Let’s be very clear. We could very well be on the edge of revolution. The Republican Party, which now controls the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court, the Governorships of 39 states is trying to take this country into total Depression. A full-on Depression, which would almost certainly follow a failure to increase the debt limit, could easily lead to civil unrest of a kind we have not seen here since the Civil War.
The Republican Party, egged on by the billionaire-sponsored Tea Party nincompoops is on the verge of creating a Depression worse….please understand this….worse than that which we experienced from 1930-1041.Why is that so? By the time we had reached the end of the Second World War, we had spent more than we took in by about 120%.
But, even though we were in greater debt then than we are now there are two points that must be considered.
First, that debt was incurred in the establishment of a massive industrial complex, made for war, yes, but after the war able to create the dominant manufacturing center in the world. By the mid 1950s, the United States was able to provide well over 80% of all domestic needs here at home.
Today, after 30 years of Reaganomics, we cannot even manufacture parts for our most complex and necessary military equipment here. Our debt was not incurred as a build up of our manufacturing capacity. It was pure economic stupidity, speculation and financial collapse. So unlike the beginnings of the debt in the late 1930s to meet our war needs, this time we are on the ropes. We are already in debt to almost 80% of current GDP. The stupidity and greed of Republican legislators and U.S. global corporations borders on treason.
Second, we have more personal debt and more mortgage debt and credit card debt today because there were no credit cards and mortgages were far fewer than we have today. The national debt today is about $15 trillion. It is the result Big Tax Cuts and Big Government Spending of the Bush Administration. The debt we incurred in the first Depression and the War resulted in a position where we could capitalize on the manufacturing infrastructure we had created. This current debt was incurred by removing the manufacturing infrastructure. So this potential second Depression is substantially more dangerous.
We blame the Bush Administration for one simple reason. It’s called arithmetic. In 2001, he national debt was $5.16 trillion. The annual budget was in balance. Surpluses were being used to repay Social Security for money borrowed from it and to literally pay down some of the debt.
George W. Bush cut taxes by $3 trillion, and this automatically added $3 trillion to the debt. By the year 2008, recovery from a recession after 9/11 and the two wars had increased the budget by another $2 trillion. Thus, by his last year in office, Bush and Cheney had doubled the budget deficit. They were aided by a full-scale spending program sponsored and lobbied for by large corporations and Republican lawmakers who sought and won the lion’s share of campaign donations from these people.
Finally, as a parting shot at the American people, (at whose reluctance to support the Iraq War, Dick Cheney once said, “So?”) Bush encouraged and rewarded a “hands off’ approach to regulation. The result was a gigantic market crash and a huge, long Recession, which has come to be known as The Great Bush Recession.
The result of the market crash of 2008 was an enormous drop in the stock index from about 11,000 down to 6,500. The net worth of Americans fell by about 18% or basically by about $11 trillion, staggering amount.
But that doesn’t even begin to explain what happened. The crash and ensuing loss of equity in the market cost another 8% of the population their jobs almost overnight. The unemployment rate went from 7% to about 11% and 15 million people were out of work. Another 47 million had no health care, thanks to the greed of the Republicans and the Health Insurance Industry.
Today, there are more homeless now than ever before. It is not surprising when you realize that in 2008 alone (the crash came late in the year, October 2008) 861,000 people lost their homes and a total of 3 million homes received foreclosure notices. The 2008 number was 81% higher than 2007 and was an all-time record in total and in percentage of increase.
By the end of 2009, the foreclosure problem had increased by 21% and a total of over 2.8 million properties were in some kind of foreclosure action, the highest number in the history of the country. So in some respects, some things are worse than some aspects of the Great Depression.
Consumer credit, for example, didn’t exist in the 1930s. Mortgages were miniscule compared to today’s mortgage market. So there is good reason to think that this “Recession,” even though 1 of 8 people are unemployed versus 1 of 4 in the Great Depression, is much more severe than conditions we normally associate with “Recession.”
So this is where we are. Four million people have been unemployed more than two years, so they are without unemployment insurance. They live on food stamps and savings and perhaps some welfare. And the Republicans, with a deficit now over a trillion dollars a year, increased the deficit by another $800 billion in tax cuts for the rich. They say it is to stimulate jobs. Does anyone, anywhere in the world, given the three tax cuts…huge tax cuts…on the rich, assume that this is true?
We had tax cuts under both Reagan and Bush and we never regained even the revenues that the tax cuts cost. In fact, the CBO under the first President Bush, published a study that showed that they only regain about 1% of what they cost. So, here’s the deal. Someone loans you $100 and you pay him back, eventually, one dollar. Good for the rich, bad for government. But the Republicans are supported by the rich.
Now the crazies in the Tea Party want to bring this country to its knees. Remember…they are nuts. They want to deny the government the ability to raise the debt ceiling. So that would mean that the government could not spend any money beyond what it currently has. Why won’t that work? Because we spend much more than we bring in. We used to bring in more, about 19% of GDP which was something like $2 trillion dollars. But now we have fewer workers and we have much less being paid by the rich, so that number is about 17% or less. That’s a loss of about $800 billion a year.
