As the deepening financial crisis worsened yesterday, the Federal Reserve sought socialism as a cure and gobbled up another formerly private entity, the huge American International Group (AIG) insurance company, in an $85 billion bailout. The move was undertaken to prevent the bankruptcy of the nation's largest insurance company in what would have been, according to Bloomberg.com, "the worst financial collapse in history."
On Monday, September 15, Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc., long a cornerstone of the Wall Street banking establishment, filed for Chapter 11 protection with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
For decades, the health of General Motors has been equated, rhetorically at least, with the health of the U.S. economy. In the early 1950's when the company had more employees than the combined populations of Delaware and Nevada, GM President Charlie Wilson remarked, in a closed congressional hearing: "For years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors and vice versa. The difference did not exist. Our company is too big. It goes with the welfare of the country."
Perhaps Karl Marx best described life on the commons: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” That’s a prescription for tragedy; no wonder Communist governments slaughtered millions of their own citizens. But mass murder isn’t socialism’s only evil. When property is communal rather than private, cities fester in depressing dilapidation while pollution chokes the environment – all because everyone exploits what everyone owns.
On July 28, White House Budget Director Jim Nussle announced that the expected deficit for Fiscal Year 2009 (it begins October 1, 2008) would be a whopping $482 billion. A record for red ink, the figure shatters the previous deficit of $413 billion set in 2004.
After President George W. Bush asked guests at a Republican fundraiser to turn off their cameras — which at least one person failed to do — he proceeded to blame Wall Street for the current financial and housing troubles: “Wall Street got drunk.... It got drunk and now it’s got a hangover. The question is how long will it [take to] sober up. And then we have the housing issue.”
In June 2000 global-warming prophesier Ross Gelbspan lamented, “Over the last seven years, the fossil-fuel lobby has mounted an extremely effective campaign of disinformation to persuade the public and policymakers that the issue of atmospheric warming is still stuck in the limbo of scientific uncertainty. That campaign for the longest time targeted the science. It then misrepresented the economics. And most recently it attacked the diplomatic foundations of the climate convention. And it has been extraordinarily successful in creating a relentless drumbeat of doubt in the public mind.”
As of Tuesday, July 15, crowds outside branches of the failed California bank IndyMac were getting ugly. On the second business day after federal agents seized control of bank assets and promised orderly restitution of FDIC-insured funds to IndyMac customers, large numbers of shocked depositors still had not been reimbursed. Those who had more than the FDIC-guaranteed $100,000 in IndyMac accounts were still awaiting word as to what portion of their life savings they could expect to see again.
Will we be seeing $10-$12/gallon gasoline and a lot more body bags before the end of the year? That depends on the answers to a couple other important questions, such as: will the Bush-Cheney war hawks launch a war against Iran before the November elections, as they have been aching to do for the past several years? Or will they encourage/sanction an attack on Iran by Israel that will end up drawing us into the fray? Either way, we certainly seem to be headed needlessly on that disastrous collision course.