Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nationalization, Secession, and Revolt

Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate 2001 - 2011 from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics

There is now much talk about the impending "U.S. Crisis" : an endlessly sinking economy, high unemployment, collapsed housing economy, bloated national budget, disconcerted and disconnected populace; a populace that grows increasingly disillusioned (and angry) with almost every objective of the federal government and its empire. Yet, amidst this crisis, Rome fiddles with discussions of debt limits, health insurance, energy policy, 'terrorism', energy policy, and birth certificates. Everything is considered but the will of the people and the health of their communities. How much longer can such an alienated populace live in pain under a seemingly disconnected and uncaring authority?

Small businesses are being dragged through the bowels of bankruptcy at alarming rates. The trillions of federal support that encompass this "recovery" appear to have been mostly targeted to stabilizing our largest banking institutions and corporations at the expense of unions, small businesses, community banks, and families. These large institutions have not reciprocated with hiring, only downsizing. The feeling in small town America darkens. We appear to have spent the last ten years bankrupting our economy by fighting (and losing) wars most of us did not support, by loosing the reigns on a steroidally liquid economy whose end effect was the wholesale destruction of community and family. What do we owe Washington,D.C. and the national corporcracies supported by federal government after they have extracted from us so much - our sons and daughters traumatized by war, our communities traumatized by economic armaggedon, our belief in our country smashed by the largely unpunished fraud and greed of Wall Street? Why should we believe in anything now? To whose allegiance do we owe our "patriotism" now?

The argument is pervasive. In all corners, "middle Americans" are now in pain. While 'off-shored' corporate profits have skyrocketed, productivity at all time highs, the proud American worker has been relegated to the economic dustbin of history. The high unemployment is having deleterious effects on family, community, and local politics. The situation is analogous to early twentieth century America - a populace so divided and upset that here in Washington state that we gave "Progressive Party" candidate Theodore Roosevelt 35.2% of the vote AND Socialist Party candidate Eugene V. Debbs 12.4% of the Presidential vote! It seems certain now that we will not "recover" from shocks this deep. There is not enough "resilience" left inside of us to handle so much pain,loss, and volatility. Somehow, Wall Street, K Street, the Congress, the Whitehouse, and the "Fed" seemed to have lost sight that our communities, families, and workers become "broken beyond repair" at some point, unable to believe or 'recover'. And yet the "spectacle of government" parades on in Washington, D.C. Do its citizens bother to listen to it anymore? Do they care?

If not, those citizens may very soon start to consider their "options." And none of these "options" bode well for the health of the Republic, but let us examine what some of them might be. The first might be a generalized revolt. Perhaps not an organized revolt at first, but small pockets of armed resistance organizing "criminal" strikes against local businesses, national corporations, federal infrastructure, interstate banks. This would lead to chaos and a law enforcement response at first, but could escalate if economic payments (welfare, food stamps, general assistance) were stopped by 'debt limits', especially if accompanied by high energy prices. At some point, "the foreclosure crisis" could escalate to such an epidemic that state governors would have to step in (as they did in the depression), desperate to keep families and property taxpayers in their homes. This would break interstate banking and in turn possibly break the interstate economy as we now know it. In anticipation of these events, high level advocates of states rights are most probably right now contemplating a path to secession. The United States is geographically arranged such that economic relationships between the states could be formed independent of federal authority. The I-5 connected, Pacific coast facing, "Western Wall" of WA, OR, and CA could have strong motivations to link together in such a a crisis. These states have export based economies that could survive or even prosper as a single nation-state. If state based support were great enough for a "western secession", ultimately there would little the federal government could do against a unified effort here on the west coast or perhaps elsewhere.

Most probably, large corporations and interstate banks would be "nationalized" either by law or in practice during any secessionist attempts. New taxing authorities, trade relationship, access to capital, and international relationships would have to be created. But then again, we are good at such things on the "Left Coast". Too good and too far-sighted to let a corrupt and bankrupt Wall Street and Washinghton, D.C. drag us down into a unending recession forever. Believe me when I tell you, that if I can imagine such things, those much smarter and resourced than I are planning how  it may play out now.

"May you live in interesting times", said the wise man. Indeed.

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