Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

The Obama Depression continues

We’ve fallen, and we can’t get up.

American manufacturing growth had come to a standstill in September, and the Labor Department’s latest employment figures, the worst jobs report of the year, tell the same story from another perspective: unemployment rate stagnant, wages stagnant, hours worked down, number of new jobs far below forecast, previous reports revised downward, labor-participation rate at 38-year low, with nearly 95 million eligible American workers sidelined.

That the Obama administration is foundering from an economic-policy point of view is not news. Barack Obama & Co. represent the very freshest and most imaginative thinking of the 1930s — stimulus, public works, monkeying with the minimum wage, political favoritism for union constituencies, the ancient superstition that simply putting money in somebody’s pocket makes the nation richer through the miraculous power of the economic multiplier, etc.

President Obama and his advisers take an essentially managerial view of the economy. Their hearts may secretly thrill to memories of exciting old campus Marxists in days gone by, but they are not in the main government-ownership-of-the-means-of-production guys. They see themselves as chess masters. If you remember those scenes in the original Clash of the Titans with the gods of Olympus moving little figurines around on a gameboard — that is how they see government (and, not coincidentally, themselves). Their role, as they see it, isn’t to own the farms and factories, but to set the terms of employment, to give this constituency a nudge, to take that one down a peg, to push sugar imports in one direction and so-called green energy in another. The Right’s habit of comparing President Obama’s thinking to that of the Italian fascists and their corporazioni isn’t (only) for the purposes of denigration. The president and his men see the government as a partner, an entrepreneur, an economic actor with incomparable resources and power. If you read Ezra Pound’s admiring estimates of 1930s European corporate-state economics, it will sound quite contemporary: The state has the power to act — why not make the most of it?

Scratch a “liberal,” find a fascist. It works every time, and in every context.

Call ’em commies, call ’em socialists, call ’em Marxists or neo-Marxists, call ’em statists, call ’em whatever you like. The central truth remains: power and control are what they’re all about, under any ideological nomenclature you may prefer. The irony is that they see themselves as indispensable, when all we really need for them to do is just get the hell out of the way and mind their own damned business. Which is the one thing they will never, ever do.

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2 thoughts on “The Obama Depression continues

  1. People have to understand that jobs are a cost. A person manufacturing is a person not developing a cure for cancer, caring for a sick or infirm person, composing works of art, entertaining others, … And the jobs are things we want to do all so much that we have to be paid cash money to actually turn up and do them, so that we can do what we really want, which is to consume.

    American manufacturing is healthy in terms its products because it has a highly productive workforce in terms of output per person employed (primarily though intensive mechanization); it just doesn’t need that many people employed to do the desired production. This is exactly the same as with agriculture, which in the 19th century employed the bulk of the population and now involves about 2% — the farming jobs went and aren’t coming back, because there is no point for them. Manufacturing has done the same.

  2. If you recall the context of the speech in which Obama said “You didn’t build that” he definitely was not saying that you didn’t physically build something. The full context was that without some benevolent Government help you “couldn’t” build that. It’s exactly Fascism. The State makes everything possible, not individuals. Which of course leads straight to the next conclusion. It is not “We, the People” as individuals, it is “We, the People” as a Collective. You are only able to build that because “We, the People” as a group decided that you could build that by allowing the Government to create favorable conditions. Hence, the purpose of Government is not to protect individual rights so that individuals can thrive and prosper. The purpose of Government is to decide what is best for the Collective and create the conditions to achieve the Greater Good. Of course, THEY are the ones that determine what is best for the Collective, how to achieve this goal and how to move the pieces, in other words all of us individuals, around to reach that goal and, if necessary, how much of the “profits” should be returned back to the Government, for the Good of the Collective of course.

    Just like everything else, they have subverted the Anglo-Saxon concepts of the Enlightenment and Humanism which was the Foundation to our unique form of government by twisting the very words of our Founding Documents. They’ve given them a meaning completely out of context with the world and the underlying theories which informed them. Sort of like what they do to the 2A when they try to focus on “militia” in context of the “Army”.

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"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

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