Austerity?

Gather round and listen up.  You need to THINK about this.  It’s IMPORTANT.  The Squirrels are running a long con and you’re the patsy.  The LEAST you could DO is give it some THOUGHT.

All over the Western World we’re being told that ‘austerity’ is the order of the day.  European and American workers need to tighten their belts and lower their expectations.  The ‘system’ is ‘broken’ and ‘unsustainable’.  Sacrifices are called for in order to save the poor unborn grandchildren from mountains of debt.  Oh, the humanity.

Okay, stop right there.  Before you sign up for that world view there are four questions you need to consider: Is the austerity equal, is the system being fixed through that austerity, is what I’m being asked to give up reasonable, and is this really fair and right?  Well, let’s find out, shall we…

Is the mandated austerity equal?  In a word, NO.  Not at all.  We’re being asked to make huge sacrifices while the rich among us lose nothing.  In fact they’re going to get richer.  Lower capital gains taxes, lower inheritance taxes, fewer restrictions on wealth.  How can an austerity plan be fair if an entire class is exempted from the pain?  Doesn’t it seem a little obscene that the people preaching austerity are the same ones who won’t be asked to sacrifice?

Will austerity fix the system and save us from future crashes?  Again, NO.  The current global economic clusterfuck was caused by unregulated speculation by the world’s largest banks and richest people.  A Draconian austerity program won’t change anything, it’ll just put us back where we were before.  The same people will be in charge of the same system and will be encouraged to do it all over again.  Financial institutions must be re-regulated but their current control over the levers of power make that impossible.  Austerity solidifies a broken system rather than improving it.

Is what I’m being asked to give up reasonable?  Enough ‘No’s’.  I’ll let you be the judge.  Here are the things that you’ll need to lose in the name of austerity; health care, public education, workplace protections, collective bargaining, a pension, the ability to retire, and maybe your house.  You know, some of us hippies think that those things are kind of important.  And remember, not everyone is going to give up those things, just you are.  Does that qualify as reasonable?

What about fair?  Again, you be the judge.  Pretend you’re a student in a classroom with one bad kid in it.  Now imagine that each time that kid misbehaves he gets rewarded while every other kid is punished.  When he throws a spit ball he gets recess and all the other kids sit in detention for spit ball throwing.  If he blows off a homework assignment he gets an ‘A’ and you all get an ‘F’.  At the end of the year you’re all left back because of his behavior while he gets promoted two grades.  That’s about what’s happened here.  The wealthy and their banks screwed around with the world’s economy and lost a bunch of money.  The governments they control decided to cover their losses and now they need you to accept austerity so that they can do it again.  They did wrong so you get punished and they get rewarded.  Think I’m exaggerating?  Then answer me this: If the root economic problem was defaulting mortgages and the government passed a trillion dollar fix, why did that money go to the banks and not to just pay off the mortgages?  Wouldn’t that have saved us a recession or two?  Is that fair?

If a thief steals the car out of your garage it shouldn’t mean that you’re a bad driver and need to lose your license.  The ‘system’ isn’t ‘broken’ or ‘unsustainable’, it’s been robbed.  Now the robbers want you to be punished for their crimes through austerity.  And guess what?  Most of you will vote their minions right back into office.  Okay, that’s your right.  But don’t pretend that any of this bullshit is actually necessary or inevitable.  It isn’t.

Let me close with a simple question.  If someone breaks into your house, threatens you and your children, and destroys your property it’s totally reasonable and proper to shoot them.  How many houses, rights, and lives must a bank CEO take before that rule applies?  And wouldn’t that be fairer and more constructive than austerity for the rest of us?  As the kids say, I’m not sayin, I’m just sayin.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.


Hypocrisy and Bullshit

Hypocrite- A person who’s actions belie their stated beliefs.  A hot steaming pile of self serving bullshit.  For example, Ayn Rand and her followers.

For the most part this blog loathes both parties and spreads blame for our giant political clusterfuck equally between the left and right.  I’m an equally opportunity grump and don’t think either party gives a shit about freedom, joy, or compassion.  But sometimes one of the sides is so spectacularly evil and corrupt that they deserve the full attention of my bile and outrage.  Paging Mr. Ryan, Mr. Paul Ryan.  Please pick up the white courtesy phone on your way to the everlasting hell of hypocrisy and scorn.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Mr. Ryan, he’s the author of the house republican budget initiatives.  For the last two years he’s proposed a budget that’s become the blue print for republican fiscal policy.  Mitt ‘Richguy’ Romney called the budget ‘marvelous’ and has pledged to sign it if he wins.  A republican house and senate would likely pass it so it could realistically become the law of the land. You should probably understand it’s philosophy, especially if you’re inclined to vote republican.

