Thursday, October 14, 2010

The "Dangers" of Going The Way of Europe

Over at The Constructive Curmudgeon, Douglas Groothuis warns his readers that the upcoming mid-terms are going to be "an election of consequence." If, says Groothuis, Republicans don't make substantial gains, the American Experiment could be lost to Obama's statism, the growth of the federal government, outrageous deficits, an imperial presidency, and--shake in your boots--America may go the way of Europe.

Groothuis and us, we must be living in different worlds, because--the last I checked--the outrageous deficits Groothuis speaks of where largely inherited from the Bush presidency, as noted by David Michael Green, and so was the imperial presidency; not to mention the fact that conservatives tend to forget that massive deficit expansion that took place under their idol, Ronald Reagan. But that's okay, we expect selective memory from Republicans, that's what they do best.

But perhaps the greatest irony is that we are supposed to fear going the way of Europe, just when Alternet released an interviewed by Thomas McNally with Thomas Geoghegan, author of Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?. Go read the interview and see for yourself why we should be so afraid of going the Europe's way. Perhaps it's because
Germany has somehow managed to create a high-wage, unionized economy without shipping all its jobs abroad or creating a massive trade deficit, or any trade deficit at all. And even as the Germans outsell the United States, they manage to take six weeks of vacation every year. They're beating us with one hand tied behind their back.

Or maybe we should fear going the way of Europe because "European nations spend far less than the United States for universal healthcare rated by the World Health Organization as the best in the world" and are way ahead of the United States in creating and using renewable energy technology and in environmental protection laws.

I wasn't born here. I came by choice. I thought this was the place to be, the land of opportunity, one that rewarded initiative over inherited wealth and status. I have to reconsider.

American health care has never been a model for the world to imitate, but it has gotten even worse than it was when I arrived, more unfair.

Politics have deteriorated into the circus that we see today, in which Tea-Party clowns like Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle are regarded as serious contenders, Sarah Palin is considered a political leader and the Chamber of Commerce is a money-laundering organization for foreign entities that seek to more easily influence the political process than they could before. We have gone through the impeachment of one president whose crime was lying about getting "serviced" in the White House, while another who declared an illegal and criminal war on a nation that had not harmed us served his entire two terms out without so much as a congressional inquiry, perhaps because the Republican Congress was so busy rubberstamping everything that they were too busy wondering why four different justifications, none valid, were given for the invasion of Iraq.

Talking about Congress, the American Congress is one of the most corrupt in the Western world. I am not talking about bribes or kickbacks. I am talking about the system of election funding that induces "public servants" to act in the best interest of their corporate sponsors. A perverse system in which money equates free speech, meaning that you and I are crushed before the race starts. One that rewards ignoring the creation of well-paying jobs, fair living conditions, the protection and preservation of the Commons, equal access to justice for all, an educational system where everybody has a shot. A system that rewards focusing energy and effort on protecting the sanctity of the unborn while the living rot, on ensuring that the unconstitutional discrimination against gays continues, on forcing rape and incest victims to carry the fruit of violence to term, on denying science, why, even on denying that the President was born a U.S. citizen.

Sixty-five years ago the United States saved the world. Now they are incapable of saving themselves from the spiral of greed and dishonesty that has all but destroyed the America dream. This once great nation is becoming a Banana Republic, populated by people too ignorant, misled and apathetic to notice that their elected "representatives" have been pulling the wool over their eyes (and ears and mouths) for at least 30 years.

Remember this, since I arrived less than 20 years ago, the share of the nation's income that goes to the top 1% of earners has grown, since I arrived in 1992, from just over 40% to almost 65%, while at the same time it has dropped for the bottom 90% of earners from 30% to just over 10%.

Could it be that the thing the world should fear is going the way of America, the Republican-backed Corporate America version that Douglas Groothuis is so eager to expand?


John Stockwell said...

The question of "outrageous deficits", I would have
to say "what outrageous deficits?",

First of all, the current budget deficit is about
$1.35 trillion dollars. That is supposed to be
inflationary, but where is the inflation? The answer
of course is that we are living in a time of deflation,
so deficit spending is what we should be doing.

This echos the Reagan era, when the US ran
budget deficits of about $750 billion in today's
dollars, again, in a period of deflation.

The only way to balance the federal budget is to, first have a rate of inflation of at least a few percent, and hold down the growth of government spending to something less than that. In short, this is not the time to balance the budget. FDR did that in 1937 and extended the Great Depression several years.

What we need is for Glass-Steagall Act to be reinstated to get banks back into investing in people and industry, and out of the stock market
and other "making money on money" investments.

As far as the State goes, vote against the ammendments, vote against the lowest scoring
judge(s), vote for or against the person and not
the party.

Sirfab said...

Good points about deficits. I can think of quite a few economists (Stiglitz, Krugman, De Long to name but a few), who agree our concern now should not be deficits but creating conditions that result in people getting back to work, with well-paying jobs.

And excellent point about Glass-Steagall. Banks should be in the business of extending credit, not gambling their customer's money on obscure financial instruments.



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