Friday, January 11, 2008

Moody's to the Rescue

Dear George,

Goddamn, you guys are good! Your are really good! Who said the battle over Social Security was history? You know full well that what can’t fit through the front door can be slipped through an open window.

Our economy is entering a period of exhilarating freefall. Where any sane person would see a pending disaster, you see the bitch-whore opportunity raising her skirts. Now, I am not going to join those conspiracy buffs who think that you, Greenspan and Bernanke engineered this crisis so you could apply a little shock therapy to the last of our social safety net. But, by God, you can exploit one when it appears on the horizon. You proved this with 9/11.

You know better than to fire an opening salvo in you war against Social Security. Opening salvos make too much noise, which wakes our sleeping public and tears them away from the dancing screens they mistake for real life. It is best to start by laying a silent fart and then leaving the room before anyone notices the smell.

The fart in question was a short blurb in The Financial Times. The opening sentence said it all: “The US is at risk of losing its top-notch triple-A credit rating within a decade unless it takes radical action to curb soaring healthcare and social security spending, Moody’s the credit rating agency said on Thursday.

Mind you, these words of wisdom are from the same Moody’s that handed out triple-A ratings to all sorts of Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) because they kind of thought that maybe the subprime tranches were so scattered throughout those CDOs that there probably was not very much risk attached to them, and who the hell would have thought they were going to blow up like that.

The folks at Moody’s are financial mystics. They have grasped the esoteric truth that the real drag on our economy is Social Security and Medicare. In their cosmic vision, they see no relationship between our tanking economy and the $455 billion the DOD burns each year. (That is on-book expenses only. When the off-book expenses are factored in, the outlay approaches a trillion dollars annually.) Moody’s also factors out the eight billion spent annually on our unworkable Star Wars. The $455 billion we’ve dumped down the Iraq rat hole doesn’t count either since the money is strictly supplemental and will remain so, no matter how many decades we spend there.

The timing of their announcement was precious, coming as it did as the 2008 presidential race ramps up, and the proles are clamoring for universal healthcare. Now, whenever a candidate brings the subject up, your minions can charge them with fiscal irresponsibility, a charge that is a damning as being considered soft on national security.

It helps that none of the candidates are willing to address our pending economic crisis. They are all under the spell of that sunny American optimism that believes our economy is too strong to collapse. I salute our mainstream media for skimming the surface of the problem, unlike the foreign press that sees a real crisis looming. The London Telegraph quotes a governor of the Swiss Central Bank who says, “The kind of upheaval observed in the international money markets over the past few months has never been witnessed in history.”

Thank God, Moody’s has given us the short answer to this problem. All we have to do to restore America’s tarnished credit rating is to privatize Social Security while we continue to dump money into the Pentagon, Iraq and missile defense.

As the poet tells us, “Go forth not to ask for whom the fart smells. The fart smells for thee.”

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

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