November 19, 2010

Drifiting along with the tumb-a-ling tumbleweed

I still get the occasional email blast or even text message from the Obama PR Department, but their hearts no longer really seem in it. Or maybe that's just a projection. I guess we weren't the ones we've been waiting for after all. Could be another bus will be along in an hour, or twenty years from now or so.

Meanwhile, we just drift along either like the Sons of the Pioneers suggested, or like the Titanic in the earlier hours of April 14, 1912. So far, so good! as the man who fell off the observation deck of the Empire State Building said as he passed the 50th floor. I can't imagine that Barack Obama could actually be reelected in 2012, but that's still a couple of years away, and who would have guessed in 2008 that the Republicans would pick up 60 seats in November, 2010? So maybe a surprising turnaround? I suppose so...

Still, it seems to me that we have a ways to go in the wrong direction because very strong inertial forces are resisting any positive change at this point. The investment and commercial banks which own the U.S. Government are fighting for their very survival, and don't want to be 'resolved" under the Dodd-Frank bill passed as part of financial reform. This is the actual reason (IMHO) for the bailouts and "quantitative easing" that are passed seriatim by Congress and the Feral Reserve, with the full complicity (oddly enough) of Barack Obama. Thing about Barry is, if he had come into office and by some miracle the zeitgeist was completely anti-bank among the outgoing administration and in the halls of Congress, then that's the way Obama would have rolled. He would have been a righteous crusader for us against the banks. Alas, the bought-and-paid-for government, and the revolving door between Wall Street and the Treasury Department and White House, assured us of an overriding presumption that "stability" in the economy depended totally on preserving certain specific, powerful banks. We forget that this is just sort of a "theory," although that itself is too grand a word. It's the way they wanted it. And since they wanted it that way, Barack Obama went along with that program because he doesn't actually like "change." He likes calm, nonadversarial stability, even if it's the stability of a sinking ship (subject to change, in other words).

Thus, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, the Bank of America, Wells Fargo and the rest of the gang continue to stagger along, with their "mark-to-fantasy" portfolios of worthless mortgages, HELOCs and junior encumbrances, and their massive exposure to class action lawsuits from angry hordes of suckers sold all that mortgage-backed crap. Until so much in the way of resources (all of our resources, and then some, including hallucinated "money") is directed elsewhere, we can't get anywhere. We're devoting all of our time and money trying to reanimate a dead way of life, where house prices always went up and everyone shopped till they dropped, and we called that lunacy an "economy." We want the past back again because it's all we can remember at this point. If we get it back, it still won't work, because it contained the seeds of its own destruction (i.e., insufficient productive jobs which actually created wealth).

Then we've got the ongoing wars, which we'll apparently never get out of, and the $1 trillion we devote to defense will just keep flowing out the door.

There is no hint of any change in either of these conditions (bankrupt banks and war), because they cannot change through volitional acts. There are no actors on the scene with enough power to change them. The changes the conditions will cause anyway will just happen to us, willy-nilly. Thus, sing along with the Sons.