Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It all began with Reagan

Watching the Republican candidates "debate" (an old white guy chorus line), it struck me how they all strained not to utter the "B" word (BUSH), but invoked the ghost of Ronald Reagan at every turn. Ah, Reagan. Was it with this president that the American predilection for delusion kicked into full gear? I mean, how did this B movie actor of limited intellect and a surfeit of polyester charm ever get turned into a statesman, much yet a hero? It was Thom Hartmann the other day who really nailed it on the head: it all started with Reagan. The casting of government as the world's greatest evil by its chief executive officer. And Americans, so simple-minded as to not see the awful irony in that syllogism, fell for it hook, line and sinker.

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" - Ronald Reagan

It was during those eight years of the great communicator that the apparatus that held some sort of line to keep the excesses of unrestrained market capitalism from leaving tread marks on our backs was slowly dismantled, beginning an inexorable slide towards the era of corporate oligarchy that now is in full flower with George W. Bush. Did it begin with the breaking of the air traffic controllers union? Was that the Lexington of this reverse revolution? Reagan, with his winsome folksiness (he was much better at it than Dubya) convinced us that it would be morning in America again as long as we cut taxes (especially for the wealthy), deregulated industry, and terminated as many social programs as possible. With that avuncular style (probably as much a function of Alzheimer's early onset as artifice), Ronnie convinced us that it would be good to concentrate the wealth of the nation in a few hands. We began to trade one welfare state for another - that of social welfare for corporate welfare. And Uncle Ron assured us that it would "trickle down." And it has. Oh, how it has. But it is more like a shit stream than a trickle.

So here we are. It's a May morning in America. President Headuphisass wants 35,000 more soldiers for fodder in Iraq (a country whose parliament just voted in the majority that it would better if we left). Both California and Florida are burning. Kansas can't help its tornado devastated towns because their National Guard and most of their equipment are occupying Iraq. A wild arctic seal turns up in a canal in Fort Lauderdale, and dies while convalescing at Sea World. Gasoline reaches record heights in price, even though the wholesale price per barrel is lower now than a year ago. Rupert Murdoch tries to buy Dow Jones. AT&T is on its way to become a monopoly. Again. The dollar falls while the Stock Market rises, and another 1000? 10,000? homes go into foreclosure . A few mega corporations control most of what we see and hear in the media. Oh, and American industry? We don't have a whole lot of that anymore. Japanese cars made in the States are more red-blooded American than your average Chevy, Ford or Dodge. Try and tell that to your typical F-250 driver. Ford doesn't even promote their macho trucks anymore as "built in America." It's the truck that "built America." I doubt that the American Idol audience caught the subtlety. And, a REPUBLICAN president ushered in the largest growth in both the Federal administration and the deficit in decades, while enriching the coffers of countless war-profiteering corporate government contractors

So thanks, Ron. I hope we've done you proud. It's a brave new world. And a warmer one.


cxx_guy said...

Actually, we haven't seen anything that looked even vaguely like "market capitalism" since at least 1913, when the Federal Reserve (which was created as a monopoly as all monopolies are created -- by government) and the Income Tax (which is violence with impunity, another government creation) were created. Since then, we have seen our money supply inflated so much that our dollars have lost 96% of their value, while bankers literally licensed to print money -- that is, licensed to counterfeit -- that is, licensed to steal.

This has been done mostly under the auspices of so-called "liberal" (this is not the sensible classical liberalism of Adam Smith, or the Founding Fathers, but Socialism by anther name) dogooders who were too ignorant of economics to have any idea what they were doing, and thought they were somehow restraining the market.

Well, I guess they were, since the function and result of an uncontrolled market is falling prices, increased production, better standards of living, more freedom, and less privilege. The interventions of the Socialists into the economy have surely restrained all of these things, and created privilege, rising prices, and periodic disaster. Good job, guys!

Avram Mirsky said...

Yeah, I almost fell for that crap, too.

And we all know what a great time it it was for the working stiff back at the turn-of-the-century.

"... the function and result of an uncontrolled market is falling prices, increased production, better standards of living, more freedom, and less privilege."

Prove it.