Thursday, October 04, 2012

Who Loves Free Enterprise More?

The presidential debate was essentially framed by Romney around the question of who believes in Profit and Markets most. This is a great tactic for Repubs, putting Dems on the defensive because their love is not pure. Yes they believe...mostly. But they always feel compelled to add a caveat- they half-heartedly insist a couple of things can be done better without being driven by profit, such as education or healthcare. But then they stumble because guess what? Those corporate campaign contributions you were so counting on? Generated by profit. Those small businessmen whose support you need? They worship "free enterprise". They don't want to hear a lot of crap about the public sector. Had the liberal moderator been interested in uncovering some of this underlying ideology, he could have asked something like: What do you think brought about the global economic crisis of Sept. 2008? But of course he has no interest in getting to such a Real level of discourse. He just wanted the Spectacular exchange of "facts" and spin, how much Obamacare costs or saves, how much growth there will be in the economy, who will pay for Medicare blah blah. And across America, partisans cheered or booed their team and talked about who won or lost the competition. Every four years the show is trotted out and I guess there is something reassuring to folks about such regularity and predictability. Like a holiday or birthday or any other ritual, it creates the illusion that there is something solid beneath the shifting sand. I still remain hopeful that a Romney presidency will bring down the facade (legitimacy of the rule of Capital), knowing all the while his free market fundamentalism will be tempered by reality and the Rational business lobby to which he is truly allied. But it might just be he is starting to believe his own rhetoric. He is a Mormon after all!


At 10:37 AM, Blogger Ducky's here said...

It was a sad evening.
I've lost much interest in who we pick to oversee the death throes.

Capitalism has sprung a gaping hole and its like watching a couple of swells grifting for a seat in a lifeboat.

Meanwhile we'll complain about food prices and ignore any thought on the cause of the drought.
So many seem to expect they aren't going to be hit by the coming austerity. Well some won't and that includes the two sock puppets.

I got the impression that Obama is tired and really doesn't care.
Mittens was forced to abandon the Paul Ryan freak talk but that's just kabuki.

It does strike me that two of the critical issues, health insurance and taxation currently reflect right wing programs.
The Massachusetts insurance program grew from the Heritage Foundation proposals.
The Earned Income Credit was initially proposed by Milton Friedman and now they want to disown their own and take the few scraps given to the 47%.

And lacking any kind of a competent press this won't be sussed out until it's too late.
Extremely dispiriting.

At 7:22 AM, Blogger troutsky said...

Without a Herman Cain or Rick Perry, all the fun goes out of it and you are left with a Wall Street Journal editorial. Perhaps Obama is realizing how little fun it will be presiding over the Decline. Just where HAS all the fun gone?

At 5:48 PM, Anonymous Lichanos said...

I heard that Lehr is a Republican...that's the explanation by some of why he sat and did nothing.

I also wonder why they had an audience if they were not allowed to respond or participate in any way. Sort of a textbook Spectacle, n'est pas?

I could only watch a few minutes - it seemed so pointless. From the psychological side, I just don't get Obama. Does he want to be president?? It's weird, but he's always been that really. He's better on the stump.

Anyway, I find myself willy-nilly drawn into your worldview, Troutsky. It is mostly a sham, designed to engineer the willing consent of the governed. The endless repetition of paens to the 'middle class' (Just what is it, I want to know? How big is it, really?) were nauseating. There isn't even a token mention of the 15-25%, depending on how you count, who live in poverty. Just that thrifty middle class, working long hours to make our economy hum. And they don't even get four weeks of vacation like those f**kin' pinko Europeans.

Anyway, I just read The Rise and Fall of the White Republic by Alexander Saxton, who died recently, and in a side discussion, he threw out the idea that the working class consciousness of western Europe is an historical anomaly that has to do with the conjunction of all sorts of things at the right time. He sees the American mode of un-consciousness, co-opted and cynical, as more of the world-wide wave of the future.

China should be a good test case to watch, but boy, do they have baggage!

At 8:56 AM, Blogger Ducky's here said...

How to define middle class.

Good question, Lichanos. I'd start by calling the middle class a group that has a pretty life style that includes what we might reasonably define as basics, kids education, shelter, basic healthcare and dental, decent diet and a leisure hobby. A basic life with a potential for fulfillment. With some of the European emphasis on enjoying life.

