Category Archives: Debt Management

Gulf Coast SURVIVORS.

Published / by webmaster

A few nice debt management images I found:

Gulf Coast SURVIVORS.
debt management
Image by eyewashdesign: A. Golden
New Yorkers Protest the US0 BILLION (US TRILLION) Wall Street BAILOUT: Wall Street, NYC – September 25, 2008

VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE on 04 NOVEMBER 2008!

Photographer: a. golden, eyewash design – c. 2008.

Friends,

The richest 400 Americans — that’s right, just four-hundred people — own MORE than the bottom 150 million Americans COMBINED! 400 of the wealthiest Americans have got more stashed away than half the entire country! Their combined net worth is .6 trillion. During the eight years of the Bush Administration, their wealth has increased by nearly 0 billion — the same amount that they were demanding We give to them for the "bailout." Why don’t they just spend the money they made under Bush to bail themselves out? They’d still have nearly a trillion dollars left over to spread amongst themselves!

Of course, they are not going to do that — at least not voluntarily. George W. Bush was handed a 7 billion surplus when Bill Clinton left office. Because that money was OUR money and not HIS, he did what the rich prefer to do — spend it and never look back. Now we have a .5 trillion debt that will take seven generations from which to recover. Why — on –earth – did — our — "representatives" — give — these — robber — barons — $US850 BILLION — of – OUR — money?

Last week, proposed my own bailout plan. My suggestions, listed below, were predicated on the singular and simple belief that the rich must pull themselves up by their own platinum bootstraps. Sorry, fellows, but you drilled it into our heads one too many times: THERE…IS…NO…FREE… LUNCH ~ PERIOD! And thank you for encouraging us to hate people on welfare! So, there should have been NO HANDOUTS FROM US TO YOU! Last Friday, after voting AGAINST this BAILOUT, in an unprecedented turn of events, the House FLIP-FLOPPED their "No" Vote & said "Yes", in a rush version of a "bailout" bill vote. IN SPITE OF THE PEOPLE’S OVERWHELMING DISAPPROVAL OF THIS BAILOUT BILL… IN SPITE OF MILLIONS OF CALLS FROM THE PEOPLE CRASHING WASHINGTON "representatives’" PHONE LINES…IN SPITE OF CRASHING OUR POLITICIAN’S WEBSITES…IN SPITE OF HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE PROTESTING AROUND THE COUNTRY… THEY VOTED FOR THIS BAILOUT! The People first succeeded on Monday with the House, but failed do it with the Senate and then THE HOUSE TURNED ON US TOO!

It is clear, though, we cannot simply continue protesting without proposing exactly what it is we think THESE IDIOTS should/’ve do/one. So, after consulting with a number of people smarter than Phil Gramm, here’s the proposal, now known as "Mike’s Rescue Plan." (From Michael Moore’s Bailout Plan) It has 10 simple, straightforward points. They are that you DIDN’T, BUT SHOULD’VE:

1. APPOINTED A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO CRIMINALLY INDICT ANYONE ON WALL STREET WHO KNOWINGLY CONTRIBUTED TO THIS COLLAPSE. Before any new money was expended, Congress should have committed, by resolution, to CRIMINALLY PROSECUTE ANYONE who had ANYTHING to do with the attempted SACKING OF OUR ECONOMY. This means that anyone who committed insider trading, securities fraud or any action that helped bring about this collapse should have and MUST GO TO JAIL! This Congress SHOULD HAVE called for a Special Prosecutor who would vigorously go after everyone who created the mess, and anyone else who attempts to scam the public in future. (I like Elliot Spitzer ~ so, he played a little hanky-panky…Wall Street hates him & this is a GOOD thing.)

2. THE RICH SHOULD HAVE PAID FOR THEIR OWN BAILOUT! They may have to live in 5 houses instead of 7. They may have to drive 9 cars instead of 13. The chef for their mini-terriers may have to be reassigned. But there is no way in hell, after forcing family incomes to go down more than ,000 dollars during the Bush years, that working people and the middle class should have to fork over one dime to underwrite the next yacht purchase.

If they truly needed the 0 billion they say they needed, well, here is an easy way they could have raised it:

a) Every couple makeing over a million dollars a year and every single taxpayer who makes over 0,000 a year should pay a 10% surcharge tax for five years. (It’s the Senator Sanders plan. He’s like Colonel Sanders, only he’s out to fry the right chickens.) That means the rich would have still been paying less income tax than when Carter was president. That would have raise a total of 0 billion.

b) Like nearly every other democracy, they should have charged a 0.25% tax on every stock transaction. This would have raised more than 0 billion in a year.

c) Because every stockholder is a patriotic American, stockholders should have forgone receiving a dividend check for ONE quarter and instead this money would have gone the treasury to help pay for the bullsh*t bailout.

d) 25% of major U.S. corporations currently pay NO federal income tax. Federal corporate tax revenues currently amount to 1.7% of the GDP compared to 5% in the 1950s. If we raised the corporate income tax BACK to the levels of the 1950s, this would give us an extra 0 billion.

All of this combined should have been enough to end the calamity. The rich would have gotten to keep their mansions and their servants and our United States government ("COUNTRY FIRST!") would’ve have a little leftover to repair some roads, bridges and schools…

3. YOU SHOULD HAVE BAIL OUT THE PEOPLE LOSING THEIR HOMES, NOT THE PEOPLE WHO WILL BUILD AN EIGHTH HOME! There are 1.3 million homes in foreclosure right now. That is what is at the heart of this problem. So, instead of giving the money to the banks as a gift, they should have paid down each of these mortgages by 0,000. They should have forced the banks to renegotiate the mortgage so the homeowner could pay on its current value. To insure that this help wouldn’t go to speculators and those who tried to making money by flipping houses, the bailout should have only been for people’s primary residences. And, in return for the 0K pay-down on the existing mortgage, the government would have gotten to share in the holding of the mortgage so it could get some of its money back. Thus, the total initial cost of fixing the mortgage crisis at its roots (instead of with the greedy lenders) is 0 billion, not 0 BILLION.

And let’s set the record straight. People who have defaulted on their mortgages are not "bad risks." They are our fellow Americans, and all they wanted was what we all want: a home to call their own. But, during the Bush years, millions of the People lost the decent paying jobs they had. SIX MILLION fell into poverty! SEVEN MILLION lost their health insurance! And, every one of them saw their real wages go DOWN by ,000! Those who DARE look down on these Americans who got hit with one bad break after another should be ASHAMED.! We are a better, stronger, safer and happier society when all of our citizens can afford to live in a home they own.

4. THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN A STIPULATION THAT IF YOUR BANK OR COMPANY GOT ANY OF OUR MONEY IN A "BAILOUT," THEN WE OWN YOU. Sorry, that’s how it’s done. If the bank gives me money so I can buy a house, the bank "owns" that house until I pay it all back — with interest. Same deal for Wall Street. Whatever money you need to stay afloat, if our government considers you a safe risk — and necessary for the good of the country — then you can get a loan, but WE SHOULD OWN YOU. If you default, we will sell you. This is how the Swedish government did it and it worked.

5. ALL REGULATIONS SHOULD HAVE BEEN BE RESTORED. THE REAGAN REVOLUTION IS DEAD! This catastrophe happened because we let the fox have the keys to the hen-house. In 1999, Phil Gramm authored a bill to remove all the regulations that governed Wall Street and our banking system. The bill passed and Clinton signed it. Here’s what Sen.Phil Gramm, McCain’s chief economic advisor, said at the bill signing:

"In the 1930s … it was believed that government was the answer. It was believed that stability and growth came from government overriding the functioning of free markets.

"We are here today to repeal [that] because we have learned that government is not the answer. We have learned that freedom and competition are the answers. We have learned that we promote economic growth and we promote stability by having competition and freedom.

"I am proud to be here because this is an important bill; it is a deregulatory bill. I believe that that is the wave of the future, and I am awfully proud to have been a part of making it a reality."

FOR THIS NOT TO REOCCUR, This BILL SHOULD HAVE BEEN REPEALED! Bill Clinton could have helped by leading the effort for the repeal of the Gramm bill and the reinstating of even tougher regulations regarding our financial institutions. And when they were done with that, they should have restored the regulations for the airlines, the inspection of our food, the oil industry, OSHA, and every other entity that affects our daily lives. All oversight provisions for any "bailout" should have had enforcement monies attached to them and criminal penalties for all offenders.

6. IF IT’S TOO BIG TO FAIL, THEN THAT MEANS IT’S TOO BIG TO EXIST! Allowing the creation of these mega-mergers and not enforcing the monopoly and anti-trust laws has allowed a number of financial institutions and corporations to become so large, the very thought of their collapse means an even bigger collapse across the entire economy. No ONE or TWO companies should EVER have this kind of power! The so-called "economic Pearl Harbor" can’t happen when you have hundreds — thousands — of institutions where people have their money. When we have a dozen auto companies, if one goes belly-up, we DON’T FACE A NATIONAL DISASTER! If we have three separately-owned daily newspapers in your town, then one media company can’t call all the shots (I know… What am I thinking?! Who reads a paper anymore? Sure glad all those mergers and buyouts left us with a STRONG and "FREE" press!). Laws Should have been enacted to prevent companies from being so large and dominant that with one slingshot to the eye, the GIANT FALLS and DIES. And no institution should be allowed to set up money schemes that NO ONE understands. If you can’t explain it in two sentences, you shouldn’t be taking anyone’s money!

7. NO EXECUTIVE SHOULD EVER BE PAID MORE THAN 40 TIMES THEIR AVERAGE EMPLOYEE, AND NO EXECUTIVE SHOULD RECEIVE ANY KIND OF "PARACHUTE" OTHER THAN THE VERY GENEROUS SALARY HE OR SHE MADE WHILE WORKING FOR THE COMPANY. In 1980, the average American CEO made 45 times what their employees made. By 2003, they were making 254 times what their workers made. After 8 years of Bush, they now make over 400 times what their average employee makes. How We have allowed this to happen at publicly held companies is beyond reason. In Britain, the average CEO makes 28 times what their average employee makes. In Japan, it’s only 17 times! The last I heard, the CEO of Toyota was living the high life in Tokyo. How does he do it on so little money? Seriously, this is an OUTRAGE! We have created the mess we’re in by letting the people at the top become bloated beyond belief with millions of dollars. THIS HAS TO STOP! Not only should no executive who receives help out of this mess profit from it, but any executive who was in charge of running his company into the ground should be FIRED before the company receives ANY help.

8. CONGRESS SHOULD HAVE STRENGTHENED THE FDIC AND MADE IT A MODEL FOR PROTECTING NOT ONLY PEOPLE’S SAVINGS, BUT ALSO THEIR PENSIONS AND THEIR HOMES. Obama was correct to propose expanding FDIC protection of people’s savings in their banks to 0,000. But, this same sort of government insurance must be given to our NEVER have to worry about whether or not the money they’ve put away for their old age will be there. This should have meant strict government oversight of companies who manage their employees’ funds — or perhaps it means the companies should have been forced to turn over those funds and their management to the government? People’s private retirement funds must also be protected, but perhaps it’s time to consider not having one’s retirement invested in the casino known as the stock market??? Our government should have a solemn duty to guarantee that no one who grows old in this country has to worry about becoming destitute.

9. EVERYBODY NEEDS TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH, CALM DOWN, AND NOT LET FEAR RULE THE DAY. Turn off your TVs! We are NOT in the Second Great Depression. The sky is NOT falling, Chicken Little! Pundits and politicians have lied to us so FAST and FURIOUS it’s hard not to be affected by all the fear mongering. Even I wrote to and repeated what I heard on the news last week, that the Dow had the biggest one day drop in its history. Well, that was true in terms of points, but its 7% drop came nowhere close to Black Monday in 1987 when the stock market in one day lost 23% of its value. In the ’80s, 3,000 banks closed, but America didn’t go out of business. These institutions have always had their ups and downs and eventually it works out. It has to, because the rich do not like their wealth being disrupted! They have a vested interest in calming things down and getting back into their Jacuzzis before they slip into their million thread-count sheets to drift off to a peaceful, Vodka tonic and Ambien-induced slumber.

As crazy as things are right now, tens of thousands of people got a car loan last week. Thousands went to the bank and got a mortgage to buy a home. Students just back to college found banks more than happy to put them into hock for the next 15 years with a student loan. I was even pre-approved for a USK personal loan. Yes, life has gone on with little-or-no-change (other than the whopping 6.1% umeployment rate, but that happened last month). Not a single person lost any of his/her monies in bank, or a treasury note, or in a CD. And, the perhaps the most amazing thing is that the American public FINALLY didn’t buy the scare campaign. The citizens didn’t blink, instead telling Congress to take that bailout and shove it. THAT was impressive. Why didn’t the population succumb to the fright-filled warnings from their president and his cronies? Well, you can only say ‘Saddam has the bomb’ so many times before the people realize you’re a lying sack of shit. After eight long years, the nation is worn out and simply can’t take it any longer. The WORLD is fed up & I don’t blame them.

