Sunday, November 02, 2008

Productivity, and an observation.

This extra hour totally rules. It's ten minutes to noon on a Sunday morning, and thus far I have:
  • cooked myself a kickass breakfast
  • watched "Meet the Press" and a bit of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos"
  • done a sinkful of dishes
  • finished reading this week's Sports Illustrated
  • planned how I'm going to repartition my computer's hard drive
The verdict: move the clocks back an hour every weekend!

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There are a lot of interesting things that have happened in this US presidential election: the nomination of a terrorist latté-sipping elitist secret-Muslim candidate, the Palin fiasco, the incredible amounts of money raised and spent, the aimless wandering of John McCain in front of Brokaw's teleprompter during a debate, and so on. But the recent financial clusterfuck has prompted some extremely unique insights into a possible sea-change in American economic/political dialogue.

First move: Obama. Tax plan says rich should pay more, little guys get tax cuts.* Plays well.

Response: McCain/Palin. "This is no time to be experimentin' with socialism." "I don't want to redistribute the wealth. I want to make it so everyone can be successful!" Et cetera.

Lots of American people: "My life kinda sucks right now, so yeah, let's have those rich bastards pay a little more. I'm dyin' out here."

For my money, though, the best lines have come from a couple of rich white guys who have said stuff like, "Well, you know, I've done pretty well, I can afford to pay more in taxes." (John Kerry comes to mind.)

I've been a political junkie for the past decade or so, and I have never heard anything like that be uttered from the lips of any prominent American (the likes of Noam Chomsky excluded). We've grown so accustomed to The Powers That Be being such devotees of unfettered, unregulated capitalism (on both sides of the border), this kind of statement could be viewed — and rightly so — as a giant bolt from the blue.

So, will this banking/stock market meltdown result in a vastly different set of American paradigms when it comes to how they view their own social contract? "From each according to his wealth, to each according to his needs," to quote Marx? If the American economy remains in the crapper for a good long while, don't be surprised if it comes out the other side a vastly changed animal.
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* I've often thought that, if all you have in terms of fiscal policy is whether you raise or lower taxes, you're not thinking hard enough. Keynes would be very disappointed in you.

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