Economic Meltdown Funnies (Jobs with Justice/The Institute for Policy Studies)

This educational webcomic is "a fair and cogent presentation of the historical events and political decisions which led to the current crisis."




16 pgs., B&W; free at

(W: Chuck Collins & Nick Thorkelson; A: Nick Thorkelson)

Do you ever wonder why your tax dollars are being used to make good the debts caused by the poor decisions of people who make more in a week (or possibly in a day) than you make in a year? Does it seem odd to you that you have worked and saved your entire life, only to see the value of your retirement fund drop by almost half in just a few months? Have you questioned why our federal government seems more concerned with bailing out financial institutions than ensuring a decent quality of life for all the citizens of this country, many of whose lives have been adversely affected by the behavior of those institutions?

I’m not an economist, but I’ve been pondering those questions and more in the wake of the chaos which seems to have overtaken our financial system.  Part of my interest, of course, is due to the fact that, along with the rest of you taxpayers, I’ll be paying the bill so I think I’m entitled to a fair deal in return. But it’s tough to figure out what is going on and why, let alone how we should respond, because the issues are complex and there are no disinterested parties in a financial crisis. Everyone starts with particular beliefs (one man’s terrorists are another man’s freedom fighters) which affect how they interpret the information available to them, so the best you can do is pick experts whose point of view makes sense to you, and whose arguments seem logical and coherent.

With that lengthy preface, allow me to recommend Economic Meltdown Funnies, a primer in comic book format to the current financial crisis. It finds several roots of our current disordered state, including federal removal of many regulatory safeguards pertaining to the banking system, a pattern of increasing financial inequality between the richest Americans and everyone else, and the creation of financial investment vehicles so complex and far removed from any concrete measure of value that virtually no one understands them. This interpretation is bound to be more popular with people on the Left than with those on the Right, and of course detail is limited given the 16-page, 8½x11" format, but it seems to me a fair and cogent presentation of the historical events and political decisions which led to the current crisis. I’m less sympathetic to the solutions proposed (they’re far too conservative for my tastes—I think it’s time for a social revolution), but they provide a good starting point for discussion.

Economic Meltdown Funnies is available from the web site, where it may be downloaded as a pdf for free or purchased in pdf or hard copy format for a sliding scale beginning at $2/copy for bulk orders to unions, schools, and other organizations. The web site also includes other educational and entertainment materials (including an "economic crisis humor" site) and links to other materials and to the web sites of organizations working for social and economic justice. | Sarah Boslaugh

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