EYKIW: ARE YOU A DODO?
Thu, 09 Jun 2011 18:27:38
It's time for some perspective on what's going on. What's not going on is Weinergate. Who cares if some horny legislator is Twitting his bulge in cyberspace? What's not going on is whether Evita Palin is going to throw her wink in the ring. What substantive contribution could this ignorant opportunist add to the national debate? What's not going on is the cat and mouse game being played over raising the national debt. What can the Republicans hope to gain, except a further trashing of their already diminished brand by delaying the inevitable?
What is going on is a simultaneous crises in our economy, our environment and our health care and education systems. Wise minds have warned of this gathering storm for decades, but the American public would rather go Dancing With The Stars than Dealing With The Facts.
Just what are the facts? We'll start with the economy. When Obama took office, he inherited an economy that had been trashed by the previous two administrations. Bill Clinton couldn't keep his deregulating pen in his pants. He burned down the firewall between banks and stock jobbers, turning our financial markets into one great, unsupervised casino. Bush The Younger, with the able assistance of Ayn Rand's disciple at the head of the Fed turned Reagan's trickle-down into a floodAnd; and, what treasure Dubya couldn't give away to the rich, he squandered on an illegal war in Babylon.
The child of these depredations is our present, official unemployment rate of 9%, read double that number if you include those too discouraged to look for a job and the legion of skilled professionals taking huge pay and benefit cuts just to snatch a near entry level job. Worse yet is the record number of the unemployed who have been out of work for more than a year. The longer they are denied a job, the less chance they have of ever returning to the workforce. And no one has come to their rescue, save Obama who squeezed a sixteen week extension of unemployment benefits out of the compassion-free GOP in exchange for extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, a plutocratic piñata if ever there was one.
So much for the economy, let's weather the blizzards, wade through
the floods and step over the middens of dead birds to talk about the environment. We'll begin with carbon based global warming. Forget the vast body of legitimate research that supports global warming; confronting it would be bad for smokestack industry, would imprison us in four cylinder, girly cars, and, in general, would take exception with American exceptionalism. Furthermore, there's no mention of global warming in any of the myriad editions of the Bible, so it can't be true. While we're turning a scientific calamity into a partisan brouhaha, we're running out of water, poisoning the land with petrochemicals, drilling an ever-widening hole in the ozone layer and killing species right and left, all in the name of living large.
Our health care system is a cruel joke. It's the most costly and least efficient among all the developed nations. Millions are uninsured,
living with diseases and chronic conditions, for which only the fortunate are treated. Billions of work hours are lost to unnecessary illness, families are bankrupted by outrageous medical bills, preventive care goes grossly underfunded, America infant mortality ranks 180th out of 224 countries just behind Guam and Cuba and, yet, the health care establishment has propagandized our citizens into loudly defending their right to be sick.
Our education system, like it's health care counterpart is a victim of the same Calvinist analysis-if you weren't born into prosperity, then God has turned his face from you, dooming you to thirteen years (if you last) of scratching out an education in overcrowded, understaffed, ill equipped and often downright dangerous schools.But, you don't need to know if the world is round, if you're watching it all day on a flat screen? Employers are constantly
complaining that they can't find qualified personnel to fill key, high text jobs. No surprise. A physicist friend of mind who sits on the Ph.D committee of a major university told me that not one candidate who has come before him in the last twenty years was born in this country.
That's what's going on; so screw the tales of virtual, congressional sex, disregard the posturing of the garden gnomes playing capture the Republican flag and discount the deficit dumb show. We either deepen our analysis, seriously question the shibboleths of conventional wisdom and rise up against the machine or live as dodos and suffer their fate.