10. THEY SHOULD HAVE CREATED A NATIONAL BANK, A "PEOPLE’S BANK." Since they’re really itching to print up a trillion dollars, instead of giving it to a few rich people, why don’t We give it to ourselves? Now that We own Freddie and Fannie, why not set up a People’s bank? One that can provide low-interest loans for all sorts of people who want to own a home, start a small business, go to school, come up with the cure for cancer or create the next great invention. And, now that we own AIG – the country’s largest insurance company – let’s take the next step and PROVIDE HEALTH INSURANCE FOR EVERYONE. MEDICARE FOR ALL! It will SAVE us SO MUCH MONEY in the LONG RUN (not to mention bring peace of mind to all). And, America won’t be 12th on the life expectancy list! We’ll be able to have a longer lifespan, enjoying our government-protected pension and will live to see the day when the corporate criminals who caused this much misery are let out of prison so that We can help re-acclimate them to plain old ordinary, civilian life — a life with ONE nice home and ONE gas-free car invented with help from the People’s Bank.

P.S. Call your Senators NOW !!! —> www.visi.com/juan/congress/

Since they voted against passing the extension of unemployment benefits and skipped out to "campaign" to us to be re-elected…call them and tell them you will vote for the other "guy" if they don’t get their act together!

UPDATE:

The Bailout Is A Truly Evil Disaster And Enabler Pelosi Must Go

We are hearing more and more reports of how badly the ill-advised banker’s bailout is being handled, multi-million dollar bonuses for Paulson’s old cronies at Goldman Sachs, billions going to finance the takeover of rival banks, making the "too big to fail" even bigger, and the taxpayer getting an otherwise rotten deal for their investment. We even heard a Republic senator asking how fast they could blow the money.

NONE of this could have happened without the fawning complicity of Nancy Pelosi, who infamously said it was Bush’s proposal, INSTEAD of coming forward with a robust alternative plan. Just like Bush, she believes she is immune, she believes she is unaccountable, and shame on us if we don’t do everything we can to defeat her this Tuesday, and replace her with Cindy Sheehan.

Here is Cindy’s last TV spot. Please make whatever donation you can to put this ad on the air in these critical final days.

Last Cindy TV Spot Action Page:
www.usalone.com/cindy/donations_tv2.php

There is still time for you to make a real difference. We thank all of our participants who have already donated so generously to make this campaign what it is. For those who cannot make a contribution, please consider helping with the phone banking, and there is a link for that also on the page above.

The one thing we know is that we must continue to speak out. We must continue to challenge. Surrendering is what our current so-called representatives in Congress are so prone to, NOT what we do. Ultimate victory is not only possible, it is assured if we work as hard as we can for real change, not just the rebranding of the same old boys’
network.

And we promise you, immediately after the election we will go right back to work on pure issue advocacy full time, to continue to build the base of action for the future.

Paid for by Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Donations to Cindy Sheehan for Congress are not tax-deductible

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.

If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so at www.usalone.net/in.htm

Or if you want to cease receiving our messages, just use the function at www.usalone.net/out.htm

usalone280b:3858

Powered by The People’s Email Network Copyright 2008, Patent pending, All rights reserved.

the Great Hedge Fund Hei$t
debt management
Image by eyewashdesign: A. Golden
New Yorkers Protest the US0 BILLION (US TRILLION) Wall Street BAILOUT: Wall Street, NYC – September 25, 2008

VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE on 04 NOVEMBER 2008!

Photographer: a. golden, eyewash design – c. 2008.

This is actually a GOOD guy. See: billionairesforbush.com/index.php for more information.

Friends,

The richest 400 Americans — that’s right, just four-hundred people — own MORE than the bottom 150 million Americans COMBINED! 400 of the wealthiest Americans have got more stashed away than half the entire country! Their combined net worth is .6 trillion. During the eight years of the Bush Administration, their wealth has increased by nearly 0 billion — the same amount that they were demanding We give to them for the "bailout." Why don’t they just spend the money they made under Bush to bail themselves out? They’d still have nearly a trillion dollars left over to spread amongst themselves!

Of course, they are not going to do that — at least not voluntarily. George W. Bush was handed a 7 billion surplus when Bill Clinton left office. Because that money was OUR money and not HIS, he did what the rich prefer to do — spend it and never look back. Now we have a .5 trillion debt that will take seven generations from which to recover. Why — on –earth – did — our — "representatives" — give — these — robber — barons — $US850 BILLION — of – OUR — money?

Last week, proposed my own bailout plan. My suggestions, listed below, were predicated on the singular and simple belief that the rich must pull themselves up by their own platinum bootstraps. Sorry, fellows, but you drilled it into our heads one too many times: THERE…IS…NO…FREE… LUNCH ~ PERIOD! And thank you for encouraging us to hate people on welfare! So, there should have been NO HANDOUTS FROM US TO YOU! Last Friday, after voting AGAINST this BAILOUT, in an unprecedented turn of events, the House FLIP-FLOPPED their "No" Vote & said "Yes", in a rush version of a "bailout" bill vote. IN SPITE OF THE PEOPLE’S OVERWHELMING DISAPPROVAL OF THIS BAILOUT BILL… IN SPITE OF MILLIONS OF CALLS FROM THE PEOPLE CRASHING WASHINGTON "representatives’" PHONE LINES…IN SPITE OF CRASHING OUR POLITICIAN’S WEBSITES…IN SPITE OF HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE PROTESTING AROUND THE COUNTRY… THEY VOTED FOR THIS BAILOUT! The People first succeeded on Monday with the House, but failed do it with the Senate and then THE HOUSE TURNED ON US TOO!

It is clear, though, we cannot simply continue protesting without proposing exactly what it is we think THESE IDIOTS should/’ve do/one. So, after consulting with a number of people smarter than Phil Gramm, here’s the proposal, now known as "Mike’s Rescue Plan." (From Michael Moore’s Bailout Plan) It has 10 simple, straightforward points. They are that you DIDN’T, BUT SHOULD’VE:

1. APPOINTED A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO CRIMINALLY INDICT ANYONE ON WALL STREET WHO KNOWINGLY CONTRIBUTED TO THIS COLLAPSE. Before any new money was expended, Congress should have committed, by resolution, to CRIMINALLY PROSECUTE ANYONE who had ANYTHING to do with the attempted SACKING OF OUR ECONOMY. This means that anyone who committed insider trading, securities fraud or any action that helped bring about this collapse should have and MUST GO TO JAIL! This Congress SHOULD HAVE called for a Special Prosecutor who would vigorously go after everyone who created the mess, and anyone else who attempts to scam the public in future. (I like Elliot Spitzer ~ so, he played a little hanky-panky…Wall Street hates him & this is a GOOD thing.)

2. THE RICH SHOULD HAVE PAID FOR THEIR OWN BAILOUT! They may have to live in 5 houses instead of 7. They may have to drive 9 cars instead of 13. The chef for their mini-terriers may have to be reassigned. But there is no way in hell, after forcing family incomes to go down more than ,000 dollars during the Bush years, that working people and the middle class should have to fork over one dime to underwrite the next yacht purchase.

If they truly needed the 0 billion they say they needed, well, here is an easy way they could have raised it:

a) Every couple makeing over a million dollars a year and every single taxpayer who makes over 0,000 a year should pay a 10% surcharge tax for five years. (It’s the Senator Sanders plan. He’s like Colonel Sanders, only he’s out to fry the right chickens.) That means the rich would have still been paying less income tax than when Carter was president. That would have raise a total of 0 billion.

b) Like nearly every other democracy, they should have charged a 0.25% tax on every stock transaction. This would have raised more than 0 billion in a year.

c) Because every stockholder is a patriotic American, stockholders should have forgone receiving a dividend check for ONE quarter and instead this money would have gone the treasury to help pay for the bullsh*t bailout.

d) 25% of major U.S. corporations currently pay NO federal income tax. Federal corporate tax revenues currently amount to 1.7% of the GDP compared to 5% in the 1950s. If we raised the corporate income tax BACK to the levels of the 1950s, this would give us an extra 0 billion.

All of this combined should have been enough to end the calamity. The rich would have gotten to keep their mansions and their servants and our United States government ("COUNTRY FIRST!") would’ve have a little leftover to repair some roads, bridges and schools…

3. YOU SHOULD HAVE BAIL OUT THE PEOPLE LOSING THEIR HOMES, NOT THE PEOPLE WHO WILL BUILD AN EIGHTH HOME! There are 1.3 million homes in foreclosure right now. That is what is at the heart of this problem. So, instead of giving the money to the banks as a gift, they should have paid down each of these mortgages by 0,000. They should have forced the banks to renegotiate the mortgage so the homeowner could pay on its current value. To insure that this help wouldn’t go to speculators and those who tried to making money by flipping houses, the bailout should have only been for people’s primary residences. And, in return for the 0K pay-down on the existing mortgage, the government would have gotten to share in the holding of the mortgage so it could get some of its money back. Thus, the total initial cost of fixing the mortgage crisis at its roots (instead of with the greedy lenders) is 0 billion, not 0 BILLION.

And let’s set the record straight. People who have defaulted on their mortgages are not "bad risks." They are our fellow Americans, and all they wanted was what we all want: a home to call their own. But, during the Bush years, millions of the People lost the decent paying jobs they had. SIX MILLION fell into poverty! SEVEN MILLION lost their health insurance! And, every one of them saw their real wages go DOWN by ,000! Those who DARE look down on these Americans who got hit with one bad break after another should be ASHAMED.! We are a better, stronger, safer and happier society when all of our citizens can afford to live in a home they own.

4. THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN A STIPULATION THAT IF YOUR BANK OR COMPANY GOT ANY OF OUR MONEY IN A "BAILOUT," THEN WE OWN YOU. Sorry, that’s how it’s done. If the bank gives me money so I can buy a house, the bank "owns" that house until I pay it all back — with interest. Same deal for Wall Street. Whatever money you need to stay afloat, if our government considers you a safe risk — and necessary for the good of the country — then you can get a loan, but WE SHOULD OWN YOU. If you default, we will sell you. This is how the Swedish government did it and it worked.

5. ALL REGULATIONS SHOULD HAVE BEEN BE RESTORED. THE REAGAN REVOLUTION IS DEAD! This catastrophe happened because we let the fox have the keys to the hen-house. In 1999, Phil Gramm authored a bill to remove all the regulations that governed Wall Street and our banking system. The bill passed and Clinton signed it. Here’s what Sen.Phil Gramm, McCain’s chief economic advisor, said at the bill signing:

"In the 1930s … it was believed that government was the answer. It was believed that stability and growth came from government overriding the functioning of free markets.

"We are here today to repeal [that] because we have learned that government is not the answer. We have learned that freedom and competition are the answers. We have learned that we promote economic growth and we promote stability by having competition and freedom.

"I am proud to be here because this is an important bill; it is a deregulatory bill. I believe that that is the wave of the future, and I am awfully proud to have been a part of making it a reality."

FOR THIS NOT TO REOCCUR, This BILL SHOULD HAVE BEEN REPEALED! Bill Clinton could have helped by leading the effort for the repeal of the Gramm bill and the reinstating of even tougher regulations regarding our financial institutions. And when they were done with that, they should have restored the regulations for the airlines, the inspection of our food, the oil industry, OSHA, and every other entity that affects our daily lives. All oversight provisions for any "bailout" should have had enforcement monies attached to them and criminal penalties for all offenders.

6. IF IT’S TOO BIG TO FAIL, THEN THAT MEANS IT’S TOO BIG TO EXIST! Allowing the creation of these mega-mergers and not enforcing the monopoly and anti-trust laws has allowed a number of financial institutions and corporations to become so large, the very thought of their collapse means an even bigger collapse across the entire economy. No ONE or TWO companies should EVER have this kind of power! The so-called "economic Pearl Harbor" can’t happen when you have hundreds — thousands — of institutions where people have their money. When we have a dozen auto companies, if one goes belly-up, we DON’T FACE A NATIONAL DISASTER! If we have three separately-owned daily newspapers in your town, then one media company can’t call all the shots (I know… What am I thinking?! Who reads a paper anymore? Sure glad all those mergers and buyouts left us with a STRONG and "FREE" press!). Laws Should have been enacted to prevent companies from being so large and dominant that with one slingshot to the eye, the GIANT FALLS and DIES. And no institution should be allowed to set up money schemes that NO ONE understands. If you can’t explain it in two sentences, you shouldn’t be taking anyone’s money!

7. NO EXECUTIVE SHOULD EVER BE PAID MORE THAN 40 TIMES THEIR AVERAGE EMPLOYEE, AND NO EXECUTIVE SHOULD RECEIVE ANY KIND OF "PARACHUTE" OTHER THAN THE VERY GENEROUS SALARY HE OR SHE MADE WHILE WORKING FOR THE COMPANY. In 1980, the average American CEO made 45 times what their employees made. By 2003, they were making 254 times what their workers made. After 8 years of Bush, they now make over 400 times what their average employee makes. How We have allowed this to happen at publicly held companies is beyond reason. In Britain, the average CEO makes 28 times what their average employee makes. In Japan, it’s only 17 times! The last I heard, the CEO of Toyota was living the high life in Tokyo. How does he do it on so little money? Seriously, this is an OUTRAGE! We have created the mess we’re in by letting the people at the top become bloated beyond belief with millions of dollars. THIS HAS TO STOP! Not only should no executive who receives help out of this mess profit from it, but any executive who was in charge of running his company into the ground should be FIRED before the company receives ANY help.

