Friday, March 11, 2011

Back in Charge with Nothing to See Here, Move Along

There was a very disturbing Rachel Maddow special last night. Yes, the Wisconsin Republicans belatedly figured out a way to strip unions. Hmmm.. and why didn't anyone figure this out before? Just cut all the pretenses about balancing the budget, which required the wayward Democrats, and just vote on the part that takes people's rights from them Done deal. Honestly, I can't figure out why they didn't do this earlier.

In Rachel Maddow's "special report" she pointed out how many of the states controlled by Republicans were stripping unions (which avoids their money in the next election supporting Democrats) and coming up with ingenious voter suppression techniques to make sure it is much harder for college students and the poor to vote,( assuring many less votes for Democrats in the next election.) Using the powers of control over local governments to accomplish all this points out why they have wanted less power in federal hands and more in the hands of local governments. The issue of "jobs" seems not to be the first thing they worry about. Its getting re-elected that matters from the first moments of power.

All of this is anxiety ridden so I will probably not be writing much more on this. But who knows? They are surprising sometimes. It reaches into economics, which I am focusing on. For instance, in basic terms what has happened in Wisconsin is playing itself out in lots of states. I don't mean just stripping unions but a redistribution of income from the middle class to companies and the rich. First come the tax cuts for corporations, then comes the "crises" of the budget deficit (caused in part by the new tax cuts) which requires all kinds of social issues to be taken up which have nothing to do with the budget (the right to collectively bargain is only one of the social issues. "Voter fraud" is another issue that lends itself to laws making it harder for Democrats to vote.) These moves under the guise of "crises" (you gotta love Rachel's spinning red warning light) end up moving money from the middle class to the rich. Just as the Bush tax cuts continue to bite into the revenues while the rich get the vast proportion of the tax breaks (we went through this logic in spades but it didn't seem to help). Now the states add on tax breaks for companies just before they announce a crises in which the middle class government employees have to pay up.

As we have seen, if you attempt to let tax cuts expire, it amounts to raising taxes in the logic of politics. It doesn't matter how bad the crises, how much we desperately need to pay for our government (the only guys that could keep us from utter chaos in the financial markets), there is always the argument that you can easily cut government to pay for the tax cuts. It doesn't matter that only 18 percent of the government is actually available to cut. It doesn't matter that the interest we are paying increases. Basically nothing factual matters a heck of a lot. Cutting taxes for the rich and the corporate rich is part of the gleaming city on the hill. Allowing corporations to spend as much money on elections as they wish is another part of the gleaming city on the hill. Smacking unions so they will not have funds to compete with corporations in spending just makes the city gleam all that brighter. And making it hard for the Democratic base to vote shines up that city so much you can put your money into stocks of companies making sunglasses.

However, just as letting tax cuts expire is akin to raising taxes, the Republicans may find repealing health care reform is akin to cutting benefits. Perhaps they can rush into national office quickly enough to nip this in the bud with all these newly finagled new fangled ways of suppressing voting and increasing corporate campaign contributions. Whatever it takes, I guess.

I have for a long time said how much I was in favor of helping our companies all we can. But... is it really wise to help them in the order by which they spend money on campaigns? The help they are now getting by funding these Republicans into office is directly associated with the benefits that are now being bestowed on them. Is that the way we are going to compete with Chinese capitalism?

Wisconsin enticed me into watching political programs and eventually I'll pull myself back out (for my health if nothing else). However, there were some astounding things that made the crises ridden Republicans so disingenuous that I was heartened by the obvious absurdity. In Texas there was talk about exempting the senior citizens and firearm owners from the voter suppression techniques. Seriously, people who owned firearms would be exempt for the reason that?? Well voter suppression techniques only work if they are targeted and seniors and guntoters are definitely not people you want to discourage from voting if you are a vote suppressing Republican. But even more astounding was the fact that unions that supported Governor Scott Walker in his campaign are exempted from having their collective bargaining rights taken from them.

It is an awe inspiring city on the hill. But I'll try to get back to less topical things and allow the rest of you to fight it out. My aimlessness is so much more important than my logic. There aren't even ideologies being played out here. Nothing to see here. I'll just move along. Nothing to see.