The madness of the Big Lie

001

The Big Lie is that a money creator (e.g. the U.S. government) is the same as a money user (e.g. you and me).

From this lie sprout numerous other lies, such as the lie that money is limited, that the U.S. government is “broke,” and that the government relies on loans, and on tax revenue, and so on.

The beauty of the Big Lie is that by the time someone is actually willing to listen the facts, it is usually too late to make a difference in his life, or in the collective life of society.

006

For example, consider young people who take on a massive debt load to attend college. Since they are in their late teens or early twenties, they already “know everything.” They will not listen to the facts until they are trapped in debt slavery, by which time it is too late. The result is a nightmare for them, and for society at large.

002

Let me paraphrase an article by L. Ali Khan, professor of law at Washburn University, Kansas…

“Soler” (a woman) graduated from dentistry school in Wisconsin with $200,000 in student loan debt. Since then, repaying loans has been the primary predicament of her life. Soler has worked with chronic back pain exasperated by her work as a dentist, and she has lived without many comforts of the so-called “American dream.” She had made loan payments for eight years totaling $100,000, and she still owes $285,000 because of compounding interest. Instead of gaining any ground with her mountain of loan debt, Soler has been going backwards in an effort reminiscent of Sisyphus.

003

Soler’s story is an example of the consequences of massive debt with which various professionals graduate from occupational schools. Physicians, engineers, accountants, journalists, lawyers, and so on are crippled by debt.

This rising debt serfdom is similar to raw indentured labor in American colonies. Lending thrives. The money merchants flourish when professional schools, including law and medicine, keep raising the cost of tuitions each year.

004

Upon graduation, students holding professional degrees must start paying on their huge debts. If an illness, a family tragedy, or any other misfortune causes a student to fail to complete his professional studies, the loans must still be paid in full, with interest. Bankruptcy is not an option, since the money merchants bribed Congress in 2005 to get federal legislation that shut tight the bankruptcy escape door.

011

According to one survey, in 2014, the average indebtedness at more than 100 law schools was well over $100,000. At one law school, the average debt was more than $170,000 for 91% of students. At Columbia and Georgetown Law Schools, the average debt was above $150,000. At Berkeley, a state-supported law school, the average debt for 78% of law students was over $140,000.

005

Add to this the debt that law students take for four years of college studies, a prerequisite for entering law schools. According to the White House, average college debt is $23,000.

A law school graduate, bearing a total debt of $150,000 at 5.25% interest rate will pay a total of $242,584 over a period of 20 years in monthly installments of over $1,000. Many law graduates owe well over $200,000 in debt, the payment of which will require their whole lives. Most lawyers will be in their fifties before much of their student loan is paid off.

In addition to student loan debt, most professionals take on debt in the form of home mortgage, car loans, and credit card loans. This means that hundreds of thousands indebted professionals must continue to work just to pay off debt, as did indentured servants when American colonies were established for the benefit of money merchants, venture capitalists, and slave traders.007

Despite nauseating rhetoric that the opportunity of education is available to all hardworking Americans, debt numbers tell an awful story. Professional education is an invitation to a life of debt (stress and worries) that swells with compounded interest and additional debt obligations.

When education was affordable, families could imagine a better future for their children. But later the money merchants subverted the promises of the twentieth century America. Now, only wealthy families can afford to send their children to professional schools without reducing them to debt slaves. Everyone else must sign a contract of indentured service.

008

Money merchants are equal opportunity enslavers. The doors of debt-laced education are open to all future professionals without discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, and any other barrier. This is indeed an expanding market.

010

Poor households cannot even imagine running a debt of $200,000 for their children’s education. Consequently, high debts associated with professional studies compel children of poor and even middle class families to think small, and to only imagine scanning groceries, fixing leaks in houses, collecting refuse, cashing checks as tellers, and seeking other jobs that avoid debt-ridden education.

According to census bureau statistics, more than 32 million families in America live below the poverty level. Nearly 15 million families below the poverty level have children under age 18. These families are doomed to lick the bottom of the pyramid. Under disabling poverty, their sons and daughters may not even graduate from high school.

