corporatist liberalism: the wise men’s christmas gift to america

i like what I think that means.  Well, I don’t really like it, but I like that it describes a lost and forever meandering democratic party that certainly is not my father’s oldsmobile; god, it is not my father’s democratic party either.  It is neither democratic nor a party.

The last decade, the first decade of the 21st century is not off to a very good start.  With enroning, and iraqing, afganistaning, and now providing health care mandates that institutionalize the health of the insurance industry, we are not in very god shape at all.  Earlier in the year when I wrote about the potential revolution that might emerge from looping off 20 % of the middle class and letting them fall into the fault line of the economic earthquake we just went through, I got hate mail back suggesting that I ought to leave the country of I was not satisfied with how things were done here…

I could venture a guess at what party affiliation they might have, I would not want to insult the many friends I have from the other side of the aisle.  I am aware now more than ever that it is no longer a republican thing vs. a democrat thing, it is a have and have-nots thing.  The lobbying industry which represents by an over whelming majority the mega rich and the corporate obtained wealth, are running the show.

The senator from Philip-Morris yields to the senator from Wall Street.  We have a House of Lords and a house of commoners.  I am represented by a house of commoners elected official who never returns phone calls, does not have an assistant return phone calls, but regardless of what i say into the phone or by e mail, I can be certain to receive a stamped form letter thanking me for my interest in government and directing me to all his accomplishments that i can witness on his constituent funded web-page.

I waiver between feeling as if I am cynical and pessimistic and on the other hand thinking that I have a vision of a failing American Empire that might have a sliver of a chance of being saved if enough people get on the same page and recognize that we ought not let the America of our father’s and fore fathers be hijacked by the wealthy aristocrats of greed, and ego induced policy makers.

Don’t you dare–don’t you dare tell me that I ought to leave this country.  Who do you think you are to automatically assume that I do not love America as much as you do–and maybe even more because I understand that not all enemies of our nation are riding on camel backs in the middle east.  We have enemies to our national good right here under our noses.  They are the people who because of their current financial margin of comfort, have no ounce of compassion for the poor, the homeless, the aging sick, the families who have lost all to enron, or lost all to fraudulently administered gate-keepers of the health care system.

Here is one good example.  A decent hard working family man with a high score on his financial reports payed his monthly bill on line.  He paid it after 2:00 p.m. on a Friday.  The bank created a policy that anything posted after two on a friday would not be “technically” posted until 2:00 p.m. the following Monday.  In the mean time, he thought he was safe since his money had been deposited so he proceeded to make several business purchases, as well as several small purchases, like a $2.00 coffee, a few items at a grocery store and, a prescription at a pharmacy.

Because his payment was posted after he made these purchases over the weekend, he was charged a $35.00 fee for each item over his card limit….This created something like three-hundred and fifty dollars worth of over draft charges.  You would think that that would be enough to drive one over the edge, considering that all the purchases amounted to perhaps under $50.00.

Here is the kicker.  The interest rate on his 6.5% credit, RETROACTIVELY, got raised to 29%……

Why is congress not angered by this?  Because the banks are too big to fail.  We did not fully understand what that meant when we spend a trillion dollars recently helping these poor bankers out of a jam.  You would think that if anyone had a boot strap to pick themselves up with, it would be the banks….

Too big to fail means simply this–they are bigger that the government, they have no law of the land to answer to.  They are new members of a global aristocracy and America can not stop them.  They are too big to fail.

So corporatist liberalism is that faction of democratic legislators who small minded-ly propose limited, ineffectual laws that are not so much designed to help the american people as they are designed to get them re – elected.

When you get up Christmas morning and see your new health package under the tree remember to thank a congressman with a vote of confidence even if it actually a worst plan that the one we suffer with now…Or as David Brooks wrote in The New York Times earlier this summer,

“[Obama and Clinton] Democrats learned never to go to war against the combined forces of corporate America. Today, whether it is on the stimulus, on health care, or any other issue, the Obama administration and the Congressional leadership go out of their way to court corporate interests, to win corporate support and to at least divide corporate opposition.”

Merry Christmas, and Oh yes—–ooh, ooh ooh all the way to the corporate banks…

3 comments on “corporatist liberalism: the wise men’s christmas gift to america

  1. Mark says:

    Dear Al: As one of your friends on the other side (of the wall, and the isle), I believe you are correct, it is not my Republican Party either. A party of purposeful divisiveness, a party of cheap shots and cheaper legislation. It is not a “supply and demand” system, its a system to take care of there own (both isles). We moan and bitch about it, but when is the rest of America going to wake up and smell what there shoveling down our throats. I love this country, and love the people who have fought for our freedoms, but one by one they are being taken away. The more “rules” we have the less freedoms we have.
    As a Republican, I had hopes on this new President, but unfortunately he has been taken up by the “cog” of Washington.
    On a better note, I’d like to wish you, Bernie and all who read this a very Merry Christmas.

  2. I agree with everything you have to say. You have me fired up now. Lenny watch out tonight! LOL. I have a BIG problem with the government having more to say about my medical situations than my physician or health care provider. The other day you and I talked about A Christmas Carol, I would say that we are being Scrooged pretty good at this point. The tea was dumped in the harbor once and it WILL be dumped in the harbor again. Merry Christmas buddy, see you next decade…

  3. Natalie Webb says:

    I absolutely wanted a one pay system, then, OK a public option, then, OK an expanded Medicare. It didn’t happen, not only because of many of our good senators, including those in RI who were fighting hard, but because of American voters, who say things like: I do not want the government deciding my medical needs, but it has been alright for the insurance and drug companies to decide your medical needs.
    Americans cannot have it both ways. At some point they have to decide what aspects of life they want to be public laws/policy. Americans want to be capitalists. They are afraid of a democratic capitalist society the is concerned with redistribution of wealth and resources. So when taxes are levied against the rich, the middle class fight against it for the rich. We are a class society even though we are a democratic society. We are a capitalist society, but are we a democratic capitalist society? Not when the different classes do not know how to elect and back leaders who know that wealth and resources must be balanced in order to regulate, yes, regulate, a democratic, fair capitalist society.

    About despair over the Health Bill. Read the balanced response of Paul Krugman’s analysis in the NY Times on Friday December 25th. He is probably the most progressive economist that we have in the country today. Also note Dean’s accommodation and hopes.
    This is not the time to quit–The progressives have made a difference, let’s not drop the ball now.

    As for Obama, hopefully he will expand his knowledge base. Enough with the ‘intellectuals’ from Chicago.
    Bring on progressive thinkers like Krugman and Reich. Don’t be afraid, or you will lose moderate Republicans who truly believe in democratic capitalism but sometimes confuse individual freedom as an ideal for social responsibility. In a capitalist democracy social responsibility requires looking at the sum of the parts in order to integrate a free society that is interconnected and mutually dependent. Obama understands this.

    He also understands that democratic action is compromise; and, yes, as long as we support the rich by adopting their values we will have the pyramid society that we support now. We value the CEO and devalue the teacher, nurse, minister, etc.; we laud nay worship the millionaire and devalue the immigrant who washes dishes and cleans our streets, etc. etc. If the Tea Party was really concerned about American Democracy it would be challenging these values and not creating fear of democratic governance or looking for social escape goats. It would not be chastising leaders who are seeking to create laws and policy that redistribute the wealth and resources of a pyramid social orderso that we can all achieve a healthy, prosperous and safe society.

    Happy New Year, America.

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