8. CONGRESS SHOULD HAVE STRENGTHENED THE FDIC AND MADE IT A MODEL FOR PROTECTING NOT ONLY PEOPLE’S SAVINGS, BUT ALSO THEIR PENSIONS AND THEIR HOMES. Obama was correct to propose expanding FDIC protection of people’s savings in their banks to 0,000. But, this same sort of government insurance must be given to our NEVER have to worry about whether or not the money they’ve put away for their old age will be there. This should have meant strict government oversight of companies who manage their employees’ funds — or perhaps it means the companies should have been forced to turn over those funds and their management to the government? People’s private retirement funds must also be protected, but perhaps it’s time to consider not having one’s retirement invested in the casino known as the stock market??? Our government should have a solemn duty to guarantee that no one who grows old in this country has to worry about becoming destitute.

9. EVERYBODY NEEDS TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH, CALM DOWN, AND NOT LET FEAR RULE THE DAY. Turn off your TVs! We are NOT in the Second Great Depression. The sky is NOT falling, Chicken Little! Pundits and politicians have lied to us so FAST and FURIOUS it’s hard not to be affected by all the fear mongering. Even I wrote to and repeated what I heard on the news last week, that the Dow had the biggest one day drop in its history. Well, that was true in terms of points, but its 7% drop came nowhere close to Black Monday in 1987 when the stock market in one day lost 23% of its value. In the ’80s, 3,000 banks closed, but America didn’t go out of business. These institutions have always had their ups and downs and eventually it works out. It has to, because the rich do not like their wealth being disrupted! They have a vested interest in calming things down and getting back into their Jacuzzis before they slip into their million thread-count sheets to drift off to a peaceful, Vodka tonic and Ambien-induced slumber.

As crazy as things are right now, tens of thousands of people got a car loan last week. Thousands went to the bank and got a mortgage to buy a home. Students just back to college found banks more than happy to put them into hock for the next 15 years with a student loan. I was even pre-approved for a USK personal loan. Yes, life has gone on with little-or-no-change (other than the whopping 6.1% umeployment rate, but that happened last month). Not a single person lost any of his/her monies in bank, or a treasury note, or in a CD. And, the perhaps the most amazing thing is that the American public FINALLY didn’t buy the scare campaign. The citizens didn’t blink, instead telling Congress to take that bailout and shove it. THAT was impressive. Why didn’t the population succumb to the fright-filled warnings from their president and his cronies? Well, you can only say ‘Saddam has the bomb’ so many times before the people realize you’re a lying sack of shit. After eight long years, the nation is worn out and simply can’t take it any longer. The WORLD is fed up & I don’t blame them.

10. THEY SHOULD HAVE CREATED A NATIONAL BANK, A "PEOPLE’S BANK." Since they’re really itching to print up a trillion dollars, instead of giving it to a few rich people, why don’t We give it to ourselves? Now that We own Freddie and Fannie, why not set up a People’s bank? One that can provide low-interest loans for all sorts of people who want to own a home, start a small business, go to school, come up with the cure for cancer or create the next great invention. And, now that we own AIG – the country’s largest insurance company – let’s take the next step and PROVIDE HEALTH INSURANCE FOR EVERYONE. MEDICARE FOR ALL! It will SAVE us SO MUCH MONEY in the LONG RUN (not to mention bring peace of mind to all). And, America won’t be 12th on the life expectancy list! We’ll be able to have a longer lifespan, enjoying our government-protected pension and will live to see the day when the corporate criminals who caused this much misery are let out of prison so that We can help re-acclimate them to plain old ordinary, civilian life — a life with ONE nice home and ONE gas-free car invented with help from the People’s Bank.

P.S. Call your Senators NOW !!! —> www.visi.com/juan/congress/

Since they voted against passing the extension of unemployment benefits and skipped out to "campaign" to us to be re-elected…call them and tell them you will vote for the other "guy" if they don’t get their act together!

UPDATE:

The Bailout Is A Truly Evil Disaster And Enabler Pelosi Must Go

We are hearing more and more reports of how badly the ill-advised banker’s bailout is being handled, multi-million dollar bonuses for Paulson’s old cronies at Goldman Sachs, billions going to finance the takeover of rival banks, making the "too big to fail" even bigger, and the taxpayer getting an otherwise rotten deal for their investment. We even heard a Republic senator asking how fast they could blow the money.

NONE of this could have happened without the fawning complicity of Nancy Pelosi, who infamously said it was Bush’s proposal, INSTEAD of coming forward with a robust alternative plan. Just like Bush, she believes she is immune, she believes she is unaccountable, and shame on us if we don’t do everything we can to defeat her this Tuesday, and replace her with Cindy Sheehan.

Here is Cindy’s last TV spot. Please make whatever donation you can to put this ad on the air in these critical final days.

Last Cindy TV Spot Action Page:
www.usalone.com/cindy/donations_tv2.php

There is still time for you to make a real difference. We thank all of our participants who have already donated so generously to make this campaign what it is. For those who cannot make a contribution, please consider helping with the phone banking, and there is a link for that also on the page above.

The one thing we know is that we must continue to speak out. We must continue to challenge. Surrendering is what our current so-called representatives in Congress are so prone to, NOT what we do. Ultimate victory is not only possible, it is assured if we work as hard as we can for real change, not just the rebranding of the same old boys’
network.

And we promise you, immediately after the election we will go right back to work on pure issue advocacy full time, to continue to build the base of action for the future.

Paid for by Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Donations to Cindy Sheehan for Congress are not tax-deductible

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.

If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so at www.usalone.net/in.htm

Or if you want to cease receiving our messages, just use the function at www.usalone.net/out.htm

Mary Surratt grave section 12 – Mt Olivet – Washington DC – 2014-07-18

Published / by webmaster

Check out these debt management images:

Mary Surratt grave section 12 – Mt Olivet – Washington DC – 2014-07-18
debt management
Image by Tim Evanson
Grave of Mary Surratt in section 12 at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington, D.C., in the United States.

Mary Elizabeth Jenkins was born to Archibald and Elizabeth Anne (née Webster) Jenkins on a tobacco plantation near the southern Maryland town of Waterloo (now known as Clinton). Sources differ as to whether she was born in 1820 or 1823.

Her father died in the fall of 1825, and Mary’s mother inherited the property. Surratt was enrolled in the Academy for Young Ladies in Alexandria, Virginia, on November 25, 1835. It was a Catholic boarding school, and she converted to Roman Catholicism in 1837. She stayed until 1839, when the school closed.

After leaving school, she met John Harrison Surratt. She was 16 or 19 and he was 26. An orphan, he was adopted by Richard and Sarah Neale of Washington, D.C., a wealthy couple who owned a farm. He was a bad seed, and had fathered at least one bastard child by the time he met Mary. Nonetheless, they wed in August 1840. John purchased a mill in Oxon Hill, Maryland, and the couple moved there. The Surratts had three children over the next few years: Isaac (born 1841), Elizabeth Susanna (nicknamed "Anna", born 1843), and John, Jr. (born 1844).

The Neales had already given John a portion of their film, but in 1843 he purchased another 236 acres of land ("Foxhall") from his father near where Wheeler Road and Owens Road in D.C. is today. Richard Neale died in September 1843, and a month later John purchased 119 acres of land adjoining Foxhall. The Surratts moved into Mrs. Neale’s house in the District of Columbia in 1845, but Sarah Neale and died in August. John’s behavior deteriorated over the next few years: He drank heavily, failed to pay debts, and had an increasingly volatile and violent temper.

The Neale farmhouse burned to the ground in 1851, and Mary moved into the home of her cousin, Thomas Jenkins, in Waterloo. John didn’t live with them, instead working a construction gang on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. Despite already owning more than 650 acres of farmland, John purchased 200 more acres near Waterloo, and by 1853 had constructed a tavern and an inn there. When Mary refused to move into the new residence, John sold both the Neale farm and Foxhall in May to pay debts and she was forced to move back in with him in December.

With the money he earned from the tavern and sale of his other property, John Surratt bought a townhouse at 541 H Street in Washington, D.C., and began renting it out to tenants.

The area round the tavern was officially named Surrattsville in 1854. The community did not amount to much — just the tavern, a post office (inside the tavern), a forge, and a dozen or so houses (some of them log cabins). But John Surratt quickly built up his family’s holdings by selling off land and building a carriage house, corn crib, general store, forge, granary, gristmill, stable, tobacco curing house, and wheelwright’s shop at Surratt’s Tavern. The family by now was making enough money to send all three children to nearby Roman Catholic boarding schools.

But as John’s drinking worsened, so did the family’s debts. John sold another 120 acres of land in 1856, and then most of the family’s slaves. More land was sold, and a mortgage taken out on the D.C. townhouse.

The Civil War began on April 12, 1861. Although Maryland remained part of the United States (martial law in the state prevented it from seceding), but the Surratts were Confederate sympathizers and their tavern was being used as a "safe house" for Confederate spies. Isaac Surratt enlisted in the Confederate States Army and John Jr. moved back home and became a courier for the Confederate Secret Service, moving messages, cash, and contraband back and forth across enemy lines.

John Surratt collapsed suddenly and died in August 1862 from a stroke. The family owned only two middle-age male slaves, but Mary’s management of the estate raised this to six slaves in just two years. Nonetheless, Mary discovered that her husband left many unpaid debts. Several of her slaves ran away and Mary tired of running the farm, tavern, and other businesses without her son’s help.

Surratt began moving her belongings into the D.C. townhouse in October 1864, and on December 1 leased the Surrattsville tavern in Surrattsville to former D.C. policeman and Confederate sympathizer John M. Lloyd for 0 a year. She began advertising for tenants shortly after moving into the city.

The Surratt boardinghouse quickly became a hotbed of Confederate activity — and a plot of kidnap, and then kill, Abraham Lincoln. Louis J. Weichmann moved into Mary Surratt’s boarding house on November 1, 1864. On December 23, 1864, Dr. Samuel Mudd introduced John Surratt, Jr. to John Wilkes Booth, and Booth recruited him into his plot to kidnap Lincoln. Other Confederate agents began frequenting the boarding house. Booth visited the boarding house many times over the next few months, sometimes at Mary Surratt’s request.

George Atzerodt and Lewis Powell also boarded at the townhouse for short periods. Atzerodt, a friend of John Jr.’s and Booth’s and a co-conspirator in the kidnap plot visited the boarding house several times in the first two months of 1865. He stayed at the Surratt boarding house in February 1865 (whether one night or several is unclear, as sources differ). Lewis Powell posed as a Baptist preacher and stayed at the boarding house for three days in March 1865. David Herold also called at the home several times.

As part of the plot to kidnap Lincoln in March 1865, John Surratt, Atzerodt, and Herold hid two Spencer carbines, ammunition, and some other supplies at the Surratt tavern in Surrattsville with Lloyd’s help. On April 11, Mary Surratt rented a carriage and drove to the tavern. She said she made the trip to collect a debt owed her by a former neighbor. But according to Lloyd, Surratt made the trip to tell him to get the "shooting irons" ready to be picked up. On April 14, Mary Surratt once again visited the tavern in Surrattsville to collect a debt. Shortly before she left, Booth visited her, giving her a package (binoculars) to give to Lloyd. He also told Lloyd that someone would pick them up later that evening. Surratt gave the field glasses to Lloyd and once again told him to have the "shooting irons" ready for pick-up (Booth and Herold would pick up the rifles and binoculars that evening as they fled Washington after Lincoln’s assassination.) Lloyd repaired a broken spring on Mrs. Surratt’s wagon before she left.

Lincoln was shot at about 9:45 PM on April 14.

Around 2 A.M. on April 15, 1865, the D.C. police visited the Surratt boarding house, seeking John Wilkes Booth and John Surratt. Mary lied and said her son had been in Canada for two weeks. (Her lie later was used as evidence that she knew her son was involved in the Lincoln assassination.)

By April 17, it was clear to military and civilian police that the Surratt boardinghouse had been a hotbed of activity regarding Lincoln’s murder. Federal soldiers arrived late that evening to arrest everyone found there. They discovered a hidden photo of Booth, pictures of Confederate leaders, a pistol, a mold for making bullets, and percussion caps. As Mary Surratt was being arrested, Lewis Powell appeared at her door in disguise. The soldiers asked him what he was doing there, and although it was nearly midnight he claimed he was there to dig a ditch. Surratt denied knowing him, later explaining that she was so blind that she didn’t recognize a man standing a few feet from her.

Mary Surratt was held at the Old Capitol Prison (the U.S. Supreme Court is located there now) before being transferred to the Washington Arsenal (now Ft. Leslie J. McNair) on April 30. She began to suffer menstrual bleeding, and became weak during her detention. (John Surratt, Jr. was in Elmira, New York, at the time of the assassination, and fled to Canada to avoid arrest).

The trial of the alleged conspirators — Powell, Herold, Atzerodt, Surratt, Dr. Mudd, and others — began on May 9. A military tribunal heard the case because government officials thought that its more lenient rules of evidence would enable the court to get to the bottom of what was then perceived by the public as a vast conspiracy. But because the writ of habeas corpus had been suspended by Congress during the war, there would be no appeal.

