Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Mexican Model

News Item:  CEO Pay Jumps Minimum of 27%
News Item: One Half of Americans are Poor or Low Income
News Item: Healthcare CEO Salary $145 Million 

I consider myself something of a Paul Simon Democrat. Socially progressive, and a "pay as you go" fiscal centrist. But I also like elements of Green Party philosophy, Eisenhower style conservatism, and even, when they are taking their medication, aspects of the libertarian creed (like don't invade place like Iraq because we can).

Political philosophy is like breeding dogs. The more diverse the DNA the better. A pure ideology is like a pure bred dog - it is satisfying on the surface, is cosmetically appealing, but is prone to genetic mutations like breathing problems, humping things inappropriately, and eating it's own crap. A mutt dog or political philosophy, meanwhile, isn't as satisfying to shallow souls, but can adapt to changing realities without a trip to the vet or a displaced hip from the pretzel one must tie ones self into to maintain purity.

Of course, a vote for a Green Party candidate is in some ways is a vote for the GOP, since that is one less vote for a Democrat, a vote for a Libertarian is usually a vote for a social Darwinist with a few bucks in his pocket that he doesn't want to share, and a vote for the GOP on the national level is a vote for a candidate who is just a few synaptic molecules away from barking like a hound in heat and licking his or her rear on TV.

I left out the Tea Party because I could never consider a pseudo populist group, stage managed by billionaires, and peopled by folks who rave against the government while cashing their government assistance checks.

So I am left with the Democrats, a party I once admired for helping the working stiff, but now find a little suspect. Both the GOP and Democrats are far too beholding to lobbyists and Wall Street for my liking. It's just that the Democrats still have a few leaders who aren't clinically insane, and still manage to throw a few crumbs at the riff raff.

Countries like Mexico and Brazil and many others have long had enormous problems because of wealth inequity. A few billionaires own pretty much everything, the middle class is almost non-existent, and the poor make up most of the population. America's remarkable and historically large middle class is what has made us the economic engine of the world for decades - a fairly pointed reason to work to keep the middle class in America strong.

I read recently that, while America is run by politicians whose decision making process is massaged by lobbyists, greed, political expediency, and their psychological peccadilloes, China is now run by people trained as engineers, a profession of people taught to look for the most economical, logical, elegant solution to a problem. While American decision makers have been trained to include the algorithm "what's in it for me (and my patrons)?", the engineer culture in China is just looking for the best solution. Could this be a factor in China's middle class growth, and the fact that our middle class is shrinking like a male ego after a cold shower? 

As the folks at Goldman Sachs, so recently saved from their own destructively greedy impulses by the largess of the American taxpayer (courtesy of both major political party leaders) sets aside billions of dollars of bonuses for themselves, the census department released some disheartening information regarding the state of the Republic. 

As our country becomes ever more enslaved to the lobbying efforts of the powerful, the poor now include half of our brethren. Is that what we want America to be?

Which begs the question: Is their any issue more immediately needing attention than campaign finance laws? Yet every time an effort is made to diminish the effect of money on the body politic, the rich and powerful work another angle to keep the money flowing in ever greater sums. They just view it as an investment for the stock holders - as well as priming the pump for those end of year bonuses. 

I don't pretend to know the answer, but if we are choosing our leaders based on which party is the lesser of the evils available, things will get worse before they get better.

This land is your land.

"Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.
The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families."
Read more:     Half of Americans Poor or Low Income       CBS News
Read more:     CEO Pay Jumps Minimum of 27%     The Guardian