Monday, January 08, 2007

Payback Is A Bitch ~ A Continuing Series

Ill: Wizard of Whimsy

Seems that George, in addition to being hell-bent on proving that he doesn't get it on all sorts of levels--e.g., firing generals who don't agree with his "surge in Iraq" policy, which we fully expect him to officially anounce relatively soon, & continued stealth signing-statements that completely eviscerate any notion of privacy & civil rights even in the face of court decisions attempting to hold him accountable (mail searches: --
recent news saw him temporarily doffing his “Constitutional Scholar Crown" in favor of his "Economist in Chief" thinking cap & writing op-eds for publication in the Wall Street Journal.

Designed to appeal, we daresay, to the Captains of Industry regarding, among other things, the continued benefits of continued tax cuts to the sector of the population that needs it least, & to highlight the sense of entitlement, a sector that doesn't apparently see any particular reason that they should have to give back, as evidenced by the nearly concurrent news of the scandalous amount of money Home Depot had to pay its ousted CEO go away & stop trashing the company. (What on earth are they teaching MBA’s in business school these days, anyway: a sort of scorched-earth policy of trash- &- burn the American economy?)

A neat bit of hubris & macho bluster, especially in view of his Administration’s habit of overestimating the deficit so they can later say they brought it down, the editorial was clearly a countermove designed to bolster Bush’s appeal to his base, a political pissing contest aimed at the incoming Democrats.

The gap between uber-rich & uber-poor continues to widen & yawn while more & more ordinary Americans tumble into it, but we're apparently expected to overlook this, while he & some GOP holdouts argue that the working poor will not benefit at all by an increase to the long-overdue federal minimum wage & hammer on the specious talking point that mom 'n pop restaurants will have to let employees go. Rather disingenuous to argue, in DP's opinion, when what we're really talking about is a bare minimum of economic justice. Lest we forget, its been ten years or more.

The minimum wage issue is just the beginning. Let's get real & talk about the other multiplicity of factors that go into that mix: even the playing field, say, by not entering into free trade agreements with countries that don't have or enforce labor laws regarding child labor & sweatshops, & also bring the United States up to other "civilized" countries' standards in terms of universal health care (so the taxpayers aren't forced to cover WalMart workers' kids through Medicaid & foodstamps), and, to give all who aspire to higher education a fighting chance to attain it without crippling themselves with unreasonable & unmanageable student debt, for starters. And a host of lesser items such as usury laws aimed at non-negotiable contracts pertaining to every aspect of consumer finance (has anybody else noticed credit card companies & banks solidifying their hold & dictating terms to consumers lately?) would be welcome.

Bold & boldly drawn ideas as they may seem, I'll argue that it only seems that way in view of the fact that the GOP has had free rein to undo practically everything we as Americans perhaps took for granted at one time. The GOP has driven the American economy straight to the bottom. It only appears an impossible climb back up in view of that. It's really not. It's a matter of priorities.

Furthermore, Demon Princess is left wondering just what that last election was about, if not the voters' collective hunger for same. These things should all have been dealt with long ago, preferably incrementally. They were instead ignored in favor of robber-baron crony capitalism, which not coincidentally has kept our political leadership comfortably in its back pocket.

Didn't we just say it's time for a change--a righting of the balance, especially of matters going to competitiveness of the American economy without & economic justice within?

And as for the Dems' performance so far ~ the fol-de-rol & extended celebrations are all well & good; however, in the much-vaunted “First Hundred Days” legislation proposed so far, your Demon sees much more self-congratulatory heat & noise than actual light. Now that they’re poised to take office, there seems to be a lot more equivocating going on than we were led to expect.

1. Pay-go & national budget funding & lobbying reform proposals sound nice enough, but of course didn’t really go too deeply to the heart of the problem.

With respect to the latter, no sooner had the self-aggrandizing Democrats presented the bill in the House, they turned around & held a $1,000-a-head fundraiser.

2. Ditto for proposals to fix the shameful Medicare “donut hole.” I’ve read differing accounts of what the Democrats’ proposals purport to fix, but I do think that merely “allowing” Medicare to negotiate to bring overpriced meds in line with reality is not enough ~ is there more powerful evidence that the GOP knowingly granted Big Pharma a monopoly than the fact that manufacturers, protected as they are by this deeply flawed legislation, have already raised their prices in the short time it’s been in effect, & not a peep from the GOP in protest?

Lest we also forget, the United States Government created that market for Big Pharma & a host of "Medicaid Prescription Coverage" private insurance plans.

Is it really too much to expect them to give something back to the elderly & disabled peoples' pocketbooks from which all this largesse really issues, & by force ~ is this how a civilized nation treats its most vulnerable citizens?

The Washington Post stated several times that the Dem’s legislation would require, as opposed to merely permit, Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices: Other sources, such as the AARP, say the proposal would merely permit it. Big difference.

At the same time, Medicare’s chief says she’ll refuse to do it.

So far, not very impressive. After an extended period of GOP looting the treasury in favor of its friends & big business interests, we need to completely rethink what Americans want America to be & our standing among the world’s economies.

Bandaids & boo-boo patches aren’t enough, & by the looks of it, that’s all the Democrats are offering.

Seize the day, people. Food for thought: “Economics for Contenders”:


Blogger theBhc said...


"... even the playing field, say, by not entering into free trade agreements with countries that don't have or enforce labor laws regarding child labor & sweatshops,"

Of course, access to cheap labour and regulation-free zones in other countries is precisely why the US government engages "free trade" agreements. And they do so at the behest of the corporation seeking those unregulated labour markets. This is a bipartisan effort in Washington, which never sees a "free trade agreement" as problematic for American workers or the ones to be exploited because they are not the consideration in these agreements. While evening the playing field is laudable, don't look for that to happen from either the Dems or the GOP. You may hear yammering about it from a few "radicals," but the whole foul lot of them need to be scraped out of the Capitol.

By the way, I just stumbled on your site, here. Great stuff!


9:26 AM  
Blogger Demon Princess said...

Agreed; & we have to start somewhere. For years we in the USA have been swimming in cheaply priced goods, & weirdly enough, nobody here ever seems to wonder who is making them & why they're so inexpensive. I'm hearing more tart commentary in the media & press, though. SOME of us are catching on.

Thanks for stopping by, & for the thoughtful comments.

10:34 PM  

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