Surratt was given special consideration during the trial due to her illness and gender. In the courtroom, she sat apart from the others, she was never manacled, and she was permitted a bonnet, fan, and veil. As her illness worsened, she was moved to a larger and more comfortable prison cell.

Powell’s arrival at her boarding house three days after the president’s murder was critical evidence against her, but most of their case rested on the testimony of just two men — John Lloyd and Louis Weichmann. Lloyd testified regarding the hiding of the carbines, and the two "shooting irons" conversations he had with Mrs. Surratt. Weichmann testified that Mrs. Surratt knew the co-conspirators intimately, had met privately with them many times over several months, corroborated that she and Lloyd had met (although he could not corroborate the "shooting irons" statements), saw Booth give her the package of binoculars, and attested that she’d turned the package over to Lloyd.

Other prosecution witnesses corroborated Weichmann’s testimony.

The defense strategy tried impeach Lloyd (as a drunkard) and Weichmann (as a Confederate spy). The defense also called numerous character witnesses, who testified about Mary’s loyalty to the Union, the innocent nature of her trips to the tavern, her deep Christian faith, and her kindness.

The trial ended on June 28, 1865. Surratt was so ill the last four days that she was permitted to stay in her cell.

The military tribunal deliberated for two days. On June 30, the nine generals voted to find Mary Surratt guilty and they sentenced her to death. The sentence was announced publicly on July 5. Afterward, Powell insisted Mary Surratt was innocent, but Atzerodt bitterly implicated her even further in the conspiracy.

Anna Surratt pleaded repeatedly for her mother’s life with Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt and President Andrew Johnson, but they both refused to see her. Johnson said that Surratt had "kept the nest that hatched the egg".

Surratt was attended day and night by two Catholic priests (Jacob Walter and B.F. Wiget) and her daughter Anna for the last two days of her life. Her menstrual problems worsened, and she was in deep pain and suffered such severe cramps (for which she was given painkillers).

Shortly before noon on July 7, Mary Surratt was taken from her cell and allowed to sit in a chair near the entrance to the courtyard. She and the other condemned were escorted into the prison yard and atop the gallows at 1:15 P.M. Each prisoner’s ankles and wrists were bound by manacles. Either weak from her illness or swooning in fear (perhaps both), Surratt had to be supported by two soldiers and her priests while standing and listening to the order of execution. White cloth bound each prisoner’s arms to their sides, and their ankles and thighs together. Surratt and the others were allowed to sit. Fathers Jacob and Wiget prayed over her, and held a crucifix to her lips. The noose was put in place, and a white bag was placed over the head of each prisoner. The prisoners stood, and moved forward a foot or two to stand over the trap doors. Mary Surratt’s last words were "Please don’t let me fall."

Surratt and the others stood on the drop for about 10 seconds, and then soldiers knocked out the supports holding the drops in place. Surratt, who had moved forward enough to barely step onto the drop, lurched forward and slid partway down the drop — her body snapping tight at the end of the rope, swinging back and forth. Her death appeared to be the easiest, as no sign of struggle was seen from her. The others weren’t so lucky. Atzerodt’s stomach heaved once and his legs quivered, and then he was still. Herold and Powell struggled for nearly five minutes, strangling to death. More than 1,000 people watched her execution.

Upon examination, the military surgeons determined that no one’s neck had been broken by the fall. Her manacles and cloth bindings were removed, but not the white execution mask. She was buried in a plain pine coffin. Her name was written on a piece of paper and inserted in a glass vial which was hung around her neck. Her coffin and the others were buried against south prison wall in shallow graves, just a few feet from the gallows. A white picket fence marked the burial site. (The site is now a tennis court.)

In 1867, the War Department decided to tear down the portion of the Washington Arsenal where the bodies of Surratt and the other executed conspirators lay. On October 1, 1867, the coffins were disinterred and reburied in Warehouse No. 1 at the Arsenal, with a wooden marker placed at the head of each grave. John Wilkes Booth’s body lay alongside them.

Anna Surratt unsuccessfully asked for her mother’s body for four years. In February 1869, Edwin Booth asked President Johnson for the body of his brother. Johnson agreed to turn the body over to the Booth family, and on February 8 Surratt’s body was turned over to the Surratt family. Mary Surratt was buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington, D.C., on February 9, 1869. (John M. Lloyd is buried 100 yards from her grave in the same cemetery.)

Anna Surratt was left mentally unbalanced by her mother’s execution, and she died in 1904. John Surratt, Jr. eventually returned to the United States, was tried for his crimes, and found not guilty. He married and lived in Baltimore near his sister, Anna, and bachelor brother Isaac. Isaac died in 1907. Isaac and Anna were buried on either side of their mother in unmarked graves at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. John Jr. died in 1916 and was buried in New Cathedral Cemetery in Baltimore.

Mary Surratt’s grave was marked initially with a rectangular reddish stone which read "Mrs. Surratt". This headstone was defaced and deteriorated by the 1960s. In 1968, Harrison Weymouth (a descendant of the famous Snowden family of Prince George’s County) obtained permission to erect a new headstone. A brass plaque was affixed to the front, which read: "Mary Eugenia Jenkins Surratt. Widow from Surrattsville, Prince George’s County, Maryland, swept by events and emotions surrounding the assassination of Lincoln from obscurity to the limelight of a military trial and inglorious death on a scaffold, and whose guilt in the conspiracy is still questioned." The pieces of the original marker were given to the Surratt House Museum.

This ostentatious plaque was removed at some point in the 1980s or 1990s by the Surratt Society. So was the nearby shrine, which had yet another plaque, with a poetic inscription.

Mary Surratt’s boarding house still stands, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Citizens interested in Mary Surratt formed the Surratt Society. The Surrattsville tavern and house are historical sites (the Surratt House Museum) run today by the Surratt Society.

Image from page 735 of “Baltimore and Ohio employees magazine” (1912)
debt management
Image by Internet Archive Book Images
Identifier: baltimoreohioemp03balt
Title: Baltimore and Ohio employees magazine
Year: 1912 (1910s)
Authors: Baltimore and Ohio employees magazine Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company
Subjects: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company
Publisher: [Baltimore, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad]
Contributing Library: University of Maryland, College Park
Digitizing Sponsor: LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation

View Book Page: Book Viewer
About This Book: Catalog Entry
View All Images: All Images From Book

Click here to view book online to see this illustration in context in a browseable online version of this book.

Text Appearing Before Image:
t to those of the line who were there. We should profit wonderfully by the examples thereset, not the least of which were the lessons in promptness as demonstrated by our third vice-president and general manager in conducting the various sessions. They were always on time.We were impressed with the magnitude of the undertaking of the management of such a System asseen from the viewpoint of an executive officer and made to realize the important part those of theline fill, if successful results are to be obtained. We were more than pleased to hear it announcedthat the publication of the Employes Magazine would be resumed, knowing full well that this wouldbe welcomed by the employes at large. J. W. ROOT, Trainmaster, Wheeling, W. Va. 41 • ^g 4(^ 4 # i^B^ -Ns :;^^^ Pw^ 1 i^ Mfllr ^1 >; w ufl ^^^^Hy. l-^^^n^^^^V ^ pMI ^ Here is the Piece of Steel (actual size) that flew straight at the eye of Gabe Golart, Steel Car Repairman,on October 25, and Here are the Goggles that Saved his Sight

Text Appearing After Image:
Mr. Railroadman—ask Gabe Golart if it wasworth while to wear these Goggles—then go and do likewise 42 :i The Savings Feature of the ReliefDepartment By Dr. S. R. Barr, Superintendent HHIS Feature was established andmade a part of the Relief Depart-ment on August 1. 1882, and itspurpose and the objects soughtto be accomplished are perhaps mostclearly expressed in Regulation No. 3,which reads as follows: The Savings Feature will afford opportunityto em()loyos and their near relatives t ■ deposittlieir savings and earn interest thereon, and toenaMe employes only to borrow money atmoderate rates of interest and on easy terms ofrepayment, for the purpose of ac(]uiring or im-proving a homestead, or freeing it from debt. Any employe of the Company, whethera member of the Relief Department ornot. his wife, child, father or mother,or the benoficiary of any deceased memberof the Relief Department, may become adepositor, and make deposits with anydepositary designated by the Company,in any

Note About Images
Please note that these images are extracted from scanned page images that may have been digitally enhanced for readability – coloration and appearance of these illustrations may not perfectly resemble the original work.

Mildura. The 1912 Methodist Church on Deakin Avenue built in Moorish style. It almost looks like a mosque. Now commerical offices and not a church . Octagonal in shape with alternating layers of red and white brick work. Designed by G.B. Leith architect.
debt management
Image by denisbin
When we go out to Nichols Point to see the grave of William Chaffey you can see the kind of country that typified the Mildura area in the 19th century. Yet the Chaffey brothers of Canada were such amazing visionaries that they could see how this semi-desert country could be transformed into a fruit bowl with verdant growth. Their foresight was remarkable. Their story is almost amazing. In 1884 the Victorian Premier, Alfred Deakin (later PM of Australia) went to California to visit irrigated colonies as Victoria had suffered a long drought from 1877-84. There he met George and William Chaffey and invited them to come and work irrigation miracles in Victoria. The concept was for the Chaffey brothers to buy the land and water rights at a low price, start irrigation and develop the land and sell it on at a high price. The Victorian government in 1886 gave the Chaffey brothers 250,000 acres of land on the old Mildura sheep station on the Murray for an irrigated colony development. The Chaffeys had to build pumping stations to obtain the water from the river, dig water canals and trenches, clear the land, level it for irrigation and then sell it. Their agreement with the government meant they had to spend £300,000 on these improvements over 20 years. They advertised for investors in California and Canada where they were already known as well as Melbourne and Adelaide. They advertised the 10 acre fruit blocks as grape, fruit orchard and orange grove lands. The Chaffeys began work in 1887 led by William. Younger brother Charles went to oversee the development of Renmark in SA. William selected 200 acres for himself near the Psyche Bend Pumping Station and now the site of the Chateau Mildura Winery. William Chaffey established this in 1888 one year after settlement work began. They hoped to irrigate 33,000 acres in the first stage. By 1890 3,300 people were living in the Mildura district. But the land boom of the 1880s collapsed around 1890 as Australia headed into drought and a major economic depression. Consequently the Chaffeys went bankrupt in both Mildura and Renmark in 1895. A Victorian Royal Commission in 1896 found the Chaffeys responsible for the collapse of the irrigated colonies. The Chaffeys certainly advertised and painted a rosy picture of the prospects of Mildura and Renmark but such a grandiose scheme without government financial backing was doomed to failure in Australia, especially when a worldwide economic depression hit it.

All that William had left after their bankruptcy was his winery, 200 acres of irrigated fruit block and the mansion he had built earlier in 1889 called Rio Vista (river view). William worked like any other fruit blocker. He unsuccessfully tried to sell Rio Vista but could not find a buyer. He helped the area establish a dried fruit marketing board and he earned the respect of the citizens of Mildura. He became President of the shire council in 1903 and the first city Mayor in 1920. He was so admired by the town residents that they presented him with a Ford motor car in 1911. He eventually paid off his debts to the Victorian government. He died at Rio Vista in 1926. There is now a fine statue of him in the centre of Deakin Avenue- the main street- named after the Victorian Premier and later Australian Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin. It was erected in 1929. This street is also one of the longest avenues in the world at 12.1 kms in length!

Throughout this period most of William’s income came from the winery. It produced table wine until around 1900 when it switched to fortified wines (sherry and port) and the distilling of brandy. Transport of produce was difficult until the railway arrived in Mildura in 1903. In 1910 he formed the larger Mildura Winery Company with a second distillery at Merbein. After William’s death the brand name was changed to Mildara in 1937. As an adjunct to the winery he established the Australia Dried Fruits Association around 1895. This was a way of using local fruit because there was no transport available for perishable food before the arrival of the railway from Melbourne in 1903. Dried fruit could be stored for a long time and it did not matter if considerable time was taken to get it to the city markets. So Chaffey established the two main products of the Mildura region- wines and spirits and dried fruit. Both were exported to England. William married twice. His first wife and some infant children are buried near the original Mildura Station on the Murray. His second wife is buried near him in Nichols Point cemetery. He was survived by 3 sons and 3 daughters. One later bought Avoca Station from the Cudmores!

Meantime the SA Premier, Sir John Downer offered the Chaffey brothers 250,000 acres of Crown Land at Renmark and they accepted that too. With 500,000 acres to develop the brothers George and William worked hard and their younger brother Charles also came out from California to manage the Renmark operation. The Mildura and the Renmark scheme were losing money so George tried to sell land blocks in the irrigation schemes in London in 1894 but he failed to find a buyer. In December 1894 the Chaffey brothers went into liquidation with huge debts and owing extensive wages to their employees. George then returned to Canada; William stayed on in Mildura; and Charles stayed on in Renmark. Charles Chaffey’s residence in Renmark called Olivewood is owned by the National Trust. It is built in Canadian log cabin style but with Australian verandas. It is probably the oldest residence in Renmark as it was erected in 1889. Charles ran the operation in Renmark until 1904 when he returned to Canada with his family and the bank repossessed the home. It had several owners until acquired by the National Trust in 1979. Only William and his family stayed the course and really developed the Australian irrigation colonies. When the Chaffeys went bankrupt the state governments took over the management and operation of the irrigation colonies with SA setting up the Renmark Irrigation Trust and Victoria the Mildura Irrigation Trust. Another of the legacies of the Chaffeys is the layout of both Renmark and Mildura which are remarkably similar. William Chaffey followed a standard California/USA approach with a wide divided avenue to be the centre thoroughfare of each town, with consecutively numbered streets running across the grand avenue. Streets running parallel to the main avenue had individual names. Hence in Mildura you have Ontario Avenue (reflecting the Chaffey Canadian origins) and San Mateo Avenue (California linkages) etc.

