“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Friday, October 14, 2011

I'm gonna tell you how its gonna be...

At the moment, I presume that on inauguration day, January 19th, 2012, President Obama will hand the reins to President Romney. Romney will have a brilliant political prospect: he’ll be dealing with a Senate and House of Representatives that will be solidly Republican.


But what of the quality of life of the American public? That will have declined precipitously during Obama’s four years. The African-American community will have declined, economically, to where it was in 1990. The American middle class will have continued to lose asset wealth and income, returning to the 1995 point. The housing market will be in deep freeze. Unemployment will be around 9 percent, but in terms of labor participation, the number of Americans working will be in the 1980s levels. The environment, in the meantime, will be starting to show the first signs of its crash. We know its coming, but we don’t know how it will manifest itself – although we know that the government will respond to it in the truly clueless way that it responded to the Gulf Oil disaster, which, I have read, will result in ‘millions’ of fines for BP – instead of the billion plus that BP would owe if the Obama administration had chosen to, well, enforce the law. Perhaps the environmental collapse will be represented by a small thing – for instance, Obama’s FDA has approved sea food from the Gulf in spite of the fact that they have made a much smaller and narrower investigation of the toxins released in the Gulf than George Bush I’s FDA made after the Valdez disaster. That may mean cancers, but cancers a long way down the road. Maybe a series of birth defects, though, or something equally mediagenic. My outside bet, though, is on a negative flood: that we will have the first drought incident soon – some town, say Reno, in the West will simply run out of water. The kind of thing that the townspeople will actually have to flee.


Quality of life for the 20-29 set will, of course, continue to be grim, except for those who are the children of the wealthy. Unemployment in that demo is now at 33 percent, and it isn’t going to go down. As for the mortgage cramdown, that has been an utter failure. Luckily, Obama’s Justice department has failed so far in creating a ‘compromise’ that will let banks off the robo-signer fraud hook. Here, the weakness of the administration has actually created a vacuum that is being exploited for good – a rare instance.


Under President Romney, I think it is safe to say, some big banks will fail again. The Fed, perhaps under the same leadership, and the Treasury – under a Geithner like figure – will save the banks through massive welfare, disguised as a loan. What was broached under Bush and Obama was obviously a template for the next phase of neo-liberalism, which – in its first phase - was never about ‘shrinking the government’, and always about cementing an alliance between newly assertive plutocrats and policymaking elites. The second phase is not going to find money in some interest bearing scheme, as the debt slaves have been tapped, so the new scheme will be to use the powers of the government to create and issue money at an amazingly low price for the use of the speculators.


No man can see into the next minute, much less the next five years. But if the spirit of Christmas future is any guide, Romney, too, is destined to failure and a single term.


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