Is Economic Chaos a Prelude to Social Change?

Anyone who is paying attention can see that the United States is teetering on the edge of economic disaster. The massive national debt (about 14 trillion and increasing as I type) is unsustainable. The federal government’s revenue might not be able to keep up with the interest on the debt, and if that happens, America’s financial house of cards would come tumbling down.

It seems obvious to me that the solution to this frightening problem is to increase the government’s revenue potential.

So I am dumbfounded by the prevailing strategy apparently favored by both Republicans and Democrats in Washington – cutting taxes and choking off federal spending.

The double-whammy can have only one result – decreasing federal revenue.

I know it sounds strange to suggest that the answer to massive debt is more government spending. But there’s really no reasonable alternative. The national economy must be revived to restore the federal government’s revenue stream.

By laying off hundreds of thousands of public employees and cutting back social programs, the government will starve the country’s marketplace of the money that keeps it alive.

Think about it – all those people collecting unemployment insurance, further straining the nation’s resources.

Then think about the empty stores, repossessed cars, foreclosed homes, barren fields, deserted airports and seaports…

Think about the cost as crime explodes, prisons are overloaded, and unemployed youths throng the streets, with nothing to do but make mischief…

Think about the declining tax revenue as payrolls shrink.

Does anyone really believe that the tiny minority who will have money to spend will spend it in America, creating jobs? Why would they? Many of them don’t even live in America, and others live in America only some of the time.

By slashing taxes for corporations and the rich, America is siphoning its wealth into the coffers of financiers and investors from around the world.

Americans have given away their jobs and their technology. Now they are giving away their capital.

If you look closely, you will see a self-perpetuating downward spiral that has no bottom.

I can’t believe America’s politicians are too blind to see this.

So I must conclude that someone is deliberately bringing the nation to its knees.

It’s a strategy known as “creative destruction,” in which economic havoc is the prelude to social change.

It is no secret that many conservatives are intent on turning back the clock.

On the eve of the recent elections, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina warned  that Republicans would turn back the clock if elected. He predicted – accurately as it turns out – that minorities would lose ground on health care and education.

Minorities are not the only ones who are being affected.

The “new conservatives” are trying to turn back the clock in every conceivable way, with a broad-based assault on the rights of women, gays, workers -you name it.

I call your attention to events in Wisconsin, where Governor Scott Walker has threatened to use the National Guard against state workers protesting his proposed revocation of their right to organize.

That’s a flashback to a different society – an America in which the rich and powerful ruled with an iron fist. Writing in Salon today, Stephanie Taylor, a doctoral candidate in American history at Georgetown, reminds us of that era:

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, governors often mobilized the National Guard during strikes.  Sometimes the Guard was genuinely neutral, assigned to buffer the dangerous zone between strikers and their employers. Other times, the Guard was explicitly charged with breaking the strike. During these instances, violence often erupted between strikers and soldiers with terrible, bloody results.

National Guard soldiers clashed with strikers in Buffalo, N.Y., Birmingham, Ala., Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,  Salt Lake City and Telluride, Colo., at the turn of the 20th century. In just two years, between 1911 and 1913, the militia was mobilized against coal miners in West Virginia, textile workers in Massachusetts, textile workers in New Jersey, and copper miners in Michigan. During an infamous bloodbath in 1914, soldiers killed striking coal miners and their families in Ludlow, Colo., including at least six men, two women and 12 children.

During the 1934 Auto-Lite strike in Toledo, a battle raged for five days between 6,000 strikers and 1,300 members of the Ohio National Guard, leaving two strikers dead and more than 200 injured. Three years later, during the famous occupation of General Motors in Flint, Mich., the governor ordered thousands of soldiers to the factory, as the workers swore to resist them by force.

And in Wisconsin, Gov. Albert Schmedeman used the National Guard to disrupt a 1933 strike by dairy farmers, sometimes with bayonets and tear gas, when they tried to raise the price of milk. Newspapers reported that he was preparing for a “bona fide war.” The Guard mobilized again the next year during a strike by the United Auto Workers. It was the last time the National Guard would be used during a strike in Wisconsin. Until, possibly, now.

(Click here to read the article.)

Is that the society Americans want to return to?