“-Henry, I’m ashamed of you. You don’t half thank the good gentleman. May I do it for you?’
-Indeed you shall, dear, if you can improve it. Let us see you try.
She walked to my man, got up in his lap, put her arm round his neck, and kissed him right on the mouth. Then the two old gentlemen shouted with laughter, but I was dumfounded, just petrified, as you may say.”
“The party is obvious. The casualties inevitable.”
— Lester Bangs
Last week, because of a looming soul migraine, and having nothing better to do, we spent a few minutes listening to David Pakman.
Pakman in full tepid earnest mode, was asking (sort) of questions about the cost of Universal Healthcare.
For fun (a relative notion) we posted a question: There are around 2 million people who work in the private insurance industry.
What happens to them when the government phases their jobs out of existence?
And what happens to their dependents?
And what happens to the people who in some way are dependent on how and where the insurance employees spend their money?
In other words, while universal healthcare is the correct idea and along with education, housing and food, should be defined as a human right, the transition will dig a large hole in the middle of the economy.
The obvious assumption is that since Warren and Sanders can do math and probably are smart enough to hire people who can do math, they understand this and would if asked, say something along the lines of: we will retrain these people and or transition them to new jobs.
Well, they would say that wouldn’t they?
Because of course they can’t say we’ll dump them at the curb with some used IKEA furniture.
The problem(s) is that the government’s track record in this area is at best bad and abysmal at worst.
The tech revolution was of course a classic capitalist paradigm in which rich people got richer, previously not poor people got richer, and people who use your debt as currency increased your level of debt, and millions were fucked and sent to live in a ring of hell defined by any number of Springsteen songs about the post industrial waste land.
None of which means universal healthcare is wrong.
It just means it’s more complicated than what can fit on a bumper sticker.
But because Sanders and Warren employ people to watch Pakman, TYT and Sam Seder and god help them, Kyle Kulinski, a low level elf saw the question and passed it up the food chain.
And on it went until it was dropped on the right desk and yesterday at an event Sanders and Warren responded.
In Sanders’ case the news is being presented as if he answered the wrong question.
We have a hunch that’s possible but what’s more likely is that Bernie took an opportunity to respond as politicians are trained to do, to answer the question they wish they had been asked not the one you asked.
At the same time Warren pointed out that her plan (of course she has a plan for that) has already addressed that issue and – surprise – her plan calls for people working in the private insurance industry to be transitioned to new jobs and yada yada yada.
Again, not wrong but to borrow a concept, plans never survive first contact with the enemy.
They get the internet on Wall Street and they can do math as well.
The problem with Warren and Sanders (et al) is as we’ve pointed out, not that they are wrong but that their opponents range from people with political views slightly to the right of Francisco Franco and others with the ethics of a Medici pope with a hangover and unexplained stains on their miter.
While obviously better than the malignant troll current squatting over the country the fact remains Warren and Sanders are liberals and Sanders, despite his left wing rhetoric, is not only Eugene Debs 2.0, he’s Debs with a heart that might explode and he’s almost 80.
And even if that were not true, the goons and fascists will create one crisis after another to prevent a transition from succeeding.
As this weeks SNL cold open had it, in spoofing Warren and her UHC plan, step one is cutting the military budget and so the joke goes: Therefore, dead on arrival.
Edward Snowden speaking 2 weeks ago to Jeff Spicoli’s smarter cousin, Joe Rogan, said that whoever gets elected will be “read in” and be presented by the spooks with all the most terrifying secret details of what’s going on – including, he added – things that are fabrications or exaggerated but also includes things that are authentic and will scare the piss out of them.
And the result is, Sanders/Warren say fuck, go away and do what you need to do so if anything goes wrong, it’s not my fault because the Mid-terms are in 18 months and we have to raise elevnty billion dollars.
And social media warriors can bloviate all they want about how Bernie will kick Military Industrial Complex ass with a copy of the constitution in one hand and the collected works of Chomsky in the other, but history says otherwise.
And then there’s the gerrymandered House and Senate, the corrupt courts, the free range ex special forces goons for hire employed by billionaires both at home and abroad (think Harvey Weinstein was the only rich guy with a private army of ex special forces and spooks?) who will be used to stage “events” like the metaphoric burning of the Reichstag, (or countering Sanders/Warren by crashing the Mexican Peso, or the national bank of Spain, or Brazil or leveraging shares in a major set of Hedge Funds in England while it wobbles into a post Brexit delirium).
After all George Soros made a fortune back in the 90s in exactly that manner (by betting against the pound) and recently Corbyn, in one of his rare moments of standing upright, said he would if elected PM, go after Britain’s wealthiest who, he correctly pointed out, had made money by betting against the Pound.
And England’s uber wealthy have responded by announcing they and their money will, in a we are not amused regal huff, leave for Monaco or Switzerland.
And of course then there’s debt.
Poor people have debt.
Rich people use debt as money.
They buy and sell it.
It is a chain around the neck of the permanent underclass of wage slaves.
Warren and Sanders correctly want to wipe out student debt.
As we’ve pointed out, when they try, the people who stand to lose trillions will create a debt crisis elsewhere because if you really are serious about eliminating student debt then you would have to nationalize the banks at the same time.
And that’s a revolution.
And no, we’re not any more in favor of violence than we are in favor of earthquakes but we’re aware that they occur.
Not one example exists of major social change occurring without violence both against the establishment and by the establishment against the forces demanding change.
We’re certainly happy the question landed on the right desk.
We’re less than thrilled that the answer is the echo of a rusty can bouncing off the walls of an empty historical quarry.
But something about beggars and choosers.
The crash at this point is inevitable.
What comes out of it is anyone’s guess.