Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Back and Forth

In a way, all this gets kind of tiring.

Now the Republicans win. Two years ago the Democrats won, and four years before that the Republicans held and four years before that Gore lost and six years before that the Republicans took over Congress yet again and blocked Clinton.

And yet what changes, really?

The economy goes up for awhile, then it goes down. A little lower this time, a little higher at other times. Some people get jobs, and some people lose them. People lose health insurance at the rate of about 1%/yr, and nothing seems to change that. Clinton or Obama try to make changes, and the Republicans try to cancel them out.

Meanwhile corporate interests make steady increases in influence year after year, since... when, at least since the '60s now?

Government gets bigger no matter who is in charge. Government gets more intrusive no matter who is in charge. People work even harder no matter who is in charge, and fear for their jobs no matter who is in charge.

Aren't we supposed to be progressing towards a kinder, more beneficent future, where people work less and have more time for their families and their leisure and opportunities to read great literature and see theatre and dance and movies? Isn't that what all this is supposed to bring us?

It seems like all we're supposed to do is work harder to beat (now) the Indians and the Chinese, instead of (then) the Russians and the Japanese.

Is this really progress?

Am I really supposed to think that that Republicans are now going to save our union, when four years ago they seemed to be doing all they could to screw it up? And that the best Democrats can do, with the White House and both houses of Congress, is to cap unemployment at 10%?

What exactly am I waiting for? Can you tell me?


rhhardin said...

Populist economics doesn't work.

The electorate discovers that after trying it.

The popular press says populist economics works because that narrative brings in eyeballs to sell to advertisers.

So every other election we go with the populists.

Government spending is the villain because it's mostly maldirected and an increasing portion of the economy, if you want the economic malady.

David Appell said...

> The popular press says populist
> economics works because that
> narrative brings in eyeballs to
> sell to advertisers

Yet more profundity, which seems out of place for a blog.

Is this really the best use of your time? Shouldn't you be writing ground-breaking papers, or setting governments straight all across the globe?

Your obvious talents seem so wasted here.

rhhardin said...

I'm an optimist.

If you're twenty and not a leftist, you have no heart. If you're forty and not a conservative, you have no brains.

Everybody grows, pretty much.

Figuring it out ought to be interesting for a science type, is my theory.

The early Mike Munger podcasts at are entertaining. Try the fair trade coffee one.

They have a similar optimism, that if it's expressed in the right way, anybody can understand that economic perverse consequences are built in, and are willing to put in some time on it.

You can call me Elle. said...

The problem is buying into that idea that progress is linear and always, well, progressive. There is no good reason why we should have an easier life than our parents, or our kids have it better than us. Things were better before the Great Depression than during it. You think that generation didn't feel cheated? It just is what it is. The people promising to make your life easier are trading on your natural desire to have an easier life. Life is pain, to quote a dread pirate, anyone who says differently is selling something. This is also a very Western pov, because clearly, most of the world realizes that things don't get "better" per se, they just "are" and you make do with what you get.