I watched the CARD GAME on Independent Lens/PBS the other night.
Did any of you see it?
Let me begin with the premise that I suppose that a Free Market could in theory work fairly well if it was executed on a level playing field and people were able to manage their finances.
My Grandparent's Generation witnessed the Great Depression and didn't buy stuff until they had saved up enough money to do so. By the time that my Parent's Generation came around credit cards made it easier to get stuff before they could afford it.
My Generation wants everything (far more than they actually need) yesterday and now most of us can only dream of actually owning anything other than a bit of highly volatile equity.
The American Economy is the world's largest and most influential financial marketplace (for a few more years anyway) so for the time being, we cannot ignore it.
The recent financial landmine that Middle America flung itself upon was totally predictable... and yet We The People and their lobby-fed representatives, still let the "Banks" and their various tentacles, do whatever the hell they want.
I've come to the conclusion that there are three main factors.
Fawlty Faith, the mirage of a Free Market, and unbridled Avarice.
All one needs to do is look at the slogan on their one Dollar bill, "In God We Trust". Which should be changed to GREEOD?
For starters, atleast half of all Americans believe that Jesus is in charge of their finances. Like it or not, because so many American citizens adhere to their Faith above and beyond their Military Funding led Democracy, the USA is a defacto theocentric entity much like other Monotheistic states like Iranistan, which they despise.
One of the most perplexing situations is the average American's inexplicable addiction to the indoctrinated, ludicrous, notion that the Creator of the Universe established the USA as the pinnacle of his plan for mankind.
Good Ole Manifest Destiny.
Yes, all 6,000 years of Human History has been Divinely premeditated and purposefully arranged for these "special" people at this precise moment in the Space/Time continuum.
Another dangerous part of this equation is that the guardians of the Free Market, like former Fed Grand Poohbah, Alan Greenspan, and the others before him, adhere to the notion that Capitalism cannot fail, because the forces of the Free Market will always correct itself. You can bet your bottom dollar on that and take it tothe Bank ;)
Like the "Corporation", the Free Market is a living entity which is theoretically failsafe...so they fervently adhere to letting the chips fall where they may..what could possibly go wrong?
The other factor which is the glue holding it all together is pure Avarice.
Who can forget the great scene in the film Wall Street when Gord Gekko delivers his moving speech to the shareholders..
Greed is Good.
We hold these TRUTHS to be self evident, that Coveting thy Neighbours sh*t is the very foundation upon which the entire Economy exists. It's the American Dream to have way more sh*t than the Jones.
For the chosen, exponential unlimited Government-Free growth is the Holy Grail at Ground Zero..this preposterous mixed-market governmentally tainted model would have never even be considered had the Great Depression mysteriously appeared.
Gee, how did the concentration of Capitalists enjoying unlimited-unregulated freedom to prey upon the public ever go wrong?
Surpassing the Jones, fuels the great unwashed to strive to have it all and then some,...atleast until the Rapture. I suggest purchasing this book..
How to profit from the coming rapture
It is backed up by the ridiculous Prosperity Gospel, which in itself is antithetical to the original proponent who was made famous for throwing the money changers out.
Doesn't anyone recall that bit about the Love of Money being the root of all evil?
Don't worry about buying food tomorrow, or the surprise jump in your credit card rates, or your house being confiscated because you defaulted on your loans, no problemo...
GREEOD IS GOOD!
The Free Market is the living incarnation of GREEOD...
IT's will be done.
Cognitive Dissonance means simultaneously holding two contradictory ideas...ie both God & Greed are good.
As frustratingly obvious as this is, the Banks, that bailed-out Billionaire Club who gave themselves Billion$ in bonuses for f*cking up the economy & pooching the public, got a Get Out Of Jail card because what if they they had to pay for their mistakes like you or I do?
They'll take their glove and bat home and then nobody will get to play so nyeh!!
Why don't the Americans storm the Bastille?
Why do they tolerate an Industry that preys upon them and then unbelievably has the gall to keep their bonus and and ask for a bailout?
It's abso-f*cking-lutely astonshing is what it is?
When the housing bubble burst the reigning Republicans had managed to gift the Banks with the keys to the candy store and nobody was monitoring them.
The Banks thrive on victimizing the Mr & Mrs Joe Sixpack who live paycheque to paycheque and who are the least able to withstand any bumps in their finances.
The Banks allowed these people to live on overdraft, get "free" credit cards, and over-mortgage their homes by 125%...so that they would rack up a new huge pile of debt on the cards which were borrowed against their over-valued homes to pay the cards off.
Half of them believe that the Almighty is in charge of their finances because GOD loves them more than any other people in history.
I won't bore you with my usual litany of unanswerable questions..
Oh I don't know, WHY on Earth would GOD wait until the 1600s to plop his favorite folk in the already inhabited New World? Why would he intervene in human affairs long after we had been mucking about destroying local biospheres and murdering each other for hundreds of thousands of years?
Actually Millions of years if you want to get technical.
When the black-hearted professional Bank Lobbyists were interviewed on the program my blood began to boil. They said that "the People" are to blame for the glitch...the Banks didn't do anything wrong.
Which is frustratingly true.
This Generation knows nothing about saving their pennies until they can afford to purchase something.
So the perfect storm, this triumverate of Greed, God, and Entitlement, triumphed over the original parsimonious Puritan ethos. How ironic is that?
Do not be surprised if this house of cards folds like a cheap carnival tent and the "money" moves offshore to the East for good...
the East holds most of Uncle Sam's personal debt that he has racked up buying enough Military Weapons to kill every living human being tenfold.
Another correction is imminent and it will be of Biblical proportions.
Here's your chance to offer some sound, practical, financial advice...
like save string, start using public transit, and bring a bag lunch to work.
Go for it...