From teh FB:

I’ve been reading political Econ books all winter, and I’ve never been so appalled. Joshua Holland’s “15 Biggest Lies About the Economy” goes into these memes a bit, to debunk “supply side economics”, “tax cuts pay for themselves”, “tax cut…s for the wealthy create jobs”, etc.
Now reading “13 Bankers”, and it’s enraging. This trend of deregulation to allow for these exotic financial products has been building since Nixon, tho it was under Reagan where it became a mantra if the Right. The Dems have been complicit as well, however.
The numbers are staggering. The face value of the derivatives and credit default swap markets exceeded the output of the entire world economy at one point. More money is made packaging debt into these supposed amortized risk products than is added to the economy via the loans themselves.
Somewhere around 20% of the wealth made in this country is via financial products that don’t add a single real product to the economy. They just manipulate the flow of money. Take on debt, sell the risk to unsuspecting investors, and pocket the cash.
This is all in a political and economic climate where these ideas of deregulation and “money=speech” and “corporations are people too” are sold as conventional wisdom by people so removed from anything except the ego-fueled money-as-happiness-metric that they are essentially egomaniacal sociopaths. Wall Street and Washington – even among many Democrats – has been an echo chamber of ego and greed for so long these toxic ideas have become accepted wisdom, with even the purveyors of these myths not bothering to check them out, and so the eager to please tail wagging puppy that is our so-called media repeated these ideas verbatim, without challenge – because those that challenge lose insider access, and the perks that those privileges entail.
It’s a big fucking bubble of “we are the rock stars” made almost entirely of people nerdy enough to do well in math and computers in high school, driven enough to not care who they fuck in order to show the head cheerleader that they made a mistake not going to prom with them. In “The Smartest Guys In The Room”, about the Enron failure, more than one person mentions this psychological profile in talking about the culture at Enron. The egos, the money, the power, everyone wants in. It’s a big circle jerk between power mad politicians and money hungry billionaires, and no one gives a fuck about us.
Not even us. We’re too busy playing acting rock star, looking down our noses at Snooki and pretending we’re P Diddy or Ke$ha drinking Henny and Hypnotiq at the club to realize that we’ve been had. “Unless that shit is going to put a G6 in my mufuckin garage, I ain’t votin for it. Regardless of the fact that I’m a 22 year old unemployed suburban White mom of three on food stamps who can’t afford health care for my kids.”
We shove ego down our gullets like we do salt encrusted fat. Fuck the strain of reality, I’m just going to pretend my life away, and spend all my time trying to convince others that I’m a big shot. And this is what America is, whether you’re an urban teen or a Wall Street hustler, a sanctimonious PTA member or a stripper. It’s all just fucking heroin for the ego, and it’s going to kill us all.
(A Ron Paul-bertarian chimed in, referencing some cancer miracle cure and a “it’s the Elites of both sides” argument. My response:)
Government isn’t the problem. Oligarchic control of the government by corporate and industry spending is. That’s a significant difference. Deregulating does nothing but increase that oligarchy.
It’s worth noting that the HCR Bill that was passed had to be approved by Big Pharma. What was important is NOT the cost to the taxpayer – you’ll note that the GOP didn’t give a fuck about the damage the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy would do. It was what would happen to the corporate bottom line. What makes you think any other legislation that has been passed has been any different? But the answer simply CANNOT BE to then stop passing legislation. It HAS to be to remove the influence of corporate and industry interest from the equation. Election and lobbyist reform is what’s needed, so we can enact the other reforms – and regumotherfuckinglation that is needed to keep the greedmongers in check.
The government is the expression of the the aggregate. It’s merely a construct by which we enact the so-called “will of the people”. That’s all. It is merely a collective agreement between the citizens to make it easier to accomplish goals that are best served in the aggregate. The co-opting of that mandate by monied interests and the circle jerk of lobbyists, many of whom are former representatives, has more to do with election law than any inherent “evil” in the construct of government. The government is us – if it sucks, it’s because we make it so. For it to not suck, we have to have the political will to make it not so – elect better representatives, become more engaged, more rational, more pragmatic.
The case for HCR is pretty locked, on economic and consumer levels as well as moral. 30%+ of private health insurance costs go to administration. 3% of Medicare goes to administration. And the government competes in the labor pool just like everyone else. By definition, a for-profit paradigm for health insurance is going to result in lowered care standards – denial of care is where the profit margins lie. By definition, the fewer people that are helped, the larger that margin is. It is unique in that regard, that profit lies in NOT delivering product, but in denying it. Yet government subsidies for development keeps innovation high. This is a specific industry where the aggregate in a non-profit system makes the most sense.
