Sunday, July 13, 2008

Voodoo After All. Utopia At Last. Something To Whine About.

Turns out that Bush was right.

No, not that Bush. His father.

Once upon a time if you suggested that the way to ensure Americans' prosperity was to lavish the wealthiest citizens and corporations with tax breaks while breaking the back of organized labor and opening up international markets to free trade, you'd be laughed out of the room.

Even the wealthiest individuals and corporate leaders had to temper their rhetoric at first. This was the time when people like George H.W. Bush, seeking the people's votes, slammed Reagan's ridiculous fringe economic ideas as "voodoo economics."

Later, when it seemed that the people could indeed be flim-flammed by a mix of outright lies, patriotic mumbo-jumbo, and insinuations of weak-kneed liberalism, the pretense dissolved and everyone at the top bellied up to the table and helped themselves to a big ol' slice of the pie.

At its peak, greed came out of the shadows altogether. While real wages stagnated and American families, feeling the pinch, went from one job to two, then to three, then to none, a new gilded age of obscene excess emerged.

Now it seems that the bloom is off the rose. Republican Utopia, while fabulously successful at the country club, is not holding its own in the court of public opinion. That trickle-down, deregulate-everything mantra that Reagan rode to power on was exactly what his vice president called it: voodoo.

Or maybe not. Maybe, as McCain's economic brain, Phil Gramm, says, we've simply become a "nation of whiners." "I can't feed my family," we whine. "I can't heat my home," we whine. "I can't afford my medicine," we whine. "My son is dead in Iraq and I'm beginning to think it really was all about oil," we whine.

"It was about oil," Scott McLellan replies.

"Don't listen to him," his former best friend George Bush whines.

Phil Gramm hangs out with people who made out pretty damn good in the last few years. The winners. The architects of our current Republican Utopia. Of course the rest of us seem like whiners to him.

Someone ought to get some whiners together, fill a few minivans, show up at his doorstep, his friends' doorsteps, with some persuasive arguments. Rouse the family from their beds. Line them up on the lawn. Present the arguments. Show the evidence. Ask, whence redress? Our children and grandchildren are going to pay for all that voodoo, remind them. What are these young ones, shivering in their jammies on the fresh-mowed lawn going to pay?

We'll hear some whining then.

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