Friday, April 17, 2009


"All government is ultimately and essentially absolute." - Samuel Johnson

I believe that at one time, the idea of a conservative grass-roots movement might have been a real possibility, but those times ended ages ago if, in fact, they ever existed. It's not like Fascism swelled up from the streets. In the modern world at least, all conservative "preserve our wealth" movements necessarily find their genesis in high birth. It's true that many present-day conservatives really could not care less about nor do they even understand the basis of true political conservatism. Anyone who voted against gay marriage, for example, is not a true conservative, because a true conservative believes that the government has no right to control that area of your life. A true conservative may be against abortion, but to put the power in the hands of the government to stop it is unfathomable. Interestingly, the people who want to call themselves conservative today seem to hold few philosophies of true conservative thought.

The recent "teabagging" fervor is a great example of this. I find it interesting that these people who are "protesting" taxes by bringing a packet of black pekoe to the federal building cannot see the irony of their actions. First, the original Boston Tea Party was about being taxed without restraint by a government in which we had no voice. Second, it was by today's standards not a protest as much as an act of economic terrorism. Remember, these guys were not parading a teabag around the square, they were breaking into ships and ruining entire shipments of somebody else's product. If you wanted to make a reasonable comparison to that act, you'd be better off comparing the Boston Tea Party to the Californians who burnt the car lots a few years ago in protest of environmental issues. The Boston Tea Party destroyed huge amounts of somebody else's money. Today's protesting conservatives would never be able to stomach something like that without somebody ending up sentenced to one of our illustrious privatized prisons.

The most ironic thing is that while these people are protesting the omnipresent government that their own party is responsible for unleashing, the only part that they seem to want to rid themselves of is the IRS. The rest of it is okay as long as it creates no interference with their personal cash-flow. They say "no socialism!" But none of the old white people out there waving teabags are trying to get rid of social security, even though social security accounts for more paycheck deductions than the federal tax and state tax (where applicable) combined. What is the other larger-than-taxes deduction on your paycheck? Medicare. Don't see any of those people protesting to get rid of that either, even though they say that they're against universal health care. The teabaggers seem not to be against big socialist government, but against that government using
their money to operate. It's a delusional thought. The very people who wallowed in the gluttony produced by the dynamics that have brought us to this place are the ones who now don't want to take any responsibility for it. They say it under the guise of "not wanting our children to pay for it," but what they really mean is that yet again they want those of us who have languished in the past for their luxury to continue to do that in the future. The CEOs of the corporations which provided them with ridiculous returns on their stocks over the last two or three decades are making off with huge contractual sums of money, and they're being stuck with the bill, which is only right because they're the real owners in the first place. By all rights, they should be in favor of taxes going to bailout, because that means that all of us, shareholders and non-shareholders alike, are footing the bill for the shareholders' responsibilities. When one delves deep enough, the reasoning behind this new wave of conservative protesting falls apart. Are they ignorant, or are they malevolent?

The problem seems to be that those who have profited and hoarded since Reagan convinced everyone that money flows downward have never in their lifetime had to give back in relation to what they've gained. Those of us who have lived a significant time under the median income range have known all along that "trickle down" didn't refer to money. When the system is based on greed (which it always is) money must flow upward in order for the rich to gain. In the past, the middle class has always been big enough to provide enormous incomes for those above them on the scale. Problem is that they've been disappearing like a South American rain forest. They've either "made it" through their investments, or they've slipped through the rungs of the ladder and landed flat on their asses among the ranks of the working classes. The working class doesn't invest. Sure their retirement plans (if they have one) are based in mutual funds or government bonds, but let's face it, the future and availability of retirement plans are no more solid than this quarter's returns. They have no real disposable income either. Paycheck to paycheck is the name of the game down here, and we can't compete with foreign laborers who make in a week what we need to make in a day in order to survive. Therefore, the bulk of the profits made at the top reflects an ever increasing inability for the bottom to make their way. Conservative deregulation has allowed this to happen. If you want to make this year's $20M profit next year's $30M profit, move your factories to Asia or South America. Let someone else hire these expensive Americans. Or, we can hire the bulk of our employees as part-timers, pay them less money and save even more money by making them ineligible for retirement plans and health care. But we're against government taking over these benefits, because then we'll have to pay higher taxes to make them available. We'd rather spend our tax money paying arms manufacturers and war contractors to protect our overseas investments and pay privatized prisons to house our disenfranchised. In fact, we'd rather not pay taxes for that either. Can you see where this heads? It's an impossible scenario to sustain. At some point, there is no one left below to be the consumers to support the rich. Small groups of well-to-do, aging, and (let's face it) Caucasian people prancing around the federal building's steps with tea bags are not going to do a damn thing to change it.

You're either for having a government, or you're against having a government. If there is no government, then the money becomes meaningless. If there is a government, well, I believe the quote from Mr. Johnson at the beginning of this post says it all. As for me, I'm having coffee.