Archive for the ‘economy’ Category

Tea Party, Part 2

16 April 2009

These are just my own predictions for life in America after the Tea Party Tax Day Protests. Bear in-mind that these are assumptions, based upon my observations of past events and movements like this, so I could be wrong.

Or I could be absolutely right and I think I am.

For one thing, this is not about taxes and never has been. That’s just a cover. Everybody hates paying taxes and Americans are no exception, especially since we created an entire mythology around our own Revolution on “no taxation without representation”.

This whole thing is about the elections across the USA in 2010, 2012 and 2014. That’s it and nothing else. It’s not about creating a popular movement or reforming the tax code.

It’s about creating the next crop of Republican candidates for the next three elections to unseat the Democrats in the White House, Congress, State and local government bodies over the next six years.

The Republican realized after the last election that they had alienated their base of “small government, low taxes, pro-business and pro-family” and they are trying to build some kind of movement of people with that mindset in order to gather enough potential voters to take them into office over the next six years. Plus, the emerging leadership of the anti-tax movement will be looked-over as potential candidates to run in those elections. The ones with the best popular support wil be vetted for future runs for political office, the ones who don’t make the cut may be seen as poptential helpers along the way, but that is doubtful. Remember, there is an entire machine out there for the Republican Party to tap into. All they need are candidates and that’s where this current movement comes in.

In the near future, we’ll be seeing more from the pro-gun lobby, creating a stir about supposed infringements of their right to carry or own firearms. Second Amendment advocacy groups are going to be coming out of the woodwork in the next few months.

Creationism is going to be making the news again soon, as Evangelican Christians use this as a means to further thier own agenda. It won’t take much to stir-up a base of people afraid of their kids learning about Evolution. Certain groups of people don’t want their kids being told that Life got started here on Earth as a natural process, without the need for Divine Intervention or a Divine Plan. Never mind that Creationism, Creation Science and Intelligent Design are laughed-at by real scientists. Most people don’t really know that much about Science and it will be that ignorance – and in many cases, fear – which will be exploited for the purposes of political gain.

Let’s not forget about the Family Values Issue. With four states no legalizing same-sex marriage, anti-gay rights forces will be on the march to reverse those. Yes, they will be trying to have gay marriage made illegal again there and rallying the voters, along with serious cash to try to undo them. Likewise, there will be other movements to undo any legal recognition of civil unions in any of the States that recognize it and will be mobolizing against it in any States where the movement appears to be strongest. Any State that looks like it might even consider recognizing gay marriage or civil unions will be getting some serious attention in the next six years. Forces will be aligned with the anti-abortion movement which has always attracted a strong based of Conservative Christians.

The rise of the “Drill Here, Drill Now” movement during the last election, I anticipate some sort of backlash against the environmental movement and laws that have been passed to curtail the increase of greenhouse gases and pollution. Painting such movements and advocates as “charletans and panickmongers” will be seen in the future, especially in such media as FOX News, which remains one of the most-watched television networks in the USA and whose word is often taken at face value.

Over the next four years, the Right will be atempting to recreate what they accomplish during the Clinton Administration by trying to paint President Obama as a socialist, pro-gay, anti-gun, tax-and-spend Democrat. Any sort of attack on his personal life will be exploited to its fullest extent. As far as his personal life, he certainly has given much less for them to work with than did Clinton, but that will not stop certain groups from looking for such material or making it up out of thin air if it becomes neccessary to do so.

However, it is a point of history that the eight years of the Clinto Administration were far better for the US economy than were the eight years of the Bush Administration. Under Clinton, we had economic growth and budget supluses, while Bush resulted in the exact opposite.

Any positive economic news will be spun to either give credit for it to President Bush and/or attempt to downplay any role that the  Obama Administration policies had in enabling it to happen.

So, we have the potential rank-and-file lined-up to form a base for the Six Year Plan:

  • anti-tax;
  • anti-gay rights;
  • anti-science;
  • anti-environmentalist;
  • pro-gun; and
  • anti-abortion.

Along with a machine to denigrate the Obama Administration at every turn, these people are looking to take back the White House and Congress beginning in 2010.

