Sunday, May 23, 2010

Corporate Populism - Krugman's Wake-Up Call

Western democracy, as we've grown it since Magna Carta, is under attack today not from foreign totalitarianism but from domestic and global corporatism. Indeed, today's "corporatism" could just be the 21st century's equivalent of fascism. In today's New York Times, Nobel economist and Princeton professor Paul Krugman warns that's the very struggle underway today in America.

"...[Wall Street's] rage against regulation seems bizarre. I mean, what did they expect? The financial industry, in particular, ran wild under deregulation, eventually bringing on a crisis that has left 15 million Americans unemployed, and required large-scale taxpayer-financed bailouts to avoid an even worse outcome. Did Wall Street expect to emerge from all that without facing some new restrictions? Apparently it did.

So what President Obama and his party now face isn’t just, or even mainly, an opposition grounded in right-wing populism. For grass-roots anger is being channeled and exploited by corporate interests, which will be the big winners if the G.O.P. does well in November.

If this sounds familiar, it should: it’s the same formula the right has been using for a generation. Use identity politics to whip up the base; then, when the election is over, give priority to the concerns of your corporate donors. Run as the candidate of “real Americans,” not those soft-on-terror East coast liberals; then, once you’ve won, declare that you have a mandate to privatize Social Security. It comes as no surprise to learn that American Crossroads, a new organization whose goal is to deploy large amounts of corporate cash on behalf of Republican candidates, is the brainchild of none other than Karl Rove.

But won’t the grass-roots rebel at being used? Don’t count on it. Last week Rand Paul, the Tea Party darling who is now the Republican nominee for senator from Kentucky, declared that the president’s criticism of BP over the disastrous oil spill in the gulf is “un-American,” that “sometimes accidents happen.”

The mood on the right may be populist, but it’s a kind of populism that’s remarkably sympathetic to big corporations."

It sounds to me that this hellspawn of RJ Reynolds and Lee Atwater, today's Rovian Corporatist Republicans, have perfected the art of manipulating a large segment of the American people by luring them to a populist movement that is really a corporatist service. It worked for years on tobacco, it's working still - and will for many, many years to come - on global warming, why ought it to do any less well on thwarting regulation of their interests to protect the public interest?

Harnessing populist discontent to advance a corporatist oligarchy is simply brilliant. Diabolical certainly - but brilliant.


LeDaro said...

What a troubled world we live in. This weekend there was one depressing story after another. The Russian situation, William Browder story and how Putin and company will kill to get their way – not much different from Stalin era. Then there was Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant story and what horrible destruction it caused. Then 60 Minutes of CBS had this story on Phthalates chemical. No wonder autism cases are on the rise. And of course the cradle of the democracy USA – some cradle. Real democracy is not their cup of tea and especially it is not for Repugs. Let Repugs enjoy their tea parties and their cup of tea.
Is there any hope for human race?

The Mound of Sound said...

I think we're entering what promises to be an enormously challenging century. Unfortunately we're standing on the beach with our eyes closed awaiting the tsunami instead of taking charge of the situation and heading for higher ground.

If we don't address the gamut of issues threatening mankind, if we don't take the initiative while we can, the problems won't go away and we'll have to just take the impacts as they land. What we have right now is a genuine window of opportunity but it's an opportunity we're unwilling to acknowledge much less invoke.

Look at our leaders, LD. They talk utter nonsense about Canada becoming a fossil fuel superpower for the 21st century when we know that the survival of our civilization depends on breaking our carbon addiction. Liberal, Tory, NDP - they're all the same in their deriliction.