the latest GDP figures are out and, and the 3.2 percent growth rate is "below expectations" but nevertheless being hailed as a cause for optimism, as the US economy tries to claw its way out of depression.
over at the guardian, they are quoting a local firm called Markit as saying that the trajectory of the US economy is upward, based on the beneficial effects of government stimulus -- which is, they claim, just the opposite of the situation in the UK and other heavily indebted countries in europe.
now, this is where i choke up. while the smart money is on government stimulus as the only rational way to propel moribund economies upward, the discussion in washington seems to be narrowly focused on deficits and the national debt. business in the US, in its total aversion to paying any taxes whatsoever to help support the country, would have the government tightening the proverbial belt until it cuts the body politic in two at the waist.
seriously, when you hear the GOPpers out on what their program is, it's cut, cut and cut. they have, on the other side, president obambi who is at best wishy washy and non-committal about just what his principles are. surrounded by wall street bankers and corporate CEOs, he's arranged to have a chorus of johnny one-notes giving him policy prescriptions for the next 2 years. that chorus is about austerity for the public, and continued handouts for wealthy and well-connected.
the net results of this, if implemented in policy, would of course do nothing to reduce the deficit or indebtedness. we'd simply find ourselves in even more desperate straits in a few years, when even more draconian steps would be required. it's quite simple: this nation will never get its financial house in order until socialism for the rich is replaced with the sort of rigid free-market fundamentalism that they prescribe for everyone else.
if the wealthy were required to ante up in proportion to the benefits they receive from government, we'd be in less ominous straits than we find ourselves. the US is the world's wealthiest country, and its biggest economy. it doesn't make any sense that the government would be going broke, if our lawmakers would do what is necessary to fund programs in the public interest.
instead, we're addicted to ruinous military spending, in support of policies that will eventually lead to bankruptcy as well as national humiliation. bring the mission of the government and military back to earth, where instead of global domination our institutions provide for the common defense as it has been understood before the national security state became a matter of national policy.
while we're at it, the public coffers are being drained by the exploding costs of healthcare. why should medical care for the citizenry be financially ruinous to the state? we had a grand spectacle of legislative farce as the congress and industry produced the monstrosity called "healthcare reform" or "obamacare". regardless of how you name it, the process produced solutions that did nothing to ameliorate the underlying, fundamental flaws in the system.
if we as a nation cannot afford the level of care we want, then we need to decide on the level of care we're prepared to pay for, and then make the necessary amendments to the system to ensure that a basic, decent level of care is available to all. beyond that, if we want to allow a strictly pay-to-play system for the wealthy, so be it. but no one should suffer the indignity of being denied basic life-sustaining treatment simply because they're a bad risk for an insurance underwriter.
our "problems," such as they are, ought to be solved by addressing underlying causes -- like bringing the authors of our financial catastrophe to heel, and enacting sensible economic policies that enhance, rather than dismantle society -- before we enact "austerity" measures to enrich the very scoundrels who engineered the fiscal calamity we are facing.
the incessant calls for "austerity" and to "cut spending" from the political right wing are, i think, vastly overrated in their appeal to society at large. once we turn down the volume a bit and listen to what most of us are saying, the solutions to our ills is not the meat cleaver but the guillotine...
the only policy of the chinese i think we ought to emulate is the death penalty for betrayals of public trust. i'd love to march a couple hundred of the biggest banksters and their enablers in the government into a stadium with all the pomp and ceremony -- a fitting end for people who find the suffering they cause others amusing.