Dismissively Ignoring Hard Times – by Stephen Lendman
Despite a deepening global depression, Washington, Wall Street and America’s media remain largely in denial, for how much longer isn’t certain as hard times get tougher for growing millions worldwide.
Tough enough, in fact, for angry demonstrators to strike and protest austerity measures across Europe in Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Georgia, and elsewhere, as well as others scattered across America against budget cuts, tax and tuition hikes, and layoffs when workers more than ever need jobs.
Trends expert Gerald Celente calls it “the greatest depression,” warning months ago that when anger erupts, unrest will cause governments to “take draconian measures to prevent total economic collapse and panic.” Nonetheless, he expects massive bank failures, bank runs, and a bank holiday, preventing easy access to deposits as dire conditions worsen.
On June 14, his latest trends alert headlined, “Collapse: It’s Coming! Are You Ready? saying:
“Everything is not all right. And things are going to get worse….much worse. The economy is on the threshold of calamity. Wars are spreading like wildfires. The world is on a razor’s edge,” cutting deeply, causing pain, and getting growing, angry responses.
Instead of addressing problems responsibly, Western policies are worsening them economically, politically, socially and militarily by allying with America’s imperial war agenda, wrecking the world to save it.
As a result, resolving today’s greatest depression is further than ever removed, no matter how intensely politicians and media sources deny it. Three and a half years into an economic meltdown, their excuses long ago wore thin, including Obama just saying:
“I wish I could tell you there was a quick fix to our economic problems. But the truth is, we didn’t get into this mess overnight, and we won’t get out of it overnight.”
In fact, getting out of it isn’t possible when policies on his watch are wrecking, not fixing, the economy. Moreover, Celente expects continued bipartisan failures ahead. With “Beltway Incompetents” in charge, who can believe politicians or central bankers responsible for wrecking economies, officials concerned only for their own self-interest, bankers, and other corporate favorites they support.
The business of America is pillaging for wealth and power, waging a discredited war on drugs, as well as lawless imperial ones against Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and planning others on unnamed enemies, requiring little insight to imagine which ones, enough to feed America’s insatiable appetite for belligerence.
No matter what justifications are given, Celente calls all US wars “murderous, immoral, (illegal), interminable, ruinously expensive and abject failures.” As a result, who can “believe the optimistic battle communiques issued by the (paid to lie) ‘czars’ in charge and (echo chamber) battlefield brass who keep reassuring the public that” repeating failed strategies this time will work?
No wonder a June 8 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll found 48% of Americans believing another Great Depression is imminent despite political rhetoric and media reports at most saying the economy hit a soft spot. The survey also learned that nearly half of respondents live in households in which someone is unemployed or worries they will be soon given how dire they view conditions.
Three years ago, Celente alerted people about a likely depression. It no longer can be denied, and when most people know and feel it they’ll “take to the streets” like across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, protesting for help, not austerity or repressive crackdowns. As Celente said three years ago:
“When people lose everything, and they have nothing else to lose, they lose it.” It’s now beginning to spreading, Celente saying:
— imperial wars will proliferate;
— “civil unrest will intensify;” but
— “(g)iven the trends in play and the people in power, economic collapse at some level is inevitable.”
At the same time, corrupted politicians and central bankers will “wring every last dollar, pound or euro from the people through taxes while confiscating public assets (through privatizations) to cover bad bets made by banks and financiers.”
It’s happening in America as both parties plan more social cuts on top of draconian ones in place, indifferent to human misery and depravation or the hypocrisy of open budget war-making, freeing the world for capital.
Across Europe, it’s much the same, corporate and political opportunists capitalizing on a crisis to pillage every asset possible, wreck social economies, destroy middle class societies, neoliberalize workers to despair, shifting maximum wealth upward to elites on the pretext of financial reform that’s code language for grand theft.
Calling it “the financial road to serfdom,” economist Michael Hudson says it “seek(s) to turn public infrastructure into rent-extracting tollbooths to extract economic rent (a free lunch), while replacing labor unions with non-union labor” to work it more and pay it less.
It’s “an asset grab,” he says. To achieve it, the financial sector (bandits by another name) needs a “political grab to replace democracy with financial technocrats,” cleverly stealing wealth to increase “efficiency” by looting “debt-leveraging (economies) to the point where the entire surplus is paid” to them as interest at the expense of civil societies they plan to destroy, replacing them with unfit to live in wastelands governed by repressive bureaucracies imposing draconian harshness.
“Learn from history,” says Celente. Don’t “let your mind take a summer vacation. Conditions are rapidly deteriorating and it is imperative to remain on high alert. Another violent financial episode is looming.” Anything can trigger it, perhaps when least expected, including:
— an eroding dollar as Americans realize theirs buys less and they don’t have enough to get by;
— Europe’s debt contagion and possible defaults;
— another false flag terror attack, perhaps one greater than 9/11;
— a grave natural or engineered disaster; or
— “any combination of the above” people need to prepare for and be ready; it’s too late when they arrive perhaps with martial law, bank holidays, restricted access to deposits, currency devaluations, and other economic and political harshness on top of everything up to now.
In self-defense Celente advises “GC’s Three G’s: Guns, Gold and a Getaway plan.” In mid-July he promises more “practical strategies to cope with the coming collapse” and be able to survive.
On June 15, former Morgan Stanley Asia economist now Yale University Professor Stephen Roach offered his own gloomy assessment, headlining his Financial Times article, “Zombie consumers lead US into lost decade,” saying:
“The global economy is being hobbled by a new generation of zombies – the economic walking dead. American consumers are in the early stages of an unprecedented retrenchment.”
Inflation-adjusted consumption since early 2008 has been the weakest since post-WW II. It’s the “Japan disease,” causing two lost decades with no end of their troubles in sight. Instead of solving their problems, they postponed inevitable failure by extending credit to “a broad cross-section of insolvent companies,” America’s policy today to zombie banks, delaying their day of reckoning.
In post-bubble America, “a record buying binge lasted a dozen years, US consumers stretched as never before (on) the precarious foundation of two bubbles – property and credit – which have now burst.”
It will take years to undo the damage. Deleveraging to pay down debt has barely begun. While “below the peak (2007 130%) peak ratio,” it’s “well above the 75 per cent average of the 1970 to 2000 period.”
The saving side is just as imbalanced. Up from “the rock-bottom 1.2 per cent in mid-2005,” it’s way short of the nearly 8% norm common in the previous 30 years. It’ll take years to get back there, and consumption will languish until then.
At the same time, Bush and Obama administration policies condone “reckless behavior,” making a bad situation worse. In contrast, consumers are spending less, deleveraging and saving, especially “77m aging baby boomers” more on their own than ever to get by as they approach retirement.
As a result, expect hard times for years to come, exacerbated by politicians and central bankers wrecking economies further, propping up too-big-to-fail banks. In fact, they should be shut down or nationalized instead of prioritizing their needs above others. It’s a fool’s game, assuring greater trouble, perhaps violence, even rebellion when angry millions decide not to take any more and fight back.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.