An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
Chicago has been in the news recently because its mayor, Rahm Emanuel, seems intent on cutting the pensions that its current and retired employees have earned. Emanuel insists that the city can’t afford these pensions and therefore workers and retirees will simply have to accept reduced benefits…
The prospect of executives of a bailed out company drawing huge bonuses at a time when the economy was shedding 600,000 jobs a month provoked outrage across the country. President Obama spoke on the issue and said that unfortunately no one in his administration was smart enough to find a way that could keep the bonuses from being paid. The problem according to Larry Summers, then the head of President Obama’s National Economic Council, was that the bonuses were contractual obligations and they had to be honored.
This provides a striking contrast to what might happen to current and former city employees in Chicago and may happen to current and former employers of the state of Illinois and Detroit. In these cases, it seems that the contracts workers had with their employers may not be honored. Employees who worked decades for these governments, with part of their pay taking the form of pensions in retirement, are now being told that these governments will not follow through on their end of the contract.
The differing treatment of contracts in these situations is striking for several reasons. First, the AIG executives stood to gain much more money with their bonuses on a per person basis…
My online response to the above linked-to article follows:
Nicely put Dean Baker.
Don’t you just love mafia capitalism? I’ll tell you what I don’t like; I don’t like the millions of citizens who vote and enable this gang (in all of our ‘developed’ democracies) to continue to operate. The corporatists, or fascists, have captured everything. That’s what they set out to do in the early 70s and they’ve succeeded in spades. Governments, and all that goes with them (including police, security orgs and armies) have been captured by powerful believers in inequality. The Liberal class has died – it’s members having committed intellectual and moral suicide – as Chris Hedges powerfully relates in “Death Of The Liberal Class,” and so there’s no institutional, effective check on what a macho Right, willing to break all (written and unwritten) rules in order to come into positions of power and then to abuse that power, wants to do. And it wants to show off its power. And it does that by taking the means of survival from others who would rather live in a equal, democratic – not law of the jungle – society of laws that work for all.
What else has been captured? The educational system, the judiciary (key to keeping the whole mafia system intact, as we see from decisions like Citizens United) and the electoral system. But that doesn’t bother many who choose to not see it, preferring instead to enjoy the wrestling match campaigns brought to you by corporate owned media. We get to choose from a handful of corporatocracy-approved candidates coming from anti-people parties. Voters who are amused, rather than engaged in any positive way, by the corporate owned media’s regular candidates’ shows in the undemocratic, dark money-marinated electoral system, because they imagine that they will never drop further on the rung of the ladder and because they are not ready to quit the destructive game of ‘riches for the strongest’ in which there ‘has to be’ losers, take a big chance personally in helping to keep the fake democracy alive but also force the negative consequences of their inaction (in regard to positive solutions to inequality and injustice) on millions of those who would like a game in which everyone, rather than just a minority of parasites, wins.
It’s ironic how a guy, Rahm Emanuel, whose father was a terrorist, goes on to become part of a state that leads a global war on terror. Well, It’s ‘called’ a war on terror. As Chomsky notes on page 48 in “9-11 – Was There An Alternative?,” the US is in fact “a leading terrorist state.” Its troops do economic shock therapy, overseas and domestically, in tandem with military shock therapy (overseas) when needed or desired (as it is now that it’s considered very profitable business, as Naomi Klein makes clear in her book “The Shock Doctrine – The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism.”) Part of the assault on the people includes deficit terrorism.
“Like the nation, the Liberal Party that took power in 1993 was a profoundly changed institution. It included the highest number of rookie MPs ever. (The House itself welcomed the most new members since Confederation.) Only a handful had experienced the great campaigns to establish Canada’s social programs; and many of the newcomers were schooled in the anti-government politics of deficit fear and downsizing…” -pg 102 of “Straight Through The Heart – How The Liberals Abandoned The Just Society And What Canadians Can Do About It” by Maude Barlow and Bruce Campbell
The reason that that’s attractive, besides the naked violence its perpetrators get to engage in, is that it aids and abets the privatizers. Governments, at the behest of corporations, and to the glee and delight of unprincipled, macho capitalists, engineer revenue shortfalls, mainly via tax cuts, but also in many other ways including by helping (with other corporatocracy governments) to oversee a huge tax haven system. And then they complain, through their media partners, that they have spending problems (ignoring, incredibly, in the US especially, the vampire ‘health’ system and the vampire military industrial complex that they defend for their friends in the private sector), leading politicians to make the claim – to the people who didn’t elect them so that they could turn around and strip the civilization from civilization – that because of deficits, they will now have to endure austerity. All the things that politicians, like Obama, promise to voters when they’re running for office, are suddenly impossible to bring about. But, strangely, Only the people must pay for this (engineered) deficiency. Powerful special interests get a pass.
And, despite the emphasis placed on voting, on the Right and the Left, The people SHALL HAVE NO SAY IN MATTERS AFFECTING THEM.