So far we’ve established the following:
So far we’ve established the following:
Last time we looked at the first fundamental flaw in the faith of Free-marketers:
The occupiers of Wall Street, and of other public areas around our nation, are highlighting a doctrinal schism within our national soul.
Not all doctrines are religious.
There are political, and economic doctrines, too—and many of those are accepted on faith, as well.
The doctrine in question is the absolute and unquestioning belief that the only solution to any and every economic problem is the free market—by which the true believers mean a laissez faire market: a market with no government intervention.
Many years ago, when I was first establishing my private educational practice, I signed up for a seminar on running a consulting firm, to see if anything they had to say applied to my new business.
The seminar leader turned out to be a consultant only in name: he used his title of "security consultant" to sell companies on his real business, which was providing outsourced security personnel.
He hired private security cops, then rented them out to the companies he "consulted" for.
So I learned very little about consulting from him.
Last time, I explained why the "Ponzi scheme" line about Social Security that the Republicans have been pushing was nonsense.
At the end of the post, I pointed out that the other Republican line—the idea that Social Security is about to go broke—was equally false.
Which brings me to the graph below:
It takes a little explaining, but bear with me, because it's worth the "Aha!" at the end:
There's been a lot of loose talk among conservatives recently about Social Security.
Social security is simply the way Americans have decided to pitch in together and make sure that our elderly and disabled don't end up starving on the streets.
This isn't surprising, since the people who sponsor the right-wing propaganda machine are generally both wealthy and unscrupulous.
They would very much like to elimate anything that makes the middle class stable enough to feel like fighting them politically.
I've been thinking recently about the national debt—about the deficit, and the way we deal with it as a nation.
I don't know what conservative politicians (a group who have very little in common with the average conservative citizen) were saying in the forties and fifties, but by the time I became politically conscious, they constantly repeated one theme.
The idea was that the average American family had to balance its budget, and so it was reasonable to expect the same from the American government—the government should not be going into debt.
"Normally, " the tall one said, "you would go through my friend's door. But because you are an unusual case, you get the chance to go through my door: the chance for a do-over."
"But what's behind his door?" Thomas asked.
The shorter one frowned.
"We are not at liberty to divulge that information."
"My friend's right about that. The only way to find out what is beyond that door is to go through it. I can't even tell you whether there's anything beyond it at all."
"You mean I could just cease to exist as I stepped through?"
I wrote this on the afternoon of 9/11, still in shock from the morning's events. It expressed my deepest fears about the consequences of those events: fears about the spiritual dangers that confronted the world and my country on that day.
It seems fitting to reprint it now.
Letter to a Terrorist
I have a couple of proposals on this Labor Day, and some random thoughts to go along with them...
First, the proposals, then the the thoughts, and then some explanation of the proposals.
- We should raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and even more on the large corporations.
- We should spend some of the money generated by the proposal above to create a large tax cut for small businesses which hire employees.
The random thoughts:
"So it wasn't just the last few years, since the illness?" the tall one said.
My childhood was, well, unusually painful. I won't go into detail except to say that I'm talking about both emotional and physical pain."
The shorter one nodded vigorously.
"If it is of any use to you, we can confirm your judgement on this point. It is one of the factors which make your case so unusual."
The first thing he noticed—even before wondering how it was that he could notice anything at all—was an astounding clarity of mind.
That came first: even before he became aware of the two doors, of the two figures standing beside those doors, of the room he stood in, or of the fact that he was standing.
As he took in the strange shapes—plural, because they were nothing alike—the strange shapes standing before him, he still found himself marveling at how clear his thoughts were.