The coming contraction
By Dr. Robert Owens
The party's over and it's time to pay the bill. Our government has been on a spending binge for as long as I can remember. With Clinton and Newt's slight-of-hand accounting back in the late 90s notwithstanding, which wouldn't withstand the level of scrutiny we give a tab at our local burger joint, there have been yearly deficits every year since I was born back in the 40s. The debt piled up to a record amount under Bush the Younger, and under Obama it has sky rocketed to the point where people have actually begun to notice that the emperor has no clothes.
It isn't that our nation is broke since our assets still outweigh our debt, but who wants to sell Yellowstone to satisfy the Chinese? It isn't just our government who has buried us buying $640 toilet seats, $436 hammers, or a $797,400 outhouse. All of us have had an apple out of that sack. We have pushed our personal credit to the max, our plastic to the limit, and our "Gotta have it now" culture to the breaking point. It isn't just the 51% who pay no federal taxes but seem to have an insatiable appetite for federal services that are to blame. Those of us who make enough to merit a tax target on our backs have also drunk deep from the government trough. Social Security, Medicare, disaster relief, and student loans have added billions if not trillions to the national debt transferring money to the middle class.
All of us have contributed to this problem. If not by accepting the money or services ourselves than by voting for people who've made careers doling out the plunder, robbing Peter to pay Paul, buying votes, and corrupting the system. The entire edifice of Western Civilization teeters on the brink of financial collapse due to the last three generations squandering the as yet unearned income of the next three. We invested the great grand kid's future in Ponzi schemes so that we could play today and they could pay tomorrow. This is the national version of "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
Our lack of interest allowed politicians to run amuck. Our personal greed and lack of restraint have all of us living in houses made of plastic cards. We look at Greece and ask for whom the bell tolls ignoring the answer that it tolls for thee.
The enemies of capitalism learned the wisdom of Alinsky that "Change comes from power and power comes from organization." They followed gurus such as Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven two Columbia professors who advocated overwhelming the government bureaucracy with entitlement demands. They followed leaders such as Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd who have pushed legislation that created the bubbles and then strangled the recovery. Now these well organized and well financed Progressives have come to the end game. In the great tradition of all socialist power grabs now that the crisis has arrived they have taken to the streets.
The Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media are falling all over themselves trying to equate the current Occupy Everywhere movement with the Tea party. I've known the Tea Party. The Tea Party is a friend of mine, and this is no Tea Party. I have attended many Tea Party Events and they were all peaceful. They all respected the police, and stayed within the limits of lawful protest. When the events were over they left the areas cleaner than when they arrived. The only people arrested at Tea Party events have been Progressive street thugs who have attempted to disrupt a peaceful protest. The liberal version is trashing every place they lay their head and threatening violence. In all the Tea Party events over the last few years not one persona has been arrested. In the Occupy Movement in just a few weeks hundreds have had to be hauled away.
I personally know a professional agitator who glories in the title of the Rude Guy. He has made a lifestyle out of pushing for the socialist agenda he imbibed as a youth in public school. He has spent decades moving from protest to protest advocating an end to capitalism while supporting himself through the sale of his books and paintings. This Rude Guy has moved from the implosion of Europe to what some enemies of our nation are calling the American Spring seeking free room and board in New York to continue his work. Given the fact that Van Jones has spent years, George Soros has spent millions through his front groups, and that professional organizers are flocking in from around the world it is hard to buy the Corporate Media line that this Occupy Everywhere movement is spontaneous.
However, there are the Howard Beale types who want to scream "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" And there are also the young party people who are looking for an opportunity to have an experience, to recreate the golden years of the 60s when they fantasize the Summer of Love produced something of value besides a generational overdose and a rise in STDs. These naive sheep will be driven before the organizers into the police truncheons. It is these unengaged warm bodies being interviewed nightly. These are the ones who come across as unfocused, confused, and almost comical. They do not represent the well-oiled machinery behind the curtain.
The list of millionaire entertainers who stop by to step out of their air-conditioned limousine to shout, "Power to the people" as they shake their bejeweled fist grows every day. The union bosses express solidarity and send in their shock troops. Leading Democrats praise the movement. The Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has said the Occupy Everywhere Movement is more in the mainstream than the current crop of Republican candidates for president. This movement is not spontaneous, and it is not going to end well. In some places the leaders of this leaderless movement are calling for violence and socialism. In other places they are leaving the public square to march on private residences to intimidate and threaten. Is this organized anarchism or militant apathy?
Some of the issues their signs rail against: bank bailouts, corporate welfare, and other aspects of crony capitalism are issues they do share with the Tea Party. However, the Tea Party Movement has directed their anger at government which is the culprit as far as wasting our national treasure to support their donors. The Occupy Movement is focused on attacking the donors who have received the payouts. The people who invested with Bernie Madoff thought they had found the goose that laid golden eggs, and yes they did receive unrealistic and what are now called unearned payouts, but at the end of the day it wasn't the investors who were arrested it was Madoff. The Tea Party offers concrete proposals: end the over spending, cut taxes and regulations, and free the economy to free the people. The Occupy Movement offers no solution besides more of the same government intervention that caused the problems to begin with.
As stated at the beginning, we have all had a hand in leading our great nation to the edge of the abyss. And it seems as if our inability to agree upon who the culprits are or what the answers are may push us over the edge. A great contraction in our economy and in our life styles is coming. We must choose. Are we willing to make the changes that will right the ship of state and begin to bail out the rushing tide of debt that threatens to capsize us? Or, will we continue to argue ourselves into paralysis until our creditors demand the austerity we dread?
The one thing worse than being poor is being poor again. Most of us individually and all of us as a nation have been living far beyond our means charging extravagance to a credit card that has reached its limit. We can either send back the steak and have a hamburger on our own now or eventually sit powerless as our card is cut up by the foreign maître. We can either change our menu from caviar to corn flakes now or end up eating rubber biscuits as we wash dishes in the back room.
One thing is for sure the contraction is coming, how do you want to deal with it?
Dr. Robert Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens' latest book at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8. Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook. © 2011 Robert R. Owens