Is 2009 the New 1848?

While the Senate debates the Omnibus Spending Bill (HR 1105) on the heels of the $787 billion American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the restructured $350 billion TARP and the $75 billion plan to prevent millions of home foreclosures, civil unrest is growing across the globe and economic woes are spilling into the streets.

According to the New York Times, there are $680 billion dollars appropraited for departmental budgets in the stimulus bill, an increase of over 80% over 2008. Federal spending will jump in FY 2009 to $4 trillion, or 27.7 percent of the GDP.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown meanwhile visited the White House and addressed a joint session of Congress, stating his mission was “to talk of new and different battles we must fight together, to speak of a global economy in crisis and a planet imperiled.”

Fears have begun to rise on Mr. Brown's side of the pond that a collapse of the European Economic Community could be looming--or at least an inglorious floundering of the Eastern European bloc. Calls for a comprehensive bailout by Hungary were recently rejected by German Chancellor Merkel and received little support from anyone else. London will be the site of the April G20 Summit, and local authorities are preparing for a sophisticated public backlash. Protest leaders say the meeting will be an opening salvo in what they are calling "a summer of rage."

In the United States, The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has initiated a series of protests and acts of civil disobedience to "use any means necessary" to prevent the reclamation of homes which have been foreclosed by authorities. In addition to organized protests, ad hoc violence against repossession outfits has seen an uptick.

Reimagined Tea Parties have swept the country in successive weeks in response to the spontaneous call by CNBC commentator Rick Santelli against President Obama's Housing Recovery Plan, as well as what is perceived by many to be excessive tax increases, spending and little action to foster a sustainable economic recovery.

Are the moves by Obama, Treasury Secretary Geithner and the Democratic Congress enough to stave off a continued meltdown? Geithner said in congressional hearings yesterday that the "world is more fragile now then it was even back in October," and another $1 trillion program is coming down the pike in the next two weeks to address the toxic assets still on bank balance sheets. Anyone know how many Band-Aids it takes to make a tourniquet?

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Image source: CNSA
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