It is interesting to down right frightening to look at the state of American politics in this election year of our lord. We have two, count em, two wholly lackluster Presidential candidates both running in an epic spectacle of absurdities. Our reformer has ignored us and laughed at us and he thinks we don't know, but we do. I was reading a story about Obama's drone missile program and the very first reader comment asked, "Police state much?"
There is a vibe, a feeling, reflected in the lens of my own life; you don't care so much about what you don't own. The American people get it and respond accordingly, as someone who doesn't own nor has any stake in the electoral process. Suddenly, Obama has become the Jon Lovitz' character who can't say no, "Gay marriage? Yeah, I'm for that, I was always for that! Immigration reform? Sure, we need immigration reform, yes; I'm in favor of that!" The candidate assumes we own neither calendar nor sense enough to smell election year stunting from a president who's spent the bulk of the last three years keeping most of John McCain's campaign promises.
On the other side we have Willard (Mitt) Romney, a campaign that should carry as its slogan, "No really, were serious." A cocktail party on the Fiesta deck of the Titanic. We've seen the trade offs to extend Bush tax cuts and jobs bills which was sixty percent tax breaks. What's more, the American people see this economy and in this economy they see two candidates promising them only more of the same or worse. There are two kinds of people in this economy, those who have lost their jobs and those who haven't lost their jobs yet.
In Willard (Mitt) Romney we have the personification of all American evil. In an era of economic struggle the Republicans choose to nominate T.J. Money bags, the man off the monopoly box. A campaign dynamic operating under the premise everything is Obama's fault, we'd rather go back to doing it the way that caused the problem. It's the vision thing; Romney has no vision because he only sees the America visible from the veranda of the country club. A banker, a bully, a child of the super rich, a draft dodger and elite educrat promising the American people nothing but a smile.
Romney is possibly the worst presidential candidate since Thomas Dewey and Dewey almost won. Dewy also had an uncomfortable look about him and a disconnected manner which could turn people off, so much so, that Dewey had as much to do with losing the Presidency as Truman did in winning it. Dewy was a cold fish as is our Willard, Dewy was an empty suit as is Willard. Only times have changed in America, the same tired old platitudes have a grinding irritation to them now. And after three years of economic hard times with no sign of relief on the horizon puts an even a finer point on it. There's just nothing here get excited about unless your primary interest in life is Bibles, bullets, babies or bumping uglies.
With Barack Obama we've been through the wash cycle once, we know when Obama says create jobs he means more corporate tax cuts. In Ronald Reagan's first administration they pushed through eight different tax cuts while the Obama administration has pushed for twenty two. Obama is a corporate Fascist, a corporate whore. His reelection for a second term will prompt an immediate sharp right turn and this time when his administration says "f*ck the UAW" they'll mean it.
It is a National PTSD, a slow moving train wreck four years long. As I was taking out the trash at the apartment complex, I noticed groups of men standing in several areas around the complex. I've seen these men before, I've seen them in Georgia, I've seen them in Minnesota and now I see them in Oregon. There is zero wage growth in this economy in any demographic; it means that even doctors and lawyers aren't getting raises anymore. It means the system is slowly strangling on itself.
It means most high school kids will never have a part time job while in school. It means twenty percent of our households have at least one unemployed member in them. Millions who will never be able to save for retirement and a generation of unemployed face abject abandonment by their country. It is a dangerous thing to impoverish millions and then to ignore them. It makes the ignored think along the lines of other more radical solutions. It makes them susceptible to following unscrupulous leadership of someone promising easy respite, a road to dark place.
Fear not the apathy, but fear what comes after the apathy. Tens of millions Americans live lives of what used to be, former titles of former employers. Grant writers, supervisor, head cashier and it's all been snatched away from them. They don't live in that world anymore, they see a house like the one they used to live in or a car like they one they used to drive and it grates upon them like tight shoes. They look upon their former life and see no improvement in their current one, none, after three years and they get to thinking, maybe the recovery's not coming.
They would be right, a recovery that's not coming instead, they will face $1.2 trillion in budget cuts coming in January, known as sequestration; roughly $321 billion would be cut from the "nondefense discretionary" spending. Education, food inspections, cancer research even law enforcement and grants to cities. We face as a nation the most potentially devastating assault on the domestic economy in American history and the American public get, nary a word from either camp.
New York Times - "There has been a great deal of attention to the defense side," said Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington. "I think a lot of people simply aren't aware" of the other cuts, she added."
It would be easy to speculate why most Americans don't know about the other cuts, as well as why they aren't being told about them. Could it be because a lot of people have no ownership in this society? They hang on and rather than hoping for a better instead hope only for no worse. The attention which defense has been receiving is only to make sure our juggernaut keeps rolling. While little attention is being paid to the budget cuts affecting the little people you know, you and me? Already in advance of government cuts contractors are planning hundreds of layoffs. Cascading in to thousands after removing $321 billion from an anemic economy can only roll down hill. Millions cut from social programs while the economy falters. What will it matter then, Obama will be our leader for the next four years and will revert to Jon Lovitz, "Fix the economy? With er um, tax cuts! Yeah tax cuts, that's the ticket! We didn't want to extend the Bush tax cuts but we made a bipartisan deal and well, the millionaires get a tax cut and the administration got this ah, this, solid gold hockey puck. Yeah that's it, we really needed a new hockey puck!
"Into the ears of many of you has been dinned the cry that your Government is piling up an unconscionable and back-breaking debt. Let me tell you a simple story: In the spring of 1933, many of the great bankers of the United States flocked to Washington. They were there to get the help of their Government in saving their banks from insolvency. To them I pointed out, in all fairness, the simple fact that you could not make bread without flour, the simple fact that the Government would be compelled to go heavily into debt for a few years to come, in order to save banks and save insurance companies and mortgage companies, and railroads, and to take care of millions of people who were on the verge of starvation. Every one of these gentlemen expressed to me at that time the firm conviction that it was all well worth the price and that they heartily approved.
But I did not stop there. In order to get their further judgment, I asked them what they thought the maximum national debt of the United States Government could rise to without serious danger to the national credit. Their answers -- remember this was in the spring of 1933 -- were that the country could safely stand a national debt of between fifty-five and seventy billion dollars. I told them that a rise in the national debt to any such figure was, in my judgment, wholly unnecessary, and that even if they, the bankers, were willing I could not and would not go along with them. I told them then that only a moderate increase in the debt for the next few years seemed likely and justified. That objective holds good today; but remember that at that time many bankers and big business men would have been willing to put the country far deeper into debt than I shall ever let it go." -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt 1935
There is your difference, this time the people will get the bill but no bailout, no WPA or CCC. It is Friday night in Portland and as I walked back from the store a young couple in their twenties are fishing for cans and bottles out of the trash cans, I wonder who they plan to vote for?
"We need a Nuremberg to put on trial the economic order that they have imposed on us, that every three years kills more men, women and children by hunger and preventable or curable diseases than the death toll in six years of the Second World War." -- Fidel Castro