Monday, December 28, 2009

The Naughts

Everybody seems to agree that the past decade has been pretty crappy. Some like to blame the Bush administration, but I don't. Granted, Bush and his cronies were incompetent and corrupt, but they were just the culmination (I hope) of a process that started with Reagan in 1981.

How anybody ever managed to believe in supply-side economics and monetarism is beyond me, but when you consider how many people believe the world is less than 6,000 years old, I guess making the jump to supply-side is not that difficult. Anyway, I don't think that political leaders ever bothered to believe any economic theory at all. Starting with Reagan, they were just corporatists — dancing at the ends of strings in the hands of lobbyists and bankers.

The result is our current plutocracy — a system that neither the Obama administration nor any significant portion of Congress seems at all inclined to unwind. The fact that the events of the past 10 years have demonstrated, over and over, that the "magic of the market" is entirely mythical makes no difference to those in power. They feel obliged to keep spouting the same anti-regulatory, anti-tax nonsense — and for good reason.

They're bought and paid for.

Don't expect much to change. Health reform won't be allowed to infringe on the profit margins of hospitals, insurance companies, or pharmaceutical manufacturers. If our troops ever are withdrawn from Afghanistan (or even Iraq), there will be new places to invade for the benefit of military contractors. Somewhere on Wall Street, the next bubble is taking shape, and nothing will be done to break up the banks that are "too big to fail."

I'm guessing the "naughts" will go on a while longer. There's nothing in sight to bring them to an end.

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