Mildura – founded in 1887.
The town was named after the original Mildura station which in turn was named from a local aboriginal word meaning “red earth”. Pastoralism began in 1847 when squatter Francis Jenkins moved here from NSW. He thought he was in SA! But his occupation was not legal and the leasehold went to Hugh and Bushby Jamieson who called their property of 150,000 acres Mildura. Once the river boat trade began in 1854 they expanded their sheep flock to 10,000. Alexander McEdward bought the property in the 1870s and later the government resumed it for the Chaffeys irrigation colony in 1887. Mildura grew very slowly even after the Chaffeys started their great work of clearing, felling, levelling and pumping water to turn the semi-desert into fruit blocks. The 1890s were economically depressed. The government Irrigation Trust continued the Chaffey work after 1894 and by 1910 the town was well established with a railway station (1903), a large temperance hotel, a school, stores, churches, a Carnegie Library, a public institute and a Working Man’s’ Club. Opposite the railway station was a well patronised river wharf and port. William Chaffey became the first Mildura mayor in 1920 and when the population had reached 15,000 in 1934 the town was declared a city.

Soldier settlers after World War One and Two were offered fruit blocks in the district and in both eras they helped boost the growth and population of the area. Today Mildura has the second busiest airport in Victoria outside the Melbourne area, and it is still growing. It now relies on tourism and retirement living as well as fruit and grape production for its economic output. Its warm climate makes it a favoured retirement spot for southern Victorians!

Cool Debt Management images

Published / by webmaster

Check out these debt management images:

« €YPΩ – ∏OΛI∑ » burning
debt management
Image by quapan
German Banks ‘Can Afford’ a Greek Debt Default @ greek crisis, Bloomberg, November 3, 2011
Hans Reckers, managing director of Germany’s association of public banks, talks about the Greece crisis and German banks’ capital requirements. He speaks from Berlin with Francine Lacqua on Bloomberg Television’s "On the Move."

+++ Ticker zur Euro-Schuldenkrise +++ @ 3rd November 2011
Berlin/Cannes/Athen (dpa) – Unser Ticker zur Euro-Schuldenkrise, zu den Entwicklungen in Griechenland und zum G20-Gipfel.

Greece Offers to Repay Bailout with Giant Horse
BRUSSELS (The Borowitz Report) – In what many are hailing as a breakthrough solution to Greece’s crippling debt crisis, Greece today offered to repay a bailout from the European Union nations by giving them a gigantic horse.
Finance ministers from sixteen EU nations awoke in Brussels this morning to find that a huge wooden horse had been wheeled into the city center overnight.
The horse, measuring several stories in height, drew mixed responses from the finance ministers, many of whom said they would have preferred a cash repayment of the EU’s bailout.
But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she “welcomed the beautiful wooden horse,” adding, “What harm could it possibly do?”

‘Greek drama missing main player – the people’
The Greek Prime Minister will keep his job, at least for now, after securing a crucial confidence vote from Parliament. It comes after George Papandreou horrified the country’s European partners and wreaked international havoc on the markets by calling a referendum on the EU bailout plan for Greece, a move he later cancelled. RT correspondent Sara Firth is in the Greek capital with the latest.

Euro-Macher übernimmt Schuldenstaat @orf.at, 10.November 2011
Eigentlich hätte der Nachfolger des zurückgetretenen griechischen Premiers Giorgos Papandreou bereits am Mittwoch präsentiert werden sollen. Doch bis zum Schluss rangen Konservative und Sozialisten um einen geeigneten Kandidaten. Nun hat sich doch der lange als Favorit gehandelte Ex-Vizepräsident der EZB, Lucas Papademos, durchgesetzt.

Euro in Not
Dr. Hans-Peter Martin am 16.11.2011.
Der Euro wackelt – aktuelle Zahlen, die Bezüge herstellen.
Die Kreditratings
Ständig hört man die Drohungen dieser oder jener Ratingagentur, dass bald ein Euroland herabgestuft wird, und die Politiker zittern. An den Ratings orientieren sich die Finanzinstitute, wenn sie Staaten Kredite verleihen – wer ein niedriges Rating hat zahlt mehr. Hier eine Übersicht der Ratings der Eurozonenländer vom Oktober 2011. Eine gute Erklärung, was die einzelnen Ratings bedeuten, gibt es hier.

Biggest Creditors of Greece
COUNTRY CREDITOR DEBTS in €
GR National Bank of Greece 18,8 Billion
GR EFG Eurobank 8,8 Billion
GR Piraeus Bank 8,2 Billion
GR Atebank 7,9 Billion
GR Alpha Bank 5,5 Billion
GR Hellenic Postbank 5,3 Billion

FR BNP Paribas 5,0 Billion
CY Marfin Popular Bank 3,4 Billion
DE Commerzbank 3,0 Billion
FR Société Générale 2,7 Billion
CY Bank of Cyprus 2,4 Billion
DE Deutsche Bank 1,5 Billion
GB Royal Bank of Scotland 1,2 Billion
IT-AT Uni-Credit 800 Million

Wo der griechische Staat Milliarden €-Schulden hat
(.laut "Zeit Online" vom 16. Februar 2015 12:36 Uhr.)
Gesamtsumme: ∑ = 315,5 Milliarden €
…Kredite über EFSF: 141,8 Mrd. €
…bilaterale Kredite: 52,9 Mrd. €
…Staatsanleihen (Private): 40,5 Mrd. €
…Staatsanleihen (EZB): 27,0 Mrd. €
…offene Kredite des IWF: 25,0 Mrd.€
…T-Bills (Staatsanleihen mit kurzer Laufzeit): 15,0 Mrd. €
…andere Schulden: 13,3 Mrd. €

Greece has 60 billion euros in unpaid taxes: EU report (17th November 2011)
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greece has 60 billion euros ( billion) in unpaid taxes because of tax avoidance and lack of compliance, a report by the European Commission’s task force on Greece said on Thursday.
The figure is equivalent to around 25 percent of Greek gross domestic product. Greece’s total public debt stands at 370 billion euros, or around 160 percent of GDP.
Of the 60 billion euros of unpaid taxes, half is in uncollected taxes that are already subject to court cases, some of which have been running for more than 10 years, the report said. Only about 8 billion euros is quickly recoverable.
"Even though the actual prospects for collection are very low, the very size of these tax arrears casts a doubt over the efficacy of the overall tax administration," the report said.
"A number of areas for rapid progress have been identified including debt collection, large taxpayers, dispute resolution, and tax audit," the report said.
"There are additional areas for development such as management and organization of the tax administration, risk and revenue analysis, taxpayer services," it said.
The Commission’s Task Force on Greece has the task of identifying and coordinating all technical assistance to Greece to help reforms in the country and boost its economic growth.
(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Luke Baker)

Griechenlands Rettung hängt am seidenen Faden @ reuters, Fr, 10. Februar 2012
Berlin/Athen (Reuters) – Die Rettung Griechenlands vor der Pleite steht nun überraschend doch wieder auf der Kippe.

Am Tag nach dem von der Regierung verkündeten Bekenntnis zu einem von EU und IWF geforderten Sparplan torpedierte die rechte Koalitionspartei Laos am Freitag den Beschluss. Ohne diesen wollen die ausländischen Geldgeber die benötigten 130 Milliarden Euro aber nicht auf den Weg bringen. Zugleich attackierte Laos-Chef Giorgos Karatzaferis Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel, die "mit dicker Brieftasche Südeuropäern ihren Willen aufzwingen" wolle. Die Proteste gegen die harten Sparauflagen eskalierten in Athen. Die Gewerkschaften riefen unter der Losung "Leistet Widerstand!" einen zweitägigen Generalstreik aus. Auch die Troika aus EU, IWF und EZB geriet ins Fadenkreuz: Polizeigewerkschaften drohten gar mit Haftbefehlen gegen Vertreter der Dreiergruppe.
Die vier Laos-Minister boten den Rücktritt an. Damit bleibt eine zentrale Forderung der Troika nach parteiübergreifender Unterstützung für den Sparkurs unerfüllt. Karatzaferis warf Bundeskanzlerin Merkel Herrschsucht vor. Sie habe die Schaltzentrale Europas von Brüssel nach Berlin verlegt und stimme sich dabei eng mit ihren "Satellitenstaaten" Niederlande, Österreich, Finnland und "leider auch Luxemburg" ab.
KEINE AUSZAHLUNG OHNE UMSETZUNG
Der Ministerpräsident des Großherzogtums und Eurogruppenchef, Jean-Claude Juncker, hatte zuvor klargemacht, dass Griechenland vorerst noch kein grünes Licht für die Rettungshilfen erwarten kann. Die zuvor gemachte Zusage aus Athen, dass alle Parteien den Sparkurs mittrügen, reichte den Ministern nicht aus. Am Sonntag müsse das griechische Parlament das Sparprogramm beschließen, die Parteichefs müssten zudem ihre Zusage schriftlich vorlegen, und es fehlten noch konkrete Maßnahmen zur Einsparung von 325 Millionen Euro 2012. "Keine Auszahlung ohne Umsetzung", sagte Juncker.
Erfüllt Griechenland die Forderungen, kommen die Euro-Finanzminister am Mittwoch zusammen, um den Weg für das Hilfspaket freizumachen. Für die Auszahlung ist auch ein Beschluss des Deutschen Bundestages erforderlich, der für den 27. Februar angesetzt ist. Allerdings dürfte Karatzaferis die Erfüllung einer Forderung bereits zunichte gemacht haben: "Ich habe den anderen Parteiführern erklärt, dass ich diesem Kreditabkommen nicht zustimmen kann." Zudem forderte er, den Leiter der IWF-Mission in Griechenland, Poul Thomson, zur "persona non grata" zu erklären. Der Euro geriet durch die Äußerungen von Karatzaferis unter Druck und fiel unter die Marke von 1,32 Dollar. Auch der Dax gab nach.
In Athen ging die Polizei mit Tränengas gegen Demonstranten vor, die mit Brandsätzen, Flaschen und Steinen warfen. Die Polizeigewerkschaft drohte in einem Brief an die Troika aus EU, EZB und IWF, deren Finanzkontrolleure per Haftbefehl suchen zu lassen – unter anderem wegen Gefährdung der Demokratie. Die Streikenden legten zum zweiten Mal in dieser Woche Metro und Busse lahm, Schiffe blieben im Hafen. Krankenhausärzte und Bankangestellte legten die Arbeit nieder. Später sollten sich die Lehrer dem Ausstand anschließen. "Nein zu Entlassungen! Nein zu Gehaltskürzungen! Nein zu Rentenkürzungen!", skandierten Demonstranten auf dem Syntagma-Platz in Athen.
"HUNDERT MAL HIN UND HER ÜBERLEGT"
In Berlin betonte Regierungssprecher Steffen Seibert, eine Pleite Griechenlands liege nicht im deutschen Interesse. Die Athener Regierung müsse aber die neuen Sparauflagen erfüllen und auch Forderungen aus dem ersten Hilfspaket nachkommen. Bundeskanzlerin Merkel erörterte am Morgen mit den Fraktionschefs den Stand in der Krise. Im Anschluss berieten sie und Finanzminister Wolfgang Schäuble mit der Unionsfraktion.
Nach Angaben aus Fraktionskreisen warnte Merkel, eine Pleite Griechenlands hätte unabsehbare Folgen. Dann könnte das Haftungsrisiko nicht mehr beherrschbar sein. "Wir haben das hundert mal hin und her überlegt", wurde die Kanzlerin zitiert.
SONDERKONTO WEITER IM GESPRÄCH
Die Euro-Finanzminister wollen Griechenland in Zukunft strikter kontrollieren. EU-Währungskommissar Olli Rehn sagte, dazu könnte das von Merkel und Frankreichs Präsident Nicolas Sarkozy vorgeschlagene Sonderkonto eingerichtet werden. Auf dem Konto sollen die Hilfskredite zur Tilgung der Staatsschulden gesammelt werden, damit die Investoren ihr Geld zurückbekommen. Zur Entschuldung Griechenlands sollen die privaten Anleihegläubiger auf Forderungen im Volumen von 100 Milliarden Euro freiwillig verzichten. Rehn zufolge ist eine Vereinbarung für einen Anleihetausch in trockenen Tüchern. Doch solle alles in einem Gesamtpaket am Mittwoch verabschiedet werden.

