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Dow Dips Below 8,000; Anxiety, Anger at all Time Highs

The long-held dominant economic paradigm is under fire.
 
 
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Is there anger out there? You betcha.

Think about how many people would have traded their left ... whatever to be the guy who punched out the head of Lehman Bros, Richard Fuld ...
Mr. Fuld, who has been testifying on the financial crisis before the US House Oversight Committee, was attacked on a Sunday shortly after it was announced that the banking giant was bankrupt.
Following rumors that the incident had occurred, Vicki Ward, a US journalist, said "two very senior sources - one incredibly senior source" had confirmed it to her. "He went to the gym after ... Lehman was announced as going under," she told CNBC. "He was on a treadmill with a heart monitor on. Someone was in the corner, pumping iron and he walked over and he knocked him out cold.
"And frankly after having watched [Mr Fuld's testimony to the committee], I'd have done the same too."
"I thought he was shameless ... I thought it was appalling. He blamed everyone ... He blamed everybody but himself."
There's a sea-change occurring in our political-economy.

What has basically been a decades-long slump for most working people -- with wages stagnating and the costs of education, health care and everything else rising -- has spread to those at the top, to the movers and shakers of the "new economy," and now we're all suddenly in the same boat.

It shouldn't come as a surprise, really. You can't continue to feed a consumer culture like ours with a declining middle class. But all that pain working America's experienced was obscured by the use of averages -- average incomes that included the immense share taken in by those at the top (In 1972, the top 1 percent of Americans took in 8.7 percent of all earned income, but that figure skyrocketed to more than 20% in 2006, while wages stagnated for nine out of ten U.S. tax-payers. Recently, The Wall Street Journal reported that "the richest 1 percent of Americans in 2006 garnered the highest share of the nation's adjusted gross income for two decades, and possibly the highest since 1929").

What's noteworthy is that the decline in economic security was a distant issue probed mostly by lefty bomb-throwers like me for years, and now questions about our economic paradigm are front and center.

Consider this mind-jangling fact: today, the Washington Post -- long a mouthpiece for the neoliberal economic establishment -- is running a prominently-placed story titled, "The End of American Capitalism?"

This is surely a sign of the apocalypse -- some highlights ...
The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression is claiming another casualty: American-style capitalism....
Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet.
 
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