The Next Decade Could Be Even Worse

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MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
19,887
18,338
136
70 million either corrupt or ignorant fools voted for Trump. If course the next decade will be worse
 

nickqt

Diamond Member
Jan 15, 2015
7,516
7,577
136
In the original French, "Plus ca change, plus la meme chose!"

Yes, yes, yes! The fear based parochial boosterism (@Moonbeam) is depressing and gets in the way of addressing clear flaws.

The other sacred cow is our bloated defense budget. If there were only enough political "breathing room" to see how this wildy disproportinate misallocation of state resources leaves us LESS strong and safe, we could easily cut a full third (or more!) from it and use this to simulataneously pay down our budget deficit while also addressing a myriad of our domestic needs.
The "economy" as state religion and the "defense" budget are essentially the same signs and symptoms of what the US is but mostly unacknowledged - an Empire, capital-E. And one in decline. If you try to discuss the "economy", it's nothing but hysteric screams about socialism and communism and tyranny. If you try to discuss the "defense" budget, it's nothing but hysteric screams about terrorism and freedom and tyranny. They're both intertwined aspects of the official state religion of US Empire.

Empires typically expand outwards and bring treasure inwards. Treasure can be lots of things - cheap natural resources, cheap labor, cheap food, etc. By getting access ("spheres of influence", "American Interests" ) to cheaper resources externally it can typically buy off/assuage the citizens of the Empire with the benefits of all of that access. Citizens will look the other way, as long as their standard of living is alright and they're doing better than everyone else out in the world.

Unless the Empire is in decay, in which at best it holds its present borders - typically while spending more resources then it actually gains from Empire. It effectively hollows out the Empire, leaving the internal Empire in disrepair, while it still commands the best-trained soldiers, fanciest ships, and most advanced weapons. Sound familiar?

And now, with the US, you have corporations, basically owned by oligarchs, who are allowed to run the Empire to allow the oligarchs to profit off cheap access to resources, labor, etc., meanwhile they write the tax laws that...oopsie...gives them loopholes to avoid taxation on those profits. Sound familiar?

So ultimately, our foreign policy is Empire, which it almost always has been, but now it's directed for corporations, by corporations, and most citizens never see any of the benefits of it. And because of how corporations work, they're ALSO the military at this point. Sure, the citizen soldiers are individual people, but look at where the bulk of the "defense" budget goes - weaponry and technology developed by corporations. And all of those corporations have factories and headquarters in each congressional district in the country, so they can smash any politician in the face with "jobs" if that politicians even makes a mention of decreasing the "defense" budget.

The oligarchs who own and operate the corporations that run this country are very afraid of losing their status and special privileges, which is why they scream the loudest about "oppression" anytime you even whisper that perhaps the richest people in the solar system and the corporations they own aren't paying their fair share based on how much profit they extract from the US Citizens who allow them to operate...because yes, society allows corporations to exist and operate, they aren't actual living things with God-given rights.

And the major disconnect between people who know that our economy is fucking rigged, and the people who kinda know but blame SOCIALISM or whatever, is that the people who blame socialism for the faults of the economy have been trained to believe it, without any evidence of it. They'll scream hysterically about some single mother getting an EBT card who also has a fucking cellphone, but cheer as some corporation that just netted half a trillion dollars in the previous year pays almost zero taxes...same as people who make a billion fucking dollars in a year paying 12% income tax, compared to someone who makes $80,000 paying 25%.

Capitalism/money, is always going to exist. Social Democracy isn't Socialism, it's simply the government, which is THE PEOPLE, subsidizing aspects of the economy that all citizens require for an agreed upon basic standard of living. I mean, in 2020, how the fuck can you argue that electricity, shelter, food, water, internet, education and healthcare aren't basically a necessity if you want to live any objectively decent quality of life inside the US? Why shouldn't we be, as a society, ensuring that everyone can have those basic fucking staples?

