A Country of Abscences
by Mick Spillane
First appeared in the The Last Women's Magazine 2.19.14
America has long been mired in a debate that has gone in a conservative direction. This dialectic has been perverted because of an animated, uncompromising conservative right wing political base. The right wing has not had to face an authoritative left. Consequently, our complete dialogue has been schlepped in a conservative direction. What this means is that there is nothing really left in the center of the political debate. The Republican-conservative-tea party has been hostile to a liberal civilization and an intellectual tradition. The conservatives take an authoritarian approach to knowledge.
To understand the political life is to understand the rationale in the fractional reform of social institutions rather than the comprehensive transformation of social life. However, human experience testifies to an ineffaceable and categorical diversity of competing values no overarching standard of adjudication exists.
Healthcare Not Socialism
How are we as a society to understand this philosophy? For example, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not a socialist, left-wing program. Its foundation is based on Republican-conservative designs. In fact, the individual mandate was the conservative right-wing substitute to a mandate on employers. The health-care exchanges are nothing more than an alternative to government-provided healthcare based on the Medicare design.
Indeed, the ACA is complex. The most difficult part of starting a new marketplace is the beginning—the first step. It requires the critical mass in both supply and demand for the marketplace to work.
The government is attempting to create a marketplace in which “consumers” shop around for private insurance and, if need be, receive government subsidies. On an absurd note, ACA does not even include a government plan as an option.
The Republican-conservative-tea party did succeed in maneuvering the health-care debate in to their corner. With great aplomb, they forsake the models they forged and condemned ACA as a socialist design. It was typical of their politics—it is the classic “vicious circle” of dealing with the Republican-conservative-tea party.
Joblessness and/or Economy
The unprecedented obstructionist politics by the Republicans and its minions prevented aggressive action to assuage joblessness. However, after the crash of 2008, the government needed to step in and strengthen the country’s purchasing power—hence the point of stimulus efforts. Interests rates at zero, borrowing was in order to rebuild a feeble infrastructure, and create long-term investments.
During a critical moment in the discussion of entitlements, the focus was how to cut them. The progressives, Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), by contrast, declare that we must begin preparing for the approaching retirement crisis cultivated by the almost obsolete traditional pensions.
The discussion is that Social Security is not providing enough for low- and middle-income retirees and that making the program financially secure will necessarily involve lifting the cap on income taxed for Social Security. That cap requires middle-income Americans to pay a larger piece of their income than the highest earners do. Now ask yourself: Is that an irrational concern?
But what was to happen was the ludicrous—almost campy—inexorable pressure from the Republican-tea party, resulting in a smaller stimulus. Thus, preventing any further expansion of government spending. Plunging the public debate into an idée fixe with the deficit as millions languished without jobs. Even the novelty of obstructionism has worn thin on some Republicans who have grown weary over the ideological fears about the government’s size.
The unremitting behavior of the Republican-tea party became a habit—it was a plan. A plan that was repeated on all issues. It was a militant behavior against the Democratic Left. This became the twisted environment of US politics. This year you will see a remarkable expression of this emotion on the shameless assault on inequality.
Conservative thought has at its central terms—loyalty, authority, hierarchy, and order. It discounts equality, liberty, or humankind. This proposes a most vexing question: Why is it easier to spend money on rescuing banks than on rescuing families trapped in a cycle of collapsing incomes, unemployment, and foreclosures? As is in the normal for the Republican-conservative-tea party, it is against liberalism—conservatism is suspicious of equality.
Normally, the Democratic left is animated by the conflict between growing inequality and declining social mobility—the idea, is that our government is designed for powerful interests and against the working family.
The invigorated progressives are battling a contradiction: Why it is that “populism” is a good thing when it’s implored by the tea party against “liberal elites” but suddenly an appalling subject when it explains efforts to raise the minimum wage and take other steps toward a just system of economic rewards.
And the moderates should be in their corner encouraging the progressives. It is when politicians ignore the questions advanced by the left and are pressed to concentrate almost exclusively on the right’s concerns about “big government” and its absolute devotion to deregulated markets. Consequently, it is an exhaustively impractical policy. Thus, a democracy that has been reduced to an open political market and is no longer defined as the administrator of historical changes is destroyed by partocracy (or—“developmental oligarchy”), lobbying, and corruption.