“A writer’s notebook is not a diary. Writers react. Writers need a place to record these reactions. That’s what a writer’s notebook is for. It gives you a place to write down what makes you angry or sad or amazed, to write down what you noticed and don’t want to forget. A writer’s notebook gives you a place to live like a writer.” - Ralph Fletcher
During the Great Depression, Hoover just let the big financial institutions go under, causing credit to contract much further. That mistake has taught us what mass bank failures can do and has conditioned us to avoid them. Unfortunately, we have made our own mistake this time around. Like the banks of the earlier era, today’s banks have risked insolvency because of their reckless real estate loans and bond exposure. By perpetrating the Great Bailout, we have allowed our largest banks to escape any repercussions for their recklessness and get off virtually scot-free.
The big banks created the mortgage-backed securities, the credit default swaps, and a hundred other dangerous derivative products that blew up the global financial system and the world economy with it. The big banks created the Byzantine maze of interconnections that made them too big to fail. The big banks created the disgraceful mortgage system that continues to wrongfully charge erroneous nonexistent fees and wrongfully foreclose on homeowners.
Apologists for the status quo like to pretend that our economy allows anyone who needs and deserves credit to get it. But after the bust, it all feels so arbitrary for most people, like a roll of the dice whether you get access to credit or not. And almost all of the bailout money has gone straight to these very same big banks that created the crisis for fear of another Great Depression like the one Hoover presided over.
Quoted in a USA Today article on the changing expectations of young adults, author Morley Winograd, who writes extensively about the Millennials, said their economic situation is “completely analogous” to the depression-era generation. “They were raised in relative affluence, and just as they are about to start in that affluent world, it all comes crashing down.”
They are forced to assume that “everything that came before them was a mirage — that it was built on unsafe foundations.”
This prolonged downturn will end. They always do. People will find their way back to confidence. But especially for those growing up under the weight of its fearsome uncertainties, it will be with us for generations to come.
Dr. Peggy Drexler
(Source: The Huffington Post)
We need to become not just the majority opinion, but the undeniable reality. As we achieve this critical mass and majority opinion is shaped through years (and generations) of daily active struggle, either the Democrats or some other opportunistic political force will realize that catering to this critical mass is a surefire win come election day (no matter the financial advantage an opponent might have).
This critical mass, this mass majority convinced through years of struggle that a fairer, more humane, more sustainable world is possible, can serve us as more than a political platform: engaging our economics and culture as well. Out of this critical mass we can draw strength for both local resistance and wider institutional changes. It’s not an election or a law specifically that we’re looking to change. It is the hearts and minds of our fellow democracy stake-holders. Without a critical mass, Democratic candidates offered up to the left will continue to be corporate henchmen who happen to lean more socially liberal than the other corporate candidate.
Protestor confronting JPMorgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon, at a Senate Hearing