Republicans always loved using the trickle-down, "rising tide lifts all boats" metaphors without actually trickling down money or providing a rising tide to lift everyone up. Before the Soviet Union fell, they kinda-sorta allowed the middle class to survive as a counter-point to Soviet "communism", but even by the late 70s their plans were laid bare, that they were going to fight back and create a new gilded age of corporate wealth/power. You can read the Powell Memo to see the foundations of the plan that have occurred starting with Reagan - slash taxes so the rich don't need to re-invest in the US anymore and can offshore jobs; break unions to destroy the ability for labor to actually have a wage that rises equally with productivity; deregulate Wall St. so that all of the tax savings that wasn't being re-invested back into the country could inflate bubbles for Wall St. profits and massive ROI. Just nuke the rules that had kept Wall St. from playing the role of a casino, and watch the "wealth creation". 2002 - 2007 were some amazing years for "wealth managers".

And here we are. The Republican Party has effectively brainwashed itself into double-thinking every possible issue. Republicans care about the poor and working class while the Democrats are on the side of the rich - meanwhile the Republican Party only ever accomplishes tax cuts for the rich while the Democrats enact policies to try to help the lower and middle class with basics like health insurance subsidies. Republicans are patriots by getting the US involved in foreign conflicts while Democrats are 5th columnists for wanting to keep the military out of harms way. Reagan was great for saying "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall, and Making America Great Again will happen by saying "Mr. Trump, build up this wall", and on and on and on. Republican voters say Trump, a long-known conman who doesn't pay his contractors and sues anyone who he owes money to, gives one fuck about mediocre jobs doing shit like mining some dirty coal that is going away no matter how much they want to keep getting black lung in West Virginia. Farmers go to bat for Trump even as his policies cost them business and small business gets stuck paying tariff costs to sell their shit where the market is actually at.

Republican voters don't think, they get told who their enemies are, and then are trained to use the same talking points to express it. And if they even remotely fucking question the talking points, they are instantly labeled RINOs, and kicked out of the in-group. It's a fucking Death Cult. Look at these fucking morons not wearing masks during a pandemic and claiming to be patriots because of it. They think they're saving America by going maskless while they're ACTIVELY SPREADING A DISEASE THAT KILLS AMERICANS. They are, in no uncertain terms, a Death Cult.

So, "the next decade could be even worse" isn't prophetic; it's pretty clear if you can look around yourself, observe objective reality, and extrapolate just how fucked we are as a country at the going rate. Mostly because it's an Empire in decay without any statesmen who can wind down Empire and transition our focus internally to build up our crumbling, third-world infrastructure. But also because half of the population of the Empire, who we need to be rational and reasonable, have been trained by their handlers to be reprogrammable meatbags so that the Republican Party can keep winning elections even without any discernible platform other than making libruuls cry while cutting the tax rates on the richest people in the solar system.

I was fairly bearish the past few months here about the polls, because as someone who knows what Republicans are - right-wing authoritarians - I knew god damn well that some random phone calls weren't going to be all that accurate about who was going to come out to vote. I was saying +6 Biden meant toss-up, especially in swing states. I stand by that, because I was fairly accurate in my opinion. The only reason my EC projection of 290 wasn't spot-on was because of a razor-thin Georgia win (Georgia voter here, you're welcome). We didn't dodge a bullet by Biden winning...we're shot through-and-through and still bleeding, we just didn't get hit in any vital organs. Depending on the GA runoffs and whether anything at all can be done outside of EOs because Mitch McConnell's job is to kill the government so that corporations can extract the last of the wealth, I can see things getting outright barbarous over the next decade.

I mean, holy shit, have you seen Parler?

Anyone on the left still talking about banning semi-auto weapons or banning AR-15s or whatever needs to wake the fuck up. Go pick up a rifle, learn how to operate it safely, and be prepared to protect your country from enemies domestic. Right-wing authoritarian white nationalism is going to fucking spike and being able to safely defend yourself and your country via your 2A rights isn't a right anymore, it's a responsibility.

/end rant
 

Ajay

Lifer
Jan 8, 2001
14,832
7,438
136
So what are some potential solutions here?

I don't think either party is all that interested in seriously addressing wealth inequality, but at least whenever the Dems approach it, it's instantly shot down as "radical socialism."

