Thursday, October 06, 2011

Simple People Demand Simple Answers

This is the kind of post I invariably get a little hack for from folks to the left of me, because I *dare* to criticize anyone on the left; in accordance with the rule that anyone to your right is a prime target, while anyone to your left is a saint you should be worshipping.  Thusly, this one will once again prove that I'm an enemy of the people.

Because there are two kinds of people in the world: Those who base their theories on the facts, and those who base their facts upon their theories.  And unfortunately, people on both ends of the political spectrum are going to fall into the latter category, and the further to the ends they are, the further into fact-making mode they'll be.

Because that's how they ended up there in the first place.  They don't really know how the world works, but they're convinced it'd always be better than this, if only their enemy wasn't working so hard against them.  For righties, it's based upon a childish belief that America was once a better nation, before the socialists and minorities screwed things up.  For lefties, it's based upon outdated economic theories of the 19th century, back when the economy was simple and small enough to actually be manipulated by a handful of powerful men.

Expert Is as Expert Does

And so you have people on the far-right who believe there's a socialist cabal which is intent on destroying the nation by engaging in class warfare on the rich in order to destroy the middle-class, while those on the far-left believe there's a Wall Street cabal that's engaging in class warfare on the poor in order to destroy the middle-class.  And if you're foolish enough to disbelieve in these theories, then it's a clear sign you're part of the problem and should be treated as the enemy.

Oh, and without a doubt, both sides are convinced that Obama is in on it.  Righties will tell you that everything he's doing is the opposite of what should be done, even if it's what they said should be done a few years earlier; while lefties will tell you that everything he's doing is too little too late, and only made things worse by making people believe he was doing something positive when his policies couldn't have done anything at all.

And when all the experts agree that Obama's policies were certainly helpful, those experts are to be ignored by both sides.  Apparently, an "expert" is only knowledgeable to the extent that he tells you what you wanted to hear; and his expertise is limited to the expertise of the person listening to them.

Self-Evident Class Warfare

And where is the proof of this cabal?  It's self-evident: The middle-class is being hurt by whichever side is supposedly engaging in the class warfare on the heroes.  Therefore, it *must* be that this cabal exists and is the cause of all this.  Case closed.  Now let's get our torches and run the bastards out of town!

And seriously, for them, this constitutes proof.  They don't need to see transcripts of what this cabal is saying during these secret meetings.  They know the Koch brothers are talking about how they can further erode the middle-class, while Obama secretly meets with his mentors Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright to discuss how to destroy religion in our nation.  They *know* it.  I mean, how else can these things be happening unless it's intentional sabotage by the enemy.

And basically, these people have their theory of what's happening, and reverse-engineer the facts until they get the only possible answer.  And deep down, these people truly believe that America will continue to grow and its people prosper, unless there were a cabal doing something to stop it.  And it's all based upon a simplistic model of how economics works, as if a $14 trillion economy can easily be manipulated by a handful of bad men.

It's the Demand, Stupid

Because there's another explanation for our economic woes: Low demand.  People don't have money to buy stuff, so businesses can't hire more people and produce more stuff, which means people don't have money to buy stuff, so businesses can't hire more people and produce more stuff.

That's it.  It's that simple.  That's basic economic theory for decades, and it all makes sense.  And it doesn't require a secret cabal of Wall Street bankers and Chicago-style Islamasocialists.  And in this situation, if Big Business decided to use their cash stockpile to hire more employees and produce more stuff, they'll lose that money and eventually go out of business.  That's because you can't sell what people aren't buying.  They might as well just take their cash stockpiles and burn them.

And this makes all the difference in the world.  If you think you're being held down by a secret cabal intent on destroying you, your only recourse is to destroy them.  If capitalists or socialists are waging class warfare on us in order to break us down and make us their economic slaves, then a mere economic policy could never provide any help.  But...if it's simply a matter of increasing demand, well, we've got an app for that.

Because of course, none of this would be good for either side.  Big Business isn't enjoying this, while socialists don't want to see their people suffer.  Both sides want a return to the 90's, where demand was high, the stock market was booming, and unemployment was unreasonably low.  And sure, Big Business is doing ok right now, but they'll be doing much better once the economy picks up.

And if one side succeeds in destroying the other side, we'd see economic ruin on all sides.  This only makes sense to people who don't understand economics and imagine one side could keep taking a bigger slice of the pie until they had the whole pie.  But of course, that would only make the pie vanish.  And they'd know that, if they had even a basic idea of how our economy really works, instead of a simplistic 19th Century model of a puppet-master pulling strings.

No All-Powerful Enemies

But...none of this is sexy.  None of this involves an evil cabal or a simple plan of how to defeat them.  Instead, it's all about increasing demand by using blah, blah, blah, time to fall asleep in economics class; assuming they even took one, and they probably didn't.  No, it's much better to see this as an epic struggle of good versus evil, than to hit the textbooks and try to figure out how the world really works.

And since I say this kind of boring stuff, both sides are convinced that I'm a "useful idiot," in accordance with the rule that if you can associate the other side with a Nazi or Soviet, you've already won.  Because yeah, the Koch Brothers really do have get-togethers where they discuss how to grow their fortunes using the political system to their advantage.  And there really are socialists in our country who get together to figure out how to take wealth from our wealthy oppressors and give it to their rightful owners.

But...these aren't all-powerful cabals that can give orders to the President and other powerful people.  These are competing interests all fighting for the football, and sometimes they win and sometimes they lose.  The Koch Brothers aren't far-sighted villains intent on destroying the middle-class; they're shortsighted fools who enjoy playing the game so much that they can't see how it'll end up hurting them.  It's not that they're greedy.  They're just bored men looking for a purpose in life, and making money and grabbing power is the game they enjoy best.  Perhaps someone should buy them a Wii.

And like it or not, there's no Big Daddy that can control our economy, and no guarantees that the economy will prosper if we remove these enemies from their position of power.

As it turns out, the world is a scary place and things really *can* get all fucked up on their own; and there's little we can do about it, unless we work together and try to fix things the best we know how.  And in this case, that involves using the government to increase demand until the economic pump starts working faster on its own.

And while there's nothing sexy about that, that's just how it works; and we don't need a revolution or a crackdown on Alinsky socialists to make that happen.  We just need to use the basic economic tools that are already at our disposal.  Oh, and Obama's job's bill.  That'd be a start.

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