Two days ago, Donald Trump took to the podium to do yet again pat his own back. The DOW Jones reached a new high and the president was intent on taking full credit for this historic feat. A feat indeed, the same day Trump was extolling the virtues of Wall Street, stories were abound of localities being overwhelmed by an exploding population of homeless Americans. I’m not writing this as a criticism of Trump as much as I am condemning the whole charade behind this supposed milestone we just crossed. Trump is not the only person leading this parade of false correlations and outright propaganda; the elites have really done a job on us as they peddle stories of inflated market indices as a good thing for the economy and a panacea for the ailing working-class and vanishing middle-class.
We never learn as a society; irrational exuberance always lead to dreadful consequences. I wonder if Corporate State Media journalists and reporters are victims of group think or if they are motivated by malicious intentions. I ponder this question because I am at a loss when trying to figure out the reason why media personalities falsely present the wealth of Wall Street as an indication of Main Street’s health. One does not need an MBA, common sense will do, to realize that a business cycle exists where the pendulum swings between market booms and economic regressions. The whole notion of bulls and bears is based on this business cycle; smart investors know to bail out and liquidate their positions when markets are at their highs. They make a B-line for exit doors when markets reach record highs. Buy low and sell high, this is stock market 101—only fools rush into overheating markets.
What is true for the individual investor is truer yet for the economy as a whole. While the Wall Street Journal, CNBC and their ilk are yet again banging the drums and cheering the institutional gluttony of Wall Street, there is an ominous shadow lurking. Collective delusion is leading indicator of all downturns and market crashes. We don’t have to go back that far to realize the truth of this axiom. The last two times the economy spiraled into a recession, and took the life savings of tens of millions of Americans with, occurred recently—both recessions took place within the last twenty years. The dot com bubble and the housing bubble bursts were both caused by systematic greed that convinced market professionals and everyday Americans alike that we magically arrived in a new era of perpetual market growth.
Repeat this with me. There is no such thing as perpetual growth. The law of gravity holds true for all things natural and it definitely rings true of markets. What goes up always, ALWAYS must come back down. I’m not breaking news here; we have been admonished since childhood to not push our luck and to think rationally when making decisions. There is something about power and money that abrogates rational thought and replaces it with irrational behavior. We are in another period of hysteria as the political and media chattering class are acting like degenerate gamblers and convincing us that fortunes flowing to the coffers of Wall Street is good thing for the rest of us.
Even if the markets continue to climb dizzying heights and we have somehow reached at a paradigm of never ending growth—for the record we have not because a big market correction cometh my friends—Wall Street’s well-being is not an indicator of the bottom 99 percent’s wellness. In fact, Wall Street thrives at our cost. Thanks to warped economic policies implemented by both Democrats and Republicans for the last 100 years, we have been transformed into a nation of pandemic capital larceny. After the inception of the Federal Reserve under Woodrow Wilson’s watch, our nation morphed into a pyramid scheme where wealth is transferred to the gentry by bleeding the citizenry. We live in a voodoo economy; imagine a giant toothpaste tube where wealth is trickled up by squeezing from the bottom.
As more and more people are economically spent and broken into a life of poverty, the squeeze moves up the economic tube in order to keep feeding the greed of the 1%. The middle class has effectively been euthanized; we are a bifurcated nation where the wealthiest upper class live a life of breathtaking opulence while the rest suffer perpetual financial anxieties or face a life of abject poverty. In the 1950’s, the average CEO made three times as much as the average worker. Fast forward sixty years; now the average Wall Street CEO is making more than 200 times as much as the average worker. The gap between the haves and have nots is mind bending; America is Switzerland for the few and quickly becoming a third world nation for the rest.
Yesterday, I watched an event where George W. Bush gave a speech on the state of our country. The former president dared to lecture us about the dangers of not trusting authority and giving our hands to the anti-establishment type. As a person who does not trust authority and is proudly anti-establishment, I say this respectfully to Bush: screw you. These people really have the gall to lecture us after they bludgeon us with their policies—this is akin to a rapist lecturing women about the virtues of “acceptable feminism”. The same day, former president Barack Obama rallied Democrats in Virginia and talked about “hope”. This is the same Obama who shoveled $14 trillion dollars to Wall Street while giving the middle finger to Americans who lost their homes under his watch.Bush and Obama “earn” high six figure checks as they read prepared scripts and parrot talking points from teleprompters. It pays well to tilt the playing field to Wall Street, oligarchs give kickbacks and rewards handsome sums to politicians once they leave office. The same Wall Street pays the salary of corporate journalists who long ago exchanged principles for the sake of status and high income salaries. We are thus led by a coterie of charlatans and shysters who present new market highs as a bearer of good fortunes for all Americans. They are either willfully ignorant or willful liars—most likely a combination of both—as they pass on corporate disinformation as facts.
Caught between Wall Street malfeasance and punditry duplicity are the rest of us. Most are so caught up in politics and political idolatry that they can’t see the deception of the criminal enterprise we accept as governance. It is easy for some on the left to blame the ills of the world and the outrages that seem omnipresent on Trump and for others on the right to lionize “the Donald” because the establishment hates him. First, let me address my liberal friends. The issues that gnaw at society and the injustices that seem endless did not just start on January 20th, 2017. Trump is a continuation of Wall Street hacks who are selected for us as presidents. We get caught up on the idiocy of Trump, but look beyond his imbecility and you will see that he is continuing the malignant policies of Obama the same way Obama continued the malevolent policies of Bush. To my conservative friends who think that Trump is an anti-globalist “truth teller, I just want to know, was Trump lying in this video or is he lying to you now? How long will it be before all sides stop worshiping political idols as if they are gods on earth?
