Tuesday, August 09, 2011

No Reckoning

The United States of America suffered a sovereign credit downgrade last Friday by rating agency Standard & Poor's. Media's now full of dust & smoke, squawking, the sound of gnashing teeth, etc. etc. What's going on?

The basic affront is the United States of America has grown contemptuous of accountability. Having enjoyed unilateral freedoms for so long, the US government is accustomed to doing whatever it wishes. Public relations and the press are too often interchangeable, rewriting history, ignoring it, or diverting attention & outrage to new stories and memes.

US policymakers see the key lesson of the Vietnam War as marking a point to where one can stray but still reap the Nobel Prize (Kissinger), avoid trials for war crimes, and simply apologize with 'oops'...

The present economic meltdown owes much to the financial crisis of 2007, when the US housing bubble showed major banks and financial firms were insolvent. The US government rescued selected private companies with bailout funds, allowing the executive managers to remain at work. The crisis was blamed in part on regulatory failure and poor government oversight, but top public officials also kept their jobs. These corporations along with Bush, Obama and their cronies, fundamentally undermined our market system by gifting huge public assistance to a few private firms. Importantly, although such shenanigans resulted in global recession, the sovereign credit rating of the USA was not adjusted downward. In other words, this correction is very little, very late.