Thursday, October 9, 2008

"Chicken Bush, The Sky is Falling"

The desperate and reactionary policies to save finance capital aren't doing the job. The combination of fiscal and monetary policies which are already in the U.S. in excess of one trillion aren't at the moment decelerating the decline. Will they and what will follow them be enough to prevent the largest depression in the advanced industrial countries since the 1930s, a depression which will also have devastating effects in China, India, and less developed regions? No one at this moment can say.

What we who are Marxists can say is that the Bush administration is moving in the direction of direct state capitalism, which is what capitalist states in a crisis of this kind do, dispensing or simply forgetting the ideology on which it has operated. The news today mentions that the administration is considering the U.S. "buying" large stakes in U.S. banks to restore confidence in the system. Bush's press secretary said, tongue in cheek if she is smarter than Bush, that this goes against his "natural instincts," but it is being seriously considered in the crisis. How much this would cost wasn't mentioned. The administration was careful to deny that this would result in long-term public ownership and control ("socialism" in any other context) but didn't seem to know much else.

If I were a nasty guy I would start crowing that the chickens are coming home to roost: that those who undermined the regulatory reforms and eliminated the safeguards which were put into effect in the 1930s to prevent a crisis like this from happening again, who profited to the tune of billions while the general population saw their incomes stagnate and their personal debts mount, are now changing their tune to save their wealth and institutions so that they can continue to profiteer while the incomes of the general population decline and the peoples debts become as unmanageable as the banking-stock market crisis.

I will say as an anti-racist that George W. Bush had unnatural instincts" to support laissez-faire capitalism. There is no Adam Smith-Milton Friedman gene. Human beings are not by nature unable to accept banking or stock market regulation, public enterprise, social protections regarding jobs, housing, health care. George W. Bush wasn't born that way. He learned those things and was re-enforced in his learning over the decades by the great rewards he received in spite of his many personal failures. He functioned in a society that gave him everything and expected nothing. And that was and is the principle on which his administration operated.

If the Bush administration advances on this course, no one, I repeat no one, should see it as having anything to do with socialism.