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I Watched the U.S. Economy Die


Business  (tags: economy, USA, consumers, retailers, investors, banks, Bush, Republicans, war )

Blue
- 4111 days ago - smirkingchimp.com
...the Dow Jones industrials fell by more than 300 points. Simultaneously, retailers across this nation desperately held pathetic Leap Year sales, futilely hoping to pry enough dollars from hard-pressed customers, through steep discounts, to keep their



   

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Blue B (855)
Monday March 17, 2008, 10:54 am
On February 29, 2008, the Dow Jones industrials fell by more than 300 points.

Simultaneously, retailers across this nation desperately held pathetic Leap Year sales, futilely hoping to pry enough dollars from hard-pressed customers, through steep discounts, to keep their own heads above water.

Their ineffably sad strategy failed.

Consumers with spending confidence shot to pieces by ever-worsening recession stayed away in droves, particularly since an oil barrel's cost had just exceeded $100 and heavy clouds without silver linings cast dark shadows over the landscape, and into the future.

Two weeks later, as impossible contradictions generated by unfettered private greed ate away at our country's financial underpinnings like some sort of sizzling acid, the Dow experienced another dramatic decline.

Additionally, the prestigious Bear Stearns brokerage house abruptly went bust, presaging more failures to come, in a dire 1929 replay.

I felt as if I'd been an eyewitness to the death of the American economy, a sentiment accentuated during the somber walk I took through a part of my city later that day.

I saw a grim proliferation of "For Sale" signs along residential streets. Obviously, nobody was buying.

At one point I heard what sounded like muffled, distant weeping. It was probably just the wind, but I wondered if it could be sobbing coming from behind frosted windows.

Families being foreclosed make me think of pencil marks on doorjambs, marking kids' growth standings over time. Little Jenny in 2004, and a substantially taller Jenny now.

Does she know how cruelly her quality of life is about to be cut down?

And will the man sent by the bank to inspect the empty, echoing remains of what used to be a happy home notice or feel anything? Probably not. He's got a job to do. A heartless hatchet job.

Then I passed an automobile dealership brimming with unsold vehicles, mostly trucks and huge SUVs.

It was a chrome and brightly-painted validation of Karl Mark's trenchant observation that capitalists are their own gravediggers. A huge banner advertised great deals, but it could just as well have shouted: "Overproduction crisis!"

Tomorrow I'll take a bus to Duluth, sharing my ride with down-and-out souls who regularly sell their plasma to blood donors. Between that and "collecting" aluminum cans from other people's back-alley trash, starvation can be averted.

Provided one also visits a charity soup kitchen, or a food shelf experiencing unprecedented demand.

Meanwhile, unprincipled hustlers will go about their wicked business as usual, striving to profit as they've always done -- by underpaying labor and bilking the public in general.

So insensitive are they to harsh reality that they're unaware the faint "thump" they just heard, accompanied by slight discomfort in the neck, was a noose of their own selfish making pulling taut against their skin.

The fierce pain and panicky screaming is yet to come.

As is the rising of a restive populace unwilling to tolerate getting ripped off to impoverishment by rich men devoid of social responsibility or even the slightest appreciation for the Sermon on the Mount.

Systemic avarice exacts a high price.

An era of severe reckoning definitely lies not that far down the road.
 

Electra Cy (1005)
Monday March 17, 2008, 10:12 pm
I Noted this, but it's not showing. I hope it counts soon. This is so important!
THX Electra
 

Jim Phillips (3247)
Tuesday March 18, 2008, 9:03 pm
TY, Blue. Nice story...
 

Blue B (855)
Tuesday March 18, 2008, 9:11 pm
Jim, could you ever have imagine d that we'd be seeing "tent cities" of poor people (foreclosure victims) in American cities?

'Ontario Residents Only' at Tent CityOfficials begin thinning out the encampment, saying the city can provide space only for those who once lived there and can prove it.

 
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