Well, President Obama‘s numbers are down slightly — it was bound to happen eventually. The interesting thing is which numbers. Obama still enjoys remarkably high job approval, but the nonstop GOP prattling about spending has started to seep into the thicker-than-average skulls of “Real Americans.” Whoopity-fuckin’-doo.
Now, I’m hardly pro-bailout, but I can say with certainty that had our deficits not been so enormously inflated by Dubya‘s war of choice, we might have some cash to throw at investing in our country (and by “investing,” I mean propping up Wall Street raiders and tone-deaf GM execs). It’s worth noting that when Bush took office we had a budget surplus — something the Party of WTF conveniently forgets when they’re pissing and moaning about reckless Democratic spending.
I’m also amused when people talk about how they “had no say” in bailing out Detroit automakers — something that Bush would surely have done, too, had the clock not run out. Well, I “had no say” in the decision to mass produce gas guzzling SUVs and set up corporate welfare structures and offshore tax shelters. So fuck you very much.
A note to my Libertarian friends: your time is coming. If you can keep the paranoid nutjobs from pissing all over your individualist parade, I think you’re the future of American conservatism. Once the old guard GOP and their hypocritical culture wars fade in the rearview, I’m predicting a new wave of post-Obama Objectivist/free marketeers to emerge and take their seat at the table in either a remade Republican caucus, or as a legitimate third party. Now, I still think you’re wrong on nearly everything, but at least you have a political ideology based on something other than fear and bigotry.
But this isn’t about you, so do your organizing and wait your goddamn turn. (One bit of advice: find someone a bit more spry/cogent than Ron Paul to be your frontman.)
Look, Obama probably isn’t spending enough. We’re in danger of being out-innovated at every corner, by countries that have no damn business licking us in the marketplace of ideas. And what about health care? It’s hilarious to me that a clear majority of Americans want some kind of nationalized health care (which by all economic metrics would SAVE us money by forcing insurance companies to compete with the government’s fixed costs), yet they don’t want to spend a cent on building that infrastructure. Or any infrastructure, really. Typical shortsightedness from a populace numbed by high-fructose corn syrup and “American Idol.”
And if I hear the word “socialist” one more time, I’m gonna blow a gasket. There are highly-functional social democracies all across the world — do you need a list? And most of them are currently kicking our asses in education and innovation, plus you get a government sponsored month-long vacation a couple of times a year. Is it any wonder that those nations have proportional democratic elections, whereas we only get to choose between two parties under the spell of corporatist bloodsuckers?
Dig this article in the New York Times Magazine from a few weeks back, called “Going Dutch — How I Learned to Love the European Welfare State“:
Logging into my bank account, I noted with fleeting but pleasant confusion the arrival of two mysterious payments of 316 euros (about $410) each. The remarks line said “accommodation schoolbooks.” My confusion was not total. On looking at the payor — the Sociale Verzekeringsbank, or Social Insurance Bank — I nodded with sage if partial understanding. Our paths had crossed several times before. I have two daughters, you see. Every quarter, the SVB quietly drops $665 into my account with the one-word explanation kinderbijslag, or child benefit. As the SVB’s Web site cheerily informed me when I went there in bewilderment after the first deposit: “Babies are expensive. Nappies, clothes, the pram . . . all these things cost money. The Dutch government provides for child benefit to help you with the costs of bringing up your child.” Any parents living in the country receive quarterly payments until their children turn 18. And thanks to a recently passed law, the state now gives parents a hand in paying for school materials.
Payments arrive from other sources too. Friends who have small children report that the government can reimburse as much as 70 percent of the cost of day care, which totals around $14,000 per child per year. In late May of last year an unexpected $4,265 arrived in my account: vakantiegeld. Vacation money. This money materializes in the bank accounts of virtually everyone in the country just before the summer holidays; you get from your employer an amount totaling 8 percent of your annual salary, which is meant to cover plane tickets, surfing lessons, tapas: vacations. And we aren’t talking about a mere “paid vacation” — this is on top of the salary you continue to receive during the weeks you’re off skydiving or snorkeling. And by law every employer is required to give a minimum of four weeks’ vacation. For that matter, even if you are unemployed you still receive a base amount of vakantiegeld from the government, the reasoning being that if you can’t go on vacation, you’ll get depressed and despondent and you’ll never get a job.
Sounds HORRIBLE. I’d much rather live in a nanny state like Alaska that can only function via federal subsidies and has a dingbat governor who prattles on and on about the horrors of socialism.
Speaking of subsidies, this article in Foreign Policy talks about the rise of “state capitalism,” which is predicted to become the dominant political reality:
What will the world look like when the present emergency has passed? The safest prediction is that the post-crisis financial sector will be downsized and more heavily regulated, nationally and internationally. The financial sector as a whole, which peaked at 40 percent of corporate profits in the United States in 2006, may shrink as much as 50 percent in the aftermath of the emergency.
We can also comfortably wager that government subsidies will rule the day. State capitalism, in one form or another, has always existed in Europe and the industrial nations of East Asia. Now, state capitalism with American characteristics may emerge from the de facto nationalization of the U.S. automobile industry and perhaps other sectors that need to be rescued as the wave of deleveraging works its way through the economy.
So suck it up and get used to it, Republicans. We’ll see you on the other side. Hopefully with health care.