Friday, August 19, 2011

Market Woes and Other Jokes

Tumbling, tumbling, tumbling, down, down, down. Even Borowitz is making fun out of the present mess. He reports, in a recent article:
“In what stock market analysts are pointing to as a rare bright spot in an otherwise gloomy period for Wall Street, manufacturers of downward arrows posted record profits this week.
While makers of cars, computers, farm equipment and practically everything else saw their fortunes plunge this week, producers of downward arrows notched double-digit gains, inspiring investors to snap up their shares like never before.
Companies like National Plunging Arrow Corp and Consolidated Downward Pointy Lines saw their shares rocket as investors rushed to participate in the suddenly red-hot red-arrow sector.” (BorowitzReport.com, Aug. 19, 2011).
The big question in my mind these days is whether I should join in this amusing game and continue making fun of our bankers and investment brokers, or to run screaming around the room, shouting that the sky really is falling this time.  After all, I was born during the first great depression, brought to you by the same folks who have manufactured our current financial disaster. My grandparents went broke during that period, and we survived partly by skipping from one apartment to another, just ahead of the rent collectors.  So, while it’s amusing to make fun of the current group of thieves who are in charge of the world’s money, it does give me pause. We are, after all on a serious retirement budget. We are no longer adding to our asset pool, and, given the mess made by our bankers of the real estate market, our main asset, our home, is likely as not worth less than what we paid for it 15 years ago. So, how funny is that?
And all I hear coming from the current crop of fools masquerading as presidential candidates on the right is, Cut Government Budgets, Give us More Tax Cuts. One doesn’t really need a PhD in economics to discern that more government spending, especially in infrastructure (currently falling apart in the USofA) and energy might well reap both current and future benefits to the nation’s economy.  Yes, more spending would add to our deficit woes, but increased taxes, especially on the upper income groups (see Warren Buffet) will reduce those deficits. Our current deficits spring from the Bush tax cuts, his unnecessary war in Iraq, and the massive illegal and certainly corrupt practices of the nation’s bankers.  Reversing the tax cuts, and moving our tax rates to what they were, say, 15 years ago), and getting out of both Iraq and Afghanistan will go a long way to reverse our economic decline.  To those who argue that we cannot just up and leave Iraq and Afghanistan, I would say, why yes we can.  Both countries will of course go on killing one another, just not us. They will emerge, eventually, as Islamic dictatorships, probably on the model of Iran.  And then they will continue to operate as 12th century oligarchies, with warlords, or Ayatollahs running them.  Like the Brits and the Russians before us, we are incapable of preventing such an eventual outcome, regardless of how long we remain.
We need to leave, now. And we need to pass substantial tax increases, so we can invest substantial sums in employment-based research and infrastructure development. We need to put the people back to work, and stop coddling the Murdoch’s and the Koch’s of this land. They are poisoning our nation. So stop catering to them . . .Now!
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