Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The plutocrats' end game.

Adam Smith, so often revered by today's champions of "free-markets," understood that the owners of wealth were more dependent on government than anyone else in a capitalist society.

Laws and government may be considered in this and indeed in every case as a combination of the rich to oppress the poor, and to preserve to themselves the inequality of the goods which would otherwise be soon destroyed by the attacks of the poor, who if not hindered by the government would soon reduce the others to an equality with themselves by open violence. The government and laws hinder the poor from ever acquiring the wealth by violence which they would otherwise exert on the rich; they tell them they must either continue poor or acquire wealth in the same manner as they did.

What the Koch brothers and their political puppets seek to do is to reduce government in the U.S. to this one function of protecting the property of the plutocrats. The humanization of government over the last century was a process through which the poor and middle class were offered more protections against the predations of the wealthy. Access to education, health care, and the enforcement of minimum wage laws and the like, didn't eliminate gross inequalities, but did reduce them until the 1970's. Then, Reagan, Thatcher and their ilk began an aggressive push to redistribute back upwards wealth which had found its way into the hands of the lower and middle classes. Governor Walker represents a late phase of this push. He operates in a rust-belt part of America where blue-collar prosperity has diminished, thanks to automation and the outsourcing of good private-sector union jobs. Now it's time to attack the white-collar middle class. First on the chopping block are teachers and other public-sector workers. Once their unions are busted, it will be easier to lower wages for well-educated workers in the private sector.

The sad truth is many of these future victims are busy preparing their own demise. Small business owners, insurance agents, lawyers, doctors and accountants might delude themselves into thinking their interests coincide with those of billionaires. They don't see paying taxes as a necessary foundation for a sustainable economy. They will soon find out they're terribly mistaken. The Koch brothers don't need a healthy middle-class in the U.S. They need only the coercive powers of the state to protect their wealth. Doctors and lawyers, however, will not prosper by catering only to the needs of a handful of plutocrats. People earning a living wage are good customers who can help to grow a state's economy. People thrown out of work, or earning only subsistence level wages tear apart our social fabric.


hectorp said...

I like your picture here of hobos riding the rails. Back to the future?

Cletis L. Stump said...

Ulysses, this is an insightful post. Adam Smith is so often misused. By the way, I'm always amazed at the publication of "Wealth of Nations", 1776.

Doctors, as you say, will find that there are so many wealthy to go around. Also, people today will not long walk past shop windows filled with food and clothing before they break those windows. Hopefully, we can do well in 2012 and head off the violence which will surely come. I'm so glad I found your place.