As you know, one of the perks of punditry is never having to say you're sorry or even acknowledge when your predictions are wrong. Unlike the originator of the Friedman Unit, I don't get a regular column in the New York Times, but also unlike him, I'm willing to put my past pontificating up against present reality. Here is what I wrote on October 6, 2008, as the global financial system was collapsing.
Exactly how fucked are we?
On the one hand, we are so fucking fucked it isn't fucking funny.
However, we do have choices. Even with reduced means, we will still be the wealthiest, most powerful nation that has ever existed, and we will have far more at our disposal than our grandparents during the Great Depression. We don't have to let people starve and freeze. We don't have to accept massive homelessness. We can still educate our children, still heal the sick, still succor the afflicted. We can still offer dignified work and self-sufficiency to everyone. We can still have music, and art, and meals in restaurants, and family farms, and community, and everything we need and most of what we want.
That is, if we make the right choices, but so far, we have shown no signs of having the wisdom to do so. We do have to give some things up, starting with war, and the nearly invisible global empire of military bases that most Americans are barely aware exists.
Wealthy people -- and there are still quite a few of them, in spite of everything -- will have to pay more in taxes to secure the future of the nation that they looted to get what they have. As Joe Biden says, it's the patriotic thing for them to do.
Lenders will have to deal wisely with people who are behind on their mortgages, and accept some losses to prevent the destruction of communities and countless lives. And oh yes, they'll actually be better off than they are foreclosing and ending up with worthless property.
We can still borrow money from the Arab oil potentates, but we have to invest it wisely, instead of squandering it on profligate consumption and world historical crimes against humanity.
We have to completely rebuild our largest industry, health care, to meet human needs instead of feeding corporate profit.
We have to mobilize the energies, wealth, and good will of our people, come together in a time of terrible crisis, and turn urgency into opportunity. It will be tough, and there will be some suffering, and most of us will have to give up something. But we can certainly survive and emerge stronger. We can. We might not.
The malignant dwarf who fraudulently occupies the office of president has nothing to offer us but fear and more fear. His designated successor is even worse. In the next month, we'll be engulfed in a torrent of filth spewed by the desperate and dying remnants of the criminal order that brought us to our present straits. Will the people drown in it, or climb above it? This is one of the most critical moments in our history, have no doubt of it.
So, the malignant dwarf's designated successor didn't end up succeeding. Barack Obama became president, in spite of the torrent of filth which did indeed descend on us in the final month of the campaign -- and has continued ever since. But have we done any of what needed to be done? Has urgency become opportunity?