Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for January 3rd, 2011

Reading “The Predator State” by James K. Galbraith.

with 12 comments

I’m not quite done with this book yet, folks, but I have to say the ideas in this book bear much closer scrutiny.

In “The Predator State,” James K. Galbraith shows that even most of the hard-line conservatives (almost always Republicans) in the United States of America have given up on the old Reagan-era “supply-side economics” that they, unfortunately, campaigned on during the 2010 election.  These ideas have been proven to be unworkable and perhaps unattainable, including the idea that tax cuts for the extremely wealthy will stimulate economic growth.  (It doesn’t.  Instead, all it tends to do is give the incredibly wealthy person more money to put in a Swiss bank account, or invest — usually overseas — and even investing here in the United States is problematic because of how companies are now run to maximize “shareholder value” rather than actually create good products and get them out before the marketplace and thus do some good for society.)

The American electorate was volatile and angry in 2010; I get that.

But to now have a bunch of Republicans in there saying stuff they don’t even mean — at least, I hope they don’t because if they do, that means they know less about the economy than I do (perilous thought, that) — really bothers me.  And that one of those who should know better is now the new Governor of the state of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, is incredibly upsetting.

In addition, the recent “tax cut” bill that was passed actually raises taxes on those making under $20,000 a year.  What sense does this make?

So, taxes have been lowered for the incredibly wealthy — or in this case, the low taxes for the very wealthy have been extended.  And taxes have been raised for the poorest of the poor, those below the poverty level.

And this is supposed to be the “best country in the world?”

How can this happen in a country that’s supposed to represent fairness (i.e., “liberty and justice for all”) for all, including economic fairness?

How is this right?  How is this just?  How is this understandable, or make any sort of economic sense?

I mean, the old phrase “you can’t get blood from a stone” comes to mind, here; those of us who make under $20,000 a year don’t have anything extra to give the government, and those who make over a million a year obviously do except in rare cases.  So if you up their percentage, say, by 2%, you’re not hurting them very much, where you’re really hurting someone who’s at the poverty level or below.  (Poverty level, right now, is around $21,000 United States dollars for one person if I recall correctly.)

Unless the real strategy to keep illegal aliens out is to persuade the rest of us poor people to leave, too . . . and I think Germany, in the 1940s, proved that the strategy of kicking people out for any reason (in that case, it was due to racism/genocide) is an unproductive, losing strategy indeed.

And since that makes no sense, either, all I can conclude is that this is yet again another exercise in “framing the narrative,” trying to make what’s really going on in this country — many good people being unemployed through no fault of theirs, all of those unemployed people being unable to pay all their bills through no fault of theirs, and very little being done about actual job creation — seem the problem solely of the Democrats, rather than what it really is: a failure of leadership from both political parties.

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 3, 2011 at 6:12 pm