As I write this, Wall St is melting down in spite of government bailouts from borrowed money that will have the taxpayers in hock to foreign countries until the end of time or the end of the US empire – whichever comes first. Maybe with global warming being denied by the current administration and so many corporations, the end of time will come first.
If I sound cynical, depressed, discouraged or all of the above, it’s because it’s so obvious to any sentient being that ecology and economy are so intertwined that we can’t separate them. Consumerist culture, which was practically invented by the government to boost the US economy, is a major factor in global warming and the destruction of the earth.
It’s also the reason why so many of us have piles of stuff that we don’t really own. Houses with mortgages, cars with loans, clothes and toys and lawnmowers and furniture and even pets we still owe credit card debt on. Many of us are still paying 19% interest on restaurant meals we ate last spring. That’s insane.
It is my humble opinion that we’ll never get a handle on climate change or habitat loss or peace or justice or social equity until we get a handle on our spending – both personal and institutional. I think it would be a wonderful idea if the fat cats who got million – and in some cases, billion – dollar golden parachutes had to give the money back to the people whose pension funds have disappeared because of the CEOs’ mishandling of funds and companies.
That would be a start toward fixing a system that rewards people who lose other peoples’ money and has taxpayers foot the bill for it. Then, because it’s almost impossible to pay down debt that has the high interest rate that most credit cards have, we should put into place regulations that ban usury i.e. credit card interest rates over 10%.
That would allow many people to pay down their credit card debt and get out of the financial traps they’re in. Of course, that would only apply to those who still have jobs, so we’d need an extension on unemployment benefits and food stamps and a better support system for unemployed people, especially those with families to feed.
I don’t think that Barack Obama reads my blog and I know John McCain doesn’t, so none of this is likely to happen. That is, unless everyone in America suddenly comes to their collective senses and decides that saving the US and the planet is a really good idea, votes Democrat, and lobbies for change from the grassroots level to the halls of Congress and the auditorium of the UN.
That could happen. Now, you tell one.