It’s no big secret that there’s a very large risk of a major global market disaster in the near future. World Bank President Robert Zoellick said as much this past weekend at Washington’s latest round of the World Bank and IMF. Food and oil prices are surging once again, and many nations are now struggling under crippling debts. Coupled with natural disasters and political uprisings, the world’s economy is on very shaky ground.

In response, the world’s financial elites are demanding urgent action. Standard and Poor’s lowered the outlook rating of America’s debt if they couldn’t get deficit spending under control. And anyone who’s following the news lately knows what that means. The American people are rising up in one of the largest surges in labour organizing in decades. Though many states are passing harsh laws threatening massive cuts, they’re meeting massive opposition.

Similar cries are being echoed in Europe as Moody’s recently downgraded Ireland’s debt to one level above “junk”, and similar massive “austerity” programs and massive protests have broken out accross the continent. And the solutions are clear: cut public spending, privatize services, land and resources, and cut taxes thoroughly for businesses and top earners. These statements are blatantly political: It’s the traditional Neoliberal line. And given our current debt burden, which is in fact far worse than ever, it isn’t surprising.

What’s so blatantly offensive, though, is that while middle class salaries and benefits, as well as working people’s rights in general are being blamed for this crisis, the reason for our sudden explosion of public debt is right in front of us. The “Bailout” cost trillions of dollars, largely to rescue immensely rich and powerful institutions, who were failing because they made a massive number of very bad investment choices. The crash of 2008 was not a crisis of overpaid workers or bloated public sectors – we’ve all been facing cuts since the days of Reagan and Thatcher. It was a failure of capitalism, and the costs were socialized.

It’s no accident that nations like Greece and Ireland keep coming up in these discussions. American Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner recently praised the leaders in both for the “tough” work they did slashing their deficits. The point of all of these statements is to marginalize public outcry, and make it seem as if riots and depressions are nothing but expected, natural and unfortunate result of “good” policy. These matters, clearly, need to be left to professionals, no matter what the cost.

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