Revolutionary Act is proud to present our first guest post, from RickB of Ten Percent:
The level of discourse from McCain is truly awe inspiring, if by awe inspiring one means lower than whale shit.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Saturday accused Democratic rival Barack Obama of favoring a socialistic economic approach by supporting tax cuts and tax credits McCain says would merely shuffle wealth rather than creating it. “At least in Europe, the Socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives,” McCain said in a radio address. “They use real numbers and honest language. And we should demand equal candor from Sen. Obama. Raising taxes on some in order to give checks to others is not a tax cut; it’s just another government giveaway.”
Now I don’t want to worry the passport averse US populace but erm Europe is not um ‘socialist‘ neither are any of its ‘leaders‘. Jeebus knows that if it was we would be in a lot less shit over the Neoliberal created crisis in global capital. Certainly there are remnants of social democracy still persisting in Europe against the free market onslaught by and for the wealthy, but socialist? Not even fucking close. And that’s another thing, McCarthyism may have done its job in the US but socialist is not a dirty word.
So what might the American record on poverty be? Has the ‘wealth creation‘ and ‘trickle down‘ of the Neoliberal policies of Reagan, Bush, Clinton & Bush (W) meant an equal society? The simplest measure is the Gini coefficient-
Yes you’re the yellow line, notice how it meandered along until 1980 then it began climbing steadily through both Republican and Democrat administrations. That is because all of them adhered to Neoliberal economic policy. Look at the climbs for other countries and they also coincide with the introduction of Neoliberal dogma. Or how about pay disparity as a rough guide-
In 2004, the ratio of average CEO pay to the average pay of a production (i.e., non-management) worker was 431-to-1, up from 301-to-1 in 2003, according to “Executive Excess,” an annual report released Tuesday by the liberal research groups United for a Fair Economy and the Institute for Policy Studies. That’s not the highest ever. In 2001, the ratio of CEO-to-worker pay hit a peak of 525-to-1. Still, it’s quite a leap year over year, and it ranks on the high end historically. In 1990, for instance, CEOs made about 107 times more than the average worker, while in 1982, the average CEO made only 42 times more.
Obama’s plans are better than McCain’s who is using a straw man argument of an imaginary pinko Europe and thinks society is best served by growing inequality as the rich become richer than they have ever been. His preferred newspeak for this is ‘wealth creation‘ and his demonisation of even modest stabilising measures becomes ‘government giveaway‘ which tells you his attitude to democracy. Government is the one powerful institution the people have some control over, thus he wants to weaken that tiny speck of power redistribution, also perversely as the government is only spending the people’s money it is not a giveaway, it is returning capital to the populace. That it might in some small fashion do this in a way that does not amplify the growing inequality is what he objects to.
Much has been made of the racism, belligerence and ignorance of McCain supporters at rallies but this is only to be expected for a party that governs in the interests of a tiny elite of the very wealthy. They cannot rule on the votes of 1% of the nation so they very deliberately target the least informed, worst educated who will not be aware they are voting against their own best interests. Of course their polices, in a feedback loop, further create uninformed poorly educated people who cannot share in the wealth of the nation but have been convinced that government is bad and rich people are accorded godlike status. People are encouraged to look upon a billionaire’s wealth not as a theft from the public commons but a sign of achievement and probable moral superiority to the ‘undeserving poor’. It is also not unexpected that conservative religious charlatans have invented the ‘prosperity doctrine‘ which assigns divine right to the pursuit of riches in a remarkable reading of the bible that is akin to walking out of Star Wars with the impression the Empire is the good guy.
Speaking of which it is interesting that imperialism remains largely absent from popular discourse, America is the only Imperial power on Earth spending more on its military than the rest of the world combined and with 702 overseas bases in about 130 countries, yet it’s citizen’s are kept largely unaware of the dynamics of imperialism. When blowback occurred on 911 many asked why do they hate us? Few perceived it to be a form of resistance albeit monstrous and from a millionaire trained by the CIA who had succumbed to fundamentalist fantasies that estranged him from his well connected family. But that’s ruling classes for you, pursuing disputes for power and wealth causing themselves little harm but resulting in the deaths of the lower classes. Look at George W. Bush in his champagne unit (before he went AWOL) and Cheney with his deferments while the poverty draft supplies the murder machine overseas.
Why no universal healthcare- look at the military budget. Why poor education- look at the military budget. Why ineffective welfare- look at the military budget. And now we can add look at the billions the banks got immediately, but there is no money for institutions that would benefit the people. Choices have been made, the global armed robbery that is imperialism at its simplest takes precedent over nurturing human beings. It’s the elephant in the room (usually communicated in the newspeak of ‘a strong America‘) , it took a shattering world war and the collapse of our empire before Britain got some institutions of human necessity, a health service, welfare, a less unequal education system, incidentally all things now under threat thanks to the economic imperialism of the market fundamentalists. Neoliberal dogma evangelised by Milton Friedman and whose implementation in Latin America was deemed justification for the torture and murder of hundreds of thousands of people (helpfully sped along with American training, funding and military ‘advisors’) is the neoconservatism of economics and attempts to make it palatable (risible bilge like ‘Freakonomics’) persist in corporate media even as its failure is manifest in the collapsed financial markets. Its end stage authoritarianism is now emerging in the homeland of the ideology, interrogation has replaced the word torture in the corporate media lest it offend the elite who legalised it, police at the RNC had insurance against brutality claims and Iraq traumatised troops are now deployed domestically for the first time ever.
From ‘socialist‘ Europe it appears quite clear McCain heads a movement that could easily be termed crypto fascist. Obama is a centrist, a conservative in some respects but given the choice (such as it is) it is not unsurprising the world wants to see him heading the American Empire. Being as the rest of the world has to live with this leviathan we would at least like someone who doesn’t enjoy jokes about bombing countries (not surprising for a man who dropped bombs on civilians, Kurt Vonnegut noted that quality also in George Bush snr. such pilots never see the death they cause, they have a different perception of war from the lowly infantry private).
But liberals/progressives/leftists will remain disappointed with the people they get elected (if they still can) until the two great underlying pressures on any administration, Neoliberal economic policy and imperialism, are challenged. This is even more pressing with the crisis caused by the ideology of free market fundamentalists, with a recession settling in societies react by becoming more authoritarian/fascist or they embrace social democracy with government by and for the people. That the barest hints of social democracy are hysterically called socialist or Marxist is simply a sign of how far to the right the conservative movement has moved in America and of their likely intentions underneath the spin (and their historical animus toward FDR, Prescott Bush (before he laundered the Nazis money) was involved in planning a fascist coup against his administration and removing the last vestiges of the New Deal is still among conservatives list of priorities).
If you are a migrant in America you already know what the state will do to the powerless, paramilitary raids, detention in camps, deaths in custody and pervasive hate propaganda in the media. As money continues to accrue at the top of society so does power, McCain is showing he is all in favour of this, which means more people will become powerless. An Obama win is but one step towards fighting that process, that in a way is the only revelation ‘socialist‘ Europe can send America, leaving it to people in power to govern is an invitation to tyranny, constant engagement and keeping democratic processes healthy are essential. Otherwise as billionaire Warren Buffet admitted, the class war exists and will continue to be won by the rich. Those billionaires, bunch of Reds.
Posted under Politics
This post was written by Dan on October 23, 2008