An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

I don’t get this new paradigm of the poor, and those who are hopelessly poor, defending the rich with such steadfast devotion.  I was talking to a family member today about my views on politics.  I should have learned a long time ago not to do that.  I have an uncle who I don’t talk about religion with because of the fact that he is so hardcore about it.  With me, talking to conservatives is the exact same way.

There was a very brilliant cartoon done by Ted Rall.  It summed up what I had to deal with today almost perfectly.  It was called “The Tea Party Made Simple.“  These people will defend, almost to the death (metaphorically and ideologically speaking) that the rich need to be protected, like they are going to lose so much.  Really, the idea that the rich are so delicate and going to give up completely is so completely ridiculous.  It is built up on an idea that was completely disprove, and seen by the intellectual and philosophical community as a joke.

The bulk of the modern conservative economic model is much akin to the Libertarian economic model (or at least the predominate model that they and their Messiah, Ron Paul, follow).  It is based around the economic ideas of Ayn Rand.  Ayn Rand is a very interesting character to look at when it comes to economics.  The bulk of the philsophical community wrote off what she said (and quite rightly so) as morally repugnant garbage.  There was a professor who did a rather nice paper about this that was put on the website of a really great YouTube vlogger, Liberal Viewer.  It talks about how the model of selfishness that the conservatives seem to idolize, and the Libertarians worship as gospel, is a completely flawed and totally pointless model to live by.

Now, this family member lives by what seems to be Rand’s idea – that only those who produce matter, and that those who do not produce should be cast aside and forgotten.  That altruism and decency and going out of your way to help others is a worthless cause.  This is, in fact, morally repugnant.  I give credit  to Rand for being able to make this concept sound very good, but the fact is that when you get into the meat of her arguments, you find out that what she wants is nothing more than a selfish, be as greedy as you want and don’t give a crap about anybody else, model, and really, isn’t a philosophy at all.

But back to the argument with the family member, she believes a lot of the talking points of Rand.  I don’t want to call her a Randroid, because that seems a tad bit harsh, and I doubt she has ever studied these ideas in detail, but the talking points are the same – government bad, private business good.  Alan Greenspan was much the same.  It seems that the Libertarians, Tea Party, and Republicans learned absolutely nothing from this man admitting the idea of no regulation being the right one to be wrong.

There was an episode of “FRONTLINE” which talked about what happened to our economy in detail.  Here’s a link to it – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/view/.  A woman named Brooksley Born saw what was coming.  The person I had this argument with, she believes it was a government mistake that happened.  I partially agree, but in a completely different way.  This episode showed that was happened was the government’s fault.  There was not enough regulation on Wall Street, and there needed to be.

Now, before the market collapsed, nobody would hear anything about regulation.  Things were doing awesome, absolutely awesome.  If you were told in 2005 that things were about to collapse from a shady practice by banks who were not being watched closely enough, you would have been laughed offstage.  That was the country that we lived in.  Wall Street was doing incredibly well.  Nobody could have seen the problem that was growing just under the skin.

Enter the world of Over-the-Counter Derivatives.  These were an almost unregulated area of the banking industry.  They are pretty much bets between companies and banks.  They are insurance policies on Wall Street which protect them from problems.  This is a $27 trillion market.  This was a metric ton of money, and the government knew almost nothing about them.  Even those on Wall Street were mostly in the dark.  And since it was completely in the dark, there was a huge market for fraud.  The banks that were involved in this knew that these were too complicated for the average person to understand, and that was how they took multiple companies to the cleaners.  The fact is that these OTCs, as they are called, were, and still are, nothing more than a complete scam.

So, here we are, with trillions of dollars, and nobody knows what is going on.  What happens if something goes wrong?  If something were to go wrong, the OTCs could bring down the entire market.  And that is EXACTLY what happened.  The game went wrong, and everything fell apart.  Greenspan on his dream team all were involved in keeping the truth secret, and after talking with a family member today, I am starting to think their efforts worked.

The Fox News narrative is that the government needs to step back, to stay out.  This is flawed.  This is deeply flawed.  And what’s more, they have an entire army of people who are willing to throw rationality and critical thinking out the window based on personal greed and a strange idea that the rich don’t have the money to lose.

I was asked, “If you made $5 million annually, would you want to give some of that up?  That you worked so hard to get?”  I find this question bizarre, ridiculous, and pathetically naive to the way things are.  The very number, $5 million.  To make that much money annually, it is almost too incredible to dream.  Would I give more of that up?  Would I want to be taxed?  HELL YES!  Are you kidding me?  She actually asked me that, thinking, I guess, that she had backed me into an ideological corner.  I am not a rich man.  Far from it.  I would say that I am more of the lower-middle class.  There is no more true middle class.  You are upper or lower.  If I could make that kind of money in a year, I would give so much of it in taxes, to help the poor, to help strengthen our nation’s safety net, that it isn’t a thought to me.  It’s done, and I wouldn’t look back.

This idea that the rich need to be catered to, and need their hands held is just so pathetic.  It is so worthless and really shows that the people who fight for this are nothing more than ignorant fools who just want to have an idea going on that really means nothing.  The wealth inequality in this country is absolutely insane!  How do these people justify this?  I wanted to get some understanding here, but really, her perspective makes no sense.  The cartoon I linked to above, I really think that it says everything perfectly.  These people are, I guess, being screwed out of the imaginary business that they have in their head.

So, should we raise taxes on the wealthy?  DUH!  No-brainer.  And that is because the conservatives in this country seem to have no brains.

Peace out,

Eli

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