Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Important Thing

The Done Deal Health Care is pretty much Old News, no matter the fulminations of our Republican Friends. After all, they got what they wanted, though someone else had to do it for them. That's kind of the way it goes, isn't it? They sure love to rule, but they can't govern worth shit -- except as Banana Republic dictators.

Barack Obama is now the best Republican President since Clinton, so what the TeaBaggers and their ilk are crabbing about is anybody's guess. Crabbing to be crabby, I think. But what do I know?

There was no way either a Medicare for All or a Public Option (whatever that might have been) could be passed in this environment. And there is a reason why: Medicare's costs are going through the roof, and there still aren't any controls on Medicare or overall healthcare costs. Until the cost curve is "bent" -- runs my theory -- our rulers can't do the right thing and institute universal single payer health care. But my suspicion is that once costs are tackled and some containment is instituted, wah-lah, we'll see something like Medicare for All. At least from the rhetoric coming out of Big Insurance, it appears that going after those costs is the major project still to be done. And Big Insurance is not just a Stakeholder but the major player in cost containment.

We'll see. We'll see.

Yes, in the short term, it will be very costly for very many. But kind of like the Enron/California Energy Crisis Thing, people get used to the higher costs. After a while they don't notice. We're going on ten years since the "crisis" that led to raising utility rates in California by as much as 50% to pay off the bonds that were sold to buy electricity at outrageous prices from the market manipulators. We've been paying higher utility rates in California and most of the West because of it all this time, and those higher rates look to be permanent now, because no one -- no one at all -- is talking about lowering them as the bonds are paid off. No, instead, they'll just move the rates around some. So that residents of the Central Valley aren't stuck with $400-500 a month electricity bills every summer to cool their haciendas. Instead, they'll pay $350, and residents of the naturally cooler Bay Area will pay slightly more...

Meanwhile, there is a very important aspect of the overall picture we need to pay a lot more attention to. I've brought up the policies that foster this Endless Recession, the deliberateness of the languid indifference to continuing high unemployment, the forcing of ever more millions into poverty and the underclass "year over year." There are no accidents here, no oopsies. The People In Charge know what they are doing, and what they are doing is carrying out the Neo-liberal phase of our ongoing nightmare.

Jerome a Paris posted something over at dKos the other day that made clear just what has been going on, and how it has affected people in the United States and Britain.

To wit, from the Economist:

IF YOU need an explanation as to why political discontent is so widespread on both sides of the Atlantic, take a look at figures compiled by Dhaval Joshi of the hedge fund RAB Capital. This recovery has benefited companies a lot and workers not at all.

In the US, Joshi calculates that, in cash terms, national income has risen $200 billion since the depths of the recession in March 2009. But corporate profits have risen by $280 billion over that period, while wages are down by $90 billion. One would have to go back to the 1950s to find profits outperforming wages in absolute (cash) terms, and even then it was on a much smaller scale. In Britain, national income rose $27 billion in the last two quarters of last year. Profits were up £24 billion and wages just £2 billion.

Yes. Well, well, well, isn't that interesting? Profits rise as income for the masses falls. And it is policy that it be so. This is no accident.

US productivity has outpaced European largely because the US has been quicker to sack workers. This is a decidedly mixed blessing. In theory, it is good for resources (inclduing labour) to be relloacted to more productive use. Thus it would be OK if the workers were quickly rehired by new, growing industries or if they were at least retrained, but there is little sign of such a positive development.

Of course. People have been forced out of work by the millions upon millions, and they are not being rehired. Well, how about that? Huh. And profits rise. Even paying them a pittance of unemployment benefits is loudly protested by the TeaBaggers, for reasons that -- as usual -- don't make any sense, and radio hate mongers go on and on about the lazy and shiftless unemployed, (used to be Lazy N-Word, but can't say that, unless you're a TeaBagger protesting a member of Congress)...but there are no jobs. Everybody knows that. They aren't being shed quite as quickly as last year, but there is no net gain in employment, either. The United States is down tens of millions of jobs since the Endless Recession began, and our rulers do nothing but get their nails done and tut-tut the sadness of it all. "There's nothing to be done." To paraphrase Larry Summers.

But why should they do anything when profits are UP? Clearly the Recovery is Underway. Rejoice!

Profits are UP because employment is down and because the last few pennies are being extracted from the vanishing middle class through all the bailouts and handouts Washington has been so eager to "help" our struggling industrial and financial sectors with.

Who'd a thunk?

And except for the unformed rage of the TeaBaggers, the People are passive.

Note, from the statistics, things are not as bad, overall, in other countries as they are here. And why might that be? Could it be because their people are NOT passive? Hm? Yathink?

And in Iceland, the People went so far as to say, "Thank you and fuck you, we ain't gonna pay your extortion" Twice. Notice, they've been having some nasty volcanics lately. Maybe they better revisit their intrasigence?

Could be we're dealing with forces of Nature here....


  1. That first paragraph you wrote. It gets me to wondering. Do you suppose we could cut a deal with the Republicans? In return for stepping off the political stage, we'll offer those currently holding national office within the party (Congressional Reps and Senators) a permanent "royal" role. We'll take those families that won the lucky historical lottery and let those lines travel forward as the royal families of the US. We'll get them fancy trappings, crowns, sashes, sabers, a stable full of horses... condemn a couple of really big houses, in some special locations via eminent domain for them to live in, and provide them with a yearly stipend. They would be afforded a lot of ceremonial roles. Think they'd take it?

    ~ bystander

  2. Now wait, I'm pondering this...

    Are you suggesting that as long as they get off the political stage, they can play at being "royals" all they want?

    Hmm. Interesting.

    Queen Sarah. For a day.

    Ribbon cutting. Speechifying. Handing out candies to the poor kids...

    Heh. I think I like it...

  3. That's the general idea. You almost have it. To clarify a bit, Sarah Palin can't be queen because she's not currently holding an elected office. But, John McCain is. So, Sarah might be a functionary in John McCain's royal court. John would pay her out of his yearly stipend. Or, I suppose, she could be Cindy McCain's Lady in Waiting. Given the nature of their relationship as suggested in this photograph, I'm not sure how well that last assignment would work out, however.

    ~ bystander