Tuesday, October 14, 2008

When Less is Less

¡Hola! Everybody…
You may have not noticed, but Paul Krugman, a professor at Princeton
University and an Op-Ed page columnist for The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune, was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science on Monday. You also may not think it’s a big thing, but on some level, it is. First, Krugman has been a severe critic of Voodoo Economics (aka Reaganomics, Trickle down economics), a form of economics that has never been vetted by academic rigor. In other words, it’s just something someone somewhere pulled out of his arse. It is exactly this sham economics that has driven economic policy in the US for almost 40 years.

Conservatives are having conniption fits over Krugman’s Nobel Prize! LOL

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-=[ The Smaller Government Con ]=-

“I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

-- Grover Norquist

No great democracy has ever existed without a strong middle class.


Conservatives have an almost religious belief that if economic and social policies are made by the market, we won’t need government -- thats you and me, the voice of the people. Let me repeat this point, because it’s important: you and I, and everyone else, we’re the government (“we the people”).

“Smaller government” has become the thought virus (meme) of conservatives and for a long time most of you fell for it. Essentially, “smaller government” means less government oversight and regulation, thereby allowing the “free” market to decide our economic policy. If you pay attention to Voodoo Economics devotees, they will tell you that a middle class will magically spring into being if we would just free corporate power (and greed) from government restrictions. The way to create jobs, the superstition goes, is to “free” the market. When the Wall St. fat cats are allowed to romp freely, their mantra goes, it will create wealth, and that wealth, they assure us, will trickle down to the rest of us, in that way creating a middle class.

This conservative ideology has been at the core of this country’s economic decisions since Reagan. Today, we (the middle class) work longer hours for less real money in jobs that are highly unstable. In addition, major sectors of our economy have been outsourced to Third World nations, essentially putting you in competition with horribly oppressed workers who work for literally pennies a day.

Yeah, in case you didn’t get it, this very same voodoo has driven our economy to the ground.

This is what you have fallen for and what is at stake in this election is not the bullshit Red State/ Blue State dichotomy, but which ideology will guide us in one of the most crucial economic moments in our history. Vote for McCain and he will put Voodoo Economics on steroids -- you will be voting for the conservative ideology that has been in power for at least four decades. A vote for Obama will be a vote for an economics that shifts the tax burden away from the middle class and forcing the richest percentile of the population to share a fair burden. One ideology believes in building the economy from the top-down (trickle down), the other believes the solution is to build an economy from the ground up.

::in John McCain voice:: Those are stark differences, my friends.

As I have written in the past, there is no such thing as a free market. Markets are the creation of government (we the people).

During the most prosperous times for the middle class, taxes were viewed as investments in a civil society and were routinely embraced by the majority of the middle class. In that way, we invested in new schools, better roads, higher pay for police and firefighters, and a multitude of public works that resulted in extended periods of unprecedented wealth and stability for all economic classes.

Ronald Reagan and his multimillion PR machine were successful in convincing an American electorate that taxes and government (we the people) were bad. Reagan did two things that dramatically changed our government. First, he changed laws like the Fairness Doctrine so that propagandists like Rush Limbaugh, backed by heavy corporate funding, could help convince the “Joe Six packs” of the world that the government was the enemy. In fact, Reagan ran for re-election as an outsider (much like McCain is attempting today). My question is, how do you run for re-election as an outsider?!!

::blank stare::

In any case, Reagan’s second major act was to stop enforcing the Sherman Antitrust Act, which had held corporate power at bay since 1881 (the law is still in the books, but rarely implemented). Subsequently, the media began forming huge monopolies resulting in fewer voices. Across America, two-three, and four-newspaper towns became one-newspaper towns, all shilling for the corporations that owned them. Today, about five corporations own almost all of the media. You can go literally for days getting your news from Time Warner, for example.

An entire generation has been indoctrinated into this trickle-down-smaller-government-is -better point of view. People began reacting positively to this viral thought-meme. Hoover-style conservative Clinton enacted global treaties (NAFTA, GATT) that further eroded the power of government (we the people) to regulate business and the media. The result was another explosion of mergers and takeovers (along with the downsizing that came with them), that has brought us to our current financial meltdown.

Today, the bottom line rules, it’s profits before people, and the working class be damned.

That’s what you will be deciding this coming election: more voodoo economics, or a vision of building the economy from the ground up.



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