- — Nothing fires up Americans like a good outside threat.
After Pearl Harbor, after 9/11, Americans became bloated with nationalistic pride, ready to strap on an M16 and face the enemy, though the threat after 9/11 was nonexistent. It’s never taken much for Americans to react furiously to attacks on their "way of life."
But what if the way of life is the problem? Surely what we’re seeing domestically today — low wages and the subsequent disappearance of the middle class, unemployment, rising college tuition, rise in poverty and hunger, basic services such as education reduced to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy — are signs of economic terrorism by the rich elite and their political harlots against most everyone else.
We see it every day, then listen to the media tell us that all is well and that all the U.S. has to do is reduce government in the form of taxes and regulations, and let corporations thrive and hire.
Never mind that they are thriving but not hiring.
America and much of the world has bought into the neoliberal economics of rip off and lay off, where the investor is a king who has to be coddled while everyone else struggles to get by on the shrinking pie left for them.
When a country finally stands up to the uninhibited greed, the action needs to be trumpeted as a stark alternative to a failed economic system.
In Argentina last month, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner took the unusual step of seizing the country’s energy company, YPF. It had been government-run until the early 1990s when the country fell prey to the neoliberal mantra of privatizing everything. Spain’s Repsol energy company bought the majority of YPF to run it for profit and, as the Argentines discovered, that meant doing what is best for Repsol and not the country.
Before Kirchner took it over, Repsol had cut YPF’s production because it was too costly to explore and extract new energy. As a result, Argentina was spending billions to import energy it already had.
Repsol and Spain threw a fit at Kirchner’s common-sense decision. There will be consequences, huffed a Spanish official. That’s rich. Spain has 25-percent unemployment, higher for young people, banks failing and impotent leaders who just can’t give up shilling for a failed investor-based economic system.
France elected a socialist president, Francois Hollande, on Sunday, mostly on the anti-austerity mood that is sweeping Europe and forcing governments to rethink their allegiances to market-based remedies. In Chile a young woman, Camila Vallejo, is giving the government fits by demanding free university education. She has lots of followers.
In other words, steps are being taken around the world to reverse the economic terrorism that has sent the global economy into a tailspin. Seeing the evidence of failed neoliberal economics, why do countries allow their fates to be determined by the jackals and pirates of the financial class who continue to get rich while others suffer? They wouldn’t tolerate such capitulation from an external threat.
When Americans enter government service — be it politics or the military — they swear to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. In an age-old American twist, however, it is usually those outside the elite — think labor unions and the Occupy movement — that are persecuted to defend the rich. The real enemy, however, is an economics that holds the majority of people hostage and plays with their lives to maintain profits. Why do we stand for that?
Stephen Dick is an editor at The Herald Bulletin in Anderson, Ind. Contact him at email@example.com.