Communique 8-17-2020 Spend to Mend
Updated: Aug 18
By Philip Drucker
Woke up with a nasty cough this morning. Hopefully it’ll just go away. Like a miracle. If not, it is what it is, right? My next chemo treatment isn’t till Wednesday so I’m going to try and enjoy the next two days as much as possible. Two down, five to go. Seven times down, eight times up. That’s what I always say. I read an article the other day that said Beethoven’s last “words” were more of a gesture. Apparently, he sat up in his bed, shook his skinny fist at the sky and died. He was a diva till the end, wasn’t he? An angry one at that.
Speaking of angry divas, what do you suppose Herr Trump is up to today? I believe it is fair to say we have come to an impasse. We have one side knowing a government that is not responsive to the will of the people is illegitimate in both practice and theory. If every vote doesn’t count, and our representatives are no longer capable or willing to act on our behalf, where does that leave you in a supposedly democratic republic? What it means to me is there are too few persons of dubious character making decisions for the entire electorate that may or not be working in our best interest, socially, economically and politically.
Powerless, we are forced to float like so many little corks in a sea of dark money with any number of bad intentions swimming in the water beneath us, ready to strike at the first sign of new flesh and blood money. The resultant feeding frenzy leaves the weak weaker and poor poorer. As with the shark, the donor class, never satisfied by its latest conquest swims away through the brink ocean looking for its next kill. Consequences, of course, be damned.
Yet, somehow, one third of our voting population prefers the shark, or at least for as long as the shark is perceived to be attacking the source of all the woe, the scapegoats, the “them” to their “us” never contemplating the suffering of one is the suffering of all. This is particularly true in economics. Lack of productivity is the bane of western economic theory. That is why labor strikes are an effective way of meddling in the basics of supply and demand. There is always another company waiting in the wings all to happy filling what used to be their competitor’s market share, or, demand.
But what happens when everyone is out of work? And the workers can’t afford the products they are making? In short, what happens when the previously jubilant competitor finds the demand may be there, there is not enough capital circulating and the lack of a paycheck is preventing persons who would otherwise buy, to do without, whether by choice or otherwise?
Gutting the middle class is deleterious to all our fortunes and finances. When you hear of persons being forced to choose between paying rent, food, or medicine, when you hear of a significant slice of the workforce doing without for now and placing their hope upon a “quick-turnaround” that never happens.
The United States economy is not set up handle full employment. Any economist worth his salt will tell you somewhere around 4% unemployment is optimal. It creates an additional, underutilized to say the least labor pool to pull from that keeps salaries down and inflation under control.
Coincidentally, the immigrant workforce, legal, illegal, documented, undocumented, in the USA establishes another benchmark for labor related issues while, at the same time 1. Does not take any jobs away from Americans and in fact 2. Has a positive impact on our overall economy, meaning immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in social benefits from the government. Meaning, they work jobs nobody else wants and they buy stuff. Just like everyone else. Brings new meanings to the word “essential” doesn’t it?
Perhaps a great deal of our frustration can be summed up by why, in the face of enormous evidence to the contrary, are one third of Americans still willing to blame the persons who have little effect on their financial situation, while ignoring the bigger than life examples coming out of an administration that seems intent on starving them into some sort of submission, possibly predicated on their knowing or unknowing acceptance of fascism as the political answer to their economic woes.
If too few persons making too many decisions led us to this, what happens if we leave these decisions to one person? In our present situation, a Russia loving, traitorous, malignant, sociopathic narcissist bent on stealing an election to keep himself and his family of professional grifters out of prison? Mailboxes. Think mailboxes, lemmings. Who in their right mind steals your mailboxes? Your mail? Your job? Your right to vote? Your social security and Medicare? You and your children’s healthcare and ostensibly your life? Leaving you and yours with… (fill in the blank). Don’t bother I’ll do it for you. Nothing.
On the bright side, perhaps your taxes will go down. What is it you have left to tax? You might want to hold up on buying that new rifle you’ve had your eye on. What do you have left to defend? Sodding the lawn on your house in foreclosure? Pass. Sending your kinds back to school? What for? You’ve already taken away their future. For right here and now, the next generation? I dub thee Gen Debt, cause that’s what you will be spending your time on this earth paying. Suffering for the incompetence of a nation that chose to believe a conman without a conscience, a carnival barker who wants you to pay a nickel to see the “man eating chicken”. As in a man, alone, sitting on a chair in the middle of a circus tent munching on, you guessed it, a chicken. There is still a sucker born every minute. Look for the red MAGA hat. It’s a dead(ly) giveaway.
