Friday, January 15, 2016

Kiss Up, Kick Down. The Money Politics of Cruz and Trump and the GOP.

Ted Cruz is as perfect a demonstration of the corrupting power of money in politics as we are likely to see. He bragged about his personal sacrifice and opposition to Wall Street but secretly took a million dollars from Wall Street banks to gain office. This is called hypocrisy. The lie makes it worse.

VOX explains the special deal Ted Cruz secretly obtained from Goldman Sachs, his wife's employer.

People with large fortunes dominate our politics. They can afford to run for office or else they fund other people’s campaigns, people who will further their interests. We have a religion of money in this country. We are told every day by our media that the rich earned their riches, that entrepreneurs are braver and bolder and smarter than humble working people. They are often smart and usually better educated because they can afford to be, but are they bolder and braver? They are depicted as swashbucklers who dare to take risks, but they aren’t risking much. They take these risks with a large margin of safety their wealth provides, and their losses are seldom catastrophic because they can afford to hedge everything. They can escape losses entirely the way Trump did via multiple bankruptcies, leaving others holding the bag. When they win, they collect; when they lose, we all pay.

From QUARTZ, the myth of the brave risk-taker. It's brave to be born rich, apparently.

Working people who use our democracy to demand changes to improve their lives are called greedy. The hard won privileges that are taken away from them are called “entitlements”, which is an insult because, of course, only rich people are entitled to things. Working people must prove themselves worthy every hour of every day. The rich? The born rich? They take special privileges for granted but questioning those special privileges is dangerous.

From the NYTimes, the special tax evasion system that keeps the rich rich, and lets us pay their bills.

We live in a period when working people are fed with crumbs that fall from the tables of people who own for a living.

From PACIFIC STANDARD, a useful IMF debunking of Reagan's trickle down fairy tale.

Meanwhile we’re sold this fairy tale of brave independence, the lone American who doesn’t need government. This fairy tale is sold to us by monied interests who live off government contracts or are dependent on government subsidies. Who evade taxes but accept bailouts. The fairy tale is very popular, especially in the West, where public lands are used by private operators, who sometimes resent the privilege and refuse to pay. If the land were owned by mining or timber interests how much more would they pay? The libertarian argument is riddled with contradictions and magical thinking.

From PACIFIC STANDARD, a description of how dependent the libertarian Bundys are on government handouts.

USUNCUT lists five government freebies the Bundys live off of.

This is the Right Wing’s big idea: give all public land and public infrastructure to private businesses to profitize, but when they cheat or fail or harm the public or poison the environment let the government clean it up.

From REUTERS news service, a report on how Michigan's governor shifted public responsibilities to private operators, who then cut corners to earn profits and wound up poisoning a whole city.

From THE WEEK, a shorter summary of what Governor Snyder and his private enterprise cronies did to the city of Flint, Michigan.

What people forget about the “corporate model” is that it was first invented to allow individuals to avoid responsibility for their failures.

They are called “limited liability corporations.”

They privatize profits and socialize risks. When they win, they pocket the cash. When they lose, we all pay for their failure.

Being able to fail and go on to try again is not a bad idea. It’s based upon the notion that we need to share each others risks and help each other succeed. We shouldn't leave anyone behind... but increasingly we do.

Increasingly the ability to fail and try again is limited to the monied classes. It has been tailored to protect property above all. It is a right given to people with property rather than people who work. It favors those who own for a living and ignores those who work for a living.

Kiss Up. Kick Down.

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