Let the world change you... and you can change the world

Austerity and Groundhog Day

Can it really be two years since Krugman wrote this piece on just how stupid austerity policies are in dealing with the economic situation that the U.S. and Europe now find themselves in?  It’s been groundhog day every day for the last two years.  It was clear then that fiscal austerity would not only not work, but it would instead make things much worse.  And every week that has passed since then has given us more evidence that fiscal austerity was a bad idea.  And yet here we are, two years later, and that’s still what the Very Serious People of the world are advocating.  In the U.S., we are coming up on a presidential election, and as unbelievable as it may sound, fiscal austerity is one of the main platforms of the Republican candidate.  And many Americans are actually going to go out and vote for that candidate.  Stupidity is this century’s black plague.

The financial meltdown in the U.S. happened FOUR YEARS AGO, and nothing, absolutely nothing, has been done to (a) fix the damage it did to the economy, or (b) prevent a similar crash from happening again.  Not only that, but gawd forbid Mitt Romney is elected, we’re going to repeat the exact same policies that caused the meltdown in the first place.  Even the best case scenario, Obama getting re-elected, probably means at least two more years of doing nothing, since he still won’t have a Congress that will be willing to work with him.

It’s quite clear that our system of governing is broken.  What the answers are, I have no idea.  Hell, I’m just a computer nerd.  But clearly the Senate is a huge problem, as the Republicans have turned that in to a body where a 60 vote majority is required to pass anything.  Sheez, if Obama proposed legislation saying that two plus two equals four, you couldn’t get 60 Senators to agree on that.  The two-party system is also a major problem — right now we’ve got a conservative party and a moderate party.  Liberals are pretty much not represented at all.  But the two-party system is so ingrained now, I have no idea how you fix that.  Another idea I heard recently was limiting the President to a single five-year term, like Canada does.  That way you don’t have the last two years of a term totally absorbed with campaigning for the next election as is the current situation.

I’m sure there are lots of other potential solutions.  But all are major changes, and it’s almost like our current system is specifically designed to make major changes next to impossible.  And I can see how that’s a good thing when you have a great system that is working.  But alas, that’s not the case today.  We have a system that for the vast majority of Americans is clearly broken — with no good solutions even on the table.