Linda R. Monk, J. D., is a constitutional scholar, journalist, and nationally award-winning author. A graduate of Harvard Law School , she twice received the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, its highest honor for law-related media. Her books include The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution, Ordinary Americans: U. S. History Through the Eyes of Everyday People, and The Bill of Rights: A User’s Guide. For more than 20 years, Ms. Monk has written commentary for newspapers nationwide, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune
THE PARTY’S OVER – October 2008
By Linda Monk
The Crash of 2008, which is now wiping out trillions of dollars of our people’s wealth, is, like the Crash of 1929, likely to mark the end of one era and the onset of another.
The new era will see a more sober and much diminished America .
The “Omnipower” and “Indispensable Nation” we heard about in all the hubris and braggadocio following our Cold War victory is history.
Seizing on the crisis, the left says we are witnessing the failure of market economics, a failure of conservatism.
This is nonsense.
What we are witnessing is the collapse of Gordon Gecko (“Greed Is Good!”) capitalism.
What we are witnessing is what happens to a prodigal nation that ignores history, and forgets and abandons the philosophy and principles that made it great.
A true conservative (Rep or Dem) cherishes prudence and believes in fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets and a self-reliant republic.
He believes in saving for retirement and a rainy day, in deferred gratification, in not buying on credit what you cannot afford, in living within your means.
Is that really what got Wall Street and us into this mess — that we followed too religiously the gospel of Robert Taft and Russell Kirk?
“Government must save us!” cries the left, as ever.
Yet, who got us into this mess if not the government — the Fed with its easy money, Bush with his profligate spending, and Congress and the SEC by liberating Wall Street and failing to step in and stop the drunken orgy?
For years, we Americans have spent more than we earned.
We save nothing.
Credit card debt, consumer debt, auto debt, mortgage debt, corporate debt — all are at record levels.
And with pensions and savings being wiped out, much of that debt will never be repaid.
Our standard of living is inevitably going to fall.
For foreigners will not forever buy our bonds or lend us more money if they rightly fear that they will be paid back, if at all, in cheaper dollars.
We are going to have to learn to live again within our means.
THE PARTY’S OVER!
Up through World War II, we followed the Hamiltonian idea that America must remain economically independent of the world in order to remain politically independent.
But this generation decided that was yesterday’s bromide and we must march bravely forward into a Global Economy, where we all depend on one another.
American companies morphed into “Global Companies” and moved plants and factories to Mexico , Asia, China , and India , and we began buying more cheaply from abroad what we used to make at home: shoes, clothes, bikes, cars, radios, TVs, planes, computers.
As the trade deficits began inexorably to rise to 6 percent of GDP, we began vast borrowing from abroad to continue buying from abroad.
At home, propelled by tax cuts, war in Iraq and an explosion in social spending, surpluses vanished and deficits reappeared and began to rise.
The dollar began to sink, and gold began to soar.
Yet, still, the promises of the politicians come.
Barack Obama will give us national health insurance and tax cuts for all but that 2 percent of the nation that already carries 50 percent of the federal income tax load.
John McCain is going to cut taxes, expand the military, move NATO into Georgia and Ukraine, confront Russia and force Iran to stop enriching uranium or “bomb, bomb, bomb,” with Joe Lieberman as wartime consigliore.
Who are we kidding?
What we are witnessing today is how empires end.
The Last Superpower is unable to defend its borders, protect its currency, win its wars, or balance its budget.
Medicare and Social Security are headed for the cliff with unfunded liabilities in the tens of trillions of dollars.
What we are witnessing today is nothing less than a Katrina-like failure of government, of our political class, and of democracy itself, casting a cloud over the viability and longevity of the system.
Notice who is managing the crisis.
Not our elected leaders.
Nancy Pelosi says she had nothing to do with it.
Congress is paralyzed and heading home.
President Bush is nowhere to be seen.
Hank Paulson of Goldman Sachs and Ben Bernanke of the Fed chose to bail out Bear Sterns but let Lehman go under.
They decided to nationalize Fannie and Freddie at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of billions, putting the U. S. government behind $5 trillion in mortgages.
They decided to buy AIG with $85 billion rather than see the insurance giant sink beneath the waves.
Unelected financial elite is now entrusted with the assignment of getting us out of a disaster into which an unelected financial elite plunged the nation.
We are just spectators.
What the Greatest Generation handed down to us — the richest, most powerful, most self-sufficient republic in history, with the highest standard of living any nation had ever achieved — the baby boomers, oblivious and self-indulgent to the end, have frittered away.
How do WE THE PEOPLE put the villains who are responsible under oath and sit them down at public hearings to determine whose necks should meet the guillotine?
Hypocritically, those who had oversight responsibility such as Senator Chris Dodd [Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee] and Barney Frank [Chairmen, House Financial Services Committee] who helped get us into this mess are on every TV channel voicing their righteous indignation and pompously sitting on their elevated platform glaring down at those they are chastising and grilling, trying to pass the blame to others.They are disgusting.
WE THE PEOPLE should be on the elevated platform in judgment and execution of the likes of Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and the rest of the band of thieves and conspirators who are responsible for the financial collapse of the USA.
To name just a few of the culprits:
Henry Paulson Jr, Secretary of the Treasury
Alan Greenspan & Ben Bernanke — Chairman Federal Reserve
Christopher Cox, SEC Chairman.
But not to worry — YOUR PUBLIC SERVANTS who fear being voted out of office will take their self-awarded Golden Parachute Congressional Retirement, give WE THE PEOPLE the finger one last time and head for their safe havens as the World Citizens they are.
However, before they waddle off into the sunset, they will go on record one last time denouncing corporate greed, lavish salaries, and bonuses for their key felons at Fannie May, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers & AIG.
Meanwhile, WE THE PEOPLE fiddle while Rome burns and are too lazy and indifferent to vote the scum out of office.Tags: AIG, bailouts, bernanke, debt, greenspan