Local Commentary

Editorial: Macroeconomics In the Little City

It is slowly dawning and emerging in the public discourse over the latest City of Falls Church budget that choices here are, albeit in miniature, reflective of choices on a grander scale effecting national and global economies.

In the big picture, it is clearer how alternative approaches – austerity versus growth – play out. Austerity is the path that the European Union has chosen, and its always winds up as something that fleeces the masses.

For example, this week the parliament of Cyprus was pressed by the EU to first of all freeze the bank accounts of all its citizens, and second of all, confiscate 10 percent or more of the money in those accounts to satisfy the insatiable demands of the international banking community. Yes, such a bald-faced theft spurred protests and demonstrations all over the little country, while the stability of the international monetary system, including the U.S. stock market, depended on the ability of the Cypriot government to suppress the protests and send everyone home.

This is a pattern that keeps repeating itself all over Europe and will only get worse because austerity, as a monetary-political policy, does not create growth. It operates more like a maelstrom, a relentlessly swirling pull to more and more pain. That is, for the general public. But for the banking world, it generates a counter-swirl in the direction of more and more gain.

Simply put, this is the cause of the last 20 years’ growing disparity between the wealth of the wealthy and the poverty of the poor, here and everywhere.

With the international banking crisis of 2008, contradictions within the great swirling, sucking spiraling accumulation of wealth almost trip-wired a shorting out and a yawning, grinding sputtering crash. So “we the people” were tapped to pour countless sums into this machine to prevent its fail and set it aright and back to its original, humming rip off of the planet’s ordinary people and resources. This process still goes on via record “stimulus” for the banks provided by the U.S. Federal Reserve, limitless resources for them to invest in high-yield speculation while still stiffing the American middle class and its job creating small businesses.

What’s the alternative? It is to firmly condition “stimulus” investments on their financing wealth-creating jobs, infrastructure, education and scientific and technological advance. “Free market” types, the kind who insist on their unfettered ability to rip us all off, howl that such “firm conditions” are horrible government interference.

Austerity policies are to advantage the predatory super-rich and their institutions. Growth policies are to the advantage of everyone. Simple as that.

In Falls Church, we are being fed fiscal policies – such as fund balance and debt policies – as if they are simply the acceptable approach. But in reality, they are geared to maintain the approval of Wall Street, not the needs of the community. They do not constitute our only, or wisest, choices.