Where the astrology of the East meets the West
Happy New Year and welcome to a new decade of prosperity and joy! Arenít you glad the downturn is over?
Wall Street USA cash bonuses are being handed out like candy to the same financial geniuses and bankers that brought you the economic crises of 2008-2009, just like before the crises. Some things never change. However, Main Street USA, where you and I live, has seen a very different financial landscape that does not have the sweetness of candy.
The Great Recession of 2008-2009 has continued as we enter 2010. Read between the cautious optimistic headlines at the return of the Dow Jones and you will see the real financial landscape of most Americans. After millions of job losses in 2009, the economy only lost about eighty thousand jobs in December of 2009. Great news! Approximately one third of U.S. homeowners with a mortgage now owe more than their home was worth before the downturn. A rumored one quarter of homeowners with mortgages are expected to default or walk away from their homes. More great news! This scenario does not suggest an economic turnaround, or any kind of stabilization, but rather further economic decline. Wall Street is flush and jobs and housing are being flushed down the financial toilet. Wall Street is Happy at the New Year, while Main Street is angry because there is no bail out for them. Ironically, it is the small businesses of Main Street USA that employ 5o or less people that make up the bulk of jobs.
So how did Wall Street USA get flush with the bailout, and Main Street USA get nothing but more and more debt? This brings me to the position of the planets as we begin this new, historic decade.
Mars will be powerful until early March as he retrogrades in the constellation of Cancer and comes to perigee. It will be his closest approach to the earth, at the end of January. With Mars in a position of power, it will be an extraordinary time to get your To Do List up and running and completed in record time.
Saturn will join Mars in retrograde the middle of the January and be equally strong in the constellation of Virgo. Saturn is a savvy minimalist, and Virgo is a clean freak constellation, so now is the time to clean out and clear out all that is getting in the way of your Mars right-action list!
Jupiter entered the constellation of Aquarius in late December and continues to become functional and coherent, after having been eclipsed and debilitated almost all of last year. He will join the other benefic planet, Venus early in February, which should make this one of the more enjoyable months of the year.
Aquarius, or Khumba, is a humanitarian constellation in Indian astrology. In India they celebrate the Kumbha Mela, which is a celebration of unity in spiritual diversity as everyone, regardless of race, color or creed, baths in unison in the Ganges river. Jupiter seeks commonality in Aquarius. He favors a commiseration with one's fellow man, which is the essence of the Khumba Mela. Now is the time to commiserate with those devastated by the downturn and symbolically bath in unison in the Ganges.
The oneís who brought us the Great Recession will not be commiserating. Unlike the others, they will be celebrating, with champagne in hand, after taking a dip in your 401K and the federal bailout, laughing all the way to the Bank they created. This will not be lost on the public during the coming months with Mars and Saturn gaining strength. Those challenged with financial loss, job loss, and housing destabilization will demand action and accountability, two keywords associated with Mars and Saturn.
Political lip service will only infuriate the masses as Mars comes to perigee. After the collapse of Wall Street and the Banks in 1929, FDR appointed Ferdinand Pecora as Chief Council to the Senate Committee that investigated the 1929 crash in a search for answers and accountability. His investigations led to prosecutions for fraud in the financial sector. His investigations led to the establishment of oversight and regulation, the outgrowth of which was the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Glass-Steagall Act. The Glass-Steagall Act regulated big banking to prevent this from happening again. After years of lobbying by the financial and banking sectors, the Glass-Steagall Act was lobbied into oblivion and relevancy. This deregulated the banking and financial sectors and created many new financial "instruments" that created huge profits for the financial sector and huge debt for Joe Public and the government.
There are many, and there will be many speculative books on the subject, but John Lanchesterís new book, I.O.U., is full of dark humor about the financial meltdown. Lanchester puts the total cost of the bailout in perspective by saying that it is bigger than the Louisiana Purchase, the Marshall Plan (which rebuilt Europe after WWII), the Korean war, NASAís complete budget, and the 80ís saving and loan crises all lumped together and adjusted upward for inflation! This fact should blow whatís left of your mind and infuriate you!
Warren Buffet has called the financial instruments that led to the Great Recession "financial weapons of mass destruction," and in light of what the bailout has cost Joe Public, his remark is spot on. Saturn in fidgety Virgo would like nothing better than to examine and scrutinize what went wrong and correct it. The long-awaited public hearings of the Financial Crises Inquiry Commission are underway and the Chairman of that committee, Phil Angelides, finds himself in an ironic similar place as Ferdinand Pecora was at the commencement of the first decade of the Great Depression. Let us hope that the decade of the Great Recession that now commences will not be like the decade that began the Great Depression.
To that end, with Mars and Saturn powerful, and Jupiter in a commiserating mood, it is critical that the Obama administration examine the current crises and seek accountability. He was elected on a populist surge, and yet his administration has done very little for those most affected by the Great Recession. The committee chaired by Phil Angelides must be allowed to investigate and prosecute the cult of financial corruption that has destroyed the equity of young and old alike. If the financial lobbyists succeed in obstructing the investigation and regulation, it will be a signal that nothing has changed, and with Mars strong, this will create a historical backlash that will make your local protest tea-party seem like a tempest in a teapot. Further, without Saturnís oversight, accountability and a new Glass-Steagall Act, the unregulated financial sector will only be encouraged to create yet more monstrous short-term profits, with Joe Public and the government assuming the full debt of the risk.
What would the monstrous bailout look like next time around? Perhaps the continuing financial sweat equity of our childrenís children from here to eternity? Be clear, this is not a partisan issue. It is not a Red, or a Blue, or a Red, White and Blue issue. It is global. The lines have formed and the breach is wide, so there can be no reaching across the divide. Main Street USA needs help, not Wall Street USA. Jupiterís short sojourn in Saturnís constellation of Aquarius beckons a financial bailout Khumba Mela for Main Street USA, and it can only start with a financial Mea Culpa from Wall Street USA and the banking sector. That will only happen if Saturn has his say, and to help Saturn have his say, please call your local Congress person and make sure they are representing you and Main Street!
The dates you selected for our wedding and reception couldnít have been more beautiful weather-wise and more joyous heart-wise. Everyone was happy, including relatives who came from afar. Your input is always so helpful, Dennis, a must when planning meaningful events of all kinds.
Erica Helm Meade, MA, CMHC