And now stay tuned for the Great Dollar Sell-Off. The Republicans are so busy denouncing the Democrats as defeatists in Iraq, they've missed their own defeat in the realm of economics, (which the corporate media tell us is the Republicans' strong suit). Stephen Colbert last night showed John McCain beneath a huge banner reading: "No Surrender," referring to Iraq, and then added a comma to make the banner read: "No, Surrender" on the economy and loss of jobs in South Carolina and elsewhere. The "Straight Talker" told hard-pressed voters to surrender hope that any jobs were "coming back" to the United States in the foreseeable future.
President George W. Hoover announcing to the world as global stock markets plummeted that he was going to save the day by throwing another $145 billion onto the national debt sent the markets South even faster than before. It would have been better if he didn't open his mouth at all. President Bush has no Mojo. He lost his international street cred somewhere between "weapons of mass destruction" and "Mission Accomplished." He now seems like a cross between Herbert Hoover and Mbuto Sese Seko. The only logical thing left for Bush to do now after the folly of his 7-year kleptocracy is for him to grab Dick Cheney, jump on a jet with billions of dollars from the nation's treasury, and fly into exile as did Sukarno, Somoza, Mbuto, Marcos, the Shah, and Nguyen Van Thieu.
Thomas Friedman's "Flat Earth" has been shown to be nothing but a "flattened" global economy. It's time to pawn the Lexus and chop down the olive tree for firewood. (Friedman will point to the global economic meltdown as further proof that his love affair -- as only a billionaire could have -- with all things "neo-liberal" has vindicated his theories. After all, didn't the collapse of stock values move from Japan to China to India to Europe just as one would expect on a "Flat Earth?")
The only viable solution to the ravages of the "free market" would require both the Republican Party and the Clintonite Democratic Leadership Council to drop their faith-based market fundamentalism. The United States government must impose tough new regulations, de-privatize public assets, greatly expand public investments such as education and health care, and enlarge the social safety net. The Justice Department must vigorously enforce existing anti-trust laws and new anti-trust legislation (as well as new regulatory laws) must be passed quickly. The tax rates for the super rich and the corporations must be returned to their pre-Reagan levels. It's time to stabilize the system through government action. In other words, we must do what FDR did 70 years ago: "Save Capitalism from the Capitalists."
Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao -- the wife of Kentucky Senator and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell -- is the worst labor secretary in our nation's history. Under her reign she has turned the Labor Department into an anti-union institution, and has used the National Labor Relations Board as a weapon against labor unions. Like everything else with this Administration, she turned the department 180 degrees away from its original purpose. It would be kind of like turning over the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration to lobbyists and lawyers from the Mining Industry -- Oh, wait, Bush did that.
Bush's radical de-regulation, (especially relating to the financial services sector), while putting the proverbial "foxes" in charge of the regulatory "chicken coops" to "help" the economy, adheres to an ideological pipedream as chimerical as the neo-cons' hallucinations of a "new Middle East." Christopher Cox heads the Securities and Exchange Commission, a politician who opposed the S.E.C. his entire career. That's kind of like sending someone to represent the United States at the United Nations who doesn't believe in the U.N. -- Oh, wait, Bush did that too with John Bolton.
There are no "neo-liberal" economic solutions for a crisis that neo-liberalism created. Here the United States can finally learn a thing or two from its neighbors in Latin America, (once the play ground of United Fruit, Anaconda Copper, and the CIA). Those nations rejected Milton Friedman's market fundamentalism at a time when Bush and Alan Greenspan were doing everything in their power to put it into overdrive inside the United States.
In the late 1990s, beginning in Argentina, the Argentineans learned what a crock of shit Friedman's economic model was in the real world. The tiny class of super-rich investors made out like bandits while just about everybody else in the land of Evita got screwed. De-regulating the markets brought misery and white-collar crime. Privatizing public assets sold off the commonweal at bargain basement prices to cronies of the right-wing authoritarian regimes. Shredding the social safety net brought poverty and shantytowns, desperation and squalor. When the financial meltdown finally nailed the Argentine middle class that was the end of Friedman's "neo-liberalism" in the Southern Cone.
The people of Latin America rejected kleptonomics dressed up as economic orthodoxy. Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, and Ecuador followed Argentina's lead. The corporate media inside the United States has done their best to hide the failure of "free market" capitalism in Latin America. Indeed, The New York Times' Simon Romero constantly works himself into a lather when he reports on the great unwashed actually exercising some economic power in Latin America.
Hopefully, it will be just a matter of time before the entire world follows Latin America's lead and rejects unbridled greed as a central organizing principle for global economics.