That “Almighty Dollar” you used to hear about is heading straight towards the scrap heap of junk currencies (think Ruble, Rupee, Lira, Escudo).
Several decades of foolishly voting for charlatan politicians, who assured us we could rule the world as we saw fit with a military whose costs were greater than the rest of the world’s armies combined, and who assured us we didn’t need to pay for our wars and our military might because we could just borrow money to keep the government running, have finally run us up against a wall. Nobody wants to hold those dollar debts anymore.
Now we see that those promises were a joke too. Indian and Chinese scientists and engineers are proving to be just as smart as our own. And as our bankrupted communities, their tax revenues withering with the collapse of the real estate bubble, and our financially strapped states, their tax revenues battered by rising unemployment and falling incomes, slash funding for public education and for colleges.
The jobs are gone, the schools are overcrowded holding pens, the public has run itself into massive debt trying to maintain a semblance of old living standards, the bridges are falling down, the roads are filling with potholes and cracks, fully one percent of the population (mostly people unable to find jobs) is in jail, and the troops are mired off in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they’re blowing through $12 billion a month just trying to stay alive and to stave off defeat.
Meanwhile, here at home, we’re watching the price of gas drift upwards towards $4/gallon, as producing countries from Iran to Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia in between, look at their crude stockpiles and think, “Do I want to get paid in greenbacks for this stuff?”
Increasingly, they’re thinking, “No. What do they take us for? Chumps? We want Euros.”
Over in China, the folks who make everything we use, from car and plane parts to the toys our kids play with and the food we eat, they’re thinking the same thing.
When they all eventually decide they’ve had it with the dollar, it will really start to plummet, and no amount of interest rate hiking by the Federal Reserve will be able to make it look attractive enough to hold onto.
But wait, the Fed can’t raise interest anyhow! It has to lower interest rates, because the US economy is sinking into a recession. That’s why the Fed has already lowered interest rates to 3 percent.
You may not have noticed, because the banks haven’t followed suit by lowering mortgage rates and consumer credit rates. They can’t do that, because they have so many loans going bust they need to keep sucking profits out of the remaining borrowers who so far can still meet their monthly payments.
The politicians who lured us into this disaster are now talking about how they will fix everything, but it’s all smoke and mirrors. John McCain may say the US will be stationing troops in Iraq for 100 years, but how’s he planning to pay for that? Hillary Clinton may say she wants to bring jobs back to Ohio, but who’s going to hire Ohio's workers? (Incentally, the phone Hillary picks up in her infamous "hot-line phone" ad was made in China, and the child in the ad, itself lifted from stock footage taken years ago, was of a girl, now 17, who is today an Obama activist.) Barack Obama may say he’s going to ensure that Americans can continue to maintain their lifestyles and afford the things they need, but how does he plan to keep incomes—and the currency itself—afloat?
The only way to salvage the US economy is for us American voters to admit that we’ve been buying a lie, and that these candidates vying to replace the Liar-in-Chief, and the candidates running for the Congress, are lying to us still.
We need to acknowledge that the US is not exceptional, and that it has to be part of the community of nations. We can no longer rule a “new world order” as “the sole surviving superpower.” That way lies the fate of the Roman Empire.
We need to bring the troops home—not just from Iraq and Afghanistan, but from all 800 of the places we have them stationed around the globe. We need to make reefs of our aircraft battle groups, and new forests of our many, many airfields and military bases.
We need to put the hundreds of thousands of men and women who unproductively march around in ugly desert uniforms to productive work as teachers, scientists, technicians, builders, healthcare workers and reforestation workers.
We need to take the trillion dollars a year we annually blow on the military and start putting it into our education system, our health system, our retirement system and, most critically, into R&D on ways to save the planet from climate disaster.
There is probably still time to pull the US out of a permanent dive into third-class nationhood, but not much. Especially if the idiots currently at the wheel are allowed to make things worse by attacking Iran.
We can start by demanding that the current candidates for President and Congress stop their lies. None of them can bring about any “change” in America, or rescue the country from its growing crisis, without slashing our absurd military budget, and without ending the con game called “globalization” that is hollowing out the economy.
If we don’t demand that kind of honesty of our political class, we have only ourselves to blame for the wreckage that will ensue.
If you want to see what it’s going to look like if we continue down our present path, take a trip to Rome and walk through the ruins of the Forum. Those structures went from gleaming marble to piles of bricks in a matter of decades, during which Rome went from the capital of a pan-European empire to a fetid swamp (much like a post-collapse Washington would be). But a word of warning. If you go to Rome, bring a sleeping bag and a lunch pail. Your dollar will not get you a hotel room or pay for lunch at even a run-of-the-mill eatery these days, so plan on camping and eating from the grocery store while there.
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This story was published on March 10, 2008.