February 12, 2009
How Bad Can It Get? Ask Rush Limbaugh
So, about this “recession”.
The quotation marks in the sentence above
are used advisedly: The term “recession” is
starting to seem far too weak, far too
polite, to describe the wholesale economic
carnage currently taking place not only in
the United States, but around the world.
A “recession,” as recalled by most of us too
young to have cashed our first Social
Security check, is a detour through the
economic doldrums, lasting a few months or a
year or two; a period of time in which we
might watch our mutual funds slide or
stagnate, when our paychecks seem stubbornly
stuck in the same puny range of figures even
as prices rise, when we feel twitches of
panic for our own livelihoods when we hear
that Uncle Joe or Cousin Ted has been laid
off and is now working at Kentucky Fried
Chicken. “Recession” is a gloomy, stagnant,
dour sounding word meant to describe gloomy
economic times, but at least in the past,
when a recession reared its ugly head there
was seldom much doubt that this too would
pass, and that before you knew it we’d all
be lining up at Best Buy for color TVs
“Recession” seems hardly adequate to
describe the economic slaughter of the
present moment, does it? As entire
neighborhoods empty themselves of residents
thanks to foreclosure, as the rate of job
losses hurtles past the worst corollary
rates of the early ‘30s, and as the
announcement of a trillion-dollar effort to
stem the red tide in the financial sector is
greeted with a 300-point Dow downturn,
“recession” just doesn’t seem up to the
task. Nor, for that matter, does
“depression,” although if you ask any
economist not bought and paid for by the
banking oligarchs, we are almost certainly
in the midst of one.
“Implosion” would seem more apropos.
“Implosion,” as in a dynamited skyscraper.
“Implosion,” as in the sudden demise of a
white dwarf star. “Implosion,” as in the
utter collapse of the American consumer
dream, now already in progress.
Just as the light of a long-dead imploded
star still reaches us millennia after its
demise, news of the depth of the consumer
economy implosion of 2009 is yet to arrive.
Our leaders and their cadres of “experts,”
we are told, are hard at work not only in
the United States but in the great financial
capitals of the globe staving off doomsday.
But for all their variously valiant and
inglorious efforts, doomsday just may have
arrived. Certainly, hints to that effect are
beginning to be heard.
Consider, if you will, the words of one Paul
Kanjorski, Democratic congressman from
Pennsylvania, uttered in a recent C-SPAN
interview in the course of a discussion
concerning the Bush Administration’s mad
scramble for a bank bailout plan in the
desperate days of mid-September: “I was
there when the secretary and the chairman of
the Federal Reserve came those days and
talked to members of Congress about what was
going on . . . On Thursday, at about 11
o'clock in the morning, the Federal Reserve
noticed a tremendous drawdown of money
market accounts in the United States to a
tune of $550 billion being drawn out in a
matter of an hour or two. The Treasury
opened up its window to help. They pumped
$105 billion into the system and quickly
realized that they could not stem the tide.
“We were having an electronic run on the
banks. They decided to close the operation,
close down the money accounts, and announce
a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there
wouldn't be further panic and there . . . If
they had not done that their estimation was
that by two o'clock that afternoon, $5.5
trillion would have been drawn out of the
money market system of the United States,
would have collapsed the entire economy of
the United States, and within 24 hours the
world economy would have collapsed. We
talked at that time about what would have
happened if that happened. It would have
been the end of our economic system and our
political system as we know it.”
That’s what almost happened. It
happened before the Dow shed nearly a third
of its value in October, before several
weeks of consecutive multiple hundreds of
thousands of job losses. And it is what
happened before Rush Limbaugh, Bill
O’Reilly and the corrupt, craven Republican
loyalists started marshaling their legions
of ‘bots to call their congressmen and urge
the defeat of the current stimulus plan – if
not prior to its enaction into law, then
through obstructionism in its implementation
If doomsday has indeed arrived, you’ll know
precisely who to thank.
2009 North Star Writers Group. May not
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