GUEST POST: Deficits, Delusions and Deceits
Time: 1:20 PM
I.C., the floor is yours.
Deficits, Delusions and Deceits
It goes without saying that to confront a problem you have to think about it. Fantasies are useless. The present political scene offers immense and numerous opportunities for worthwhile political thinking and discussion. They include disasters present or looming on an unprecedented scale, failures at home or abroad with the most obvious being the economic crash present, pending and still with us.
Unfortunately, too few want to face any of it. Public un-think and the clutching of fantasies are in vogue and rampant. Denial is as American as apple pie. Quite obviously because the American myth is one of constant success regardless of a history less satisfying. The fantasies so generated are not only useless, they are dangerous. For they divert attention from the depth and cause of the economic system’s disaster to mere surface errors and cover-ups. To avoid public recognition of this the system’s financial police assure us, as they always do in such crashes: “Move along folks, nothing to see here, nothing to worry about, the system is fine.” Not quite.
But they say the system is fine, even though everyone can see there are bodies thrown about, if not exactly lying in the streets, are nevertheless injured and surely desperate in their unemployed and de-housed seclusion. So everyone knows that the official assurances are rotgut, still many want to believe. They fear being next. As well they should because many of the civic protections have been removed. Besides which there is enormous cultural and historic pressure from the past in favor of crippled beliefs. More on this later.
There is also a major propaganda effort of deceit by the ‘toffs’ as the British call them, the well off who maintain that the economic system, the ‘market’ as they love to call it, is not only sound, efficient, productive, certainly rightful, is even sacred. Except that one of them, Paul Volker, the Federal Reserve chairman of some years ago says it is “broken.” He ought to know.
Call the propaganda effort one of spreading an economic ‘booze’ of explanations to fracture public thinking. Propped against all reality it does help to maintain legitimacy for the few. After all, the wealthy are in charge of the system through corporations and the Federal Reserve system. To admit their complicity and their culpability in its failures would not be good for their continued possession and governance of things economic. Failure here would disclose they do not govern for the people but for themselves. Order must be maintained. That is to say, the importance of persons in a class society must be so ordered as to maintain those on top in their positions, otherwise they always maintain, the rest of us wouldn’t know what to do or our place in doing it.
That ‘maintenance’ is not a matter of merely supporting the capitalist system but increasingly to protect the attempts to strengthen the position of wealth within that system so that the wealthy become even more the favored recipients of its largess. Congress does this all the time. Watch them. The Constitution originally structured it so, but congressional efforts over the last 30 to 40 years have made wealth holding the total rationale and focus for congressional as well as democratic existence. Whether they’ve sold out or been bought out, it comes to the same result. Far too few serve the people except as an afterthought or a peripheral concern. They mainly service their clients: corporations, wealth associations, money speculators and wealth holders of all stripes. Congressmen and now Congresswomen do so with such zeal that like the cartoon—they really should be required to wear the logos of their sponsors on their suits, like racecar drivers.
And so for too many Americans, delusions and mental escapism separate them as the reality of the desperate present spreads. Egged on by a Republican media army of organized, paid propagandists, many citizens take the bait—that the present is cause and all its agents harmful. The recent past is to be forgotten. It’s “history,” nothing of it is said to obtain. Nothing needs be remembered. The history of eight years of Bush-Cheney shoving the economy into the cesspool of a recession, by means of two wars and massive tax cuts is said to be mere detail, uninstructive and “history” besides.
Its purpose which was and is to destroy government as the Republican contriver Grover Norquist so thuggishly put it, to shrink government to where “we can drown it in the bathtub.” They not only tried but succeeded, driving out experienced hands and knowledge in the federal bureaucracy, substituting party hacks, incompetents and loyalists (to Bush) of all sizes and types as the Emergency Management response to Katrina and the Minerals Management Service to the oil spill are exhibits A and A plus.
The never look back attitude claims Obama is now and only his faults of the past two years are said to be overwhelming and controlling. Besides, he’s not a real American which means he’s not a pink-white, suffocating bootlicker of the business class. No picking and choosing here, no searching for real causes or solutions, the manufactured hysteria is to vacate, annihilate, wipe the slate clean. Even more the solution is said to be not to think but emote. Get angry, scream and yell, which in itself is not that bad, but to refuse to think so that the anger is pointed in the proper direction with decent values attached—that is unconscionable. To obtain a picture of the archetype of such action that the nay sayers like, pay attention to the Republican candidate for governor of New York, Carl P. Paladino.
There in human form appears the nearly totally unbalanced, political lunatic tending toward nihilism. Present government, he says, is so bad; destruction is not only thinkable but desirable. His solution, he promises, is to make it happen. The solution to any problem he believes is to foment, yell, bully, especially bully, and encourage citizens to do the same. It avoids any effort of discovery which might cast light on the identity of the perpetrators of which he is, of course, one. The ‘perp’ in his case as it was in George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s, is to create a successful diversion of fiction so that attention is diverted away from their own focused, piling up of wealth while the citizenry wither. They claim they must be allowed this condition of opportunities because somehow, in some undescribed way, their money pile will benefit us all.
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