[lit-ideas] Re: domestic disquiet from Bush policies (long)

  • From: "Andreas Ramos" <andreas@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 08:23:25 -0700

Carol's email is far more relevant to us than the nonsense in the Middle East. America can not continue as a society, a culture, and a nation when 85% of its citizens are disenfranchised from participating both in politics and economic well-being.

It's not a country when 15% have everything and the rest merely survive.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Carol Kirschenbaum" <carolkir@xxxxxxxx>
To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, July 19, 2006 2:03 AM
Subject: [lit-ideas] domestic disquiet from Bush policies (long)

Some are now declaring Iraq to be in a state of civil war. Uncontrollable. Hez, Iz & Leb are shredding each other. Therre's the latest tsunami, unfixed New Orleans, and...

The US economy--or, more precisely, the US poor, working poor, desperately poor, middle-class poor--versus the US Super-rich who rule us, with increasingly autocratic powers, starting with the Bush admin.

I don't think this income disparity is a minor concern for global stability, such as it is or hopes to be. Just as you can't impose democracy on a people that has no experience of that form of government without intense disruption, you can't impose relative poverty on a population that is used to thinking of itself as well-off, provided for, able to pull itself up and take care of its own.

But in most ways, the US now is not the country it was a generation ago (or less). Our imperialistic Iraqi venture is helping to bleed the treasury, for one, and that money is coming right out of the poorer pockets, by way of cutbacks in essential social services, cutbacks and layoffs in middle-class jobs (jobs that pay more than WalMart), cutbacks in medical programs, in Social Security for seniors (that *is happening*--look at the benefits themselves. Shocking.).Cuts in middle- and lower-income housing starts, housing vouchers. And higher costs in general for everything from gas to get to work, to food, to drugs, to doctor visits, surgery--even that damned prescription drug program of Bush's takes a chunk out of tiny fixed incomes, and even in benevolent states.

I'm not whining. I'm warning. The kind of poverty I see in California is the type that fuels violent crime, drug-taking, general chaos. It's been that way for a while. (This state is now "outsourcing" its prisoners, btw! Sending them to other states because our prisons are overly full.)

It's the disappearing middle class that poses the biggest threat to this country's sense of stability. Perhaps its government as we've known it. The Bush admin is doing its best to seize disproportionate power for the executive branch, and unfortunately, a wimpy Congress has let him do it. I'm not sure there's enough gumption left in Congress to repel what amounts to a dictatorship--an old-fashioned oligarchical government, the type that rewards its cronies handsomely, and leaves outsiders (the population) in breadlines.

I'm fighting my own alarmist tendencies here, but I'm honestly afraid of what will happen in the next couple of years--and when Bush is out of office. I see the Dems organizing for the next congressional election as if it were a regular old thing, one party vs the other. But those elections now feel rather irrelevant here, from my perspective. The system is so skewed that a few new guys will fall in line in a snap. (Am I cynical?)

And will the rest of the population be content to watch TV shows about extraordinarily rich celebrities and CEOs, as long as they can afford an HDTV monitor? My feeling is no, this imbalance can't last. But when have the super-rich and powerful ever given up their privileged status willingly?

Complacency is still in the air, but I feel rumblings. Read the articles, if you're motivated. It's important.


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