Monday, December 10, 2012

The Fashionable Trojan Horse Of Authoritism

Mythology...the collection of parable, analogy, and metaphors from the history of man's psyche.
Most myths have some underlying truth to convey to an astute reader.
Like the tale of the Trojan Horse for instance.
On closer inspection things may not be as they seem.
I myself, though essentially an ardent fan of reason,
would not care to live in a world devoid of myths.
Though it is quite dangerous to cross the Rubicon into that realm where one believes
mythologies are factual and literally true.
We have in recent times witnessed the birth of a new mythology my friends and most honored readers....
It is not however, a mythology created from bards and writers.
Nor is it wisdom handed down in stories through generations.
It is created by modern public relations think tanks
in service of those who at all times and in all places
throughout history have banded together to set themselves up as
an aristocracy of some sort.
This is nothing new.
From the pharaohs of ancient Egypt to the self-regarding thugs of ancient Rome to the glorified warlords of medieval Europe, in nearly every urbanized society throughout human history, there have been people who have tried to constitute themselves as an aristocracy.
These people and their allies are the conservatives.
Conservatism at all times in all places is always an argument
for absolutism...for an aristocracy of some sort
to dominate society.
Today, they use (quite successfully) the machines of Public Relations
to create a mythology that essentially is a Trojan Horse.
Once the "gift" is accepted,
all is lost.

"Just what is this modern mythology?" you ask.
There are many changing and developing facets to it...
like the Zygote in the film "Alien" it morphs after it has used it's host.
Changes from one host to another absorbing bits of the hosts DNA in it's new form.
The host, once invaded though does not survive.
Let's look at some examples.

These concepts and statistics deal largely with the U.S.A.
but overall the entire world is dealing with these issues
in various incarnations of "austerity" programs and such.

Mythologies Created About Health Care

Private Insurance costs far more money than Medicare does.
According to the  Council for Affordable Health Insurance ,
medical administrative costs as a percentage of claims
are about three times higher for private insurance than for Medicare.
The  U.S. Institute of Medicine  reports that the for-profit system
wastes $750 billion a year on waste, fraud, and inefficiency.
As a percent of GDP, we spend $1.2 trillion more than the  OECD average  here in the U.S.
So all of you teabaggers out there screaming about socialism,
and shouting down the handicapped at town halls, this amount is equal to the entire U.S. deficit.
That's right, the amount wasted  on achieving profits for private medical care companies, if instead was applied to the deficit would eliminate it.  One out of every six  dollars you earn goes to health care.
The mythology of private health insurance being better than a not for profit system is but one example of this Trojan Horse.

Privatizing Social Security Is Good

No, It's not.
Another myth cooked up by the slogan generators.
Administrative costs for 401(k) plans are much higher than those for Social Security -- up to twenty times more.
It would be difficult to find, or even imagine, any short-term-profit-based private insurer that is fully funded for the next  25 years . Social Security is. It works for all retirees while private plans work for a limited number of investors.
Essentially this myth is created by the Wall Street Casino
that would like you to bet your retirement at their tables.
An occasional winner, but the house always wins...and the vast majority loose.
Social Security is a not for profit insurance that you purchased.
It is not "an entitlement".
It was never meant to be part of the general fund.
It is not gambling.
(the way private retirement funds are)
The only risk in social security is that politicians will destroy the program
so they won't have to return what they have stolen from it.

Public Funding Is Bad, Private Banks Are Good

Balderdash. No way.
Cities and towns around the country have been repeatedly victimized
by a  "bid-rigging" process that diverts billions of dollars
 from numerous unsuspecting communities to the accounts of a few big banks.
Individual homeowners, especially minorities, have also been victimized by the banks.
Because of the housing crash and the corresponding decrease in home values, middle class households lost over half of their  median wealth , and minority households almost two-thirds.
There are simply a plethora of scandals and scams in banking.
The privately run Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) headed up the  illegal foreclosure  business; the banking association  LIBOR was guilty of interest rate manipulation;
and numerous financial institutions have engaged in the subtle artistry of imposing  hidden fees .
Your credit cards are loaded with  "gray charges" 
things like surprise subscriptions and auto-renewals
  little scams that cost the average consumer $356 a year.
Unbelievably it has been  estimated that 40% of every dollar
we spend on goods and services goes to banks as interest.

