Of fatal distractions

I think at a personal level, I rather like Professor Krugman, and this piece, called “The Fatal Distraction,” kind of shows why: it’s witty, it is chockful of useful facts presented in appropriate context, and really advances the “left/right” thing in useful context. The only problem, of course, is that in seeing the world as a macro-economic nail in need of a Keynesian hammer, it makes something of a category error. I’m beginning to think that maybe FDR shouldn’t have bothered saving capitalism back in the day…
Because, of course, capitalism was ultimately doomed by the simple limitations of nature. The insane pursuit of a capitalist profit motive that maximizes the degradation of nature and the reduction in human dignity — has troubling consequences. And at this point, you’d have to say that profit maximization is a goal largely achieved: income/wealth disparities are at early 20th century/pre-New Deal levels again, and corporate profits, largely driven by the governmentally-subsidized/franchised financial sector, not to mention energy, “health care” and defense, are approaching record levels of nearly 10% of GDP. Those who love their profit motive should realize this has happened even as (actually, BECAUSE) domestic unemployment keeps rising inexorably [to Depression era levels by some measures], and more American children are in poverty, and for the future, our nation’s “educational attainment” continues to plummet, while we, as a people, have never been less healthy (btw, no people, anywhere ever have been in a state where something like our situation, where such a huge portion of adults are hooked on prescription meds, including 9 in 10 older Americans consuming at least one prescription drug every day)…
Where in God’s name was I going, before my own “fatal distraction”? Oh yes… Professor Krugman is missing the point: the President can bloviate all he wants, as can his fellow Republicans… none of them are seriously talking about, oh, growth, or innovation, or really, anything besides some nonsensical ideology (and right-wing ideology at that). The US of A simply ain’t creating any more jobs, because we’re not going to do what it takes to create them (here is pretty much a blueprint of how we could do it… but won’t, because no special interest constituency will benefit from doing so.)
So… Professor Krugman distracts us by proposing that the almighty state “do something”: spend money to “stimulate demand.” Of course, this involves yet more debt-creation on top of already unsustainable levels of debt caused by dumping the real estate bubble era speculations on the taxpayer… admittedly, more debt for some social spending (as proposed by Krugman) would be minor by comparison, but is politically untenable.
The better course for us, this “Labor Day,” in an era where both corporate profits are reaching historical highs and wage labor is reaching historical lows as a percentage of GDP, is simply to question the whole model, and its underlying premises, and realize that “ideology” is probably bad in general, and we should try to just make observations of the world as we see it. We can note things such as “Hmmm… my expenses keep rising as my income has been flat for years… what’s with that?” Or… hmmm… “I don’t feel so good after consuming that insanely salty and processed albeit seemingly inexpensive “food product”… etc. What is it you or I can do at an individual level… that doesn’t involve spending too much money [or ideally, any], to improve things in our own lives… be it, take a walk, smell the flowers, plant some vegetables, hug the kids, start reading the classics… just generally living a more “loving” life [hint: the best things in life are largely free, or at least, don’t involve i-phones, apps., luxury boxes, prescription meds, etc., etc.] In short– I suggest you don’t obsess too much about the crap that’s being pumped into you– especially the basis of political blogging as we know it– the left/right game (or as played in non-laboratory American politics, the hard right/VERY hard right game), because the Nanny/Saviour/Santa Claus State is only a construct designed by the powerful to advance their interests… you participate in it of course… to pay for it. [Yes, state and local governments remain somewhat more responsive to their constituents than the finance/energy/”health care”/”defense” driven feds… but they are in financially desperate times, and have to cut services that will make real differences in people’s lives.]
It’s amazing that we have reached the overall of era of “general austerity for all lest those few most easily able to pay taxes actually have to actually do so”… but we have. And so… how to deal with this? The easiest answer is to just go about your business, and not think too much about such questions. Try to “secure” your supply of food (have some extra food lying around the house, “just in case”) say, several weeks or months worth… you know…. it couldn’t hurt. Because, like the former USSR, and like our friends all over North Africa… like all corrupt systems everywhere… it’s only a matter of time until even the cheap ersatz “food” we consume here will, one day, be unavailble… and you want to be prepared for such event. Of course, just as happened here back in the Depression era, that sort of thing will inexorably lead to “civil unrest”. I would guess that, this time, we won’t have an FDR around to “save capitalism from itself.” Those expecting the Nanny/Saviour/Santa Claus State to save them… will be unpleasantly disappointed, when they realize that such an expectation is, to quote Professor Krugman, “The Fatal Distraction.”