Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
For the past two years Republicans have been calling Obama a socialist and a communist, insisting that his policies will destroy the American economy. But if we look at the economies of the world today, who's doing the best?
Without a doubt, it's China. The country run by the Communist Party of Mao has a centralized command economy that has harnessed the capitalist plow horse under the socialist yoke. China has bought hundreds of billions of dollars worth of US Treasury bills, propping up the US economy. China dictates trade policy to the world, coming into their full power during the Bush administration.
So, how is this economic miracle possible? Well, the workers who build all those computers and TVs and iPads get paid dirt, and are treated like dirt. Unions are run by the Communist Party, which also runs management. China has essentially no environmental regulations: remember how they had to shut down all their factories for weeks to host the Olympics? They burn so much coal the skies over Beijing are a perpetual filthy brown. And, finally, American and European companies have turned their backs on their own workers, first shifting production to China and are now sending high-tech design centers to China. Companies like Walmart, with their insistence on constantly-decreased prices (and, incidentally, quality) have forced most of their American suppliers to produce their goods in China.
In other words, China has become what the United States and Britain were in the 1890s: a land where government and big business are one, and workers have no control over their own fates.
The old notions of communism and capitalism no longer make any sense. What matters now is how much control average people have over their own lives, and the quality of life (clean air, clean water, reasonable working hours, decent pay and housing, etc.).
China has reached the point where government has absorbed big business and the two have merged into one. The Republicans and their big business backers are doing the same thing from the other direction: big business is swallowing Republican politicians and therefore government, giving business a free hand to do whatever they please. Big business can spend unlimited amounts of cash to buy elections now; it doesn't always work (ask Meg Whitman), but in a close race it makes all the difference.
And it's not just me saying that this is what Republicans think: remember the heartfelt apology Joe Barton gave BP during the hearings about the Gulf oil spill? All the Republicans were saying the same thing he was, except he that he gushed as much as the oil well in his fawning over BP. And all throughout the election Republicans keep screaming about reducing regulations despite the fact that in the last nine years the lack of regulation and the lack of enforcement of existing regulations has resulted in some of the the largest financial and environmental calamities we've ever seen.
And don't get me wrong. Some Democrats have been co-opted by big business as well. They're too comfortable with Wall Street and Big Energy. But as a party and an ideology, the Democrats clearly want to maintain a healthy separation between government and big business, while the Republicans are running headlong into the government/big business/no regulation singularity.
The Republicans are leading us to the same place that China is today. Just from the other direction.