The crisis in the US banking system, which could still go into meltdown, affects the whole world. It is a global drama, and it is not pre-ordained how it is going to turn out. The US government, with its proposed $700bn buyout of bad banking debts, is doing its best to contain the crisis. But nobody seems to understand the situation. In my last post I quoted George Soros. Today’s financier wearing the dunce cap is Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the US Federal Reserve and one of the people who is central to trying to sort out this crisis. A year or two ago he was saying how inherently great and strong the US financial system is. He used to be a Professor of Economics.
Now if these people were the equally highly trained scientists running the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, who are currently trying to sort out a damaging helium leak, it would not occur to me to offer them advice on how to do it, or to think I knew better. But economists are different. They have the highly democratic attribute that however many degrees they have, the man or woman in the street may still know better. Which gives me the right to proffer my opinion. Which I probably would do anyway.
When the $700bn buyout was proposed last week, the Sun was in Virgo square to Pluto. So the buyout was based on an analysis (Virgo) in an attempt to regain control (square to Pluto) of the situation. Now the Sun has moved into Libra, and very appropriately for that sign the focus has moved onto the Congressional negotiations over the buyout. It is not just about Libra as negotiator, though. There is a big outcry about fairness, another Libran attribute. Why should these banks be bailed out for their mistakes, and the CEOs walk away with millions, when all these ordinary people are losing their homes as the banks foreclose on them?
As the New York Times wrote today: “The lawmakers objected strenuously to the broad authority Mr. Paulson was requesting, the lack of additional steps to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and the absence of any demands for ownership stakes in the banks that would be helped.”
Fairness was never part of George Bush’s vocabulary, despite having Moon in Libra. This is probably because his Moon is square to his narrow, tribalistic Sun in Cancer. He was quite happy to let New Orleans suffer under Katrina because they were only poor black people, in a way that would never have happened if it had been say Boston. He is wealthy himself, and wants to see the rich getting richer. People who have made a lot of money, far more than they actually need, usually have a mean, selfish streak (which they see as a superior virtue), and George Bush is no exception.
So the $700bn buyout as proposed is entirely in keeping. It is crude, and the banks get away with it at the expense of the ordinary people. And it was put forward in a way that exploits people’s fears: accept this quickly, or the whole financial system and the economy could go down the plug. So it is very heartening to see the strength of the Congressional resistance, from both Democrats and Republicans.
In the UK, the government has rejected calls for curbs on executive pay, while acknowledging the unsatisfactoriness of the situation. If there were curbs in the UK, we would simply lose executives to other countries where there were no such curbs. But the US is big enough to go it alone in this respect, and set the trend for the rest of the world. There seems a good chance such curbs will be set. This will be Pluto in Capricorn at its best.
It is all a sign that the Bush period is passing. But it is more than that. Hard aspects between outer planets usher in new epochs. In 1989, as Uranus approached a conjunction with Neptune, the USSR began to lose control of Eastern Europe. 2 years later, with Uranus and Neptune still not quite conjunct, the USSR itself finally collapsed. Similarly now, with Uranus having been within 8 degrees of a square to Pluto since May, epoch-making events are starting to occur. We are witnessing history.
It is not just about some sort of massive restructuring of the US economy. It is also about America, for now, getting weaker. You can see that in the speech that the President of Iran gave at the UN in New York yesterday, in which he criticised the ‘bullying’ tactics of the ‘occupiers’ in Iraq. Fair point maybe, but the timing says it all. And on the same day, North Korea had the UN seals on its nuclear facilities removed. As America staggers, its enemies are getting bolder. And they’re not wasting any time about it.