We’ve let this Las Vegas version of what used to be ordinary banks in our ordinary hometowns go berserk.
BILL MOYERS: So who do you trust anymore? I mean, you write in your book that the most worrisome thing is the extent of official understatement and misstatement, the preference for minimizing how many problems there are and how interconnected they are.
KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, just to give you an example of how many there are, Alan Greenspan has finally decided to admit, you know, this may be one of those once-a-century biggies. Well, what makes it fascinating is that I sometimes use the description “seven sharks.” There are seven sharks in the tank with the economy.
And the first is financialization because we’re so dependent on this industry that’s sort of half lost its marbles. The second is that you have this huge buildup of debt, absolutely unprecedented anywhere in the world. The third is you’ve now got home prices collapsing. The fourth is you’ve got global commodity inflation building up.
The fifth is you’ve got flawed and deceptive government economics statistics. The sixth is that you’ve got what they call peak oil where the world is, to some extent, running out of oil. So it’s not just commodity inflation, it’s a shortage of oil. And then the last thing is the collapsing dollar. Now, whenever you get this sort of package in one decade, you got a big one. And when Greenspan says it’s a once a century, I think it’s another variation but on a par with the Thirties.
BILL MOYERS: What do you think when you hear John McCain and Secretary Paulson say that the fundamentals, however, are solid?
KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, John McCain once said he didn’t know anything about economics. And half the time what he says, you know, proves that on a day-by-day basis.
BILL MOYERS: So we at least finally have an election about something, don’t we? I mean, with the Fed and the economy at the heart of the debate now?
KEVIN PHILLIPS: The people who have the connections with the lobbies and the big donors have absolutely no problem with all these bailouts and rescues. But they don’t dare admit it because who’s rescuing the laid off worker? Nobody’s rescuing them. The fact that the Democrats don’t want to talk about what they’re going to do if they get the chance, that’s dishonesty. But the Republican Party is thoroughly dishonest in the same way.