Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Laws of Economic Conservation

The law of ENERGY conservation states that matter can neither be created nor destroyed.

Unfortunately for those of us living in America today, the same cannot be said for money. They print that shit every single day.

Ironically enough, if the current economic trends are any indication, all that the American dollar will be good for pretty soon is wiping our sorry national ass in polite preparation for China's economic cock. But if we're making more money every day, you ask, where does it all go? It wasn't so very long ago that American wealth was a worldwide benchmark of prosperity. What, exactly, has happened in the interim?

A few decades back, as some of you will remember, our good buddy Dick Nixon gave the slip to direct economic representation through the gold standard. This turned the dollar, indeed money-at-large, into a much more fluid entity, open to freer and faster speculation. Since that fateful day, the American dollar has been dancing ever closer to the precipice of unsustainable growth. The recent collapse of some of our nation's most stalwart financial institutions (Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) is merely a symptom of this viral expansion of wealth.

Now, I know you're wondering to yourself: EXPANSION of wealth?! Why haven't I seen a piece of that sweet apple pie yet? I like pie just as much (if not more) than the next CEO. Where do I find my slice?

Well, the sad fact of the matter is this: unless you've been sinking the entirety of your minimum wage paychecks into the market and living on soybeans harvested from your basement, you won't be getting a taste any time soon. We have vague corporate entities to thank for this.

The corporation was born in post-colonial America on the basic premise that a company's only responsibility is to the checkbook of its shareholders from which said company is (at least on paper) comprised. For more on this, please see "The Corporation" a well thought-out documentary that addresses this notion more fully than the space of this blog will allow.

This idea of responsibility forms the very foundation of "free" market capitalism in America. The idea being, that the market is a self-regulating entity inherently incapable of another collapse like that of The Great Depression. To put it simply: In Market Forces (not God) We Now Trust.

The problem with this structured system of faith (or one of the many at least) is that for several decades, if not more, the higher-ups of corporate America have been paying themselves increasingly exorbitant salaries to oversee the meager investments of most Americans. Now, I'm all for lining the pockets of vested interest with the motley cloth of American manpower...I mean, who isn't? But the fact of the matter is, in order to justify their increasingly bloated salaries and lobbyist kickbacks, these very same corporate executives have been pressuring their respective accounting departments to err on the side of expansion. Let me explain:

There are a number of "acceptable" accounting processes and methods of calculation available to any savvy CPA, each portraying the "true" financial picture of a given company's given assets and growth patterns differently. These processes may be broken down into three basic categories: a)conservative b) moderate and c) extremist. Each of these categorical practices, when applied, will yield a much different picture of the given company's economic health.

Now, a "responsible" accountant will mix these methods periodically in order to present a healthy, balanced picture of sustainable company growth. Unfortunately for the American people, the current corporate accounting practices, in order to show continuous increases to their shareholders, have been stuck on option C for far too long. This means that all of these generous little over-estimates have accumulated, avalanche style, creating an actuality vacuum on the books of investment banks and other speculative enterprises like the recently fallen mortgage giants.

So who should bear this multi-billion dollar cross whose total cost conveniently equals that of the Iraq war and its aftermath? Well, George Bush Jr. thinks it should be you.

Mr. Bush presented a whopping 3 page piece of legislation to Congress today that effectively states this burden should fall, once again, squarely on the shoulders of the American Taxpayer...to the tune of $2,000 for each and every one of us!

This little gem, of course, coming as it does on the heels of Mr. Bush's "economic revitalization package," which put a tidy sum of $600 in each of our leaky pockets (actually, as a freelancer, my government "gift" only came to $300) should revitalize the worldwide economy. Right. One has to wonder if that $600 apiece would have been better spent staving off the current crisis rather than shoring up republican support for the coming election.

And what of the fact that the government now owns your mortgage debt? Can you say conflict of interest? I knew you could! What will this do to the idea of eminent domain in America?

Furthermore, whose to say that this unprecedented injection of government cash into the "free" market economy will even stop the problem upon us? It seems to me that giving a blood transfusion to a body riddled with bullet holes doesn't do much good unless the entry and exit wounds are first sewn up and packed with gauze. But it's worth a try, right? I mean, it's better than the alternative: wait and see which way the 21st Century technological dust bowl will blow!

Yes, we must, of course, and ad the very least TRY to save our drowning economy. Just not with MY money, if I had any. Instead, I have what I believe to be a better solution:

I say we send every corporate executive and well-heeled politician, past and present, straight to Iraq to help build roads and dig irrigation canals. Their money (minus airfare, of course) would have to stay home and help US rebuild things here on OUR soil. For safety's sake, we'll let their families stay behind and live, like so many honest Americans, on the public welfare system that corporate economic policies and outright political collusion have stripped bare.

It seems fair to me. But that's just one taxpayer's opinion.

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