I’ve been too depressed these last couple of days to crank out a column. Gov. Scott Walker won the recall election in Wisconsin on Tuesday, which just goes to show you how many people think nothing of getting up in the morning, eating a big bowl of Cheerios, and then hustling off to the polls to vote against their own best interests. When you consider the fact that the Republican party more-or-less serves only 1% of the population, you have to wonder why the crooked bastards keep on getting elected.
Perhaps it’s Fox News and men like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity. If you want a good laugh, forget about Comedy Central and just tune in to Fox. The shit that they say on that network—with a straight face—is just about enough to drive a person right up the goddamned wall. What’s worse is that approximately half of the people in this country believe it.
Fuck it. Scott Walker may have kept his position as governor, but we did at least win back the Wisconsin Senate … and I should probably listen to all of those emails that I get from the people at Daily Kos, the AFL-CIO, and others. They say that I should “keep my chin up” and “keep on fighting”—and they’re right, but sometimes I wonder.
In other news, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke met with the Joint Economic Committee today and said, in part, “I’d be much more comfortable if, in fact, Congress would take some of this burden from us.”
He was talking about heading off the prospect of a so-called “fiscal cliff” at the end of the year, when automatic spending cuts will kick in and tax cuts will expire if no action is taken.
Well … good luck with that. Congress hasn’t done a goddamned thing lately but hold this country and our economy hostage every chance they’ve had. And while our credit rating was downgraded last summer by Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings is planning on following suit.
“It seems clear that the situation is deteriorating at the global level,” said Barry Bosworth, an economist at the Brookings Institution.
No shit. And ultimately, nothing the Republicans or the Democrats come up with is going to solve the problem. Depending on policy, it is possible to either slow or accelerate the impending economic disaster—but you can’t stop it. Only a major overhaul of the entire system can do that—and it’s something that will have to happen sooner or later. We can do it now, or we can wait for the whole stupid house of cards to collapse.
I’ve touched on this topic in many of my other columns, but it bears repeating. Our “economy,” as it exists, is a perpetual-growth paradigm that is absolutely unsustainable. Money is loaned into existence at interest, which means that money is debt; furthermore, the money that is needed to pay that interest doesn’t exist—therefore, the money supply must be perpetually increased and defaults and bankruptcies are mathematically certain to occur. Our money supply is tied to finite, “real-world” things like energy and resources—and those things have a ceiling.
Here’s an interesting tidbit: Did you know that only 1 – 5% of our money actually exists in cash & coin? The rest exists only as numbers in computers. Try wrapping your head around that one. Your bank account balance does not represent how much money you have there—in reality, it is really nothing more than an IOU or a promise to pay.
So, how do we fix the problem? Here are three good places to start:
Money. Economics. Peak oil. These are grim subjects—ones that don’t get the attention that they deserve, especially during an election year. I find it a bit troubling that none of our elected officials seem to understand what a pickle we’re in, let alone care. It’s June now, and the next couple of months are going to be rather slow as Mitt Romney and Barack Obama stay in a kind of holding pattern. Come September, the campaign trail is going to crank up again in earnest as election day draws near. Perhaps between now and then I should try to concentrate on other things. My doctor has warned me that if I don’t start eating right and stop poisoning my body and get my head straightened out in general, I’ll have a fucking stroke and die long before I have a chance to cast my vote in November.
Here’s your wisdom:
John T. Schmitz is the editor & publisher of Secret Laboratory; he is the founder of Maple Hills Press and has also freelanced as a writer and photographer, contributing to various local and international publications. Mr. Schmitz lives in Minnesota with his wife, Megan, and their two children; he is the author of five books.
Email Mr. Schmitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.