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The Same Coin


Sooner or later the question arises. Who are you voting for in November? The implicit assumption being that you are going to vote, and even that there is somebody worth voting for. Neither assumption should be taken for granted.
Looking at the list of options, I see the usual suspects. Corporate Democrat or Corporate Republican. Delusional liberal or confused conservative zealot. Free market or freer market. Police state or pure fascism. Two wings of the same party insulting each other over which is less likely to spark a full-blown, Grapes-of-Wrath Dark Age. All brought to you by America Incorporated, LLC.
Brainwashed liberals peddle the fantasy that Obama is a wonderful, genteel godsend who wants the best for everyone and has rolled up his sleeves (as pictured in campaign ads) and gotten down to work on behalf of the working man. This fatuous claim is fully embraced only by members of the Boomer class, who are desperate to convince themselves they their legacy of civil justice has not been buried beneath the gleeful avalanche of the corporate state.
And yet there are minor differences between the Dems and Repulsive Ones. Obama passed a shitty so-called “Jobs Bill” that was largely a tax credit to business owners that, at its very best, might have refilled one twenty-fourth of the lost jobs. Under John McCain we may have gotten nothing, but even he would’ve been under pressure to deliver some false consolation to the bewildered masses. (By contrast, consider that FDR hired 60% of the unemployed during the Great Depression.)
Consider healthcare. Neither party will even countenance what the majority of the American public wants: single-payer healthcare. Most industrialized nations have some form of successful single-payer. But our wheels are greased by graft and profit. In a capitalist society whose golden calf is the holy unfettered market, people are commodities to be drained of value and discarded.
Instead, our new healthcare bill—slobbered over by wild-eyed Obama-mites who claimed it ranked with LBJ’s Great Society and even FDR’s New Deal—was hatched in conclave at the Heritage Foundation, Dick Cheney’s favorite weekend retreat. It was then implemented by the People’s Plutocrat, Mitt Romney, in Massachusetts, which tells you something about who is was written for. When O’bummer came surfing into office on a wave of Jesse Jackson’s tears, he started foraging around for a large policy initiative that he could finagle through Congress, an idea that would project a false sheen of liberal progress—the better to mollify his base; but an idea that would also satisfy the rapacity of his FIRE constituency (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate). He quickly recognized that healthcare had potential.
After all, his idol Bill Clinton had almost passed healthcare reform. The man who led the great betrayal of liberal values by signing NAFTA and eviscerating welfare for the poor, made the fatal mistake of handing the healthcare job to Hillary, whose stilted style alienated Congress. She came off like a Soviet apparatchik, a grim and sexless functionary who approached the art of negotiation like a Navy SEAL in a Pakistani safe house.
Hillary blew it. She had a tentative agreement that would have covered 90 percent of the population. But she fumbled it away. Obama recognized that, with a more nuanced approach, this might be the kind of historic accolade he could add to the quiver of his growing legend. Slot it right in next to his fatuous Nobel Prize. As Bill Clinton had shown, it was politically feasible so long as it didn’t upset the system of profiteering and rising premiums that consistently outpace inflation.
But before taking the Heritage cum Romney plan to Congress, Obama handed it off to Big Pharma and the insurance industry. They dutifully transformed it into a 2,000-page boondoggle flush with corporate giveaways to the tune of $447 billion of taxpayer dollars. Nor did they place any real restrictions on inflating costs. But the piece de resistance of the bill was the mandate. Working class Americans would be forced to line the pockets of avaricious insurance conglomerates by overpaying for their defective product. Not only had Obama pacified his corporate bosses, but he had convinced his delusional but dwindling supporters that he belonged on the Progressive’s Rushmore.
To summarize: a plan hatched by the Republicans and executed by the Democrats. Like NAFTA. Like welfare. Like the bailouts. The fact is, Democrats can pass harmful legislation far more easily than Republicans. Everyone knows the Republicans are unfeeling thieves looking for opportunities to fleece the working class. Ivory castle deadbeats living off capital gains and offering nothing productive to the economy. But Democrats, even decades after their Faustian bargain, still retain a semblance of their old proletariat façade. People still think they care.
In the end, we get the same policies in a slightly friendlier disguise. The rhetoric is better. Even so, working classes tend to do slightly better under Democrats than Republicans. After all, Democrats have to toss a few slops to their base, lest their true constituencies reveal themselves. In other words, if you are a 25-year old deadbeat dad from Detroit, you might not get to stay on your parents’ insurance policy in a frightful McCain administration. One shudders to think.

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