The sad part of this is that I don’t think the Democrats will even see it coming until they are fighting for their political lives in 2012.

You don’t hear much about Ron Paul anymore. If he doesn’t come out more visibly in the next few months, I think he will become irrelevent. The luster has worn-off, for now, and it will take some sort of action on his behalf to get back into the limelight. I believe that Ron Paul will make an attempt to attach himself to the movement I am describing, but they will not be enthused about his assuming any kind of leadership position. He will be kept at arm’s length, though his supporters’ votes and money will be appreciated and solicited.

Let’s see what happens in the months ahead. Look for activity in the fight to prevent a national health care system in the USA. Michael Moore has gone quiet on this issue and the void will be filled by some one who opposes any step in that direction.

See if I am right.

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The Credit Crunch Taking a Toll on the Great & Small

7 January 2009

I got a call from my credit card company today. For the first time ever, I missed a payment and I’ve had this card for years. I had incurred a late fee, along with the monthly billing cycle payment that was due last month, actually a few days ago.

A reduction in available money has resulted in my paying certain bills late and incurring late fees from several accounts I have.

While working-out a payment plan, I asked the help center’s caller if they had been making a lot of call like this one lately. She sighed and told me that, in fact, they were making more calls to people whose accounts hadn’t been paid for that cycle than at any time she could remember.

Not just to people like me. But, also to lawyers and doctors, whose clients hadn’t paid them yet. Business owners and people who, otherwise, would have easily been able to make their monthly payments on-time. From people of modest means to people who have large incomes, credit card company customers are making late payments or no payments at all these days.

There’s a feeling of hopelessness in Society today. People are scared. Deathly scared. And there are many people wondering if we can ever pull ourselves out of this. During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt offered the New Deal in an attempt to save America from the economic downturn and the general feeling that the End of America was nigh. In fact, it was during the Depression of 1929 that more people emigrated from America than immigrated into it for the first time in its history. I have no idea what those figures might look like now. But, as with the Great Depression, the economic downturn was not only felt in the USA, but in Eurpoe as well and it led directly to the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, which also led to World War Two in Europe.

I fear that if President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress  cannot do something soon to help turn things around, my fear is that a new political leader may rise-up in this country or in Europe who will make grandiose promises of “saving our country”, while fixing the blame of our troubles upon a particular group or several groups and bring forward  an environment in this country and overseas that the world hasn’t seen since the 1930s.

I’ve been reading about people committing suicide due to the emotional strain of the current economic downturn, Several executives of large companies were reported to have committed suicide just in the past few months. These were wealthy people with excellent educations who had reached the end of their ropes – both financially and emotionally – and came to the horrible decision to take their own lives as a result.

Veterans of our two ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been committing suicide in such alarming numbers that the military has become very concerned about it and has taken steps to monitor the mental health of returning soldiers more closely. Even on the battlefront, clergy have been enlisted to attempt to curb the suicide rate among our soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors. It doesn’t help matters when the majority of the American people believe that the war in Iraq is on the wrong path, our Administration has been shown to have used outright deception to get us into the war and there appears to be no end in sight for either conflict. It isn’t just veterans from our current wars that are raising the suicide rate among veterans, but also veterans from World War 2 have been committing suicide in alarming numbers.

The current financial crisis has been blamed for much of the rise in suicides. People are joining our military when their other options appear to be non-exisistant and military personnel are re-enlisting, due to perceived lack of opportunities in civilian life.

For those of us too old to join the military, the choices are few and far between, especially for those who are now out-of-work or working reduced hours as companies attempt to stem the outflow of money by cutting labor costs. Bankruptcy rates are higher, home purchases are at a low point and suicides are going up.

Needless to say, things look pretty bleak.

What I think America needs is some one in power to assure the populace that things will be alright and that we can struggle through these hards times to emerge stronger than ever. But, all we’re hearing are doom and gloom predictions while news reports bludgeon us with reports that major American corporations are cutting staff.

I wonder what Hunter S. Thompson would be writing about, if he were still alive. G-d knows there’s no lack of material and some have mourned that fact that he left us, just when it seemed like we needed him the most.

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