The article at hand isn't discussing wealth inequality. The debate put forward is about an overproduction of 'elites', not the overproduction of billionaires. From the context of the story, the elites are those who have power and influence and those with the capability to have power or influence, but for who no opportunity exists. I don't think the article does much to explain the spill over into more 'average' people and families. I suppose, if we care to, we can see Trump as an elite (which the author does), who was on the sidelines of the most powerful elites (for a variety of reasons). His avenue to more power was a direct appeal to others left out, or left behind in the middle class (more specifically, white middle class). His tools were those of grievance: bitterness, hatred, anger and 'reverse' racism regarding the 'unfairness' with which they were treated and their view of diminished status. Within our system of government, this appeal worked; it worked so well that it forced the GOP establishment to bend a knee before him and his base and changed the balance of power in republican circles.

I'm not saying that wealth inequality isn't at play here, but that the problem is more complex than distributions across economic strata of families. Taxing the wealthy more heavily does look like it would help the country economically if put to the advantage of all (infrastructure, healthcare, education. But, taken in light of the premise of the article's lead antagonist, Dr. Turchin, it's not strictly the wealthy who are putting this country's stability at dramatic risk, it's those who have the money, credentials, education who cannot put these resources to use. Those who are unable exert power and influence are those succeeding in destabilizing the system (a different kind of inequality). At least, that's not how I read things looking at the piece from sociopolitical perspective.
 
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Ajay

Lifer
Jan 8, 2001
14,832
7,438
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This isn't the 1930's though. The economy was soaring when Trump came into public view in 2015, and continued that way until 6 months ago.

What we're experiencing right now is a backlash against the trend toward social liberalism of the 1960's and 1970's. It's been going on since the Reagan years, through good economic times and bad. And it's intensified with the advent of conservative media, and now social media. It doesn't seem to get any worse when the economy goes into the crapper, or any better when it improves.

All the republican party is doing is taking advantage of it for the benefit of themselves and their donors.

The theory that a rising economy lifts everyone equally (like boats in the water) is clearly no longer the case. And, it seems, that that type of event has been true only for short intervals in our economic history. It certainly hasn't been a universal boon to all Americans since passing through the great recession.

The backlash, IMO, isn't about the advancement of the liberal democratic order. That backlash is about those who were, or feel they were, left behind by such advances. In which case, these advances did not exist for them but, they thought the reverse is what was truly happening. This, to me, is the beginning of the counter narrative which was morphed by 'conservatism' into political power and ultimately formed into a dangerous ideology that scoffs at truth to the point were truth becomes a caricature, holds the federal government in contempt an finds comfort in quasi-fascist rule.

All people, republicans and democrats are 'in it not for ourselves, but for our family and friends'. Our definition of those who are family and are friend is not the same. When the democratic party ceases to consider pretty much 'all' to be family and friend, it will cease to be the democratic party. The republican party is already heading towards ruin in it's embrace of 'economic populism', which I lovingly refer to as quasi-fascism. Anyway, ignoring, apparently, 45% of the population is a really bad idea - look at where we are. The advancements that were sought after in the 60's and 70's fell short of delivering well enough to all people, and now democrats, as the torch bearers of that ideology, have to wonder if they (we) will be given a decent shot at proving we can do it right if given the chance. That is the situation we face. Mending these rifts and implementing policies that give pause the fears that created them is the only good way forward; we've heard this from the President Elect. Biden has watched this extreme political polarization take root over the course of his service in government. He knows he will have to spend political capitol to try and include the republican political leadership in the decision making process. I think two wins in Georgia would make this process work and that that is an imperative to restart joint governance (not just to stuff the republican's, which will just lead to another wave of resentment). It's hard to resist the urge to pour down fire upon those who fell for or promoted the insidious lies spewed forth from the twisted mind of the current president. We just have no choice but to show restraint and dignity in the face of such evils, lest we fall into the same trap.

