Bernie Sanders’ disruption of Killary’s marketing effort is a pleasing thing. But, damn, the guy has such huge flaws. Not least of these is his failure to talk straight about the realities of social class.
Here’s what he says today to a NYT reporter:
“Ordinary people are profoundly disgusted with the state of the economy and the fact that the middle class is being destroyed.”
What is “being destroyed” for somebody in the middle class? Being sent back to the working class, right? And as that happens, what has been happening to that always-latter class?
One might expect a socialist who cannot (and should not want to) win the U.S. Presidency, who is there to change the terms of discussion and embolden the neglected masses, to point out that, as the credential holders slide, the working class is as much the majority as ever, and has been getting absolutely — and intentionally — raped since Day One of the ongoing Reagan Restoration.
When Ralph Nader steps in, it’s a sure sign it’s too little, too late. Hence, Nader is now trying to save the United States Postal Service by more of his trademark narrow special pleading.
Problem? The USPS was mortally wounded in 1967, when it had to stop opening savings accounts due to government restriction of both the size of deposits and its ability to pay interest rates competitive with those then offered by private banks. A second severe blow came in 1971, when Nixon pushed it to the very edge of the public sector in retaliation for a postal union strike. Eleven years later, the death-blow was delivered — of course — by the Reagan Administration, which ended meaningful public subsidy and required the post office to survive by selling its own “postal products,” which — also of course — were not to include things like savings accounts or insurance policies or anything else that might compete with the so-called private sector, despite the common practices of the rest of the supposedly free world.
More recently, mainstream politics have further strangled the USPS, including by the method about which Nader now complains, the amazing requirement that the USPS pre-pay its workers’ pensions to the government.
Why do I mention all this, apart from its obvious relevance to the TCT theme of the private sector’s reliance on the maiming of public-sector competition? (How attractive would a USPS savings account paying even the measly 2% rate that killed the practice back in the 1960s look in our age?) The answer can be seen here, at Deliver magazine.
What is Deliver? Published by the USPS,
Deliver magazine, is [a] resource for mail marketing strategies brought to you by the United States Postal Service.® What We Do: Deliver magazine arms marketers with research, news and commentary impacting their industry.
That’s right. Deliver magazine is a public-sector enterprise that advises capitalists on how to prepare and send junk mail! Now, there’s an activity that doesn’t need to be regulated by the supposed representatives of the people!
Go take a look at Deliver‘s website. There, you will discover such shining examples of the public spirit in action as this piece, “Power in the Mailbox”, by spammer-marketer Steve Cuno (who also happens to post apologies for his trade at randi.org, where they hold to the view that capitalism is rational and honest):
Time for a disclaimer before I proceed. I’m not attacking e-mail marketing. I shall contrast it with direct mail only to bring out some of the latter’s advantages. E-mail has advantages, too, but that’s another column for another day.
A number of unique factors work in direct mail’s favor. One is what your English literature teacher called “willing suspension of disbelief,” our ability to set aside reality and lose ourselves in a story. When a direct mail letter shows up in a personally addressed, stamped envelope, part of us wants to believe that someone took a moment to compose, print, address and post it, just for us. All the better if the letter calls us by name and bears a signature in fountain pen–evoking blue. A good writer can make an e-mail blast sound personal, but there is no electronic substitute for the look and feel of a signed letter in a stamped, addressed envelope.
Willing suspension of disbelief knows no demographic limitations. Consider my publisher friend. A technologically savvy marketing insider, she knows my shop, understands digital printing, publishes my articles and, on occasion, pops for lunch. Had she paused to analyze, she would easily have seen that the letter in her hand was direct mail. But — and this is the point — she chose not to pause and analyze. Nor did other recipients. Remember, these were high-balance customers, not exactly the intellectual dregs of society. Of those who replied, 80 percent willingly suspended their disbelief and thanked the bank president for writing them.
The near-overnight appearance of spam laws and filters provides another. No sooner had e-mail blasts arrived than the public demanded laws restricting them, servers blocking them, and junk filters dispatching them.
By contrast, laws governing physical mail are far less restrictive, despite more than 200 years of opportunity to enact them — and for good reason.
Yes, in America, we don’t regulate the mail. We merely cripple and prostitute its deliverer.
While scamming the electorate in 2008, Zerobama did admit he was into Reagan. Careful to suggest he was also into FDR, he did admit it.
Certainly, no doubt remains which was the substance and which the window dressing.
Fresh off appointing a high-ranking career bank executive his new Chief of Staff, our Entrepreneur-in-Chief has long since buried all talk of FDR under the accumulating mountain of his Reaganite assaults on the public/give-aways to the rich.
