Gilded Age II
I and many writers have referred to current America as being in its second Gilded Age, akin to that giddy time in the 1880’s when wage and wealth inequality spiraled out of control, just as it has today, but even though the setup was in plain sight for years I never thought I’d see the Street crash. The DOW is one thing, but when the Fed runs out of money by propping up successive financial giants Wall Street is down.
It’s very difficult as a plain little person to comprehend the basics of what happened yesterday—like John Cole I was just trying to understand what in the hell AIG used as business model, let alone what it all meant to have the United States toss capitalism to the winds and morph into a quasi-socialist state right in front of us. Something huge has happened, but what it really means is hard to see.
Most economic voices were extremely cautious yesterday, no one wanted to proclaim watching Wall Street go up in flames was preferable to these massively huge bailouts, but more than a few voices warned Treasury and Paulson were out of control, the exemplary Anonymous Liberal very correct in stating that if by God Paulson has the authority to do this without Congress, well, it’s time Congress got that authority back. Now. Hardly anyone in the country knows who Paulson is, Jesus, the financial future of the country is at stake being made up on the fly by the Brownie Administration.
So now the little people get to look forward to another Great Depression, is that it? A tiny minority has far too much wealth, the country is busted in credit and the Street crashed from a speculation bubble. We’ll add it to the list: global warming, health care, militarization and war, constitutional rights crisis, hunger…
Easily the most distressing element to Election 2008 is the lack of urgency in any of the arguments that the United States is in a lot of trouble, we’re not even minutely invincible on the world stage, we face crisis after crisis each week, yet we whistle along with journalism that can’t even identify liars. America needs a massive amount of change, the scope necessary not even remotely hinted at in the current political agendas.
Equally disturbing to America’s wrecked finances, lost illegal wars, tossed Bill of Rights, precarious ecological future, and horrifying health care is the crash of the Republican Party. Dick Cheney has been the most destructive, disastrous Vice President in the history of this country, yet the current Republican nominee somehow found the perfect little female clone for him, it almost defies belief.
A rank and rampant liar, a dangerous fundamentalist quack, practitioner of the most stupid damaging cronyism, clumsy in her defiance to the law and, amazingly, capable of invoking executive privilege in trying to shut down an investigation of her seamy conduct.
Executive privilege is a dubious federal defense in the most charitable sense, I never even thought it was possible to have a State governor invoke it, but Palin’s people have given the finger to their subpoenas, too, oh well on the rule of law in the Republican Party, it’s not just a Bush thing, nope.
Where is the outrage? Steven Benen asked at the Washington Monthly. Lost in the howling hurricanes of failure in Houston, Wall Street, Iraq, the Treasury, so many things have gone wrong it’s hard to know what to be worried or mad about. Get angry and you’ll just be marginalized as the Angry Left, get outraged enough and you won’t be a good worker.
Hope for the best. Do everything you can to elect Barack Obama, McCain and the de-regulation quack Republicans are the ones who got us into this incredible mess and they can’t even mount a credible presidential candidate. Pray that somehow Obama and the Democratic Party convince enough of our people government is often the only answer to our most pressing problems, not ever the problem, and try to beat back the fear Gilded Age II really doesn’t deliver another Great Depression.