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The People Who Run Our Political Economy: Utterly Incoherent


(photo: Dorothea Lange)

The people who run our political economy, the rich and their tools in Congress, have adopted utterly incoherent policies: spending money on things they like and demanding cuts in everything they don’t like. The things that matter to the rich are completely different from the things that matter to the middle class and the poor, the only two classes that polite society admits exist. Even millionaires are middle class now, and the discussion in public spaces, like newspapers, television, radio and big internet sites, never points out that the very rich, the top few thousands of wealthy people, constitute a class with identifiable interests.

In September, 2008, they demanded trillions of dollars in direct and indirect bailout subsidies. Millions of Americans lost their jobs in the ensuing crash. When the Tea people began screaming about deficits, the rich explained that “we” had to bail out the economy, and that such deficits were natural. Somehow, the screamers didn’t notice that the cause of the problem was the greedy rich whose utter incompetence produced the Great Crash. The rich don’t want to pay for their disastrous management of the political economy, and that causes incoherent government policies.

First, the rich fought any real stimulus. The economists who warned against the coming disaster, like Krugman, said that the President’s stimulus plan was not enough to insure a real recovery. The rich used their Congressional tools to make sure the stimulus would not be enough. Obama gave in.

Instead of indicting the financial elites for their crimes against the rest of us, Obama insisted on dealing with health care. That gave the rich the opportunity to distract the Tea-screamers into howling about death panels and government takeovers, while they wormed their way deeper into our pockets, with outlandish insurance premiums.

Meanwhile, lobbyists, the serpents of the rich, were whispering into the ears of their tools in Congress that any regulation would ruin the recovery. That was enough to kill off serious financial reform. And no one went to jail. The rich saw to it that nothing was done to protect the middle class against their servant bankers, leading to massive foreclosure fraud and further stalling recovery.

Then the rich took their natural place at the head of the parade of deficit pretenders, arguing that only massive cuts in public sector spending would lead to economic growth. They explained that you couldn’t raise taxes in a near-depression, because that would reduce the magic of the private sector spending. There was no private sector spending, despite the trillions in the pockets of corporations and trillions more in the pockets of the rich. Then they explained that you can’t spend what you don’t have, so there wasn’t any public sector spending. Instead, states cut muscle and bone out of their budgets. And that meant that there wasn’t any economic recovery worth talking about, and no one went to jail because no US Attorney and no DA even investigated the crimes.

Everyone noticed the lousy economy, while forgetting its cause. Democrats also noticed that the wars continued, the abuses of civil liberties continued, and that NO ONE WENT TO JAIL. The Republicans had a massive win over dispirited Democrats in the 2010 election.

Obama responded by cutting taxes on the rich, and cutting social programs. Republicans dumped on teachers and cops and continued their war on Social Security and Medicare. Democrats joined in, including New York Governor Mario Cuomo, who among other egregious actions refuses to pay a court-ordered payment to the poorest schools in the state so he can cut taxes for the top 2% of his state’s residents.

So, apparently we have to have deficits to pay for the economic disaster caused by the rich, but we have to pay for them by crushing the poor, the old and the middle class. The millionaires feel insecure, so no taxes for them. We pay for government with FICA taxes on the bottom income-earners, then we cut Social Security. NO ONE GOES TO JAIL.

Now Obama starts another war. Yesterday, we sent Libya 112 Tomahawk missiles, at $569,000 each, a total of about $63.7 million. The rich don’t want to pay for that either. How many people get thrown off Medicaid to pay for Raytheon for more Tomahawks?

Meanwhile, the governments of other North African and Middle East countries kill their own people while we do nothing.

How can we as nation survive this utterly incoherent management of the political economy by the rich?

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