I’m not going to go into all the gory budget details because I’d fall asleep with my face on my keyboard.  I’ll just point out that it increases rather than decreases the deficit, drops the tax rates on the rich, nearly eliminates medicare and social security, guts almost all the programs that help someone who works rather than owns, and leaves the poor and sick to fend for themselves.  In other words it VERY CLEARLY believes that government should only aid the rich and powerful.  That makes sense because Mr. Ryan is a follower of Ayn Rand.  And that makes him an asshole and a hypocrite.

Let’s see, how do I sum up the philosophy of Ms. Rand without losing my temper and shooting something?  How about a simple list.  I’ll try that:

* Rich people are rich because they are inherently better.
* The world is broken down into only two groups, the makers and the takers.  Only the rich are makers and only the makers are moral.
* Government policies should meet the needs of the makers because only they are deserving of support.
* There is no moral reason to help anyone besides yourself.
* Compassion and Altruism are weak and should be avoided.

I think that about sums it up, but I better stop before I’m drowning in rage.  Mr. Ryan is a proud adherent to this philosophy and uses the ‘makers and takers’ language in his speeches.  His budget perfectly reflects the priorities and tenets of Ms Rand’s philosophy and he is not alone.  Most of the right wing of the republican party agrees.  So where’s the hypocrisy?  Why, it’s all around us.  The stench is overpowering.

Let’s start with Ms Rand herself.  Funny how they never mention that she spent the end of her life on Social Security and being treated for lung diseases under Medicare.  As soon as she needed a little help from society she took it.  Lying hypocrite.

How about the Republican party?  Are they telling you that this is their philosophy and letting you vote on it?  Nope.  They hide behind lies and rhetoric.  The budget is called a ‘deficit reducer’ even though it clearly increases the debt.  They preach austerity while handing out corporate welfare like candy from a pinata.  They claim to be protecting your interests when that’s clearly not the aim of either their budget or their philosophy.  The republicans aren’t even consistent in their adherence to Rand’s teaching.  She also believed that the government should never legislate personal morality.  Even though she herself found homosexuality to be distasteful she advocated for equal rights under the law.  Not the republican party line at all.

And this brings us to the big giant stinking hypocrisy at the center of this whole ugly thing.  Mr. Ryan and his ilk also claim to be Christian.  Most, if not all, of his supporters claim to be Christian.  AND THERE IS NO FUCKING WAY TO RECONCILE RAND’S BELIEF SYSTEM WITH CHRISTIANITY.  At least not without a giant fucking dollop of bullshit, denial, and hypocrisy.

Most of the right wing in this country wears it’s Christianity on it’s proverbial sleeve.  Every single poll finds that they’d never consider voting for a candidate who didn’t accept Jesus Christ as his or her savior.  Okay, I get that.  So why do you vote for followers of Ayn Rand?  How can you support politicians who’s philosophical leader was an atheist and preached profoundly unchristian ideas?  I’ve read the New Testament and I’ve read Ayn Rand.  They aren’t compatible.  Jesus NEVER says that only rich people are good and deserve support.  Jesus never preached wealth based morality.  And by the way, neither did the founders of this country.  Hypocrites.

At it’s core Ayn Rand’s philosophy is just a weak justification for selfish, dickish behavior.  If you’re a self involved greedy scumbag it gives you some flimsy moral cover.  Okay, it’s a free country.  Be an asshole, see if I care.  But voters must know it runs counter to the teachings of selflessness and compassion that lie at the core of every major religion on Earth.  Jesus didn’t die so some spoiled prick could by a diamond covered car or pay his country club dues.

You probably heard there’s an election coming up.  I don’t really care how you vote.  The whole system is probably fucked beyond redemption.  But I do care about your soul.  I do care about hypocrisy.  Republican voters are being lied to in the grossest possible way.  Right wing politicians are espousing both Christianity and the deeply anti-christian Randian world view at the same time.  The time has come for conservatives in this country to decide if they’re Christian or they follow Mr. Ryan and Ms. Rand.  BECAUSE YOU CAN’T DO BOTH.  If you cast your vote for Mr. Ryan and Ms. Rand I don’t want to hear another fucking word about God or Jesus or morality from you.  Because you just voted against all that.  Vaya Con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.