Friday, November 9, 2012

The Politics of the Smashup

I mourned for a day, but now I see the future.  The era of conservative reform is over and the era of the smashup is about to begin.

For fifty years conservatives have been offering a way to veer gently off the folly of the administrative welfare state by limiting the expansion of government.  But with the confirmation of Obamacare, President Obama has welded shut the door of the iron cage.  We are now trapped in the cage until we can smash it up and escape.

The four walls of the iron cage are government pensions, government health care, government education and government welfare.  The cage is designed, whether its designers understand or not, to replace the natural human instincts of social engagement with the mechanical steel of the administrative bureaucracy and the rulebook.

Karl Marx may have been the most unpleasant man of his generation, and he may have been dead wrong about the "immiseration" of the working class, but he had one thing right.  When the economy changes, as it did in 1760 with the textile revolution and again in the 1820s with the railroad revolution, then necessarily society changes too.  The old elite inevitably succumbs as the culture and the politics change and new men come forward.

So here we have the death of the old world of "good jobs at good wages" that we witness in the failure of General Motors and the devastation they say you can see from the Acela is it runs through Camden and Philadelphia.  And anyway, the workers hated those jobs.  We see the new world of smaller, agile companies that will demolish the big business model, and we see the prospect of on-line education that will utterly transform the big education model.  We know that big welfare is a total failure.  And here's my nickel that says that big health care is on the cusp of a revolution.

If the Economy of the Bigs is on its way out, then society itself is going to change.  So then what will happen to the biggest big of all, our modern big government?  Who knows?  But one thing is for sure: It will change.

It will change because it will run out of money.  Inflation, debt default, financial repression, confiscation, riots in the streets: Greece and Argentina writ large.  It's all a real shame, because women and minorities will be hardest hit.

1 comment:

  1. The Grand Old Party is dead. Their philosophy is from the 1800s and they turned into the Tea Party. Until there is a paradigm shift in right-wing thinking, one that shows respect for more than half of their fellow Americans, the right will still bitterly believe that they were robbed and not really work towards the good of the country as a whole (including women and minorities). Yes we can always be assured of change, and I believe with another term of Barack Obama, we will have positive change. I am relieved our country was saved from the clutches of the evil corporate robber barons...