I’m not quite sure what this sub-prime/bailout mess is going to mean for this country and for our political system, but as with most things in life, there will be some good and some not so good results. Right now I do know that not only is our political system broken, but more importantly it is completely detached from the American people. The White House is leaderless, Congress is in shambles, the candidates for President are on the sidelines, the Republicans are divided and the Democrats can’t count votes; not surprisingly, the American people are mad as hell.
I do have a hunch that after the smoke clears and the partisan rancor subsides, we will witness at least the temporary end of the right-wing market model of weak regulation, tax cuts for the rich and unquestioned faith in Wall Street, the banking industry and those arrogant captains of capitalism. The ideologues who worshipped at the altar of the hidden hand of the private sector will be pushed aside to make room for the new statists with their public sector solutions and their wary eye for unrelenting greed and self-serving support for policies that lined the pockets of the top 1%.
There will also be a version of the end of history perspective so prominent after the fall of communism. The latest version, though, will be an end of the American story with its dreams and hopes and opportunities. We are in for a long period of dashed dreams, faded hopes and scant opportunities. The new history will be one in which young Americans finally begin to realize that their futures are in jeopardy and that they will have the onerous task of paying off the Chinese, the Saudis and the Russians along with taking care of grandma and grandpa as they dip further and further into Social Security and Medicare.
I’m not quite so sure that we will face the end of time in the manner that the evangelical movement promises. But there will be a judgment day come November 4th with voters seeking revenge at the polls. Even those members of Congress from safe seats are sweating it out and facing the prospect of electoral scorn. Unfortunately, the Wall Street culprits will not have to face the voters, but they might face the FBI and at least temporary unemployment. And if you believe in eternal damnation, it is certain the guys and gals who perpetrated this securitization scheme will be “down there” taking the heat.
The really scary part of all this sub-prime/bailout mess is that this country is no where near the end of the economic collapse. There are months and months ahead of recession, unemployment, foreclosures, bankruptcies, plant closings, indebtedness, weak dollars and a general national funk. Since we Americans are a God-centered religious folk, perhaps its time to pray for deliverance.