Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bought and Owned

"The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity," proclaimed William Butler Yeats in another time, but doesn't his line perfectly reflect our current situation? I suppose that even the politicians I respect seem so supine is that almost all of them are bought and paid for by their contributors in one form or another. And the big contributors are the corporate ones, especially now that they need not identify themselves. You might thus wonder why you heard very little criticism of Wall Street from the supposedly progressive Democrats.

If it's true that FDR saved capitalism from its own excesses, then this time unregulated capitalism has managed to win without even having a fight. How quickly the disasters brought on by deregulation are forgotten--Katrina, the West Virginia mine disaster. Obama and Bush II both worked on TARP to save Wall Street from itself and both took nothing but abuse for it. And at least for a while, Obama saved GM and you'd think he might merit some praise for it.

But America is also the land of P.T. Barnum. If you don't sell yourself and have others sell for you, you will wither on the vine. The Democrats failed to take on the right-wing media to run on their record. Obama tried to compromise when no one on the other side was interested in making a deal. It seems that you have to be in California or New York for people to realize what is at stake.

The deficit commission is a perfect example. Sure in the long run, Mr Micawber was right about balancing your accounts. But in the midst of an economic downturn? Even Bush II said the other day that he'd choose to be Roosevelt rather than Hoover. Hoover balanced the budget; where did it get anyone? Trim Social Security and the few remaining benefits when the wealthy get huge tax breaks that have made this country the most unequal it has ever been?

The most outspoken voice for reason is a Nobel Prize-winner, professor, and columnist, Paul Krugman. The media are really at fault, of course, but I blame the Democrats for being the party of fear. Conservatism has already served the majority of our population poorly. Are you in favor of foreclosures en masse because greedy banks gave credit to unworthy buyers? The guy who pushed that garbage was a trader on the Chicago exchange--just another Wall Street type.

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