Following the US ‘Independence day’ celebrations yesterday, Rob Larson, author of the forthcoming Bleakonomics: A Heartwarming Introduction to Financial Catastrophe, the Jobs Crisis and Environmental Destruction (out in October), argues in Counterpunch that the US has swapped colonial dependence for dependence on corporate-state power. But, Larson concludes, hope remains in the new movements challenging austerity:
The giant proportions that money has assumed in politics suggest that rather than a day of celebration of independence from the first British Empire, the summer holiday should probably commemorate the tightly symbiotic relationship between the two great centers of modern power, capital and the state—a Codependence Day.
While this tightly incestuous power relationship is highly obvious today, it’s an old tradition; early US President and Constitution drafter James Madison said in the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787 that “In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of the landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place…our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation…so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.”
Obama has not stood in the way of the public-sector cutbacks referred to as “austerity,” despite the modest 2009 stimulus bill and some recent election-year populist rhetoric. Romney has been closer to the GOP position of “helping” the economy through serial cuts to public services and jobs, most notoriously in his remark in Council Bluffs, Iowa that “[Obama] says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”
Visit Counterpunch to read the article in full.
A Heartwarming Introduction to Financial Catastrophe, the Jobs Crisis and Environmental Destruction
“I have been reading Rob Larson’s columns for some time, with great profit and appreciation. His work is not only solidly grounded but also lucid and accessible, a most valuable contribution to public understanding and vitally needed action.” – Noam Chomsky
“Larson adds a critical component to the policy debate about financial reform by explaining why the systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs) — the “too big to fail” banks — imperil our democracy as well as our economy. They are ticking time bombs certain to cause great damage unless we follow Larson’s advice.” – William Black, Associate Professor of Economics and Law, University of Missouri-Kansas City, author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One
Recovery for the Few
Informed critical economist takes Obama to task for presiding over a failing and unequal US economy.
“Everybody else talked of the Lehman crisis as a blip, but Rasmus got it right: his concept of ‘epic recession’ describes what happened, in America and in the Western world. In this trenchant critique of Obama’s stimulus measures, he asks searching questions about the scale of the actions taken and the suitability of their design. With orthodox economics coming under strain, Rasmus’ unorthodox economics is a refreshing counter-argument to the mainstream.” – Paul Mason, BBC Newsnight Economics Editor and author of Meltdown
“Obama was elected because he represented hope and the expectation of change. But as Rasmus shows, little changed for tens of millions of unemployed, homeowners, and those dependant on government services. Rasmus describes in detail how Obama was the most conservative and business-oriented of the Democratic candidates in 2008, and how his first-term economic policies reflected that orientation.” – Chuck Mack, International Vice-President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union