Things are in the saddle,
and ride mankind.
The last week sent an important signal to all who think things are going back to where they were. The Great Financial Panic of 2008 and 2009 has altered our political economy in ways it will take years to understand. Combined with the structural changes we’ve been ignoring for years, we have the recipe for great volatility, for a long period of time. Events are indeed in the saddle.
There’s nothing like a few elected officials, or even one, losing office to set them on their own panic, and Democratic hysteria is growing. Each day, the White House mouths stronger opposition to the banks, and there is and has been absolutely no political downside for them on this. The Republicans remain incapable of even feigning opposition to Wall Street. However after a year, no one can say anything about this White House except watch what they do, not what they say. Just as importantly, it is the Congress that must legislate and our Congress remains firmly in the control of our corporatocracy. But, if you can lose in Massachusetts, you can lose anywhere. More Democrats are coming out against Bernanke, bringing down his confirmation would be a good thing. Chris Dodd is even issuing a financial apocalypse warning against opposing the confirmation.
To show Democrats are verging on full blown hysteria, Wall Street’s own lap-dog, Chuck Schumer is attacking the Supreme Court decision unleashing the corporate whip on our electoral system. I think the word for Mr. Schumer is chutzpah. There is no one elected official, and that includes Mr. Clinton, who more represents the capitulation of the Democratic party to Wall Street than Mr. Schumer. Senator Schumer has sixteen-million in the his campaign committee, over two million of that from the financial sector. When he headed the DSCC, Mr. Schumer made it reliant on Wall Street money, that way a Senator elected from South Dakota or New Mexico could be captured by Wall Street. All that hard work, wiped out by one Supreme Court decision, phew, now it’s not even safe in NY when you’re sitting on a pile of money.
I was reading John Hussman’s weekly analysis of the financial situation and he ended with one of Doctor King’s speeches from Birmingham in 1957. In the speech Dr. King references the historian Arnold Toynbee stating:
And Toynbee tells that out of the twenty-two civilizations that have risen up, all but about seven have found themselves in the junk heap of destruction. It is because civilizations fail to have sense enough to dim the lights. And if somebody doesn’t have
sense enough to turn on the dim and beautiful and powerful lights of love in this world, the whole of our civilization will be plunged into the abyss of destruction. And we will all end up destroyed because nobody had any sense on the highway of history.
I never read Toynbee, but it made me look him up. He has an interesting and extraordinarily relevant theory about the history of civilizations. It basically states every generation in a thriving civilization is met with challenges. When they step up to meet it, the civilization continues to thrive. Yet at certain point in each civilization’s history, one generation shirks from the challenge and instead begins consolidating existing wealth, living off their inheritance, instead of providing for the future. That’s where we are today. We are in the process of institutionalizing a Looting Class for the first time in American history. America’s a very wealthy place and it can provide wealth, on an ever decreasing level, for decades, centuries. However, events are now defining, and many events are in motion because we failed to rise to the challenges of the last couple decades. The great thing about events defining the times is they do so with very clear demarcations. Do each of us rise to face the challenge or do we look simply to protect and consolidate what we have. Which side are you on?