Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ponzi Party

Rick Perry calls social security a Ponzi scheme.

Pretty ironic.

Wouldn’t the whole supply-side BS the current Republican crop and Tea Party zealots hold sacrosanct fit the definition of Ponzi scheme perfectly, i.e. work hard and play by the rules and you’ll enjoy a comfortable standard of living, access to health care, well-funded public infrastructure and a secure retirement? We trade our hard work for the promise of these things, even if it isn’t directly reflected in our paycheck, because we are doing work that needs to be done, and we assume that the rest of society will do its part to contribute to the collective good, to the extent that they are able. Yet the wealthy don’t end up paying their fair share because free market apologists pretend that their hard work is somehow more important than than that of the rest of us. They assume that the market is meritocratic. They deny inherent structural inequalities of capitalism and only see governmental responses as the true inequalities. (For example, denying that there is anything wrong with inherited wealth and fighting government attempts to introduce fairness into what is essentially an aristocratic dynamic)

Yet as health care costs rise and access dwindles, infrastructure crumbles, and retirement seems ever more ethereal, they tell us this is the fault of greedy public workers, regulatory protections, and the recipients of the safety net. The idea that a police officer can expect to retire on a modest pension with access to health care, while living in a clean environment with functioning roads, libraries and parks, somehow represents everything that is wrong with society. Who does he think he is, they tell us. Because through their policies of tax cutting and deregulating, they have made his simple world seem somehow luxurious. Only by bringing him down, they tell us, will we too get to enjoy his success. If that doesn’t seem like the greatest Ponzi scheme of all time, than nothing does.

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