26 March 2009

Odds, Ends, Sods And Such(Part Two)

As I see it, the on-going world economic crisis, at least for most of the world, as India and Iran, for reasons of their own, haven't been affected as badly as many Western and non-Western nations, hasn't yet been fulled revealed in its scope and extent. But,from what has been seen thus far, it's broad, deep and wide-ranging in its extent and reach, and won't be solved easily nor quickly, regardless of the various nostrums, suggestions, commands and threats made by politicians, pundits, economists, and so-called ordinary people from all portions of the political spectrum across the globe.

This, of course, has most people, except for perhaps the professional purveyors of apocalypse, running anxiously, if not straight-up scared, and am no exception, as, being on Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income, with few other resources, I feel particularly vulnerable. After all, one of the first things that politicians, especially right-wing ones, can and will call for is a thorough purge, if not out-right abolition of, welfare and other social support programmes for the poor and working class.

Have lived with the anxiety of having my benefits either greatly reduced or entirely cut off since the 1994 Congressional election and the resulting Republican Congressional majority that lasted until the 2006 Congressional elections. Thank God that my anxieties didn't come to pass, but don't know either way if this time 'round, they won't, in some form or another.

But, these anxieties are nothing compared to those who've either lost huge chunks of cash thanks to the economic policies and practises that resulted in this crisis, or those either in the workforce or who were only marginally so, who now have lost their positions and are looking at taking posts that are part-time at best and poorly paid enough that it becomes either difficult or impossible to have more than the barest standard of living at all. This is particularly true for those out there who've families with children to support.

I could go into a long spiel about how this is the end result of economic, social and tax policies that have generally favoured the upper and upper middle classes at the expense of the lower middle class, working class and poor over the past thirty plus years, the de-industrialisation of much of the American economy, which, together with the policies just mentioned, has resulted in a tremendous growth of social inequality in the US in that time, the financially, politically and socially draining effects of fighting two medium sized wars, as well as engaging in the various operations and interventions abroad that characterise the "War On Terror", and financial sector policies and practises that resulted in large segments of the American people using credit cards and home equity to cover gaping holes in their weekly and monthly budgets that their incomes couldn't and wouldn't cover.

In fact, just did that with that whopper of a sentence, which would make any good newspaper or magazine editor run screaming with horror into the night. But, either way, while it's good to know the various causes of our present dilemma, and who's responsible for it, knowing these isn't, by itself, going to fix the problems nor provide practical solutions that benefit, or least, least hurt, the vast majority of people in the US and internationally, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.

Even if every banker, hedge fund manager, stockbroker, payday loan store operator and other financial service provider in the world were dragged out into their respective town squares, hanged by the neck until they were dead, dead, dead, and Good Riddance(Ptui!!), their families run out of town on a rail, and their homes burnt down to the ground, these problems wouldn't go away. Whether we like it or not, this is the situation with which we're stuck, and are going to be for some time to come.

Cold comfort, in fact, no damn comfort whatsoever, I know. But, here we are.

So, it's understandable that a lot of people, some uneducated, others only semi-educated, and a number of educated ones, reach out to theories and solutions that sound great, at least theoretically, and to the prospects of getting those responsible, or likelier, those people whom they already despise who are close to hand(a principle that any schoolyard bully instinctively understands-if one can't get the target one wants, the most convenient will do in a pinch), and their possessions.(continued in Part Three)

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