Wednesday, June 06, 2012


On the New York Times front-page right now, right under the headline about Scott Walker's comfortable victory, there's this:

Voters in California Appear to Approve Pension Cuts

As Wisconsin residents voted on Tuesday not to recall Gov. Scott Walker -- who has become an enemy of labor unions nationwide -- two California cities dealt blows of their own to organized labor.

In both San Diego and San Jose, voters appeared to overwhelmingly approve ballot initiatives designed to help balance ailing municipal budgets by cutting retirement benefits for city workers.

Around 70 percent of San Jose voters favored the pension reform measure, with almost 80 percent of precincts reporting. In San Diego, 67 percent had supported a similar pension reform measure, with more than 65 percent of precincts reporting....

This endless economic downturn is exasperating for Americans. Right-wingers have absolute moral certainty about who the enemies are, but I see no evidence that the rest of America does. Most Americans, I think, just want someone to pay.

The Democratic Party sure hasn't given the public a villain.

Would we be going after unionized government workers with such fervor if, after the collapse, we'd had a series of arrests of financial fat cats? I suppose it's possible, but I wonder how much that would have satisfied the public's (fully understandable) desire to find someone to blame and to punish, and to change something about the way we do things in America.

The nature of political campaigning in America today means, of course, that politicians simply can't afford to take on Wall Street, unless they want a rapid end to their political careers. Even the press plays along, gasping in horror at any unkind words directed at financiers, as if those financiers are like the little kid with unlimited powers in the old Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life," and currying favor with the financiers is the only way to avoid being banished to the cornfield.

We desperately want someone to pay. We're never going to make the rich pay, so this will have to do.


ALSO: This.

(X-posted at Booman Tribune.)


Ten Bears said...

There will be blood in the streets. The Tree of Liberty will be watered with the blood of both patriots and tyrants. All to naught, as we will never regain what we have lost.

Never-the-less, 'tis better to be gunned down by the cops, than to live out the years I thought to retire to in the world our Christian Republican Nazis created.

"Up against the wall, mother-fuckers... "

Steve M. said...

I'll be surprised if the tyrants suffer so much as a paper cut.

BH said...

Well, if the basic equation is "more money = more TV ads = more votes", then post-Cits United it really wouldn't matter whether some big bankers had gotten prosecuted or not, would it? That is, unless said prosecutions made the other swells hesitate to write fat checks to the R's & associated PACs, and I don't see why that would have been a result.

Victor said...

More doom and gloom – this time about Europe, from Martin Wolf:

The take-away line:
“Before now, I had never really understood how the 1930s could happen. Now I do. All one needs are fragile economies, a rigid monetary regime, intense debate over what must be done, widespread belief that suffering is good, myopic politicians, an inability to co-operate and failure to stay ahead of events. Perhaps the panic will vanish. But investors who are buying bonds at current rates are indicating a deep aversion to the downside risks. Policy makers must eliminate this panic, not stoke it.”

And, not just in Europe – YES, it CAN happen here.

Nothing like a post hinting at a possible coming Fascist future to wake one up in the afternoon, eh?