Monday, January 2, 2012

The Insincere Economic Debate

In today’s NYT, Nobel prize economist Paul Krugman once again makes his plea for people to please please please understand that the biggest economic problem facing the country is unemployment.  He despairs that this is so while the government and the media and much of the population obsess over the increasing national debt of the US.  Why won’t they see???  How can everybody be so blind???

Paul misses the point.  Everybody knows that the national debt is not a real problem.  Everybody knows that, but not everybody cares.  And many of the people who do care waste their time trying to convince people who already know that they are right that they are right.  Silly.  Missing the point.

The folks who don’t want the national debt enlarged are the very rich people.  The people who already have a lot of money.  They don’t care about unemployment because it doesn’t affect them.  They believe that they are right not to care about unemployment if it does not affect them because they have an understanding that democracy works best if everyone votes for their own self-interest.  Since these people don’t see that unemployment affects them negatively, they don’t see any reason to vote to pay for solutions to other peoples’ problems.  They are voting for their own self-interest.  And fixing unemployment ain’t it.

As far as the politicians who claim that “solving” the national debt “crisis” is the way to create jobs and restore the middle class, they are just lying.  Not in a bad way.  It’s their job.  They’ve been elected by banking, financial, and business interests to keep the Wall Street economy intact.  And of course to do their job properly they need to keep getting re-elected.  And since it turns out that to do that this year a certain amount of lip service needs to be paid to solving unemployment, their lips are appropriately in gear.  A big part of a politician’s job is to serve the needs and whims of rich folks while keeping the regular folks feeling satisfied with less.  Not all the regular folks, just about half.  The rest they can bad-mouth.  Rich folks control most politicians, in case you hadn’t noticed, and rich folks don’t really care if you have a job or can afford your house or medical care, as long as you work cheap for as long as they need you and then go away with no fuss when they don’t.

As far as the money goes, or “monetary policy” if you’re a fancy pants, if you have a lot of money then you want it to stay valuable.  If Ben Bernanke continues to print more of it, then it might become less valuable.  Hence we see very angry opposition to quantitative easing.  Well, all of us who are not rich should thank God for Ben, because without quantitative easing we would all be scrounging for potato soup.  But I digress.
Paul, Mr. Krugman, please understand that this is not an honest debate.  It is three-card monte.  It is smoke and mirrors.  It is snake oil.  The real debate is how to stop these elected con men from fooling our fellow citizens with their laundry list of red herrings and bogey men.  National debt, Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, homosexuals, abortionists, people who say “Happy Holidays,” unions, public school teachers, “illegal” Mexicans, and of course Barack Obama.

It’s not a contest of ideas. It's beer and circus. It’s class warfare by maneuver.