009

Upon graduation, the urgency of loan repayment limits job choices. Getting a job (any job) becomes more pressing than getting a decent job. Underemployment replaces full employment. Urgency justifies low wages –whatever you can get. Keeping a job, in order to keep paying the loans, becomes more valuable than anything else in life. Spouse, young children, and aging parents become second or third in priority. Even one’s physical health may be compromised by working late hours and weekends. In some cases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and depression occupy professional corpuses. Lingering loans scar the minds and bodies of indentured professionals.

012

When you are in massive debt, you become terrified of losing your job. You avoid “rocking the boat.” You do not blow the whistle on the wrongs, injustices, or corruption you see in corporations, banks, hospitals, law firms, government, or wherever else the professionals serve. “Keep your mouth shut” becomes the mantra of survival and self-suppression. (The mantra actually means “Keep paying the loans.”) Consequently, wrong policies, flawed decisions, and corruption cripple society. The urge to quit an awful job seems irrational because of the debt hanging over one’s head.

Source:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/10/indentured-graduates-in-america/

013

COMMENT

As Rodger says, the penalty for ignorance is slavery. And the cause of ignorance is hate and selfishness. To the extent that we are hateful and selfish, we contribute to our own slavery.

I myself am lazy, but when I know that a friend, a relative, a neighbor, or even a stranger is suffering, and I am able to do something about it, I get a shot of adrenalin. It’s me against the problem, and I will win. I’m saying that if more people would empathize with others, we wouldn’t all be slaves.

Still, maybe there’s a point to all this madness…

014

But oh the wasted potential. How can there be creative innovation and technological advancement when professional people dedicate their whole lives to paying the criminal bankers, so that the criminals can use the money to snare more victims?

It seems to me that the U.S. Empire has died. All that’s left is a cancer that is eating the carcass.

 

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4 Responses to The madness of the Big Lie

  1. Vincent says:

    Ms. Harris,

    Although your illustrations and cartoons fittingly satirize, editorialize, or make social commentary, there are several in this blog post that sorely miss their mark.

    You erroneously conflate debt slavery – more commonly referred to as peonage, or even debt servitude – with institutional slavery, serving as example illustrations of Blacks in bondage, with slave traders in obvious physical command.

    Integrating these illustrations into your post along with the phrase “debt slavery” infers racial undertones, assumingly unintended. But once racial connotations become realized, “do the student loan shuffle” becomes an insinuation about a group of people that is likely to be insulting.

    To equate the hardships of an economic construct to the horrors of institutional slavery is an absurdity. Beyond the word slavery there is no similarity.

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    • Many thanks for visiting and commenting.

      “You erroneously conflate debt slavery – more commonly referred to as peonage, or even debt servitude – with institutional slavery, serving as example illustrations of Blacks in bondage, with slave traders in obvious physical command.”

      Throughout human history there have been many forms of slavery, many degrees of slavery, and many victims of slavery. The African-American experience, while horrendous, is not unique. To imply that no other example of slavery anywhere at any time could have moral equivalence to it is not something I agree with. It implies that from the dawn of recorded time, only African Americans have suffered.

      The issue is slavery, which I condemn in any form, and any degree, whether it is whites enslaving blacks, or blacks enslaving other blacks, or ancient Romans enslaving their conquered victims, or whatever. The examples are countless. I also condemn any form of overt or institutionalized racism, which continues to be a severe problem in the USA. I have discussed this at great length in numerous comments over at Rodger’s blog.

      Regarding illustrations that you choose to regard as insulting and “absurd,” they are meant to show that people are mistaken if they think that no matter how badly they are enslaved, they are not really enslaved.

      “Integrating these illustrations into your post along with the phrase ‘debt slavery’ infers racial undertones, assumingly unintended. But once racial connotations become realized, ‘do the student loan shuffle’ becomes an insinuation about a group of people that is likely to be insulting.”

      When I did that illustration, I had absolutely no racial connotations in mind. I did not consciously or subconsciously think of the stick figures as white, black, oriental, or Martians. Instead, my thinking was this…

      Slavery is so grim that we cause people to shut down when we discuss it, even well-intentioned people. Therefore I sometimes use humor to highlight the absurdity of any rationale that is used to justify any form of slavery. Sometimes humor is the only way to make people pay attention to real-life horror.

