*edit: I usually provide a small excerpt from articles I blog about. I see here that I forgot to. Therefore, Here’s a small excerpt from Peter Hart’s above linked-to article about Paul Krugman’s criticisms of one Paul Ryan, who is a Republican “big thinker on budgets.” I took the liberty of rendering Paul Krugman’s quoted words in Hart’s article into italics:
** In his New York Times column on Monday (8/9/10), headlined “The Flimflam Man,” Paul Krugman took aim at Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, who has emerged as the GOP’s big thinker on budgets:
One depressing aspect of American politics is the susceptibility of the political and media establishment to charlatans. You might have thought, given past experience, that D.C. insiders would be on their guard against conservatives with grandiose plans. But no: As long as someone on the right claims to have bold new proposals, he’s hailed as an innovative thinker. And nobody checks his arithmetic.
Krugman explains that Ryan’s plan–big tax cuts, big cuts in spending–would actually not slash the deficit at all; it would make it bigger. And his tax “cuts” would really be tax hikes for everyone but the most well-off.” **
My online comment (typo corrected) in response to the above linked-to article follows:
** The resource-rich, macho Right tends to get carried away with nonsensical communication. It has the power and feels no need to convince those it often addresses – by way of debate, argument and propaganda [ – with reasoned arguments, dialog and by pointing to information that persuaded it’s members]. Telling us, for the umpteenth time, that tax cuts will fix everything and that we don’t want deficits, when tax cuts not only cause deficits (which are a problem in the U.S., but not everywhere), is a perfect example of the attitude shown by uncaring rightists. They are not going to talk seriously to us about the serious problems we face because their intentions are to continue partnering with the special, capitalist, interests who profit by cost cutting, which is at the root of so many of the problems facing all nations in this neoliberal era. As William Greider noted (in “One World, Ready Or Not” I think), cost cutting (wages, health & safety costs, other regulations) was (for a time anyway) America’s secret (sort of) weapon in it’s pursuit of a strong economy. In other words, Elites’ idea of a strong economy is one that works for a minority, namely the minority of exploiters and the comfortable class that benefits from that and will not rock the boat by adding their voice for those calling for social justice and fairness.
As an aside, The mainstream Left (not including Chomsky et al), ‘seems’ to be on the people’s side. It doesn’t talk so much nonsense to us. But then, It needs our support more than the rightists and must talk to us in such a way that it doesn’t alienate us. We, the people, get some benefit from that – truth and facts and intelligible information is always desirable – but we must, in my view, strive mightily to see through the talk of purported allies in order to determine intentions. It can be done. And don’t be shocked when you find that allies are not allies and don’t be cowed by the fact that you seem to be alone in concluding that you are alone. Betrayal is everywhere today and doesn’t only come from those who don’t care, and [don’t] hide therefore, that they do it. **
The following excerpt from William Greider’s “One World, Ready Or Not,” will serve to demonstrate some of the points made in Krugman’s piece, and my response, and clearly shows that cost cutting – the opposite of investment (something in means something out) – is seen by all economies as the way to grow.
“Tax havens are merely a flagrant example of a much larger and exceedingly complicated political agenda – the politics of escape. Transnational commerce, either to defend against price competition or to maximize the potential returns of globalization, has aggressively campaigned over three or four decades to free itself from various social controls imposed by home governments. These political contests, commonly described as deregulation, continue, and the issues generate great controversy across virtually every sector of public policy, from environmental protection to wage-and-hour laws, from food-safety regulation to interest-rate controls and banking codes…
“The most important breakthrough, by far, was in an obscure realm of high finance that is utterly unfamiliar to most citizens and, for that matter, to most politicians: the decontrol of capital movement itself…
“The politics of deregulation does not usually involve a straightforward policy debate on the pros and cons, but is instead driven by opening wedges in the marketplace,” meaning one nation just does it and then others start to do it because they don’t want to see that first nation get any advantage from the ‘freedom’ from rules (agreements made between classes in society about how that society and it’s economy will operate) it has gained.
“For obvious reasons, business interests do not talk about escaping from the law (it sounds unpatriotic). Instead, they promote the goal of greater efficiency – a “harmonization” of national laws that will remove barriers and thus encourage greater trade…
“The most alarming aspect of how globalization degrades law is in the conditions for work. The new information technology has been popularized as the dawn of a “postindustrial age,” but that blithe vision ignores what is actually happening to industrial workers. In the primitive legal climate of poorer nations, industry has found,” and has no compunctions about embracing this discovery, “it can revive the worst forms of nineteenth-century exploitation, abuses outlawed long ago in the advanced economies, including extreme physical dangers to workers and the use of children as expendable cheap labor. Indeed, the powerful strands of the global market also undermine legal protections for workers in some advanced economies. Sweatshops are back in the United States, visible from Los Angeles to New York and across the rural South…
“The bonds of social consent have been torn asunder and people find themselves free to make their own rules. That leads to corruption. Corrupt money deals between business and politics are epidemic around the world…
“Depending on how one counts them, another billion or two people have joined the ranks of potential workers in the free market of global industrial production. In terms of reducing costs, enterprises in Western Europe quickly recognized that they can move plants a few miles eastward and develop their own version of a maquiladora zone, the belt of low-wage factories that U.S. companies have established along the border in Mexico…”
And finally, “Political freedom, like regulatory laws, may conceivably be harmonized downward, as competition quickens.
“One of the striking qualities of the post-Cold War globalization is how easily business and government,” hijacked by business, “in the capitalist democracies have abandoned the values they putatively espoused for forty years during the struggle against communism – individual liberties based on free elections. Concern for human rights, including freedom of assembly for workers wishing to speak for themselves, has been pushed aside by commercial opportunity…”
“The promise of a democratic evolution requires special skepticism if the theory is being promoted by economic players who actually benefit from the opposite conditions – the enterprises doing business in low-cost labor markets where the absence of democratic rights makes it much easier to suppress wages. A corporation that has made strategic investments based on the cost advantages offered by repressive societies can hardly be expected to advocate their abolition.”
Something Greider said, very plainly, at the start of the above excerpt bears repeating: “Tax havens are merely a flagrant example of a much larger and exceedingly complicated political agenda – the politics of escape.” It’s complex, this corporatocracy and it’s intracies. But it’s nature is not hard to discern, especially by it’s victims, unless they choose to not see and many – the blue pill crowd – do.
The neoliberal agenda, which is not going away until this present system of things goes away, is alive and well. To understand it, One need only ponder the chapter (two) of Greider’s book from which the above excerpt is taken. Or even ponder just the above excerpt itself. It’s fairly straightforward. The “politics of escape” is another way of saying “the neoliberal agenda.” ‘Neo’ is new. You can ignore that, other than to reflect for a moment on the fact, of secondary importance, possibly, that the greed and perversity of many has ebbed and flowed over time. As for ‘liberal’, you need only consider what Greider is talking about, namely the neverending pursuit by capitalists of more liberty, or freedom, for themselves, no matter what the cost to the rest of society, to say nothing of the planet, including the Gulf Of Mexico.