George Graham

If This Economy Is “Fundamentally Strong,” Pigs Do Wear Lipstick

I suppose that in America you can say anything, however bizarre, and some people will believe it. How else to explain John McCain’s goofy assessment of the U.S. economy as “fundamentally strong”? Even former Fed Chief Alan Greenspan (photo below, right) says this is the worst economy he has ever seen, and he has lived a long time. I have news for John McCain. This is a lousy economy from top to bottom.  Either through stupidity or sheer recklessness, a succession of administrations have created an economic structure that cannot possibly survive without drastic overhaul.greenspan

Spouting wild theories about deregulation, globalization and “free enterprise,” America’s leaders have painted castles in the air, and the voters have said, “How pretty!” Even now, a lot of Americans believe that a just society would be “socialism.” They sit there jobless and uninsured, guzzling beer and cursing “liberals,” muttering under their breath that they would rather starve than vote for a black man as president. I wonder if their appendix were to burst and the only available surgeon was non-white, would they choose to die? Well, guess what dudes and dudesses? Obama is the only surgeon you have right now, and even with him in the White House, America is going to need a lot of help from above. So my advice is: Vote for him – and pray that he succeeds.

Irrational fear of government planning is largely responsible for the collapse of the housing market. Unchecked development has spawned far more houses than people need. Unchecked speculation made house prices soar beyond the reach of most Americans – especially with government policies helping to keep wages stagnant (while billionaires proliferate). Meanwhile, irresponsible and downright crooked lenders were allowed to prey on the unsuspecting, setting up a scenario that could end only in disaster.

Another example of the dizzy thinking that got America in an economic mess is deregulation of the airline industry. Anyone who has flown in recent years can tell you what a sorry situation that move has created. Then some idiot deregulated commodities trading. And mortgages. And the credit industry… It’s no wonder financial institutions are collapsing like a house of cards and Wall Street is in meltdown.

Look, there is no such thing as “free” enterprise. The government is like a referee in a prize fight. It has to interfere in a lot of ways or you would have chaos. And the American government has been pinning the arms of working people and letting employers beat the you-know-what out of them.

That’s what “globalization” amounts to. By letting American employers pack up and move to some other country where wages are lower, governments create a situation in which labor is immobile and capital is mobile. And this government has gone even farther – it not only lets goods manufactured by runaway employers enter America duty-free; it also gives the runaway employers tax breaks!

Here are a few other reasons for America’s economic disaster:

chartAmericans consume much more than they produce, leading to disastrous trade deficits.

The U.S. Government spends more than it takes in, leading to a mountain of debt.

The financial system rewards dishonesty and trickery instead of hard work and inventiveness.

On the crazy assumption that economic activity is wealth, Americans are encouraged to shop, piling up credit card debt, instead of setting a few pennies aside (and maybe even investing those pennies in American productivity). And, by the way, the credit card companies are allowed to impose usurious interest rates and outrageous fees in the name of “free enterprise.”

Then there’s the Iraq War, which sucks an estimated $10 billion out of the country every month! That’s billion with a b. And America does not have the $10 billion. So we borrow the money from foreign countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia and China. How do you think that affects foreign policy decisions? And, more to the point, how in the name of all that’s holy will America pay back that much money? Governments can’t just go to war when they feel like it and either print a blizzard of paper money to pay for it or borrow huge amounts from other countries. Not without grave consequences, anyway. When you get to the point where you’re borrowing money to pay the interest on your debts, you’re in deep trouble. And America reached that point long ago.

Do you wonder why politicians have pursued such ruinous policies for so long? The short answer is lobbyists. By fair means and foul, these parasites infect the halls of power, putting zillions of dollars in the pockets of the politicians and promoting the special interests of their clients. And guess which folks are running the McCain campaign? Lobbyists, that’s who. At last count, there were more than 120 of them involved. It’s not surprising that McCain thinks the economy is strong.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for