Here’s how that works out. First, we pay about 350 billion in unemployment and other costs as a result of the recession. We lose $800 billion in revenues from the downturn, as you just saw. So right there we lose $1.15 trillion a year before we open the doors. On top of that, we have two wars and a tax cut that was just enacted by the Republicans under the threat of closing down the long-term unemployed, which would have been a disaster.
We need, as you can see, revenues. Which means that we need to add jobs. Five million jobs at $ 40,000 a year would cost $200 billion. That would jump start the economy. That would put us close to where we were a year before Bush left office. That is the only way we can truly cut the $15 trillion deficit. Taxpayers fund the government. The fewer the employed, the fewer the taxpayers. Plus, if you automatically exclude the rich and major corporations, you cannot meet expenses.
So there are two philosophies. One is to cut the hell out of government, cut Social Security, cut Medicare and Medicaid….and not raise taxes or create jobs. The other is to create jobs and make both the rich and corporations pay their fair share of taxes.
In line with the first view, the Republican view of balancing things by cutting services for the average man, Boehner and the Republicans say that they will shut down government by preventing Congress from increasing the debt ceiling.
Here’s the result if that insane policy should prevail. The Federal government will lose credibility around the world. Banks will falter and the dollar will fall. One single default by the U.S. Treasury would send a signal to the world that the U.S., which is the lender of last resort, is failing, or may be failing economically.
This would cause interest rates to rise to unimaginable levels, cause some businesses to fail, cause the stock market to drop at least a thousand to perhaps three thousand points and create another wave of unemployment sending it perhaps another ten percentage points, to as high as 20 percent. In other words, we would be in a real Depression, this one much, much worse than the one that began in 1930.
There is almost no question that this could, and quite likely will, lead to full blown revolution. African-Americans, who have suffered more than any other racial or economic group would undoubtedly ally with some of the more militant members of the Democratic Party…which already exist. People who have been unemployed over long periods of time would certainly see no future at all and would begin to fight back militantly as well as politically.
The Republican Party has favored the gun lobby to the point that we now have more guns in the United States than we have citizens. While there are strong police and military forces who could say where the loyalties of the police and military would go? In the case of a total revolution by a large segment of the population, would soldiers who often volunteered because they were poor actually shoot at their neighbors and relatives? Not likely. The complete truth about the Republican Party would be laid bare as the media was taken over, owners dispatched, propagandists eliminated and facts about corporate perks given in exchange for favors brought to light.
Who could say where the loyalties of the local police would lie. Would local police in Wisconsin, let’s say look the other way if for some reason a mob hanged Governor Walker on the capitol grounds? Who knows what would happen? case the Republicans, are supporting devastating economic effects, who could say where the loyalties of the police and rank-and-file military will go?
They have been given no evidence that the rich care the slightest thing about them or their relatives in the middle and lower economic segments.
The first to go would of course be the propagandists. Perhaps someone like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Roger Ailes, probably even Rupert Murdoch.
Then would come the leaders of the Right Wing. All the Republican Senators. After all, they all voted in a bloc. It seems logical that some kind of a mob would hardly make distinctions between “good” filibusters and “bad” filibusters when even one of them caused grandma to lose her cancer treatments or son Johnny and his family lost their home and were tossed out on the street or brother Bill shot himself over what he did in Iraq.
Then there would be counter revolutionaries with more guns and more bloodshed. Gangs of thugs hired to survive, shooting up neighborhoods. Democrats and their families slaughtered in Republican neighborhoods right along with all the Neocons. Who has time to stop and ask for voter registration documents when the blood thirst gets high?
This what is now possible, some pessimists might even say probable. If such things should happen, you can thank the Republican Party. Perhaps you should thank them with a letter now because, if there ever is a revolution, it would be doubtful that they would be around afterwards.
Who will win? Not too hard to figure out. Many Republicans are sunshine patriots who never served a day of military service and never will. They will claim that there is some mistake about their record and they will run away from all their so-called principles like cats from a fire. The Rich Right Wingers will be the scapegoats and get what they deserve.
They will lose everything in exchange for their lives. After all, they are the prominent ones. That is what they wanted. They would see the flip side of celebrity in all its horrific reality. That will be the ultimate irony. That all they had to do was be reasonable, join in, reach out to the rest of society. There comes a time when the country needs those who benefit most to stand up for their fellow citizens. Our current crop of multi-millionaires and billionaires have decided that a time of crisis is a time to screw down the lid on income and opportunity, to buy up politicians to put more money in their already overflowing coffers.
We can stop the revolution before there is blood in the streets. But the filthy rich need to take a look around and consider what they have done to our country. There will be retribution. History shows it always happens.
No man is an island. And no man, no matter how rich or how powerful as many despots of the last 50 years have discovered, can build walls high enough or locks strong enough to withhold the retribution of those who have been abused and persecuted. Justice comes to despots as a blow from a swift and conclusive sword.