Saturday, August 13, 2005

What We Are Dealing With, Part 5A

The What We Are Dealing With series is primarily focused on anti-American sentiment or "unique" analyses of the U.S. emanating from our european "allies." However, sometimes I'll expand the focus to include other such insights from around the world. Today, I make an addendum to Thursday's post on the gloating from Germany's Spiegel. Apparently, Russia's Pravda is also prepared to prematurely "bury" the U.S.

If this article provides any insight as to their understanding of economics, Russia's leading newspaper is obviously having a supremely difficult time making the transition to the market economy. Sergei Malinin writes:

US President George W. Bush released a remarkable statement a short time ago. The remark has not been highlighted in the world media yet, although there is every reason to do so. Bush virtually acknowledged that the USA was experiencing a serious economic crisis. Moreover, the US government was taking immense efforts to avoid a massive outbreak of social uneasiness, the American president believes.

What is the remarkable statment Bush made to stem the tide of impending civil unrest? The Highway Bill. No, I'm not kidding.

George W. Bush released the key statement, which dotted all i's at this point: the law is meant to generate more jobs and give an incentive to the economic development of the USA. The triumphant leader of the world's strongest superpower would never utter such words. The above-mentioned statements from the American president do not characterize the USA as a great empire. Quite on the contrary, the White House is desperately looking for measures to find employment for crowds of unemployed American citizens and hungry migrants, which threaten to enrage the rest of the States.

I know I was ready to hit the streets and start rioting up until Bush signed the highway bill the other day. Believe me, the signing ceremony got mad coverage here in Brooklyn. Fortunately, the thousands of unemployed people milling around my neighborhood stalking rats and mice for dinner now have massive public works projects to deliver them from abject poverty. And in my own case, the nightly repast of boiled shoe leather may soon be upgraded to hot water with onion shavings. I shudder with delight in anticipation of my new decadent lifestyle. But overall, it appears that the outbreak of violence seems to have been averted...for the moment.

Additionally, one has to believe that the arrival of these projects will stem the massive exodus of Russians emigrating from Brighton Beach back to their homeland in search of more and better opportunities. Due to the ongoing Depression and tenuous, simmering social tensions, there's been a noticeable decline in stand-up tanning out on the beaches of Brighton and Coney Island.

Malinin, of course, concludes that the bill will not lead to an improvement based upon some predictably inapplicable historical parallels:

The USA has already faced such hard periods in its history. Taking a look back at the previous experience of the USA and estimating the new initiative of the American government, one may thus infer that the law about the transport system is like the last glimmer of hope for the US administration to keep the nation under control. When massive unemployment put the USA on the brink of survival during the Great Depression of the thirties, the government started funding the development of the transport infrastructure - it became the only way out of the crisis. Highways, on which the government spent billions and billions of dollars, rescued the entire nation. It is worth mentioning that the value of the US dollar used to be lower during that time. Here is another example, which bears some similarity to the present-day USA. When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, Germany was suffering from massive unemployment and helpless economy. Hitler mobilized thousands of the unemployed to build autobahns, which Germany is proud of still. The road construction gave a very powerful impetus to the revival of the German industry. Huge state investments triggered the industrial development, and Germany turned into one of the strongest European superpowers. The White House is going along the same path now. However, there is a certain aspect, which distinguishes the USA from the above-mentioned examples. Both Hitler's Germany and the USA of the Great Depression period were raising their economies up from the bottom. Nowadays, the USA enjoys the peak of its triumphant development, which is currently being damaged with the flaws of the American economic system. The USA obviously has something to lose.

Malinin apparently received his PhD in economics from the Marx-Engels Business School of Northern Siberia. And this folks, is ... what we're dealing with.

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