It's A Big Club: The Biggest Lessons From The 1980s and 90s (That We Never Learned)
I read about and hear a lot of people pining for the 1980s and 90s. At the beginning of the 1990s, the British band Jesus Jones released the song “Right Here, Right Now,” epitomizing the optimism that many people had going into the Era of Extreme. They thought the “prosperity” would never end and things would only get better.
That “prosperity” was a complete mirage. It was all based on debt. It was based on the mistaken belief that if you take out a million-dollar loan, own a million dollar home or a fancy car, you’re by definition a millionaire, even if you don’t have one red cent to pay that loan back.
Going back to that full of shit decade, the media and corporations, those trusted institutions, told us that we had to worship money and the people who had it, and the only thing separating us from a millionaire was a bank loan who couldn’t in a million years afford to pay off.
It didn’t matter how much money you physically had to your name. As long as a bank would back your ridiculous purchase with an insane interest rate, you could live like a millionaire.
What they didn’t tell you is that when the market inevitably tanked (which they argued would NEVER happen, because you can always trust corporations to properly run the market for the good of everyone), you’d lose your shirt trying to pay off your debts (because of course, a loan was never an asset in the first place – it was always a debt) while the real rich people who could afford that fancy house and car that you bought on credit got the bailout and you’d spend the rest of your life and your kids and grandkids would spend the rest of their lives paying off that bill. But it was fun while lasted, wasn’t it?
On his way out the door, Democratic President Bill Clinton accomplished something Republican President Ronald Reagan couldn’t even dream of when he 86ed FDR-era legislation known as Glass-Steagall, designed to prevent corporations and financial institutions from getting too much power and crashing the economy, taking advantage of poor people.
George Carlin was right. They’ve been coming for your pensions since the 90s, and they’ll get it sooner or later, because they own us and they own the world.
It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it. - George Carlin