The view from Versailles

He’s apparently still under the illusion that this is about facts, and not disaster capitalism. Eugene Robinson:

What is it about the word “jobs” that our nation’s leaders fail to understand? How has the most painful economic crisis in decades somehow escaped their notice? Why do they ignore the issues that Americans care most desperately about?

Listening to the debate in Washington, you’d think the nation was absorbed by the compelling saga of deficit reduction. You’d get the impression that in households across America, parents put their children to bed and then stay up half the night sifting through piles of think-tank reports on the kitchen table, trying to calculate whether there will be enough in the Social Security trust fund to pay benefits beyond 2037.

And you’d be wrong. Those parents are looking at a pile of bills on the kitchen table, trying to decide which ones have to be paid now and which can slide. The question isn’t how to manage health care or retirement costs two decades from now. It’s how the family can make it to the end of the month.

President Obama gives signs of beginning to perceive this disconnect. His Republican opponents, not so much.

Two new polls, both released last week, tell the story. A New York Times/CBS News survey found that four out of 10 respondents believe the economy is getting worse — up from three out of 10 last October. Economists insist that things are improving; obviously, not so that anyone would notice.

A worrisome 70 percent of those surveyed said the country is heading in the wrong direction. Bad news for Obama is that the poll found his approval down to 46 percent; good news, as far as the president is concerned, is that his most visible GOP antagonist, House Speaker John Boehner, has an approval rating of just 32 percent. Clearly, Americans are not excessively pleased with their leaders.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll found greater pessimism about the economy than at any time in the past two years — possibly because of the sharp hike in gasoline prices, which 71 percent of respondents said had caused financial hardship.

Yet if you followed the debate in Washington, you wouldn’t hear much about the cost of keeping the minivan on the road. All that Americans care about, you’d have to assume, is the national debt and its long-term evolution. If you listened carefully, you’d conclude that the solution — cutting federal medical and retirement benefits — was basically settled, and that the only question is whether to do it with a scalpel or a chain saw.

3 thoughts on “The view from Versailles

  1. If you have a few seconds less than 27 minutes to spare, you could listen to this audio interview from over at the “EnergyBulletin” site today.

    Basically, as the host/guest discuss, the “debate” about – should we go with the Ryan “Arbeit Macht Frei” budget, or the Obama budget, that only rolls back about a third of the New Deal – is a false choice.

    There is the Progressives budget, which we never hear about, which would avoid these draconian cuts. And the expert being interviewed, a Prof. Pollin – says the Progressives proposal does not go far enough. How about rolling back the DoD budget 25%? How about a tax on Wall Street transactions – since they frigging caused this latest severe recession – to discourage excessive speculation and “casino” type mentality – and get back to some solid investing?

    Save 200 billion here and 200 billion there, and all of a sudden the reason for austerity disappears. The reason we don’t hear about this is because we are being stuck with still another Disaster Predatory Corporate capitalism false choice – which blends in very well with the class war being conducted against all of us.

    God, I hate the bastards who rule us.

  2. Don’t think this’ll change any time soon. Not unless Americans shame every politician in a primary and begin to scare the shit out of our Corporate Masters.

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