A Devil's bargain

Portland, Oregon

I think the problem goes much deeper than learned helplessness on the part of politicians. It is learned callousness. Americans have been brainwashed starting with Regan that greed is the most desired of human virtues. Milton Friedman, the economist and Ann Rand, the philosopher came to the same conclusion in their fields of endeavor. Regan raised this thinking to a political ideology. Economists like Allan Greenspan, a devout inner circle member of Ann Rand's cult and Rep Paul Ryan, a contemporary disciple of the late philosopher, all have applied her social theories to economics, the latest is Ryan's desire to put Medicare in the hands of private insurers.

There have been many societal ramifications from this thinking. Supply side economics. Free Trade Agreements,tax reductions for the richest Americans deregulation of the banking industry all have resulted in a lionization of the richest among us, a transfer of wealth, power to their pockets at the expense of the middle and working class,as well as laws passed like the Citizens United decision to further enhance the political and economic power of the corporate class. This was not only Republican policy. Glass-Stegall was rescinded under Bill Clinton's watch as well as an escalation of Free Trade Agreements and the resulting outsourcing of millions of jobs overseas.
It all imploded under Bush with the banking failures, mortgage crises, a closing of over 50,000 American factories and a loss of millions of jobs in his reign as president as well as two unpaid for wars and an unpaid for Medicare drug plan.

This brainwashing, where the rich were viewed as the most valued segments of our society was so deep that millions of middle and working class Americans supported policies that actually made their lives worse and increased the wealth of 2% of Americans and corporation. Even millions of ordinary Americans whose pockets were being picked by these policies were supporting programs and politicians who were robbing them blind. Now that is mind control!!!

My point is that the intrinsic value of the common man has been devalued in our society. Profit is all that matters, Corporations are reaping record profits while our unemployed suffer. The poor have just about become the "Unmentionables" in our society and are never spoken about anymore.

America has greatest unequal distribution of wealth of all industrialized nations. It is second to I believe Nigeria in unequal wealth distribution in the entire world! Why aren't politicians running around like their hair was on fire to solve this situation?

The answer runs far deeper than politics. Something has been destroyed in the American soul. When Regan opened the spigots of greed in the consciousness of Americans, and made the poor and the middle class targets of contempt, the American consciousness slowly began to change. We became less compassionate, more nihilistic in our thinking, and segments of society, particularly the middle and working classes have been pitted against each other.

Political action and policy stems from ideology. Personal selfishness and the delusion among millions of Americans that they too will become part of the vaulted and idolized one or two percent of the true rulers of America has led to a vision of America where the respect and value of a middle class life and values have been diminished.

"Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" which used to be a national television curiosity show has now come to represent the American value system.

No politician has emerged to really challenge this new American zeitgeist, and this includes President Obama.

We are put into a position that to prevent the election of a president from the virulently nihilistic Republican party, we must hope for the continued employment of one man, President Obama, at the expense of the potential employment of millions of Americans. That is truly, while pragmatic, a Devil's bargain.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jon Jost
Seoul, Korea

On one level it is clear that the avoidance of the "jobs issue" is deliberate, a method to do social engineering of broadly lowering expectations for certain classes of people. And so far this is working, if at the back end it is likely to lead to an unpleasant social explosion as in the middle-east. On another level it is that capitalism is, once again, showing all its teeth and its flaws. And that contradiction, inherent in it as a system, is something those within it cannot perceive, much less deal wit. To do so would be to admit the system is wrong, is predicated on false assumptions, or even that its application leads to immoral and unethical behaviors on a systemic level.

So long as those in that "policy elite" are those who are expected to find a solution, circumstances will continue to deteriorate. They have no answer because their system is fundamentally flawed and wrong.


Los Altos Hills, CA

Unemployment is a subset of the current economic problems, where for the first time in America's history, productivity increased but 100% of the return went to corporate profits and ZERO went to wages.
This is the core cause of many of our problems: 1) Social security and Medicare shortfall? If wages had gone up both programs would be floating in money, 2) Budget deficit? If wages for the people that pay real income taxes (not capital gains) had gone up, tax receipts would have gone up. Deficit solved, 3) Recession, real people spend their earnings and spend them in the U.S., not on paintings or by investing in ADRs.
But this is not a GOP problem, both the Republicans and the Republicans Lite, er Democrats, have pursued the same trickle-down economics -- stuff money into Wall Street and huge multinationals, and hold your breath waiting for crumbs off their tables to fall on the plates in our outstretched hands. Think Obama's economic policies are fundamentally different than Reagans? Seriously?
How is it working so far?

jim // www.fawcette.net

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