The problem is us.
This is the most important article you will read this week, assuming you read it at all. If I sent it to you personally, if you were the only one getting it, I know you’d at least skim it. But since this is a mailing list, one to many, you can avoid taking the time to read this article, but you shouldn’t.
Now the nature of writing anything about politics is those on the right come out in force to tell you you’re wrong. The left tends to sit somnambulantly knowing it is right, therefore not having to act. This is wrong. But I focus on the left because it is not as right as it believes it is.
The above link takes you to a review of Thomas Piketty’s new book “Capital and Ideology.” That’s right, the French economist whose previous book was the definitive statement on income inequality.
You see the left is self-righteous, to the point of obfuscation, it’s got no idea what is really going on in this country. And it’s simple, globalization has left many behind. We live in a country of haves and have-nots, and the haves in the Democratic Party, who earned their wealth, have contempt for the less advantaged, if they think of them at all.
“‘Improving the lot of the disadvantaged ceased to be its (the Democratic Party) main focus. Instead, it turned its attention primarily to serving the interests of the winners in the educational competition.’ By 2016, according to post-election surveys that Piketty analyzes in depth and across several countries, the Democrats were the party of not just the highly educated but even the highly paid.”
And the consequence of this?
“…Piketty identifies the turn toward identitarian politics as a direct consequence of the left-wing parties’ conversion to market capitalism. ‘The disadvantaged classes felt abandoned by the social-democratic parties (in the broadest sense) and this sense of abandonment provided fertile ground for anti-immigrant rhetoric and nativist ideologies to take root.'”
But the lambasting of Democrats goes further:
“Beginning with Bill ‘The era of big government is over’ Clinton, party leaders actively repudiated what they saw as an embarrassing legacy of industrial unions, welfare programs and redistribution. Having repeated for decades that public policy must bow to the iron laws of economics, the Democrats ‘remain unable even today to perceive the alternatives to the situation they themselves created.'”
It gets even worse, and I know I’m quoting a lot of the article, but there’s so much genius in it:
“The result is that economic elites in the United States have their choice of two party ideologies: one favoring educational achievement and rationality, the other entrepreneurialism and wealth. Both assume the primacy of competitive markets and justify their outcomes as the natural workings of a meritocratic system. Compared with earlier belief systems that conferred advantages based on birth or race, this shared ideology of meritocracy has the distinct advantage of justifying inequality as a pure product of natural (market) forces operating on a presumed starting point (however fictional) of equal opportunity.”
And the conclusion:
“…if redistribution between the rich and poor is ruled out…then it is all but inevitable that political conflict will focus on the one area in which nation-states are still free to act, namely, defining and controlling their borders.’ And so, in the United States, a pro-market party that claims to defend rural, white, Christian America faces off against a pro-market party that embraces the image of a diverse, cosmopolitan, urban America. To the half of the population that has known only stagnant incomes and increasing income insecurity, one party offers modestly beneficial economic policies bestowed by a technocratic elite; the other promises to restore their faded glory by winning trade wars and expelling immigrants.”
So, the Democrats have become the Republicans without even realizing it. They pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, got a good education, made it as a professional or business person and then conferred these same advantages squared upon their progeny. Meanwhile, the traditional blue collar Democrats were left out, even worse their unions were busted and their jobs shipped overseas and they were told it was the market’s fault, no one took responsibility.
Now the truth is that Biden and the DNC are on the wrong side of this. Sanders and Warren were on the right side. But Biden got the votes. Is it because only the aged and entitled vote? Possibly. Or is it that everybody else is so disillusioned they don’t even bother to vote, if they’re paying attention at all. Bezos is on the way to becoming a trillionaire, and the rank and file lost their jobs. It can’t be their fault, maybe it’s China’s? Or the immigrants stealing their jobs. Trump is speaking to these constituents, the left is just telling them they know better and are less bad than the Republicans and they need to be trusted…does anybody trust a politician anymore?
In other words, the problems in America today are much deeper than Trump. He won because he tapped into them. People were sick of a two-faced overeducated Clinton who didn’t seem to benefit them, as Hillary and her husband became millionaires.
Oh, don’t point to egregious behavior on the right. As stated above, being an entrepreneur and becoming rich is the ethos of the right! And it’s all about perception. And the perception is Democrats don’t care about working people. But it’s even worse, Democrats don’t care about struggling college graduates either. Biden, the man from Delaware, the home of the corporation, was pushed over the threshold and is now depending upon those corporations to get him elected. The funny thing is the people popped up more money for Sanders, who has boatloads of Twitter followers, who said you were entitled to health care and that the corporations were the bad guys.
But it’s got to be business as usual. The writers at the “New York Times” played the educational game, they’re friends with the rich and powerful, they don’t want to demote themselves to the hoi polloi.
And the news is laden with stories of Bernie Sanders putting a stake in his own heart. He just wouldn’t play the game. Hell, most people don’t even get a chance to play the game, who is speaking, who is even thinking about them?
Vote for Biden, I will, but it will only be the beginning. The vaunted Obama didn’t solve any of the above problems. If the rich get richer and the poor get poorer…WATCH OUT!
I told my shrink it was raw insanity. And he agreed. I’m looking for leadership, a way out. And there is none. Some are partying like it’s 1999 and the death rate in L.A. County keeps going up and am I supposed to stay home or go out or..?
