Calhoun’s Can(n)ons for July 13, 12
Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
If we’re going to make it until November without shooting holes in the flat screen TV, I think we need a few new rules if we’re to keep our sanity.
First, dump the words “job creators,” when referencing rich people who don’t want to pay the same tax rates as their secretaries. That’s one of those made up fake Frank Luntz words designed to mislead and deceive. Rich people are not job creators. Here’s who’s a job creator: Joe Izzywick, works down at the last tool and die plant in Akron, drives an old Chevy truck. Joe wakes up one morning and says, “Hey, I need a new left-hand framestam.” So he goes to the hardware store and buys the last framestam on the shelf and the store owner calls his supplier and says, “We’re out of framestams,” and orders more. At the framestam factory, the owner says, “Dang, I’m getting these orders for framestams and we’re at our maximum production limit now. I’d better hire somebody to make more framestams since apparently there’s a run on the things.” So he hires another framestam maker.
That’s the job creator -- Joe Izzywick, not some rich guy with his piles of tax sheltered money squirreled away in the Cayman Islands. Make sure Joe Izzywick has enough money in his jeans to buy framestams and your economy will hum. Old Henry Ford knew that. He paid his workers a higher than normal wage at the time because he wanted to make sure they had enough money in their jeans to buy his cars. Henry Ford’s workers were job creators, not Henry Ford.
Next, just gracefully bow to the end game of the Roberts Court’s “Citizens United” decision: America has gone from a country ruled by an aristocratic, landed gentry, to a Jacksonian one-man-one-vote small-d democracy and is now going back to a country ruled by wealthy landed, corporatized gentry once again. Unlimited money in secret PACS don’t have too much bang for the buck in national Presidential races, but they sure do pay off big time in the down-ticket races to control Congress and the Senate. Those seats can be targeted and bought for a relatively paltry amount. And once you own those congresspeople, paid for, lock-stock-and-barrel, you can write the laws yourself ALEC-style and garner for yourself all kinds of swell legal loopholes and paybacks – it’s a corporate lobbyist’s wet-dream without the expensive lobbyist. Buy direct and save!
This game plan works well at the local level as well. If your community’s ripe for some company coming in to build a huge mega-mart store but public sentiment and the elected officials are opposed to such a scheme, don’t be surprised to see a long game at work when new city council candidates appear fully funded with a campaign coffer stuffed to the gills with undisclosed PAC money. Change the city council and you change the planning commissioners and shortly thereafter a megastore arises in the middle of town while the townspeople wake up and scratch their heads and wonder what happened.
The new Roberts Rules is what happened. So we all might as well kick back and amuse ourselves setting up local guess-the-jelly-beans-in-the-jar type betting pools; Whoever comes closest to guessing the exact price of their new “elected” officials wins the pool.
I know, you’re whining now. You’re probably feeling abused and bruised and badly used. Like your society and government is out of sorts, off track, failing, out of control. Like suddenly this isn’t the America we used to know, so people keep muttering about how we have to take our country back. But back from . . . what?
Sadly, there is no “back.” For thirty-some years Americans have voted themselves into nothings. With each election we continued to devalue the Commons we were once a vital part of, we swore allegiance to NoTax Norquist and defunded our schools and infrastructure (and the future of the next generation), we voted people into office who began the process of moving money from the middle class up to the 1%, we off-shored our own jobs, then blew the last of our savings on the newly de-regulated Wall Street casino. (Who needs Glass-Steagall? The free market will solve all problems!) Step by step, vote by vote, we turned ourselves from being productive, responsible citizens into a bunch of needy losers, annoying poor people, excess baggage, an unneeded drag on the economy. In short, we made ourselves irrelevant.
We the people, without the “we” part. So here we sit. All us job creators, all us defunct former citizens, watching somebody else's new game with new rules. And a seriously unlevel playing field filled with the finest elected officials money can buy, all for critical election choices coming up: Continue the transformation to a full blown corporate aristocracy or switch direction towards a quasi-Jacksonian, demi-corporate, smaller d democracy that at least pays some attention to the peasants.
An interesting turn of events, you say? Well, yes. So, place your bets, my fellow serfs, place your bets. The wheel is spinning.