Wednesday, September 19, 2012
The Firesign Theatre, The "President Ride" & Unemployment
[This post was modified and extended on 9/23/2012]
In the Firesign Theatre's radio play, "I Think we Are All Bozo's on this Bus", there is a theme park and in that theme park is "the president ride" where you can ask a question of "the president". So someone goes up and says: "Mr President, where can I get a job?", and the President ride responds: "Many busy executives have asked, what about the job displacement program? ... " and of course completely avoids answering the question. Just like the real presidents. The Firesign Theatre was remarkably prescient.
Both the Democrats and Republicans studiously avoid talking about the unemployed, and the many issues related to it. There is a good reason for this and that is because they have caused this situation with their policies and their failures to create policy and they have done so in an unintentionally bipartisan way. They have no intention of changing their policies because they are working just fine and doing what they were intended to do. Their goals were to make large corporations richer, impoverish the middle class, and destroy worker's rights. If these were not the goals of their policies then our elected officials must be very incompetent indeed because that is what they achieved.
Yes, yes, I know, you think this sounds paranoid or unfair. I will explain what I mean by this in more detail below and it is a little more subtle than it sounds at first glance. No, of course they did not vote to impoverish Americans, not exactly, but if their actions or inactions have the same result, then I think it is fair to hold them responsible.
With great power comes great responsibility. That is the deal. When one becomes President, or a senator, or a member of the House of Representatives, then not only is one given a salary in the top 5% of all Americans, but one is also given access to vast resources: money, intelligence, raw military power, and support of many kinds. In return, you are expected to keep the country out of war when you can, to fight a war successfully when we must, and to see that the people that you represent are free and prosperous. If you fail through your actions or your inactions, as an individual or as a group, then you should be held accountable. "The Buck Stops Here." Perhaps someone else would have had the brilliance, wisdom and charisma to have led us through those troubled waters successfully when you did not.
In the US Navy, a captain of a ship is held responsible for whatever happens to that ship and he is judged by the rules and laws that pertain to the responsibilities inherent in being captain of a military vessel. If a ship runs aground, even if it does so because of an unexpected event of natural causes, such as a storm, then the captain of that ship is held accountable and his behavior and decisions are reviewed by a court martial (literally, a military court). And during the time of this procedure he is relieved of his command, and he may only be restored if he is completely exonerated.
There is somewhere between a 15% to 22% unemployment rate in this country. Our elected representatives have done such a bad job that it is not even possible to get the real number. There is vast misery and inequality, ageism and racism, and a massive deficit where before there was a massive surplus. Maybe "globalism" is the cause and maybe it isn't. But even if it is, we are not a passive victim of globalization, more than any other country in the world we helped to create it. So if globalism is the storm, then you are the captain that navigated right into it. However the Great Depression happened, it was FDR and the New Deal who got us out of it. You guys kicked the can down the road too many times and the 800-lb chickens have come home to roost, so to speak.
As a world class practitioner of passive aggressive behavior, I can testify to you today that failure to act is a form of action. Failure to have a coherent policy is a form of policy. You are our elected representatives and we hold you responsible.
Here is an article I stumbled upon that talks about some of these issues, unemployment and worker's rights in particular. It is s short and I think it has some good information in it.