This happens every election.
People fall for it, every single time. The story that politicians tell us is that there are sides, and only one side has the answers and the other side are villains and harbingers of destruction. They pit us against one another, claiming that my interests are not your interests. That they, your heroes and saviors, and only they, will represent your interests.
And people swallow the story whole, every time.
This story is meant to distract us from the truth that all thinking people know: the system is broken. Neither “side” has the answers, for they are all complicit with the broken system. They all agree to its basic practices and principles (or at least to the principle of eschewing principles). They gain office, and they tinker here and there, spending months and months and billions of dollars of your money on “battles” on peripheral issues and ephemera.
Meanwhile the system rots from within. And no one challenges the corruption at its root.
It took 200 years for this country to rack up its first trillion dollars of debt. It took 286 days for it to rack up the last trillion. This is money that will either come out of your pockets via direct taxation, or money borrowed against your future wealth, or in any case, money that will be leeched from the economy, and represents that many trillion fewer goods, fewer new businesses, fewer new jobs. Every man, woman and child in the country owes $51,000 on this debt. The interest payments alone are in the hundreds of billions per year. That is billions that could be spent on education, on social security, or remain in your pockets for you to save or spend as you see fit… going just to pay the interest on the debt. It is money being vented from the system. The Bush administration was roundly (and rightly) criticized for increasing the gross public debt from 5.7 trillion to 10.7 trillion. The Obama administration has increased this from 10.7 trillion to 16.2 trillion as of this writing. (Go here for a current number. Or just to scare your own pants off).
You see, despite their story of “sides”, both administrations agreed on this policy. Massive government spending and running up the national debt for you and for your children is correct, in their view. There are no “sides”.
The unfunded liabilities are even worse. We all know that the government cannot fund Social Security and Medicare, except by ongoing and increasing debt (and more and higher interest payments). As of this writing, the U.S. government has promised $123.3 trillion in payments (Social Security, Medicare, Prescription Drugs and National Healthcare) that it has no funds for. That breaks down to $391,000 per person which the government owes by law, which it will not be able to meet. Taxes are not a solution. The notion is ludicrous. The entire productive power of the economy is just 15 trillion a year. Meaning the entire economy would have to be taxed 8.2 times over in one year just to reduce the unfunded liabilities to zero! And then what? Even taxing it 100% once over would have reduced its productive capacity to zero on the first day of the following year.
The system is broken. Can or will anyone in power fix this? You can forget it. At this point it is only a question of who is in power when they give the announcement, “Sorry, the well is dry”. No one will, of course. They will blame the collapse on everyone else and spin the fact that they are fighting heroically to save it.
Same story again.
The person who has wreaked the most destruction on the global economy in the last decade? Ben Bernanke. The policies of the Federal Reserve over his term as Chairman have been an unmitigated disaster, and central banks around the world have followed him every step of the way, to the ruin of the Eurozone and many other economies of the world. Did we elect him? No. Can we remove him from office? No. He is the appointed CEO of a government-protected corporation which has its fingers clutched into every pocket in America, and there is nothing we can do about it. Nor can we even ask to see the books. And Bernanke has done this with the approval and blessing of the last two presidents. (Appointed by Bush. Re-nominated by Obama.)
You see, thinking people reject the story of “sides”, because they see a thing clearly, unhampered by ideology: it doesn’t matter who says “I’m in charge of the tree now!” when the core is rotten.
So what is to be done?
As I wrote in Why Elections Fail to Make a Difference, politicians are not the answer.
Folks, we have to stop believing this lie. We are tearing each other apart in artificial chicken fights designed by politicians and poll-takers, all so that we keep them in power. The media, instead of throwing light on the artificiality of the fight, picks sides. Thus is a thick veil spun over the dirty truth.
We are looking to so-called “leaders” for answers, for them to shape the world according to their vision, not realizing that we are the ones responsible for shaping the world, and have been all along. What politicians do, their “job”, is the furthest thing from “leading”. What they do is take our pulse, see how our thoughts and feelings are, and present themselves of the embodiment of those feelings, and represent their “opponents” as the enemies of our feelings.
Spin and vilification. Playacting. The Business of Seeming.
That’s it. That’s what you elect them to do. You see, we have been leading the politicians all along. We’ve told them what to say and how to present it so that it makes us feel safe and happy and gives us someone to be angry at.
We have made politicians what they are. Bottom-feeders on our hopes and fears.
But there is a growing swell of us that are onto the racket.
What is to be done?
Just what thinking people (the ones who see through the veil) have always done.
When we encounter some policy or injustice that we disagree with, we speak out, we write, we protest.
We read, we research, we share our findings.
We rid ourselves of that cloud of confusion and mindless herd-mentality called ideology, and we think issues through for ourselves.
In other words, we pursue the truth. And we do it together, not clamoring in victory or defeat for this or that politician, nor screaming at one another as though we were enemies.
We, in fact, make politicians (and elections) laughably irrelevant.
You and I, friends, by dropping this idiotic story of “camps” and “sides”, can do in one morning what elected politicians cannot do in twenty back-to-back elected terms.
We already make the world what it is. Let’s wake up out of this old politician’s bedtime story of “heroes and villains” and do something they cannot, nor have ever had the power to do: make it better.