Griechische Regierung drängt Parlamentarier zum Sparkurs Sa, 11. Februar 2012
Athen (Reuters) – Die griechische Regierung hat die Parlamentsabgeordneten am Samstag massiv unter Druck gesetzt, das am Vortag von ihr verabschiedete Sparprogramm zu billigen.
Der Chef der konservativen Neuen Demokratie drohte den Abgeordneten seiner Partei, sie bei einer Ablehnung von der Kandidatenliste für die im Frühjahr anstehende Parlamentswahl zu streichen. "Das ist ganz klar eine Frage der Parteidisziplin", sagte Antonis Samaras. Der stellvertretende Finanzminister Filippos Sachinidis warnte: "Die Konsequenzen eines ungeordneten Bankrotts wären unberechenbar für das Land. … Das würde uns auf einen unbekannten und gefährlichen Weg führen."
In einem Zeitungsinterview malte Sachinidis ein düsteres Bild: "Stellen wir uns doch die Frage, was es für das Land bedeutet, wenn es sein Bankensystem verliert, wenn es abgeschnitten wird vom Import von Rohstoffen, Arzneimitteln, Treibstoff, Grundnahrungsmitteln und Technologie."
REGIERUNG FASSTE DRASTISCHE SPARBESCHLÜSSE
Das Kabinett hatte am späten Freitagabend den strikten Sparauflagen der Europäischen Union (EU) und des Internationalen Währungsfonds (IWF) zugestimmt. Ministerpräsident Lukas Papademos drängte seine Regierung massiv zur Zustimmung. "Wir können es nicht zulassen, dass Griechenland bankrott geht", sagte er im Kabinett. "Vorrang hat für uns, alles zu tun, um das neue Wirtschaftsprogramm anzunehmen und mit der neuen Kreditvereinbarung fortzufahren." Abweichlern hatte Papademos mit einem Ausschluss aus der Regierung gedroht. Nach dem Beschluss zogen sechs Mitglieder des Kabinetts selbst die Konsequenzen und traten zurück.
Die umstrittenen Sparbeschlüsse umfassen unter anderem eine Kürzung der Zusatzrenten, die Kappung der Mindestlöhne um 22 Prozent und die Entlassung von rund 150.000 Beschäftigten im öffentlichen Dienst.
DAS PARLAMENT MUSS SONNTAG ENTSCHEIDEN
Am Sonntag muss nun das Parlament dem Sparplan zustimmen, der die Voraussetzung für dringend benötigte weitere Hilfen von 130 Milliarden Euro ist. Theoretisch verfügte die von den Konservativen und der sozialistische Pasok unterstützte Regierung über ausreichend Stimmen. Allerdings drohten einige Pasok-Abgeordnete, das Reformpaket abzulehnen. Die kleine rechtspopulistische Laos-Partei hat der Regierung bereits ihre Unterstützung aufgekündigt. Ihr Chef Giorgos Karatzaferis erklärte, er könne das Sparpaket nicht billigen.
Druck bekommen die Abgeordneten aber auch von ihren Wählern. Die Gewerkschaften laufen gegen das Sparpaket Sturm und haben unter dem Motto "Leistet Widerstand!" zu einem Generalstreik aufgerufen, der auch am Samstag andauerte. An der Akropolis über Athen enthüllten Demonstranten ein riesiges Transparent mit der Forderung: "Nieder mit der Diktatur der Monopole und der Europäischen Union". In Athen waren am Freitagabend die Proteste eskaliert: Die Polizei ging mit Tränengas gegen Demonstranten vor, die Brandsätze, Flaschen und Steine warfen.

Fires in central Athens as rioters clash with police ekathimerini.com , Sun Feb 12, 2012
The unrest came as lawmakers prepared to vote on a new debt deal agreed between Greece and its foreign creditors.
Historic cinemas, cafes and shops went up in flames in central Athens on Sunday as black-masked protesters fought Greek police outside parliament, while inside lawmakers looked set to defy the public rage by endorsing a new EU/IMF austerity deal.

"Enough is enough!» said 89-year-old Manolis Glezos, one of Greece’s most famous leftists. «They have no idea what an uprising by the Greek people means. And the Greek people, regardless of ideology, have risen."
Glezos is a national hero for sneaking up the Acropolis at night in 1941 and tearing down a Nazi flag from under the noses of the German occupiers, raising the morale of Athens residents.
"These measures of annihilation will not pass,» Glezos said on Syntagma Square, visibly overcome by teargas and holding a mask over his mouth.

Griechenland wählt: Einmal Hades (und zurück?) @ profil.at
Wieder wählt Hellas, das Chaos bleibt. Ein Untergangsszenario

Die Griechen nehmen einen neuen Anlauf, um sich für oder gegen den brutalen Sparkurs der Troika zu entscheiden. Gewinnt die linke Partei Syriza – und damit das Nein –, droht die EU offen mit dem Schlimmsten. Gewinnt die konservative Nea Dimokratia, könnte alles noch ein bisschen schlimmer werden.
Alle Schuld auf ihren Schultern
Eigentlich würden die Griechen am kommenden Sonntag gern in Ruhe ein neues Parlament wählen, wie das in ihrer Verfassung vorgesehen ist. Doch daraus wird nichts. Die ganze Welt hat beschlossen, mit der Stimmabgabe Schicksalsfragen von globaler Bedeutung zu verknüpfen. Die da wären: Soll Griechenland den Euro als Währung verlieren und für die nächsten Jahre in Armut versinken? Sollen Spanien, Italien und Portugal gleich hinterhertaumeln? Soll die gesamte Eurozone in eine Rezession schlittern? Soll die Weltwirtschaft insgesamt davon angesteckt werden? Sollen die Chancen einer Wiederwahl von US-Präsident Barack Obama damit zunichtegemacht werden?
Von Anna Giulia Fink, Georg Hoffmann-Ostenhof, Gunther Müller (Athen) und Robert Treichler
All das und mutmaßlich noch viel mehr soll das 11-Millionen-Völkchen der Griechen am kommenden Sonntag zu verantworten haben. In der Literatur bezeichnet man eine solche offensichtliche Übertreibung mit dem griechischen Begriff „Hyperbel“. Dummerweise weiß niemand so recht, wie weit es sich bei der grotesken Aufladung einer simplen Wahl um ein politisches Stilmittel handelt und wie weit um reale Befürchtungen. Das ist wohl der beste Beweis dafür, dass nicht die Griechen allein an dem Desaster in Fortsetzungen Schuld tragen, sondern dass ganz offensichtlich ein Systemfehler vorliegt, der so aussieht: Wem es am dreckigsten geht, dem wird die Verantwortung für alle anderen übertragen.
Das griechische Wahlvolk muss zu den Urnen, weil die Parlamentswahlen am 6. Mai dieses Jahres keine tragfähige Mehrheit erbrachten. De facto wird das Land seit Anfang 2010 nicht mehr von Athen aus regiert, es steht unter Kuratel der Troika, zusammengesetzt aus Europäischer Union, Europäischer Zentralbank und Internationalem Währungsfonds. Das relevante Kriterium bei dieser Wahl ist die Haltung der Parteien zu dem Sparprogramm, das die Troika mit der Regierung unter dem Sozialisten Giorgos Papan-dreou und danach mit der des Technokraten Lucas Papademos ausgehandelt hat. Soll das „Memorandum“, wie das mit harten Auflagen verknüpfte Rettungspaket in Griechenland genannt wird, befolgt oder aufgekündigt werden?
Aus Sicht eines großen Teils der Bevölkerung sind die Sparmaßnahmen drakonisch und wenig zielführend. Die EU hingegen will an den Vereinbarungen festhalten und droht Griechenland im Falle von Widerstand mehr oder weniger offen mit dem Exit aus der Eurozone – verknüpft mit dem Vorwurf, damit mutwillig alle Übel der weltweiten Finanz-, Banken- und Konjunkturkrise eskaliert haben zu lassen.
Kanadas Premier Stephen Harper war der Einzige, der vergangene Woche die Absurdität dieser Schuldzuweisung kritisierte: „Wir können nicht eine griechische Wahl zu einer Entscheidung über die Zukunft der Weltwirtschaft erklären, das ist niemandem gegenüber fair.“
Unrecht tut man damit zum Beispiel einem Mann, der auf einer Parkbank am Athener Omonia-Platz sitzt. Er heißt Christos Simos, ist 35 und kann sehr lange von geplatzten Träumen erzählen. Als Teenager wollte er Volleyballprofi werden, doch um seine Eltern zu beruhigen, studierte er Politikwissenschaft, schloss mit dem Doktorat ab und hatte 2008 bereits mehrere Job-angebote in der Tasche, während er noch den Militärdienst leistete: politischer Analyst in einem Think Tank, Coach bei einer Volleyballmannschaft.
Dann kam die Krise und raffte die guten Aussichten dahin. Christos nimmt einen Schluck aus seiner Dose Lipton-Eistee. Ihn plagen keine existenziellen Nöte, aber er wohnt immer noch bei seinen Eltern. „Ich verhungere nicht, aber die Tatsache, dass ich in meinem Alter nicht auf eigenen Beinen stehen kann, ist extrem entwürdigend“, sagt er wütend. Er hat keine Perspektive, und das ist schwer zu ertragen, auch wenn viele seiner Landsleute noch viel schlimmer dran sind. Am Sonntag wird Christos seine Stimme abgeben, und er will sie sich nicht nehmen lassen. „Ich weiß nicht, warum ich bei meiner Wahlentscheidung auf Länder wie Spanien oder Italien Rücksicht nehmen soll, wie uns jetzt suggeriert wird. Es muss doch in Ordnung sein, zunächst einmal an uns zu denken“, sagt er.
Das Orakel von Brüssel
Wie stark die europäische Kultur von der griechischen Antike beeinflusst ist, kann man daran ermessen, dass sich die Brüsseler Elite heute noch gern einer orakelhaften Sprache bedient, wenn sie besonders deutlich werden möchte. Kommissionspräsident José Manuel Barroso eröffnete seinen griechischen Wahlkampf mit folgenden Worten: „Es liegt jetzt an dem Volk der Griechen, sich in voller Sachkenntnis zwischen den Alternativen zu entscheiden und dabei zu bedenken, dass dies tatsächlich eine historische Wahl für die Zukunft ihres Landes ist.“ Wollen die Griechen in der Eurozone bleiben, so müsse „letztlich die Entschlossenheit aus Griechenland selbst kommen“, so Barroso. In der Interpretation für Sterbliche bedeutet das: Wählt Parteien, die für die Einhaltung der Bedingungen des Rettungsschirms garantieren, oder ihr könnt über den Styx ins Totenreich rudern.

Ähnlich subtil äußern sich EU-Ratspräsident Herman Van Rompuy und Euro-Gruppenchef Jean-Claude Juncker: „Wir wollen, dass Griechenland in der Eurozone bleibt“, sagt Rompuy. Die griechische Regierung müsse aber die Verpflichtungen erfüllen, die es im Gegenzug für die finanzielle Unterstützung durch Europa eingegangen sei. Auch Juncker will Griechenland weiterhin als Währungsmitglied behalten, bestätigte aber gleichzeitig, dass Experten der 17 Eurostaaten das mögliche Ausscheiden durchspielen.

Griechen, die ökonomisch noch irgendetwas zu verlieren haben, dürften Wirkung zeigen und eine der vertragstreuen Parteien – Nea Dimokratia oder Pasok – wählen. So viel zum Prinzip der Nichteinmischung der EU in nationale Wahlen.

„Give Greece a chance“
„Erpressung“ nennt das der Mann, der in all den verklausulierten Warnungen und Drohungen gemeint ist: Alexis Tsipras, dessen linkes Parteienbündnis Syriza in wenigen Jahren von 4,6 Prozent (2009) auf 16,8 Prozent (Mai 2012) gewachsen ist und in jüngsten Umfragen bei 23,6 Prozent und damit Kopf an Kopf mit der konservativen Nea Dimokratia lag. Der 37 Jahre alte einstige Kommunist ist in den Augen seiner Gegner in der EU ein gefährlicher Populist, der das Volk sirenengleich dazu verführen will, vom rechten Sparkurs abzukommen.

Sonntag vergangener Woche diskutiert der verteufelte Shootingstar entspannt mit dem marxistischen Philosophen Slavoj Zizek im Innenhof des Benaki, des Museums moderner Kunst in Athen. Tsipras trägt ein dunkelblaues Seidenhemd, Jeans, elegante Lederschuhe, das Gesicht ist glatt rasiert, der Kurzhaarschnitt sitzt perfekt. Das Gespräch kreist um die Krise in Hellas und den Erfolg der Linken in diesem Land. Da ist von einer „historischen Wende“ die Rede, vom Sieg der „Hoffnung über die Angst“, von einem Kampf gegen „das neoliberale Brüssel, den Imperialismus und Kapitalismus“, von einer Revolution, die hier begonnen habe und schon bald „ganz Europa erfassen wird“.

