I was struck reading the thesis of Krugman’s column this morning--it’s relatively easy being green—how well it applies to so many of our allegedly huge issues. Healthcare? No problem, get rid of insurance companies. Energy? Not hard, use less, go solar. Afghanistan and Iraq? Pack it all up and come home. Deficit? End militarism.
No, the issue with all these problems isn’t that they’re empirically difficult to solve, it’s that making a firm decision to go in one direction or alternative always produces winners and losers. As Americans we can choose to accomplish or solve almost anything we like, we know the solutions and answers, we just have to put up with the losers.
Human beings and organizations obviously don’t like losing, so the most powerful almost always do everything they can not to. Again, not rocket science, we could have vastly improved mortgage bankruptcy law by now but of course have not, the finance industry would lose money. As Senator Durbin so wisely said, Finance owns the place (the Senate) so they didn’t and won’t lose.
As more and more industries and economic players own Congress the more dysfunctional it becomes, for Congress of course was set up to represent people and their problems but won’t do a damn thing if it’s bought and owned. Healthcare is our current fireball of an example: serious, debilitating problems of sick outrage since the time of Clinton, yet what has been done in all that time? Nothing. Even when it’s decided something finally must be done the core issue and solution is deliberately missed by a country mile, for it was decided before there was any ever start the insurance companies and their profits must stay. Good luck with any reform after that, solutions that place money before humans are not to be trusted.
Something legislatively will be done this year, yes. To be implemented in 2012. Again, good luck explaining to the little people how this screaming problem of urgency is solved, but only kinda-sorta-maybe, years from now.
Finance regulation, climate change and the end of militarism are three other problems gathering hurricane force for the United States, yet does anyone really have faith we have the honesty and fortitude to take them on with our government? Right. How many times have we seen in the last 20 years the place taken over by very rich powerful interests, granted the full rights of corporations by the laughingstock Bush vs. Gore intellectual shithole of the US Supreme Court? Almost always, the little people have very little chance against the lobbying budget of finance or insurance or defense, that’s been obvious for a long time.
I truly hate the idea of being some grouchy curmudgeon proclaiming the United States can’t do anything, that’s flatly absurd, in many ways we still have great government. But our ability to solve public problems has obviously seriously degraded with the growth of corporate influence, no shit, to the point where in this fine year of our Lord 2009 nothing is getting solved, the little people and the public are always on the losing side. Always.
The little people see this, of course, the precise specifics and histrionics of each particular issue are more boring and mean less by the day. Forget cap and trade, who are the winners and losers from climate change policy? Fossil fuel energy companies are huge losers, what a surprise, what is going to happen to us as a people and country when they lose all that fossil fuel money?
You mean the country will actually thrive without ExxonMobil owning Congress? Shocking. Can the political leadership in the United States—anyone, anywhere, any Party—actually state the plain truth and for once actually make sure the little people finally get a win? On any issue? We’re waiting.