Since all this began pretty much during my lifetime, I keep wondering what it was I thought I was seeing while I was seeing it. I've read Thomas Frank's The Wrecking Crew (after reading his equally infuriating What's the Matter with Kansas?), and, while I certainly agree with his theses and conclusions, I worry whether, at this point, if there's anything we can do about any of it?
And the answer of course, is yes, we can. Not the way President Obama wants to do it, but the right way, the grass-roots way. Call your Senators and Congresscritters and tell them that we've finally overstepped the bounds of taste and sanity in bailing out billion dollar entities that have spent the last twenty years or so figuring out ways to keep most of the money they've handled, even when it wasn't their money to begin with. Call your local media outlets (assuming you have any local media outlets left) and scream bloody murder about the poor stenography that they're trying to pass off as journalism. Write to the President, the Chairman of the FCC, and pretty much anyone else you can think of, and say that the concentrated ownership of large media is unacceptable, and if the government is going to subsidize anyone, it should be local newspapers.
While it's good that the government is finally telling GM that they need to get their damn act together when it comes to how the company is run, the main thing GM really has yet to learn is that oil doesn't grow on trees.
(and even if it did, global warming will make the trees shorter and less productive)
And, of course, we're asking the good old autoworkers at GM and elsewhere to take a pay cut. And that's not even said with a hint of irony while we try to take back bonuses paid to people who (on average) made about nine million dollars a year while coring the economy with a chainsaw, and who now complain about not being able to keep their lousy million-dollar bonuses.
And we have to not say, the sky is falling. Because while the sky is falling, all you can do is stand up straight and hope your head can stand the blow.
The conservatives have done their job well. They've managed to drag as many millions out of the system for themselves and squirreled away the money while complaining about being taxed too much, thus gutting the functions of government. The liberals have done their job equally well, by being the loyal opposition, but not much of an opposition, since none of them can agree on enough of anything to get the job done well, but just well enough not to offend anyone, thus gutting the government. And if that's not playing into their opponent's hands, I don't know what would (one can also argue that the liberals are just as guilty as the conservatives in sneaking a little cash out for themselves). The monetarists have finally seen their system collapse before their eyes, and either a) want to continue how it was done before; or b) want to make sure the systems that were in place before the collapse are financed properly so they can build up to a bigger collapse in a few years. And everyone wants more regulations, but no one is willing to give the regulations teeth, so what's the point?
Give up while you still can, and move to some other country, and wait to watch as the United States of America, that great experiment in democracy, shoots itself in the foot repeatedly, all the while complaining that the bullets cost too much and buying a gun is overregulated and going to the emergency room counts as primary care.
Unfortunately, I think I might be optimistic.