Zizek – er trägt ein schwarzes T-Shirt mit der Aufschrift „Occupy Europe“ – ist voll des Lobes für den 37-jährigen Tsipras. Er sieht in ihm einen Politiker, der das Zeug hat, „dieses Land wieder aufzurichten“ und obendrein einen „Kurswechsel in ganz Europa“ einzuleiten. Am Ende paraphrasiert der slowenische Linksradikale einen John-Lennon-Klassiker: „Give Greece a chance.“

Als sich der Innenhof des Benaki-Museums allmählich leert, beschließt eine kleine Gruppe von Syriza-Anhängern, in ein nahe gelegenes Lokal weiterzuziehen. Darunter ist ein alter Freund von Tsipras. Er gibt sich als Jannis aus, seinen wahren Namen will er lieber nicht nennen. Jannis kannte Tsipras schon in den 1990er-Jahren, als sie gemeinsam Schulen besetzten, um gegen die Privatisierung des Bildungssystems zu protestieren. Die beiden politisierten Teenager gingen zusammen auf Partys, sprachen über das Leben, Frauen und die Zukunft Griechenlands. Nur in einer Hinsicht habe sich Tsipras verändert, meint sein Freund Jannis: „Er ist kompromissloser als früher. Von seinem Programm würde er nicht abrücken wollen. Deshalb bin ich mir gar nicht so sicher, ob er am 17. Juni die Wahlen wirklich gewinnen möchte.“

Der linke Gottseibeiuns lässt sich mangelnden Siegeswillen zumindest nicht anmerken. Er tourte Ende Mai durch Europa, um für sein Programm zu werben: Sein Land solle in der Eurozone bleiben, aber, anstatt sklavisch zu sparen, „um Solidarität der Völker in Deutschland und Frankreich“ bitten. In Berlin willigte der SPD-Vorsitzende Sigmar Gabriel zwar ein, Tsipras zu empfangen, anstelle der erhofften Solidarität spendierte er jedoch nur den kostengünstigen Rat, dass „getroffene Vereinbarungen einzuhalten“ seien.
In Paris wiederum zeigte die Sozialistische Partei Tsipras die kalte Schulter, lediglich die Linksradikalen nahmen sich für den aufmüpfigen Griechen Zeit.
Im Innenhof des Benaki-Museums wertet man das internationale Mauerblümchen-Dasein als Trumpf für den Syriza-Spitzenkandidaten: „Die Tatsache, dass Merkel und die anderen neoliberalen Idioten Tsipras verachten, macht ihn nur noch stärker“, schwärmt die 63-jährige Annetta Karayanni.

Die gesteinigte Auxesia
Austerität war gestern. Frankreichs neuer Staatspräsident François Hollande versprach im Wahlkampf ein Ende des obsessiven Sparens und ein Ankurbeln des Wachstums mittels staatlicher Initiativen, zu Hause und in der EU. Nicht einmal einen Monat nach Amtsantritt hat der Sozialist bereits Wohltaten im Ausmaß mehrerer Milliarden Euro konkretisiert, darunter die Fortsetzung der französischen Version der „Hacklerregelung“ sowie eine Anhebung des Mindestlohns – und das, obwohl die Budgetaussichten nicht den Zielen des Fiskalpakts entsprechen.

In den Ohren der Griechen klingt das wie die Verheißungen eines lange ersehnten Retters – gleichsam die Ankunft der Auxesia, der Göttin des Wachstums. Endlich ein Politiker, der einsieht, dass blindwütiges Sparen kaputt macht. Allerdings gibt es auch in der Abkehr von der strikten Austeritätspolitik eine Ausnahme: Griechenland. Der französische Finanzminister Pierre Moscovici machte klar, dass sich die Frage eines Austritts Griechenlands aus der Eurozone „ohne Zweifel“ stelle, falls eine neue Regierung die Vereinbarungen infrage stellte. Auch Auxesia wurde in der antiken Sage aufgrund einer Verkettung unglücklicher Umstände zu Tode gesteinigt.

In Griechenland bricht alles zusammen, aber niemand stößt sich daran. Die Arbeitslosigkeit stieg im März auf 21,9 Prozent, die Wirtschaft schrumpft das fünfte Jahr in Folge. Die Tourismusbranche, an der ein Fünftel aller Jobs im Land hängt, erwartet einen Einbruch der Einnahmen um bis zu 15 Prozent im Vergleich zum Vorjahr. Worüber vor einem Jahr noch Witze gemacht wurden, tritt jetzt ein: 75 Inseln stehen in Griechenland zum Verkauf.

Das öffentliche Gesundheitswesen ist zusammengebrochen. Die größte gesetzliche Krankenkasse Griechenlands ist hoffnungslos verschuldet, Medikamente und Behandlungen gibt es nur noch gegen Bargeld.

Was machen Arbeitslose, wenn sie unter Diabetes, Asthma oder anderen chronischen Krankheiten leiden, aber nicht versichert sind? Sie fahren zu Jorgos Vichas, etwa 20 Minuten Autofahrt in südlicher Richtung der Hauptstadt. In Elliniko, wo sich bis zum Jahr 2001 der Athener Flughafen befand, steht ein graues unscheinbares Gebäude mit der Aufschrift „Sozialmedizinisches Zentrum Elliniko“. Drinnen sind zwei Damen am Empfang, in der Vorratskammer für Medikamente steht der hauptberufliche Kardiologe Vichas. „Wir brauchen wieder Insulin“, ruft er nach draußen.
Im Jänner dieses Jahres hat Vichas diese medizinische Zentrale gegründet, um Bürgern zu helfen, die aus dem Gesundheitssystem gefallen sind. „Die Zahl der Arbeitslosen und derer, die sich keine Privatversicherung mehr leisten können, ist rapide angestiegen, ich konnte einfach nicht mehr zusehen“, sagt Vichas. Gemeinsam mit etwa 30 anderen Ärzten bietet er medizinische Unterstützung für Obdachlose an, das Gebäude habe die Stadt zur Verfügung gestellt. Woher er die Medikamente hat? „Apotheker, große Unternehmen, reiche Griechen kaufen sie und spenden sie.“ Besonders die Präparate für Diabetiker und Krebspatienten seien enorm teuer und für viele kaum leistbar.
Es kämen längst nicht mehr nur Immigranten und Obdachlose in das sozialmedizinische Zentrum, sondern auch Leute aus Mittelstandsfamilien, die ihre Jobs und ihre Wohnungen verloren haben. „Immer öfter haben wir es mit völlig unterernährten Kindern zu tun, es herrschen zum Teil afrikanische Zustände hier.“
Am Donnerstag, den 24. Mai, sprangen in Athen Antonis Perris, ein 60 Jahre alter, beschäftigungsloser Musiker, und seine 90 Jahre alte Mutter, die an Alzheimer litt, vom Dach ihres Wohnblocks in den Tod. Am Tag zuvor hatte Perris in einem Blog geschrieben, dass seine Mutter beginne, unter Anfällen von Schizophrenie zu leiden und dass kein Pflegeheim sie aufnehmen wolle. Die beiden lebten von 340 Euro im Monat, der Pension der alten Frau.
Atlas und der Undank
Plötzlich überschattet eine andere, vielleicht noch schwerer wiegende Pleite das griechische Fiasko: Spanien. Vergangenen Donnerstag senkte die Ratingagentur Fitch die Kreditwürdigkeit des südeuropäischen Landes von A auf BBB. Ursache ist der marode Bankensektor, der neben der hohen Arbeitslosigkeit Spaniens Bonität bedroht. Ende der vergangenen Woche hieß es, die Regierung von Premier Mariano Rajoy könnte bereits am Wochenende einen Hilfeantrag an den europäischen Rettungsschirm stellen.
Doch neben vielen anderen Unterschieden zur griechischen Situation ist vor allem einer bedeutend: Spanien gilt als „too big to fail“. Deshalb wurden bereits Überlegungen laut, Spanien ohne Reformauflagen Hilfsmittel zukommen zu lassen. Hingegen sei ein „Grexit“ für die Eurozone „schmerzlich, aber letztlich verkraftbar“, so Deutschlands Finanzminister Wolfgang Schäuble.
Spanien wird man eher entgegenkommen, Griechenland dagegen nicht. Das ist der Dank dafür, dass der griechische Titan Atlas am westlichsten Punkt der damaligen Welt – vis-à-vis von Spaniens Küste – das Himmelsgewölbe stemmte.
Die Götter sind uneins
Eine große schnelle Lösung müsste her, ein Sprung vorwärts in der europäischen Integration. Die beiden Hauptakteure, Berlin und Paris, wissen, dass angesichts der Dramatik diesmal geklotzt und nicht gekleckert werden muss. Doch an diesem Punkt endet die gemeinsame Vorstellung darüber, wie der große Wurf aussehen soll.
Frankreichs neuer Präsident setzt auf Wachstum und gemeinsame Staatsanleihen, die es den notleidenden EU-Ländern erlauben könnten, der Schuldenfalle zu entkommen. Die französische Forcierung einer gemeinsamen EU-Finanzpolitik leidet freilich unter dem Widerspruch, dass Paris nicht bereit ist, Souveränität an Europa abzugeben. Die Forderung nach einer verstärkten politischen Integration Europas hält Hubert Védrine, ehemaliger Außenminister Frankreichs und Parteifreund des neuen sozialistischen Staatspräsidenten François Hollande, im Gespräch mit profil für einen Ausfluss „bundesstaatlicher Utopie, die von den Völkern abgelehnt wird“. An der Seine will man intergouvernementales Handeln und nicht gemeinsame europäische Institutionen.
Mit der französischen Forderung, man möge von der Sparpolitik zu einem Wachstumskurs übergehen, könnte sich die deutsche Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel vielleicht noch anfreunden. Aber für sie ist klar: Eurobonds zur Finanzierung der Staatsschulden dürfen ohne stärkere politische Einigung und Demokratisierung Europas nicht kommen. Warum sollten die Deutschen für Schulden anderer Staaten haften, wenn sie nicht über deren Haushalte und deren Wirtschaftspolitik im Rahmen europäischer Gremien mitbestimmen können?
Und US-Präsident Barack Obama, der im Fall eines Absturzes der Weltwirtschaft um seine Wiederwahl bangen muss, drängt die Europäer dazu, endlich gemeinsam und gezielt den Krisengefahren zu begegnen. Aber auch in seinem Fall bleibt die Liebe zur großen Lösung eine platonische: „Wer glaubt, dass Obama einen Marshallplan für Europa auf den Weg bringt, täuscht sich. Diese Zeiten sind vorbei“, sagt der Risikoexperte Ian Bremmer im profil-Interview (siehe Seite 75).
Für Griechenland wird ohnehin jeder große Wurf – falls es überhaupt einen geben wird – zu spät kommen.
Am Ende die Peripetie
Bleibt als einziger von Europa genehmigter Ausweg die Wahl der Nea Dimokratia an die Regierung. Aber wo ist die Partei eigentlich? Zehn Tage vor den Parlamentswahlen sucht man in Athen vergeblich nach Veranstaltungen mit ihrem Spitzenkandidaten Antonis Samaras. Der Eventkalender auf der Website www.nd.gr ist leer. „Wir planen noch unsere nächsten Schritte und geben Bescheid“, antwortet Chrisostomos Pikazik, ein Pressesprecher von Parteichef Samaras, am Montag, am Dienstag und auch am Mittwoch vergangener Woche auf Anfrage von profil. Gibt es vielleicht kleinere Wahlkampfveranstaltungen ohne den Parteichef Samaras? „Im Moment nichts, nein.“
Nikos Lisidakis, mit seinen 27 Jahren eine der Zukunftshoffnungen der Nea Dimokratia, sitzt in einem Kaffeehaus vor der Zentrale der Parteijugend und blickt unentwegt auf sein Handy. Gerade eben erst hat er mit Parteichef Antonis Samaras telefoniert und ein paar Wahlstrategien besprochen. Er weiß, warum Diskretion anstatt Rummel angesagt ist. Es ist nicht leicht für einen Politiker einer der beiden Traditionsparteien Nea Dimokratia und Pasok, in der Öffentlichkeit aufzutreten. Viele Leute da draußen hassen uns abgrundtief.“
So könnte der Bestfall in Griechenlands unmittelbarer Zukunft aussehen: eine verhasste Regierung, gestützt von der verabscheuten Troika und den verachteten Deutschen – der dreiköpfige Kerberos, der Höllenhund der Antike.
Am 17. Juni, dem Wahltag, führen alle Wege in den Hades – und nur einer wieder heraus: Wenige Tage später könnte Griechenland bei der Fußball-Europameisterschaft im Viertelfinale spielen. Möglicher Gegner: Deutschland.