      If you choose to look at the entire universe through the lens of racism, then you will see absolutely everything as “racist,” including all attempts to promote equality. You will become impossible to satisfy. This is counter-productive.

      “To equate the hardships of an economic construct to the horrors of institutional slavery is an absurdity. Beyond the word slavery there is no similarity.”

      Debt slavery is a form of institutional slavery. Slavery only varies in severity, and in the victims it oppresses. I condemn all forms. If you say that only one form of slavery merits condemnation, then we are not in agreement.

      Thank you again for your comments. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Vincent says:

    Ms. Harris,

    Thank you for your reply.

    Yes, I think we can both agree that slavery, in all its forms throughout history, is apprehensible. Nevertheless, I still take issue with your heretofore mentioned illustrations within the context of slavery and debt peonage.

    The two simply do not equate, and, lamentably, I do not understand your humor to demonstrate that distinction. I do, however, appreciate your willingness to discuss it. I understand that debt peonage is a form of oppression, but it is a stretch to compare it to physical bondage. I am sure the characters in your illustrations knew perfectly well they are enslaved. No guess work here.

    I have not accused you of bigotry; please do not imply that I might see the world through the lens of racism, because I point out something to which we disagree. The subtleties of institutional racism are as common as to be often taken as truth, not unlike the Big Lie. By all means, let’s be productive in our exchange of ideas.

    I can deduce from the sail of the ships and the fashion of the slave traders that the time period is circa 1700 and the locale is the Americas. Accordingly, this is slave trade routed to the United States. Henceforth, we must narrow our talk within a context of African-American slavery – a framework which you created.

    The use of neck shackles is common to both illustrations consequently linking the two, despite your intent, which I take you at your word was innocent. Please look at them closely to see the stark parallel. The implication is that African-Americans “shuffle”, a pejorative to being lazy and shiftless.

    Like

    • “I can deduce from the sail of the ships and the fashion of the slave traders that the time period is circa 1700 and the locale is the Americas. Accordingly, this is slave trade routed to the United States. Henceforth, we must narrow our talk within a context of African-American slavery – a framework which you created.”

      Thanks for your follow-up comment. “Americas” refers to all of the New World. In fact, 96.4 percent of all African slaves were sent to Central and South America. Over 45 percent (4.8 million) went to Brazil alone. About 3.6 percent went to North America, totaling about 388,000. Some scholars estimate that another 60,000 to 70,000 Africans ended up in North America after first touching down in the Caribbean. This would bring the total to approximately 450,000. Most of the 42 million members of the African-American community in the USA descend from this group of less than half a million Africans.

      The first Africans came to North America in the mid-1600s as indentured servants. Most whites also came to North America as indentured servants. By the late 1600s (e.g. Bacon’s rebellion), blacks and whites united against their rich masters, who responded by creating the cult of “whiteness.” This is standard imperialist procedure. In order to control your slaves, you elevate one group of slaves slightly above the other slaves, and you give special privileges to the special group (in this case, average whites). These become your “trustee” slaves. Instead of opposing you, they serve you. You encourage your “trustee” slaves to oppress your other slaves so that the “trustees” can keep their special privileges. As you increasingly oppress your “trustee” slaves, they increasingly oppress the rest of your slaves. Poor whites (the “trustee” slaves) learned to hate the poor blacks that they had previously been united with. Africans were no longer brought over as indentured servants, but in chains. And since hate is a negative void that can never be filled, Africans were subjected to increasingly horrendous atrocities that only ended when…

      But the oppression never ended. It just changed form. It lives on in institutionalized racism. From the “happy days” of the 1950s that were only happy for whites, to the disproportionate representation of blacks among Vietnam conscripts, to the mass incarceration of blacks, it continues. Many cities today base their municipal budgets on fines extracted from black motorists and pedestrians.

      My central point is that debt, slavery, hate, greed, racism, and capitalism are all interwoven. All of them create and sustain each other, and depend on each other. I recommend this article…

      How Slaves Built American Capitalism
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/18/how-slaves-built-american-capitalism/

      Liked by 1 person

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