The White House, without fanfare or teleprompter, releases a directive that 17 major units of the US Army will be trimmed from the defense budget within a year and budget cuts will also scrap a fleet of jets and an aircraft carrier. Military spending will be trimmed by 8% within the coming 18 months.
Also, belatedly but as promised, all troops will be pulled from Afghanistan by 2014.
Furthermore, reeling from the fact the public sector of the nation represents 40% of Gross Domestic Product, 6000 federal law enforcement officers are immediately trimmed from budgets in an austerity movement that will be carried out without hesitation. Law enforcement will be trimmed by 32,000 personnel over all.
In step with those cutbacks, Medicaid and Medicare spending will be targeted for cutbacks in spending cuts amounting to 19% of annual budgets. This target will be accomplished with dispatch, not over a 10-year period of time. Furthermore, without pulling any punches and in an unusual display of candor, knowing such an announcement will have certain undesirable political consequences, the White House says rationing of care will have to occur to save the health delivery system from collapse.
Other spending cuts include the elimination of winter fuel allowances, bus passes, and free prescriptions.
Moreover, a federal judge ordered a US bank to refund millions of dollars to Christmas saving plan customers who deposited their money in a subsidiary its parent bank knew was failing. US consumers were delighted with this victory.
To add to the realities confronting the nation, Moody's Investment Service has lowered the credit rating of many of the nation's top banks.
All of the above facts are real, but the stage where they are being played out on is not the good old USA but rather "across the pond" with its historical mentor, Great Britain. The players are Sir George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in charge of all economic and financial matters and Sir Mervin King, governor of The Bank of England. All of the above online links are to announcements in the British news press, which is not playing along with any phony announcements issued by federal agencies, as is the US press.
Somehow reality therapy has struck England while the US only pretends to be cutting back on military spending and healthcare services, offering trivial spending cuts that are to be enacted over a decade.
While American banks were bailed out with public funds to the tune of trillions of dollars, bank executives continue to draw obscene salaries and commissions and their institutions are making riskier trades and investments in hopes of restoring profitability by shorting the financial future of the country. Of course, this represents the most reprehensible example of "privatized profits and socialized losses." The banks have bought off Washington DC and politicians are in no position to bite the hand that feeds them. The banks are gaming the political system to manipulate the financial system in its own favor, risking financial collapse of the nation.
Is there a shrink out there in America who can provide direction for a country that is so averse to facing reality? Saying that the "the American dream is in jeopardy," Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has publicly stepped up and is calling for American politicians and business leaders to cease fighting and exert leadership. However, while Schultz got 150 business leaders to support the suspension of financial support to incumbent candidates, he concedes there has been no groundswell among business leaders for national reform.
Mr. Schultz is not likely to be politically naïve, but his efforts correct the course of a derelict government may be overwhelmed by the fact Washington DC is bought and paid for by special interests, particularly the financial sector of the nation. When a back-to-work program is exemplified by the government provision of 99 weeks of unemployment checks to not work, there is something terribly wrong in a nation founded on the Judeo-Christian work ethic.