"Merkel ist die größte Bedrohung für die Welt" Von Günther Lachmann und Katharina Schäder | WELT ONLINE – Do., 21. Jun 2012
Das britische Magazin "NewStatesman" zeigt die Kanzlerin als Terminator und beschreibt sie als gefährlichsten Staatslenker Europas. Tenor: Die Kanzlerin schaut tatenlos zu, wie Athen brennt.
In den vergangenen Jahren ist Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel von ausländischen Medien immer wieder verunglimpft worden. Zuletzt zeigten sie griechische Medien in Nazi-Uniform.
Auch in Polen gab es vor Jahren unschöne Bildmontagen. Nun bildet das Labour-nahe britische Magazin "NewStatesman" sie auf dem Titel des aktuellen Heftes als Terminator ab. "Angela Merkels Austeritäts-Manie zerstört Europa" schreibt das Blatt.
Der Chef der Politikredaktion, Mehdi Hasan, hat offenbar kein Problem mit eher unpassenden Vergleichen. In der aktuellen Titelgeschichte etwa vergleicht er die Diktatoren Mahmud Ahmadinedschad und Kim Kong-un nicht nur mit Angela Merkel, sondern allen Ernstes auch mit Israels demokratisch gewähltem Staatschef Benjamin Netanjahu.
So fragt Hasan gleich zu Beginn: "Welcher politische Führer weltweit ist derzeit die größte Bedrohung für die globale Ordnung und den Wohlstand?" Der iranische Präsident Mahmud Ahmadinedschad? Falsch. Israels Ministerpräsident Benjamin Netanjahu? Nee. Nordkoreas Kim Jong-un? Wieder falsch", so Hasan, um dann selbst zu antworten: "Die Antwort ist eine sanftmütige Opernliebhaberin und frühere Chemikerin, die seit sieben Jahren im Amt ist."
Es sei die deutsche Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel, deren Lösung der europäischen Finanzkrise, "oder das Fehlen derselben hat den Kontinent und möglicherweise die ganze Welt an den Rand einer zweiten großen Depression gebracht".
Man könne wohl sagen, dass Merkel inzwischen die gefährlichste deutsche Regierungschefin seit Adolf Hitler ist, setzt der Autor seiner Anschuldigung die Krone auf. Dabei ist sich Hasan des Klischees, dass er mit dem abstrusen Vergleich bemüht, durchaus bewusst.
Hasan selbst erinnert sich bei seinem eigenen bizarren Vergleich an den US-Juristen und Buchautoren Mike Godwin. Dieser beschreibt eine Gesetzmäßigkeit, der zufolge in Internet-Debatten die Wahrscheinlichkeit von Nazi-Vergleichen mit der Dauer der Diskussion gegen eins steigt.
Die sarkastische Dimension von "Godwin’s Law" ist implizit und natürlich auch Hasan nicht entgangen. Dennoch führt er munter aus: Wie unter Hitler sei Deutschland wieder international isoliert, verabscheut und gefürchtet zugleich.
Die Briten zitieren in diesem Zusammenhang auch den Herausgeber des deutschen Meinungsmediums "Freitag", Jakob Augstein, mit den Worten, Merkels Politik gefährde alles, was die bisherigen Regierungen seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg erreicht hätten.
Merkel schaue tatenlos zu wie Athen brenne, aber auch Madrid und Rom. Es sei geradezu eine Ironie der Geschichte, dass die Regierungschefin eines Landes, das nur ungern an seine Nazi-Vergangenheit erinnert werde, nun gelassen zusehe, wie die drakonische Sparpolitik neuen (sic!) "Neo-Nazi-Parteien" wie der Front National in Frankreich oder der "Goldenen Morgenröte" in Griechenland Zulauf verschaffe.

Merkels "Austerität-über-alles-Politik" zerstöre das europäische Projekt, verarme die Nachbarn der Deutschen und riskiere eine neue globale Depression. "Sie muss gestoppt werden", schließt der Artikel.
Der "NewStatesman", eine traditonsreiche und mehrfach ausgezeichnete linke Wochenzeitung, gilt als respektable Publikation mit nahmhaften Kolumnisten.

With the Euro in Flames, Our Civil Servants are Still Taking Their Orders from Brussels Adam Collyer, 17th May 2012

Euro-Retter rudern zurück: Tür für Griechenland wieder offen Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, 28.06.2015, 00:46 Uhr

Die Finanzminister der Eurozone haben offenbar Angst vor der eigenen Courage bekommen. Hatten sie am Nachmittag noch erklärt, dass die Tür für Griechenland geschlossen sei, so erklärten sie am Abend feierlich: Die Tür für Griechenland ist weit offen.
Die 18 Euro-Finanzminister wollen Griechenland nach Angaben des französischen Finanzministers Michel Sapin im Euro halten. „Die 18 Länder haben alle klar gesagt, dass Griechenland im Euro ist und bleiben soll, egal wie groß die Schwierigkeiten jetzt sind„, sagte der französische Sozialist am Samstagabend nach der Sondersitzung der 18 Euro-Partner ohne ihren griechischen Kollegen.

Greek debt crisis: Is Grexit inevitable? BBC News, 29th June 2015

Greek banks have been closed and strict limits placed on cash withdrawals as Greece’s government is set to default on a debt repayment to the IMF on 30 June of €1.5bn (.7bn; £1.06bn).

Euro-Krise: IWF-Analyse zeigt Desaster von historischem Ausmaß 02.07.2015
Insgesamt sind bisher 240 Milliarden Euro an Krediten aus den verschiedenen Rettungsfonds nach Griechenland geflossen, um das Finanzsystem in der Eurozone zu stabilisieren. Nicht eingerechnet sind die Notkredite der EZB, die sich vermutlich auch noch einmal auf 120 Milliarden Euro belaufen werden. Doch das alles hat nicht gereicht, um die griechische Wirtschaft auf einen Weg des Wachstums zurückzuführen.

Schäuble schlägt Dollar ($) statt Euro (€) für Griechenland vor 10.07.2015
"Ich habe meinem Freund Jack Lew angeboten, dass wir Puerto Rico in die Eurozone aufnehmen könnten, falls die Vereinigten Staaten willens wären, Griechenland in die Dollar-Union aufzunehmen", sagte Schäuble am Donnerstag bei einer Veranstaltung der Bundesbank.
…. Das USA-AußenTerritorium Puerto Rico trägt eine Schuldenlast von 73 Milliarden Dollar – das ist etwa ein Fünftel von Griechenlands 360 Milliarden Euro.

13. Januar 2016: Ude trifft Varoufakis: "Under Construction: Europe" {?}
…politische Bewegung, die Varoufakis am 9. Februar in Berlin vorstellen will. Paneuropäisch …

The Empire of Debt by Dee Hon
debt management
Image by Renegade98
From Adbusters #74, Nov-Dec 2007

The Empire of Debt

Money for nothing. Own a home for no money down. Do not pay for your appliances until 2012. This is the new American Dream, and for the last few years, millions have been giddily living it. Dead is the old version, the one historian James Truslow Adams introduced to the world as “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”

Such Puritan ideals – to work hard, to save for a better life – didn’t die from the natural causes of age and obsolescence. We killed them, willfully and purposefully, to create a new gilded age. As a society, we told ourselves we could all get rich, put our feet up on the decks of our new vacation homes, and let our money work for us. Earning is for the unenlightened. Equity is the new golden calf. Sadly, this is a hollow dream. Yes, luxury homes have been hitting new gargantuan heights. Ferrari sales have never been better. But much of the ever-expanding wealth is an illusory façade masking a teetering tower of debt – the greatest the world has seen. It will collapse, in a disaster of our own making.

Distress is already rumbling through Wall Street. Subprime mortgages leapt into the public consciousness this summer, becoming the catchphrase for the season. Hedge fund masterminds who command salaries in the tens of millions for their supposed financial prescience, but have little oversight or governance, bet their investors’ multi-multi-billions on the ability that subprime borrowers – who by very definition have lower incomes and/or rotten credit histories – would miraculously find means to pay back loans far exceeding what they earn. They didn’t, and surging loan defaults are sending shockwaves through the markets. Yet despite the turmoil this collapse is wreaking, it’s just the first ripple to hit the shore. America’s debt crisis runs deep.

How did it come to this? How did America, collectively and as individuals, become a nation addicted to debt, pushed to and over the edge of bankruptcy? The savings rate hangs below zero. Personal bankruptcies are reaching record heights. America’s total debt averages more than 0,000 for every man, woman, and child. On a broader scale, China holds nearly trillion in US debt. Japan and other countries are also owed big.

The story begins with labor. The decades following World War II were boom years. Economic growth was strong and powerful industrial unions made the middle-class dream attainable for working-class citizens. Workers bought homes and cars in such volume they gave rise to the modern suburb. But prosperity for wage earners reached its zenith in the early 1970s. By then, corporate America had begun shredding the implicit social contract it had with its workers for fear of increased foreign competition. Companies cut costs by finding cheap labor overseas, creating a drag on wages.

In 1972, wages reached their peak. According to the US department of Labor Statistics, workers earned 1 a week, in inflation-adjusted 1982 dollars. Since then, it’s been a downward slide. Today, real wages are nearly one-fifth lower – this, despite real GDP per capita doubling over the same period.

Even as wages fell, consumerism was encouraged to continue soaring to unprecedented heights. Buying stuff became a patriotic duty that distinguished citizens from their communist Cold War enemies. In the eighties, consumers’ growing fearlessness towards debt and their hunger for goods were met with Ronald Reagan’s deregulation the lending industry. Credit not only became more easily attainable, it became heavily marketed. Credit card debt, at 0 billion, is now triple what it was in 1988, after adjusting for inflation. Barbecues and TV screens are now the size of small cars. So much the better to fill the average new home, which in 2005 was more than 50 percent larger than the average home in 1973.

This is all great news for the corporate sector, which both earns money from loans to consumers, and profits from their spending. Better still, lower wages means lower costs and higher profits. These factors helped the stock market begin a record boom in the early ‘80s that has continued almost unabated until today.

These conditions created vast riches for one class of individuals in particular: those who control what is known as economic rent, which can be the income “earned” from the ownership of an asset. Some forms of economic rent include dividends from stocks, or capital gains from the sale of stocks or property. The alchemy of this rent is that it requires no effort to produce money.

Governments, for their part, encourage the investors, or rentier class. Economic rent, in the form of capital gains, is taxed at a lower rate than earned income in almost every industrialized country. In the US in particular, capital gains are being taxed at ever-decreasing rates. A person whose job pays 0,000 can owe 35 percent of that in taxes compared to the 15 percent tax rate for someone whose stock portfolio brings home the same amount.

Given a choice between working for diminishing returns and joining the leisurely riches of the rentier, people pursue the latter. If the rentier class is fabulously rich, why can’t everyone become a member? People of all professions sought to have their money work for them, pouring money into investments. This spurred the explosion of the finance industry, people who manage money for others. The now- trillion mutual fund industry is 700 times the size it was in the 1970s. Hedge funds, the money managers for the super-rich, numbered 500 companies in 1990, managing billion in assets. Now there are more than 6,000 hedge firms handling more than trillion dollars in assets.

In recent years, the further enticement of low interest rates has spawned a boom for two kinds of rentiers at the crux of the current debt crisis: home buyers and private equity firms. But it should also be noted that low interest rates are themselves the product of outsourced labor.

America gets goods from China. China gets dollars from the US. In order to keep the value of their currency low so that exports stay cheap, China doesn’t spend those dollars in China, but buys us assets like bonds. China now holds some 0 billion in such US IOUs. This massive borrowing of money from China (and to a lesser extent, from Japan) sent us interest rates to record lows.

Now the hamster wheel really gets spinning. Cheap borrowing costs encouraged millions of Americans to borrow more, buying homes and sending housing prices to record highs. Soaring house prices encouraged banks to loan freely, which sent even more buyers into the market – many who believed the hype that the real estate investment offered a never-ending escalator to riches and borrowed heavily to finance their dreams of getting ahead. People began borrowing against the skyrocketing value of their homes, to buy furniture, appliances, and TVs. These home equity loans added 0 billion to the US economy in 2004 alone.

It was all so utopian. The boom would feed on itself. Nobody would ever have to work again or produce anything of value. All that needed to be done was to keep buying and selling each other’s houses with money borrowed from the Chinese.

On Wall Street, private equity firms played a similar game: buying companies with borrowed billions, sacking employees to cut costs, and then selling the companies to someone else who did the same. These leveraged buyouts inflated share values, minting billionaires all around. The virtues that produce profit – innovation, entrepreneurialism and good management – stopped mattering so long as there were bountiful capital gains.

But the party is coming to a halt. An endless housing boom requires an endless supply of ever-greater suckers to pay more for the same homes. The rich, as Voltaire said, require an abundant supply of poor. Mortgage lenders have mined even deeper into the ranks of the poor to find takers for their loans. Among the practices included teaser loans that promised low interest rates that jumped up after the first few years. Sub-prime borrowers were told the future pain would never come, as they could keep re-financing against the ever-growing value of their homes. Lenders repackaged the shaky loans as bonds to sell to cash-hungry investors like hedge funds.

Of course, the supply of suckers inevitably ran out. Housing prices leveled off, beginning what promises to be a long, downward slide. Just as the housing boom fed upon itself, so too, will its collapse. The first wave of sub-prime borrowers have defaulted. A flood of foreclosures sent housing prices falling further. Lenders somehow got blindsided by news that poor people with bad credit couldn’t pay them back. Frightened, they staunched the flow of easy credit, further depleting the supply of homebuyers and squeezing debt-fueled private equity. Hedge funds that merrily bought sub-prime loans collapsed.

More borrowers will soon be unable to make payments on their homes and credit cards as the supply of rent dries up. Consumer spending, and thus corporate profits, will fall. The shrinking economy will further depress workers’ wages. For most people, the dream of easy money will never come true, because only the truly rich can live it. Everyone else will have to keep working for less, shackled to a mountain of debt.

_Dee Hon is a Vancouver-based writer has contributed to The Tyee and Vancouver magazine.

Adbusters Magazine
adbusters.org/the_magazine/74/The_Empire_of_Debt.html

Debt Management
debt management
Image by cafecredit
Photo by CafeCredit under CC 2.0

You can use this photo for FREE under Creative Commons license. Make sure to give proper author attribution to www.cafecredit.com.

Thank you for respecting Creative Commons license.

P.S. Need more photos like this? Check out my flickr profile page.