Capitalism in its simplest form is an economic system under which everyone and everything can be reduced to a fungible state. Solid, liquid, gas, and cash money. Unfettered buying and selling of anything, and everything, for the simple reason that someone is willing to pay your price for whatever it is you are selling. Anything that gets in the way of this is referred to as “negative market conditions” or some other nonsensical shibboleth we should all be more than willing to surrender to the dustbin of useless ideals well past their usefulness, much less their prime. If you are still one of the willing to let the market sort it out, don’t worry, it will, it has and you can see the results for yourself. Are you enjoying the good economy? Sarah Sanders thought you should. Did you? I’m not clear on what the Trump administration thinks you should be grateful for these days.
Saving federal buildings from the mean, evil protestors? Bill Barr sarcastically asked when did it become legal to burn down a federal building? I don’t know. Why don’t we ask the patriots who took part in the Boston Tea Party to throw the King’s tea into the harbor water below?
Keeping suburban woman and children safe from the encroachment of gasp! Low income housing? And then, claiming Cory Booker as the something wicked coming their way? Makes you long for the days when Jimmy Carter used the term “ethnic purity”. Not really, that was a stupid and unwise blunder, but hey, Jimmy might lust in his heart over other women, but never once has he tasted forbidden porn-star fruit.
Roving bands of unmarked secret police who are probably mercenaries from the ranks of the Prince of Darkness, Eric Prince? Brother to the Princess of the Preposterous all the while claiming the shield of righteous Piety Betsy DeVos? Have you checked your children lately? I’m sure our friend Bets thinks she has a better place for them. One nearer to the Covid-19 virus, and then, God, I guess.
When it comes to God I’m on board with Benjamin Franklin who penned in a letter to his good friend Abbe Morellet;
“We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana, as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into WINE; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!” (emphasis added) -Benjamin Franklin
For the record Ben was a moderate drinker and not known to favor beer. He did however, profess to enjoy a good class of wine now and then, hence if you are wondering about the internet meme replacing wine with beer, well, it wasn’t Ben who said it. Maybe Brett Kavanuagh will one day claim attribution, but not Ben. Can I get a kind word for Cannabis infused gummies or is that still a bridge too far?
Whatever the outcome of the election, there will still be an amazing amount of social, economic and political lifting to do and the three are intrinsically laced together at the hip. When it comes to infrastructure, the hard wiring and the internal workings of America, in whatever direction we choose to go, we must first decide an immensely important question. When is America rich? When the government is rich? When the corporations and businessmen are rich? Or when the people are rich? Forget Capitalism, forget socialism, forget communism. These are labels used by the immoral and unrepentant to deceive the unwary and unknowing to fear what amounts to nothing more than a mishmash of words and misinformation without historical context and hence without any actual value except raising the fear factor and false expectations always ending in unreasonable predictions of doom based on nothing more than black and white representations of technicolor issues.
My choice is when the people are rich. And by rich, I mean having the ability to follow the American Dream. You are entitled to the pursuit of happiness. Through your hard work, you may reach the highest of the highs, but NOT at the expense of someone else’s pursuit of happiness. This is where we have gone wrong. We are allowing ourselves to be harmed by a professional class of hoarders, in many cases living on passive income aka interest on interest, or paper transactions if you will, make no one except out of control bankers addicted to gambling with our money and what we can safely term the leisure class. If you aren’t lying on a beach right now, that’s your fault and not mine.
Fortunately, we are Americans and it is never too late for us to reverse course and if necessary, right the ship. Right the disparity in income. Right the institutionalized racism built into our system. Reject privilege in favor of a meritocracy. A meritocracy based on Rawlsian economic theory linked to nothing less than the betterment of society. An economic system that is based in part upon making itself better by counting the numbers of participants who can service their mortgage, buy a car, or two. Who can work one 40 hour a week job and still enjoy the weekends with family and friends. Plan for a dignified future with a 401k, and/or a pension, or an alternate source of retirement funds.
In conclusion, let’s start by all agreeing to accept help from whatever source, and to offer aid to all who are in need. No questions, no litmus tests, no triage, no strings attached. Nobody goes “home” nobody is singled out for disparate treatment. Lose the animus that has brought us to where we are. Give the assistance directly to those who need it the most. They will spend it and replenish our economy with the necessary funds to move forward.
I call it spend to mend. And it works we did it once already while at the same time ridding the world of an evil too hideous to let live among those who worship at the altar of a kind, fair and just God. My God welcomes everyone into his loving embrace. How can I, or we, or you do any less?