Americans need to start spending again to get us out of the economic recession. We must spend and consume. These are the words uttered by Obama’s economists; the same words spoken by the Bush Administration economists; the same message conveyed by every side during every economic slowdown over the past 50 years. It is the bankrupt idea that Americans need to start wasting what little money they have on useless junk that we do not need now and never have needed to begin with — junk to be paid for with money that we have earned or that we have borrowed from the credit merchants; at interest rates the Mafia would be envious of. As long as we spend and consume, everything will be alright, right?
Consumption has been shoved down our throats since the post WWII baby boom, in fact, my parents — baby boomers — were influenced by this idea that Americans have the inalienable right to consume and spend and work and spend some more. Coming of age during the Reagan Administration of the 1980s, I too was sold this bill of goods and I bought it: I wanted to eat at McDonald’s and buy the newest/latest/greatest toy/video game/Air Jordans, etc… This idea that we could buy ourselves into a higher class strata was furthered by easy availability of credit to everyone of every income level.
Of course, no one bothered to pay much attention to the fine print of these credit card applications. While the rates often appear quite reasonable in the beginning, the issuers of credit have absolutely nothing standing in their way to impose exorbitant interest rates and charge fees for: using the card too much, using it too little, going over the balance, etc… Of course, one would think our Representative Democracy would protect the consumers from what amounts to legalized loan sharks, but quite the opposite is true. Republicans and Democrats alike have enabled the issuers of credit — the banking industry — to dictate all policy regarding how their nefarious industry and the practices aimed at further exploiting our desire to consume and keeping us in debt is regulated. What is this regulation? Basically they do as they want and we have to except it; or so they would like us to believe.
President Obama did sign into law new protections when he signed the Credit Reform bill that went into effect in February of this year. It all seemed like a win for consumers giving protection from: sudden interest-rate hikes, excessive fees and other gimmicks that card companies have used to drive up profits. Consumers will save at least $10 billion a year from curbs on interest-rate increases alone, according to the Pew Charitable Trust, which tracks credit-card issues. (Eileen Connelly, AP) Of course, the credit issuers have nine months until these reforms take affect, in which time they have been on an all out orgy of rate hikes, suspending accounts and making it more difficult to obtain credit, which, in and of itself is not entirely a bad thing in the long run. Of course, their is actually no limit to the rates the issuers can charge either, just now, they must give warning before they do. Considering how hard it is to get out of a Credit Card contract — sorry, no protection from that — the protections granted in this bill amount to absolutely nothing other than we now are forewarned when we are going to be further screwed up the ass.
Of course this is nothing new nor should anyone be surprised. All of these wonderful bills signed by Presidents of both parties designed to protect us lowly consumers — you know, the ones who vote for these politicians — ultimately turn out to be even more protection for the Corporate interests that we are supposed to be protected from. It’s like getting a beautifully wrapped birthday present, yet when you open it up, it is merely a steaming hot pile of feces. This form of selling us out wholesale to the major industries that control the world’s wealth is not unique to the credit and banking industries, though the audacity of these politicians to perpetrate these crimes against the greater good of all of us are most pervasive in recent banking reform measures.
Remember the housing meltdown back in 2008 that led to a near collapse of Wall Street? Remember the Trillion dollar bailouts paid to the same banks that created the mess? Remember how pissed of some were at Bush for giving out this money without any assurances on how it would be spent? Remember how pissed off others were at Obama when he continued the same exact thing that Bush started? Remember how pissed off you were when the CEOs of these banks were giving out multi-million dollar bonuses to themselves and buying gold trash cans for their offices? You do remember? That’s good because it kind of sucked. Hooray for us peasants because the Dodd-Frank bank reform bill has been passed. Democrats Chris Dodd and Barney Frank have delivered us a bill that will save us from the greedy Banks and Wall Street scumbags who get rich pushing money around and then almost collapse our economy and celebrate by giving themselves lavish bonuses paid with taxpayer money. Oh wait; sources close to me say that the new bill is — wait for it — a big steaming pile of shit wrapped in a nice little box with a bright shiny bow.
Anyone who actually studies the biggest cause of this most recent recession, the unregulated derivatives market, and ignores the mainstream media’s assertion of too many housing loans to unqualified borrowers knows that some — any — regulation of the derivatives market is necessary to prevent another economic collapse of this magnitude. Of course, the bill does very little in addressing the 700 TRILLION Dollar derivatives market other than to spin off only the riskiest derivatives trades (Andrew Leonard, Salon). Who exactly is going to decide what is a Risky Derivative? I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be the very same banking industry insiders and lobbyists (former lobbyists, wink, wink) who have polluted every administration since Reagan — for all the Dems in denial, toss Clinton and Obama into the fray as well since they have perpetuated the same corporate collusion as the GOP by allowing these industries to dictate any new bill that is said to protect us from the same industries. Of course the Dems are crying they didn’t have enough votes for a meaningful finance reform bill (UH, don’t they have an OVERWHELMING majority in the Senate?). Of course many on the left will buy into their gift-wrapped shit platter like they always do. How many more times are we going to get it up the ass before we realize that the Dems are just the same Corporate Puppets as the Republicans with different rhetoric?
Of course, it makes no difference what reform does or does not pass as long as we consume to kickstart the economy. If your Nike shoes are already a month old and have a scuff, don’t stick the $150 into your kid’s college fund, go buy a decent looking pair of Nike shoes. If your Ford F-150 has a little mud on the tires, hell, trade up for a new one just like Tobey Kieth says — or does he whore for Chevy? It doesn’t really matter what you buy, how you buy or where you buy as long as you jumpstart the economy by putting more useless shit into your home or your stomach or your saggy tits. Come on, who doesn’t need a breast implant? Jesus loves big knockers; and so does Uncle Sam. So go forth and consume!!