Saturday, July 3, 2010

Devil take the hindmost

Digby on the elite consensus that the national debt is more important than the worst employment picture in eighty years!

What a beautiful message of unity on our Independence Day it is to tell close to 20 million citizens that they are on their own in the worst job market since the Great Depression purely to make a cheap political point. It would make King George proud to see his aristocratic heirs flexing their muscles two centuries later in the country that once proudly proclaimed that it didn't have a class system.
Yet somehow it's the teabagging morons, on their platform of even more neglect, who have the fervor of revolution.

There is at present massive class warfare going on in this country. The wealthy and semi-wealthy elites think we all have to take our austerity medicine.
So the next time you hear serious-sounding people explaining the need for fiscal austerity, try to parse their argument. Almost surely, you’ll discover that what sounds like hardheaded realism actually rests on a foundation of fantasy, on the belief that invisible vigilantes will punish us if we’re bad and the confidence fairy will reward us if we’re good. And real-world policy — policy that will blight the lives of millions of working families — is being built on that foundation.
Tsk-tsk, they say, it may hurt, but that's life.

Of course, it's much easier for them (including, so far, me, in the semi category) to swallow the bitter pill. For the rich, there's little real loss of living standard, and it's easier to get tickets to the ball game, since demand from hoi polloi is reduced. Plus - bonus! - less need to rub elbows with the unwashed.

The bitterness of austerity really hurts, say, the new-collar breadwinner whose drywall business is making half what it used to make. Or the single mom teacher who has been laid off and has no prospects better than an hourly position at Wal-mart with no benefits. Or the non-union line worker at a food processing plant. Or even the union flagger on a project paid for by the stimulus.

Yet somehow many of the victims of this recession have swallowed the hook of bullshit economics purveyed by cunning liars whose real goal is to advantage the already advantaged. These victims compound their own suffering by taking up the fight for their lords and masters in the propertied class. It's almost as if they're nostalgic for feudalism, in much the same way that citizens of the Republic of Georgia have been nostalgic for Joseph Stalin, one of the most prolific killers in the history of a pretty blood-lustful species.

Even more remarkable, the misdeeds of the wealthy themselves led us into this wracking pain. They've extracted money for themselves out of the economy on the way up and the way down. Our taxes and debt have made them whole for the most part. Now they're telling us we all have to suffer for their debts. And they've gotten the teabaggers to be their shock troops.

There has been a huge forgetting of the lessons of the Great Depression, here in American and in most of the Western world. (European central bankers are just as bad as Alan Greenspan on this topic.) Despite their utter, complete, and contemptible failure, we are still planning our future as if the Republican upper class economic propaganda of the past forty years were in the slightest true.

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