Dangerously Out of Touch

Go ahead. I dare you. Watch those Sunday talk shows from our nation’s capitol and see how much of what passes for political discussion concerns the need for government to cut back on spending. David Gregory will almost certainly ask someone what ideas there are to get “entitlements” “under control”.

Then, even if you have already seen this, listen to what those who study these things say (about halfway into this):
As discussed ad nauseum here and elsewhere, these are not outlier opinions or those of the radical left. It is the view of almost every economist who does not work in Washington or for a political point of view. Yet the noise machine keeps telling us about deficits, and excessive government spending.

Of course, as Jon Stewart pointed out repeatedly during a week of virtual tributes to schoolteachers such as his mother, this demand that government balance its budget does not apply when discussing tax breaks for the wealthy.

What did we expect? Some of us are practically unable to discuss politics without talking about how stupidity reigns supreme across the land and that those who revel in anti-intellectualism can hardly be expected to support schools.

Still, the NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll that got so much notice this week offers some hope doesn’t it? The public may actually be seeing through all of this noise, and remembering, perhaps, what parents, grandparents and, ahem, teachers, might have told them about the Depression, the New Deal, the growth of unions and of the middle class, might be rethinking the refrain made popular by the movie actor who played the part of President of the United States from 1981-1989.

[By the way, we are obligated to note here that the best actor to portray a President of the United States, has a son whose is self-destructing on national television, providing yet another excuse for what passes for news to be diverted to a voyeuristic delight in watching someone kill himself. This is a truly sad aside, which presents little more than a reason to feel very bad for the actor who so brilliantly portrayed the greatest president fiction ever created, President Josiah Bartlet).]

Returning to reality, sadly, all the poll means to your self-absorbed Congress and its hangers on, is that the public is being stubborn in opposing what “everyone knows” must be done. Chris Hayes, unsurprisingly, brilliantly explains what he aptly describes as Washington’s “disconnect” in The Nation this week and the question that follows from that is what are the ramifications of a government which has been bought and paid for, and no longer even considers what is best for the country, and what a growing number of people seem to understand.

Don’t look here for an answer, just a stab at hysteria. Nick Hornby and Ben Folds may think “he should know. He’s got his own blog” but this blogger does not. What is out there does not suggest solutions or much of a positive future, but who knows, maybe FDR will come back to life.

Maybe, if he does, he will threaten Congress the way President Roosevelt did when he took office 78 years ago yesterday:

I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption.

But, in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis — broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.

For the trust reposed in me, I will return the courage and the devotion that befit the time. I can do no less.

Take that. And, you know, it is not clear that people today would support a would be near dictator any less than they were prepared to do in 1933.

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7 thoughts on “Dangerously Out of Touch

  1. A lot of points as always Barth!!

    Anti intellectuals can hardly be hot for any educational agenda.

    And I cannot bear to watch the Sunday exercises in propaganda.

    I can barely watch ten minutes of Fareed; especially when he posits his own logic for Wall Street in his five thousand dollar suits along with that four hundred dollar hair cut.

    As soon as I see the names of the contestants on these shows, I already know what is going to be asked and answered.

  2. ~flowerchild~

    Personally, I believe none of the political class in D. C. even want to listen. It’s like they’ve already got their mind made up, or made up for them, and they are determined to follow through with concrete solutions to problems despite their constituencies telling them a problem has changed and needs a different fix.

    Our nation, any nation, is always is flux, but our Congress does not recognize that it is.

  3. cmaukonen

    Of course, as Jon Stewart pointed out repeatedly during a week of virtual tributes to schoolteachers such as his mother, this demand that government balance its budget does not apply when discussing tax breaks for the wealthy:

    Or money for the military.

  4. It’s more than a little peculiar that somehow our votes have been translated to mean we approved of this total tear down and alternative reconstruction of the social contract. I don’t remember hearing our pols in the heat of the campaign season ever saying that is what they we’re going to do. I do recall though language indicating the opposite. Me thinks we’ve been lied to. Big time. As in GWB style. Maybe worse. If you can imagine that.

    A reflection of how this rearrangement is working can be seen in the total absence of accountability. Neither our pols or corporations have any risk exposure any more. None. No matter the outcome of their decisions. All risk, public and private, has been transferred to persons collecting a paycheck. Which is why Wall Street is going great guns. The jobs that have been added are nowhere near keeping up with the growth in the labor force and wages are notably depressed. And forget about making up the losses from the recession. That’ll never happen. Again, all risk has been assumed by the working class. Congress gets their COLA but Social Security recipients get none. A half gallon of regular milk is running around $1.80. Not more than six months ago, that same half gallon of milk was $1.20. The list is long.

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