Public banks , on the other hand, focus on the needs of communities and small businesses rather than on investors. The most well-known example is the  Bank of North Dakota  (BND), which has successfully worked with local banks throughout the state, promoting business growth through loans that a larger bank might be reluctant to make, while managing to turn a profit every year for the past 40 years.
This is the system that wants no government oversight..."trust us".
This is the system that caused the collapse of the worlds economies
through it's own irresponsible risk taking
and manages now, to have you and I dear reader,
cover their losses.
Government at this time is not your enemy, nor is it big enough
to effectively battle
multinational banking cartels.
What vestiges remain of democracy
dwindle further each day
As more people buy into the manufactured myths of the would-be Pharaohs.

The legend of the Big Box

Smaller government is promoted by the very companies that make record profits
 while forcing their employees to accept public assistance.
While McDonald's enjoyed profits of  130 percent  over the past four years, and Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC made 45 percent, and while the Walton family (owners of Walmart) made  $20 billion  in one year , the median hourly wage for food service workers and Walmart employees is about $9 an hour. Many workers are stuck at the $7.25 minimum wage, which according to the  National Employment Law Project  is worth 30 percent less than it was in 1968.
Food service and big box store employees, are the  fastest-growing job segments in the nation, and these people are making barely enough to stay out of poverty.
It is not just the employees who subsidize their bosses.
We all are.
Every one of us.
Low-wage employees are dependent on the  food stamps and Medicaid 
which of course are paid for by our tax dollars.
The idea that somehow
cheap shoddy goods
benefit you
is a myth.

Government Is Bad

Libertarianism is corporatism in a sheep's clothing.

Ok all you big government haters out there...ask yourself these questions if you will...
What is the incentive for private companies to deal with tragedies like Hurricane Sandy?
The  Pacific Standard  aptly stated that "the free market doesn't want to be in the flood business."
Face it there is no profit in it.
Private industry is fine for some things.
Not all things.

What is the incentive for private companies to keep poisons out drinking water?
If it is more profitable to dump toxins indiscriminately into the environment
than to behave civilly.
Private industry time and again has demonstrated
it has little interest in civility.
Short term profits trump long term survival.
Time and again.
Without sufficient government regulations
the Clean Water Act was  violated a half-million times in one year.
In one year.
(worth repeating).
What might the incentive for private companies to plow your roads?
Could a corporate entity do it cheaper considering they need to make skyrocketing profits year after year?
Considering they have a culture whereby they insist the top executives
must be paid scores of millions of dollars
annually and drown in perks and bonuses
or their talents will go elsewhere
where others have been duped into believing
a manger is to be paid hundreds of thousands of times more
than the mere workers.
Must a profit be made by someone on every human endeavor?

Liars and paper tigers and bear markets oh my!

What incentive might industry have to reduce the number of prisoners in profit-seeking  prisons?
Or to allow you to send a birthday card for just 45 cents?
Or to simply treat its customers with a degree of  respect rather than as a source of profit?
A battery to drain power from
and toss in the rubbish.
The "invisible hand" of the free market is often picking our pockets.
In many ways it is both unable and unwilling to satisfy the needs of society.
It has a place...but perhaps not at the top of pyramid.
The free market is not free.
There is a cost.
Paid for in both currency...and loss of humanity
For that it is worthy of our contempt.
Not our awe.
Liars and paper tigers and bear markets oh my!
This is some horseshit of a different color!
Keynes got it right.
Balance is the trick.
Humanity trumps profits.

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