SIGNS OF THE TIMES: GLOBAL ECONOMICS
By Debra Rae
February 22, 2009
Where’s the Hope in 2009?
At a Bilderberg Conference in Evian, France (1991), Dr. Henry Kissinger opined: “The one thing man fears is the unknown.” For that reason alone, who wouldn’t want a hopeful glimpse into the future? While enduring our nation’s “economic Valley Forge,” folks hunger for any morsel of hope life can deliver.
Thankfully, the Bible answers humanity’s age-abiding question, “What does the future hold?” Willing believers may fearlessly participate in what promises to be a preface to the wrap-up of history—but certainly not without its woes.
While God withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly before Him, it remains His prerogative when to give and when to take away. Speaking of the latter, it seems that the gravy train has jumped track. The daily average of 1,000 home foreclosures in the Great Depression (1933) dwarfs when compared to today’s 3,100 daily foreclosures—in California alone. For all too many, the American Dream has morphed into a dreadful nightmare.
Is it any wonder? Americans have indulged an orgy of unrestrained consumerism that threatens to gobble up their futures (and their children’s). Even a segment of the Christian church—i.e., Laodicea—finds itself increased with goods of the global economy and seemingly in need of nothing, but wrongly so.
Our Constitution allows that I may own what is mine, and you may own what is yours; and we may be at peace with one another. However, emerging “self-evident truths” revere instead a system of taxpayer aid that is serving to eradicate the capitalistic ownership society for which our nation is rightfully known.
Government to the Rescue!
Author Cass R. Sunstein argues for a second Bill of Rights to guarantee for all Americans a broad range of government-granted economic rights—but without regard for the failings of generous welfare states in Western Europe.
Notwithstanding, as Obama has pointed out, sacrifice for Americans is “a daily, more mundane experience, taken on by men and women obscure in their labor.” Such sacrifice we can believe in. In his view, we must re-envision the American Dream and thereby remake America by cultivating “a way of life that recognizes our planetary interdependence.”
Simply put, a fundamental shift is inevitable. With great passion, civil society demands that interdependent economic justice be administered globally. That being said, the ancient statesman, Daniel, prophesied of a future world authority that will “divide the land for gain”—this is, redistribute wealth and, thus, control global citizens.
If you can’t accept Bible wisdom regarding global governance and world socialism, then turn your attention to Ayn Rand. Having grown up under communism in Soviet Russia, Rand gained invaluable insights into the perils of socialism and totalitarianism. Her 1957, 1,000-page novel, Atlas Shrugged, foresaw our nation’s making the same politically expedient mistakes under big government run amok. Reading like today’s newspaper, Rand’s classic work issues timely warning that—when profits, wealth and creativity are denigrated—they can’t help but disappear, leaving everyone the poorer.
Thumbs Down: Capitalism
A fanatical proponent of free trade, FedEx’s CEO Fred Smith attributes today’s financial crisis to “the intersection of four long-term developments”: reckless mortgage lending policies; high energy prices; mark-to-market accounting rules; and national policies that favor “the financial sector over the industrial sector.” Somehow we have forgotten that the true heroes of the U.S. economy are companies and individuals who produce tangible goods and services—not get-rich-quick Wall Street financiers.
Professor Burton Folsom, Jr. at Hillsdale College reminds us of lessons learned in the 1920s. Cutting tax rates (minus gravy train bail-outs) is what encouraged profitable and creative entrepreneurship, thus supplying us with Kleenex tissues, the zipper, air conditioning and Scotch tape, to name but a few goodies. No central planning board could ever have invented any one of these products, nor could it have marketed them as effectively as did resourceful, hard-working industrialists.
Even so, wealth is best seen as a gift from God. It cannot be over emphasized that, in order to function, capitalism necessitates the exercise of integrity. Accrued wealth springs from honorable innovation, invention and entrepreneurship—not from government. Nevertheless, Obama’s 83-page Blueprint for Change calls for vast expansion of federal government.
From the perspective of Georgia Congressman Paul Broun, the Blueprint is an obvious call for socialism in the U.S. Indeed, Obama is on record as regretting that Supreme Court decisions have not been radical enough to order redistribution of wealth—this, under the guise of adjusting failed distribution to the wealthy (Phyllis Schlafly Report, December 2008).
