The interviews that littered the recent news broadcasts about the emergency talks around the US treasury’s desparate plans to save the US banking system, had the average Joe on the street saying “I don’t see why I should have to carry the can for Wall Street’s mistakes.”
Like it or not, if average Joe wants to continue living his American dream or nightmare, he will have to listen to Hank Poulson for the time being. Perhaps its not everyone’s idea of a prudent plan, but inaction and apathy would be far worse.
The fact that some stores and gas stations are no longer accepting credit cards as valid payment options, shows that the overall faith in the banking system is at an all time low. Imagine not being able to underpin your daily purchases with a credit card. For the many of the world’s citizens, let alone the US, this scenario is unthinkable.
But those of us worried about the security of our savings or future of our credit cards are missing the point, a very valid point raised by a man that doesn’t normally talk sense. In his address to the American nation, unusually, George Bush used draconian language for the possible consequences of inaction mentioning possible “collapse” and “danger” and explicitly “major sectors of America’s financial system are at risk of shutting down.”
Neither George Bush nor average Joe can afford to let this happen. This means much more than a threat to financial security. This is a threat to US national security and the stability of the western world.
The consequences of a collapse in the American economy would send resounding shockwaves across Europe and the rest of the world, but it would also leave America looking and feeling vulnerable and weak. Open not just to financial attack but also physical attack, the US economy and tax system supports a huge number of military projects that has helped to keep America as a one of the world’s superpowers. Military spending alone is not sufficient to keep the status quo, and general economic strength also dictates America’s standing on the world stage. For the first time in many years, Americans face becoming downgraded from superpower to has-been.
Senator John Mccain’s recent hijacking of the crisis talks have done little to boost his own credibility and arguably threaten the future of the western world. Many see this as just a taste to come of what life would be like if Mccain sees victory in the upcoming elections, others see little more than a transparent and ill-timed delay tactic.
Unless Mccain wants to inherit a defunct superpower, average Joe better pray that the US government strike a deal this week. With Russia riding the crest of a gas fuelled economic boost in military spending, the US needs to maintain its image and the integrity of its dollar.