Saturday, November 1, 2008
Shock of almost any sort makes my brain go whaky. Kind of like Sarah Palin has become "a whack job" to aids in the McInsane/Impailin campaign, my brain became a whack job yesterday when all my photos disappeared in an instant. I figured Phillip was probably having a lovely Friday evening, and so, when I composed my email to him, I tried to keep the panic and desperation out of my voice. I am trying to learn not to scream at men in my email, as I have alienated one good friend and come close to it with Phillip. Swearing in all caps, bold and italics, does not endear me to my men friends--all three of them. So, as the evening wore on, my brain got slower and slower heading for complete shut-down. By 11:00 I was so stupid I was trying to watch a Bond movie on On Demand. It was droning on--explosions and car chases, and lovely damsels in distress was all I could discern and it was oddly unexciting. It was probably during this portion of the evening when Phillip tried to contact me. I couldn't hear anything but the cottony crash and bang of the movie, so missed him last night. But even if I had heard the ring of the voice chat thingy, I wouldn't have been able to talk coherently. That is what the sudden onset of depression does to me. It's almost as if I can hear the circuits fizzing out and the whole mechanism slowly grinding to a halt with a dull and fuzzy sound that ends in nothing.
This morning, around noon, after I'd had one cup of coffee, Phillip called. I didn't time him, but within a few minutes he had restored my photos. Then he restored my flock application and with that taught me how to put my favorite, daily reads on RSS feed. What a man. So, thank you Phillip. It's so nice to know a handy man. I owe you cookies darling--chocolate chip or peanut butter?
How did we get to be so stupid? How is it possible that people earning less that $40,000. a year think that tax breaks for the very rich are in their best interest? And what made us so stupid? Reality TV is part of my guess at an answer to that. But seriously, folks, my friends, when did poor people start thinking of themselves as the citizens who would benefit from cuts to Capital Gains taxes. And how is it possible that we buy the notion that millionaires have taxable earned income? When did the Estate Tax become the Death Tax, and how stupid are we that we think Estate Taxes will have any effect on us with our one small house mortgaged up to the chimney? We must be just about the dumbest bunch of idiots on the planet.
"(Rich Republican "experts") will tell us", as McCain has repeatedly warned in his speeches, that "spreading the money around" is a bad idea that has been tried, as he put it, by the "far-left liberals." They will whine and moan about "tax and spend" and offer predictions of doom at every percentage increase in marginal rates on the very rich.
Unless Americans understand how the economy has worked -- and how this country was built in the past century -- it is entirely possible that those false prophets will once again block changes that the nation has needed for decades. That understanding should include a review of some very recent history, too.
Will anyone besides the pundits remember what happened then and why it is still relevant now? Not unless Obama himself educates the public -- as he alone now seems able to do. The country is undergoing a teachable moment that is certain to last for many painful months -- and if the new president doesn't seize that opportunity, then his adversaries surely will.
What Obama needs to explain, over and over again, is that Democratic economic programs have succeeded in promoting growth precisely because they distribute national wealth more widely than the Republican tradition of trickle-down. The numbers have told the story for decades -- and the statistics detailing the Clinton administration's success and the Bush administration's failure have only reinforced the narrative.
Consider the cumulative performance of the stock market. Until this year, the best data available showed that on average, equities increased in value by more than 12 percent during Democratic administrations, and by around 8 percent when Republicans were in power. The largest gains in the past 80 years occurred under FDR, Truman, Johnson and Clinton -- and when the awful declines of the past few months are factored in, the Democratic record will look even better.
For the moment, scaring voters is no longer so easy. The Republican administration is nationalizing financial institutions and Republican economists are demanding big federal spending initiatives. But if Obama wants to avoid the defeats of Clinton's first two years, he must consistently remind Americans what has succeeded and who has failed -- and why.