Michael Bloomberg may have fumbled the nomination, but he resurrected “Businessweek.” A staid McGraw-Hill publication, in the wake of the last economic crisis, 2008, “Businessweek” was sold to Bloomberg and it got better! It could be the best pure business publication out there. If you have no time, subscribe to “Businessweek” and “The Week” and you’ll be caught up, even more than most people who say they follow the news.
Anyway, in this week’s magazine, “Businessweek” has the definitive statement on Covid-19, where we are, what is happening, and how we can get out of this mess.
David Rocke, a mathematician at UC Davis, says it’s all about game theory:
“The concept is that if you’re behind in a game – say, a presidential campaign – big, bold moves can make sense, even if there’s only a small chance they will pay off. If someone does stumble on a miracle cure for Covid-19, or the national economy somehow gets going by Election Day, then both Trump and the American people win. If the gambles fail, he’s no worse off because he was probably going to lose the election anyway. As far as the American people, they could wind up much worse off from his experiments. But if the president has a bad Election Day, that won’t be his problem anymore.”
In other words, it’s all about Trump, protecting his presidency, the penumbra is irrelevant, just noise. He’s betting that Covid-19 will fade, the economy will bounce back, and even if a few oldsters die, people will forget the crisis and vote for him. He’s throwing the long ball. The news media and the Democrats are grunting it out in the ground game, going for inches and yards, moving forward and then getting pushed back.
“There’s actually a fair chance that Trump’s bet will pay off. Let’s say the number of new cases continues to fall nationally, as it has in most of the world, because most people take precautions. Deaths remain elevated in nursing homes, prisons and crowded multigenerational housing, but the public regards that as an inevitable consequence of the pandemic and doesn’t blame Trump. Democrats come to be seen as silly hand-wringers, or worse, obstructionists who tried to kill the growth for political ends. Trump suddenly has a good shot at winning a second term.
Two points about that scenario. One, allowing more vulnerable people to die is a choice, not an inevitability. Two, there’s a risk that things will turn out much worse, with a second or third wave of infections that kills tens of thousands or more.”
The author of this article, Peter Coy, says that our failure in fighting Covid-19 has been one of
“imagination: an inability to grasp the magnitude of this disaster and the measures required to combat it.”
“By now we know what works. The pandemic-fighting strategy that was pioneered by China and applied successfully elsewhere is to get the rate of new infections low enough that you can stamp out fresh flare-ups through testing and tracing. If there are too many active infections, though, testers and tracers won’t be able to keep up. They’d be fighting a brushfire with a water pistol.”
The U.S. doesn’t want to spend the money, on testing, or employing citizens to do contact tracing, but according to NYU economist Paul Romer:
“‘To control this pandemic, and any future pandemic, the U.S. should make the investment necessary to test people every two weeks, which would mean 25 million tests per day on an ongoing basis.'”
In other words, there is a way out.
As for economic costs…many people are self-quarantining still, and a second wave will put us even further behind.
In other words, we don’t have to throw our hands in the air and just march forward ignorantly. But this doesn’t align with Trump’s plan to throw the long ball. He’s gambling that it’ll all work out. And if it doesn’t? He still might win.
“Trump Sows Doubt on Voting. It Keeps Some People Up at Night. – A group of worst-case scenario planners – mostly Democrats, but also some anti-Trump Republicans – have been gaming out how to respond to various doomsday options for the 2020 presidential election.”
1. Is the election going to happen.
2. To what degree will voting be suppressed.
3. To what degree will the voting process be hacked.
4. Will Trump decide the election is illegitimate if he doesn’t win.
People are now planning for these possibilities. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what the rank and file can do here. We’re dependent upon elected officials and a few insiders with power. Pelosi is speaking about the integrity of our elections, but the issue is not sexy until AFTER elections occur. We sit on our duffs and complain about the result, oftentimes not having voted to begin with. You can’t complain if you didn’t vote.
It’s twenty years since Bush vs. Gore, and we still don’t have a handle on the voting process. It is not run by the best and the brightest and the more it becomes computerized the more questions come up. We’ve been so convinced that the United States is the greatest country in the world that we refuse to acknowledge our deficiencies and address them.
But in this case, some are.
“Gambling on a resurrection is one of the pathologies that can emerge from what finance types call the principal/agent problem: the potential for misalignment of interests between the principal (in this case, the American people) and the agent who works for them (in this case, Trump). In business, the fix for a principal/agent problem is for shareholders to have the information and power to control the CEO.”
This is from the “Businessweek” article above. Leftists live in the land of emotions, whereas Trump is first and foremost a businessman, and therefore you need to analyze his acts through this lens. We do have a problem. The checks and balances have been minimized, if not outright eliminated. We cannot depend upon the Republicans to fix our national problems. Trump delivers what most Republicans want…an unfettered economy wherein you’re entitled to your spoils and you live by your smarts and your wits. If you don’t succeed, the problem is you. Of course there are distractions, like immigration and school vouchers and gay marriage and abortion…but that’s just to keep the hoi polloi busy as the fat cats get fatter. A realignment, if it is to ever arrive, must come from the Democrats. But that would mean fat cat Democrats would have to suffer a bit. But when Joe Biden considers $400,000 a year borderline compensation, that must have tax advantages, it’s hard to have hope.
So, here we are, with a President running amok and the Democrats disunited, complaining about social issues, while it really all comes down to money. Who’s got it, who controls it and how it is distributed.
In other words, if you’re expecting the ship to be turned around, don’t hold your breath, elite Democrats are more similar to elite Republicans than you. We’re stuck in the middle, and if we’re going anywhere, it’s probably down.