Simmer in the City (A reprint of Vol. XXVIII, Art. 16 – One year ago today)

In Article 12 of this Volume 28 we reprinted, word for word, an article written by Michael Payne. Mr. Payne is an independent progressive activist who writes about social, economic and political matters as well as American foreign policy. He is a U.S. Army veteran. His major goal is to convince Americans that our perpetual wars must end before they bankrupt our nation. His articles have appeared on Online Journal, Information Clearing House, Peak Oil, Google News and websites around the world.

On August 1st Mr. Payne posted a follow up to his earlier article beginning with the headline, “America’s Financial and Societal Foundations Rapidly Sinking” – in which he placed great emphasis upon the money we’re directing toward unnecessary military ventures and the failure to create jobs for our desperate unemployed.

Mr. Payne points out that the biggest failure of our leaders is that “their priorities are totally out of sync with our most critical problems … The fact of the matter,” he states, “is that our elected representatives have, collectively, taken this nation to the brink of financial and societal collapse.

“Can this be true, could this nation that likes to refer to itself as the greatest and wealthiest nation in the world actually be heading toward a collapse of both its financial and societal foundations? That could not be more evident as our government becomes more and more dysfunctional and is unable to carry out its legislative functions. Dysfunctional government,” Mr. Payne insists, “coupled with the overwhelming power and influence of Corporate America and its Wall Street associates are causing immeasurable damage to this nation and society.

“The process of governing would not be that difficult if the politicians, when confronted with a problem, would simply act in the best interests of the American people. But, in Washington, it doesn’t work that way. When confronted with a problem, these politicians first consider what their masters would want them to do. Then they ask themselves what is in their own best interests. And then, they make their decision. But wait, aren’t they forgetting about the American people? Yes, of course, they are …

“What is truly outrageous is that, in these critical times, the wealthiest Americans are being protected and not being asked to make any sacrifices to help solve our problems. The idea that these ‘special’ Americans, who do not experience the pain and anguish of millions of their fellow citizens, are being given a free pass at the same time that cuts to entitlements remain ‘on the table’, is a national disgrace.

“Is there a way to stop the erosion of our financial and societal bases?” he asks. “Of course there is; it’s the same solution that I and others have recommended numerous times. America must make significant reductions to its military empire and wind down the current wars, the combination of which are destroying our financial stability.

“Secondly, this president and the Congress absolutely must initiate and fund an aggressive job creation program to put millions of Americans back to work manufacturing products for home consumption and export.

“But let’s say that this president and the Congress fail completely and neither end the wars nor make job creation the #1 priority. What then will happen to this nation and society? What will happen, in my estimation, is something that we can barely imagine and that we most certainly would not like to see take place. I’m talking about a potential unraveling of this society as those millions of distraught Americans finally give up all hope and react in violent ways.

“When millions of Americans become desperate, struggling for survival and have nowhere to turn, what in the world do we think they are going to do? They are going to do whatever is necessary to survive. When these people under great personal stress watch the news and the opulence enjoyed by the ultra-rich they are going to get even more frustrated and very, very angry.

“The process of societal collapse is already underway in many parts of America. States and cities are having severe financial problems and cutbacks in jobs and essential services are having a very adverse effect on their citizens. Look at what is happening in cities like Detroit and Chicago. Detroit, no more than a shell of its former self, is seeing more and more people moving out as the city can no longer cope with its mounting problems. Half of its schools have closed; class sizes are getting far too large for teachers to handle. The prognosis for Detroit is very bad, the probability of extreme violence is very great.

“Chicago is becoming a virtual shooting gallery with multiple killings in the inner city almost every day. It’s not uncommon to have six or more fatal shootings in one night. The new police chief is trying to cope with the situation as best he can … but he is fighting a losing battle because he is trying to deal with the symptoms of a festering situation and he has no way to deal with the source of the problem. The problem is the fact that massive unemployment breeds trouble and extreme violence. When this violence spreads to other cities, and it’s already happening, things in America could turn very ugly.

“Even after this vicious debate over the debt ceiling is settled, that action, in itself, will not solve our greatest problems. We can continue to raise debt ceilings and argue over tax increases on the rich versus reduced entitlements, but America will remain in a deep, possibly irreversible financial quagmire unless this government drastically changes its current misguided direction.

“These problems can be solved, the solutions have been identified; we just need our leaders to implement them. However, this president and the Congress show not the slightest inclination to end the wars or initiate an aggressive jobs program. If they continue on this path, refusing to do what is needed to bring this nation’s current crisis under control, then their failure to act responsibly will lead directly to financial collapse and a societal eruption of immense proportions.” –

Michael Payne is saying everything we’ve been saying. He’s issuing the same warnings we’ve been issuing. The root of the problem, as he repeatedly stated, is widespread joblessness. And the solution to that problem – as we’ve repeatedly stated – is a revitalization of our shuttered shipyards.