On Thursday, October 24, 1907, Wall Street was in turmoil. Crowds of spectators gathered to watch panicked bankers and their lackeys rushing about, desperately trying to halt the financial hemorrhaging of what would be known in the history books as the Panic of 1907. Outside one troubled bank, the Trust Company of America — where J. P. Morgan himself worked frantically behind the scenes to keep the institution solvent — long lines of angry depositors waited, hands jammed in pockets in the chill autumn air, to retrieve their deposited monies. No one knew whether the beleaguered bank, which Morgan had declared to be “the place to stop the trouble,” would have enough funds to survive the run.
Years of big spending by politicians at all levels have left the nation vulnerable to economic turmoil. While at the federal level this is masked to a degree by manipulation and inflation of the money supply, among other factors, local and state governments have no such luxury, and many are struggling to find ways to pay increasingly high expenses. Increasingly, the onus is falling on taxpayers in the form of increased and burdensome taxes, and on public-sector employees who face reductions in benefits, and possibly layoffs.
Public-employee labor unions have long been an unchecked tap upon the public treasury. Sometimes these unions have an aura of moral purpose, like police and firefighters' unions. Others work in hospitals or teach in schools, positions that have historically been viewed sympathetically by many Americans. Other unions, like garbage collectors and water-line workers, could cause immediate and serious harm to the public, if they went on strike.
The Gulf oil spill has caused serious economic problems. Fisherman and those in the tourist industry have been hard hit by the oil spill itself. Those who work on oil rigs have been hard hit by the politically correct and utterly irrational cessation of oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Tens of thousands of workers are set to lose their jobs, this in a time of high unemployment and economic downturn.