Hi y’all. I was discussing politics with someone earlier and I came up with a slogan to explain my rather extreme position. Thing is, I’m not sure whether it’s original or whether I absorbed it from a song or a film or even a TV show. It’s obviously a variation on “demand the moon, to get the earth”, but if anyone knows whether there’s a more specific equivalent doing the rounds in popular culture could you let me know?
Here it is…
“Demand revolution and you might get reform. Demand reform and you just get ignored.”
Anyone heard it before? Or the same sentiment in similar language? Maybe I dreamt it?
As you no doubt already know, dear reader, I’m not exactly a champion of free-market capitalism. My opposition is rooted in philosophical — and increasingly, psychodynamic — objections rather than traditional economic ones and my grasp of the more arcane aspects of economic theory is not very strong. Better than Sarah Palin‘s I’d wager, but not very strong all the same.
So I don’t claim to understand precisely how this credit crisis developed, nor how the various bail-out packages around the world hope to solve it (this is as good an explanation for the non-expert as I’ve found though).
I’m fairly certain, however, that the root cause of the whole thing can be traced to a willingness in people (both large institutions and a whole bunch of mortgage applicants… though mostly large institutions) to take out loans they couldn’t afford to cover. In other words, to sign contracts that obliged them to pay back money they simply did not have.
My question to you, should you happen to understand all of this, is how exactly is the decision by the Irish government to guarantee 6 banks to the tune of €400 billion any different? This represents 37 years worth of Irish tax receipts. It’s twice the GDP of the entire nation. Put simply, Ireland does not have this money.
I realise that the point of the guarantee is to shore up confidence in the banks and thus avoid having to bail them out in the first place; that the government is making this promise in the belief that they’ll never actually have to honour it. But the people who allowed this crisis to develop in the first place, and whose judgment should therefore be considered extremely suspect, are the very same ones now drawing up this plan.
So based on their track-record, there’s no reason to believe that this €400 billion guarantee won’t be called upon. And it won’t necessarily be because of a bank collapse. All it’ll take is just one greedy son of a bitch in one of these banks to find a way to make money off this guarantee (which will be law within a matter of hours); to find some legal loophole that allows them to syphon public money into their own pocket. Then, with a few coke-fuelled phonecalls every single banker in Ireland will be following suit.
This plan could bankrupt the country for generations to come. And yet it’s been hurriedly implemented by a government that frankly doesn’t have a clue what it’s doing, at the behest of the greedy fools who created the problem in the first place.
I just posted this to an internet forum I occasionally use. It’s a classic hastily-scrawled five minute post, so don’t treat it like some kind of reasoned political treatise. All the same, it needs saying…
Before the Vice-Presidential announcements were made I was not willing to call on Americans to vote for Barack Obama. For lots of reasons, which I don’t need to go into, I didn’t think it would be a good idea to vote for him. That was not an endorsement of McCain of course. I just don’t believe in voting for the lesser of two evils unless there’s a massive gap between them.
Certainly Obama’s performance in the debate — endorsing biofuels and name-checking Henry “war criminal” Kissinger for any reason other than to demand he should be handed over to The Hague for trial — made me very uneasy. I see in Obama no more than a continuation of the corporate empire.
And in McCain I see roughly the same thing. He’s not a neocon like Bush, and the genuine differences between Obama and McCain have more to do with persona than politics. Yes Obama is the lesser of those two evils, but not by much. In those circumstances I’ve always believed in voting for a radical outsider even if they have no realistic chance of winning. Casting a vote shouldn’t be like placing a bet on a horse-race, it should be about stating one’s personal beliefs and nominating someone to speak in your stead. That it almost never works out that way is not a reason (in my idealistic eyes) to allow yourself to get tainted by a corrupt system.
HOWEVER, during the Bush Vs Kerry campaign, I suggested that a Kerry vote would be the best idea. Because although Kerry was indeed just another corporate puppet, he was up against the neoconservative tendency which needed to be opposed.
I saw McCain as being evidence that the Republican Party had ditched that ultra-right bible-thumping stance and returned to being merely the right-of-centre corporate party. Because whatever else you may say about him (and there’s lots to say) McCain isn’t in Dubya’s born-again camp.
But the more I see of Palin, the more I realise that electing McCain will put America within a statistically likely heart-attack of having an even dumber, even more vindictive and virulent religious neocon as president. That woman is incredibly dangerous and McCain is in his 70s. Not a good combination.
So don’t vote Obama because you think he’ll bring hope and change and apple-pie back to the American dream. He won’t.
But do vote Obama to make sure Palin never gets anywhere near the reins of power. She’s a menace and needs to be opposed.