April 14, 2008
I know we’re not supposed to be negative, at least according to Hillary, who “seems to have switched her narrative around,” as one wag put it. In the Brave New World Hillary/McCain are building for us—a world of mandatory health insurance for 20-year-olds and permanent war—we’re to go to our graves smiling, or the Powers That Be want to know the reason why.
Yes, I’m bitter, dammit. And who can blame me? Look, I’m not hard to please: all I ask is a simple cabin in the woods, a Spartan abode to retire to and write my memoir of a misspent youth. And now that I’ve finally received my modest inheritance, my dream, I thought, was within reach—especially with the collapse in the real estate market. Surely there are some real bargains out there, I assumed, even here in California, land of super-inflated real estate prices. Ah, not so fast….
I was talking to a real estate broker the other day, inquiring about a small cabin in Northern California, and asking if maybe I could get this bank-owned property for a lot less than the asking price. He sighed in disgust and remarked on the apparent indifference of these bankers to clear these non-producing assets off their books. In that moment, I realized the fallacy in my logic: I had forgotten that the banks, of course, are being bailed out by the Federal Reserve. Bear-Stearns, and whichever huge banking institution is next hit by the sub-prime crisis, will survive, even as their “customers” (i.e. victims) are foreclosed. By preventing—or delaying—the natural process of deflation from taking place, the Fed and the regulators prevent marginal homebuyers like myself from entering the market.
Everyone suffers from this policy of deliberate inflation—everyone, that is, but the banksters, the speculators, and the war-makers.
In 1984, George Orwell imagines a book written by the ideological heretic Emmanuel Goldstein describing the nightmare world of the future as “oligarchical collectivism.” Orwell got it half right. What we have, today, is oligarchical capitalism, where the worst rise to the top and stay there.
Who, me—bitter? You bet, bub.