So, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and the UK. The “austerity” being imposed on various economies by neo-liberal policies makes the innocent (average citizens) suffer while at best tut-tutting the real malefactors (the bankers who, it needs to be said, have been bailed out by the very same citizens). Contrary to the usual propaganda, these measures are not “necessary” as many of these countries, as a certain noble prize-winner likes to point out, actually ran lean governments prior to the financial meltdown. As at least the Irish now get, their taxes are being used to insure the deposits and profitability of the financial sector, not the maintenance of their societies. This is not even Hooverism, since Hoover let banks fold. Let’s call it neo-Hooverism–high unemployment and the shredding of the safety net to insure bankers’ profits. And, of course, neo-Hooverism (like the original Hooverism, whose architect was really Andrew Mellon) is really about insulating the wealthy from pain and inflicting it on the weak–all by allegedly neutral regulators. Of course, as Matt Taibbi tells us in Rolling Stone (h/t Nick), the idea of a neutral regulator is a sick, sick joke.
And so now, “austerity” (some would call it the “shock doctrine“) is now coming to America with whispers of a grand compromise. The “grand compromise” is, of course, a tremendous give-away (7/8s budget cuts to 1/8 revenue increases). The same sort of “triangulation” we saw with the great tax cut give-away of 2010. It does, however, have the advantage of being refreshingly clear–after spending trillions on incompetent bankers and insuring their billions of bonuses, after spending at least a trillion on aggressive wars based on obvious lies, after spending hundreds of billions insuring billionaires pay less of their money in taxed than their secretaries pay it is now time to cut Grandma’s benefits, bust unions on a massive scale, deprive the sick of care and take the food out of hungry childrens’ mouths. But, by God, the Koch Brothers won’t have their Bircher dollars touched. That national media “pundits” claim those protesting this neo-Hooverism are “tyrants” while extolling tea partiers as the people’s voice (and note, you can always find a liberal quisling to support the party line) tells you all you need to know about America’s class war. The “young bucks with T-Bones” and “welfare queens” of Reagan’s fevered imagination are now teachers and firefighters, veterans and pensioners, students and homeowners, widows and orphans, the sick and the hungry. All these “special interests” need to be sacrificed to preserve an extra four per cent reduction on rich people’s marginal tax rates.
That sociopaths in the GOP and the “Club for Growth” (what, growth in soup lines?) are stoking this class war is old news by now. These, the usual suspects, will stop at nothing until the people are impoverished and impotent. That’s how they roll. That’s how they’ve always rolled. Herbert Hoover is their patron saint and their “manhood” is expressed in buying into Social Darwinism and adolescent ubermensch bullshit (hypocritical bullshit, mind you, but still bullshit). But national democrats have totally bought into this frame. Thus, the sad talk of “tough choices” and grand compromises. A public option and Clinton’s tax rates, and bringing down the grotesque war budget to the level it was before 9/11 would guarantee the nation’s fiscal health. But somehow such talk is dangerous and requires immediate hippy-punching.
But the news from Madison and Ohio indicates the hippies might have started punching back. Finally–finally–Americans are beginning to catch the Icelandic flu (not the Egyptian–the equation on the right of resistance to the Right-wing agenda with Egypt’s revolution is highly revealing. To the Right wing, American workers are some sort of Muslim Brotherhood, not their neighbors). The Icelandic flu is very virulent to bankers and repressive governments, but not so much for citizens. The elites (and elitists) in DC (really, does not Kasich’s rant against the cop giving him a ticket tell the tale) simply expect the people to take it. Ten per cent unemployment is the new normal. Having a quarter of mortgages underwater is cool (and it’s moral to pay those mortgages rather than walk away). Being denied life-saving medical care, well that’s just tough shit for you. Being an immigrant who actually fights the wars citizens can’t be bothered with, well don’t expect anything like a path to citizenship. Die or be deported. All this is just supposed to be accepted.
For the GOP and the various sociopaths out there, this is the way it ought to be. After all, only our Galtian overlords are really important, lest they withhold their productivity. For the Dems, it’s a sad fact of our fallen state that they can aspire to better things, but must bargain away their principles. Guantanomo just can’t be closed, the tax cuts can’t be allowed to expire, no second stimulus is possible, mortgages just can’t be rectified and you must lecture the world on human rights even as a well-known activist is beat down right in front of you. The Republicans are vicious sociopaths but too many of the national Dems are soulless automatons. Vulcans who push “the logic of the situation” over fighting for something, anything.