Wednesday, February 25, 2009


If you saw the 1987 movie Wall Street, you'll surely remember the scene in which its star Michael Douglas, as Gordon Gekko, extolled the virtues of greed. Gekko: "The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for a lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of it's forms - greed for life, for money, knowledge - has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed - you mark my words - will not only save Teldar Paper but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA." Near the end of that scene, Gekko repeats that "Greed is good."

Greed is good? Like hell it is! Greed is what got us into the economic disaster our country is now experiencing. Greed is at the root of the subprime mortgage fiasco. Greed is at the root of bad banking practices. Greed is at the root of high risk investment practices which caused the collapse of some leading Wall Street institutions. Greed is at the root of the stagnation, decline and fall of the American auto industry. Greed is at the root of investors, including reputable charities, buying into Bernie Madoff's 50 billion dollar ponzi scheme. Greed is at the root of a growing unemployment problem. Greed is at the root of the health insurance mess. And because of all that greed, retirees have lost half their life savings over the past year as the stockmarket continues to plunge into a seemingly bottomless abyss.

But all is not lost, or is it? Along comes a black knight in shining armor to slay the greedy dragon and to rescue the banks, insurance companies, Wall Street investment companies, auto companies, homeowners facing foreclosure and the unemployed. Sir Hope has now signed the biggest spending bill in the nations history. He promises that it will employ millions of people to rebuild the nation's crumbling infrstructure. It reminds me of another time in 1932 when a white night in shining armor came along and promised to slay the deep depression dragon and take millions of Americans out of the bread lines and soup kitchens to work at rebuilding America.

Sir New Deal set up the Works Progess Administration (WPA) and did put millions to work building streets, sidewalks, libraries, schools, city halls, courthouses and hospitals. Of course, there were too many people on the same job so that you would end up with two workers leaning on their shovels for every worker who was shovelling. And that was at a time when the unemployed did not have the high-tech skills required of workers in today's society. Did the New Deal bring us out of the depression? No, it did not! World War II brought us out of the depression, starting in 1939 with the lend-lease progam which put millions to work manufacturing war materials for the British.

Which brings me to my point. Instead of Sir Hope's questionable trillion dallar stimulus package, we need a war to restore our nation's economy. I don't mean a puny war to establish democracy in the Middle East. I don't mean a puny war against terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I don't mean a puny war to eliminate North Korean and Iranian nuclear ambitions. I mean we need a really bigtime war - a war against Russia or China, or better yet, a war against both Russia and China. Since we are in a global economic crisis, such a war would not only restore our economy, but also the economies of Russia and China which right now are hurting as much as ours.

Just think what such a war would do. It would force us to restore the draft to fill our military ranks with millions of new recruits. No more of this volunteer army shit. It would put every able bodied man, woman and child not in the military to work manufacturing the weapons, tanks, ships and planes needed by the army, marines, navy and airforce. We would have to beg illegal immigrants from Mexico to come to the U.S. to help us out. The war would lead to the research and development of many new technologies. And in the end, the winner would employ millions of people to help rebuild the countries on the losing side, as we did with the Marshall Plan after WWII.

Of course, millions would be killed on each side, including lots of civilians. Tragic as it may be, that's not all bad! Scientists have long predicted that we are facing a grave world overpopulation crisis with severe food and water shortages. The millions of war deaths would cull out enough people so that it would postpone any overpopulation crisis for the foreseeable future.

So there you have it. Greed is no good! Peace is not all that good. But war is really good!

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