Thursday, April 28, 2011

Toasting the (Mad) Tea Party

Sorry for neglecting this blog for sooooo long. But I've got an excuse, because I've been busy with more "pressing" commitments, as the saying goes. But what could be more pressing (or amusing) than the coming debate over the national debt ceiling? Way back in Feb. I wrote as follows:
The Tea Party is toast. That's my prediction. What a huge laugh. The oligarchs pulling their strings convinced them "big government" is the problem, so they bought that line and are now intent on bringing "big government" down. And they'll be given a great opportunity very soon, when it's necessary to raise the limit on the national debt.
Well that day (D day!) is well nigh upon us. And the hand wringing has begun in earnest. Witness former Clinton Treasury Secy. Robert Reich, whose blog I can't resist quoting. The blaring headline reads: Extortion Politics: Why Won’t American Business Stop the GOP From Threatening to Blow Up The Economy?
As the government approaches its borrowing limit of $14.3 trillion, Republicans are seeking political advantage over what conditions should be attached to raising that limit. This is a scandal — or should be. Raising the debt limit shouldn’t be subject to party politics. Economic extortion should be out of bounds.
Actually I shouldn't be mocking Reich, because I agree with him almost all the time, he's one of the good guys, I admire him and I'd probably vote for him, if he chose to run for something -- anything. But on this matter, he's being much too serious. He just doesn't get how funny it is.
Not only would the government be unable to issue Social Security or Medicare checks but the United States couldn’t pay interest on its current debt. We’d go into default. The full faith and credit of the United States would be in jeopardy. Treasury bonds would go into free fall. Interest rates would skyrocket. We, and most of the rest of the world, would fall into financial chaos.
Ta da ta da, blah blah. So WHAT????? First of all, financial chaos isn't the same as real chaos. Real chaos is what is now happening in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and is on the verge of descending on the rest of the inegalitarian world like a plague. Maybe a good plague, let's hope -- but chaos nevertheless. On the other hand, financial chaos, can, like greed, be "a good thing," to quote the honorable Gordon Gekko.

I once devised a test to tell how "hip" somebody is. It's simple. You just ask them: "are you hip?" If they simply say "yes," or if they simply say "no," then they are definitely hip. Hand them a Tootsie Roll and move on. But if they start whining about "how do you really know what 'hip' means," or "how can you possibly say whether someone is 'hip' or not?" or "sorry but I refuse to participate in such a meaningless exercise," etc., then they are DEFINITELY not hip and you can forget about them, they are useless. Sorry, Robert, but you are not hip. Not even close. Maybe it doesn't really matter, but . . .

For one thing, what is at stake here is NOT the future of the United States or the World, or the welfare of ordinary people, or civilization as we know it, but the future of Capitalism, more specifically, so-called "free market Capitalism." If the debt limit weren't raised and the US Government actually went into default, then we'd be kissing free market Capitalism (with a capital capital) goodbye. Which is the great irony here, because the Tea Party sees itself as Capitalism with a capital capital for sure. And what they would be voting for would not be Capitalism (with a capital whatever) but: SOCIALISM. (With EVERY letter capitaled.) Because once the "public sector" goes under (which is what will happen) there will be no alternative but for "big governments" all over the world to nationalize everything and institute planned economies everywhere -- whether they want to or not!

I wouldn't be picking on Reich at all if it weren't for the following bit:
The biggest surprise is the silence of American business and Wall Street. They have as much if not more to lose as anyone if this game ends in tragedy. Yet the GOP — which big business and Wall Street fund — insists on playing it.
What's hugely funny here, and what will mark Reich forever in my mind as hopelessly UN-hip, is the hugely naive assumption that American business and Wall Street are remaining silent on this matter. I can guarantee this is NOT the case. By this time, I can assure you that every single Mad Hare and Hatter in the Mad Tea Party is getting an earful from the puppet masters who created them -- and would destroy them in a digital trader's micro-millesecond if they even considered letting the US govt. default on its precious debt. Let the games begin, sez I. And let's hope the Democrats don't cave, because if they are as thoroughly un-hip as Robert Reich, then Capitalism will not only be saved, but it will RULE. And the rest of us will be royally screwed.
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