Thursday, July 14, 2011

Declining empire politics

I see that the nation has moved on from Obama's birth certificate and the question of whether he really did kill Bin Laden. Between these two poles of birtherism and deatherism, we're now at adult politics -- the question of whether or not the nation is going to raise a debt limit that is completely meaningless except insofar as it has the capability to cause various forms of self-inflicted catastrophe.

Who usually cares about debt limits? Creditors do, when they're deciding whether to give you another loan. Do the creditors of America care? No, they want to lend more money. The debt limit only functions as a political device by which politicians can pretend to do something about debts that they've already committed to paying. At least, they've already committed to them according to the U.S. Constitution, which majestically declares that the debt shall not be questioned. But everyone in power, not just anarchists like me, agrees that the Constitution is a meaningless piece of paper.

Will the posturing around the debt limit cause U.S. debt to be downgraded? Either way, only the poor will suffer. Rich people, like Congressman Cantor, routinely hedge against this kind of risk. If the debt limit raise goes through, it will probably be because some part of the social safety net has been traded away. If not, it's an opportunity for disaster capitalism. Certainly it's provided a nice show for people who'd otherwise wonder what is being done about jobs.

What else is going on? I predicted back in Jan 2010 that "At the end of Obama's term, we'll still be in a war in Afghanistan. But I'd guess that we'll pick up another war, too. It's the standard response of American Presidents whose domestic policies founder." The Libyan people thank you, Conor Foley!

And lastly, I see that Obama has taken in a record $86 million in campaign contributions, 98% of which were contributions of $250 or less. The Obama administration really is popular among the more or less left-of-center in this country. That pretty much removes the last possible check on our dysfunctional politics. I never really had much hope that Obama would change his tune because he realized that he needed support, but there was some, and he's turned out to be correct that he doesn't need to.

Anarchism now more than ever. If we're going to be ridiculous and futile, it might as well be with some class.

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