Amidst the ongoing news of the Great Bankers Panic of 2008, a media critic has declared that journalists are mincing words. He thinks very strong language is called for by the crisis. Excuse me, but what are we to expect from our mealy-mouthed press putas, whose careers depend on their ability to hedge and beat around the bush, taking care not to offend members of the power elite who own the great whorehouse in the nation’s capitol?
Should a journalist say, for example, that she was looking at the panicking Secretary of the Treasurer the other day and that he reminded her of a stuck pig, and that she did a little homework and discovered that this savior of Goldman Sachs from collapse piled up $700,000,000 for himself as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, thanks to the job recommendation of the Nixon Administration, creating the very problem that brought this great nation to its knees, just as he got down on his knees and begged Nancy Pelosi to approve his salvation plan at the White House summit meeting the other day?
Should our independent journalist say that the sage of Omaha, who got down on his knees and prayed to godless “heaven” that Goldman Sachs be further secured by the Treasury Secretary’s plan, so he could invest a few billion in it, is just another speculating fool, no wiser at least than the group that invested a few billion dollars into Washington Mutual just before it went down the drain?
The loudmouthed journalist might say that the continual squawking of Chicken Little at the head of Fed, whose favorite academic subject is the Great Depression, caused the sky to fall on the financial world. It just fell on Washington Mutual as depositors withdrew billions in deposits over two weeks. But the remaining depositors are not to worry, for the bank was seized in the middle of the night and handed over to JP Morgan Chase - investors were left with nothing. The current head of Washington Mutual, a turnaround expert, was kept in the dark by the bank predators until he was informed of “the largest bank failure in U.S. history” while he was in mid-flight. The former head of the bank, afraid for his job, had previously turned down an offer for $8 share.
Should not our courageous journalist observe that Washington Mutual is just the latest course of the ghoulish pig fest? Should she not use stronger words, classing pigs with swine, and say that the Suidae Family and its vulture friends are carving up the nation’s best assets, taking the lion’s share for themselves while tossing the scraps to the unwitting public?
But the public is not that unwitting, for every red-blooded American has some piggishness within – I myself am a proud member of the Clan of the Wild Boar. The American people have protested the pig fest, but to no avail, for their representatives believe the American people they oft refer to are rather stupid. After all, what does Joe Blow know of high finance let alone foreign policy? He cannot even balance his own checkbook. In fact it is only during crisis that he is interested in the most important things in the world. Surely our elected leaders must save our dumb asses, over our dead bodies if need be, and the world must be saved as well whether the world likes the shocking and awesome, pre-emptive plans or not.
Should our journalist even bother to say that we do not live in a democracy? One needs at least five-hundred million dollars to enjoy democracy nowadays. But why bother to say such things when honesty is dismissed as a rant by effete critics? And if our journalist said that the representatives behind the present predicament should face a firing squad, and that the President himself should be wrapped in a flag and hung by the neck from the White House flagpole, she might be charged with treason. No, strong words are anathema; emotion, the thought-feeling foundation of morality, must be avoided at all costs. No-one believes in anything in this age of hedging, not even money, therefore any reputable journalist must get beyond good and evil, hedge her words and have them cleansed by editors beholden to publishers in order to survive.
Your average citizen might be financially inept, but she has a sense of justice. And the average man who does not know a credit swap from a hole in the ground knows better than to trust the current government of our currently declining nation. We are hearing some very strong words from them. But the professional press putas would not dwell on those words lest a riot ensue when things go too wrongly. No, the journalist must contribute to the financial panic by hanging on the words of Chicken Little and Porky Pig.
The journalist must not report that there is plenty of money to go around if only people would part with it. Taking her cue from the frightened suits at financial institutions, a working consumer reporter must warn the consumer that there is a credit crunch, and advise the consumer to be frugal. The consumer must hoard money, and thus contribute to the vicious cycle.
At least hoarding money gives it some value. But more money can be created out of thin air; that is what modern banking is all about, and that is why more Americans own homes than anywhere else in the world, not to mention the mountains of trash, junk and garbage they consume in addition to necessities. The credit inflation and housing boom did not start with the Bush Administration – it started in the 40s, and really took off in the 80s.
If the declaration on the back of the Federal Reserve Note, “In God We Trust”, is true, people will emerge from their bunkers, sell their gold coins, and get back to work. Credit crunch, my ass! Let’s get on with business. Constipated bankers must purge the bowels of the credit blockage. After all, money is not the thing. The dollar is a piece of paper or a recorded number, a unit of exchange, a symbol for value without value in itself. The dollar is evidence of debt, and it is only an asset if the debtor is trustworthy. Otherwise it is trash. We must not kill the debtor’s ability to perform.
It is faith, first of all, that moves people, and this financial panic is evidence that people have placed their faith in the wrong things or in nothing at all. They have trusted leaders who have done wrong things and are talking about the wrong things. They are losing faith or are cynical, and are tried of being dictated to. So maybe journalists do need to use stronger language to depict the widespread disappointment. Maybe opinion columnists should actually go overboard and call for a great defenestration from the highest windows. Perhaps a topping-off party should be held to cast the corporate wrongdoers off the roofs of their skyscrapers.
As for me, I believe we should use strong language but in a positive way. Our leaders need to calm down, to stop running around like chickens with their heads cut off, and then rushing towards one cliff or another with the expectation that we should follow the suits. The people in charge are human beings, not pigs. If they are terribly embarrassed and ashamed that things have gone so far south, if they want to actually be the trustees they should be, let them purchase penance now with their influence and their billions, and we shall congratulate them. Why gang up on the rich and powerful whom we may resent but still secretly love, when they want to look good in the public eye and leave a grand legacy? Of course we need to change the guard so that not only the foxes are guarding the henhouse.
The salvation plans are just schemes. For any one of them to work, people must believe that the power elite will not let the United States go belly up or let its people down. In any event we need to flush the toilet and to start acting and speaking more confidently. If money disappeared overnight nothing else would be lost and we could create some more to take its place. This whole thing with money is a sort of con game that requires confident and persuasive men and women along with the workforce to make it work. To make it work is especially challenging now that most people know it is a sort of con. It is as difficult to have faith on command as it is to love people on command. But we had better have faith or else, and that is not really a con. The faith we actually have then is in one another as a transcendent whole, that we shall participate in common intercourse for the benefit of everyone concerned. That really does work when we work together.
That is the work we had better get back to right away, to restore full faith, confidence and credit to our usual American Way, a way that is, in my jaded personal opinion, disgusting, but I would not deprive anyone of it as long as I can get away with a little foul language.