Austerity’s Big Winners Prove To Be Wall Street And The Wealthy.
Shocking, I know. GOP and Democratic corporatists and the broader conservative movement have been bleating a unified austerity message, emphasizing deficit and debt reduction, even at the expense of a focus on job creation. Now to find that austerity policies benefit the financial sector and the extremely wealthy – that must just be coincidence, there’s no way the austerity message could be driven by anything other than statesmanship, patriotism and love of country, right?!
And when did this drive for austerity and fiscal correctness begin? Oh, roughly about 2009. Coincidentally, with the onset of a Democratic administration faced with trying to bring the nation’s economy back from the crash of 2007-2008. Dick Cheney famously said circa 2002 (paraphrasing) ‘we’ve shown that deficits don’t matter’. The debt ceiling battle from summer 2011 cost all of us an estimated $1.3 billion – in the name of fiscal responsibility…
You’ll note that I said above ‘at the expense of job creation’. Conservative dogma for at least the last 30 years has maintained that those in the top tax bracket are the job creators. But we’re still waiting for the trickle down effect to take place. Neither I nor anyone I know owes their job to someone like Mitt Romney. It’s a myth, pure and simple, propagated as a talking point because it works – because it’s rooted in peoples’ fear for their livelihoods. In fact, note that every Republican talking point on jobs involves the element of fear, not hope – deregulate businesses so they’ll add (i.e. won’t have to eliminate your) jobs – keep taxes low (15% effective tax rate?!) on the highest earners, or else they might not create more jobs – have to re-up the license for that old nuclear plant because that’s mo’ jobs.
We’d better watch out or John Galt might just pick up his toys and go home.
It’s time to unplug from this – get Big Money out of politics via publicly-funded elections – enact a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the principle of corporate personhood so that speech is an exclusively human right again – and reorient our economy and political system to serving people instead of corporations.
Today’s tragic events in the news give each of us cause to pause – of course to reflect on why, and pray for those directly impacted. Those who are supposed to lead us then make grave pronouncements expressing their sorrow and and contempt for the Evil Deeds. Others go further and try to exploit events to advance their own selfish agendas – I’ll say nothing here about that beyond a single word, karma.
But in the choice of that word Evil, I think, comes another choice, conscious or not, to mark the perpetrator as ‘other’, not human like the rest of us. In so doing, it becomes easy to then turn away from the knowledge that the capacity for such atrocities lies within each one of us, that ‘there, but for the grace of God, go I.’
History is full of examples of common people doing violence to their fellow man, whether motivated by mental illness, prejudice, poverty, jealousy, preservation of their ‘way of life’, or merely survival. Each is its own deep tragedy, whether made known via cable & internet or not, and each resonates in ways we’ll never sense.
I believe the only appropriate response begins with silence and a humble prayer for the souls of the victims, families, perpetrator and all of the rest of our human race.
And then reflection on what we might each change within ourselves to make a difference. Peace.
At times I may be tempted to issue the occasional post railing against what I perceive as hypocrisy or absence of statesmanship in our local or national discourse, and fair warning, it will most likely be directed at the conservative side of the political spectrum. I’m sure there may at one time have been something respectable about the right, but in my experience over the past 20 years, the more statesmanlike voices have been put to pasture, replaced by the cynical College Republican mindset of scorched earth and victory at any cost in service of conservative ideology. I think even the meaning of conservative has changed over time, moving more reactionary and becoming less guarded in the crass objectives of those who use that label. That said, the Democratic Party as an institution is not something I’m willing to solely identify with either. I identify most closely with progressive politics, recognizing that there is no perfect solution, but that in my opinion progressivism seems to best serve the mutual interests of all of our citizens.
I’ll work hard to keep any political rantings to a minimum, but given that we’re moving into an election season in an environment more inviting to corruption and deception than any in my lifetime, I may slip from time to time….apologies in advance.