Thursday, November 04, 2010

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

I cringed when I heard that the Republicans (namely Tea Party nutbags) took control of the House in the US Mid-Term elections this part Tuesday. Mind you, it wasn't terribly surprising. Most Americans are dissatisfied with the job that Obama was doing to remedy the US' economic woes. Many Americans are against government intervention on things like healthcare and bailouts. Many Americans back the Tea Party because the Tea Party promises a return to the US' constitutional roots. You know, the whole "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" bit. That's all well and good, but let's consider a few points here.

Socialism is Not a Four-Letter Word
Americans are scared to death of Socialism. I'm pretty sure that they're more scared of Socialism than they are of Satan. Seriously. Must be some sort of Cold War PTSD or something. And the fact that they think that Communism = Socialism. News flash: they are not the same.

So, armed with the fact that Americans believe that Socialism is bad, they view stuff like healthcare reform to be a bad thing. Of course. That mean 'ole government meddling in your affairs telling you how to go about your healthcare. Shame on them. Newsflash: the government is actually trying to help you by improving your quality of life so that those douchebag health insurance companies don't try to screw you in every way imaginable. Oh, view that as a bad thing? Well, excuse me. I thought that was a good thing.

The Economy
Back in the '90s, Bill Clinton famously said, "It's the economy, stupid", during this 1992 presidential election campaign. Well, it's still the economy, isn't it? Now, more than ever, especially with this recession that's been hanging around like a stubborn wart. And why not? I saw a segment on Sixty Minutes a couple of weeks ago that talked about university-educated people in Silicon Valley who had been laid off from their jobs for 2 or more years, and were having a hell of a time finding a job in their field. Wasn't the whole point of going to university being that it guarantee that we got and kept good jobs? It's pretty scary, when you think about it.

It occurred to me yesterday that the Tea Party supporters who are so desperately want to return to their country's roots are missing something. The problem is not with the government actually caring enough to reform healthcare, or for bailing out banks and the auto sector (not that I agree with the latter, but for other reasons), or for trying to stimulate the economy. The real problem is with the free-market capitalists. And guess what? Republicans loooooooooove free-market capitalism.

(Aside: I highly recommend that you read Naomi Klein's book, Shock Doctrine. It details how this whole "laissez-faire" approach to economics - i.e. free-market economics - has done nothing but hurt the common person (i.e. the vast majority), and fill the pockets of the rich with more money (a teeny minority). It's very insightful and while I read it, it made me downright angry. I wanted to hurl the book at a few politicians.)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. As far as I'm concerned, free-market capitalism is to blame for all this crap that we're experiencing around outsourcing/exporting jobs to countries with lower rates. Readers of this blog know that it is no secret that I despise outsourcing and that I don't believe that it works (quality being the #1 issue). Not to mention the fact that it a) turns IT jobs into a commodity (which they aren't) and b) takes jobs away from people. Tell me: if most IT jobs are being outsourced to the likes of India, and most manufacturing are being exported to Mexico, China, India, and its cheap labor cousin countries around the world, how does one expect the jobless rate to actually go down? It's not like there will be any jobs left for the middle-class folks. IT. MAKES. NO. SENSE.

So, my dear neighbors from the south, to think that your president can turn a crappy economic situation (which is being manipulated by Big Business and their buddies the Lobbyists) around in 18 months, you have got to be joking. Really? Poor guy! He inherited a sh!t pile. Quit blaming him for wanting to improve your quality of life with healthcare reform and quit blaming him for not being able to wave a magic wand to make things better. And most importantly, read the goddamned news for a change an inform yourselves. By ignorantly listening to the nonsensical crap of the Tea Party morons/psychos, you are flushing your country down the toilet. I hope you don't mind the smell of sewage.

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