October 5, 2009
-- by Dave Johnson
The twin crises of the economy and health care exposing to all the control corporate money exerts over political decisionmaking in America.
Providing health care for citizens is ruled out because it would interfere with insurance company profits.
Wall Street gets bailed out and uses the money to give out huge bonuses to a few -- enough to pay for health care for everyone else!
And then there is the real crisis. We cannot do anything at all about climate change because the oil and coal companies are flooding the political sphere with cash.
What to do about it?
Posted by Dave Johnson at October 5, 2009 10:37 AM
"That Wall Street frat boys are in trouble is not a controversial statement. Top-of-the-market bubble behavior no longer is encouraged. Not long from now, they will be lucky to find employment getting coffee for a Chinese (or Indian) boss...."
break...biting insight follows
"...A generation of Americans learned the wrong jobs: selling real estate, processing mortgages, and selling cheap imports from China at shopping malls. The cleverest among them got business degrees and learned to trade derivatives. Their services will no longer be required. On paper, it is obvious what America needs to do. Its economy went into free fall because everyone cut back spending at the same time in response to the crash of asset prices. The aging Baby Boomers need to save for their retirement, or retire later, now that their home equity has vanished along with the contents of their 401(k) plans. The only way for everyone to save at the same time without crashing the economy is to export, just as China does.
That works well enough on paper: but what are Americans to export? Not electric cars, it would appear. Warren Buffett isn't buying General Motors these days, but he did put down over $200 million for a tenth of BYD, China's contender in the electric-car sweepstakes. China requires nuclear power plants - it will install three a year for the next quarter-century - but America shut down its nuclear industry some time ago. There's always Caterpillar, but the field of heavy earth-moving and construction equipment now is dominated by Japanese and German engineering, as a quick tour of the diggings for New York's Second Avenue Subway make clear. America can't even provide the capital equipment for its own infrastructure projects, let alone for China's.
That Wall Street frat boys are in trouble is not a controversial statement. Top-of-the-market bubble behavior no longer is encouraged. Not long from now, they will be lucky to find employment getting coffee for a Chinese (or Indian) boss. The bubble accounted for so much of America's employment down the food chain, though, that many millions of American jobs may vanish. This is particularly painful for prospective pensioners who find themselves in need of employment, for just the sort of jobs that suit older people - part-time retail work, for example, or real estate - are the first to disappear. America might find itself with millions of indigent elderly.
If BYD's electric car takes the jackpot rather than General Motor's much-heralded "Volt", Detroit may never come back, and the American automobile industry may shrink to a skeletal remnant of itself, like Britain's. A number of American rustbelt cities, including Detroit and Cleveland, have shrunk to less than half of their peak population, but the same might be true for the suburban sprawl of parts of the Sunbelt. "
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