Zbigniew Brzezinski: Joblessness, income disparity and the potential for civil unrest
Well, today we received further evidence that the economy is at stall speed as measured by tepid job creation and a uptick in the unemployment rate. The Federal Reserve’s Ben Bernanke claimed a few months ago that his quantitative easing II (QEII) program was needed to spur employment, but as I said that the time, that was a bald faced lie. All the QE II program accomplished was yet another wealth transfer to the Wall Street crowd while the rest of us got treated to a bout of inflation at the gas pump and the grocery store. It’s clear that the recovery that’s been touted by the government is bifurcated. For the wealthy, the stock indices have regained much ground since September 2008, but for everyone else the economic pain has gathered steam. The massive amount of debt that is floating nearly everywhere can not be serviced without the economy growing at a certain rate and that can only occur with robust growth in employment. I read somewhere today that the economy would have to create at least 250,000 jobs monthly over the next couple of years to even hope to return to pre-depression levels. Today’s number of 18,000 jobs being created in June is a far cry from that. And yes, I did use the “D” word here. This is a depression not a recession and that will be clear enough to all during the ensuing few months. We’re in the midst of a serious contraction and with no recovery in the near-term. Essentially, there’ll be an economic reset that will profoundly and fundamentally alter expectations and lifestyles.
For sure, there will be political consequences for the Obama administration. That’s not to suggest that this is totally his fault, but he’s sitting in the chair and that means for a society with a short attention span like ours that he’ll get the blame. There are some things that he deserves blame for, but there’s little that he can do about corporations sitting flush with cash while they outsource and refuse to hire.
Perhaps the biggest thing the administration can be blamed for is its accommodation of Wall Street at the expense of the people. The administration should have fought tooth and nail to spend money on the sort of public works projects that would have created employment for the people while addressing much needed enhancements and repairs to the nation’s infrastructure. The common complaint about the stimulus was that it wasn’t big enough to bail out the people, while trillions were made available to bail out Wall Street and the elite. But this massive bailout of Wall Street is not something that’s commonly read about in the press as a criticism of the administration nor is this even brought up by the republicans. Criticism of Obama from those circles has more to do with calling him a socialist, a Kenyan and a bunch of other stuff that intentionally clouds the real issues. Notwithstanding that, deep down the people know that there’s really been no one fighting for them, but everyone has been fighting to save the Wall Street robber barons. They may not know all of the particulars, but they can see and what they see is a bifurcated situation with Wall Street in recovery while the people are hurtling over an economic cliff. To be sure, the administration may not have won a fight to expand the stimulus, but that’s less of a problem than having not taken up the battle. The latter is the administration’s biggest problem and that, more than anything else, will be consequential at the ballot box.
The other enduring consequence will be the tearing of the social fabric as measured by class resentment and even out and out class warfare. Increasingly, concerns are being raised about potential civil unrest in the U.S. During the course of the week, I frequent a number of finance and economics blogs and increasingly the comments are becoming very angry. An example is the comment below. This comment was in response to the IMF sponsored bailout of Greece debt, which was effectively partially financed by the US taxpayer to the tune of $ 780 million. In other words, the US taxpayer is outrageously placed on the hook to bail out Greece. Of course, just like everything else that’s been done, this is really a bailout of the investment banks that held Greek debt and is yet another transfer of private losses onto the backs of taxpayers. Yet, while fully known by our political class, we don’t hear anyone pounding on the table about this outrage. Those yelling about spending cuts are strangely silent on this. Instead there’s resistance to raising tax rates so the rich who benefit from this don’t have to pay for it, while austere cuts are imposed on those who can ill afford to pay for it. This is the sort of sleight of hand misappropriation of taxpayer money that never enters the public discourse, but those who are aware of it become frustrated and angry. It’s clear that there’s no one who is trying to defend the people:
It is an amazing testament to Amerikan stupidity that virtually none of us have internalized the fact that our gubmint has declared war on us. They will not stop until they have stolen everything we own, enslaved our kids and throughly demoralized us.
We are absorbing the equivalent of a blitzkrieg of Holland or Belgium every few weeks, and it is at the hands of our own gubmint. 780 million here, 550 million there…pretty soon, we’ll all just be sleeping outdoors and roaming the country in packs.
Nothing less than armed insurrection and a bloody, all-out civil war can stop what has been put in motion.
Comments like these are no longer atypical. Those who study the situation can see this story unfolding. They see what’s occurring in places like Greece and Ireland and know that the same measures will be applied here. Basically, losses are being socialized by raping the public treasury while the partisan political battle is a diversionary cover and as the wheels start to come off of the economy, we can expect these diversions and others to get much bigger.
I’m not a fan of Zbigniew Brzezinski, but he makes some thoughtful comments here about the level of income equality and its relationship to potential civil unrest in the US. Brzesinski has made similar comments previously and has called for the rich to voluntarily set aside a solidarity fund to help the people to avert an outbreak of class warfare. In other words, do voluntarily what they’ve resisted in budgetary policy. There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that will happen. What’s more likely to occur is a Great War to divert everyone’s attention and to thin the herd: