Nothing Stupid At All

Lord knows I’m no economist or financial wizard. So I have nothing to offer on the latest Wall Street/financial sector debacle and the bail-out you and I will be footing for who-knows-how-long to come. (But I think no matter how bad the medicine is now,  who knows what doodoo we’d been in later on if we did nothing.) This  latest news, combined with other tidbits of economic stats I’ve seen the last few days, seems to drive home the point that once again, it’s the economy, stupid.

Only, some folks don’t seem to get the message.

Thomas Frank, in What’s the Matter with Kansas?, laid out his thesis that people who are screwed by Republicans in economic matters keep voting for them anyway. Many of these people are fundamentalists or others who see abortion and “morality” concerns as their key issues. What they don’t see is that most national Republican leaders play them for the fool. Take their votes, then dither about the social issues that mean so much to them. What most top-tier Repubs really want to do, of course, is cut taxes, deregulate, set up policies that let the super-rich get super-richer – and leave the vast majority of Americans SOL. Including the “Kansans” whose vote they just swindled.

I know most of those voters with the economic “Kick Me” signs on their backs are not going to vote for Obama. But I hope Reagan Democrats who are not so driven  by religion, and independents, and the dozen or so moderate Republicans still breathing, will consider some of the recent news. The Chicago Tribune reported on 9/21 that the combined average premium and out-of-pocket costs for people lucky enough to have health plans at work are projected to climb nearly 9 percent in 2009. (We won’t even talk about the 47 million or so without coverage, and what that means for their cancer treatments and drug costs, let alone the social/economic price we all pay.)

Of course, those rising health costs just eat into the stagnant wages of most Americans, which were recently documented in the State of Working America 2008/2009.  You can learn about it in this McClatchy/Tribune article; if you go there, please read the part explaining that the group releasing the report is “liberal,” but still credible. More so than, say, a lot of research on prescription drugs. Or anything that comes out of the mouth of the McCain campaign prevaricator extraordinaire, Tucker “Knows No” Bounds).

Since the end of the last recession, the report says, the average income of most middle-class Americans has gone down, when adjusted for inflation. Who’s made out the best since then, under Bushonomics? Surprise: the top one percent of all wage owners.

And the hits just keep on coming. Also on 9/21, Frank Rich expounded a little more on McCain’s distaste for economic nuances and well-being – except his own. Rich also made the incredibly maddening point that comedian Joy Behar seems to be the only media type with big enough sex glands to call McCain a liar to his face. (The article also has a link that explores how some folks these days who make $250k per year feel so poor. Yeah, some people have it tough…)

The recent financial meltdown has once again raised McCain’s populist hackles. Oooh, darn those CEOs and others who think they’re going to profit from this mess. (Uh, haven’t some execs and high-end investors already profited, before we found out it was mostly smoke and mirrors?) And McCain has jumped on the Regulation Express – just don’t let that train pick up too much speed, willya?** And through all that, I’m sure you’d be shocked, shocked to know that McCain still wants to keep the Bush tax cuts and throw in a few more for luck.

Putting YOU first in fiscal policy.

Putting YOU first in fiscal policy.

Man, writing this is depressing. And it makes me realize, my personal crisis doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when we have these kinds of problems – and many others. When we have so many voters electing politicians who don’t care too much about their financial well-being. And so many Americans falling for too many lies.

**A postscript – Since writing this, I have been reminded several times that the Dems have had their own deregulation binges of late, and Obama is no advocate of really upsetting the free-market applecart. So if you want drastic change, you’re out of luck, but Obama is still far better, I think, than any lesser of two evils.  Though the strongly pro-Ron Paul crowd I was with tonight might beg to differ. More on that gathering as soon as I can write and post it.

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~ by mburgan on September 23, 2008.

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