That Giant Sucking Sound and East Coast Wealth: Will the U.S. Split Apart? by Cameron Salisbury

by Cameron Salisbury
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
October 3, 2011

The american dream is dead

Image by FasterDix via Flickr

The New York Times ran a recent article about income disparity in the U.S., this time focusing on geography.  It seems that the Atlantic corridor, centered in New York City and Washington, DC, has far and away the greatest concentration of household wealth per square mile, and has benefited also as income disparity has turned into a runaway freight train.

That, of course, is as expected, a natural result of the politics of no holds barred financial capitalism with a criminal, taxpayer subsidized underpinning to ensure its continuity.  Only the wealthy need apply.

U.S. financiers and their co-conspirators in Washington have fine tuned the art of sucking the economic life out of the rest of the country. Institutionalized fraud is now an accepted way of life among those who make the rules.

First there were the trillions of dollars in 2008 bank bailouts.  After massive popular resistance to then Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson’s railroad act, Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, decided that he should hand out additional trillions more discretely, meaning without informing the public.  So he very discretely turned on the printing presses.

Mission accomplished with no more of that messy interference from voters as their wealth was diluted and transferred to the East Coast to prop up domestic and foreign banks, river boat gamblers, thugs and other assorted criminals.

A far less expensive and less destabilizing alternative might have been for the government to find a way to guarantee pension funds lost in the morass and then allow the banks to fail.  But there was no time for thinking. Mr. Paulson, grifter in charge, insisted on action NOW, and those bought–and-paid-for lackeys in Congress agreed without hesitation. Ominously, there was no daylight between then-Democratic front runner Barack Obama and Hank.

The second thing that has enriched the East Coast are our tax dollars that pay inflated government salaries and benefits to millions of Washington-based employees, contractors, retirees and military.

When the average salary of border patrol agents in Texas was $92,000 in 2009, plus health care, pension, cost of living and ‘locality’ adjustments, you’ll have to guess what all those high level managers and super managers in D.C. bring home and into retirement because official information is hard to come by. Undisputed is the fact that there has been enormous inflation in the number of federal uber-managers in recent years.  A common personnel tactic to compensate for a salary freeze is to simply  promote.

How long will the East Coast governing and capitalist classes get away with enriching themselves while depleting the rest of us?

As demonstrations break out in the U.S. and across the globe, protesting joblessness and an often IMF-imposed decline in the standard of living, as race/ethnic and class polarization marches on, voices answering ‘Not for long,’ are beginning to sound reasonable.  At the far end of the looking glass, somewhere in the foggy distance, the dissolution of the 50 United States may be lurking.

The first person on record to predict the disintegration of the United States was a Russian professor named Igor Panarin, who survived the 1990s collapse of the USSR, took another look at its nemesis on the other side of the globe, and predicted the future:  the U.S. was no more likely to go the distance than his country had.  He believed that the US was headed for extinction because of capitalist excesses leading to high unemployment and the virtual shutdown of entire cities, as well as the problem of financialization:  too much money in too few hands, too few manufactured goods, too much in personal losses.

He says now that a number of other factors are also contributing to the fragmentation of the U.S., including political stalemate, civil dissension and a lack of unified national laws.

He left out the rest of it. In addition to politics and the economy there is also geography.

The U.S. stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from sub tropics to the frozen north, and encompasses 4 time zones.

It encompasses tens of thousands of square miles of cultural differences, from the financial and governing centers on the east coast, to the wide Hispanic band along the southern border, to the Asian enclaves of California, to the one-off culture of the Pacific Northwest.  There are other unique areas:  the Great Lakes, Texas, the High Plains and the mountain states, and the Great Plains, once known as The Great American Desert. (Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner).  Toss in incipient problems with water resources, the disappearance of the oil economy, the weakening bonds of a unifying national language, and come face to face with the possibility of an eroded nation-state.

If Professor Panarin is right and the 50 united states are destined to eventually dissolve into autonomous regions, we should expect bumpy times ahead since the U.S.A. is no more likely to allow peaceful secession now than it did in 1861.

As others have noted, there is no reason to expect a different response at home than the U.S. government often uses to get its way abroad:  Those weapons of mass destruction, paid for with our tax dollars, may be used domestically, along with the many thousands of jobless, returning military vets who might be happy to earn a living subduing unrest in the streets.

But there will be resistance.  In no other Western nation is the population so armed and prepared to defend itself.

The U.S. is far from the only nation facing upheaval. From Cairo to Tel Aviv, from Madrid to India to China, anti-government demonstrations have been everywhere this year. According to the New York Times:

‘….  [Demonstrators] are taking to the streets, in part, because they have little faith in the ballot box. … protesters say they so distrust their country’s political class and its pandering to established interest groups that they feel only an assault on the system itself can bring about real change.”

Sound familiar?

History-wise, the twenty-teens could be an interesting decade indeed.


[DS added the video.]

on Oct 4, 2011

“I think they’re really touching a nerve,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said Tuesday of protests on Wall Street that have inspired demonstrations from Burlington, Vt., to Los Angeles. “The nerve is that the average American understands that as a result of the greed and the recklessness and the illegal behavior on Wall Street, these guys plunged us into the horrendous recession that we’re in right now.” Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke allowed that there was “excessive risk taking” by Wall Street when Sanders questioned him on Tuesday about the root causes of the recession and the concerns voiced by protesters. “They blame, with some justification, the financial sector with getting us into this mess,” Bernanke told another member of the Joint Economic Committee. “I can’t blame them,” he added.

Bernie Sanders: Occupy Wall Street


End the Fed… but don’t stop there! by Andrew Gavin Marshall + Could Occupy Wall Street be infiltrated by political groups?

Sheared by the Shorts: How Speculators Fleece Investors by Ellen Brown + Finance Capital vs. Public Banking

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse 2

from the archives:

Professor Panarin: Obama leads America to breakup

Igor Panarin: US 2010 apocalypse avoidable + US to split into 6 pieces

3 thoughts on “That Giant Sucking Sound and East Coast Wealth: Will the U.S. Split Apart? by Cameron Salisbury

  1. Pingback: Why the Elites Are in Trouble by Chris Hedges « Dandelion Salad

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