From Ian Welsh’s glorious blog:
Ok, everyone’s talking about the oncoming recession. What it is is the second downleg of the depression we’ve been in since the financial crisis.
All of this has been baked in since 2009. Since January 2009, when Barack Obama announced his stimulus, which was not just too small, but put together so badly that it was evident it would not kick the economy out of the doldrums.
The stimulus would be seen to fail (it doesn’t matter how many jobs it “saved” what matters if it created a good economy.) Meanwhile Obama made it clear he had no intention of restructuring the economy, shutting down any of the major banks or of disrupting the paper for oil securitization game.
So, anyway, what’s happened since 2009 was baked into the cake. What is happening is what anyone halfway competent should have expected to happen and that includes the massive wave of austerity in the developed world, the high commodity prices, and the continued liquidation of public assets to feed private greed.
If anything it’s slightly worse than I expected. I would have hoped that some nation other than Iceland would prove to have enough guts to tell the vultures to fuck themselves, but apparently we’re all eunuchs or morons these days, and the Greeks still aren’t rioting amongst the mansions of the rich, I notice. So who cares what they think, anyway?
I suppose it’s tiresome to keep saying “I told you so”. Certainly I’m tired of it, but the point is that this could all be predicted, was all predicted (well, not all, I didn’t get the revolutions in Arab countries, though I know someone who did and the clues were there.)
Assume that what is happening is, essentially, what your lords and masters are at least ok with having happen. If they weren’t, it wouldn’t be happening. This isn’t a case of incompetence, they didn’t even try to make this stuff not happen.
The future you’ve got coming from you is a future of unconventional oil extraction: aka fracking. The play is to get back to cheapish oil and make that run for as long as it can. That is what WILL happen. That is baked into the cake. The only economy these people want to run is an petro economy.
They will do whatever it takes to run one and continue to use their position in control of legacy capital to extract rent and tax the future. There will be more controls on so-called intellectual property (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one). There will be more security theater. There will be more austerity, which means taking public assets and turning them into what appear to be revenue producing private assets.
This will go on until the last drop of cheapish conventional oil has been pumped and the last suburb built. Americans, and apparently the developed world, will do whatever is required to see this happen. They will kill whoever they have to kill. That’s what the developed world is, now. This is only compounded by stupidity like Germany going off nuclear without a clear plan of how to replace the energy. Remember, boys and girls, yes, there is blood mixed in with that oil. A lot of it.
This the future, the next goodish economy will come from unconventional extraction. Not sure how long that will last. It will come at great environmental and health costs, but Americans will give up anything to keep the petro-economy going, so, so be it.
What’s this gonna mean for you? The good jobs are going to keep getting scarcer, and if you aren’t willing to do evil (work for any insurance company, anything defense related, most good paying education jobs, most good paying healthcare jobs, virtually all financial industry jobs, etc…) then they will essentially non-existent.
Real wages after real inflation will continue to trundle down. Even inflation adjusted wages as measured by the BLS may show declines. Employment WILL NOT recover in your lifetime if you are over 40. That doesn’t mean there won’t be ups and down, but it won’t have a long sustained up. Financial markets will continue to be a rigged game, and if you want to play, realize you need to play as if the game is rigged, not as if you’re in a free market.
Unless you can pay premium, the quality of everything you buy will continue to go downhill. Want a good burger? Closing in on $8. Want a shitty fastfood burger? $2 or less. Public transportation will get worse, more libraries will close. The cops will make less calls and be less helpful. The schools will be worse in most places and keep getting worse. Eventually Medicare will be slashed to the bone, and so will SS. Not necessarily destroyed, but so weakened they might as well be.
It’s gonna be a long 20 to 30 years folks. Does this have to be the future? In theory, no. In practice, well, yes, apparently it does.
I keep running Ian Welsh’s pieces because he is one of the finest writers currently writing. He needs to be on TV, in the newspapers or in the newsmagazines, but no wait. That will never happen. They are all owned by the rich. I have decided that I am going to limit my intake of the newspapers of the rich, the newsmagazines of the rich, the radio stations of the rich and the TV stations of the rich.
The rich are my deadly enemies. It’s a war to the death – us and them. I will fight them to the death and then I will dance on their graves forever and a day.
I really don’t understand the rich. They want to rip up the safety net? Got it, they don’t need it.
Destroy public education? Sure, their kids all go to private schools.
Close the libraries? I don’t get it. The rich don’t go to libraries?
Close all the parks? I don’t get it. The rich don’t go to parks? They have private parks and country clubs to go to?
Shut down the state and national parks and national forests? I don’t get it. The rich don’t go on vacation? They don’t go to national forests, national parks, or state parks? Someone clue me in here.
Shut down public transit? Sure, the rich don’t use it.
Destroy all funding for infrastructure? I don’t get it. The rich don’t drive on highways? They don’t drive over bridges?
The model here is Latin America. Latin America, a continent that has been wrecked by the rich from Day One. All of Latin America’s problems are due to rich rule. The public schools are wrecked – the rich won’t pay for them. The highways and infrastructure are a joke. I never understood this until I heard that the Latin American rich simply buy 4-wheel drives to drive over their shit roads. They would rather do this than pay for a road.
Libraries in ruins? No problem, the Latin American rich don’t care about libraries. So where do they get their books?
Medical care in ruins? Who cares, the Latin American rich go to private clinics.
Parks decrepit, falling apart, or closed? In Latin America, this is the case. National parks are horribly underfunded, decrepit or closed. I guess the rich just don’t care?
Even housing standards. After the glorious Pinochet (Tulio’s hero) came into Chile and afterwards, the housing standards put in by Allende were rolled back. That more buildings did not fall down in the Chilean earthquake is largely due to the housing standards that were put in by Allende.
After Pinochet, new governments rolled back these standards or mostly just looked the other way while typical Latin American capitalist criminals violated building codes. As a result, many more buildings were damaged in the earthquake than would have been otherwise. This I don’t get at all. The Latin American rich are such skinflints that they would rather skirt a building code to save a few bucks, and then risk having the building fall down or getting hurt or killed? All the personal risk is worth it to save a buck or two? What scumbags!
The Latin American rich don’t believe in hooking up their countries with electricity. Much of the country lacks power, but they don’t care. They all have generators!
Horrible pollution runs in the public water supply, but they don’t give a fuck. A cholera epidemic rages through Peru, but the rich don’t care. Why not? They all drink bottled water?
The part about the cops I get. Here in California, even the police are cutting back. They often won’t even come out. This is the case in Latin America. In Peru, the cops are so poorly paid that they often stage holdups on the road to get money. I don’t get this. Don’t the Latin American rich worry about crime. I have heard that many of them hire private bodyguards. They’d rather hire private bodyguards than pay for cops?
The Latin American rich won’t even pay for a decent military. During the Civil War in Peru, the soldiers didn’t even have proper boots or uniforms. The rich could not be bothered to pay for them. Now that’s a callous ruling class! So cheap that they won’t even fund the army that keeps them in power. “Oh well,” they figure, “The revolution will always be defeated somehow. We won’t need to pay for an army.”