Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Capitalist Oligarchy

I actually had trouble sleeping last night. And not because of the late dinner I almost always have. No, I actually had dreams, or perhaps more accurately, visions of an economic collapse. In my hypnogogic stream, I could see a long train of events and the ride of a hurricane hunter.

As Congress debates the biggest single expenditure of any bill that I can remember, the politics are palpable. The "R"s bring this bread to our table with their penchant for deregulation, while the most conservative among them bail out of the bail out in the name of conservative values and in fear of interfering in their precious markets, which have failed to regulate themselves.

It's a bit like expecting a gaggle of six year olds to stay out of trouble on the Fourth of July after you've given them a box of fireworks. Someone is going to get burned.

Meanwhile, the "D"s will democratize the Administration's plan to make the Treasury Secretary the Mortgage Tzar, getting some oversight in the bill, as well as a few other improvements. The bill was so bad, it reminds me of the old mill guard trick. If you know the inspector is coming, remove the guard on the crimper and give the inspector something to write you up on. That way he doesn't notice the area in the back where the rats are getting in and crapping in the food supply.

McCain was so all over the map with his comments yesterday, he sounded like a cigarette lobbyist, able to leap tall tales with a single bound, changing positions faster than a speeding train wreck. Obama was more tranquil, perhaps even more presidential. Still, no one is saying what needs to be said in my view.

Most everyone doesn't really understand what has happened anyway. The right wingers will try to blame poor people and people of color who should be ashamed of themselves for buying a nice home. Meanwhile the "D"s will carry the ball over the goal line for the New York Streeters and the conservative "R"s will slam them for it in some future election cycle.

Last night, I watched Bill Moyer's friday show. His interview with Kevin Phillips might have been the cause of my disturbed dream world.

But what concerns me is not the 700 billion. (or whatever it might be)

What concerns me is that this is not going to work. Sure, it will kick the can down the road at the expense of our own shoe leather, and sure, it will revive markets for the time being and certainly deliver us through the election cycle.

But, this is not the end of it. This is structural.

But it will work in other ways. It will drain the public coffers so well that any meaningful discussion on social issues will immediately be trumped by the claim that this commitment to save our financial sector has made any other commitment to ourselves unaffordable. It will suck the air out of the debate for new infrastructure, for moving towards a post carbon economy, and for dealing with climate change.

It will weaken the dollar and increase the price of a barrel of oil.

The Neo-Communists have sucked the money from Social Security, from the surpluses of Clinton-Gore, and from the Peace Dividend of the 90s. And they have brought us to a defining moment that will be debated and studied by the cultures that will follow us.
There is the well known phrase that "Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but nobody want to die"

And so it is with the Capitalist Oligarchy.

But even as it ravages the strength of our commons,

and our combined social wealth,

it too will fall into the earth.

And a new world will emerge.

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