Saturday, November 06, 2010

Fall back.

Hi everyone,

Shellacking is right and about time, too. Maybe this will wake up those members of the electorate who've been lulled to sleep by visions of corporate sugarplums -- of course, that is why they call it the American Dream. It only works when you're sleeping.

Frankly, the only thing about this election that unsettled me was watching the narcotic effects of all that negative, US Chamber funded advertising. I can think of any number of reasons a conservative might have voted against Feingold, for instance, but I never heard one of those reasons uttered by any conservative -- instead what we heard were the fear soaked memes of the kind of business marketing that will sacrifice democracy for profits.

But then, there's nothing really surprising about that either.

St. Crispin's Day will be back.

Saturday's column.

Time to fall back
Election holds promise of tight wages and wild spending history

Daylight savings time ended this week on Tuesday when Wisconsin voters, encouraged by a massive corporate sponsored campaign of public service announcements, turned their clocks back a full six years to 2004. Not content with perhaps the most thoroughgoing financial reform in legislative history, an overhauled health care system designed to keep Medicare solvent and extend care to millions of previously uncovered families, or a tax break for 95 percent of the population, Americans voted for change.

After springing forward, it was time to fall back. Local elections in the coming year will determine whether to change Wisconsin’s state motto from “Forward” to “Backwards.”

People love thinking about change, but nobody actually likes to do it. Rather than face further anxiety about the future, Americans dependably marched backwards toward the brighter and more compelling marketing plan and back to political and economic policies they could believe in.

What does Conservative change look like? It’s familiar to every American. It’s the kind of Reaganomics-driven change that limited the average salary increase among middle class workers to less than 1 percent between 1980 and 2008, while simultaneously cutting taxes and government regulations in a way that launched the income of the wealthiest 5 percent into the orbit.

Tuesday’s choice for the comfortably nonthreatening 1 percent improvement stands in stark contrast to the, apparently frightening, 30 years of Dark Ages between 1950 and 1980, when the average worker’s salary rose 74.6 percent. Voters, encouraged by the right wing, cheerfully rejected the latter in favor of the former. It was a satisfying endorsement of the kind of oligarchic change in which autoworkers take huge pay cuts while Wall Street corner office boys receive bonuses at record levels.

Voters acted just in time too, for had this uncontrolled pattern of income growth for regular Americans continued through 2008, the average income of the bottom 90 percent of Americans would have been 68 percent higher than it is today: a disturbing $406 a week for the typical family.

Clearly, Americans weren’t comfortable with that kind of prosperity and, by trusting Republican administrations in the 1980s and 2000s ducked any anxiety all of that extra income might have caused. Fortunately, much of that anxiety-producing income ended up in the pockets of the top 1 percent where it was spent on new nautically themed cocktail napkins for yachting parties and, of course, job creation. The fact that recent windfalls to corporate coffers haven’t been used for job creation only indicates that yachting parties are a more pressing matter – that’s all.

Voters also fired off a firm “No way man” to the crazed liberal tax and spend ideology, a worldview that pays for the services we elect representatives to provide and maintain by using taxation. Under this lunatic upside-down world, every time the government spends money on something – space shuttles, interstate highways, protecting our food supply – they insist on raising the money to pay for it.

Imagine the inefficiency of having to pay for what you want. By contrast, voters on Tuesday opted for the simpler and less painful Republican approach: spending money on services we need but refusing to charge us for any of it. The trick is to not pay for any of it now, but to instead cut taxes and channel all of that expense into future debt.

As this column has pointed out before, Republicans can take pride in never having to pay for anything. Democrats, on the other hand, can be safely saddled with the elitist albatross of having never once increased national debt as a percentage of GDP, not since FDR. Just like those friends of yours who don’t owe anything on their credit cards. The credit card industry calls people like that “deadbeats.” Conservatives call people like that “liberals.”

Best of all Scott Walker, the governor-Elect, immediately declared that “Wisconsin is now open for business.” It is. Now that we, finally, have the best government money can buy, everyone can expect the same level of government concern every fast-food employee knows they’ll receive from their assistant manager whenever they need a night off to study – or have a life.

And that, at least, is the kind of change we’re all familiar with.

