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September 15, 2009

The Changing Face of American Capitalism

By Ai Lung Nguyen - September 2009.

ENTERTAINMENT/POLITICS - What is happening to American capitalism?

If you haven't noticed it seems to be unraveling at the seams. (Ha, pun.)

Its really a combination of personal debt, bank debt and government debt. All the debt has become unsustainable and lax government policies have refused to acknowledge the problem or try to pay back the skyrocketing debt.

Remember Bill Clinton? When he left office the American National Debt was going to be paid off in 4 years. George W. Bush got into power, gave out a bunch of tax breaks, went to war twice and more than tripled the US national debt to 11 trillion.

If he had just left it alone he could have paid it off and become the first Republican president to EVER pay off the debt. True, it was Clinton's doing, but that wouldn't have stopped him for taking credit for it.

But fiscal responsibility isn't exactly in the Republican phrasebook. They spend more than drunk liberals.

Bush also left the United States with the biggest recession since the Great Depression, leaving poor Barack Obama to clean up his mess. If Clinton's record is to be used as a benchmark it will take 12 years to pay off a debt 3 times the size. Which means since Obama will only be in power for 4-8 years he won't see the debt paid off under his administration, even in the sunniest of conditions.

After all we're still bogged down in two wars overseas. Its another Vietnam.

Times two!

On a related topic this sort of fiscal irresponsibility has really angered documentary maker Michael Moore. His latest film "Capitalism: A Love Story" discusses the bailouts George W. Bush gave to the American banking industry when the mortgage industry went bust.

"Capitalism: A Love Story" tracks the disintegration and corruption of America's banking and money systems to the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan. Reagan's "trickle-down" theory of empowered bankers and businessmen leading the peasants to greener fields became known as "Reagonomics" and was entirely bull-shit. It was designed to make the rich richer and the poor just stayed poor.

The problem with Reagonomics is that rich people don't spend money that often. They save it. It sits in banks and does nothing, collecting interest. Sometimes they invest it, but overall tax cuts for the rich doesn't really do anything but fatten their bank accounts a bit more.




"We, the American people allowed this to happen. We bought into this thing of, `Jesus, we could all be rich.' And it was just a big ruse. It was part of the Ponzi scheme. What is the difference between what Bernie Madoff did and what Reaganomics was about, which was to guarantee that the very few at the top of the pyramid were going to make off like bandits, and everybody else was going to work their asses off thinking they were going to get to the top of the pyramid?" says Michael Moore.

Moore knows some people in the USA are going to call him socialist and even communist for wanting to help the poor and middle-class, but he doesn't care.

"There's nothing wrong with buying stuff. I'm not going to be a hypocrite here. I have three iPods. I've got the little one, the nano, and the one that's got the screen. What I'm against is that sort of senseless consumerism that forces people to go into debt for things they shouldn't be going into debt for. It's crazy," says Moore.

The thing about capitalism is that it needs socialism and communism for it to work properly. Its like a three-legged stool. If you take out one or two legs the stool will collapse with just a nudge.

"Capitalism: A Love Story" opens October 2nd 2009.

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