(and after reading Krugman’s column, “The Mellon Doctrine,” check out my lengthy, informative, insightful, and broadly pithy post to the NYT, reproduced below)
THANK YOU, Prof. Krugman, for once again presenting a clear-eyed view of economic REALITY in America and refusing to peddle the establishment “Kool-Aid” embraced by Republican and Democratic politicians across the country (including our timorous, visionless president, Mr. Obama): the Tea-Party driven notion that draconian austerity and the “confidence fairy” will solve America’s economic woes.
(As most of us realize, the only hope for the country’s economic recovery lies in: 1) major investment in our crumbling infrastructure, 2) transitioning from fossil fuels to sustainable forms of energy; 3) restoring a robust public education system with proven measures like reduced class size, decent salaries to attract talented teachers, and modern resources and facilities; 4) bringing healthcare costs under control — I’d say by adopting a single-payer system; 5) reforming our trade pacts to include environmental and labor standards, thereby making American workers and businesses more competitive; and 6) ending the fatally counterproductive, immoral, and hugely wasteful (often fraudulently so) “War on Terror” with its civilian-slaughtering drones, mercenary blunderers, “kill team” military culture, extralegal assassinations, indefinite detentions, and the whole global military-security complex that is bankrupting America and making us less secure and less free.)
But returning to Mr. Krugman’s excellent column…
Economically speaking, considering that 70% of our economy is derived from CONSUMER ACTIVITY, it is 100% moronic for policymakers to further depress the wages (purchasing power) and employment of America’s working class with huge, across the board spending cuts.
But that’s just what our elected officials are doing. They are eviscerating wages and benefits while laying off hundreds of thousands of teachers, healthcare workers, sanitation workers, firefighters…
Further depressing consumer activity, these corporate patsies (Walker, Kasich, Scott, Cuomo, Obama…) are also demolishing services to the POOR — money for healthcare, food stamps, and home heating oil subsidies – affecting both the chronically unemployed and the working poor (for “working poor” see Wal-Mart — heavily subsidized by taxpayers, in terms of food stamps and other social services extended to their impoverished “associates”).
As most economists understand, such spending cuts lead to far more expensive problems in the future (increased crime, disease, etc.).
But let’s forget the economy for a moment…
MORALLY speaking, it is deeply WRONG to force the bottom 80% of earners to bear the $20 TRILLION cost of the calamity that Wall Street wrought on our economy — a virtual Ponzi scheme well understood by the bankers, regulators, and politicians who pushed their fantasy about as far as it could go (not that they aren’t trying to reboot it in time for “Too-Big-Too-Fail 2.0”).
Instead of investing in the industries of tomorrow (that “future” Obama claims he wants to “win”), our elected officials are locking in the permanent contraction of the U.S. economy.
They’re letting American manufacturing and agriculture evaporate while Wall Street continues to siphon wealth from Uncle Sam and the poor suckers tricked into subprime mortgages (though more than a third qualified for prime).
They’re letting the fraudsters consolidate their ill-gotten gains in the form of millions of people’s confiscated HOMES — depressing real estate markets across the country and further crippling our economy (evicting families from houses the banks can’t even prove they own).
And while throwing the middle class to the wolves, the politicians are doubling down on inequality: eliminating the tax burden of the nation’s wealthiest and handing out hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks, royalty exemptions, and corporate welfare to the most powerful corporations in the history of the world.
The Tea Partiers are right about one thing: America does increasingly resemble the old Soviet Union, with its corrupt oligarchs, mass poverty, broken infrastructure, and kleptocratic rulers (turns out “crony capitalism” looks a lot like “crony communism” did).
If only they understood that their heroes (and sponsors) — the Koch brothers, Glenn Beck, Rush, Michelle Bachmann, and many of the other Birther-brained dopes they consider “ideologically pure” — are the precise culprits most aggressively leading the way to an American Politburo (and the main defect of Obama isn’t that he’s a “socialist,” but that he, too, answers to the corporate mob that’s been dismantling our democracy over the past few decades).
A JOKE: A billionaire, Tea Partier, and union worker sit down at a table with a platter filled with a dozen cookies. The billionaire takes 11 cookies and then whispers to the Tea Partier, “That union guy wants your cookie.”
(Okay, it would be funnier if it weren’t true.)
James O’Donnell III