12 January, 2008

Election 08: Which presidential candidate can best fix the Sub-prime mortgage meltdown in a compassionate way? Can John Edwards?

As a direct consequence of the Rich getting richer, the Poor are getting poorer - by comparison. If the level of water in one glass goes up, the level in the other must come down. It’s therefore hardly a surprise that poorer people are defaulting on mortgages in droves as their share of the Wealth Pie shrinks. So, logically, America urgently needs a new president who has the guts to tackle this problem of unequal wealth.

Capitalism (and its latest Frankenstein-child, Corporate Globalization) is set up for the precise purpose of creating yet more wealth for those who are already wealthy:

Manufacturing is being moved to Taiwan, China and India, etc. This is all based on the impossible assumption that America’s annual economic growth can and should continue to exceed the rate of its population growth. This is only possible, on a global scale, if some of the poorer countries actually go backwards in their economic growth. Again, think of the two glasses. Can Americans continue to tolerate such a shockingly immoral position?

George W Bush and his big business cronies don’t address these glaring inequality problems because it’s not in their interests to believe that they aren’t problems in the first place. In fact, they are the very ones who benefit by actively promoting such unequal wealth. Fish can't see water. Witness Bush’s unjustifiable tax cuts for the rich, excessively high CEO salary packages, etc.

There’s even been a (dishonest? ignorant?) media campaign to shift the blame onto the poorer classes by blaming the economic downturn on a fall in consumer retail spending! Wrong, this is all about effect, not cause. People who don’t have money can’t spend it. Nor is easy plastic credit the customer’s long-term answer either – it’s part of the problem:

From the point of view of America’s wealthy top 1%, the sub-prime mortgage meltdown can be seen in two ways - one good, one bad. On one hand, they will see their share portfolios nose-diving in value, so they might take defensive financial action by shuffling money around – a luxury we cattle classes don’t have.

On the other hand, they might actually see the problem as an opportunity – to buy up big when share or property prices bottom out. Conspiracy Theory addicts may even see deliberate motivation to periodically depress the market so they can profit from other peoples’ losses.
Meet, for instance, a certain Mr John Jacob Jingleheimer Scmidt:

...................................Do you know this man?

What a bonanza for well-heeled people if thousands of foreclosed properties are suddenly queueing up to be auctioned off at low reserves by the banks. Low-hanging fruit, yes?

The victims - those who lost their homes and life savings - are mostly re-locating to outer areas with cheap rent or van parks:

If this process of “big-fish-eat-little-fish” were to continue indefinitely, the logical conclusion would be that the entire wealth of the nation would end up in the hands of ONE person. Clearly hypothetical, but the trend is already resulting in a situation where America’s wealthy CEOs are finding their corporations struggling because their former customers have little money left to spend. This would have to be the ultimate case of biting the hand that feeds you… as in this [genuine!] pic from Taiwan:

Wealth must be shared less unequally to function beneficially to all. So the bulk of Americans would materially benefit by voting for someone who will challenge the ideology of Georges I & II of making the rich richer, of supporting multi-million dollar CEO salaries, and of legislating tax-breaks for the already-wealthy, of wasting tax money on un-winnable wars. It may hopefully mean, among other things, the prioritization of domestic issues such as Health Care, Education, reduction of arms sales, and reduction of military (and human) waste:

How do the present candidates stack up on the issue of unequal wealth, of corporate nest-feathering? Senator John Edwards, the former trial lawyer, ranks high as someone who is feared by the Corporate Sector. His speeches are peppered with attacks on corporate greed and warnings about the destruction of the Middle Class.

An Edwards campaign spokesman has said: "Once he is president, the interests of middle class families will never again take a back seat to corporate greed in Washington.”

But it has also been said that John Edwards is seen [by the wealthy corporate jet set] as "an anti-business populist". (Hey, on the strength of that, I’ve just made Edwards a lifetime member of FunkyPix2).

His regulatory and tax policies would probably be viewed by Republican corporate interests as a threat to business.

I say: ........... BRING… EDWARDS… ON

...because America – and the world – urgently needs to be rescued from the destructive greed of the mega-rich. How many Rolls-Royces does a person need? Suppressing the wealth of the bulk of the population is nothing short of America shooting itself in the financial foot. But that's precisely what's happening.

Edwards seems like the most citizen-friendly bet out of a rather ordinary Democrat bunch. (Having said that, I hasten to add that the Republican choices are woeful.) Pity John Kerry backed Obama instead this time, although Obama is certainly a notch better-principled than Clinton on this wealth inequality issue.

View this short Edwards campaign promo video.

'Funny" definitions:

Criminal:"A person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation." - Clarence Darrow

Corporation:"That inglorious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility." - Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

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