Tax Day Tea Party Tosses Markets Overboard

Like so many chests of tea tossed overboard into Boston Harbor, world markets fell straight down Friday in the aftermath of Thursday’s Tea Party protests.

Whether they were Asian markets in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, or Bombay (yes, even Bombay). Whether they were European markets in London, Paris, or Frankfurt. Or whether they were US markets such as the Dow, the Nasdaq, the S&P, Gold, or Oil (yes, even Gold and Oil) markets around the world tumbled down on April 16.

This totalizing tumble had nearly completed the global circuit by the time news hit (at 10:35 am EDT) that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was alleging fraud against the powerhouse investment banking firm Goldman Sachs.

A Prescience Award for this sudden turn down goes to Steve Hochberg, chief market analyst for Elliott Wave International who told CNBC’s Joe Kernan on the morning of April 15 that “extreme opinions” were showing signs of a collective psychological turning point upon which social mood–and its market expression–was soon to slide lower. Of course, Hochberg had also called the downturn about five months too early, as a quick search of CNBC records (or a look at my own lousy portfolio) would show.

But if Hochberg is correct to correlate market activity with social mood, then what better symbol of impending mood decadence could one hope to find if not Thursday evening’s satellite conversations between Larry Kudlow, Dick Armey, and Lou Dobbs brought to you live from the movement of Tea Party Patriots nationwide?

Kudlow actually floated the idea of Dobbs for US President. It was a truly discouraging sign of what is called “free market capitalism” in the USA and it could not have been ignored even by the sun setting westward toward Tokyo.

We can call this downtrend the Tea Party Toss, for however so long as it lasts, even if it should mature into a Tea Party Depression as it threatens to sink us lower into a tank of intestinal juices that only old men can secrete. On the way down, we will have some choices about which parts of ourselves or the world to toss off.

Grapes of Wrath is how Steinbeck titled the social mood of depression. But wrath at what? For the Tea Party movement, wrath is being organized to attack the kind of federal government that the last Great Depression produced in the USA. The Tea Party movement is a pre-emptive attack on the social contract of the New Deal, demanding in advance of these hard times coming that we prepare to roll back our federal networks the better to make way for new heights of corporate power.

The word for it is, of course, fascism, which would be a little less scary to point out if there were some likely living counter movement. If there can be such a thing as left fascism, then the Tea Party would be better named a moderate-right fascism. Which, under the circumstances does make left fascism the lesser of evils, in case you are still trying to keep your head in some level corner of the room.

Now somehow on the model of analysis that seems to be anchoring the Tea Party ideology, I think we are supposed to believe that the federal government of the USA is the chief cause of the fact that 15 percent of American workers are having short-term difficulties finding employment (a figure that was reported in the New York Times on April 15).

Had we liberated in the past ten years the awesome power of free market capitalism, says this Tea Party ideology (aka neoliberalismo), there would have been no financial meltdown because the meltdown was caused by poor people, many of color, who were shoved into homes by a too-aggressive federal housing program.

According to the Tea Party scheme of things, we should not develop concepts for the structural implications of privatizing sharks as portrayed in the alleged Goldman bond frauds. Instead, we should totally blame and shut down the federal housing program and give the mortgage business back to unfettered lenders who can properly repossess everything and reset the financial clock back to midnight.

With the housing market completely privatized there would be nothing to stand between proper prices or rigorous landlord-tenant relationships, although the Tea Party would presumably expect federal marshals to assist the landlord class with “whatever means necessary” etc.

Unfortunately, the Tea Party movement has some warrant for believing that the voters of America will in fact support this drift toward moderate-right fascism as an alternative to the threat of left fascism that we are seeing for example in the Democrat Party’s construction of health insurance reform, complete with its anti-Mexican racism. And if you think it is extreme to charge the Democrats with anti-Mexican racism then how do you explain what’s not happening to immigration reform?

I’m not sure the youth of America have weighed in properly on the flavor of fascism that they will prefer in November. They seem to be a stealth voice for “hope” and therefore not quite countable as the kind of “patriots” that the Tea Party movement is recruiting. But you have to admit that left fascism is not quite the kind of thing that makes you feel like a frenzy of youthful ideals. Complexity is the fashionable word for left fascism these days, because under these circumstances it may be the best barrier to throw up against the next worse thing.

Mostly, however, these thoughts are mere reflections in a plexiglass window. If world markets rebound and corporations go back to business as usual, we can remember a weekend when things looked like they could have gotten much worse even than that.

For my part, I’m hoping that the employed and unemployed workers of America insist upon structures of crisis that are productive, transparent, accountable, and subject to another change of guard each and every two years. Dare we call it the public option?

There are reasons to demand changes in government and spending quite different from what the Tea Party wants. And while America is not going to give up on some form of market capitalism, it is also unlikely that we have collectively blanked out on the meaning of total corporate control. As Frederick Douglass would say, the plain language of The Constitution was written “in order to form a more perfect union.” The handwriting on the walls of Main Street and Wall Street still spells “We the People.”

Greg Moses is editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. He can be reached at: gmosesx@prodigy.net. Read other articles by Greg, or visit Greg's website.

12 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Don Hawkins said on April 17th, 2010 at 2:51pm #

    Greg I watched how the Goldman thing played out and the true colors came shinning through. Jim Cramer on CNBC said in a few week’s nobody will remember about this anyway. Probably true and let me add this arrogance we see is amazing to see and very real. So far we are going down and going down hard.

