Friday, November 11, 2016

The Day After the Election

This is from facebook:
I'm trying to be calmer this morning. I went to bed around 4 am planning to get up at 10. Instead, I was wide awake at 7. I feel tired and not tired at the same time. I'm not sure I made any sense with all my manifestos yesterday. Today I have several thoughts.

Decades ago, when my friend Michael Levy first moved to western Wisconsin, a local friend told him, "Folks around here are hurting. And if the Left doesn't offer them anything, they will turn Right."

We know that 10-20% of the population is doing pretty well. The rest are being pushed down into the working poor. The middle class is vanishing. Life expectancy for white Americans is going down, due to alcoholism, drug use and suicide. That's what killed the Russians after the USSR collapsed, along with dire poverty and the failure of the government to function.

Obviously there is prejudice among the Trump followers. They include Nazis, for heaven's sake.

But unions have been destroyed, with the help of governments. (See Wisconsin. See PATCO.) Trade agreements have shipped jobs overseas. When I was a kid, Congress -- remembering WWII -- made sure there were strong domestic industries. Steel mills were a priority. That's all gone. Giant corporations, which should have been taken apart by the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, have gutted small businesses and small towns. The federal government is no longer able to spend money on getting the economy going, rebuilding the infrastructure, helping ordinary Americans -- because of an insane belief that the federal budget must be balanced and the federal debt reduced. No. The US can effing print money. It does it all the time.

As the economist Dean Baker points out, the government protects the upper middle class, but not working people.

I will save identity politics for another time. I don't think they are helping, because we msut confront captialism, not one another.


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