Friday, January 30, 2009

"Get Used To It!"

So Obama is upset that the Wall Street bonus-and-perk machine charges on, even in the face of economic collapse and bailouts by the government. My bet is that he's even more upset because he realizes there's not a damn thing he can do about it. Listen to the non-threatening language: “... part of what we're going to need is for the folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint, and show some discipline, and show some sense of responsibility.” This is not a veiled threat; it's an admission of utter impotence. “Part”... “need”... “some restraint”... “some discipline”... “some sense of responsibility”? These are all mush terms. If he were serious, he wouldn't say “some” over and over – he'd say “clean up your act or go to jail”. And best of all -- “folks”. No one in politics uses the term “folks” unless they're trying to be as non-threatening and wishy-washy as possible – i.e. unless they're doing a Jimmy Carter imitation. And this is what the media call “a withering critique”! (It's about as "withering" as their critique of Obama's campaign was.) Remember when JFK called the head of U.S. Steel into his office and basically told him, “Here's what you're going to do, period. And if you don't like it, U.S. Steel is going to become an government agency, and you'll be out on the street.” You think Obama is going to get medieval on Wall Street? Not bloody likely. For one thing, most of the high-ranking people in his administration come right out of the same culture. And for another thing, corporate America had as much to do with his election as ACORN did. So no, he already owes these people plenty, and he's not going to turn on them at this early date – or ever. They bought him, and now they've come to collect.

Of course, being a good politician, he's also worried about “public support for more government intervention” getting undermined – which is to say, when the Wall Street CEOs act like a gang of robbers in the old Western movies, and ride out of town with guns blazing and much whooping and hollering after robbing the bank, people are likely to take notice. Well yeah – the citizenry are never quite as stupid as liberal politicians think they are. (And besides, they still have guns!) And as time goes on, more and more people are catching on to the reality that the entire economic collapse and the subsequent, ongoing bailout are all part of the same gigantic scam. Are any of them seeing “trickle-down” money or other assistance resulting from the bailout? No. In fact, now analysts are saying that it will take months – or years! -- for the “benefits” of the bailout, and the economic stimulus package, to be felt by the average citizen. This is funny, considering that the perks and bonuses for Wall Street executives, paid for with taxpayer money, have _already_ been collected. The speed of the process is obviously dependent on who the beneficiary is. In fact, the _reality_ of the process is dependent on who the beneficiary is. And whatever else the government intervention into the economy may or may not be, it has already been shown to be one thing, namely the biggest transfer of wealth in history – from the middle class to the upper class/rich/Regime/people in charge... however you want to phrase it. So far, all the beneficiaries are people who didn't need any more money anyway, and all the losers are the ones who did. The lower, or victim, classes, who don't have any vested interest in the system anyway, are relatively unaffected; in fact they're probably highly amused at the spectacle of the high rollers groveling before Congress, and the bourgeoisie crying in their beer about their retirement money and “portfolios”. But, as usual, their perceptions only go so far – they remain the “done to” class rather than the “doing” class.

And thus endeth the Era of the Middle Class in America – which means, thus endeth, once and for all, the most distinctive thing that has characterized this society since its founding. I don't think there has been another country on Earth, in all of history, that has been as consistently dependent on a middle class to form the basis for its prosperity – not to mention its values. Countries with a small elite and a large peasantry are a dime a dozen; they are the most common type in history. And as I've commented before, they can only go so far along the road to progress and prosperity, because that two-class structure, as “natural” and “traditional” as it seems, imposes severe limits on human ambition and aspiration. There is always a tendency to despair among the lower class, and a tendency to complacency among the upper. In other words, the tendency is for such a system to become ossified and stagnant. Sure, the rulers continue to rule, but what are they ruling? An army of slaves, basically. And the slaves, because they have no hope here on earth, tend to turn their focus more and more toward religion (and this shows a possible silver lining to our current situation!).