IT’S MATH, BITCHES. Even the insurance company’s own paradigm – offering discounts for larger groups, with individual HC plans costing more – points right at the reason: amortizing risks and expenditures over a larger population minimizes their impact. This is Business 101. Spread risk over a larger pool. That’s the theory behind credit default swaps and mortgage derivatives, and they sure seem to love the fuck out of that shit, don’t they? So what more efficient way to do so than to have one big health care pool, where all the resources go into the product, the care itself?
Yet you are still free to try all the quack science-free medical bullshit you want. Now THAT’S some damn FREEDOM.
This false equivalency thing also shows a lack of actual analysis. What creates this paradigm of similarity is the rules of the game itself. EVERYONE is forced to kowtow to monied interests, or else they won’t get elected. Look at the numbers since the Citizens United ruling – more money was spent in these midterms than in any election prior – including presidential ones. Of course everyone acts the same with a fucking gun to their head. It’s Hobson’s Choice – take the limited power we allow you, or don’t get elected. That’s not inherent in the system, it’s not part of “evil government”, it’s just the way the game has been rigged. So we unrig that bitch.
But people are hoodwinked into thinking that they’re oh-so-smart-and-unconventional-thinkers and work just as hard to derail their own self interest, and why? Because they think it’s cool to be all up in the hemp oil and alternative cancer cures, thinking they’re smarter and more informed than anyone else? Ask the Anti-Vax crowd how that’s worked out for them. I remember the AIDS deniers meme, I have zero fucking tolerance for snake oil and miracle cure nonsense. Like I said, iRenew bracelets are a tax on stupidity (even the makers acknowlege there’s no science behind it). Indeed, without stringent medical regulation, we’d all still be swilling laudanum and dying of the plague. But back on topic.
It’s a brutal cycle. Corporations scream for deregulation, they overleverage for profit, and then hold the economy hostage, and the private risk becomes public debt. Ireland is facing stringent austerity measures because they had to bail out the Bank Of Ireland. They had to do so because it was leveraged beyond all sanity. Yet they cannot allow the bank to fail. But they also can’t raise the tax rates because then all the companies that claim Ireland – because it has the lowest corporate taxes in the EU – are threatening to leave. So what happens is the poor and lower middle class bear the burden of cut services and higher costs while any “moral suasion” that is supposed to correct these kinds of behaviors is totally lost because the fucking Bank gets away unscathed.
Which is exactly where we are.
So who’s at fault here? Big Bad Government? Or the industries that drive dump trucks of money up to everyone’s house to make all their mistakes go away? Who do we punish? The poor by cutting services? The middle class by collapsing to  corporate will, allowing increasing profits by dismantling the few threadbare regulations that force the tiniest modicum of fair play? There’s a huge, glaring difference between reform and deregulation. Our economy chugged through the greatest, safest period in economic history while well-regulated, with legislation like the Fair Banking Acts, Glass-Steagal, etc in place. It is the one shiny period without bubbles and busts. Every industry that has been deregulated in modern America has contracted or collapsed, with these promises of “competition” evaporating as clearly as dew on a summer’s morn. Trains. Airlines. Banks. There are fewer of each of these offering fewer services at greater consumer cost than there were before deregulation. History is our evidence of these things. Deregulating health care does NOT promote competition, it promotes cooperation, which means more monopolies with less oversight, which means another big old dick in our asses. It means yet another blasted economic landscape with nothing but apex predators, and we’re the fucking prey.
There is no case against the concept of universal health care. Because it is an industry with a singular goal – your health – it is uniquely appropriate to be run collectively. Either a treatment is appropriate or it is not. Innovation is not profit dependent (it is funding dependent, ironically the one place where supply side economics works – fund it, and they will develop it). Making the consumer the focus, and not the profit, leads to better health care, as well as more holistic and lifestyle-oriented care, with preventative measures and alternatives – which doctors are more likely to recommend without a Blue Cross bean counter looking over their shoulder – as a larger part of cradle-to-grave comprehensive health strategies.
It makes economic sense, it makes consumer sense. The only people whining about it are the people who will no longer be able to improve their bottom line by allowing sick kids to die as they bankrupt their parents, and they’ll use any hot button issue – abortion, immigrants using social services, “evil government all up in your shit”, – to get a broad array of ideological and rhetorical memes to support their cause.
Need proof? Look at the ranting cross-platform ideology of the AZ shooter. That insane babble wafting between Right and Left wing memes is exactly what fuels this crap. Arbitrary acceptance of shadow conspiracies and apocalyptic end of days rhetoric with no real critical thinking, rolled into one violent, frustrated mess, simplified into contrarian faux libertarianism. VOTE EM ALL OUT! GUBMINT IS EVIL! GUBMINT OUT OF MY MEDICARE! PENECILLIN IS THE DEBBIL! It’s just nonsense screamed by people who don’t understand why their so fucked, when the answer is as clear as it could be.
But education reform is another rant entirely.
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