Friday, November 4, 2011

Is it Really the New Normal

For various reasons we humans find it easier to cope with adversity if it has a name.  I guess it's rooted in our 'misery loves company' psyche.  But just giving something a name does not make it any less painful or dangerous.
People died in the millennium before ours due to causes unknown. We now know many of those deaths were due to cancer.  So now we know.  But they're still dead!
For years we have been hearing about the 'new normal' from economists and pundits.  The use of the word 'normal' explaining how our faltering economy is basically here to stay certainly does not make it easier for the so-called 99%-ers.  These are the people who are stuck in low paying high stress jobs, that is if they're lucky, and on unemployment or worse if not.
The new normal is actually a way to explain how the uber rich of our country have quietly and unceasingly usurped power by any means necessary.  These people have become inordinately richer while the rest of the country has gone down the tubes.
The gap between the top 1% and the rest of us has widened to the point that they no longer consider us as even necessary.
Oh of course some of us are needed to buy whatever product they are selling or use whatever service they offer but the bottom line is with over 7 billion sheep in the herd the shepherds know there will be a whole lot of grazing going on somewhere.
And the flat earth's global market will provide plenty of opportunities for them.
The one thing we Americans always had going for us was our culture of education and the freedom to do what we wished to do within the friendly open confines of the law.  We were the envy of the world and people wanted to come here and join in the celebration.
We all figured that if you got a college education and worked hard you could live the American dream.  But we forgot that in order to dream you generally sleep and that's what most of us did, we slept.
And while we slept at the wheel a growing number of opportunistic financiers and their friendly politicians slipped into the driver's seat.  They figured out a way to harness the dreams of the sleepwalking masses turning them into realities for their own use.
Little by little they changed laws and altered regulations.  And every change altered the playing field a touch more so that any cash they made they kept.  And their cabal grew more wealthy and more powerful.
And the more power they had the more others wanted in.
But the club was kept exclusive and the entry fee was what some religious types would call 'your soul.'
While this was going on the public, the soon to be forgotten middle class was fed the illusion that they could make it to the top by hard work and perseverance. (Click the above link to read a great article from the Atlantic magazine.)
Advertisements showing the good life; politicians stumping with phrases like 'lower taxes' and a better economy to come; radio and TV personalities making believe they are 'of the people' all polluting our minds aimed at sending us back to sleep.
Ssshhhh, don't wake the sleeping bear.
The funny thing is that whenever someone hears the words, 'Lower Taxes' they think THEIR taxes will be lowered!
It is so absurd as to be laughable.
It should be obvious that in order to run a country you must have some capital, some revenue, somewhere, an influx of cash as it were.
And normally that comes from a general fund comprised of donations, generally mandatory and known as taxes.  That is how a civilized country continues to grow and prosper.  And the more you have the more you can and should pay.
One of my fantasies has always been to owe and pay over a million dollars in taxes.  Of course I would be known as a schmuck to every Republican in the country.  That would please me even more!
According to many economists the only people who will make it in the near future will be the highly educated, the ones with more than a BS degree from college.
These people will still be sought after to work with the overlords of the global economy while the rest will have to scrounge around for the lower paying scraps left behind.
And along with this new normal comes another enigma, and this one is far more insidious than one would have imagined 100 years ago.
In order to keep their power the top 1% of the wealthiest in the world must have politicians in their pockets.  After all without them  making laws and regulations all they have accomplished would erode and they might lose a billion here or there.  And pretty soon you're talking about real money.
So the they pay for ad campaigns and fund huge rallies to get the masses, those sheep of the country to vote against their own best interest.
There are more registered Democrats than Republicans since there are more people in need of what the Democratic party stands for.
The Grand Old Party clearly is all about big business and large multi national corporations.  And when they say lower taxes they do not mean it for the average Joe on Main Street but the average billionaire on Wall Street!
And yet many Republicans get elected, far more than should and that means many people are voting for their own downfall!
I have often used a wonderful saying from the show 1776 in which Mr. Dickinson a Representative to the Continental Congress of that year says that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor.
And that reality is why they continue to vote for men and women who truly don't give a rat's butt about them.
Another phrase we all must heed is, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it!
I will not go through all the historic reasons why Republicans have been bad for the middle class and the American economy as a whole, that is your job - educate yourself!
The enigma is that in order for the more educated of our leaders to stay in power they must keep a majority of Americans uneducated.  Sadly that appears to be working!
But one point about our friends in the GOP needs noting.  Their policies of getting rid of teachers and going after any group or union that has shown itself to be comprised of members who vote Democratic are clearly aimed at keeping future generations uneducated.
And that is the plan.
That is the new reality, the new normal.
Or at least it is until the majority of Americans wake up and smell the stench coming from the right side of the aisle and realize it ain't coffee!

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