America's two major political parties have both concluded their grand extravaganza - the culmination of the campaign's circus roadshow that would formally launch their respective choices, which they hope to inflict on fellow Americans and the rest of the world. The nominees have received their affirmation and adulation, as well as their financial support - reciprocating the gesture by way of declarations of hope, change, patriotism and victory; including the obligatory attack on their opponents that were lapped up by their respective hooting throngs.
The nominees acquired a boost of adrenalin, energized to fight on by the overwhelming acceptance bestowed by their party's delegates. In their massive numbers, the delegates have gained renewed confidence that their party will be victorious, they have screamed themselves hoarse and were totally absorbed by the euphoria of the political rally that may have blurred the true state of their economic existence. The hall is silent, the floor is littered, the balloons have popped, and the delegates are tired. But the frenzy of the convention lingers in their consciousness, and as they rest their tired bones and quivering muscles, they lie daydreaming of a better future away from the present that lulls them to sleep; without being aware that when they finally wake up after the elections, there is no future to look forward to.
While they were deliriously dreaming, America lost another 84,000 jobs. And with the upward adjustment for June and July, the nation has lost a total of 605,000 jobs in 8 months. The crippling downturn in the housing market and the credit crunch has affected all sectors, and employers have reduced their payrolls and production capacities for 8 continuous months. The Federal Reserve says the economy remained weak. In fact, it is deteriorating. It is faced with the twin threats of weak growth and rising inflation. The White House has lifted its deficit forecast for 2009 to $482 billion, and the stimulus package of $130 billion is expected to add to the deficit because of the economic decline. The White House figure does not include the $84 billion for the costs of its wars. The saddest cut of all is that while household income continued to decline, the Economic Policy Institute study cites that those at the top 10% of the income distribution ladder tripled their incomes in the last 2 decades.
This miserable situation is far from the bottom of the pit. The crushing blow will be the humongous bailout for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae who hold mortgage guarantees up to $5.3 trillion, plus the retiring 78 million baby boomers beginning 2010 with the attendant costs of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid; all unfunded Federal Obligations and the National debt, brings the total Federal burden to a whopping $ 53, 000,000,000,000 (53 trillion) or, $175,000 for each American citizen.
Regardless of what growth the economy does in the next few years which could add several billions in taxes, under present laws, these are already pre-allocated. There can be no funds available for programs that would alleviate poverty, nor improve health care, create jobs, and improve the educational system. It effectively removes democracy from the hands of citizens, especially the younger workers who will be saddled by priorities they had no voice in selecting. Yet they will be burdened with higher taxes and lower wages, in addition to the higher costs of living. This is the future both candidates of the major parties cannot be honest about, for fear of being punished by the electorate. It would be worse if they were both ignorant of these facts, but that is unlikely. Their only concern is winning and locking their hands on the reins of power.
All the rhetoric, the attacks, fighting slogans, promises of change and monopolies on patriotism are mere distractions. Barack Obama and John McCain have reduced the elections - one of the most sacrosanct elements of Democracy - into a battle of personalities that belittles the discernment capabilities of their countrymen, transforming it into a popularity contest comparable to selecting Mr. Alaska, or worse, Mr. Wasilla. Both candidates are involved in a cover-up if not deception, and are cloaked with heroism or reform. But underneath, they are similar entities carved out of the pied piper, who will use their trumpets to lure the American voters to drown in the murky river of debt.