Gallery 2

In Deep And Still Falling

Gallery 2 - Page 3
Gallery 2-Page 2

America's Growing Financial Dilemma


By James Donahue


There was something severely wrong with the Obama compromise deal cut with Republicans. While we agree with the urgency of getting unemployment benefits extended, the decision to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy is doing nothing to decrease the national debt or repair our nation’s sagging economy.


The last time we heard a count, the debt is already projected to more than 17 trillion dollars. This is such an incredible number that it is literally impossible for most people to comprehend. To show it in decimals the number looks like this: 17,000,000,000.


This horror story has complex ramifications attached. To cover such a debt the keep enough cash flowing the Federal Reserve is printing billions of additional paper notes, thus causing the value of the dollar to drop. Also the United States is borrowing a lot of money from other nations including China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and even Iran. These debts make it difficult for us to deal with these nations diplomatically with any leverage.


Voters this year chose to put enough Republicans into Congressional office to give the GOP control of the House. Most of them campaigned on a pledge to cut federal spending and they say they will refuse to approve any new expenditure unless the money can be found by cutting the budget somewhere else.


Economists warn that the financial crisis occurring in America can only be fixed by spending federal dollars. That means giving money to the unemployed who will use it to pay their bills and keep the dollars in circulation. Giving it to the rich accomplishes nothing. They have no need for more money and consequently they tend to hoard everything they have. They mostly invest it in foreign enterprises that are promising to make them even more wealth.


The other thing the U.S. government needs to do, economists advise, it to generate new work programs through public service jobs. This means investing in a decaying infrastructure. This means rebuilding roads and bridges, city water and sewer systems, rebuilding the nation’s electric grid system, laying new gas lines and other critical pipelines for moving oil and water.


The last time we heard an estimate, the cost of getting America’s basic infrastructure back up to grade was somewhere around $1.3 trillion.


In addition the nation needs to invest in education, hiring more and better quality teachers so we can once again compete with other nations on the world stage.


America needs to dismantle much of its giant military industrial complex, shut down its nonsensical wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, park much of its expensive fleet of naval ships at sea and close most of the estimated 700 plus military bases still operating around the world.


As America’s middle class disappears, this nation is fast falling into ruin. It appears as if there is a master plan in the works to either put the entire burden of paying off this colossal debt on the poor and poverty stricken, or else turn our country over to the outside interests that have been willing to take on this insane debt.


 Failure to fix this stuff is a clear sign of a crumbling society. Yet the media reminds us daily that we remain a great society and that we have the ability to solve these problems and pull ourselves out of this mire by our bootstraps. People have forgotten that their television nightly news and the newspapers delivered at their doors are now owned by big corporate conglomerates that may well be, themselves, in league with the power figures now pulling the strings to make the puppets dance in Washington.


This is why we perceive the WikiLeaks dumping of hacked and once “secret” documents that reveal the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing that has been going on not only in Washington but in capitals all over the world so important. This is raw, unhampered journalism. And notice how the rats are scampering to shut the light back off before too much gets exposed.


We are living in a crucial moment in history. If WikiLeaks founder and editor Julian Assange loses his fight against international forces and big business interests now savagely attacking him and holding him in prison on what some see as trumped up charges, everybody has a lot to lose.


We might think of it as “Us vs. Them” and that Assange is the knight in shining armor attempting to expose “Them” before they destroy the world. It’s too bad that he is a normal guy with a weakness for women.