“Setting Aside Childish Things”
In the wake of the U.S. banking crisis (autumn 2008), France’s President and Germany’s finance minister, Nicolas Sarkozy and Peer Steinbrueck respectively, agreed that “the Anglo-Saxon capitalist system” had run its course. To end the folly of that post-war, U.S.-dominated, but “finished” system, new global banking rules are warranted (Edward Cody of the Washington Post. “Laissez-faire Finished” [Seattle: The Seattle Times, 26 September 2008], A9).
In the words of syndicated columnist David Sirota, “21st-century socialists propose giving financial-industry con men the national credit card, confirming Marx’s theory that history repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce”. In Sirota’s view, America’s brand of socialism is decidedly “kleptocratic” (www.credoaction.com/sirota).
“Setting aside childish things,” Obama’s America is being groomed to welcome shift from a way of life that allegedly “will only ruin us in the end.” Reeling with incredulity from our nation’s $10 trillion-dollar hangover, potential capitalists are looking to flip from free markets to Euro-socialism.
No wonder Prairie Home Companion’s own Garrison Keillor asserts that “even if you worship in the church of Fox, everyone you meet overseas is going to ask you about Obama. You may as well say you voted for him because, my friends, he is your line of credit over there."
Obama offers “an audacious signal of hope” for the dangerous year 2009. This he is expected to convey at an April gathering in London where twenty industrialized and developing nations, consisting of nineteen countries and a European Union representative (the G20), will meet.
To survive the Asian financial crises in the late 1990s, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pledged $20 billion to South Korea. One of the conditions was that the government would allow collapse of failing banks and businesses. No bail-outs.
In contrast, America rewards incompetency with commensurate handouts. Giving away money in the form of handouts and bailouts to favored constituencies requires money to be printed (root cause of inflation) or to be borrowed, likely from China at compounding interest. Should the Chinese start pulling their billions out of our nation’s system, our do-gooder impulses will be buried in the rubbish of good intentions.
So great is today’s feeding frenzy that web sites and phone systems commonly used to file for benefits are being tested as never before. Over the last few weeks, California has seen a record number of calls, and web sites in three states have crashed under the load (The Associated Press, 7 January 2009).
Point of No Return
It’s been said that capitalism destroyed communism, and now it’s destroying democracy. Even before Democrats registered their biggest presidential triumph since 1964, leading American financial historian Ron Chernow believes that government already had passed the point of no return.
It would seem that, under Bush’s watch, the U.S. political system was created to “protect the minority of the opulent against the majority” (Noam Chomsky). Chernow complains that, “we [had] the irony of a free-market administration doing things that the most liberal Democratic administration would never have been doing in its wildest dreams.”
According to the New York Times, even big-government advocates stand amazed that federal officials are willing to print as much money as needed to build what is tantamount to a second story on the nation’s doomed financial house of cards. Problem is, “bad character leads to bad economics, which is bad for liberty.” Simple as that (Lawrence W. Reed, THE FREEMAN: “Ideas on Liberty,” 2008).
All We Need is Love; Love is All We Need
FDR once referenced a cleric’s comment that resonates today: “We talk of the stabilization of business. What we need is the stabilization of human justice and happiness.” Okay, but in the real world “power concedes nothing without a demand” (Federick Douglass); and “we are not going to achieve a New World Order without paying for it in blood as well as in words and money (Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in the CFR journal, Foreign Affairs, August 1975).
Political author and campaign consultant Dick Morris has coined the term "depressflation" to describe imminent, unavoidable outcome of our new administration’s plans for rescuing the economy. In the hope of stabilizing human justice and happiness, what America really faces is massive inflation coupled with depression-like stagnation.
In fact, a couple months ago, a respected group of mostly European economic and financial analysts (called LEAP 2020) warned that the U.S. government will default some time in 2009; and these have been dead right in other forecasts issued the last two years (Gary Kah, international business/ government liaison).
Thumbs Up: Socialism
Senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal editorial page, Stephen Moore maintains that politicians invariably create and then respond to crises by generating further government programs, laws and regulations which, in turn, spawn added havoc and poverty.
