Sunday, November 16, 2008

CHAPTER 7

Maybe the only viable solution for America this time is CHAPTER 7?  Liquidation!  A Fire Sale!  Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here!

Jimmy Carter said as much in 1979, but then came Ronald Reagan - and his dimwit, Shining City upon a Hill optimism carried the day.

So here we are, America!  It's thirty years later, and Piggy, the true base of our Democracy, has never been bigger, richer, more in charge and less capable! 

And where has it gotten Joe, The Average American?  He's fat.  He's old.  And he's largely been cheated.  Surprise!  Surprise!  Surprise!  Joe's on something of a buyer's strike.  Joe seems to have lost confidence...  But then, his plastic is maxed.  His mortgage is delinquent.  And soon he may need to apply for unemployment.

It's no wonder he's unhappy.  After all, Joe's America is obsessed with score-keeping.  And Joe works as hard as anyone on this planet.  Yet his standard of living is falling, his life expectancy ranks 42nd and his happiness ranks no higher than 23rd. 

So it's 1980 all over and Joe's fed up with the status quo - again.  Only this time he's not sure if he needs bio-fuels, solar panels, chicken coops, vegetable gardens or all-of-the-above as he tosses back another beer on the patio in the back yard of his devaluing exurban home.

Exxon Mobil says Joe needs to fill up the tank and head to the mall - again.  Merry Christmas, Joe!  Gasoline and "Made in China" are twenty percent off this season!  Just sign here on the dotted line.

Barney Frank says Joe needs another Wall Street bailout.  Or is it Detroit, Washington, or Main Street that his grandchildren's future economic prospects are underwriting this week?  In the face of so much financial innovation, it's hard just keeping track.

Max Baucus says mandatory, private Health Insurance is the answer.  After all, look how well that worked out for Auto-America!

But as Carter advised thirty years ago, maybe what America needs most is finally to get honest and rational - with itself?  Maybe this time America should be allowed to hit bottom rather than gin up another fake cycle of printing press prosperity?

That's where Chapter 7 comes in.