Thursday, March 17, 2011

As With Bailout, So With Social Security

Recall that the first attempt to bailout banks in September 2008 failed in Congress after a deluge of calls from voters in opposition. Then Congress rallied. After all, if 95% of members support policy X, how can you play one off against another?

The same is happening now. The oligarchs have ruled against Social Security. They know they will never need it, but in time there will be no one left to raise taxes on but the rich, so in time, if social programs are to be preserved, the rich will have to pay a share more closely representing the degree to which they disproportionately benefit in out society.

The solution is to kill social programs in their entirety, let the poor and middle classes suffer. Why? Congress and every president since Reagan have demonstrated repeatedly that they place a near-exclusive priority on the interests of the wealthiest (not just to the exclusion of others, but at the expense of others).

The political economist Carles Boix has argued that democracy thrives when the privileged perceive that the masses cannot vote away the wealth of those privileged. So countries with diverse and liquid assets like the U.S. can tolerate democracy. I suggest that the United States is proving Boix's argument incomplete. The rich are saying, again and again, "No!" to democracy.

It may be no more complicated than this: In a society where a huge majority show no interest in current events, politics, economics, justice, truth, government, why should power-brokers deal with democracy when they can just as easily — or more easily, given the population's passivity — deal without?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Politely requesting that unless each post has concrete steps the reader can take to reduce power of oligarchy, you
all you are is another talking head, repeating endlessly whateveryone knows, without giving concrete, what you can do today advice

Ezra S Abrams
Liberal for a One Term Obama
Support Russ Finegold in the primarys