Saturday, 4 October 2008

United Socialist State Republic of America

Hardly.

This from the pile of 'want to read' newspapers beside my bed, finally being recycled after a long and busy week.

It's not a remarkably original article, but Monbiot very neatly reminds us that the US is not a free market, that it only 'works' -- such as it does -- because of vast amounts of corporate welfare. That public money, taxes primarily from the poorest, is always used in the US (and Europe, too) to support and bail out and subsidise the richest and the largest companies.

I love way so many of the American free-marketeers are falling into Cold-War relapse over this.
According to Senator Jim Bunning, the proposal to purchase $700bn of dodgy debt by the US government was "financial socialism, it is un-American". The economics professor Nouriel Roubini called George Bush, Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke "a troika of Bolsheviks who turned the USA into the United Socialist State Republic of America". Bill Perkins, the venture capitalist who took out an ad in the New York Times attacking the plan, called it "trickle-down communism".
A lovely collection of images, no? I mean, totally mad, obviously. But... [and here's the second paragraph]:
They are wrong. Any subsidies eventually given to the monster banks of Wall Street will be as American as apple pie and obesity. The sums demanded may be unprecedented, but there is nothing new about the principle: corporate welfare is a consistent feature of advanced capitalism. Only one thing has changed: Congress has been forced to confront its contradictions.
What follows is a pretty thorough picking over of the evidence to back all this up. Very Chomsky-like, which is high-praise by any standard. So I heartily recommend the rest of the article, notwithstanding some legitimate criticisms of Monbiot on the Anarchist Writers blog: they made him their Muppet of the Week for his misunderstanding of what 'anarchism' really means (though surely anarchists need to target Greater Evils that that? well, I guess that's the difference between a 'muppet' and an 'asshole'); to which I say, yes, he should know better, so go do some homework and get that right but otherwise, good effort.

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