And what is the message that is coming, non-stop and 24-7, from all the organs of the Regime – i.e. the government and the MSM? “Get used to it!” Meaning, this isn't going to go away any time soon. You wanted “change”? Well, you got it! Courtesy of (or so it is alleged) the evil Republicans, but somehow there has been a seamless transition in policy to the new Democratic administration, and suddenly no liberals or media types find anything wrong with it, but the Republicans do, even though it was _their_ policy up until last week. So the middle class is impoverished, the ruling class remains untouched, and shazam, that's the very point at which the society, and the economy, are flash-frozen into a kind of petrified state with absolutely no expectation of things getting better. This, to me, is highly suspicious. When times are good, we advertise ourselves as “the land of opportunity” where “anything can happen”, and “anyone can get rich (or become president)(or both)”. But when times get tough, all of a sudden a pall is cast over the American landscape, and the only reasonable, rational attitude is one of total despair. And this is all, of course, greatly to the advantage of the Regime, which gets, thereby, carte blanche to exert even more stringent economic and social controls, all in the name of the “crisis” and the “emergency”, but which will never be lifted; nor is there any plan to do otherwise. Call it (as some already have) the New New Deal; I call it the _second half_ of the New Deal. The first half involved an _apparent_ shortening of the leash on Business, a raising up of Labor, and a suppression of the middle class. This half involves government and business merging, Labor staying in the doldrums, and the middle class disappearing. The goal, as always, has nothing to do with overall prosperity, to say nothing of freedom. It's strictly about control, and power, and turning the nation into a two-class system... i.e., creating an America that is not America at all, but just another place where the few lord it over the many. And in order to do this with the minimum of muss and fuss, it must not appear as a naked power grab out of the blue. There must be a crisis, an emergency – and hence the economic situation we see today. It's being represented as a kind of domino effect starting with subprime mortgages... a series of accidents... a critical mass of mismanagement and bungling... a “perfect storm”. What is more likely, IMO, is that the entire thing was carefully and meticulously mapped out, just waiting for the right time to be implemented. And what better time than the nadir of the Republicans, the utter failure of our foreign policy, and the wild hopefulness of the Democrats for “change”? When one side is defeated and the other is in a state of hysteria, no one's going to take a close look at the whys and wherefores – simply the threat of worse things to come is enough to loosen the government's purse strings and empty the Treasury. You look for a power gap – as Lenin and Hitler both did – a gap not only in leadership but in popular morale – and you jump in. This is an age-old strategy, but it has not been properly identified in this case because the whole thing was represented, from the start, as something that “just happened”. Right -- “just happened” -- with, arguably, the smartest and highest-paid people in the country running the show. No – with people like that in charge, nothing “just happens”; depend on it. And there are too many signs that indicate otherwise – the timing, as I said, and the fact that the “perps” are suffering no damage at all – are prospering, in fact – and that the new administration is just as helpless as the old to do anything about it. The courts aren't involved – it's out of their league. And Congress just dithers. And meantime, we not only have the bailout – which rewards the thieves with even more money than they already stole – but the “economic stimulus” package, which is going to be the frosting on the cake. Wait and see – most of it will wind up in the hands of the exact same people.

And as for those responsible -- they must want it awfully bad to have, basically, trashed the economy, brought down the banks, stock market, insurance industry, home mortgage industry, etc. -- knowing that this might be a "once and for all" event, i.e. unlikely to be repeatable. We know they want to consolidate power and resources -- but they always have.  But up to now they've preferred more subtle means.  And to a great extent, they're killing the golden goose this way; American productivity will never again be what it once was when the government was involved mostly in the regulatory sense, vs. as an actual owner/operator.  It is, then, just a bunch of executives looking to cash out?  (In which case, where are they going to put all their money?  Invest it?  Ha ha!) It's certainly that -- but it's more about long-term power.

And as to the specifics of the "meltdown", and what is being said about it, I'll say again, most likely it's just a way of lowering expectations.  You shatter the American dream, and no one minds being poor from then on.  I mean, they mind, but they don't question it.  So all the "surplus" goes into the "right hands" rather than being distributed among the bourgeoisie and the kulaks.  And of course, as the saying goes, if you're going to steal, steal big.  Steal so big that people are overwhelmed -- Godzilla is attacking Tokyo!  So no one minds whatever totalitarian measures have to be taken.  Of course, all those measures will be presented as "temporary", but will turn out to be permanent.  The end result is a re-ordering of the social and economic structure, back to the -- as I've said -- Medieval model of an elite and the peasantry, or Soviet model of the nomenklatura and the proletariat, with nothing in between.  So all the "surplus labor", as Marx would say, percolates right up to the top with no one in between taking a cut.  A perfect way to inaugurate (ahem!) the slave, or servile, state.

The only problem is that no model of national prosperity has been shown to work without a substantial middle class.  This has been true since ancient times.  And of course this always offends the theorists on both ends of the spectrum no end.  But it's true nonetheless.  So the people at the top will wind up being in total control, all right -- of a third-world country, like China under Mao.  Can this possibly be what they really want?  I think we're going to find out, much sooner than we'd like.

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