Thursday, April 07, 2011

How I think we got here

When we, meaning the left wing, in 2000-2006 saw the right wing, with control of three branches of government (Presidency, House and Senate), enter into a war with Iraq without paying for it, and when we saw them pass tax cuts that weren't paid for, many of us wondered what on earth were they thinking. Nobody can have things for which they don't pay.

Well if we wondered why they did it, we know now. It's an amazingly sneaky and underhanded plan that they have been following. It's not new nor unique to the United States. Read Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine for how well it has worked over and over again throughout the world. We are seeing it play out again this week with Congress.

These people wanted to get the country into a panic mode so they could do what they have wanted all along which means cut and then pretty much end all social programs. Safety net? Fergetaboutit! I don't think many of us guessed their agenda was even destroying public education-- that just seemed so self-destructive to a nation. Back then we thought, that while we might not agree on how to get there, we all want the same basic things, and what were those things?

Well, I'd say a country that had jobs for its citizens, jobs that enabled them to live in a home of their own whether that meant rented or purchased. We believed all of us cared about the poorest among us, that we wanted real programs to help such people get back on their feet, and if they could not, that they didn't have to freeze to death or starve.

We thought everybody cared that we can all have doctors to go to when we get sick. Who could have dreamed someone would want a baby who had epilepsy to not have treatment for the seizures unless her parents had health insurance and pretty good health insurance?

We were so dumb. We really believed everybody valued clean air and water. We thought people wanted their food to be inspected to make sure when they bought something it would be safe to eat. We thought they wanted safe banks in which to put their money. We thought an education system that gave us workers who could do the jobs that would be there, that was important, universities that let in the rich and the poor. It was the equalizer.

Basically I think we assumed everybody understood that stupid saying that you can manage your money better than the government was not only ignorant but totally off the mark. Reality is we cannot all go out and inspect a bridge or build a freeway. We have to pay someone else to do it and the government has been that someone else for many things. Government is us united together and it can do what we cannot. We favored taxes because we knew they paid for things like our military and protection of our borders as well as enriching our culture.

Infrastructure was part of how we as a people could grow businesses and ensure safety of our citizens. Investing in new technology kept our country ahead of the game and that wasn't happening mainly through industry but often through university grants. We thought we all knew, because we'd gone through the age of the robber barons, that some people had to be regulated or they'd keep taking and taking.

Naive as hell is what that was as we have since learned through their actions that the right wing doesn't want any of that. They couldn't. It hasn't been honest enough though to go at it straight forward and try to convince the citizens they don't care about the poor, don't care if the elderly end up in poor houses (if this bunch is even willing to fund such as that) nor do they want public education. They set out very underhandedly to end those programs not by convincing Americans of their lack of value but by spending, spending, and knowing that the day would come there not be money for any programs for anything other than blowing people up.

So here we are with a group wanting to be mercenaries of the world, a group who don't give a damn about the old or the sick. They barely understand how entitlements work but what they do know is they don't want anything for anybody except themselves in the way of government programs, and they barely understand that some of those programs have been for them. Clueless is what they are about what entitlements mean. They have used a religion as their hammer, forgetting what the religion even taught. Here's where we are when discussing the very topic of economic justice is considered fascism with no clue by those using the word what it even means.

Whenever I think about any of this, I am so mad I could spit. Before GW Bush got in office, we were affording the social programs we had. We even had Medicare in a working format and what did he do to ruin that? He put in a drug benefit that was unfunded and enough to screw the whole system. One more instance of creating a shock to get through what they wanted done.

Incidentally all that the federal government had to do to keep drug costs down was let Americans (or even just seniors) buy their drugs from other countries through the Internet-- using that thing they call competition that capitalists are supposed to like. One simple solution but that wouldn't make American drug companies happy, would it?

I am angry at the right and the left-- the left for being either naive or in on it and trying to hide behind the guise of helplessness. I am mad at myself for not realizing how underhanded some people can be. Why do we always want to think the best of others? It so often proves to be a mistake!

Next blog follows through with this to ask the question-- what is economic justice? I will enjoy a real discussion on this if we can manage it. Ideally without getting into the two parties but just the concept of economic justice. Does it matter? It is a philosophical concern for a nation? In my opinion, if we don't think in terms of our guiding philosophies as a people, we will be run like sheep and believe me that's not a flattering image. Know what you believe in and hold the line on it without letting the 'shock doctrine people' rule the day.

1 comment:

Robert the Skeptic said...

I watched for the first time the TV show "Big Bang Theory". In it a young Indian woman going to college in the US was video conferencing with her parents living in India. When she asked her parents how they were doing, they said "We're a couple of rich people in a poor country; things couldn't be better!"

The line bothered me; is this what the wealthiest 2% who own our democracy want? I fear the answer may be "yes".