As has been mentioned in this thread and many others, something needs to change regarding FOX news and social media platforms. FOX has become an ad hoc state media outlet and has surrendered it's 'soul' to become purveyors of lies and conspiracy theories. Social media, rather than ushering in a new era in democratization, has instead become a megaphone for grievances, the spreading of hate, the spreading of lies and a cesspool of conspiracy theories. Obama has just recently been highlighting just how hazardous this is actually is to a democracy. I have no idea what to do about this, I haven't put the time and energy into thinking about this. I just personally avoid FOX and social media in general, it's all just so horrid.
 
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biostud

Lifer
Feb 27, 2003
17,878
4,238
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Someone "forgot" that social mobility and a large middle class is the glue that holds a society together. Why is your neighbors to the north a much more stable society? Also the northern part of Europe?

The study found that it takes two generations for low income families in Denmark to enter the middle class—one definition of the “American dream.” This rate was the quickest in the OECD. The same study said it takes five generations to achieve the same goal in the United States.

Given Denmark’s population of 5.7 million, about the size of the greater Atlanta metropolitan area, this corresponds to 1.74 billionaire per 1 million inhabitants. This level pretty much matches that in the United States, where Forbes listed 585 billionaires in 2019, which with 327 million Americans equals 1.79 billionaire per 1 million inhabitants.

What these statistics prove is that Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia can be home to billionaires while still having far higher levels of taxation, income redistribution, and government services than the United States. The existence of wealth is much easier to accept politically when social mobility is high, and a welfare state is much easier to finance when the wealthy are numerous.


 

sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
93,776
14,335
126
If the US is not going to project power anymore, it's time to half the military spending and use that money on social programs.
 

Braznor

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2005
4,369
328
126
Any government will not fall unless either one of these three conditions are meet

1. It has an army that can be outclassed by an insurgency of its own civilians or external armies.

2. Unavailability of the resources to meet its own use case needs.

3. The economic/political instability in its society or even ideology begins to affect middle or even senior level officers of its army/government. This factor can ensure a coup against the government can be effectively carried out.

If either of these conditions are met, the system and the government heading it will self destruct from within or by external circumstances. Until either of these conditions are met, any government/system even a flawed one can continue as it can afford to lick its wounds and get back to business.

The U.S can easily lose 50% of its population and still continue on as it effectively does so long it manages to retain the relevant percentage of its populace which helps its society move. This was how the Soviet Union survived its own Holodomor and the genocidal Nazi Invasion and still emerged triumphant.

Face it folks, our very lives and rights are meaningless in the effective grand scheme of things. HA HA HA HE HE HO HO HO.

iu
 

Braznor

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2005
4,369
328
126
If the US is not going to project power anymore, it's time to half the military spending and use that money on social programs.

Impossible for the US government to halve it's military funding. Its need to protect itself from the world and even more so from its own population.
 

sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
93,776
14,335
126
Impossible for the US government to halve it's military funding. Its need to protect itself from the world and even more so from its own population.

lol your military spending is ridiculously high due to US's wish to project power. If you no longer want to do that, then the money is better spent on domestic programs.
 

Braznor

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2005
4,369
328
126
lol your military spending is ridiculously high due to US's wish to project power. If you no longer want to do that, then the money is better spent on domestic programs.


I'm not American. My views are my reasoning of the US government justifications for spending so much of its resources on its own army.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
32,956
7,016
136
This isn't the 1930's though. The economy was soaring when Trump came into public view in 2015, and continued that way until 6 months ago.

Was it, though?

Republican / Fox News propaganda would have you believe Obama failed the economy, had a slow and stagnant disaster until Trump rose up to save us. That the true economic recovery from 2008.... started in 2017. They are !@#$ing nuts, living the dream in their alt-reality.

Moreover, while employment and stocks were doing just fine in 2015 when "Trump came into public view" - the reality on the street is something else entirely. Reagan era trickle down still prevails. Those workers who have no savings (I'd call them impoverished but then people would argue definitions) in the Appalachians and the Rust Belt, they are suffering. Worse every year. The GAP is crushing the Middle Class while housing and medical prices skyrocket. The "economy" was soaring, while our people eat dirt and beg for gig jobs. People are desperate for a savior to provide salvation from our economic conditions.

But Republican propaganda is effective and the alt-reality has them thinking Obama failed us and only Trump can save us. America is deeply divided and wounded.
 
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