Patricia Nell Warren

A Fistful of Dollars...er, Euros

Filed By Patricia Nell Warren | January 27, 2008 4:21 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: economic crisis, national debt

Among the themes here at Bilerico, I notice that posts about the economic crisis get the least attention. In our media, most of us LGBT folk love to argue fiercely about our in-house political issues, and of course we pay attention to the Presidential election. But when it comes to economics, the collective attention span of the gay media seems limited to the latest survey assuring us of the power of the pink dollar. Yet the fact is, there's a straight line that can be drawn, from the scary things that affect us financially right now, to the scary things that our government does with everything from torture to the price of gas, even gay marriage. Indeed, keeping Americans arguing pros and cons about gay marriage is the perfect way to keep the public from focusing on the real problem, which is that our government has sold us all down the river.

Where does a person go for reality reading on the economy? Rebel journalist Greg Palast is one of the few commentators who tells it like it is. Some days ago, Palast put out a must-read commentary titled "George of Arabia," about the real reason for the President's recent trip to Saudi Arabia. Palast said:

America is in hock up to our knickers. The sub-prime mortgage market implosion, hitting a dozen banks with over $100 billion in losses, is just the tip of the debt-berg. Since taking office, Bush has doubled the federal debt to more than $5 trillion. And, according to US Treasury figures, on net, foreign investors have purchased close to 100% of that debt. That’s $3 trillion borrowed from the Saudis, the Chinese, the Japanese and others.

In other words, the Saudis and the Chinese pretty much own you and me. That fact puts a different light on why crude oil is now $100 a barrel.

Palast has been called America's top investigative journalist. Some Americans will remember that it was Palast who broke the big story in 2000 about how Jeb Bush fixed the Florida election. Ironically, his penchant for facts make him non grata with most of the U.S. corporate-controlled media. So he now writes mostly for the BBC, The Guardian and other EU media. As an economist, Palast says he has "some responsibility to explain what the hell Bush is doing kissing Abdullah’s camel."

Now and then, even in the U.S. corporate media, a glimmer of truth-telling breaks through the murk of economic denial that many Americans live in. The other day, the New York Times Magazine carried a must-read essay by Parang Khanna titled "Waving Goodbye to Hegemony." It's OUR hegemony that Khanna is talking about -- as America's global influence weakens, as Asian and Islamic interests gain financial leverage on our economy, and the European Union grows more powerful with the euro replacing the dollar as a standard of world stability.

For those who look for economic fact in the gay media, one place to go is a newsletter put out by gay novelist Carlos T. Mock. A retired medical doctor who woke up to the effect of foreign investment on his retirement income, Carlos started a home-grown e-list called "It's the Economy, Stupid" that gives a thorough -- often unsettling -- overview of economics from a gay perspective.

Most Americans -- including we LGBT Americans -- probably feel helpless to do anything about all this financial flimflam at the highest levels. But for sure, we CAN do something at the grassroots. We can begin with our own tiny personal pieces in the vast debt mosaic, by laboriously working ourselves out of personal debt as much as possible, and staying there. Bear in mind that part of what those foreign investors own is our mortgages on our homes or condos, and what we owe on credit cards, car loans, etc. If every American in debt could decrease their debt in the next couple of years, or even end their debt entirely, we could help keep our national ship sailing under an independent flag.


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There does need to be more discussion on this subject...
Most people have no idea how bad it is going to get over the next year. $6.00 per gallon gas for instance. The price of oil and the price of Gold reflect a weak dollar a dollar that is soon to be no longer the currency of international trade. The Euro will take it's place. The dollar has lost 60% of it's value compared to the Euro since the introduction of the Euro in 2000.

For those of you who finish out tech pay period by paying for your gas on your credit card your not alone....

Since Clinton signed NATFA the US has had it's means of production stripped. A country that does not produce things for export won't survive in an economic sense. A service orientated economy cannot survive for long.

Take care
Sue

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | January 27, 2008 10:02 PM

As an example of America's slip in the world economy, when my daughter moved from San Francisco to Paris in the spring of 2002, the Euro was worth about $.67.

It's now worth $1.47.

All this happened during the tenure of GW Bush.

hmm the Euro has been going up since it was created so dont think you can blamE that one on GW which it was bond to do since money exchange rates work in there own weird little market.Which has nothing to do with the real world. And for GLBT folks to care about the economy hmm since when this is not a GLBT issue as I recall form another blog a few das ago.Oil yes yet again another market we can not control Blll Clinton released some oil form the national stock to redcuce the prices for a short term fix but left to its oWn the market does what it wants.But its nice to see you coming on board with the itS the Econmoy but lets not be so flip to say get out of debt.That is way harder to do than getting into it trust me on that one!

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | January 28, 2008 1:40 AM

Cathy, it's true that currencies flucuate but they are linked to the economic health and fiscal policies of the countries involved. I respectfully disagree that the falling dollar has nothing to do with the "real world' or, in this case, GW Bush's policies, both domestic and international.

As for oil, we may not be able to control supplies nor price, but our so-called allies--and close Bush family friends--the Saudi royal family can. And they are chosing to keep supplies limited and prices high.

The considerations of the ship of state and how George has manipulated our economy are vast. Saudis attack the World Trade Center - we invade Afghanistan. Saudis increase the price of oil - we invade Iraq to gain their oil. Pakistan harbors Osama Bin Laden - we do nothing. Bush wants to give Americans $600 each for feel good money - but borrows it from the Chinese to give to us.

*sigh* It's all FUBAR.

It's OUR hegemony that Khanna is talking about -- as America's global influence weakens, as Asian and Islamic interests gain financial leverage on our economy, and the European Union grows more powerful with the euro replacing the dollar as a standard of world stability.

Which begs the question - why are Americans entitled to hegemony?

The fact is, many Americans do feel that the United States is entitled to global hegemony...whether it's the religious righters who think it's our divinely ordained destiny to lead the world to Jesus, or the America Firsters, or the "speak softly and carry a big stick" group. This attitude that "we rule the world" has created a lot of our problems, especially in developing countries.