Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Econocide

Just the other day, I was saying the exact same thing as this piece in Tom Dispatch. That is, asking who among the thieving fat cats that brought down the economy of the country has been prosecuted. I could think only of Bernie Madoff, and sure enough, to date he is the only guy. A whole bunch of people went to jail after the S&L scandals of the 1980s, which, by the way, cost the U.S. taxpayers about $200 billion in bailout money. At the time it was an outrageous sum of money. It's hard to think of the Reagan-inspired bacchanalia for the super rich as preferable to anything, but I wax downright nostalgic for those times. (I can remember well raging against the Reagan phenomenon: couldn't these people see the dumb bozo for what he was? That was, of course, before I was acquainted with George Bush, the vile little pretender who occupied the White House for two terms.)

Anyway the piece under discussion leads to substantial discussion about the violence that's been engendered by the extremely hard times. And leads to the following observation:
An analysis by TomDispatch of national, regional, and local news reports in 2008 and early 2009 indicates that a silent, nationwide epidemic of drastic measures may be underway. News of such acts linked to economic woes -- from armed robberies to pay the rent to financially-motivated suicides -- has filtered out of cities and towns in no less than 30 states, many of which have seen multiple incidents. And since only a fraction of such acts ever receives media coverage, what is being reported, even if mostly in local newspapers, qualifies as startling.
Bottom line: people are killing themselves over foreclosures and debts--they're calling it econocide. Sometimes they are taking their families with them. And the mainstream is slow to connect this stuff with the economy. I'm telling you, all the stress is making people crazy. Look at the nut cases in the news lately: the guy who killed the abortion doctor in Kansas, the Muslim who shot and killed an Army recruiter in Arkansas, and just today the 88-year old white supremist idiot who murdered a security guard in the Holocaust Museum in D.C. Who's to say the natural crazies aren't overstimulated by hard economic times?
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