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Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Debt Riots Of 2020

Hordes of young people in their twenties were storming the barricades erected outside of Congress. They were protesting a special personal income tax equal to seventy percent of their incomes that both houses of the legislature had just approved on poor and rich alike in an attempt to solve the economic crisis that was sweeping the Country, and forcing America ever closer to the brink of declaring bankruptcy.

Signs and placards bearing the slogans – It’s Not Our Debt. We Didn’t Create The Problem, Stop The Big Spenders, No More Taxes, and Bring Capitalism Back, were being stabbed in the air by grungy looking bearded young men and tattooed young women with a preponderance of nose, eye, and mouth piercing. These people looked unwashed and unfed, and were absolutely hysterical. They had no jobs, and no hope for a better future.

The police, backed by a large contingent of National guard troops flanked by tanks were using water cannon, tear gas, and dummy bullets to try and turn back the rabid crowd numbering over one hundred thousand.

Eight years of one party control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency had created spending levels that were unsustainable. The Country was being crippled economically by the cost of a national health care system exceeding forty percent of our shrinking gross domestic product, and socially by wave after wave of inhibiting regulation that stifled incentive.

Cap and Trade Carbon Taxes were making us unable to compete in the international arena as our cost of goods sky rocketed. Our government bonds had lost their triple A rating due to the fact that our annual deficit and borrowings were now more than equal to our GDP. The ranks of the unemployed swelled to more than twenty-five percent as business retrenched and downsized, unable to prosper in an era of fifty percent corporate taxes and thirty percent capital gains taxes.

Inflation was running at over ten percent a year and interest rates showed no sign of peaking at nine percent as the government scrambled to sell more and more bonds to pay for an ever widening federal deficit. Interest payments on Government debt alone were now more than seventeen percent of GDP.

The building of new roads and infrastructure had come to a standstill. There was simply no money to pay for it with entitlements growing at an annual rate of eighteen percent.

Everyone was effected by the cycle of tax and spend that had taken on a multiplier effect of its own. The consumer was on a constant spending strike in fear of their economic ruin by a nation hell bent on trying to spend their way out of their problems, and in love with the creeping socialism that had overtaken the will of the people to live free.

Everyone was hoarding the few dollars they had stashed away in the form of gold, mostly under the mattress. The banks couldn’t be trusted. They were stuffed full of toxic assets, both old mortgage bonds and new ones from Cap and Trade Carbon Certificates that were mostly worthless. The value of the dollar was now worth less than twenty percent of a Euro, and Countries like China were desperately trying to unload their US government bonds even at a fifty percent discount to face value. We no longer traded with China or Japan or India. We couldn’t afford to and they wouldn’t finance our out of control spending any more. And the price of gas had surged to seven dollars a gallon as Saudi Arabia and other oil producers adjusted their pricing to the decreased value of the dollar.

Financial markets were breaking down, hedge funds and private equity firms were a thing of the past as speculation became a no, no, and capital formation shrank. The Dow Jones Averages had retraced to less then 6000. Credit in the form of credit card debt or home mortgages had been legislated nearly out of existence as Congress fell over themselves trying to protect an unwitting public from themselves. They had just about succeeded in regulating them and protecting them out of their very way of life. America had become a third rate Country in just ten years – an international laughing stock.

The public was out of hope, desperate for an end of changes that were protecting them out of everything they owned, and wanted a return to the old days of Capitalism, individual initiative, and prosperity based on hard work and innovation. Government sponsored salary caps had driven most of our financial services industries overseas, and many wealthy people were taking out duel citizenship in England, Canada, and France for protection. Many were taking up residence in Mexico where rules and regulation were often a matter of what you paid for and how close you were to the Ruling party. The influx of illegal immigrants had reversed as the US unemployment rate rose.

The crowds, disregarding the potential of harm to their own lives, stormed the barricades, overwhelming the police and national guard and rampaged into the buildings destroying furniture, overturning statues, cutting up rare paintings, and physically attacking Senators and Congressman alike. More than a dozen were seriously injured. Those that survived unhurt were forced to sign a pledge of no more taxes and no new spending before they were released stripped naked into the streets and the ever-watchful eyes of the TV cameras.

Older citizens, hunkered down in their homes, awaiting needed medical care that never seemed to come in time, commiserated with each other over the good old days, and what they had lost, and watched the TV in horror as the scenes of the Debt Riots unfolded.

All but a power hungry few fanatics had stopped voting at national elections, convinced that it was hopeless and that democracy was dead. A small group of party faithful determined the fate of the Nation.

How could this have happened in so short a time? Why had good intentions gone so astray? Were the intentions really good to begin with, or were we just sold a bill of goods? One thing was for sure – the change we got was not what we counted on.

Riots and Anarchy and Debt Riots had come to America.

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