The latest, delivered with yet another insistence that “Small firms drive growth and create most new jobs in this country,” that, in other words, government will continue to do nothing to create jobs directly? A truly moribund mega-howler, delivered, appropriately enough, on the opinion page of The Wall Street Journal.
The actual essay, chock full of familiar, obsequious Reaganite fictions surrrounding the core thesis that “vibrant entrepreneurialism is the key to our continued global leadership and the success of our people,” is just too awful to reprint here. Read it on you own, if you must. But don’t bother. It’s vintage Reagan: Hoary, moldy, petulant, wishful falsity.
Suffice it instead to say, this summary from The New York Times is just about right:
President Obama, intensifying his courtship of the business community, announced Tuesday that he is issuing an executive order that aims to free companies of unnecessary regulatory burdens and promote economic growth.
In an opinion article in The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Obama said he is ordering a government-wide review of the rules that govern business, in an effort to remove “outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive.’’ He said his administration is committed to seeking the ‘’proper balance’’ between freedom of commerce and regulations necessary to protect the public against threats to health and safety.
They always talk about “balance,” of course, when they are opening the henhouse door even wider for the foxes. We have scared and defenseless poultry and hungry, impatience canines wanting to expand their dining habits. The foxes aren’t asking to take the door off completely. “Balance,” see?
In actual history, of course, before giving them away to capitalists, government sponsors or invents most of the core technologies (assembly line, airplanes, computers, various types of electronics), and government regulation has always been not just a primary form of protection for the public, but also often a core benefit to business interests. Never in human history has de-regulation revived a depressed capitalist economy. Indeed, it can’t, because depressions are demand-side, not supply-side, problems. Further indulging business owners when there is already too much capital at the top does nothing (less than nothing, really) to put money in the pockets of those truly in need, the ones who would spend it if they had it on basic, economy-boosting products.
All that, of course, is not going to stop an utterly unchecked and decrepit and self-deluded ruling class of rentiers and their lapdog politicians from making the same old claim. Power concedes nothing without a demand. Hell, it doesn’t even admit it has a problem.
It would be funny if it weren’t so deadly serious.
Did you operate an illegal war against Nicaragua? “Gosh, I can’t recall…But trees cause more pollution than automobiles do, ketchup is a vegetable, and the rich aren’t rich enough.”
Flash forward 22 years:
“What about the public option?” a man called out, interrupting the president in an exchange that seemed momentarily to throw Mr. Obama off stride by forcing him to depart from the remarks he was reading off a TelePrompTer.
“That’s not in it!” Mr. Obama called back.
“Why not?” the man replied.
“Because we couldn’t get it through Congress, that’s why,” Mr. Obama said.
The Reincarnation of Ronald Reagan called President Obama has told us what we will get in return for our public purchase of General Motors:
What we are not doing — what I have no interest in doing — is running GM. GM will be run by a private board of directors and management team with a track record in American manufacturing that reflects a commitment to innovation and quality. They — and not the government — will call the shots and make the decisions about how to turn this company around. The federal government will refrain from exercising its rights as a shareholder in all but the most fundamental corporate decisions. When a difficult decision has to be made on matters like where to open a new plant or what type of new car to make, the new GM, not the United States government, will make that decision.
In short, our goal is to get GM back on its feet, take a hands-off approach, and get out quickly.
The foxes who ate all the chickens will not be told they are disqualified from running the place, despite the fact that the collective of the chickens just bought it.
Of course, the people who run the chicken collective are rather obviously foxes in feathered garb. The foxes bought them their television commercials and sponsored their rise from the coop.
Obama’s plan here is a guaranteed disaster, too, by the way. The age of the automobile is at its end. The Earth can’t take it any more, and capitalism has sucked all the blood out of the suckers. Unrestrained class-struggle-from-above has reached its own logical end. Offshoring and credit-card wage-substitution have finally finished laying their rotten eggs.
As with Reagan, the main question is whether Obama believes his own b.s., and is therefore profoundly stupid, or is in way deep on the self-packaging prevarications. With Obama, I tend to think the latter, but it remains the core issue of his Presidency, which has otherwise been a complete and utter disaster for the poorest 90 percent of the nation, not to mention the rest of the world.
And you might also recall that it was Reagan’s useful idiocy that greased the rails for the tidal wave of heightened class-struggle-from-above under which we’ve been living ever since the Gipper’s rise from the gubernatorial ooze. One effect of that increased level of capitalism has been ordinary people using credit cards to replace the wages and benefits they’ve lost, as our shareholding bail-out takers have gutted the society while building themselves wine cellars and third homes.