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Friday the 13th: Let’s hope it’s a myth

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By Wendy Binnie

Has the compact been broken? Has our government failed us? The numbers and feedback leads us to believe that our ability to reverse the economic slide is complicated geometrically with each passing day. Our failure to act resolutely to end massive unemployment and housing foreclosures may lead us into a form of chaos that we have not seen in 200 years, if at all.

Oh yes, there is a compact that exists between people and their government. The compact goes back to feudal days in Europe, suggesting the local lord – read government – shall protect you (i.e. provide housing and food) and you shall cooperate in times of need (i.e. war, threats to the homeland, etc.).

The numbers of people out of work now are growing exponentially. The bank deal has not worked. The banks have used the money to save themselves, give bonuses, take big salaries and buy or invest in other institutions. Who’d a’ thunk it?

People are concerned about the president’s proposal to spend huge amounts of money – and rightly so, but to sit around arguing and doing nothing but slapping gums together will solve nothing and when the yakking is over it may be too late, if indeed it isn’t already.

The situation grows more deadly with the passage of each and every day. How long will the public wait until they take matters into their own hands as the French did during their revolution? That was a long time ago; yet, the attitudes of the rich are not all that much different from that time.

We aren’t starving; but we lost our jobs and the house over our heads was owned by the bank that just seized it. Health care was unaffordable. And we couldn’t afford to even buy the fuel when we had shelter.

At the same time, hedge fund owners are making billions and 5 percent of the population own more than 60 percent of the national wealth. And the trend continues.

When your house is taken away and your job disappears, there is nothing to hold you back. And the people grow angrier with the notion that the Wall Street types who put us here are still taking big bonuses with taxpayer funding. This can’t continue.

Bob Herbert wrote: “What’s up with the Republicans? Have they no sense that their policies have sent the country hurtling down the road to ruin? Are they so divorced from reality that in their delusionary state they honestly believe we need more of their tax cuts for the rich and their other forms of plutocratic irresponsibility, the very things that got us to this deplorable state?”

Herbert is convinced that the GOP is determined to undermine the president’s attempt to cope with the national economic emergency by attacking the spending in his stimulus package and repeating ad nauseam the Republican mantra for ever more tax cuts. ‘“Right now, given the concerns that we have over the size of this package and all the spending in this package, we don’t think it’s going to work,” said Representative John Boehner, an Ohio Republican who is House minority leader.

Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Mr. Boehner said of the plan: “Put me down in the ‘no’ column.”‘

The president realizes this; the Republicans either prefer obstructionism which may be their way of shucking off all responsibility for what they allowed the previous administration to do or just don’t care. As more jobs fall every day, we are getting closer and closer to physical rebellion and lashing out.

One doesn’t have to be a genius to see that if the president does not get his way, or even if he does, that the whole house of cards could fall into some abyss. The truth is that unlike most modern Europeans, Americans have been placid too long.

But without a job, without health care, without a roof over your head, well, the spin into anarchy is not far behind. People are hurting. They need reassurance; they need jobs; they need to have homes and food they can afford.

If the legislators don’t move quickly, things can only get worse. Only the foolhardy would ignore the peril of our present situation.

And what is the Republicans’ answer to the dire situation – caused on their watch? Perhaps they still feel as did Phil Gramm (John McCain’s guru) who said it was all in our heads. A “mental recession,” huh? And their constant and untrue panacea or Band Aid – tax cuts.

Herbert asked why anyone listens to them anymore. It’s hard to disagree when GOP policies have just about wiped out the middle class.

“The GOP has successfully engineered a wholesale redistribution of wealth to those already at the top of the income ladder and then, in a remarkable display of chutzpah, dared anyone to talk about class warfare: (Forget the poor. Nobody talks about them anymore, not even the Democrats.)”

Conservative columnists and pundits drone on about the “tax and spend” Democrats. Strangely they are not challenged nor embarrassed whenever the previous administration’s insane wars are brought up. The money thrown at those fiascos would more than pay for the president’s plans to help “we the people.”

In fact perhaps we wouldn’t be in a recession (let’s stop fooling around and call it by its correct name – depression) if the wrong country hadn’t been attacked.

… As I was saying …

Wendy England Binnie, a novelist and op-ed columnist, lives in Oak Trace Villas. Contact her at smcnews@earthlink.net.