Our politics and the debased—I refuse to call people who thrive by way of greed elite—are nothing more than tools and purveyors of class warfare. Except it’s not the class warfare duplicitous Republicans allude to when Americans get upset at the way the 1% fleece us. The class warfare is actually a one way battle where the richest few have declared an economic Armageddon on the rest of humanity. Politics in this paradigm is nothing more than a smokescreen that prevents us from understanding the root of injustice. There is no difference between Democrats and Republicans because both are appendages of billionaires. The same is true of the Corporate State Media; people who are beholden to the paychecks of corporations will never muster the courage to speak truth to power. They just pay lip service to courage as they get paid by the very injustices they speak against. These debased puppets of plutocrats do an astounding job of keeping us distracted through continual outrage and demagoguery in order to pit us against each other.
The distraction serves a purpose; time and again foreseeable tragedies were obscured by subterfuge of the debased. The months leading up to “Black Tuesday” on October 29th, 1929 were almost identical to our present time. Just like now, politicians, journalists and economists were taking to megaphones and applauding the gains on Wall Street during the months and days leading up to the Great Depression. Even though many were issuing dire warnings and pointing to the structural weaknesses of the markets, the political and media class were amplifying corporate propaganda and drowning out the voices of truth-tellers. This is an excerpt from a New York Times article about Yale economist Irving Fisher appraising the US economy on October 26th 1929:
“These investment trusts have applied special knowledge to diversifying risks. They diversify their holdings among many kinds of common and preferred stocks and bonds, foreign and domestic. They operate to shift risks from those who lack investment knowledge to those who possess it. In this way they are safeguarding the public, whose speculative activities are gravitating into the hands of skilled agencies which are able to forecast the true income of otherwise speculative properties…[stock markets have reached] what looks like a permanently high plateau.” ~ (see NY Times article here)
Three days later, the same hands of skilled agencies that Fisher was praising ended up strangling the US economy and snuffing out the life savings of untold millions of Americans. Roaring 20’s one minute; the Great Depression the next. Gambling sure is fun until the repercussion hits with a force of a million thunder bolts. Yet we never learn, we keep listening to the same criminals who lead us into the economic fires and depend on them to lead us out of the infernos they started. The cycle continues; we are a nation struck by a mix of Stockholm Syndrome and collective amnesia.I have no idea when the next recession will come, though I know the next one will make the Great Recession of 2008 look like child’s play. I’ve enumerated the reasons why in past articles (read We the Sheeple), but let me summarize why the next one will be a monsoon of sorrow briefly. Obama forestalled a complete collapse of the US economy not by fixing the structural issues but by turning to economic schemes and monetary scams. By giving trillions to the same crooks who broke the economy and borrowing trillions more from the future, he propped up the economy. Schemes like Quantitative Easing and Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) incentivized equity investment at the cost of savings. This is another way of saying policies were implemented that penalized savings in order to encourage stock purchases.
These schemes are no longer available to the Federal Reserve and Treasury; you can’t lower rates below zero and there are few nations willing to buy trillions in new T-bills so Quantitative Easing is off the table as well. Our economy is now flying high without a parachute; DC can no longer turn to Keynesian policies to fix this pyramid scheme we call an economy. It seems exhilarating watching records being broken and listening to reports of DOW Jones breaking new highs. These stories of perpetual growth is crowding out stories of record number of Americans who are homeless and the astounding number of people who are living below the poverty line. As Wall Street pops their champagne bottles, tens of millions of Americans are being broken by poverty and indigence. The rest of us are praying to God we don’t join the growing number of Americans who have become statistics of crony capitalism. Meanwhile, the lessons of the past wait for us around the corner. Tick. Tock.
I have always understood gentrification to be limited in scope where minorities are displaced from cities in order to make way for the affluent. In reality, America has become a gentrified nation where a vast majority—irrespective of color, gender, faith or ideology—are being swallowed whole by economic uncertainty, financial turbulence and/or abject indigence. As a few live like sultans, the rest of us are suffering as serfs. Instead of listening to the elites who live apart and away from us, we should pay attention to the casualties of corporatism who are asking for change on street corners and struggling to survive in the communities we live. Whether the next recession comes is inconsequential to large swaths of Americans who are suffering their own Great Depression. #GentrifiNation
“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” ~ Edward Abbey
Check out the Ghion Cast below where I discuss the very issue of how politics, media and moneyed interests are colluding to prevent economic and social justice.
If there is a way out of this system of repression and systematic greed, it’s only through unity and togetherness. This is the message I share in the Ghion Cast below as I discuss how people rose up against tyranny from America, Haiti to my homeland Ethiopia.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
- Ethiopia’s Choice: Poverty through Grievance or Prosperity through Unity - September 9, 2019
- Bloody 60s: the Decade that Aborted Leadership in America - August 22, 2019
- A Matter of Life or Death: We Cannot Afford to Ignore Mental Illnesses Any Longer - August 17, 2019