From November 2013:
There was a great article written this week by Gary Younge. He pointed out that Charles Munger, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, said that there was really no need to bail out poor, hungry people from an economic standpoint because as he put it “life is a little harder than it used to be and people need to suck it up and cope with it.”
In the same breath, one of America’s new Wall Street cretins pointed out that it is critically important that taxpayers continue to subsidize other fat cat Wall Street types. He told his audience that they should be thankful by thanking God for bank bailouts. In other words, bailouts for billionaire Wall Street bankers seems just fine, but coming to the aid of America’s poorest population is reckless and bad judgment.
Munger and his psychopath pals on Wall Street are in a new rehabilitation mode where they are reasserting that greed is good for all of us. When Munger told his audience that poor people simply need to suck it up, get over it, and go on with their dismal life. What he was telling them is that they needed to adapt to the new form of capitalism that is destroying America. In other words middle-class and poor Americans need to adapt but Wall Street reserves the right to continue its dysfunctional predatory disastrous race to the bottom without ever adapting to anything. Poor people and the middle-class must adapt, but Wall Street sees no need to adapt because middle-class and poor taxpayers are always there for the bailout when incompetent irrational criminal corporate MBAs make incredibly bad decisions.
The most troubling aspect about the Munger story is that Munger seems to be getting cooperation from the huge new numbers of Wall Street Democrats.
47 million Americans, for example, lost their food stamp benefits in part because the Democrats (or what used to be the so-called People’s party) have been quick to support the notion that greed is good and that the more we give to the top, the better people will be at the bottom. The big lie that the media Republicans and now Wall Street Democrats continue to sell.
Gary Younge, in his article, reminded us that according to Gallup polls, one in five Americans say that they had times just in the last year where they did not have enough money to buy food for their families.
The interesting point about Gary Younge’s observation is that it’s not just Republicans who want to continue taking benefits away from middle-class and poor Americans. The only difference is that Republicans want bigger cuts than Democrats when there should be no cuts at all taking place. As we move in the budget discussions in January and February, what we’re going to begin seeing is that Wall Street Democrats, along with Republicans, are going to continue squeezing the middle class and the poor with more Social Security cuts, more Medicare cuts, and more safety net cuts in general. Democrats will argue, “geewhiz, we had to do this in order to compromise with Republicans.” Republicans will argue, “geewhiz, Democrats were willing to participate in cuts of all kinds to save our economy.” But when you drill right down to the heart of it, those cuts have nothing to do with economic truths and everything to do with political theater. Democrats understand that Hillary Clinton will be asking for big money again from Wall Street, just as we saw happen with this Obama administration and the Clinton administration. And never forget, most politicians – D or R – have no sense of shame.
As you watch the political theater over the staged budget fight unfold in January and February, understand the corporate media will never report that the Democrats have a goal that is not much different from the goal of Republicans.
You might remember the incident when Bill Clinton was caught on camera with a hot mic talking about the need for Democrats to push for Social Security reform. Clinton’s apologetic explanation of that event should leave you even colder in that Clinton, for weeks after he was caught, began parroting talking points that sounded more like Republican ideology than intelligent economic planning.
The façade theater that unfolds in January and February may at least accomplish something. It may allow progressives to finally admit that in 2013 and 2014 there will be little difference in how we distinguish the differences between Democrats and Republicans on issues about distribution of wealth in America. You’re kidding yourself if you believe that the discussion that will be taking place about the budget in January and February has anything to do with true economic concerns. It is simply about political ideology. And right now, at this moment in history, it’s difficult to tell any differences in ideology between Democrats or Republicans except on social issues, such as same-sex marriage immigration and hand guns.
Where it comes to matters that really have the greatest effect on the typical American family such as core economic issues, the Democrats have left the room shoulder to shoulder with Republicans.
The typical American retiree is unable to rely on pensions or planned retirement and will be required to live on Social Security now averaging about $1200 a month. They rely on Medicare most and Medicaid recipients are children living in poverty or adults with significant disabilities. Attitudes about basic issues such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid can best be reflected in virtually all the polls that show a solid 70 % to 75% of Americans believe that Social Security should not be cut at all.
Conservative teabag type Republicans have already won this battle. Hardly a day goes by now where some Democratic leader is not suggesting either directly or in code language that we must take more away from the middle class and the poor and give more to America’s billionaire elite by way of tax cuts, subsidies, and tax loopholes that make it virtually impossible for billionaires not to become multibillionaire’s.
Expect to hear our president and Democratic leadership using terms like our long-term obligations to Medicare and Social Security, which is merely code word for cuts, are coming. Expect Democratic leadership to be telling us that they must negotiate because they can’t be viewed as the party unwilling to compromise. Expect to hear Democrats on Sunday talk shows making it clear that in their minds all issues are on the negotiating table. Which is code word for they have already given the farm away. Listen carefully as Wall Street Democrats such as Schumer, Durbin, and Warner tell us the Democrats must give entitlements away in order to get cooperation on revenues.
These are the new Wall Street Democrats beholden to Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson and Robert Rubin and Tim Gartner and Larry Summers. On economic issues that most concern the American public, it’s virtually impossible to recognize any Democratic blood running through the veins of Diane Feinstein or Max Baucus or Joe mansion are Chris Coons or Tom Carper or Michael Bennet. It’s not that they will cave in for the Republicans, it is that they have always fully embraced Republican ideology where it comes to taking care of the least of our society. And here’s the real bad news: the Democrat at the very top of the food chain, Barack Obama, seems more than willing to give away America’s social safety net for virtually nothing in return from the Republicans. In his mind, that really is change we can believe in.
This train wreck sellout will be taking place during a time when Americans need federal safety net programs more than ever. Only around 30% of all jobs in America even offer pensions while healthcare and housing costs keep skyrocketing. This is not a time in America when the elderly will experience anything that could possibly be characterized as the Golden years.
January and February, I predict, will be a pathetic spectacle as we watch the Beltway boneheads promote the idea that America’s wealthiest elites simply don’t have enough money to do their patriotic share in taking care of all Americans.
If you actually believe that the Democrats won the shutdown fight, then just pay attention to what’s getting ready to unfold in about 60 days.