Depression 2.0 (via Rogue Columnist)

I’ve already called this current economic crisis, The Second Great Depression. Apparently I’m not the only one. Rogue Columnist is as angry as I am. Here’s his take on the Second Great Depression –

We may not be looking at another recession. We may be in a Depression. For many, if not most, Americans, the recovery was chimerical. Their troubles began in the ’00s, with stagnant incomes and the worst record of job creation since the real President Hoover. When the housing bubble crashed and the stock market followed, the were financially ruined. Now 24 million are unemployed or under-employed. And that was all before the federal government embarked on an austerity plan that might please Robert Rubin but otherwise guarantees more recession.

This second depression is likely to be far worse than the first. In the 1930’s, there were people willing to try anything to make the lot of the majority of Americans better. Now, we have a governing class and a beltway media devoted slavishly to serving the financial elites. No illegality or unfairness can spur either government or media to action.

In fact, it’s even worse, for the great opinion makers of the day are devoted to building a society without a functioning government in most senses of the word. It’s as if history, economics and an ability to do math have been ruled out of bounds in political discussion.

Now, you might say that you are aware of many economists who present their views to the government like the dozens who signed a petition demanding spending cuts. I do not find American economists in general to be useful or trustworthy. Most have been corporatized. Their incomes depend on their subservience to a certain kind of economics that clearly does not work.

We cannot turn to academia, the churches or the law for assistance. All have been corrupted by corporate dollars or frightened into silence. It will be years before the people find a voice in political action.

What will happen until then? Probably violence. I do not want anyone to be hurt. As much as I despise some of those who have made incredible fortunes out of manipulating the government or speculating with the people’s money, I do not want them killed.

But there are plenty of guns and a lot of anger right now. Some of that anger will manifest itself in action.

Let us not miss the great truth here – our political and corporate leaders are stupid. Not a little stupid but brain dead stupid. It is only logical to realize that destroying the American infrastructure through neglect, making education expensive, dispensing with social services, encouraging financial speculation while shipping jobs overseas would in the short and long term damage the nation. It is only reasonable to understand that such damage would hurt profits and diminish taxes. It is intelligent to realize you can only squeeze so much out of the middle class before you do long term damage. And yet they are neither logical, or reasonable, or intelligent. They do not realize when enough riches are enough, when enough austerity is enough, when enough evasion of taxes and laws is enough – they just don’t understand the concepts of hubris and balance.

And so what has been done over the last thirty years will continue. Those that have become rich do not realize that manipulation of the government and the media have at long last a limit, and that they stand to lose at some point. I think they’ll play their hand until it comes up aces and eights.

James Pilant


This Is Not A Recovery

I wrote this back in August. I haven’t changed my mind one bit. Whenever I read this nonsense about an economic recovery, I’m struck by how far away the commentator is from actual American life and how close he is to Washington.

So says Paul Krugman at the New York Times. And he’ right. This is the New Great Depression, the second in American history. It will always be remembered by future generations as Great Depression II, the second great depression. Just like the first world war failed to solve the problems that would eventually lead to the second world war, the same problems bit us a second time. The humiliating thing is that if we had continued with the protections from the first great depression we could have avoided much of the damage. But the claims and promises of an irresponsible and incompetent economic elite have led America and the rest of the world into disaster, a disaster these same creatures do not believe is happening since it has no effect on them except a persistent worry that their profession is being “demonized.” Demons would have had serious difficulty in doing more damage to more innocent lives.

James Pilant

Does History Repeat Itself – The Stock Market Crash?

“The past is prologue?” Are we in the same place that America was in during the first years of the Depression? I worry that this economic downturn is just the beginning of long term destabilization of the economy.

(You should probably avoid my blog if you want to put a happy face on the economic situations because I find it hard to find things just to be content about.)

I found a wonderful set of history films about the early days of the Great Depression. They provide a lot of insight into how people thought and reacted to the events as they unfolded day by day. We look at what people were saying, what they were reading, what music they were listening to. We can wonder if we wouldn’t have done the same things. It’s a better way to understand history than the summaries in textbooks.

If you listen to the incredible confidence that the moneyed and political class had in the economy and the sureness they had in an immediate recovery, you have to wonder about those in out system today, who say we’ve turned the corner.

We have not.

Part 1 –

Part 2 –

Part 3 –

Part 4 –

Part 5 –

I want to be wrong about all this. I want the economy to thrive, everyone to have a job, and as much as possible for people to become prosperous.

We’ll see.

James Pilant