  2. Don Hawkins said on April 17th, 2010 at 4:20pm #

    A few times I wrote maybe a meteor football size North Atlantic could wake us all up but after watching the reporting on the Iceland volcano maybe not even that will wake us up. That dirty rat fink stay’s active for even a year and the other volcano 16 miles away that has gone active the last three times along with the one we see now oh shit. I guess when I say reporting it just seems nothing is taken seriously any more maybe the system demands it be happy go shopping of course that’s just illusion let’s see how this play’s out maybe we will get lucky. Imagine the Gulf of Mexico frozen Europe in a deep freeze snow in July tweet that. Maybe it will blow over and in a few day’s just a memory and then again maybe not,

    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-133

  3. Don Hawkins said on April 17th, 2010 at 4:50pm #

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/15/iceland-volcano-weather-french-revolution

    Economic impact’s

  4. Don Hawkins said on April 18th, 2010 at 3:35am #

    “If it really drags on another week that could be really serious,” said Peter Westaway, chief economist for Europe at the Nomura investment bank. The air travel shutdown could affect productivity, he said, if hundreds of thousands of people miss work or are not able to do business because they are stuck in limbo somewhere. NYT

    Could affect productivity and stuck in limbo yes limbo is very good word by all means sit in that airport listen to your so called leaders and watch Fox New’s by all means do that. Of course wait until Goldman Sach’s stock goes down a little more then it’s a buying opportunity yes do that, stuck in limbo we could all join the tea party movement and really get stuck in limbo. What do you think more updates on the way?

  5. Don Hawkins said on April 18th, 2010 at 3:48am #

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/aviation/vaac/data/VAG_1271569746.png

    I guess we can’t get people home just yet and admit we have a little problem here not good for consumer confidence and productivity. Can hardly wait to see CNBC or Fox and see how well arrogant’s and illusion play’s out. The system Capitalism any build in safe guard’s on this yes for a very few people sort of.

  6. Don Hawkins said on April 18th, 2010 at 4:35am #

    Here’s an update. Just watched Fox new’s to see how they would of course be fair and balanced. It appears all is well in dreamland. A couple of words on the people stuck in limbo then off to Bill Clinton and Limbaugh and the war of words. Words can hurt am right your wrong no your wrong am right as we move ever closer to just maybe a little more than a war of words. Of course we could use knowledge the real thing reason work together admitting we have a problem, problems but the system demands we don’t do that and of course style is very important I guess that’s what they call stuck on stupid.

  7. Don Hawkins said on April 18th, 2010 at 9:59am #

    Let’s see Goldman Sachs and the main man over there did say Goldman is doing God’s work. Selling those toxic assets to European Bank’s and it appears just maybe there is more than one God the volcano God comes to mind. It appears the ash is going to get worst over the next few day’s, months, year, years but as we all know Goldman and a little thing called arrogance will be just a distant memory. Yes Goldman made billions and in return the volcano God will affect billions. Thank’s a lot Goldman now you got the God’s fighting way to go people. Of course what I just wrote is bullshit kind of like Goldman doing God’s work. Not about the volcanoes effecting billions but a volcano God welcome to the known Universe Goldman. Remember style is very important.

  8. Don Hawkins said on April 18th, 2010 at 10:20am #

    I wonder in the Capitalist system if a few want this to happen like maybe oil and gas companies. Oh goody it’s going to get colder for a few years money in the bank think of our share price we will become God’s I tell you there’s no stopping us now. Of course in a few years if it does happen yes the climate will come back to normal well not exactly normal but heck what’s a few more billion tons of CO 2 in the atmosphere people will be tired of the cold. What do you think maybe on CNBC this could be a talking point for tomorrow’s show along with other great wisdom and knowledge. Calm at peace most of us can handle this if on the off chance it happens and the system along with the few people who do God’s work are in deep do do.

  9. bozh said on April 18th, 2010 at 10:49am #

    Don, zao shang hao= good morning in chinese!
    The sybaritic class of life, who are bunch of addicts; thus, cannot ever quench the desire to have best cars, mansions, gowns, diamonds, don’t know that 50k yrs from now there wdl be another day.

    But even 1k y from now, another day wld dawn. Worms, spiders, snails, et al wld love that day, but how ab humans? Will one be left standing by that yr?
    In view that if present thinkig prevails, WW3 appears ergodic; i.e., having zero chance of not occuring!
    But in this war, several thousands of those butifly sleek/slim and glistening missiles, laden with other butiful gadgets wld surely fly in all direction!
    No, rifles, tanks, artillery, soldiers won’t be needed for the final solution!
    This might happen even tomorrow! tnx

  10. Don Hawkins said on April 18th, 2010 at 4:37pm #

    Bozh Góðan daginn Icelandic good morning and in six months maybe just daginn.

    http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/18/photographing-icelands-fiery-volcano/

  11. Don Hawkins said on April 18th, 2010 at 5:51pm #

    A spokeswoman said: “They agreed that the UK and Spain would work together to look at how the capacity in Spain… can be used to help get British people stranded abroad back to the UK.

    “Prime Minister Zapatero said that he would help in any way he can.”

    “At no time in living memory has British airspace been shut down and affected this many people,” a spokeswoman said. BBC

    Working together what a concept it’s a start.

  12. Deadbeat said on April 19th, 2010 at 12:38am #

    This has got to be one of the worst piece of rubbish ever posted on DV.