... and a social welfare state to get them through the rough spots.

Does Obama want to be re-elected? I'll take a stab. No.

But the press will all be enthralled to the job creators.
There's an article making the rounds about David Siegel, the CEO of a big timeshare corporation who fell on hard tomes during the bust and had to stop construction on his home which they call Versailles (get your mind around that).
If Obama is re-elected he;s going to fire workers because he's just getting back on his feet and installing the elevators and marble in his palace.
Steve Wynn is whining also. His investment adviser, a small businessman according to Wynn (please shoot me now) is worried about an Obama re-election.

We are way down the rabbit hole. And we need a competent media to start turning this around unless we're counting on hitting rock bottom to do it.

Where's Beak? We need the opposition opinion.

At 9:15 AM, Blogger Ducky's here said...

By the way, trout, I have noticed a huge increase in the homeless population in Boston. The growth in demand at the food bank hasn't waned either.

I've photographed a sample in Boston. I try to give them a persona and some dignity. Comment if you care to.

Ducky's photostream

At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Lichanos said...

I think that guy with Versailles is the subject of a new documentary film, or at least he, his wife, and his house are.

I think the 'middle class' is actually a small sliver of people between the well-off and rich, and the people who are poor or precariously making it. I expound at length about it on my blog under "Who Rules? America’s Ruling Class".

Competent media, heh? The debate got me thinking...just what was it for? No interaction with voters. Little effect on voters, at least historically. I mean, even if the bump Mitty gets is real, we are talkin' a percentage point or two... I mean, you gotta wonder, why is the popular vote even close?

Maybe the debates are FOR the media. To reinforce their image, and self-image as useful for our democracy, while they just go on perpetuating the bland, pointless, vapid political discourse. That makes the most sense to me right now.

At 9:47 AM, Blogger Ducky's here said...

HELENA, Mont. — The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated Montana's campaign donation limits, telling the federal judge who overturned it to outline his full reasoning so the panel can review the case.

The court intervened late Tuesday less than a week after the judge's decision opened the door to unlimited money in state elections – during the height of election season.

Hang in there, trout.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Ducky's here said...

Maybe the debates are FOR the media. To reinforce their image, and self-image as useful for our democracy, while they just go on perpetuating the bland, pointless, vapid political discourse. That makes the most sense to me right now.

Let's give Lichanos the large Kewpie doll.

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Lichanos said...

Gee thanks, Ducky.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger beakerkin said...

Wrong again.

What you are seeing is the implosion of the social democratic system. Basically the left promised more than it can deliver and from Greece on down we will have to reduce benefits.

The game was the left hands out it doesn't own to perpetuate itself. Thus brain impaired Troutsky thinks its peachy when Hugo buys votes with oil revenue and turns his country into the worlds crime capital. Of course this program boils down to theft with fancy pr.

It is not Capitalism that died it was the leftist model of cradle to grave social engineering and buying votes via theft of resources.

At 7:32 AM, Blogger troutsky said...

You are half right Beak. Social democracy/ welfare state capitalism is a failed project. And if we give Paul Ryan a couple of years we can bury neo-liberalism right next to it. Only then can we begin fresh. Most will do as Beak does, keep their head in the sand till the day they go to the mall and the doors are locked.

Actually Lichanos, I wonder if we haven't reached some state where polls will become like the stock market, roller-coastering wildly up and down as the sign of Pure Reaction?

Ducky: I believe all the anxiety about campaign contributions is a distraction. Look at Egypt for corporate free elections and a "democratic" result.

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Lichanos said...

Isaac Asimove wrote a story in which the 'science' of polling had advanced to such a stage that the elections were decided by asking one man his opinion... Funny.

I don't think revolution and crisis has a very good track record. I'm more in favor of reversing the 'starve the beast' strategy of Norquist. Let the capitalists have their money, but force them to pay for social welfare - the European model.

These days, though, it looks like they are going to make a run for just taking the whole bag for themselves.

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Ducky's here said...

You are half right Beak. Social democracy/ welfare state capitalism is a failed project.


But would you agree (trout, not Beak) that it did achieve something worthwhile under FDR?

At any rate it's worth looking at what turned it all back. Looking at Europe right now the banking sector is running for cover and trying to finger social welfare spending.
Kapital can no longer avoid destroying the institutions that made its plunder viable.


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