Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yes, This Is Despair, And It's Depression

There hasn't been much here on the "debt crisis", the latest made-up drama to grip our nation's capital. There are any number of reasons for that. The reason I refer to it as "made-up" is that the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution clearly states that the government cannot simply ignore its financial obligations. What's more, at least in the case of Social Security, there is a specific law in place that says the checks have to go out.

David Dayen has listed several ways the President could avoid defaulting on debts within the law, should he choose to.

Still, up to this point, no one had put the political and social ramifications of this nonsensical theatre as well as William Rivers Pitts did yesterday in an op-ed at Truthout:
Oh, but we weren’t done yet. The “Grand Bargain” was still in the offing, now splintered into two or three or twelve different iterations, but all ultimately coming down to the same thing: trillions in cuts for the most vulnerable Americans, no new tax revenues from the rich or anyone else, and the bonus prize sought most passionately by the Democrats was the chance to kick this whole fight down the road to 2013, so none of these failures would be forced to address the question before their next all-important election cycle.

Sell out Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for a chance at an easier ride at the ballot? Where do I sign?

So This Is Despair
This is where we are: despair. At least, it's where I am. The Congress is demanding, after the people who run the financial system in this country looted it, and have not been made to pay anything, that the rest of us must foot the bill. The President is fully on board with this agenda.

Yet Americans continue to let this happen. Progressives still overwhelmingly approve (PDF - see page 7) of the job that Barack Obama is doing as President. That is insane. If anything, his ratings should be that high among conservatives. In his first two years in office, he's done virtually everything that George W. Bush did before him, for which these same people almost universally roundly criticized the man. They called the people who supported Bush, after all the failures and the broken economy, "dead enders", or "thirty percenters", as in the the thirty percent or so who still hadn't bought a clue. Now, Obama stands poised to do something that Bush couldn't manage - cut Social Security and Medicare.

So who are the dead enders now?

It's hard to imagine how we will recover from this. Progressive Americans don't want to punish these people by removing them from office for failing to do what we need them to do. They just think that since Obama's a Democrat, and at least part of Congress is still in Democratic hands, that this is as good as things can be. Since progressives aren't willing to do this, and conservatives are, conservatives will continue to be the ones the politicians try to please.

So yes, this is what despair looks like. It looks like progressives who won't demand that their politicians do what we need them to. It looks like a country that won't make its leaders stop screwing them, even when it's leaving us in the depths of a depression many of us may not see the end of.

UPDATE: Forgot to add that Ian Welsh has some suggestions about how Obama could proceed if he actually wanted to save SS, Medicare, Medicaid, and the economy in general.


Paul Sunstone said...

I know voters are supposed to be irrational, but it seems this current crop of Progressive voters is taking the irrationality to a whole new level by supporting a president who in many ways could be the template for a nutjob Conservative.

Cujo359 said...

What's really sobering is that both progressives and conservatives give him ratings as though he were a flaming liberal. It's hard to believe things can change for the better when so much of the population is either stupid or misinformed enough to believe this.