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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the parties of big business? « Previous | |Next »
October 6, 2012

Glenn Greenwald highlights how US presidential elections are now conducted almost entirely like a tawdry TV reality show with personality quirks and trivialities about the candidates dominate coverage. There is a little room for substantive debates on many of the nation's most pressing political issues.

BellSRomney.jpg Steve Bell

Greenwald identifies these issues as penal policies, drone attacks, America's steadfastly loyal support for Israel and its belligerence towards Iran, the rapidly growing domestic surveillance state, climate change, and the refusal to prosecute the Wall Street criminals who precipitated the 2008 financial crisis. He argues that the highly debatable and profoundly significant policies are excluded due to bipartisan agreement and that this agreement is covered up by a handful of disputes that the parties relentlessly exploit to galvanise their support base and heighten fear of the other side.

He doesn't mention the conflict over private markets versus government in the form of the welfare state.

If the Republicans and Democrats represent different fractions of big business---eg.,the Republicans Big oil and the Democrats Wall Street---the Republican party's main goal is to preserve low tax cuts on capital gains and dividends. There is little indication that the United States will be able to address its enormous fiscal deficit. This is now about 7% of GDP, and it is predicted to grow rapidly in future decades as an aging population and rising health-care costs increase government outlays for the “entitlement programs” that benefit middle-class seniors.

Martin Feldstein says that:

Fiscal consolidation.....requires additional revenue as well as slower growth in entitlement spending. The challenge facing US politicians after the election will be to find a politically acceptable way to raise that revenue without undermining incentives and economic growth. The task is made more complex by the large number of legislators who insist that the deficit should be reduced by spending cuts alone.

Feldstein says that slower growth in entitlement spending will probably involve slowing the growth of Social Security pension benefits for future middle- and upper-income retirees.

The tougher problem will be how to raise revenue--- I expect there to be gridlock, given the history of non-cooperative behavior, even if that results in a credit-rating downgrade of the US. True, there is the 2011 agreement on immediate spending cuts and tax increases that would automatically kick in (the “fiscal cliff”) if agreement on a comprehensive set of fiscal reforms eluded them. Why not postpone or dismantle that agreement?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:33 PM | | Comments (5)


These are the issues that are important to Greenwald but there is no evidence most of them are important to the majority of Americans. I suspect most of them are mainly concerned with which candidate will help them start to get richer again soon.

One of the best ways to get rich would be invest in the "slave labor-based" prison system, but the options have been sewn up by the corporations. Government investment in infrastructure and the green economy, would be provide way for non-corporate Americans to get rich, but notice with heavy irony, that would be "socialism".

Its a great depiction. Frankenstein. A makeshift man stitched together from various parts available at the time. And who will eventually be chased outa town by the angry townsfolk with flaming torches. Its beautiful, its America, its perfect.

Ken L it's probably true that most westerners are so brainwashed they wouldn't know if their butts were on fire.
Les caricatures it nicely.
Just having watched an SBS doco on troubled oil giant BP and the refusal of the City of London to allow it to rationally reform itself from within, you wonder what can be done to get at the infection of ignorance, paranoia, psychosis and greed and restore sanity to the runaway system.
Am not sure if the Reich ever died.

The problem is of course much more hell-deep than any of the usual talking heads pretend to know.

One of the best assessments of the situation that I have recently come across is the book by Ronald Wright titled What Is America. Also The Age of Catastrophe by John David Ebert.

I somehow suspect that in one way or another Obama probably somehow knows about the scenarios described in these books, and many others too.

But the system has a dreadful almost unstoppable momentum which inevitably grinds all seeming "hope and change" alternatives to smithereens.

Plus check out the set of marvellous essays at this reference.