The precedence is set. A product of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT), the WTO is all about central control of world markets. Locking nations into regulations that exceed authority of their own constitutions, the WTO is a supra-national body in Geneva that governs global trade. In setting, managing and enforcing WTO-made rules, it often rules against the U.S.
This encourages politicians to create even more programs; hence, a downward spiral recurs. In the end, productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism.
Obama’s Ideological Mandate
Socialism may seem new, but it isn’t. By World War I, intellectuals in particular embraced the notion of paternalistic government. As a result, welfare-statist interventionism began to supplant an earlier, comparatively free market environment. Presently, the federal government is perhaps our only growth industry (Seattle Times staff columnist Danny Westneat).
As noted by Deepak Bhargava from the Center for Community Change, “Obama’s win was an ideological mandate presenting an opening for transformational, progressive change” as reflected in the Canadian economy. Americans favor Social Security and Medicare; however, following Canada’s model means more unions, more subsidies, more central planning and (last but not least) heavier taxation.
Author-CEO of Strategic Forecasting, Inc., Dr. George Friedman knows well (and therefore hates) Marxist political theory. However, because patterns for paradigm shift already are firmly in place, this political conservative is unfazed by Obama’s win.
As was the case when Franklin Roosevelt was sent to Congress in 1944, Obama mandates a new Bill of Rights for academia, victims—and patients. Executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Jane M. Orient, M.D., reminds us that Lenin dubbed medicine the “keystone in the arch of socialism”—which, Orient warns, comes through the back door by means of universal health care.
Because folks are forced to pay for health care on the basis of income, socialized medicine à la universal health care, as in Canada, effectively redistributes wealth. If you believe Joe the Plumber, this is what Obama is all about.
He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
A newly advanced vulnerability fund managed by the World Bank with the U.N. and regional development banks promises to deliver aid to Haiti, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and the like. After all, poor people in Africa mustn’t pay the price for a crisis originated in the U.S. (Zoellick, Robert B., President of the World Bank. Copyright 2009, The New York Times).
Through the so-called vulnerability fund, America is offering its economic house of cards as a stimulus package of sorts for the whole world. The strategy to spend, spend, spend our way out of crisis in a climate similar to that of post-nine-eleven has “epic mistake” written all over it, despite benevolent-sounding agendas, as this.
Another example, the so-called American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan promises to increase the federal budget by an additional $1 trillion in Obama’s first 100 days in office. Mind you, this is a budget already expanded by $1.5 trillion the previous eight years under George W. Bush; and financier George Soros has warned of “$45 trillion esoteric instruments of unregulated credit default swaps” sloshing around the global financial system. Not a pretty picture.
Regional Economic Partnership
Nor is this: 2009 promises escalation of incremental steps that systematically chip away at national sovereignty and private property rights one treaty, conference and U.N. commission at a time. With no Congressional oversight and no signed agreements, our nation’s merged future with Canada and Mexico allows freer flow of people, goods and capital under joint military command supported by a tri-national data base.
Officially under the Department of Commerce, the Security and Prosperity Partnership was created at a summit in Waco (March 2005) and thereafter affirmed in Cancun (March 2006). Consequently, a planned ten-lane international corridor will be the first leg of what has been dubbed the NAFTA Super Highway. By 2010, biometric identifiers will facilitate even freer passage throughout our region.
Where’s the Hope?
If a crippled, bio-regionally defined, one-world economic system characterizes 2009, as it surely does, where’s hope to be found? The fact remains: No matter the quality of life enjoyed or tolerated, as the case may be, everyone needs money to trade for required goods and services. Despite the need, those rendered righteous in Christ won’t be found “begging bread.” Even so, most Christians experience, as did the apostle Paul, abounding and abasing, being full and being hungry. But God’s love and valuation of them never vacillates with life’s variable circumstances.
Fittingly, author David Bryant has issued a joyful manifesto on the supremacy of God’s son. In it, he reminds believers that “heaven’s temporal signs and wonders are meant to [make] us hungry for even more of Christ’s glory up ahead.” That said, may America’s feeding frenzy throughout 2009 bypass Big Brother for the Father through His son, consummate Hope of the Ages.