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Another look at America’s current crisis

Full Speed to Port

Posted: December 9, 2008 9:40 p.m.
Updated: December 10, 2008 4:55 a.m.
It seems to me that all the experts evaluating this economic crisis are generally in agreement that everything is going to be OK.

Some, I suspect, have the gall to look in the mirror in the morning, after having stated when the economic downturn will be over, and not regret the prediction.

I've heard so many potentates give us their version of the straight skinny that I figured adding one cracker barrel view exporting a little common sense won't hurt.

This is my truth: Nobody has a handle on this crisis. Nobody really knows the depth of it - nor the width, for that matter.

Nothing in the history of the planet duplicates exactly what is going on at this very moment. We can look at the past and know two things: One, greed prevailed; two, there was little regulation, and where there was, any laws were neglected.

But this is no new thing. The last six recessions had similar characteristics.

However, there was not the degree of foreclosures and bailouts, and they certainly didn't include Ford, GM and Chrysler.

Our Republican leaders, with the help of some Democrats, totally capitulated to the god of the free market.

They, including Alan Greenspan, assumed - as Milton Friedman sermonized from his Nobel Prize pulpit six feet under - that all would self-correct as each entity looked after its own interests.

In other words, let personal responsibility (best interpreted as selfishness) prevail.

The amount of pain that Americans experience is irrelevant, especially as the poor and the lower strata of society bear the brunt of it.

You'll note that those standing in bread lines of the '30s are not wearing top hats, Gucci or Ralph Lauren.

Blue-collar folks and the trade union people whom corporations love to beat up on are the people taking the hit.

The view that the government should not bail out the car makers is owned primarily by conservatives who tend to be Republicans, some of whom are deprived of empathy and compassion for anyone outside their immediate family or cultural group.

As testimony to the ignorance that prevails, some are suggesting we should allow things to take their course without government intervention.

Not a good idea - that's part of what got us to where we are. The other side suggests that we give away the store.

Maybe we can have a layaway economy where we buy what we need but don't take ownership until we pay for it, which could be some time from now.

That should slow down government spending, but the military industrial complex may not survive. Maybe it should die a little along with a few other things like agricultural subsidies.

The syndrome that makes these two self-centered entities hands-off makes change politically impossible and is a blight on our democracy.

Let us consider the worst of the worst.

Unemployment of 25 percent would echo the Great Depression. The disenfranchised may take to the streets demanding relief so they can house and feed their families.

We may experience insurrection, and the rise of neo-anarchism. We all hope not, but it's not to be overlooked as bottom lines sink way below profit levels and breaking even is a dream denied.

But let us all consider the best of the best. People may form cohesive groups designed to help each other.
A nation that swallows, way out of proportion, the produce of the earth is squeezed into a position that its inhabitants take another look at their lust for more and more.

It is even possible that truly spiritual concerns may find their way into the minds of many Americans, rather than arguing about shallow matters that affect few of us.

One thing's for sure: Both the best and the worst in us have the potential to rise into the headlines online and in the papers.

All the great philosophers and spiritual teachers would agree it is time to wake up and measure both our thoughts and our behavior and act not out of our best interest but our best selves.

Phil Rizzo is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Full Speed to Port" appears Wednesdays in The Signal.


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