For a fleeting moment I thought Congress was going to do something really wise: Get out of the student loan-sharking business. Recall that only a few days ago, the House and the Senate were going to fast-track the student loan reform bill by attaching it to the health care package. It was supposed to be a sure thing. What was I smoking?
Les Leopold @ ChelseaGreen
|View All of Les Leopold's Posts|
Our nation is already deeply in debt. How can we possibly afford to invest in our infrastructure, renewable energy, health care, our schools — and create the millions of jobs that our unemployed desperately need?
Unemployment is the scourge of our nation. It causes death and disease. It eats away at family life. It erodes our sense of confidence and well being. And it's a profound insult to the richest country on Earth.
"All right, now, if all of this sounds like a government out of control, go back to the progressive movement. It is not what our founders of this country intended. One hundred years of this movement, and the government growing while our rights are shrinking. I've been saying now for awhile, and it really has clicked in my mind, um, that it is the progressive movement, it is the cancer that is inside both parties. It's why you don't feel like there is a choice. It's why John McCain and Barack Obama, you're going, 'You gotta be kidding me, right?'"
If the link between economic growth and job creation really is broken, then capitalism as we've known it for the past seventy years may be dead and gone (or, at the very least, transformed into something very different.)
It's open season on Obama whom so many hoped would lead us out of the neo-liberal wilderness. He once was a community organizer and ought to know how working people have suffered through a generation of tax breaks for the rich, Wall Street deregulation, and unfair competition. When the economy crashed he was in the perfect position to limit the unjustified pay levels on Wall Street and bring a crashing halt to the runaway financialization of our economy.
The Tea Party sprang to life in response to the financial crash that sent our economy into a tailspin. Until recently, it balanced two tendencies: hatred of big government and hatred of Wall Street. The combination (in the form of the bailouts and stimulus programs) provided a perfect target as economic hardship hit millions on Main Street.
No, it's not a conspiracy. Goldman Sachs and its minions are not plotting to cripple the government. But it is remarkable how our political system freezes shut just when we need to make serious changes to our economic system.
Commentators like David Brooks also are wrong to assume that populism is a movement of the less educated against the educated elites. Of course there are those in the Tea Party who discount the science of evolution and global warming, who think Obama is a foreign-born Muslim agent, and who are racist, sexist and anti-Semitic to boot. But to equate the entire notion of populism with retrograde ignorance is to fall into a dangerous stereotype. Populism is not about education: whether expressed by the left, right, or middle, it's a revolt against concentrated power and economic injustice.
President Obama won't tell us in his State of the Union address. The deficit hawks won't crow about it. Don't expect the Tea Party or Rush and Beck to highlight our generosity either. But the sad fact is this: During the worst year since the Great Depression, with 30 million people out of work [...]