Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It’s a Damned Shame

I enjoy writing this blog, the challenges of composing and editing what comes from the recesses of my brain. I also have written enough that I now feel guilt and remorse when my mind proves a llano for a developable topic. Surely, there are scores of topics available everyday from a plethora of sources which makes my present writing-procumbency so personally disappointing. Lately, I have not been able to envelop an idea completely enough to get a well-constructed blog on it. Thus, I marvel at Dave Barry, Eugene Robinson, Maureen Dowd, George Will, Pat Buchannan,and others who can create delightful work, on demand, once per week. I also revel in a blog that causes me to chuckle; alas, I think I have become such a misanthrope that I find little in what I observe, directly and vicariously, to be even faintly humorous. I do not like being eternally captious; certainly, though I can find more about which to be a harpy, flagellating so many of the aspects of our goofy culture. Really, if folks cannot see how insipidly comparable Jersey Shore is to Congressional process, they are not looking. Furthermore, if the same people cannot see that the Merican cognitive process is so akin to Dumb and Dumber, they certainly have engaged in ostracizing their sense from their eyes.

First, look at our constant, bellicose discourse over capitalism and socialism. So many are angry over any action taken by the government that appears to be socialistic. I have written before that most of those who complain could not define socialism if it were the million dollar question on Deal or No Deal. They, furthermore, positively do not know the difference between communism and totalitarianism nor do they want to learn. Our public school systems, Jefferson’s idea of a free education for citizens, are socialistic- government owned, controlled, funded,the same for our public security systems, cops, judges, troopers, FBI. On the other hand,the construct of Wall Street, hedge funds, and investment banks is supposed to be capitalistic. However, our government sets them free of the basic rules of capitalism, supply and demand, transparency. In our lifetimes, this pseudo-capitalistic entity has managed through pure bribery and political-connection to abandon capitalistic mandates for vulgar, unbridled greed and has been allowed to escape accountability for its excesses and mistakes. And in every case, where these culprits-in-cash are at the brink of collapse and free-market punishment, they are rescued by our communal (as in communistic) pot of tax dollars; we all are fear-forced by the language of financial meltdown and the crisis of unemployment to sustain a corrupt parasite with public money(Bush I the savings and loan fiasco- Bush II the bank/Wall Street bailout). What is more totalitarian than these actions? In the same vein, insurance companies, possibly the most deeply criminal, unmonitored, enjoy a totalitarian structure in this country so in love with capitalism. Do you think for a second that the insurers of the southern states devastated by Katrina and the BP gusher actually paid for claims from their surpluses which are required by law? These insurers, pillars of capitalism, simply increased the costs of home owners’ and property-insurances across the entire country, so that we, all, participated in the communal-ism of their losses, a totalitarian approach for we are forced to participate through mandates for insurance coverages. After all, if State Farm, Nationwide, or All State lost money for their stock holders because they were not conservative and because they had dangerously leveraged their profits with exposure in the CDS and MBS markets, they should have failed thus being examples of pure capitalism . But purity can not happen in this pseudo-capitalistic country. Thus, to ensure profits, carriers were allowed to spread losses from New Orleans, Biloxi, Lake Charles to Salisbury, Dover, Bacon Switch. Plus,insurance commissioners, the supposedly, socialistic safe-guard to these plunderings, conspired with the insurance companies, secreted behind the veils of proprietary-information and bureaucratic unaccountability, to make sure the companies got regular increases in rates from 2006 to the present when, with few exceptions, home and property values went down, replacement costs were stable, and the economy the most depressed since The Great Depression. What can be more totalitarian, less democratic, and less capitalistic than bureaucracies that do not protect nor respond to the citizenry?

Sadly, we continue to avoid rectifying the totalitarian sins perpetrated on the public. Not one politician has strongly or effectively proposed a complete revamping of the investment/financial complex. No politician, despite scores of well-researched and well-written, documents clearly pointing to non-enforcement of regulations, to lack of oversight, and to the risible idea that the financial industry would regulate itself, seems to have read and taken a firm, voluble stance on scrubbing Wall Street clean, so clean that it cannot force us into socialism ever again. While I type, the financial-complex yet trades in murky credit default swaps, merely government sponsored gambling, still markets mortgage backed securities, and has yet in any understandable way been required to explain how good or bad their portfolios and or companies are. Our government has forced us to invest in companies allowed to obnubilate their worths. What free people would be required to invest money in potentially worthless companies? But the politicians have us confined in the fear of more unemployment, have convinced us that regulation is pejorative to free markets, and have, no doubt, rejoiced in how many ways they have been able to bamboozle us into nipping and clawing at each other thus deflecting national angst away from themselves and from their constituency of wealth. Because the entities that were the culprits of the financial crisis were not punished for their excesses, they have had record financial rebounds thus assuaging the citizenry fortunate enough to have stocks and bonds but doing nothing to reduce unemployment.

Our confusion over capitalism and socialism brings me to the pseudo-economic notion of trickle down expansion. We bailed out the banks, the auto makers, the insurers; we lent money for nothing to banks so that they can invest and make more money, yet we have approximately fifteen percent unemployment. Now, approximately, five years after stimulus checks, tax cuts, stimulus plans, extended tax cuts, we are hip-deep in the muck of enormous unemployment, in a “jobless recovery,” thus clearly disproving any idea that the rich, companies or people, will reinvest in this country. They will reinvest where they can make the most money, in China, in Brazil, in India. Hence, tax reductions, subsidies, loopholes, stimulus checks truly provide for a gush of dollars out of the country. Additionally, the dollars invested far and away, dollars liberated from sensible taxes, do not move into the public sector, into the areas generally thought of as infrastructure where private sector masons, fabricators, road builders, architects and engineers find work. Roads are pitiful, schools crowded, parks closed. We are so consumed with the idea that taxes are evil, we perpetuate unemployment. Yet, something must be blamed for our lack of good sense over government and its operation, and the politico-financial complex blames the lack in job-recovery mainly on the inefficiency of our education system, the system, as I remember, that is the whipping boy at every economic turndown. This criticism falsely supposes that because our public schools are not getting students to some mystical, technical-math-science level, the schools are at fault for the fifteen percent unemployment; simply, because students are so ill-trained, they are too stupid to find work in our technical society. Of course, this notion defies even the commonest of sense. The collapse of the housing market and of construction in general accounts for the gross unemployment in this country. I do not think it takes an intellect of Hawkingian proportion to see that construction is the only industry left in this country that cannot be off-shored. A full two thirds moving out of our high schools will need to find blue collar work involved in construction or related industry, an analysis not meant to be cruel; it is as it has been and will be. Furthermore, because we have been so engrossed in making education like business, we over-spent time excoriating teachers and students over single-event assessments that we failed to teach work ethic and the problem solving skills necessary for employees to make profits for their employers. Of course, too, it is much easier to thrash an under-paid teacher who pops maybe five dollars to a PAC than it is to hold the greedmongers, supercilious financiers, and totalitarian leaders accountable for their roles in this national crisis.

I am not sure if this is a rant; probably not, I generally curse a streak purple when ranting. I am quite sure these thoughts were nudged along by my observing the riots in Egypt, for I often wonder what it will take here to get Congress to be responsive to those whom they represent rather than responsive only to those who pay to get them elected.