Rodney Johnson | Wednesday, February 6, 2013 >>
I spent many years in the Lone Star State, which just so happens to be the home of Lance Armstrong.
Texas has many great qualities, including pride in locals that excel in their chosen niche. So quite naturally, as Armstrong won another Tour de France, then another, and another, the groundswell of support and accolades grew exponentially.
How could it not? Here was a man who came back from cancer to win the most storied race in all of cycling not once but seven times!
Of course there were the rumors of doping, talk about blood transfusion in hotel rooms, packages secreted to and from his team dorms at all hours. But hey, that sort of naysaying happens with any wildly successful person, right?
It was only when the accusations came from team members, with specific examples of how the doping worked, that Armstrong eventually bowed to the pressure and told the truth.
He let down his sport, his state and his country. To achieve his goal, he cheated… he used substances and procedures that gave him an unfair advantage… and then claimed it was just his superior work and attitude that led him to victory.
Turns out the victories were hollow. Just meaningless milestones that diverted attention from the real work going on… the struggles of those riders who didn’t cheat.
All of this reminds me of our central bank and Congress…
Over the last five years our economy has struggled to overcome a cancer… the exploding private and public debt we have on our books. Although we well knew the risk of illness, we continued to engage in activities that made us sicker by the day.
The government borrowed. Cities and states borrowed. Companies borrowed. And of course consumers borrowed.
There was no pain for a while… then the crisis overcame us quickly.
The response of Congress and the Fed?
Do anything – anything! – except deal with the matters at hand in a truthful, straightforward way.
And it worked… at least from their point of view.
Congress is claiming victory even though we have anemic growth of 2% or less and our deficits are running above $1 trillion for the fourth year in a row.
The Fed is claiming to have kept us from financial meltdown by moving more than $2 trillion in value from the pockets of consumers to the coffers of the U.S. government and banks… all the while holding interest rates artificially low so that, yet again, consumers get the shaft and banks and the government get the gold mine.
This is victory?
When those charged with upholding the laws of the nation for the benefit of citizens put us further in debt by over a trillion dollars a year, this is victory?
When the organization specifically charged with protecting the value of our currency works as hard as possible to devalue that currency for the benefit of the few, this is victory?
We need Bernanke to stop the madness.
We need Congressional leaders to take a sanity test.
We need all of them to sit on the couch with Oprah and confess their economic sins, lay bare the lie that their actions are leading to a better America.
We need these people to come clean about what exactly is going on, where everyday consumers pay more for gas, beef, education, healthcare and insurance, but see their income go backwards… all while banks and banksters get unlimited bailout protection from the government that ensures huge profits and bigger bonuses.
We need Bernanke to specifically tell the nation and the world that he has indeed not just failed to protect our currency, but has actively worked against it in hopes of putting people back to work.
It’s all just a myth. Stock markets have risen, no doubt, but unemployment has only fallen because people are leaving the workforce and entering retirement, not because more people are finding jobs.
We need the truth. And the truth is demand is down thanks to a demographic trend that won’t turn around for years. Employment is flat because of low demand and greater technological innovation.
Fiddling with the currency helps only a few, not the many. To reinvigorate the U.S. (and the euro zone and Japan as well) we need to work on slashing debts, not cheapening dollars.
But we can only solve our problems if we can honestly admit them.
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