Thursday, March 31, 2011
The Race To the Bottom -- and What To Do About It
The economic and political race to the bottom continues with remarkable energy and speed. It appears that the Governor -- and now the Government -- of Wisconsin is simply ignoring the injunctions and restraining orders of the courts and barreling ahead with the Koch-funded ALEC-Walker "budget repair" provisions passed by the Republicans in the legislature.
They don't care what you think or what anyone else thinks about it. They are going to do what they want -- and they dare you to do anything to stop them. Double. Dog. Dare you.
This is part of the process of "reform," don't you see. It is the way :Leadership: should be practiced.
In California, we don't know how much worse the budget atrocities are going to get. We just know they are going to get exponentially worse because the rump Republicans in the Legislature adamantly refuses to allow the People to vote on the extension of higher taxes to fund essential services. Absolutely refuses, that is, unless the Governor and the majority Dems in the Legislature adopt the Republican policy program in its entirety and then agrees to govern as if Republicans had won any statewide office at all.
In all of the wrangling over state budgets and their "repair", one thing seems to be universally agreed on: there can be no increase in taxation on the rich, on corporations, or on wealth whatsoever, and in fact, taxation on the well-off must be reduced.
This is Doctrine.
Everywhere and for all parties.
And it is, of course, a leading factor in the race to the bottom.
Wages and pensions of workers must be cut; prices must rise. But absolutely nothing whatever can be allowed to take even one feather from the comfortable nests of the High and the Mighty. It cannot be contemplated. The idea is verboten. Don't even think about it. (This was also a problem in the 1930's -- despite higher tax rates on wealth then than now -- and it is one reason the Great Depression went on so very long.)
Economic policies must be adopted to foster another series of bubbles, because that's how the High and the Mighty get so High and Mighty -- the only way, in fact, for most of them to continue to accumulate their riches and their power.
The untermenschen must be made to pay more for the privilege of being ruled by these ever fattening predators.
What is so striking about it is that the Overclass is literally offering the proles nothing in compensation for the pillage. Their program is simple: reduce everyone else's standard of living to -- or below -- the barest minimum so as to ensure the continued comfort and convenience of the merry Masters of the Universe. What do the proles get? They get to "live." If they can. "Freedom!" Don't you see?
They get the "Freedom" to support their betters or to starve. Genius.
It's a masterpiece of reactionary bullshit.
Seemingly no one knows what to do about it, despite the fact that there is a spreading grassroots world-wide revolt-revolutionary movement against this sort of garbage, some of it taking place right here in the United States, that has captivated attention.
The success or failure of the Revolutions remains to be seen, but it is clear that the Ruling Class, no matter where they are, is not giving up without a fight, and in the United States, they are not giving up at all. They are if anything doubling down on their demands and they are simply ignoring the People's Will and the Public Interest in their quest for ultimate Victory.
There's plenty of opposition, but they don't care, and they will not yield. They want what they want and they fully intend to get it, regardless of any and all opposition.
It's interesting that some observers seem to recognize and to diminish the importance of the truth of the matter by asserting, for example, that the Koch Brothers -- among others -- are not really all that powerful or all that important in the larger scheme of things, and that whatever they are doing is not really making all that much of a difference in the long run.
Um. Sure. Whatever.
The implacable Will to Power of the MOTUs doesn't really make all that much difference. Never did, never will. If you believe that, there are any number of poorly maintained and dangerous bridges on the market... cheap.
Even Sweet Baby Ezra seems to have caught on to the notion that an Opposition that is predicated on Preserving Remnants of What Used To Be, ie: keeping the Looters from Taking Everything, is simply inadequate to deal with what is really going on.
Even he sees that trying to maintain Social Security as it is is a losing strategy, when the crying need is for critical and systemic improvements to a system that is set up to barely cover the most minimal retirement and disability costs of those who rely on it. In other words, the Social Security system is not even remotely adequate as it is, yet all the talk is about making it less so.
This is, in a word, stupid.
So. What to do?
Of course the first thing is to recognize there is a problem.
Our political class does not recognize it.
But the key to reversing the trend toward declining living standards for the masses so as to ensure the continued comfort and convenience at the top of the pyramid is for the proles to come up with their own demands, not to "preserve" the status quo but to significantly improve the condition of the masses. This should be simple to understand, but apparently it is not.
Instead, the opinion leaders of the proletariat seem to be content to await the pleasure of the political class to tell them what is important and what to think about it.
Whenever actual improvements of programs and services to the masses are brought up, actual methods of improving the economy or putting people back to work, or whatever, the political class says, essentially, "No. Nothing like that can be done. We will be lucky if we can preserve this, that, or the other aspect of What Used to Be, and we can consider that a Victory."
This is where we've been for years. And years. And years.
As conditions get worse and the race to the bottom accelerates, even the idea of making improvements in the conditions of the majority is lost.
Restoring that idea and developing it further and further is the key to bettering conditions for the Many.
I've talked and written about it frequently. I'm still waiting for anyone else to pick up the thread.
We want Better.
It's that simple.