Fleeting prosperity, courtesy of our grandchildren

Why, we ask ourselves, do so many world leaders continue to pay homage, no matter how subdued, to this American government that has served the people of this planet so poorly as both conservator of resources… and as defender of human life and dignity?

Can anybody make sense in accepting George W. Bush as the pied piper leading the way to the convocation of an emergency economic summit of G20 Leaders hoping to cope with, and ameliorate, the meltdown now appearing in the global economy? Never mind that the Bush Administration bears much of the responsibility for such meltdown!

Welcome to Washington, see of military and economic might! Welcome to the Basilica of the Two Altars: Capitalism and Democracy, with Bungling Bush as Supreme Pontiff. The inseparability of capitalism and democracy has come to be in America an act of faith, at least for two generations, under the constant brainwashing of both government and business, something that continuously travels from the ridiculous to the sublime as democracy becomes conspicuous by its absence – in politics – and capitalism shows its predatory and inhumane face, nothing resembling the clean and smooth features we associate with true free enterprise.

Bailouts and stimuli have been the magic potions carried in the conversations of all these folks coming to Bush’s shindig, all present for little more than a photo-op… since there was never a chance that guests to the High Mass at the Basilica could convince the High Priest that regulations, adequately enforced, are the only way to keep capitalism honest and manageable. Too late for the current crash for, after all, this incredible excuse for a world leader will be put to pasture in two months. Just why did all these leaders accede to come to Washington when all they needed to do was decide on a meeting place where they could all meet in February with young Obama?!

Perhaps a return to the Azores… was suggested by a Spanish journalist friend; but this time to promote world peace and meaningful economic remedies in contrast to the March 16, 2003 performance of the 2 ½ Tenors (Bush, Blair and Aznar) – my friend always thought of the then Spanish head of state as half-baked – and their strident “Ultimatum to Saddam” aria sang as a battle cry to invade a sovereign nation: Iraq.

One might have expected some acrimony at this meeting, particularly from Britain’s Brown or France’s Sarkozy; after all, we flooded their countries, as well as many others, with our worth-less paper but they’ll get their chance to upstage Obama, or at least try, after he takes the reins. Of course, the US is not entirely to blame for their economies’ meltdown; they did a creditable job imitating us in many capitalist pyramid schemes.

As I stated six weeks ago, as Secretary Paulson delivered his economic bad tidings asking for a rescue package “or we were all going to drown,” the decision could have waited until such time as people, not just Congress, were told in a clear manner both truth and consequences… something which wasn’t done. And, to date, that truth has not been provided by our government, nor does it appear that it will soon be; not before our national debt reaches a level as high as the nation’s annual GDP (Gross Domestic Product), or even past that point; and by then it will be too late, with more than 80 percent of Americans, politically clueless and with little if any wealth left, will be caged in economic captivity to predatory Corporate America. Why the truth now? So we may accept a 20 or 30 percent cut in a standard of living that was never ours by right, and accept it as a clean start; perhaps after criminally indicting those who contributed to get us where we are today. Cancel all the stupid reality shows on television and broadcast instead the biggest reality show where we are all cast; instill some measure of civic education and common sense, while ceasing to treat citizens as imbecilic consumers.

As for Detroit’s problem and a requested second $25 billion bailout installment of, one guesses, many more to come, politicians – in this case Obama and Congress – should do one of two things: let the Midget-3 deservedly go under, or purchase all outstanding stock in GM, Ford and Chrysler at a fraction of the current price; then, offer to sell it to the employees under some plan that would seem viable, permitting the continuance of manufacturing autos in America. Stockholders and management have failed miserably, why not now give a chance to labor? Unfortunately, either of these two unpalatable choices has too great a political risk for both the President-elect and the congressional Democrats. So, once again, our government will screw up… and the taxpayers will end up paying the freight for another ticket to nowhere.

What seems out of place, totally absurd, is for Bush, smile on his face, to continue touting a totally opaque and thieving economic system, ringing out the twin bells of capitalism and democracy. And to think, he does so with impunity, and without any reasonable challenge!

For now, let’s thank our grandchildren for having gifted us with this undeserved round of prosperity we have indulged in during these last few years. Our legacy doesn’t seem to be much better than Bush’s, does it?