Saturday, October 27, 2012

Plutocrat's Pain

Chrystia Freeland is in pretty tight with the Plutocrats.  That doesn't mean she is simpatico with their world view or politics, but she has a lot of empathy for them.  She feels their pain.   She should, she has been making her living off of them as a professional financial reporter/editor for some time now.  She knows many, many of them personally.  And they often confess their personal feelings to her.  That tawdry, little gossipy fact, indeed appears to be the entire excuse for her most recent publication.

I have not yet read her new book, Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, but I've been in the audience when she has held forth at length on NPR,  Bill Moyers Journal,  and Real Time with Bill Maher.  She argues that our super-rich - richest ever on the planet - class of pampered scumbags have real feelings, which have been injured by Obama's constant insistence that they lack a sense of social responsibility.  Apparently they think Obama is either insensitive or insolent or something like it  for relentlessly reminding them and us that they are now paying the absolute lowest effective tax rate the rich have paid since the Great Depression. 

All the while, they cry and wail about budget deficits, begrudge the poor even the slimmest of life support sustenance, and rail against the aspirations of the majority for some semblance of a bourgeois middle-class life style.  They - the plutocrats - really think that their rigging the system and scamming it to pile up the biggest haul of loot in the history of class thievery is an act of civic duty.  They really believe that their obligation to the country lies in exploiting whatever strategy - however evil and dirty - may be available to enrich themselves.

Here's the thing.  There is not and never has been any moral or natural justification for allowing one tiny fraction of the actors in the economy, those at the point of transaction, negotiation, or administration to exercise confiscatory control over the revenue generated by the ensuing activity undertaken and conducted by an additional and indispensable multiplicity of players.  Hence, contrary to the accepted mythology of the system's apologists, like Freeland, this is not at all a question of redistribution.  It is - and always has been - a fight over the basic original distribution of the proceeds which flow from the dynamic of economic activity. 

What is needed, and really all that is needed, is a resurgence of economic democracy.  Strong unions, backed up by a civilized respect for the imperative of appropriate legal oversight of market activity, alone can insure fair labor compensation and a just society.

These are all old lessons, learned the hard way.  They remain as sure as the lift of a wink or the smell of sweat, yet are willfully forgotten by today's elites.  Shame on them.  Really, shame on them.

For we are not now suffering the want to somehow come up with a new or exotic formulation to address today's challenges to progressive political ideals, as Freeland and others of her ilk argue.  That is just so much lame bullshit.  We are suffering from the closing embrace of a lowering darkness and the lack of will.


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