"The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
The financial elites do not care about the anger of the American taxpayer because they don't have to. Obama’s decisions are implicitly controlled by the same financial interests that caused the crisis in the first place. A careful examination of his Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan (HASP) plan reveals the following: HASP will in most cases depend on the voluntary participation of private banks. In other words, there will be almost no obligations by the banks to actually lend the money to homeowners. If you know anyone who's tried to a get a loan from one of the bailed-out banks lately, it's easy to see what the new plan will entail. Innumerable hurdles designed to make it very difficult for homeowners to qualify will be erected by the banks while they take taxpayer money to build up their business in other ways. In particular, the bill says that anyone who is deemed able to "afford" their present rates will not qualify. If a mortgage company decides that refinancing a loan will cost them more than sending the house into foreclosure, they will be free to deny refinancing.
Instead of suffering for their destruction of the world economy, the banks will not be required to write down the values of their vastly overpriced loans, much less relinquish control over the resulting derivative securities (CDOs, SIVs, and all the rest of it). Instead of writing down the bad debt, as has been done in many previous crises, the banks will retain the unrealistic current value of their loans, with the difference paid for by the very taxpayers who are being thrown out of their homes.
In other words, the HASP bill is mostly window-dressing to cover another mass transfer of funds to the banks. The financial elite that Obama represents brook no limit, however mild, to its power and prerogatives. It would appear that having bought into their own "free market" propaganda, they now find themselves staring into the void. They know that the old game is over and they are attempting to build up a cushion at taxpayer expense so that they can ride out the storm.
Why don't they have to care? Because the opinion of the American people counts for nothing in Washington and Wall Street. In a thousand ways, Americans have been socialized into accepting a certain image of themselves that makes rebellion against the system almost impossible. This has allowed the growth of a modern aristocracy which has now consolidated its control over every aspect of official political, cultural and economic life.
Those of us who believe that Jesus came to bring social justice into the world must now make a commitment to fight this modern aristocracy. But we must fight them with the weapons of conscience, not bombs and guns. Bombs and guns are what they believe in and the fruit of their warfare is plain for all to see. Violence is always counterproductive because it always denies the power of conscience to move men’s hearts to embrace justice. We must believe in the power of conscience from the depths of our souls, remembering that the goal can never be achieved through the manipulation of human bodies with the technical instruments of control. Such a course will always dehumanize both us and those who choose to make themselves our opponents. The path to social justice always leads to deeper humanization by recreating ourselves as agents of truth.