Wednesday, October 28, 2009

We're All Slaves Now

An article on Talking Points Memo by blogger Saladin reflects similar thinking to mine. There is a comment posted by one commenter named peoplechoose that discusses the intentionality of this rise in debt.

I agree with the writer that this entire debt mess is intentional. I think it serves several purposes.

First of all, the vast accumulation of debt in this country has, in fact, already caused the demise of the middle class. Most people who call themselves "middle class" don't actually own much at all. Who do you know that actually owns their house and their car? In Michael Moore's recent Capitalism, A Love Story movie, he recounts how his father, working for AC Delco in Flint, MI, owned is house outright by the time Moore was four, and bought a new car every three years. What person in our time, working on stagnant wages that haven't gone up in more than a decade, can do that?

The student loan factor that Saladin discusses here is a key to this slide into servitude. By training young people that huge amounts of debt is the norm, the stage is set for successive moves on the debt game board. Once a young person is convinced that six figure debt is inevitable, even larger amounts of debt seem normal.

Secondly, I argue that this effort to normalize debt is intentional. The intention of this effort is manifold, but should be obvious. If we ask, who benefits from this huge mountain of debt, the answer is simple: for profit, publicly held corporations. This accumulation of debt serves their need for ever-rising stock prices. Additionally, if the middle class in this country collapses, then at some point in the future, corporations can re-sell us all this cool stuff again. First convince the Chinese they want to be like the US. We buy all their cool, cheap stuff and go into untold amounts of debt doing so. Our economy collapses under the weight while China prospers. Once we fall, these same corporations can flip the whole mess around....

Finally, this effort is profoundly undemocratic. As Kevin Phillips argued in his book, Wealth and Democracy, the tension between accumulation of vast amounts of wealth and the democratic impulse dates back before the founding of this Republic. The few who have accumulated these vast amounts of money have no real interest in democracy. An indentured body of citizens serves them well.

Please read this series of articles:

The Structures That Divide Us
The Mess of 2009, Part 1
The Mess of 2009, Part 2
The Mess of 2009, Part 3

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Obama Campaign Promises

So now the status quo forces begin to talk about the Left - again - as if we've lost our minds. Chris Matthews recently said this in a conversation on MSNBC with Andrea Mitchell. (I'm sure that she and her husband never talk politics, and it never influences her reporting....)
Everybody is doing their politics here. She represents San Francisco and she represents, I know the Speaker's role. you have to respond to the nosiest elements in your caucus, and the most passionate and apparently, I assume just knowing the Democratic House, the voices she's hearing from every single day are the left who want out. Now this president never promised to get out of Afghanistan. And he's not gonna...

He never promised to pull out, that was the good war, the necessary war. Oh, by the way he never ran on the public option. Somebody's got to tell these people on the left and the netroots and some of our colleagues, yeah, he might like the idea of a public option, he may prefer it. He didn't run on it.
He didn't get elected for it. So this idea that he somehow betrayed a left wing mandate is nonsense.
Well, yes he did - this is from the PDF document, The Blueprint For Change - Barack Obama's Plan For America:

Quality, Affordable and Portable Coverage for All
(1) Obama’s Plan to Cover Uninsured
Obama will make available a new national health plan so all Americans, including the self-employed and small businesses, can buy affordable health coverage that is similar to the plan available to members of Congress.

The Obama Plan will have the Following Features:
Guaranteed Eligibility: No American will be turned away FROM ANY INSURANCE PLAN because of illness or pre-existing conditions.
Comprehensive Benefits: The benefit package will be similar to that offered through Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the plan members of Congress have. The plan will cover all essential medical services, including preventive, maternity and mental health care.
Affordable Premiums, Co-Pays and Deductibles.
Subsidies: Individuals and families who do not qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP but still need financial assistance will receive an income-related federal subsidy to buy into the new public plan or purchase a private health care plan.
Simplified Paperwork and Reined in Health Costs.
Easy Enrollment: The new public plan will be simple to enroll in and provide ready access to coverage.
Portability and Choice: Participants in the new public plan and the National Health Insurance Exchange (see below) will be able to move from job to job without changing or jeopardizing their health care coverage.
Quality and Efficiency: Participating insurance companies in the new public program will be required to report data to ensure that standards for quality, health information technology and administration are being met.
This document was circulated widely by the Obama campaign. Some might argue that nowhere does this document champion a "public option." If this description isn't about an optional public plan, I don't know what is. The accompanying quote from an Obama campaign speech spells it out:
“We now face an opportunity – and an obligation – to turn the page on the failed politics of yesterday’s health care debates.... My plan begins by covering every American. If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums. That will be less. If you are one of the 45 million Americans who don’t have health insurance, you will have it after this plan becomes law. No one will be turned away because of a preexisting condition or illness.”
--Barack Obama, Speech in Iowa City, IA, May 29, 2007

This was the change we could believe in. Those of us who now expect the President to keep his word are not the left wing nuts that the MSM portrays us as. The President's words are clear and unambiguous. Mr. President, keep your word.