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Web Letter

Scheer's notion that the "Clinton Bubble"--resulting from too much Rubinism--is the cause of the current economic turmoil is so simple as to be ridiculous. Scheer's article is typical of way too many writers/faux thinkers on both sides and the middle of the ideological spectrum as they try to write songs that may sell to an audience that is looking for something to hum along to and that does way too little real thinking to begin with.

The effort on the part of liberals and reactionaries--not to mention so-called "conservatives"--on Wall Street would have resulted in the greed schemes regardless of what laws and/or strict regulations were in place, because the Bushies were intent on a laissez-faire modus operandi regarding Wall Street and commerce anyway. I suggest that all of you "opinionators" in the chattering and writing class take a look at the recent NBC/MSNBC/CNBC treatment of the "current economic mess." That treatment gets to the nut-cuttin' and puts the blame right where it belongs: Wall Street and Republican dogma. Maybe you can take a look back at C. Wright Mills's White Collar and the Power Elite.

harley spoon

Austin, TX

Apr 30 2009 - 4:20pm

Web Letter

Thanks for the great article, Mr. Scheer. I am no Democrat, so your laying the blame on Clinton is OK with me. Let's not forget, thoughm the GOP Congress that legislated the deregulation. So the whole political class has blood on thier hands and wads of cash in their pockets. What do we do?

I did not vote for Obama, but I must believe alot of my starstruck countrymen had the idea that Obama the progressive\socialist\reformer(change)would clean out the Augean stables. I agree with you that it looks like the banks are writing their own ticket. Leaving the rest of us to be soaked one more time. This time on Obama's watch. How could my neighbors be so wrong? Can we ever install a representative government again?

mike flynn

New York, NY

Apr 30 2009 - 7:01am

Web Letter

I am glad Robert Scheer is asking readers of The Nation to e-mail President Obama and inquire, "Where is the socially conscious guy we voted for last November?" However, based on Scheer's fine article, as well as other recent pieces, I will not comply with his request. What is the use? That president is a mirage and a mirage cannot accept, much less answer, mail in any form. We've been had again.

Douglas Presler

Minneapolis, MN

Apr 29 2009 - 3:16pm

Web Letter

Our America is like the Energizer bunny-it keeps on going, no matter what, Clinton to Bush to Obama. Our military illusionists rule the sea, land and air and our Wall Street bubble illusionists rule the economy. Soon our bunny will run into a wall or Elmer Fudd.

The focus for President Obama is still the centrality of "Anglo-Saxon" capitalism (the US, Brits, Northern Europe). On the surface he calls for a green economy, healthcare reform, infrastructure rebuilding, etc. None of these really make for a viable economy, and his ace in the hole, it seems to me, is go back to what worked before—the old Greenspan Multiple Bubbles program: i.e., low interest rates, easy credit, debt, leverage and the so-called wonders of the unregulated free market.

But going back to our old ways and you have finance dominating the economy--Wall Streeters flipping paper and making a huge buck that way. They lied, cheated, gambled and untimely lost big time.

And then there's the hope of twenty-first-century technologists. But what they have given us , compared to say, electricity, engines, oil of the early twentieth century? Sure, mathematical geniuses at MIT and the University of Chicago recently figured out that securitizing subprime mortgages would spread risk and would never fail. These Nobel geniuses were wrong!

Capitalism has finally developed its own economic weapons of mass destruction: CDOs, quants, credit default swaps, securitization, megamillion-dollar salaries. Combine this with the usual greed, fraud and avarice, and you have a killer system. Except it will kill itself.

The Wall Street-Geithner-Obama nexus: Finances replaced manufacturing as the largest part of GDP (21 percent vs. 12 percent)and our biggest sector for corporate profits (50 percent). Our best and brightest minds make more money flipping papers on Wall Street than they do making planes in Seattle or cars in Detroit, and the downward spiral continues--you cannot maintain a world-class empire on computer clicks and paper flipping. Once you have finances dominating the economy, the country becomes slack with the easy ways of easy money. In this we're following the path of other empires that went down the tubes with finances--Spain, the Dutch and the Brits. They all survived the fall as second-tier powers. That's probably in the cards for us. Summers and Geithner may know people in powerful places, but they can never bring back what made this country supreme: manufacturing.

Is there a way out? Possibly. Energy wars have been and will be our undoing. That and our continuing policy of salvaging banks that are too corrupt to exist. Three simple ideas: cut our energy use in half, cut our military in half (we already have a nuclear submarine fleet that is armed with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world many times over, and these subs are impervious to a first strike) and let the big banks go down the tubes.

Howard Kaplan

Belmont, MA

Apr 29 2009 - 1:55pm

Web Letter

Because this "free trade" depression began with NAFTA under Clinton and his economic advisers, and accelerated under Bush, I did not vote for Obama because his economic advisers were Clinton's economic advisers. As long as these idiots are advising Obama, the our economy, along with the rest of the world, will go down the tubes.

Both the so called left and the so called right do not get it. When you outsource jobs and industries overseas, along with in-sourcing cheap labor, you destroy your market. No industries and the jobs that go with them, no disposable income to support the American market. The same "model" is true in Western Europe, and because the cheap but intelligent workers that receive the industries and jobs don't make any money, they have no disposable income to take the place of the destroyed Western markets.

It is very simple! You build markets behind trade barriers, and any company, domestic or foreign, can build produce in that market. When you produce in a market, you add disposable income to that market, and if that market should collapse, the economy in the home country will not collapse, because you have a separate national economy that produces goods and disposable income only for that market. This is how you build markets! Free trade does not create markets! It destroys markets and wealth!

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Apr 29 2009 - 12:26pm

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