a similar fate today? Are we due for a comeuppance with similar extreme consequences?
We are accumulating debt for the misadventure in Iraq in at a disturbing pace. Our domestic debt mounts unchecked and now Congress and the President want to play Santa Claus to mask the trouble our economy is actually facing. The economic “success” of the Bush years was actually a match for the debt binge of both private citizens and corporate enterprises as everyone put life on the credit card.
During the “Cold War” the U.S. and Soviets raced to outspend each other in developing threatening war machines on the premise that doing so would eventually cause one side to blink. The Soviets did and it cost them their nation. Moreover, the U.S. didn’t stop at the breakup of the Soviet Union but we presided over the dismantling of their economy and the looting of its people all in the name of Friedman economics.
Well, the shoe appears to be on the other foot today as our nation sits on the perilous edge of a wave of economic collapse and the Russians accumulate huge budget surpluses after having retaken control of their own economy. In the process, the policies of the neocons in the Bush administration have left our nation weaker than the rosy scenario painted in the State of the Union speech would have us believe.
With our addiction to spend on credit, ownership of huge swaths of America is being transferred to foreign interests and the remainder increasingly is in hock to them. We no longer manufacture much of what we or the world consumes, we are increasingly asked to be satisfied with jobs with lower pay and less challenge, and we are repeatedly asked to spend our way out of our problems.
Now the President and the House leadership is pretending that a $150 billion “stimulus” package will do the trick. Stimulus measures are supposed to work by giving the target more money to spend which in turn should increase business which should yield more jobs and voila!, we are back on track.
Yet we have spent a trillion dollars, nearly all of it to on corporate “friend of George” or another on the invasion of Iraq. Why is it that expenditure hasn’t stimulated our economy? Maybe because it is not stimulus we need but fiscal responsibility. Maybe what we need is not more phony money but some soul searching, humility and economic restraint by the American people and most importantly by the 5% who really own and run everything here.
We are living beyond our means at every level of our culture. It cannot go on forever in this way. My guess is that the FOG (friends of George) only want the collapse to wait until it can be blamed on the Democrats. The top tier always do quite well in an economic collapse; it is the poor and middle classes that suffer.
So there is little incentive for this administration to do more than spit at Congress’s inability to take responsible actions with regard to the economy. Like its disaster in Iraq, the FOG want to push the problem forward to a Democratic President. It is just like putting it on a credit card, this one is in your name and mine – actually our children are the unwilling co-signors on this debt.
The right makes much of family values and preaches about responsibility. Yet they have shoved a knife into the heart of the future. Some say this is being done knowingly, that it is a planned effort to drive the nation into such a free fall that any draconian remedy is palatable. The case for this is brilliantly laid out by Naomi Klein in her book “Shock Doctrine.” If you haven’t read it yet you should.
Just don’t do so without something to soothe your stomach nearby. It is going to be a bumpy ride folks.