Thu Feb 5th, 2009 at 02:18:48 PM EST
I claim it is to save capitalism and the investor class that funds both political parties. One of the frequent comments these days is that FDR saved capitalism by creating various government structures to keep it from self destruction.
So what are the two sides fighting about?
As far as I can tell it is whether the plutocracy should have to make any personal sacrifices while the economy is being re-inflated. Tax cuts for the better off are promoted. Deals to keep big firms from failing are deemed essential. Funding for the military and domestic policing (homeland security) is being increased. The war in Afghanistan is being ramped up. Traditional pork projects in civil engineering are being put forward. In other words same old, same old.
On the other "side" there is a bit of a movement to help those at the bottom of the pyramid through expanded social services. The plutocrats are afraid that these temporary measures will become permanent. The Schip debate highlights this. Once (legal) immigrant children were added to the program it is clear that they will never be removed in the future. They don't want to see more programs like this.
Proposals to fund part of expanded social programs by shifting wealth and income from the top are met with a barrage of cries of socialism and various pseudo-scientific studies showing that this will lead to the end of the American way of life. When one claim doesn't hold up another is put forward using the "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" mode of argument.
The American people want increased social services, they want better regulation of foods, drugs and other consumer items. They want better working conditions and the right to organize if they wish. They want income security through assured health and retirement benefits. They want better education and prospects for their children.
That their goals and those designing the "bailout" are different couldn't be more stark. Obama is being pushed into putting some symbolic populist measures into place as a way to forestall the public becoming more insistent on the goals I outlined. Limiting pay and perks is just one such misdirection.
For a long time the most popular essay on my web site had to do with immigration. Starting last October those dealing with wealth inequality have become the most read. The public mood has shifted and the plutocrats know it. Unfortunately they still control the levers of power and it seems that they will be able to forestall any fundamental shifts in the social structure.
Minimizing the pain for the unemployed is a pretty poor goal for the Dems to be satisfied with, but that seems to be all they aspire to.