My newest article is now available on The Huffington Post. Click on the HuffPo linke to read it there.
The U.S. economy is surviving only because of over-stimulation.
We’re living on fumes in this country, and the pursuit of happiness has come to an end for millions of families!
Main Street is still suffering. But, the Market is on Viagra, shored up by QE2, the Fed program to buy hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. Treasury Bonds. As QE2 winds down, and the economy falters, the discussion turns to the possibility of QE3.
A tremendous number of band aids have been administered to keep the U.S. economy from hemorrhaging; to prevent not only a domestic collapse, but a global one.
Each attempt to divert a financial disaster has had varying levels of success; many failing to achieve their intended goals.
Why have we needed so much stimulus?
To understand the economic dilemma this nation faces—and what we have to overcome—we must first understand how we got here.
Without going back too many years, most of our current economic morass was set in motion 30 years ago and has been compounded over the years by inept political leaders.
Americans are paying the price for overspending, underfunding, over regulating, under regulating, misplaced assistance, disproportionate taxation, misuse of funds, ill-conceived campaign financing, and political deceit.
But most Americans are unaware of the number and scope of the stimulus programs, or what affect they’ve had on the the recovery that we’re so desperate for.
We’ve faced a myriad of issues—the S&L crisis, dot.com bubble, two housing bubbles, a banking crisis, corporate bankruptcies, an unemployment crisis, an acceleration and increase in severity of natural disasters (global warming crisis), scams and ponzi schemes, and costly wars.
Each has caused considerable economic damage, all requiring some form of stimulus to avoid a complete financial meltdown.
When we mention stimulus two programs immediately come to mind, TARP (Toxic Asset Relief Program) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Both are assessed with varying levels of equivocacy. But there are far more stimulus programs than these two—some familiar, some hidden, some secret and potentially criminal.
Together they amount to trillions of dollars.
Republicans raged over the Auto bailouts from TARP funds yet elicited not a whimper over the criminal AIG $64 billion money laundering scheme that benefitted Goldman Sachs and 8 other banks. Goldman alone received $12.9 billion from taxpayers through TARP.
The problem is, money for TARP was diverted from its intended purpose, used, instead, to save the banks sorry asses, AIG, and GMAC. The Fed then secretly purchased the $1.3 trillion of the banks’ toxic assets which TARP was created for. They’re still holding those toxic securities because the banks cannot afford to repurchase them.
ARRA has been praised by some and vilified by others depending on their desired outcome. Like it or hate it we need honest discourse about its affectiveness.
An honest assessment would show that it clearly saved the economy from falling off the cliff and anyone who doesn’t acknowledge that is either blind or lying. It saved jobs and prevented even greater unemployment. Without it unemployment would be over 12%—killing any hope of recovery. Without it, states and municipalities would have already defaulted.
But, it would also be honest to acknowledge that parts of the program failed—some miserably. Some because they were misdirected, some misused, and some blocked by uncaring congressmen. But it is also obvious stimulus was needed because of an abject failure of the private sector forcing the need for government assistance.
To be brutally honest, most of the crises we’ve experienced can be directly attributed to Republicans and their policies. Years of right-wing policies and deregulation have created this unprecedented need for economic bailouts and stimuli.
Republican Phil Gramm, his right-wing colleagues, complicit Democrats, and Bill Clinton created the banking crisis in 1999, which we experienced nearly a decade later. Gramm and Republicans caused Enron and WorldCom in 2000. These legislative failures created the need for TARP.
But there are many other programs that have helped mask an inevitable economic collapse.
The Fed’s covert loans, exposed by Bloomberg’s lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, and brought to the attention of the American people by Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Ron Paul, shows some despicable—potentially criminal—actions in the program including loans to Muammar Gaddafi totaling more than $26 billion. The President’s Housing Affordable Modification Program, designed to help homeowners, was pretty much a failure and has done little to stabilize the housing market. The FDIC’s loss-share program is a fire-storm waiting to explode and the Treasury’s $300 billion guarantee to Citibank is a hidden time-bomb that falsely supports over-priced Citi stock.
There are subsidies to oil companies and agriculture corporations, and other equally destructive giveaways.
But none of the stimulus programs have been more corrosive than the giant tax scam of the 21st century—The Bush Tax Cuts!
Sold by Republicans as a way to stimulate the economy and create jobs, the only thing it has done is transfer $2.5 trillion dollars from hard-working middle-class Americans to some of the greediest Americans in history!
They continue to push a failed deficit creating tax policy and corporate giveaways—which are actually stimulus programs for the rich and corporations—while threatening to cut programs for 98% of the nation’s citizens; cuts that will cause greater unemployment, increase the strain on American families and an already stretched economy, and cause a depressionesque collapse.
It’s time the American people woke up and confronted Republican lawmakers holding them accountable for the pain they’ve inflicted on this country.
There’s not much time before our markets collapse, followed by the implosion of world economies; a gift from the right-wing corporatists.
We can no longer afford the Republican’s failed policies.
Because there’s nothing left to resuscitate an already dead economy.
Tags: AIG, banks, campaign financing, capitalism, Citigroup, Congress, consumers, deficit, Democrats, Economy, foreclosures, Glass-Steagall, Goldman Sachs, Jobs, middle-class, Politics, recovery, regulation, Republicans, stimulus, TARP, Taxes, taxpayers, Tea Party, the Fed, unemployment, Wall Street