As we get ready for John Boehner to take the gavel from Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, I find myself thinking back to the last time a Republican speaker took control of the House from a Democrat — and reflecting on how far down the wrong road we have traveled since then.
You’re right about us going down the wrong road. This, unfortunately, was the last thing in your article you were right about.
“The balanced budget is the right thing to do,” he said. “But it does not in my mind have the moral urgency of coming to grips with what is happening to the poorest Americans.”
For the incoming Republican speaker, reducing poverty and lifting the poor into the middle class was a moral imperative beyond the left vs. right battlefield — not just the purview of lefties, socialists, and community organizers.
Oh really? So let’s see – we have tried it that way for what….. 15 years? What did we get?
An internet bubble, which exploded. Predicated on fraud, it cost US Citizens (and others) a few trillion dollars in saved funds, put into companies that were worth zero. You can count the prosecutions of said people responsible on the fingers of one hand. Most-notably, you can’t find any of the bank executives that were involved in bringing these firms public and earning their fees from same among the indicted, say much less charged or convicted.
A housing bubble, which exploded. Also predicated on fraud, this one cost virtually all US Citizens. Millions of foreclosures, goading people to spend beyond their means, and now, once again, no indictments of the big bank executives.
We also “charged it” on the credit card. In point of fact, President Clinton was the last one to have any smattering of discipline when it came to spending, and virtually all of that was imposed by those same Republicans you hate so much.
So now, with poverty higher than it was 16 years ago, with greater income inequality, and with the middle class struggling to hold on, what will Speaker Boehner make his number one priority? According to the Washington Post, it’s “cutting spending,” followed by repealing the healthcare law, and “helping get our economy moving” (no specifics on how he plans to do that).
Yet we saw on 60 Minutes that he’s very aware of how fragile the American Dream has become, telling Lesley Stahl, “I can’t go to a school anymore. I used to go to a lot of schools. And you see all these little kids running around. Can’t talk about it.” And he choked up when he did try to talk about “making sure these kids have a shot at the American Dream, like I did. It’s important.”
And why can’t you go to school any more? If we’re talking about college, it is precisely because the government started handing out “Free Cheese” – and allowed the banksters to treat student debt as a loan that would be shackled around your neck for life. This in turn caused the schools to turn a college into a luxury playground, complete with gilded dorms, er, “housing units” and $200+ textbooks. Even in subjects such as a mathematics, which, last time I checked, hadn’t changed with regards to things like Calculus in far longer than I’ve been drawing breath. Yet every year there’s a “new edition”, edited for the purpose of forcing kids to blow yet another $200 – per class – or more. Ordinary people simply can’t afford that.
But the trajectory of our political discourse over the last decade and a half has meant that taking on poverty has gone from a moral imperative and shared national objective to an afterthought — or no thought at all.
And exactly how do you take on poverty Arianna? Do you teach people that sitting at home sucking on the government teat is the way to prosperity? Do you protect those who sell debt to students that they cannot possibly pay by passing laws that make that debt non-dischargeable? Do you promote a housing bubble that drives house prices beyond those of modest means, goad those people into taking on debts they cannot pay, and then evict them when they lose the house that was priced at 3x what it should be? Do we refuse to recognize wage and environmental arbitrage that leaves us with only jobs that ask “would you like fries with that?” instead of engineering, hard science, and blue-collar production – all so we can have $200 TVs instead of $400 ones and you can run your yap on an iPhone application that runs on hardware built by virtual Chinese slaves and peddled to US consumers as yet another debt ponzi (who think that phone costs $100 – yet another “pulled forward demand” game)?
All of this is part and parcel of the Liberal Left, along with the Radical Right. Neither side will tell the banksters to go stick it up their tush and die in a fire. Neither one will get rid of the illegal immigrants that depress wages in the United States, nor deal with the wage and environmental arbitrage that dumps raw chemicals into rivers and lakes – in China – all so we can have our “cheap consumer goods” while the workers there live in conditions that our former African Slaves would consider beneath them!
None of this is on YOUR radar Arianna. No, instead you want to “soak the rich and give to the poor”, but in point of fact we’ve been doing that now for the last three years. $1.7 trillion in budget deficits is proof. How much more do you think we can put on the credit card Arianna? Are you one of those who thinks there’s no limit?
Republicans are telling Americans a big lie, and Obama and the Democrats are letting them. The Big Lie is that our economic problems are due to a government that’s too large, and therefore the solution is to shrink it.
Oh really? I suppose you would like to deny this?
This isn’t evidence that the government is too large?
The short-term solution is for government to counteract this shortfall by spending more, not less. The long-term solution is to spread the benefits of economic growth more widely (for example, through a more progressive income tax, a larger EITC, an exemption on the first $20K of income from payroll taxes and application of payroll taxes to incomes over $250K, stronger unions, and more and better investments in education and infrastructure.)
Sorry, the short-term solution is to force the bad debt into the open and by doing so force recognition of its true value. The long-term solution is as I’ve noted above – remove the special exemptions for debt on education, forcing the colleges to either go broke or reduce costs dramatically so you can earn your way through working part time flipping burgers, along with putting a stop to wage and environmental arbitrage with wage and environmental-parity tariffs. Flush all the bad debts and make those “rich bastards” on Wall Street eat their own cooking. They’ll choke on it and go broke. Good. Now you get your “vengeance” and, more-importantly, there will be new banks that are set up by ordinary people and entrepreneurship along with capital formation will once again return.
You know, the process by which we create jobs? Yeah.
Exponential equations are mathematical facts. The curve they produce is a fact. That periodic recessions and bankruptcies are necessary in any system where capital can be lent is also a fact, and that fact extends to the “fat cats” who are doing the loan-making! Every act that protects the foolish from the consequence of their folly is one that attempts to violate the laws of mathematics. Such attempts, which are often mis-named “regulatory capture”, are how you get depressions instead of recessions, as you try to prevent those who do imprudent things (both in business and as individual acts) from having to face the music for their foolishness.
The big lie is, in fact, stating that such exponential functions and “protection” for any group – whether it be “the less fortunate” or “the fatcat banker” can proceed apace for any sort of “indefinite future” without periodic purges that restore these functions to the baseline.
The longer this lie goes on, and both The Left and Right are equally-complicit in spewing it, the worse the outcome for our nation. And make no mistake – since I presume that both Arianna and Robert are intelligent, I therefore am forced to conclude that these lies are not told out of ignorance but rather with an intent to deceive – and destroy.
The primary problem with partisan politics is that the true “Big Lie” is the willful refusal to deal with the reality of exponential functions. These functions are not suggestions – they’re mathematical laws.
And whether we like it or not the longer we allow this lie to be told, and the longer we continue to play the game of allowing people like Arianna and Robert to spew these lies, along with Boehner, the more pain we will inflict on the nation and its population as a whole.