The Stimulus Package.
It's been weeks since I started thinking about the "stimulus package", and days since I considered writing about it. Yet what's kept me from attempting an exposition of my thoughts is the utter state of confusion that everybody is mired in regarding this prospective legislation. It's simply too big a subject. There may be individuals who claim to understand what it means, but I suspect that this "understanding" results more from ideology (or mere wishful thinking) than any clear perspective about the realities of the situation that necessitates it. My "spidey sense" is telling me that we are fucked beyond conception. Prophets have been foretelling this condition for decades, and so few have heeded their warnings.
I don't think that we can boil down our problems to a demi-glace of credit default and Wall Street shenanigans. The issues plaguing our economy have been sitting rank in the open air for longer than most are suggesting. Sure, our federal and state governments have been compounding the problems with willful ignorance and rampant corruption... but our citizenry must accept its share of responsibility. Ten trillion (+) dollars is an amazing number that lies beyond the reasonable comprehension of the human brain, but that amount is dwarfed by the amounts of personal debt that accumulate when we consider the personal debts of all Americans. And for this there is no easy excuse.
Who do we expect to lead us out of these dark borderlands? If people have built Barack Obama into a sort of messianic figure, it is only because of our desperate need for such a mythical creature. We've already played out that story. How many saviors can we create? Jesus Christ is said to have died for our spiritual sins, and those are certainly beyond quantification. That ambiguity is convenient for those that seek to offer us comfort. But we have created a standard of value for material things, and there will be no symbolic expiation available to clear our books. We are stuck with the prospect of a Day of Reckoning. The "infinite growth" of free market capitalism was a lie. We can't continue to fuel our economy on debt.
Still there is no doubt in my mind that we will try to spend our way out of our predicament, even if we have to pull the money out of thin air to achieve this. Like it or not, hyperinflation is the only answer. The main puzzle to sort out is how to distribute the paper. Shall we continue to put it in the hands of the institutions that have fomented our crisis? Wall Street, the banks, and the global corporate capitalists all ensured us of the viability of our system. They assumed the authority to guide the operation of our society, and they should face the most severe consequences of its failures. Most of us were given no choice to distinguish ourselves from the gamblers. The stakes were pre-determined at our birth.
When I hear the voices of those that have belatedly discovered "fiscal conservatism", my blood pressure rises and the muscles in my forehead spasm involuntarily. When Congressional "leaders" lament the prospect of increased taxes, I feel like puking. Everyone needs to realize that we've already spent our legacy. We've been profligate, and future generations will inevitably suffer from our wasteful ways. If we are going to "inject" more currency into our economy, we have a duty to invest it in such a way that our heirs will see some small benefit. It's time to go beyond considerations of our own comfort. We have earned the impending Depression. There's no avoiding it.