Racketeers’ Tab Comes DueSeptember 21st, 2008

Congress is about to make an unprecedented payment on the national credit line that will cripple at least two generations of American workers. Even though Democrats and Republicans have been siphoning wealth to their rich patrons (foreign and domestic) from the rest of us for a couple of decades, it doesn’t seem to have been enough. The big owners just suffered a loss of about 10% of their U.S. holdings and they’re threatening to ruin us if we don’t make a big payment. Now. Their sugar-daddies in Washington are leaving government, and they figure they had better get it now if they’re going to get it at all.

If this sounds like racketeering, that’s because it is. It’s trillion-dollar blackmail. The blackmailers are folks who accumulated dollars by selling us crap and then loaned most of it back to us so we could afford to spend. We mortgaged everything to get the money, and we bid up the price of everything with the money they loaned us. Meanwhile, the actual value of our assets (and theirs) was degraded by war, outlaw government and criminal business practices. Now, they want their money, and, if the racketeers who run our government don’t pay them, they’ll shut the whole operation down.

Somebody could have told the creditors that US dollars were a bad risk. Here’s a nation that wages aggressive warfare year after year, that imprisons large segments of its population and drugs the rest, that craves violent entertainment, that doesn’t read, that elects crooks to public office, and that believes God is coming presently to take them directly to heaven. Responsible investors know better than to dispense money to an outfit like that. These suckers fell for an old con game–churning up sales to simulate value–and they deserve to bear the consequences. But if we don’t meet their demands, the economy will crash, our leaders tell us.

Poverty is spreading like a virus, and this makes it easy to sow panic. Certainly, the commercial news media (owners of many excess dollars) and the political class have been promoting the idea that there will be a catastrophe if we don’t make the protection payment. Notice that they never tell us where the money will be going. Which pockets will be full when the trillion is handed out? Not mine, I’m betting, and not yours, either. Ask your congressman how much of it will be going to foreign investors. Ask the pundits how much will wind up in the hands of millionaires. Ask how much will be used to augment bank accounts already swollen by two decades of frantic buying and selling.

Will we be saved if we fork this money over? It’s just a downpayment, after all, and the financiers’ creditors are merciless. As extortionists, they will demand and demand and demand, and our kids and grandkids will have to sweat out the next half-century trying to meet the obligations we take on. Then there’s the problem that the money to pay the protection doesn’t exist. We can print it, but that will degrade the value of the dollars in our pockets and bank accounts, which will buy less and less. That’s already happening.

What if we refuse to pay? That will be the end of loaned money for awhile. At least, that’s what they’re threatening. My credit card from Chase Bank probably won’t work anymore because Chinese drug-makers and Arabian oil-mongers and German wine-merchants will no longer be giving Chase money to lend. It’s not smart to lend to debtors who can’t pay the money back or who will pay it back in devalued currency. When credit dries up, commerce slows, and people lose jobs. That’s already happening, too.

So we’re screwed either way. If we don’t make up the crooked financiers’ gambling losses they won’t lend us any more money. If we do, we saddle our kids and grandkids with debts they can’t possibly handle. Either way, most of us end up broke, and many of us end up hungry and homeless. All because of our profligate system, which requires us to buy endless crap, including megatons of bombs and bullets, with money we don’t have.

If I have to choose between profligate poverty and responsible poverty, I’m inclined to choose the latter. Our leaders have disqualified themselves from making any further decisions for posterity, and we should stop them from throwing our grandchildrens’ money away. Voters should pledge not to vote for any incumbent or candidate who supports this. Let the lenders grab their lost money from the billionaires who have it. Don’t put it on my tab. Economic consequences? Bring ‘em on!