Most importantly, resetting our political and economic policies to standard conservative time on Tuesday really cleaned the Democratic Party’s clock. Everyone can use a good clock cleaning now and then, especially when they’ve earned it.

Oh but remember: We get one hour back this weekend. That’ll be a start.



Kevin Scheunemann said...

This election was a sound repudiation of progressives.

People do not want to be beholden to government for their essential needs like health care.

America is the greatest nation on the planet, (despite the progressive attempt to demonize it) and I know it irks European socialists like Soros to not be able to get their hands on America.

After all, European socialists are running out of other people's money to spend and they view America as something for them to consume and destroy!

wbman said...

I've become philosophically fatalistic, which is a risky thing to tell a philosophy professor. "People get the government they deserve" and "You reap what you sow". Well, fine.

If seniors and the middle class think that the Republican Party and the Koch-fueled Tea Party will look out for their interests, then enjoy. After they repeal the health care reform, enjoy finding insurance for your cancer-ridden spouse or child (my adult son has had an autoimmune disease since he was 11; I know this scenario well). If you aren't independently wealthy, enjoy working longer for your Social Security. The $116,000 salary cap for Social Security taxes could be raised or removed, but better you should just keep working. And enjoy the double-whammy of fewer regulations and a limit on the personal injury lawsuits that will certainly result; after all, it's good for business.

wbman said...

On another matter, the Right's whining that Obama is "narcissistic" reached the point of lunacy a couple of weeks ago, when the Presidential Seal fell off his podium. The President said, "Well, I think you all know who I am". Most fair-minded people would recognize this as a humorous response to the accident. "Nay, nay" the Right ejaculated. "Narcissistic!" Just wander over to Boots & Sabers and take a look.

Contrast that with Rebecca Kleefisch's comments about her decision to start chemotherapy: "My family is important and my family has grown to all the families in the state of Wisconsin now. I have to care about the futures of not just the Kleefisch household, but all the households in Wisconsin. This is a choice I'm making as a mom and as the lieutenant governor-elect."

Now THAT'S narcissistic.

Mpeterson said...

lol. Kevin, you sound like a Cubs fan chanting "We're Number 1! We're Number 1!" as they finish out the season in 9th place.

Wb: Oh, don't despair. We can always get great jobs sweeping Kevin's DQ parking lot. He pays a living wage so, like, no problem.

Kevin Scheunemann said...

Sweeping the parking lot?

That's what I have a garden hose for.

Why don't you create some jobs? You do a lot complaining, but never risk your time, money, and effort to produce anything that creates jobs. However, you seem to be an expert at spending other people's time, money, and effort.

That's why Russ lost to Ron Johnson. People don't want their hard work, time, and effort taxed away from them by government.

Its that simple.

America is #1, despite our president's efforts to tear it down the last 2 years.

SMITTY1037 said...

"I can think of any number of reasons a conservative might have voted against Feingold, for instance, but I never heard one of those reasons uttered by any conservative..."
- - -
"lol. Kevin, you sound like a Cubs fan chanting "We're Number 1! We're Number 1!" as they finish out the season in 9th place."
- - -
The irony behind a philosopher unable to decipher human events aside... Mark have vested entitlements to protect. And a cross to burn somewhere....but this lack of vision can only be favorable for conservative causes. Mark, run with this arrogance and ignorance like Sarah Palin running the Humpy's marathon...

larryteufel said...

Buy why do people want to beholden to a government that supports business that doesn't want to pay a living wage? Am I wrong, will the Republicans want union scale for those jobs?
Kevin, what was the cryptic letter to the editor that said you were a liberal. I thought maybe you saw the light and crossed over.

sofa said...

Kevin- Agree. The election was a 'restraining order' on Obamao and his collectivism.

sofa said...

larry - A "Liberal" in Western Civilization is someone who embraces Freedom. Liberals hate oppression by the state.

"Progressives" have come to embrace the communist collective and all powerful state, on which the depend for food. Very anti-American.

Sic Semper Tyrannis.

Kevin Scheunemann said...


I was confused by the letter as well.

Being "liberal" in the classical sense--not liberal/progressive in the oppressive modern day sense, generally does not denote one as left wing.

I'm usually accused of being right wing. The letter was so cryptic, and unclear, I'm not exactly sure I was the "Mr. Scheuenmann" being addresed in the letter.