Thursday, September 24, 2009

This is what you get after a decade of economic stagnation:

You get Glenn Beck. Yes, he's a loon (boiling, or pretending to boil a frog).

But then you read things like this:
  • Frank Rich:
    "Wall Street owns our government," Beck declared in one rant this July. "Our government and these gigantic corporations have merged." He drew a chart to dramatize the revolving door between Washington and Goldman Sachs in both the Hank Paulson and Timothy Geithner Treasury departments. A couple of weeks later, Beck mockingly replaced the stars on the American flag with the logos of corporate giants like G.E., General Motors, Wal-Mart and Citigroup (as well as the right’s usual nemesis, the Service Employees International Union). Little of it would be out of place in a Matt Taibbi article in Rolling Stone. Or, we can assume, in Michael Moore’s coming film, “Capitalism: A Love Story,” which reportedly takes on Goldman and the Obama economic team along with conservative targets.
  • Glenn Grenwald:
    Are the views expressed in that paragraph [above, by Frank Rich] liberal or conservative ones? They're neither. Instead, they're the by-product of a completely different dichotomy that is growing in importance: between system insiders and their admirers (those who believe our national political establishment and its elites are basically sound and good) and system outsiders (those whose anger is confined not to one of the two political parties but who instead believe that the political culture itself is fundamentally corrupted and destructive). There are people typically identified as members of either the conventional Right or Left who are, in fact, more accurately described as being in this latter group: those disenchanted with the political culture itself. Anger over the Wall Street bailout and corporate excesses was one example where that trans-partisan disenchantment was evident.
  • Rod Dreher: (on the conspiracy angle that Beck hints at)
    Cunning Realist observes that economic times like these produce Glenn Becks. Excerpt:
    I know I keep coming back to Europe and particularly Germany in the 1920's and 1930's. But the parallels at a minimum can protect you financially (if you've owned gold for the past few years, you probably agree) and in the future maybe even physically. There's a temptation to write off that period in history as an outlier for its madness, and I think that's a mistake.
    CR's point is that when people feel as if they are no longer in control of their lives and destinies, they will look for hidden actors who are secretly manipulating things.
  • Rod Dreher: (emp add)
    ... I agree with Beck that a corporate/finance oligarchy is disproportionately powerful in this country, and that both parties are complicit. I have been saying that on this site for quite some time now. And let me say once again, in case you haven't been paying attention to this blog for a while, people are right to be angry and fed up with business as usual.
That remark by Dreher (bolded above) seems like a good summary of the situation.

Visitors to this blog know that I think a significant reason for the stagnation is globalization (substantial immigrant labor coming in, H1-B, outsouring, free trade with ultra-low wage countries). Will that be halted or reversed? There's no reason to stop all trade, but some adjustments (tariffs, smaller H1-B) could help domestic labor.


while frank rich is right, there is populist rage within the movement, matt taibbi is also right that they suffer from "peasant mentality."

teabaggers are quicker to blame acorn than they are dick armey, who pushed the very deregulation that wrecked the economy in the first place. this group didn't coalesce during the bank bailout but only after some cnbc market analyst pitched a fit because administration offered help with mortgages for average people on the brink of foreclosure.

By Anonymous goputopia, at 9/25/2009 8:53 AM  

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