No one has done more to ensure the ultimate demise of the American middle class than Alan Greenspan.
In the stately pantheon of class-warriors, Greenspan’s spectral-image looms larger than any other; the foremost proponent of hardnosed social-Darwinism and exclusionary economics. Even his carpet-bagging consort, G.W. Bush, pales in comparison.
In just under 5 years the Fed-master has engineered a coup so vast and devastating that $1.3 trillion of borrowed revenue has been adroitly shifted from the beleaguered middle class to the privileged 1% that Greenspan represents.
It is the biggest heist in the history of the planet, and it was designed and executed within the leather-bound citadel of the Federal Reserve.
The partnership of Bush and Greenspan has been the moral equivalent of the sacking of Rome; maxing out the nation’s credit card until every last farthing has been drained from the public till. Greenspan’s tenure has left America bobbing atop an ocean of red ink ready to capsize with the first gust of recession.
Greenspan was a key player in facilitating the Iraq war, pushing interest rates to their lowest level 6 months before the war to keep the economy on life-support while the propaganda campaign burst from the front pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post.
It worked like a charm.
The American people were hoodwinked by White House fabrications and anesthetized by cheap money. They began a borrowing frenzy that sluiced zillions into a hyper-inflated housing market that is timed to detonate just as wistful Alan picks up his gold watch and heads for the exit.
Good thinking, Alan.
Now, after years of mismanagement, Greenspan is offering caveats about the chaos he’s leaving behind. In his typical gibberish the chairman has warned of “painful” adjustments if deficits are not brought under control.
“Painful” or life threatening?
It was Greenspan, the budget-busting tote for the patrician-class, who defended the lavish Bush tax cuts that put the country on the fast-track to doomsday. Now, he’s joined Grover Norquist and the “privatization-kooks” who want to dismantle the tattered ruins of the social safety net and christen the new epoch of predatory capitalism. Alan is a big supporter of “survival of the fittest” economics; the notion that people at the bottom of the societal food-chain deserve to be there so their Nietzschean overlords, like the Fed-chair, can rule supreme.
As Greenspan applies the last few turns of the screw (raising interest rates twice more before he leaves) we’re bound to see the credit-shackled middle class begin an orderly march towards the nearest cliff where they will quickly disappear lemming-like into the sea.
Seriously, the American people have no idea of the economic firestorm that’s just around the corner.
The economy is underwritten by $8 trillion of debt, requiring massive $2 billion infusions of foreign capital EVERY DAY. As former Fed-chief Volker noted, “It can’t go one for ever.”
No it can’t. Besides, it’s all part of a neoliberal plan that has been successfully executed throughout the third world; plunging the host nation into insurmountable debt with the help of crooked regime (Bush and Co.) and then pulling the rug out from under the shocked public. The massive and calculated deficits are intended to create a crisis of insolvency, resulting in the same type of “shock therapy” and “structural readjustment” programs the IMF applies to bankrupt nations around the world. Greenspan has moved the country closer to his goal of dismantling popular social programs so the captains of industry can privatize the public’s assets.
So, how did Greenspan pull it off?
How did he keep the somnolent American public from noticing the widening deficits and the alarming transfer of wealth from one class to another?
The answer is; low interest rates, the toxic elixir that can incapacitate an entire nation, leaving its people drowsy and indifferent to imminent disaster.
Recently, Greenspan has begun warning of the difficulties ahead, cautioning that our problems will only be “compounded by a protectionist reversal of globalization”. In other words, prepare yourself to compete with the lowest paid worker in Canton province. The hemorrhaging of high-paying jobs that sustain the middle class doesn’t bother the Fed-chief. Greenspan has the same irksome sense of equity as his ideological-twin at New York Times, Tom Friedman. Friedman has been preaching the gospel of “free market” capitalism for years. Neither one tries to conceal their contempt for organized labor or the redistribution of profits. Friedman’s Brigadoon is identical to Greenspan’s; a land of milk and honey where 99% of the denizens live in abject poverty scraping to get by and where the not-so-invisible hand is savagely affixed to the throat of a permanent underclass.
Welcome to Greenspan’s nirvana.
Greenspan also warned that the budget “will substantially worsen in the coming years unless major deficit-reducing measures are taken.”
“Deficit-reducing measures”? You mean, like rolling back the Bush tax cuts?
Hell no; class-warrior Alan said “he did not believe that major increases in taxes were the solution”.
Of course, not. Why should the fat-cats in the silk suits and Ferraris have to pay their share? After all, we can just raise the payroll tax again (Greenspan’s earlier plan) and take another pound of flesh from the middle class? No one will notice.
Baby boomers retirement?
Not to worry; Greenspan suggests we extend the age of retirement to some imaginary date when the wealthy will stop fleecing the poor and the national ledger will magically balance.
Cradle to grave; Americans are being prepared for the slaughter. The chances for upward mobility or even subsistent living are being eclipsed by the day. The yolk that one shoulders at birth will follow him until his death.
Greenspan’s racketeers have absconded with the nation’s bounty behind a smokescreen of low interest rates. They lulled us to sleep with soothing words of “no-interest loans”, no down payments, and a real estate windfall for anyone bold enough to sign on the dotted line.
Now, the grim reality has begun to set in. Interest rates are rising, the dollar is reeling, energy costs are skyrocketing, consumer confidence is plummeting, and gold is shooting through the roof. When China and Japan decide to jettison their worthless US Savings Bonds; Greenspan’s mighty fortress will collapse in a heap.
The American people are crazy to think that a privately owned institution like the Federal Reserve will ever function in the public interest. The Fed operates behind an iron-curtain of secrecy to protect the interests of its primary constituents; the parasite class. It was authorized under executive order by Woodrow Wilson who was coerced into putting the country’s future into the hands of its central bankers so he could finance World War 1. Bankers have always understood that the one who holds the purse-strings calls the shots. This explains what Thomas Jefferson meant when he said, “Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.”
While Greenspan teeters off to retirement, he can be confident that his trap has already sprung. The country is dead-broke and will be forced to comply with the demands of its creditors. The impending “austerity measures” will be used to reshape the fabric of American life; a complete reordering of society to meet the standards of a modern capitalist utopia; Greenspan’s paradise, the United States of Destitution.
MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: [email protected]