Strangers in a Stranger Land
At what point did borrowing against our children’s futures become needed “stimulus” and “investments”? Is keeping the federal budget far larger than it was during the Bush years “social Darwinism,” a term that is acceptable political invective in a way “socialism” is not? Where did the adverb “unexpectedly” come from, as in almost all economic news now is “unexpectedly” something: “unexpectedly” high unemployment figures or “unexpectedly” sluggish home sales?
Did unemployment ever really go over 8 percent? I thought that it had and is so now. I remember being told that high gas prices analogous to Europe’s, skyrocketing energy costs, and putting federal oil leases off limits (up to the point of risking $10 a gallon gas) were all our common aspirations to cool the planet, to cut fossil fuel use, and to transition energy management from the oil companies to the more caring government. But now I am told all that was never so: the private sector is to be praised for producing more gas and oil on private lands than ever before; high gas prices are bad; and we certainly don’t want energy costs to skyrocket. But will the 2012 truth soon revert to that of 2000-2011?
Try Harder . . .
Sometimes we try hard, but cannot quite get straight the party communiqués. Supply and demand are irrelevant to gas pricing, we are told, in this age of energy speculation and rising Middle East tensions that warp the market. But why then do we ask the Saudis to put more oil into the global pot and ponder doing the same from our strategic reserve? Is there something called supply and demand at work, as in increasing global supply to lower prices, or at least to suggest there is more supply coming on line? Is Saudi oil and previously pumped oil of better quality than newly pumped oil?
Wind and solar will create “millions of new green jobs.” But when and how so? Government subsidies to insider green companies like Solyndra are to be deemed good, even if they produce little energy; but normal tax breaks for the oil companies are bad when they fuel the entire country. Are there solar panels on Air Force One? Is there a rule that says Solyndra cannot make what Exxon rakes in?
We are supposed to believe that Republicans in the House have done terrible things in stopping the president’s agenda. But I thought that after 2008 there were Democratic majorities in Congress that could do whatever the Democratic president wished? What was not done in 2009 is understandable, but not understandable in 2011?
The masses are told that they will like the new federal takeover of health care. But those who like it the most are to be rewarded for their fealty by being granted exemptions from it? If we write favorably on its behalf, can we too then become exempt from it?
I still don’t know what Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, preventative detention, and the Patriot Act are. One day I heard that they were all both unnecessary and unconstitutional, and then I woke up a bit later and discovered that all were both critical and lawful. When did that happen? At the time when Iraq went from the “worst” (fill in the blanks) to the administration’s “greatest” achievement? When did assassinating Predators go from airborne terror to jokes about some day shooing away suitors from the presidential daughters?
I am still trying to figure out what the one-percenters are. I think they are wealthy people — but not the very wealthy people. Or are they the very wealthy people who accept that higher taxes can either be avoided or won’t substantively affect their sizable portfolios, or feel that they provide necessary psychological inoculation for their mostly segregated and elite lifestyles?
Those who run Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, or those who manage Goldman Sachs, or those who make $20 million a year in Hollywood, or those who administer Harvard and Yale or the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations have always paid their fair share, and thus are not to be fairly dubbed corporate jet owners? Or is it that these very rich, but not to be demonized one-percenters, accept that the 50%-plus of their income given in state and federal taxes was not previously enough, and so they now feel that they must up that amount and thus must pay 50% of the nation’s aggregate federal income tax revenue rather than just the paltry present 37%? Is that the truth? In other words, the good one-percenters de facto agree that they have previously in the Bush years cheated the Treasury under the present income tax code, and really did feel guilty that they had not voluntarily contributed more, but now they agree with Obama that they should be forced to pay more taxes?